EMC18 - India 2018: Boom or Bust? - The 5 Minute WrapUp by Equitymaster
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EMC18 - India 2018: Boom or Bust?

Feb 9, 2018

Editor's Note: Starting tonight, my colleague Colm will bring you the most exciting ideas from the Equitymaster Conference 2018 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. His first roving report is below...

Dear Equitymaster Reader,

I'm writing to you from Harbssour Bar, the first licensed lounge bar in Mumbai.

Located on the ground floor of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, I can partially see the Gateway of India from my bar stool.

Starting tomorrow, 'The Taj' will host the 5th annual Equitymaster Conference, and I will send you all the highlights of the event in these 'roving reports'.

Legend has it, The Taj was built by Jamsetji Tata after he was refused entry to the prestigious and 'whites-only' Watson's Hotel in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai.

The legend probably isn't true, historian Sharada Dwied says there is no evidence Tata was a man of vengeance.

But we'll return to our story of Watson's Hotel and The Taj shortly.

First, let's look at the Indian economy, and explain our theme for the Equitymaster Conference 2018...

ModiNomics' Triumphant Year?

By every mainstream measure, the Indian economy had a fantastic 2017:

  • India jumped 30 spots to number 100 in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business report for 2018.
  • Moody's upgraded India's credit-rating for the first time in 14 years.
  • The BSE Sensex ended the year up nearly 30%, closing at a record high of 34,056.
  • And even President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, visited the country to teach Indians about entrepreneurialism!

All this in spite of demonetization and GST, which critics expected would derail the economy.

Everything was going so well this year too, with the Sensex hitting a record high of 36,283.

But then Arun Jaitley announced his Budget 2018...

The Sensex fell 800 points the day after Arun Jaitley delivered his Budget 2018, and has been sliding since.

Indian stocks quickly tumbled...

On Friday the 2nd of February, the day after Jaitley's speech, the Sensex dropped 800 points.

Today, the market closed down 407 points, taking the total loss since Jaitley spoke to 1901 points.

It's been a dark week for investors. But now we wonder, what happens next?

Is India's economic growth solid and stable, or dangerously fragile?

Is the carnage almost over, or has it only just begun?

And that brings us to the theme for this year's event...

India 2018: Boom or Bust?

Starting tomorrow morning, we will watch on and take notes for you, as experts try to answer...

"India 2018: Boom or Bust?"

First up is keynote speaker Dr. Marc Faber, the outspoken editor of Gloom, Boom & Doom Report.

Dr. Faber earned his PhD in Economics from the University of Zurich, and has worked as an investment advisor for nearly 30 years.

In 2002, he wrote the Amazon bestseller Tomorrow's Gold: Asia's Age of Discovery, in which he predicted the economic rise of India, China, and the rest of the continent.

But with the Sensex at today's steep valuations, and its recent slide, is he still bullish on India?

Following Dr. Faber is Ajit Dayal, the founder of Equitymaster and Quantum Mutual Fund.

Ajit resigned from Quantum last year so he could spend more time on other projects, including his e-letter The Honest Truth.

In a past issue of The Honest Truth, Ajit called himself the "biggest India equity bull on planet earth"

But has the recent market action changed his mind? We'll let you know tomorrow.

Plus, we'll also share what we learn from others taking the stage Saturday, including Vivek Kaul, Tanushree Banerjee, Ashwin Ramesh, Chirag Mehta and Prasheel Vartak.

But until then, let's conclude our story of two Bombay hotels...

The Ballroom is Now a Rubbish Dump!

Today, The Taj is one of the most iconic buildings in India.

After surviving The British Raj, the Koynanagar Earthquake, 26/11 and a host of other challenges, the hotel still proudly endures (and is in such high-demand, rooms can sell for more than 1 lakh per night!)...

After a few beers, it's easy to see The Taj as a symbol of India's potential.

But in the fate of Watson's Hotel, we see India's potential, too...

Watson's Hotel hosted Mark Twain in 1896. Today, it's a rundown office block.

Watson's closed in the 1960s and has since fallen into squalor.

The ballroom is now used as a rubbish dump.


Colm O'Dwyer
Roving Reporter, Equitymaster

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1 Responses to "EMC18 - India 2018: Boom or Bust?"

Ravi shah

Feb 15, 2018

Thanks for letting us into Eqm conference INDIA 2018 BOOM or BUST newsletter by Dywer.Though it was just a glimps but still I enjoyed reading about all the speakers.Once again Thank you EQM

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "EMC18 - India 2018: Boom or Bust?". Click here!