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Indian Capital Markets have shown remarkable growth in the post-Liberalization era and it remains one of the most resilient globally and poised to be one of the Top destinations for domestic and global businesses to expand and invest in. Raising capital is a strategic priority across India and role of Capital Markets has assumed far greater importance and urgency.
India’s capital markets are currently valued at $140 billion, according to a report by McKinsey & Co. The consulting firm further states that India can unlock a further $100 billion in fresh funding each year for India Inc. if policymakers implement the right policies and fiscal measures to deepen the country’s capital market.
The size of the market can rise even further to $240 billion in a year’s time, but as it stands today, India’s ability to receive funding at scale is moderate at best with shallow pricing efficiency. In comparison, Australia and Japan rank much higher in funding. India needs policies to channel its substantial savings into productive endeavours and accelerate economic growth to potentially lift millions from poverty.
Emerging economies, including India, do not have access to predictable capital market funding at scale and investors lack the financial instruments to channelize long-term savings. This often leads to poor allocation resources pulling down growth prospects. The report suggested that deeper capital markets in emerging Asia could free up a cumulative $800 billion in funding annually, mostly for mid- to large-sized corporations and infrastructure.
The biggest challenge for India is to develop the corporate bond and securitization market, the report further iterates. Emerging market issuers lack options to diversify funding and to match funding with their needs. The absence of a long-dated bond market diminishes corporate borrowers’ flexibility to align funding structure with assets. The listing of government-controlled entities is a step in the right direction as it may lure investors to capital markets. Further, mandating state-controlled entities to tap debt capital for funds instead of going for bank loans is a step in the right direction as well.
Issues in emerging markets face a more volatile and higher cost of capital compared to developed economies. They pay roughly a 120 percentage point higher real cost for debt securities, making it difficult to raise funds for new ventures and to grow existing large companies or conglomerates.
Apart from more prudent fiscal policies and implementation measures by the Government of India, what this essentially is a change management challenge that requires a new mindset. Back in 2015, the US and Indian Governments were in serious talks to discuss potential avenues of technical collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and the US Department of Treasury in developing deeper and more robust Indian capital markets. In April 2017, the capital markets regulator SEBI introduced new products and stricter control measures to deepen the Indian capital markets. For instance, SEBI now allows investors to use e-wallets to buy mutual funds, which would potentially increase inflows into India’s Rs18 trillion MF markets. These are welcome moves indeed!
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