Back in July, I put up a post about the chinks in the economic armor of India. Since July, the BSE Sensex has dropped to a low of 12,575 and rebounded to a high of 15,503 in August. Today it is trading down 149 to 14,174, mostly because of Infosys lowering its guidance. the people have come to terms with the fact that the credit crisis that began in the US over a year ago, has yet to claim additional casualties, specifically, Lehman Brothers. This has also had an indirect affect on Indian comp
The Rupee has gone from a high of Rs. 39.3252 per USD in January 2008 to a low of 43.29 in July and just a few days ago, it hit an intraday low of 45.885. Today, the Rupee is at 45.57 after hitting an intraday low of 45.785. Rs. 46 to the Dollar isn’t far off as I said back in July. I think the Rupee will not fall much beyond 46. Perhaps touch 47 and then settle down in the 45 to 46 range, unless inflation rises much faster than expected.
Oil has pretty much crashed from a high of USD 147. What has driven the downward trend in oil has also helped keep inflation in check, here in India. The drop in oil and the slight easing of inflation is primarily a result of decreased demand, which implies slowing economic growth worldwide, as every one knows, but also in India. No one wants to openly admit it but inflation, high commodity prices, rising wages, real-estate sticker shock have finally taken a toll on the Indian economy.
Will oil remain at the $100 level or drop? Your guess is as good as mine. However, I think it will probably drop a little in the short-term but OPEC has already decided to cut production and keep the $100 per barrel as the floor. Count on this to keep oil prices relatively stable until mid November. A bad winter in North America and Europe will most likely push oil prices up but it’s unlikely that oil will see the $150 per barrel mark for at least the next 6 months.
I stick with the assessments made back in July. For the short-term be careful where you’re putting your money in India and every where else, for that matter. If you’re in it for the long haul, this is a good time to start dipping your toes in the water and nibbling at various investment opportunities. As things come further south, it’ll be a good time to take small bites and keep increasing your exposure to India.