Indian economy is going through a slowdown and the downturn is reflected in the underperformance of the markets. However, Ashwini Agarwal, co-founder and partner, Ashmore Investment Management India, feels that it is a good time to invest but with a medium, not short-term view.
Agarwal told CNBC-TV18 in an interview that the big disappointment for the market in the last three months has been the sharp slowdown in earnings and economic environment, and although valuations look attractive in certain situations, one needs to take a medium-term view of 2-3 year while investing in stocks for the earnings rebound to be visible.
The September quarter numbers may not look too good but the second half will be better than first half in terms of growth, demand, essentially because of the steps taken by government to address the issues pointed out by industry and a good monsoon that would help rural demand, he said.
With regards to demand, he said: “Today there is no sign of pickup in consumer demand or in auto sales but as you get closer to second half of the year, you will have the BS-VI-related buying coming into autos, you will see some improvement in consumer staples demand given how well the monsoons have gone.”
His optimism about the second half of the year is based on some of the steps taken by the government, after effects of a very well distributed rainfall, and hopes of privatisation of some PSUs that the government has been hinting at coming through.
With regards to the auto sector slowdown, he said there are two parts to that story — one is electric vehicles or a shift to electricity as a fuel for automobiles and the other is the shared economy.
“Our view is it is too early to forecast a shift to electric vehicles, government policy notwithstanding simply because the technology is not stable. On a global basis we don’t know how it is going to evolve, we don’t know what technology will come to India. Moreover, availability of electricity in large parts of India is still not guaranteed,” he said, adding that according to a lot of research reports, EVs will corner at most 30 percent of the automobiles market by 2030 in the developed economies and if that is the ratio for developed market then Indian market should be lower.
“So not worried about this structural headwind to the automobile sector,” he added.
“Shared economy is something that is catching on. In urban areas there is a desire to use Ubers and taxis more than owned vehicles. However, we still have a large middle class that would like to upgrade from a two-wheeler to a four-wheeler and as their means become better, there would be more demand coming from there,” Agarwal said.