India Needs More Than a Bigger Population to Top China's Economy
Comment of the Day

April 20 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

India Needs More Than a Bigger Population to Top China's Economy

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

Over the period to 2040, India will likely add 270 million people to its urban population, according to the International Energy Authority.

The shift is already on display in India’s megacities. Shiny new apartment buildings dot the capital Delhi as the newly wealthy ramp up realty investments. A top developer recently sold $1 billion of luxury homes in three days in Gurugram, one of Delhi’s satellite cities.

But public services are still poor — India’s Supreme Court has even warned that air traffic controllers might be forced to steer planes around the massive garbage dumps on Delhi’s outskirts if they get any bigger. 

Eoin Treacy's view

Even small improvements in the quality of infrastructure can have a meaningful impact on productivity when the size of the Indian population is taken into account. One of the primary measures of success on that front will be the balance of trade. Since early 2021, the trade deficit has expanded from $100 to $283 billion. The only way that is going to change is if India begins to export finished products in serious volume.

This graphic from the Economist highlights the strong position of services exports relative to the trade balance. It offers a more complete picture of where India’s success stories are.

The Rupee’s downtrend has paused over the last six months but a sustained move above the trend mean will be required to question medium-term downward bias.
That helps to highlight why foreign funds are underperforming relative to the Nifty Index.
The Bombay Banks Index, which is a reliable lead indicator for the wider market, remains quite firm.  

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