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

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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Good and bad

Posted by Muthu on September 1, 2019

Bad news, which started trickling in April, has reached its height on Friday, when GDP growth rate of Q1 was published as 5%

Will it get worse than this?

Yes, the current quarter (Q2) may be equal to or worse and than Q1.

There are two kind of voices always dominating the narrative; those who blindly believe and of those who blindly hate Modi.

Most of us are in the middle path, judging each action by its merit. Though we are many, our voice is not heard to the extent it should.

The government has failed big time in anticipating the economic trouble and also not using the budget opportunity to revive the economy. In fact, budget added some more woes.

The good part is that since second half of August, government has realised it’s mistakes and implicitly accepted that the economy is in a trouble.

They have been taking measures for the revival of the economy since then.

These are incremental measures and not any big bang reforms.

Assuming they would continue only with incremental measures; still this would result in better liquidity situation and lower the cost of capital.

Ample liquidity and low cost of capital would trigger economic revival.

Without any major reforms, I wouldn’t expect the growth rate to go beyond 7%.

We need 9%+ growth rate even to aim for $5 trillion economy by 2024.

Reasonable growth is possible but dream of $5 trillion may only remain as dream.

We can safely say that the economy has reached the bottom as the government has accepted the problem and have been actually working on it.

We may see the earliest sign of recovery only in Q3.

As I’ve explained many times, market reflects the future and not the present. Though I’ve no capability of market predictions, I’m aware that markets do not wait to till actual growth to manifest and start reflecting the same sometime before. This is true for both good and bad situations.

The bad news is that we have slowed down.

The good news is that this is the beginning of the recovery.

Posted in Economy, General, Muthu's Musings | 3 Comments »

Positive development

Posted by Muthu on August 24, 2019

By this time, you would have heard about the various announcements made by finance minister last evening.

The budget she presented last month lacked focus to address the problems faced by various sectors in the economy. Not only there was nothing progressive but also there were regressive steps as well.

There has been lot of voices against the apathy showed by the government on economic front.

Finally government has taken series of positive measures. These measures include some progressive steps and withdrawal of some earlier regressive steps.

What this would do immediately is to build positive mind set in the business and investing community.

The beginning of all good things is positivity.

It may take probably six months or so to start seeing the impact of these measures on economy.

I’ve no clue about how markets work in the near term. Still it may start reflecting the development even before it happens. Markets rarely reflect the present but it’s opinion about the future. So I wouldn’t be surprised if markets start recovering from the last 20 months of bear run.

So it is only a matter of time for things to start looking better.

The finance minister has also promised more positive measures to be announced in the coming weeks. This also augurs well for the future.

Bull and bear markets keep following each other. There is no permanent bull or bear market.

In bull markets, the NAV goes up. In bear markets, the units you acquire goes up. In the long run, combination of both only creates good wealth.

Though some of you became very anxious recently, all of you stayed the course.

Ultimately staying the course is what matters and that alone creates wealth.

Be ready for positive things in the months to come.

A good beginning has been made yesterday.

Posted in Economy, General, Insurance, Muthu's Musings | 1 Comment »

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 | 6 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 »