August sees strong return of FIIs – After a strong recovery of ~10% in Jul’22, the
Indian markets remained in the positive territory, posting gains of 3.5%. More
importantly, the FIIs returned in a major way as they bought ~₹50,000Cr in August.
Although the pace has reduced, the MFs continued to remain net buyers to the extent
of ~₹2,770Cr. The markets did give away some gains in the second half of August
post cautious commentary regarding the inflation and the measures to tackle it. The
growth outlook and optimism levels for Indian and Advanced Economies are different
and the reversal in the trend of FII flows reflects India’s strong positioning.
Jackson Hole takeaways suggest further hikes – At the annual gathering of monetary
policymakers, Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell said that the FOMC’s primary
focus right now is to bring inflation back down to 2% even if means that the growth
will be impacted for a prolonged period. At the most recent meeting in July, the
FOMC raised the target range for the federal funds rate by 75bps to 2.25% - 2.5%.
The consensus among attendees, including other central banks, was the same, which
would mean the growth outlook would remain disappointing.
India's growth recovery continues – Although India’s Q1FY23 YoY GDP growth of
13.5% appears low owing to the impact of the second wave in the base quarter
(Q1FY22), it is pertinent to note that the economy has crossed the pre-pandemic
level. As per various commentaries and surveys, economic activity is showing signs
of broadening and the overall demand environment is improving. As for high-
frequency indicators, the PMI Manufacturing and Services continued to remain in an
expansionary zone with a reading of 56.2 and 57.2 respectively in Aug’22.
Moreover, the survey results suggest that the demand environment is strong and the
moderation in inflation has boosted sentiments. GST collections at ₹1.43 lakh crores
in Aug’21, marked the 6th consecutive month of ₹1.40 lakh crore+ collections.
Falling crude/commodity prices to provide relief – We believe that the current
scenario of a weaker global outlook lowers the chances of a significant spike in crude
oil prices. Indian companies have been impacted on the margin front over the past
Few quarters and the recent correction of crude and other non-energy commodity
prices would not only prove to be tailwinds but also aid in containing overall inflation
and spur demand. Moreover, operating leverage along with recovering gross
margins would support NIFTY earnings.
Maintain a positive view from a longer-term perspective – We believe that India is in
a relatively stronger position vs. other Advanced and Emerging economies that are
experiencing high inflation and lower growth. Moreover, our strong fundamentals
and external position are expected to drive further investments and cushion us from
external shocks, respectively. At current levels, the Nifty is trading at a P/E multiple
of 19x on rolling one-year consensus earnings, which is below its 10-year average
of 20x. Though the upside may be limited in the near term, the long-term prospects
remain intact given the low corporate leverage levels, the better position of financial
institutions, and the revival of the investment cycle in India.