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India on the Cusp of a Virtuous Cycle, a Research by Morgan Stanley

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A virtuous cycle, supported by strong Capex and productivity, is taking off in India, a Morgan Stanley research report said on Wednesday.

Strong rates of growth, coupled with benign macro stability risks, set a positive backdrop for the ratio of corporate profits to GDP to rise. The report said this cycle will be unlike the past decade and more like 2003-07.

It said that for India, CAPEX and productivity growth would take the lead as key drivers of growth in the current cycle, just as they did in 2003-07. This will allow strong rates of growth while keeping the macro stability risks at bay.

What is working for India this time is that policymakers are making concerted efforts to improve the business environment, incentivize corporate activity, and attract manufacturing investment.

Led by manufacturing, capex to GDP ratios are rising 6 percentage points (ppt) from FY21 to FY26, the report said.

“This is a clear inflection in India’s macro environment. Rising capex ratios will significantly lift employment prospects and boost income and consumption growth, creating a virtuous cycle. The effective utilization of both factors of production will unlock India’s structural positives, allowing it to generate robust economic and corporate profit growth,” the report said.

Morgan Stanley now expects India’s GDP growth to average 7 percent in FY23-26. Also, India would enter a new profit cycle, which may result in earnings compounding at 20-25 percent per annum for the next four years.

“We think that India’s economy is well-positioned and ready for a takeoff in this cycle, given the global macro backdrop as well as supporting policy reforms,” the report said.

However, the risks to this positive sentiment remain, but more from external factors than domestic and cyclical rather than structural in nature. For instance, a sharper rise in US core inflation above 2.5 percent per annum, driven by wage growth, could lead to a disruptive pace of Fed rate hikes and in turn spill over to a tightening of financial conditions in India.


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