FDI Surges in India

Overseas investors’ holdings of Indian stocks and bonds have picked up, rising more than $8 billion in 2017. “India’s current account deficit is being financed in large part by foreign direct investment inflows,” said Shilan Shah, Singapore-based economist at Capital Economics. “This is a positive reflection of Prime Minister Modi’s policies to encourage direct investment, and should make India less vulnerable to shifts in global risk appetite.”

“We expect reforms in the FDI space to continue which, along with the focus on improving ease of doing business conditions and GST implementation should help to sustain the positive momentum in the period ahead,” said Kaushik Das, Mumbai-based senior economist at Deutsche Bank.

Investors are attracted to India’s growth potential and the rupee, which is forecast to earn investors 2.6% by March 2018—including interest—the second-best in Asia after Indonesia’s rupiah, reports Livemint.

Indian Rupees

“We believe this is testament to India’s high growth rate, large potential and ongoing economic reforms,” said Sonal Varma, Singapore-based chief India economist at Nomura Holdings Inc.,

“We expect this trend to continue.” Bloomberg



April 5, 2017   No Comments

India Best Country for Wall Street Says Forbes

New York-based Wisdom Tree, that pioneered the concept of fundamentally weighted Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and active ETFs, says  that its India Earnings (EPI) Fund is up 12.8% year-to-date and is ahead of China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.

Gaurav Sinha, strategist for Wisdom Tree said, “If you look across the countries the IMF tracks worldwide, how many can you name that are growing over 7%? Iraq, Myanmar and India, and India is the only large economy that has those numbers and that you can buy in the equity markets.”

Indian Currency

Forbes reports: “Prime Minister Modi continues his plans to cut red tape, root out corruption, upgrade infrastructure, improve the fiscal position. No trade drama. No political crisis. No wars and rumors of wars. Reliable central bank. Stable government. A little expensive, but these days, who cares?”

India’s recent demonetization caused a temporary economic slowdown; however, recent company visits confirm that the economy is beginning to normalize.  Gerardo Zamorano, director of the investment group for Brandes in San Diego says, “From my perspective, that policy [demonitization] did not change the long term outlook on India that much. If you’re the owner of a car dealer or a restaurant business, this might affect you next week or so, but not for a decade. That’s how we think of India. It’s a long term investment for Brandes.”

Robin Parbrook, head of Asia ex-Japan equities at Schroders, says India remains the best domestic story in Asia at the moment. “The base is low in India, so the building of roads, provision of mobile telecom networks, formal banking to the masses, and rooting out of middlemen and corruption can all make a big difference, ” he feels.




March 5, 2017   No Comments

India And Japan Review Final Steps of Nuclear Energy Agreement

India and Japan hope to sign a nuclear energy agreement when Prime Minister Modi visits Japan this week. The agreement, the first by Japan with a country that has not ratified the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, will enable Japan to export its nuclear energy technology for private-sector use in India, reports Defense World.

Prime Ministers Abe and Modi

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had told Prime Minister Modi at a meeting in New Delhi in December 2015, “We will discontinue cooperation should India conduct a nuclear test,” newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported. Japan has long pushed for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Bloomberg reports that India’s nuclear power market is estimated at $150 billion and the country aims to boost energy generated from atomic plants to a quarter of its the total by 2050 from about 3.5 percent now, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Westinghouse Electric, a Pennsylvania-based company owned by Toshiba, is building six reactors in India; however, this project isn’t contingent on the bilateral treaty between Japan and India, a Toshiba spokesperson said.


November 7, 2016   No Comments

India’s Ports Handle Increasing Numbers of Containers

According to the Journal of Commerce, container volumes increased this year by 6.3 percent from May to September at India’s major ports over the same period last year, reports the Maritime Executive.

TEU volumes for Kolkata were up 17 percent; up by five percent at Tuticorin; Visakhapatnam volumes were up 132 percent;  and DP World-operated Vallarpadam Terminal volumes were up 20.5 percent.

International Container Transshipment Terminal in Kochi, India

Statistics for the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in the western state of Maharashtra:

  • Accounted for 2.26 million TEUs, representing more than 50 percent of India’s total containerized traffic
  • Turnaround time for one ship was reduced to 2.01 days from 2.85 days
  • Aims to handle 10 million TEUs by 2021, after a new terminal is commissioned.

Statistics for the DP World operated Mundra International Container Terminal in the western state of Gujarat:

  • Achieved a rate of 49.5 moves per crane per hour while handling the Maersk Line vessel Seroja Lima
  • The 8,520-TEUs Seroja Lima was unloaded, loaded and departed within a time frame of less than 10 hours
  • Achieved a productivity rate of 180 moves per hour at the main berth having four twin-lift and 21-across quay cranes

Prime Minister Modi wants to develop ports that can shift freight onto vessels capable of carrying 18,000 TEUs.


October 22, 2016   No Comments

Dramatic Changes Predicted at Future of Asia Conference

According to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council‘s  (LAWAC) Future of Asia Conference that took place on September 15 and 16, “Asia is a continent where the stakes are rising rapidly – both in economic promise and expansion of individuals’ horizons, but also in environmental and security challenges.”

57 speakers, that included Gunjan Bagla of Amritt Inc., and 414 attendees engaged in wide-ranging conversations at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, California  about the future of the Asia-Pacific and its relations with the U.S.  “Asia’s Emerging Middle Class”, is predicted by the Organization for Economic C0-operation and Development to grow from 500 million in 2009 to 3 billion by 2030; and by 2050 more than 50% of world GDP will be generated in Asia, up from one-third today.

Quotable quotes from the conference as provided in a summary by LAWAC

Shivshankar Menon, former Indian National Security Adviser, said that by 2030 “Asia will surpass the combined economic and military might of North America and Europe – this is not that the U.S. is declining, but that China and India are rising.”

Martin Drew, CEO  of Etihad Airways USA  said, “In India, currently only 3% of the population travels overseas – a “mere” 40 million people, while in China just 4% of the population has passports – and Chinese tourists still spend more money around the world than any other nation.  Wait until they reach American levels of 35%, or European levels where 70% of the population has a passport!”
 “One Canada is being built every year in Asia” said Benjy Ward from the architectural firm Gensler.

Andy Xie, former top China economist for Morgan Stanley, said, ” “the nominal GDP [of China] is up by 22 times, but nobody has made money off the stock market – that is totally nuts! All China’s problems can be traced to misallocation of capital.”

“China and India will account for half the Asian middle class by 2030 and one-third of the global middle class,” said Alan Siqueira of Wells Fargo. “The numbers are staggering and will generate significant growth opportunities for multinational companies.”

Bilahari Kausikan, ambassador-at-large from Singapore, said that South East Asian countries “want to have the best possible relationship with both the U.S. and China, and do not want to have to choose between them – the U.S. will play a vital role in maintaining this balance.”

Duncan Clark, the author on a book about Alibaba’s Jack Ma, recounted the meteoric rise of Ma from tour guide to one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world through his ability to “lead and inspire – he is a fantastic talker.”

Gunjan Bagla of Amritt said that under Prime Minister Modi “corruption in the higher levels of India has been pretty much eliminated.”

Jonathan Friedland of Netflix said, “Incomes are rising enormously across Asia and there are lots of adaptations for mobile businesses. All of this benefits the consumption of entertainment.”

Admiral Harry Harris, the Hawaii-based PACOM commander, said in his keynote speech, “I want you to stop for a minute and think about this – combining nuclear warheads with ballistic missiles in the hands of a volatile leader like Kim Jong-Un is a recipe for disaster.”

Dinner Keynote by Admiral Harry Harris

Dinner Keynote by Admiral Harry Harris

Eiichi Katahara from the National Institute of Defense Studies in Tokyo expressed paradoxical concerns about China: “Yes, we are concerned about China’s growing [military] capacity, but we are also concerned about China collapsing.  We need China to be stable!”

“There is a low probability of conflict breaking out over the South China Sea,” said Admiral Dennis Blair, former PACOM commander and Director of National Intelligence.

Richard McGregor of the Financial Times, said of the relationship between Japan and China,  “Japan is not sure if they want China to succeed or fail.” On the same topic, Liu Ming from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences said, “I think our countries are both very smart. We will have half competition and half cooperation.”

Jeff Wasserstrom of UC Irvine cautioned that by trying to build railroads in violence-prone countries like Pakistan, China might be overstepping – “China is venturing into dangerous territory there.”


Terry McCarthy, president and CEO of  the LA World Affairs Council summed up the various discussions and deliberations of the two day conference:

The future of Asia is, of course, uncertain territory – full of opportunity, but pricked with risk and unknowable unknowns. Who could have imagined a penniless tour guide from a small Chinese city rising to become the world’s largest online seller in the space of 15 years?  As Asian countries continue to grow in economic and political might, one of the defining questions for their future, and for the future of the world, will be the quality of leadership in Asia – in government, in board rooms, and in society at large. ”


September 28, 2016   No Comments