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Why foreign investors are selling Indian stocks and debt: Global pressure, other key reasons at play

Monika Yadav
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The foreign institutional investors or FIIs have been selling Indian equities and bonds since the start of this financial year amid escalating trade tensions between the world s two largest economies US and China. Uncertainties regarding election outcome and macroeconomic headwinds could also be the reasons for the outflow as FIIs would like to go back to their safe havens when there is a risk to their investments.

Whenever there is a risk-off the foreign investors sell off and go back to their own countries for safe haven, as it is happening now because of US-China trade war. Another reason for FIIs’ exodus is the uncertainties surrounding Lok Sabha election results due on May 23. The FIIs wouldn t like to take a chance in this kind of scenario, that s why they are pulling off, Siddharth Sedani, Vice President – Equity Advisory, Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers, told Financial Express Online.

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In May, FIIS bought Rs 96 crore worth of stocks on a net basis as compared with Rs 21,193 crore in April. On the other hand, FIIs have sold Rs 4,831 crore worth of bonds so far this month, as against net sale of Rs 5,099 crore in April, according to the depositories data.

The trade tensions between the US and China heightened after the former imposed hiked tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion from May 10, on account of China backtracking from its commitments made earlier in the trade deal. China also retaliated against US by announcing imposition of tariffs on US goods of $60 billion from June 1. The share markets have been falling since there is a trade deadlock between two economic giants and no deal has been reached which could cool off the nerves of investors.

The other domestic factors could also be reasons for the exodus of FIIs, as the macroeconomic data has also not been impressive. The recent IIP numbers, which showed that India s industrial production fell for the first time in 21 months, also draw a weak picture of the country s growth outlook story going forward. According to the experts, the outlook for the consumption industry is also not very good.

The recent study by NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) between June 2016 and June 2017 found major gaps in the GDP calculation as the revenues of lot shell companies were included in the calculation. Considering all these factors, the FIIs don t see any benefit of staying in the Indian market. However, they are pinning hopes around some statement about the US-China trade deal which could drive away fears across globe and bring back the foreign money into emerging markets.

This is the right time to accumulate and also make a decent return on equities as the markets become reasonable during risky situations, Siddharth Sedhani further added.