Indian equities among worst performers in 2013 despite FII flows

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FIIs have bought over $20 billion worth of Indian equities so far in CY13. Reuters photo FIIs have bought over $20 billion worth of Indian equities so far in CY13. Reuters photo
SummaryFIIs have bought over $20 billion worth of Indian equities so far in CY13.

Despite receiving the third-highest inflows from foreign institutional investors (FIIs), Indian equities feature among the worst-performing markets in the world this calendar year. While FIIs have bought over $20 billion worth of Indian equities so far in CY13, the Sensex has given returns of -3.5% in dollar terms, Bloomberg data show. The 50-share Nifty has fared even worse, giving returns of -5.5%.

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The indices that have outperformed Indian ones include the Nikkei 225 index with returns of 28.92% against FII inflows of $149 billion, followed by Taiex (7.43%), Hang Seng (2.53%) and Kospi (1.16%). The performance of the Stock Exchange of Thailand index (-13.35%) and the Jakarta Composite (-22.5%) have been worse than that of Indian markets, data show.

In local currency terms, the performance of Indian indices has been mixed. The Sensex and Nifty have given positive returns in the range of 7-9%. While the returns by Indian markets are superior than those of Brazil (-15.9%), Russia (1.95%) and China (-7.5%), the performance lags when compared with Taiwan (11%), South Africa (16.5%) and most developed markets like the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan (15-55%).

Stocks-FII flows

According to Bloomberg data, Indian equities have received FII inflows to the tune of $19.8 billion since January 1, 2013, the third-highest flows by foreign portfolio investors. FIIs had pumped in about $24.5 billion into Indian equities last year and $29.3 billion in CY10.

Experts say there is no direct correlation between FII inflows and dollar returns of Indian markets but point out that the Indian currency continues to pose challenges. Lack of clarity on the tapering off of the quantitative easing (QE) policy as well as domestic issues like the elections and government stability will affect the flow of foreign money into India.

“As long as interest rates in developed markets remain low, and India emerges more growth-oriented or remains a safer place to invest, foreign flows should remain steady. Next year’s elections are key to our markets,” said Avinash Gupta, senior director and leader, financial advisory, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India.

Analysts attributed the stark difference in dollar and rupee returns to sharp deterioration in the rupee due to fears of tapering of US QE. Further, problems heightened when lawmakers were unable to control India’s twin deficits, inflation, and also failed to pass crucial reforms.

The Indian rupee lost nearly 30% against the dollar between

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