India has some serious problems: Jim Rogers

Written by Ira Dugal | Updated: Jun 15 2013, 09:46am hrs
Foreign investors have sold $3.2 billion in Indian debt holdings since June, extending a selling streak which began in the last week of May after US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke hinted at a pull-back in the Feds quantitative easing programme. FIIs exiting the debt market also pushed the rupee to a record low this week, which in turn eroded dollar returns offered by the Indian equity markets. While the government has blamed global factors for the sell-off in India, legendary investor

Jim Rogers suggests that India has some serious problems which have played a part in the outflow of foreign funds. In a conversation with Ira Dugal, Rogers, who has never been very bullish on India, says India is worse off than many other emerging economies. However, he says that once central banks start to reverse their liquidity policies, all markets and asset classes will suffer.

In recent comments, Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros in 1973, expressed concerns over the bubble in the global bond markets, which he fears is going to pop if the Fed starts to tighten liquidity.

Rogers preferred asset class remains commodities, and chooses to stay invested in gold and silver. Rogers, who has considerable investments in gold, has not exited his holdings despite the recent correction. But he expects gold to fall further and is waiting for the right buying opportunity.

What to you mind is

the reason behind the heavy FII selling we have seen in Indian debt, which is now spreading to equities

India has got some serious problems. There is a balance of payments problem, a high budget deficit, high inflation and on top of that a weakening currency. It doesn't surprise me that investors will sell out of India, particularly Indian debt. As you are aware, I am not a fan of India from an investment standpoint.

But is this India-specific or is it more global where investors are exiting emerging market debt broadly

Of course it is. People are worried that the Fed will withdraw QE and that will mean tighter liquidity and higher cost of money in countries like the US. So naturally investors will sell debt in emerging markets. But India is in worse shape that most of the other economies so investors will sell there first.

Are you expecting the Fed to pull back on quantitative easing this year

I don't know when they will end it. It could be this year or it could be next year. Either they will see sense and end it themselves or the market will force them to end it. The market will not take the debasement of their currencies any more and force them to end it. And when it ends, everybody will suffer. I am not buying equities because central banks have given an artificial boost to the prices because of the stimulus measures. All that will end now,

What will that mean for gold Are you still bullish on gold

In the long run, I am. I will wait for a further correction before I look to buy gold. There are other commodities such as sugar which look interesting due to the depressed prices right now.