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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

FIIs turn net buyers, snap 11-day selling streak
NEW DELHI: Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net buyers on Monday after having turned cautious on the Indian market thanks to twin-deficit concerns, depreciating rupee, policy flip-flop amid a slowing economy and volatile global markets.

FIIs turned net buyers in the secondary share market after 11 consecutive sessions of selling a total of about $1 billion, according to a Reuters report.

"An oversold market after three consecutive months of decline until August is making traders hopeful of some market-friendly measures like a hike in fuel prices," added the report.

This follows the passage of the Land Acquisition Bill and the Food Security Bill by the parliament, seen as populist.

Apart from the domestic factors, concerns over US Federal Reserve's tapering down its QE program led to heavy outflows from emerging market economies including India.

There has been turmoil in the global markets after the US Federal Reserve said it may taper the $85-billion-a-month bond purchase programme as early as September.

In the past, the Fed's ultra-loose monetary policy has driven asset prices higher, including those in emerging markets including India. This hot-money was mainly used by most of the economies including India to finance their current account deficit.

And with the trend showing signs of reversal, India faces the burgeoning problem of financing current account deficit which the government wants to bring down to USD 70 billion in the current fiscal, from USD 88.2 billion last year. However, the rising cost of crude oil import will continue to put pressure on the CAD.

According to a recent data released over the weekend showed that overseas investors have pulled out nearly Rs 16,000 crore (about $2.5 billion) from the Indian capital markets in August alone - the lowest outflow in three months - amid concerns over the depreciating rupee which has plunged nearly 20%.

The outflows were about Rs 9,773 crore ($1.55 billion) from the debt market and Rs 5,922 crore ($902 million) from equities translating into a net outflows of Rs 15,695 crore ($2.5 billion), as per latest data available with market regulator Sebi.

What spooked FIIs?

According to analysts, India faces stiff economic challenges or twin-deficit concerns and with economic growth coming at sub-5 per cent level is definitely not an encouraging sign.

Several foreign brokerages including CLSA, Nomura, JPMorgan, and HSBC have cut growth estimates for India by up to 2% due to tightening financial conditions, slowing industrial production and increasing economic uncertainty.

"When FIIs look at these macro variables with uncertainty in the global environment, they will not be enthused to bring in capital soon," said Nirmal Jain, Chairman, India InfolineBSE 0.30 % Limited.

"The fact of the matter is that the global environment is negative and we will have to live with those constraints and find the best solution for the problems," he added.

Jain is of the view that with a little longer term horizon, it is for a fact that India growth can come back and it will again be a good investment destination.

Steep depreciation of nearly 20 per cent so far in the year 2013 of rupee is one such factor which has kept foreign institutional investors at bay.

"Currency depreciation is a very big issue for FIIs. For example - if somebody has portfolios of $10 billion exposure to India, it has become what 7, 7.5, 8 and so there is a nightmare in terms of 20-25% overnight decline in dollar terms," said Raamdeo Agrawal, Jt Managing Director & Co-Founder, Motilal Oswal Financial ServicesBSE 0.42 % in an interview with ET Now.

"However, the currency risk will tend to come down as the rupee hits 67-68. So clearly should be again start looking at some kind of fresh inflow into India," he added.

The rupee slumped to a lifetime low of 68.85 (intra-day) against the US dollar on August 28. The currency is not trading close to sub-67 levels against the dollar on Tuesday.

Courtesy: The Economic Times