BOUNCING back ¦ AS AN investor and a financial advisor, I am relieved to see the year 2008 being consigned to history. It was a year in which the financial crisis held the entire world in its grip. Equity markets crashed in nearly every country, while most financial institutions across the world were looking up to their respective governments to bail them out of the mess. Though India escaped relatively unhurt from the financial market turmoil, it was badly hit by the slowdown in the commodities market and real estate. Besides, the US recession badly affected the country's information technology (IT) sector. The outlook for 2009 is not too rosy either. With general elections due in April/May, we cannot expect the government to be aggressive on the reform front. The strong dollar is holding back the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) from pumping money in Indian markets. The continuing global recession will be a dampener on the inflows. The key takeaway, however, is that India will see growth when the world continues to be in a fullblown recession.
Thankfully, there is good news too. Falling crude prices will ease the pressure a bit on the country's balance of payment.
The government has admitted that the economy is faltering and taking pro-active steps to stem the rot before it gets out of hand. Easing interest rates have made companies breath easy.
The RBI is looking to make the housing sector as attractive as before and this is one sure shot way of igniting the spark back in the economy as most sectors such as cement and steel are directly and indirectly depended on the real estate sector. Giving stimulus to infrastructure would complete the picture and the recovery would be put on the fast track. Experts have diverse opinions but majority are optimistic that by mid-2009, we should be looking at a recovery and an eventual bounce-back by the Indian economy.
Srikanth Shankar Matrubai, Bangalore
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