FPIs pull out over Rs 1 trn in March as coronavirus sparks recession fear

Topics FPIs | Coronavirus | FPI

The latest withdrawal by FPIs came after six months of net buying in the domestic capital markets since September 2019

Foreign portfolio investors (FPI) have pulled out over Rs 1 trillion from the Indian capital markets in March so far amid heightened fears of a coronavirus-induced global recession. Experts believe, foreign investors are withdrawing from riskier assets and are opting for safe heavens like dollar-denominated asset classes and gold.

As per the depositories data, overseas investors withdrew a net sum of Rs 56,247.53 crore from equities and Rs 52,449.48 crore from the debt segment, taking the total net outflow to Rs 1,08,697.01 crore between March 2 and March 20.

The latest withdrawal by FPIs came after six months of net buying in the domestic capital markets since September 2019.

"The sudden emergence of coronavirus pandemic this year has bought the global markets to its knees. This has resulted in the exodus of foreign investors from emerging markets like India into safer destinations," said Himanshu Srivastava, Senior Analyst Manager Research, Morningstar Investment Adviser India.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak resources are increasingly being centered around controlling the spread of the virus, which is resulting in slowing down of other economic activities, experts believe.

"In the current scenario, foreign investors have preferred to take a flight to safer investment options, such as dollar denominated asset classes and gold as against investing in fixed income securities of emerging markets like India," Srivastava added.

He further said the situation should stabilise as and when there are visible signs of coronavirus coming under control. However, until then, this will continue to be one of the major focus areas for FPIs, since it may have a more serious impact on the already slowing global economy, and subsequently foreign flows into the emerging markets such as India.

Going forward, the volatility is expected to continue until the virus peaks, said Harsh Jain, co-founder and COO at Groww, an online investment platform.

During the week ended March 20, the Sensex plummeted 4,187.52 points or 12.27 per cent, while Nifty sank 1,209.75 points or 12.15 per cent.

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