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D.Muthukrishnan (Muthu), Certified Financial Planner- Personal Financial Advisor

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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Thoughts on current situation

Posted by Muthu on August 11, 2019

Usually I write to you not less than once a month. This time there has been a gap due to some unavoidable reasons. Kindly accept my apologies.

In the beginning of 2018, all of you were very happy looking at your portfolio.

Last 20 months has changed the situation upside down.

The government in the last term was focused on providing basic but essential things like bank accounts, LPG, electricity, toilets etc. They did a decent job on this front. Balakot attacks saw a significant political will in defending the country’s security.  There were no terrorist bomb blasts across the country; which once used to be routine news.

Initially when demonetisation was done, many of us thought that as essential to fight corruption and black money.  In hindsight, the realisation is that it has caused more damage to the economy than the benefits it brought. In the name of clean up, also started was more instances of harassment by tax authorities. The government’s key focus became wealth distribution rather creation.

The expectation from the government second time was that they would focus on major economic reforms and wealth creation. This was based on Modi’s development record as Gujarat CM. Having focused on helping the poor in the first term, the natural expectation was creating prosperous economy in the second term.

Budget gave an opinion that this government is focused only on distributing wealth with no clue as to who would create it. It was anti wealth creators. Since this government never had a great economic track record to begin with, markets got afraid as to what is in store for the future.  Having realised the damage Budget has caused, the finance minister has started consultation with all stakeholders in the economy.

This is where we stand today. I don’t know how things would phase out from now on. The government with its brute majority may see no need for listening and course correction. Or Modi being identified as one of the pro development chief ministers in the past, there may be real course correction too.

George Bush senior won the Iraq war. He was very popular because of the same. Still he lost the elections as the economy was not doing well. Bill Clinton’s tenure was marked with controversies; still he won the election because economy was doing well.

Economy is less dependent on the government of the day. It’s a complex mechanism having its own life. Like markets or businesses, it also goes through cycles. At best a government can reduce the pain or incentivise the growth. It has no ability to prevent economic cycles.

If the government becomes responsive, the pain would get over sooner than later and we can explore if 8% growth is possible.

If the government continues with its dismal economic performance, recovery would still happen as a part of the economic cycle. Probably we may have to wait for a year or so for the same and accept 6% as our growth rate.

So it is clear, government can advance or postpone growth but cannot stop it. It can be a deciding factor between 6% or 8% growth; still we would continue to grow.

Assume the best and get ready for the worst. You would be fine in both the scenario.

Don’t try to time the market based on this. Market would never wait for actual growth to happen. It moves based on anticipation. This holds good for both upside and downside.

Since I’ve no reason to be a long term pessimist, I continue to be optimistic.

Stay the course.

Posted in Economy, General | 4 Comments »

Need of the hour is patience

Posted by Muthu on February 4, 2019

“The biggest thing about making money is time. You don’t have to be particularly smart; you just have to be patient.”- Warren Buffett

Though broader indices may not say so, for all practical purposes, for majority of stocks we’ve been in a bear market.I saw a fund manager presentation. Only 21% of BSE 500 stocks ended positively in 2018. The rest 79% have given negative returns.

Debt market has also not been doing well for more than a year.

So be it equity funds or hybrid one like balanced and MIP, returns have been abysmal.

We know that 70% of the years, it is bull markets and only the balance 30% is bear markets. Still time moves very slowly in bear markets. Our patience and discipline are severely tested.

It is normal to be impulsive and impatient. That’s why it’s very difficult to make money in the markets. Only the few who are disciplined and patient ultimately makes it big from the markets.

All you need to do now is to simply the stay the course. Looking at portfolios can be painful. So I would suggest not to look at them till market recovers. Rain or shine, good or bad, I send yearly reports with my comments in April every year. It is generally a good thing to look at your portfolio once a year. More so in the negative market conditions like this.

There are many people who predict what would happen before or after elections. It is simply their opinions. May or may not happen. You know that I don’t make short term predictions.

The government is aiming India to be a $10 trillion economy in 2030. We’ve lot of foundations already in place. India is definitely a structural long term growth story. When we move from $2000 per capita to say $8000 per capita over next twelve years or so, lot of companies would do very well. As an equity holder, you would be reaping those benefits.

Keeping bigger picture in mind is the only way to withstand the short term pain. You’ve invested in equities with belief in a better tomorrow for the country and corporate India. Stay with that belief. I don’t know what would market do based on pre-poll opinion polls and election results. It is both difficult to predict events and market reaction to those events. All I can tell you is, whenever you’re in a bear markets, a bull market is always around the corner.

Maintain discipline. Stay patient. All would be well.

Posted in Economy, General, Muthu's Musings, Stock Market | Leave a Comment »

Our India is not big

Posted by Muthu on June 17, 2018

I was reading this piece recently.

India has been classified into three as India 1, India 2 and India 3 based on per capita income.

There are 280 million households in India with a population of 1340 million, averaging 4.8 persons per household.

We all belong to India 1 for which details are given below.

India 1 has 23 million households containing 110 million people. The working members of these households are 31 million. So an average a household has 1.3 working people.

The annual per capita income of India 1 is US$8,800 (Rs.0.6 million).

Only 8% of India, 110 million people are upwardly mobile.

10 million iPhone users, 32 million car owners, 37 million credit card holders, 50 million post paid mobile users, 59 million tax payers, 65 million domestic flyers, 24 million international flyers and 20 million ecommerce shoppers; all belong to this top 8% of population categorised as India 1.

India 2 with 104 million people spread among 22 million households has per capita income of US$3000 (Rs.0.2 million). This is another 8% of India which is aspiring to move up to India 1.

India 3 with 1126 million people spread among 235 million households has per capita income of US$1200 (Rs.80 thousand). This 84% is poor of India struggling to survive.

India moving from low income to middle income over next 2 decades would increase upwardly mobile and aspirers.

Only 8% of India can even dream of achieving financial independence. Like many countries, only 1% of population may actually achieve it. We need to keep this in mind.

Also giving needs to be part of everyone’s financial planning. Focus on giving should be on par with consuming and saving. We definitely owe that to the less fortunate.

Posted in Economy, General | 5 Comments »

No Pain No Gain

Posted by Muthu on November 21, 2016

I received a document prepared by Franklin Templeton India on demonetisation. I found the same useful.

I’ve given the key points below. Please read the complete report for more details and better understanding.

1)Overall, we believe that the demonetisation exercise should help to accelerate financialisation of the Indian economy over medium to long term.

2) This measure needs to be seen in the context of other far reaching measures effected by the current government, including GST, Aadhar, Jan Dhan Yojana and Unified Payment Interface (UPI). All these measures put together should help in shifting significant portions of the informal economy (estimated at 40% of GDP) into formal economy.

3) This could in turn improve productivity by reducing frictional inefficiencies and improve the government’s tax revenues led by significantly better financial trails over medium to long term. These measures would give more flexibility for the government to manage fiscal deficit, as also potentially enable to shift to lower interest rates in India.

4) However, the demonetisation measure is likely to be negative for growth in the very near term until the level of cash in circulation reverts to normalcy. A sudden withdrawal of Rs.14 lakhs crore (9% of GDP) represents substantial monetary tightening, which could result in deflationary forces due to lower aggregate demand.

5) We believe that there exists a scope of 50 bps policy rate cut by the RBI from current levels over next one year, which may be undertaken in order to offset the deflationary impact.

6) Meanwhile, the flow of substantial cash holdings into bank deposits will mean that banking system will be flush with liquidity and CASA (Current Account and Savings Account) balances are expected to improve. As credit demand is likely to be muted for next couple of quarters, there would be very limited opportunities for banks to lend these deposits. The possibility of this money being channelised towards government securities may lead to a bond rally.

7) We expect aggressive rate cuts by banks, thus helping RBI in achieving better monetary transmission. The lower interest rates, along with a return to normalcy for cash in circulation should set the stage for a stronger recovery in aggregate demand in financial year 2017-18.

I wrote my last piece on the very next day of demonetisation. Now I’ve a better understanding of how benefit would accrue to government.

It is unlikely that the entire Rs.14 lakhs crore that was in circulation would come back to banks. Black money would be a sizeable part of this. The estimates range from Rs.1.5 lakh crore to Rs.5 lakh crore. There are some who argue that entire money would somehow find its way to banks. Even if that happens, the (earlier) untaxed part of that money would result in huge tax revenues for government.

For now, let us assume Rs.3 lakh crore does not come into bank accounts. That is the black money destroyed in this demonetisation drive. Government by necessary legislative changes can ensure that is no longer in the books of RBI as liability. As assets of RBI remain the same and liability is reduced, this excess Rs.3 lakh crore can be transferred to reserve. From reserves, RBI can eventually transfer the same to its P&L (Profit & Loss account) as income and then pay the same to government as dividend. Either government is going to tax and penalise heavily the unaccounted money coming to the system or it is going to get a hefty dividend from RBI or most likely a combination of both.

Thus black money is transferred from the hands of corrupt individuals to government of India.

Posted in Economy, General | Leave a Comment »

Good years are ahead

Posted by Muthu on April 16, 2016

It was good to get in touch with each of you for the year end review. I’m pleased with the results. Other than those of you who started investing during last 2 years; everybody else has done well. Those of you who have started a year or two ago, would start seeing better results in next few years.

I’m grateful that all of you have internalised the concept of SIP and sticking to the discipline through ups and downs.

I wrote in January that we’ve entered a bear market. A 20% fall from the previous high is considered as a bear market. Markets lost heavily in January and February. The interesting thing is that the market has started rallying in March and at the time of writing this, has recouped the losses made during the first two months. I wouldn’t be surprised if it crosses it’s all time high this year itself.

Globally things are not looking bright. India is considered as a sole bright spot in an otherwise gloomy scenario. As explained before, budget was very good. Government is sticking to fiscal discipline. Inflation is continuing to come down. RBI is targeting 4% inflation over next 2 years. As inflation comes down, interest rate is also continuing to fall. Recently RBI reduced the interest rate further by 25bps (0.25%). Good monsoon may lead to further interest rate cut. RBI, through various measures, is increasing the liquidity in the economy.

After 2 years of insufficient rains, an excellent monsoon has been forecasted for this year. Rajan, a man who measures his words, mentioned last week that Indian economy is on the verge of a revolution. Growth has started picking up in certain pockets. Corporate earnings growth are expected to pick up before end of the current financial year. The industrial production has started picking up. The seeds sown by the government and RBI for the last 2 years have started showing results.

Someone on Twitter mentioned that markets are influenced in short term by liquidity, medium term by sentiments and long term by earnings. Being the bright spot and offering stable growth, India would attract both liquidity and positive sentiments. More than these two, as earnings pick up; the long term growth story would be intact.

If we look at long term, the future of India, its economy and companies is extremely bright. Before end of the next decade, we may see India becoming a $10 trillion economy from the current $2 trillion. Good companies grow at a better rate than the overall economy. So we can expect around 15% annualised return from equity funds in the next 15 years. This means wealth getting multiplied by 8 times.

I feel that the future performance of economy and markets would be much better than past. I wish that both Modi and Rajan get at least one more term. The growth in economy and earnings may be more stable and less volatile. However markets, by its very nature, would continue to be volatile. The journey would continue to be bumpy. You would see many bear markets as well in next 15 years. However continue to focus on the bigger picture.

In every bear market you would come across people who say ‘buy & hold’ no longer works, equity is dead and SIPs are no good. Learn to ignore them. They would change their tunes in the next bull market.

‘Buy & Hold’ of excellent companies and good funds would continue to work. In India, equity would be THE asset class for next 2 decades. SIP is the best way for an average investor to participate and reap the benefits of equity.

The sceptics would never make any meaningful money. By being optimistic on future of India, you would create good wealth and become financially independent.

All the best.

Posted in Economy, General, Wealth | 4 Comments »