Investing in India - 5 Minute WrapUp by Equitymaster
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Rupee is Asia's worst performing currency. Here's why... 

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In this issue:
» RBI warns of bias in banking system
» India's infra needs US$ 1 trillion
» Food bill faces human resource crisis
» Eurozone is headed for doom
» ...and more!

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00:00
 
The Indian currency, the rupee, has seen its value eroding in recent times. The rupee to US dollar exchange rate now stands at approximately s 51 to a dollar. This translates to a 14% drop in the value of the currency in the past one year. And this makes it the worst performing currency in Asia and the third worst performing currency in the world. So what or who is responsible for this slide?

Reasons like the global crisis are common to all currencies and it affects the rupee as well. Investors are wary about the comparatively riskier emerging market currencies. In addition to this are India's internal problems of high inflation rates coupled with high interest rates. This has brought corporate profitability under pressure which in turn has cheesed off foreign investors from investing in the country. This in turn has added pressure on the currency.

The falling rupee has in turn hurt India's import bill. India is a net importer of goods with oil forming the largest portion of total imports. A falling rupee has increased the cost of imports which in turn has increased the current account deficit. This deficit would need to be funded through borrowings or equity investments (Foreign Direct Investments or Foreign Portfolio Investments). This increasing deficit in turn causes worries for the investor which comes back to hurt the value of the currency. Thus it becomes a vicious cycle difficult to get out of.

So what is the way out? The country's central bank, Reserve Bank of India, can step into the foreign exchange markets and boost the rupee. But the Deputy Governor of RBI has clearly stated that the bank has no such intentions. It will intervene only in the event of excessive volatility. And not to control the slide of the rupee that we are seeing in recent times. As India's imports grow, the foreign exchange reserves will soon become inadequate to sustain the growing deficit. This would in turn lead to a higher demand for the US dollar which would lead to a further fall in the value of the rupee. And with the RBI clearly stating that it will not intervene, it looks like rupee will continue its free fall for a while.

Do you think that the RBI is right in not interfering in the foreign exchange markets to control the fall of rupee? Share your comments with us or post your views on Facebook page / Google+ page.

01:10  Chart of the day
 
Inflation rates have been scorching in recent times. Prices of nearly everything have been moving northwards. An interesting question here is who has borne a bigger brunt of this rise? Is it the urban population or the rural? Today's chart of the day shows that barring housing, the incidence of higher prices in nearly every category has been higher on the rural population of the country. This can be seen in the breakdown of the consumer price index, which has been used as a proxy for measuring the incidence of prices in both the sectors.

Data source: Financial Express


01:40
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may not agree with Moody's downgraded rating for Indian banks, but it is certainly not too happy with the state of affairs. It is not just the quality of assets in the system that bothers the central bank. But the RBI smells a rat elsewhere as well. The concentration of lending to large corporates at the cost of financial inclusion has led to severe criticism for the PSU banks. The government has even insisted on the list of large companies that have defaulted on their loans. The PSU banks' inclination towards lending to large customers instead of rural borrowers has not paid off well. In the bargain they have also failed to live up to the financial inclusion targets. While state lending to poorly managed conglomerates is rampant in China, the RBI, given its reputation, needs to salvage Indian banks from such misdeeds.

02:10
 
That India's infrastructure is in complete doldrums is a known fact. Funding constraints, labor shortages and policy paralysis are prime bottlenecks plaguing the sector. To add to this, a recent study indicates that India's funding requirement for the infrastructure sector as a whole is likely to double in the 12th five year plan to US$ 1 trillion. With the government running a huge deficit and there being a considerable slowdown in private sector participation funding such a huge amount can prove to be major challenge. However, with steps being taken to set up an infra-debt fund and attract long term foreign capital into India, liquidity does not appear to be a grave concern. In fact, the government needs to focus on ironing out the bureaucratic issues which have proved to be a major roadblock on the execution front. While steps are being taken in this direction, passing of the land acquisition bill was a prime example; it is the pace at which the decisions are being taken concerns us. Perhaps, it is high time we see some real action on the ground, particularly on the execution side.

02:45
 
For any of government's social schemes to truly translate into the nation's well-being depends, besides other things, on accurate data. You need the right data about the masses that you want to target through a certain scheme. Only then can you channelise resources effectively and efficiently. However, the government's Socioeconomic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 has hit a road block. To put things in perspective, the SECC survey came into eminence after a joint decision was undertaken by the Planning Commission and the Rural Development Ministry to do away with the state-wise poverty caps for social entitlements. And in its place to rank households as per deprivation indicators and give access to entitlements, particularly food, accordingly. However, the SECC is facing a severe human resource crisis. This will not only delay the survey, but also affect the implementation of the National Food Security Bill, on which the government is banking as a big vote gatherer.

03:15
 
That the Euro zone is going to hell in a hand basket is a widely known fact today. Its flaws are tumbling out thick and fast and investors are losing patience with every passing minute. However, there could have been hardly anyone who would've thought as way back as the year 1995 that such an event would indeed take place. Save for one gentleman perhaps. And he answers to the name of Bernard Connolly. A senior European bureaucrat by profession, Connolly took some days off from his work back then and came out with a hard hitting and an extremely prophetic book, The Rotten Heart of Europe. While we do not know the exact contents of the book, it is believed that the book is such an accurate prediction of what is taking in place in Europe right now that it looks like a very recent work rather than that of the mid 1990s. Needless to say, the book found hardly any takers even amongst the elite. In fact, Connolly was dismissed from his job for writing such an anti-establishment book. This event though teaches a very important lesson. It is not only important to take into consideration all view points before making a decision, it is even more important to consider opposing views, if any. Instead, the Euro Zone leaders chose to crush Connolly's dissenting voice and now, perhaps the whole of world will have to pay a price for it.

03:50
 
The insurance industry in India is hoping that the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) limit in the sector gets raised from the current 26% to 49%. But for foreign investors to invest, there has to be some growth potential evident in the industry. And that does not seem to be the case at present. Statistics show that new premium collections are down 22% so far in FY12 and number of policies issued has dropped 17%. The most affected of the lot appears to be pension plans which do not have any takers at the moment as the guarantee clause has put many off the product. Hence, the government has come up with a three pronged strategy to boost insurance collections. The first is to give more options to customers in pension plans without any guarantee. One way to do this would be to remove restrictions in equity investments which will attract young customers who are otherwise shying away from the product. The second would be to revive ULIP (Unit linked insurance plans) plans but under a different product category and the third is to relax debt investment norms by allowing insurance companies to invest outside AAA rated papers. ULIPs, especially, have been one of the most mis-sold products in the insurance. Thus, whether these strategies if implemented will overhaul the sagging fortunes of the insurance sector remains to be seen.

04:20
 
It was a week of bloodbath for the world stock markets. Fears surrounding the crisis hit Euro zone continued to haunt the world markets. To add to this are new fears that the Chinese property markets may be overheating. Nearly all major markets ended the week in the negative territory.

The Indian stock markets were one of the biggest losers during the week with the BSE Sensex closing lower by 4.8% over the previous week. Even commodities like crude and gold ended the week in losses. Amongst the other world markets, France was down by 4.8%, while Germany was down by 4.2% during the week. Even UK and US lost gains recorded in the earlier week and were down by 3.3% and 2.9% respectively.

Source: Yahoo Finance, Kitco


04:55  Weekend investing mantra
"I'd be a bum on the street with a tin cup if the markets were always efficient" - Warren Buffett
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23 Responses to "Rupee is Asia's worst performing currency. Here's why..."
mahbubur rahman khan
May 11, 2012
RUPEE IS ASIA IN BANGLADESH WORST HANDLING CURRENCY WERE VERY POOR CAUSING OUR UNREABILITY AND IGNORENCY PRODUCT OF POPULATION.
Like 
ramesh shah
Apr 29, 2012
IT IS SAD STORY SINCE 2000 YEARS THAT WE DID NOT GET GOOD RULAR FOR PEOPLE.PRESENT PRIME MINISTER IS OF NO USE AS IT WAS NARSIMA RAO AS PM MADE HIM WORK AS FINANCE MINISTER.CENTRAL GOVM HAS WORKED BEST IN ABSENCE OF NEHRU FAMILY IN POWER. IT WAS SAME PM WHO ACTED SO WELL WHEN PM WAS NARSMA RAO.ATALJI, DEV GOWDA ALL MINUS NEHRU FAMILY HAVE DONE GREAT WORK FOR COUNTRY. IF INDIA HAS TO PROSPER THIS FAMILY SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM POWER FOR EVER. Like 
Yatin Parikh
Nov 30, 2011
zzzzzzzzzzz.......RBI....PM.............zzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!
The US has a 15 trillion dollar debt and it's currency is growing stronger ?
The Eurozone is collapsing one by one, but euro is still at 70. This is a farce, the rupee is deliberately being kept down by the govt.
Quit India, Sonia.
Like 
Munish Agarwal
Nov 30, 2011
In any case falling rupee is good for country. Every country wants and manipulate currency to remain as week currency. Reason is clear, it improves export margins and help businesses.
Ideally, currency should be market driven and RBI or any authority should only interven in case of emergency.

Say for example, Rupee is getting weaken because foriegners are taking their money out. Weaker rupee and falling stock price will stop them from selling stocks in bulk.
RBI should save their reserve for emergeny. You never know what emergency can come.
Like 
Tayi Taggu
Nov 26, 2011
Why not because we have sleeping economist as Prime Minister who has no direction of his own. The order has to come from Madam Sonia and this is the tragedy of our country economic conditions and now nobody want rupee anymore because it is loosing it purchasing power on daily basis and this is why Rupee is Asia's worst performing currency. The hard fact is we earn in rupee but has to spend in dollar. God save India! Like 
saranya
Nov 26, 2011
RBI should intervene now and try to reduce the down fall in the value of indian rupee.If RBI intervenes now it can really help the country .Otherwise the whole economy can plunge into a big crisis.If RBI intervenes only at the worst situation then as like euro crisis we can see rupee crisis.India boasting itself for its profound growth will come to a standstill. Like 
GANESH
Nov 26, 2011
Investment in gold is not wrong. After all gold is gold. Instead RBI should encourage banks to lend against gold at interest rates on par with housing loans to boost growth. Like 
SUJIT BANERJEE
Nov 25, 2011
Believe many knowledgeable commentators on economics has posted their comments. I am an Engineer by proffession know one basic thing ( which i learnt during my engg study from my teachers - You study the subject throughly with clear understanding - then U will be able to deliver properly when you join your service to earn your bread or else U will be kicked out and that's why we teachers are here in the university to help/educate part our knowledge to you ) that I am here in my job to ensure my machineries run properly and delivers output so my company earns and I earn as well . I believe our Great ECONOMIST PM is bound to give answer to the people of this country the mistry of this Inflation, Rupee devaluation and how our economy is getting affected on this count. Since he is keeping quite- we are sure to believe he is in possesion of FAKE certificate or Puppet PM already sold his Vivek ( Conscience ) to those Culprtis ( must be equally having a share of that LOOT's ). A Doctor if doesn't knows his job ( diagnosis of desease) he is incompetent - if patient dies of this reason he is responsible , If a bridge collapse ( due to Design fault) the Engineer is responsible .If a plane crashes due to mishandling by the Pilot ( Mangalore crash - as the finding revealed) the Pilot is responsible . The Hospital death can be a result of many causes where Dr cannot be blamed apart from his Diagnosis fault , Similarly a Bridge when collapses there may be many causes where the Engr cannot be blamed if his Design is OK . Similarly if a plane Crashes an causes death - a Pilot cannot be blamed if it is machinery fault ( that can develop at any point of time ) . But what about our Economist MMS , Pranab Mukherjee , Montek Singh Aluwaliah ?
Many people has expressed their joy at the Killing of Kishenji ( Maoist). But what about these Killers who are killing thousands of Indian in everyday life ?
SUJIT BANERJEE :
Like 
JAYANTHI
Nov 24, 2011
My son is studying in US. We are the most affected people. I feel RBI is controlled by the politicians, who wants to bring their Black Money at the existing rate of $/Rs. Like 
Yajnanarayana
Nov 24, 2011
i am sure Govt is not interfering until their money staked abroad is transferred for their requirements for elections .
This non action is also helping few high flying sectors who export their services not paying any taxes to Govt These are the guys lobbying with high flying politicians including our so called economist PM

God only help this cursed country with Rakshabijasuras at our Parliment and Vidhana Soudhas
Like 
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