Global indices' rejig, economic recovery attract FPI flows to India

Analysts said that while FPI flows could taper off due to some risk-off trades, India's complete reversal of flows is unlikely.
India has been left somewhat unscathed when it comes to foreign portfolio investor (FPI) flows in the aftermath of the spike in US bond yields. Between February 15 and March 10, India's FPI flows stood at $874 million, and its emerging market peers saw outflows. FPIs were net sellers to the tune of Rs 942 crore on Friday, according to provisional data from exchanges.

Analysts cited global indices' rejig as one of the reasons for continuing inflows to India. Last month MSCI announced rebalancing, and inflows of over $250 million were expected because of this rejig. The FTSE Global Equity Index Series introduced changes to its indices last month and these will become effective March 19.

Moreover, with its massive and successful vaccination programme, India is generally seen in better light when it comes to recovery from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

"And except for the last few days when the numbers have shot up, India is seen to have navigated the pandemic rather well. The economic recovery appears to be strong when you look at the various high-frequency data points," said U R Bhat, director, Dalton Capital India.

Analysts said that while FPI flows could taper off due to some risk-off trades, India's complete reversal of flows is unlikely.

"Once investors start looking for growth and yields to some extent, then Asia will be the place you will get growth, particularly China and India. And as earnings continue to get upgraded for the next few years, that will be the catalyst for markets to move higher, and we will get more flows," said Andrew Holland, CEO, Avendus Capital Alternate Strategies.

However, equity markets are likely to bear the brunt of global credit expansion.

"Over the last two decades, for generating an additional unit of GDP, global credit had to be expanded by 3.4 times, as against a long term multiple of less than half the number. There is lot more liquidity in the system than what could be considered as necessary. This is the case in most developed economies. The extent of expansion of the Fed's balance sheet is unprecedented. These things have a way of coming back to haunt you," said Bhat.

Over the last four weeks, despite the Fed's reassurances, markets have been volatile due to concerns about higher interest rates.

"Markets seem to be seeing the point of inflexion on the interest rate trajectory. Even if the fiscal stimulus is suddenly stopped, the excesses of the past are going to haunt us in terms of dearer interest rates,"  adds Bhat.

In the future, analysts said though a complete reversal is unlikely, we may not see anytime soon the historic highs in the quantum of FII flows that we saw over the last few months.

The average flows could get to less than a billion-dollar a month, as in the past. India is continued to be seen as an economy that shows the best trend growth. And opportunities for investing in good companies remain. However, there will be months where there will be outflows, which could lead to some correction in equity markets.

 


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