It's set to eclipse UK economy: Can you afford NOT to invest in India? (2023)

Some 20 years ago, the acronym Bric came into being. The creation of Jim O'Neill, the chief economist of investment bank Goldman Sachs, it acknowledged that the engines driving world economic growth were shifting location – away from the developed economies of the West to emerging power bases.

Most notably, the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China (Bric).

It's an acronym that has stood the test of time (although Bric has now become Brics with South Africa joining the drivers of that growth).

Vibrant: India, home of Bollywood movies, has a bright future with 'stunning' investment prospects, say experts

Last week, Brics leaders held their annual meeting in Beijing, China. It has also spawned the rapid development of a new exciting investment opportunity: namely, making money from investing in the stock markets of some of the world's fastest growing economies (not necessarily just Bric economies).

Hundreds of funds and stock market-listed trusts now invest in the world's emerging economies while some investment groups such as Ashmore specialise in such markets.

For most investors, emerging markets haven't quite delivered the stellar returns they expected. Rapid growth economies haven't escaped the impact of major crises such as the 2008 financial crash and of course, more recently, the Covid pandemic.

They have also had their own financial issues to contend with – for example, sliding currencies and huge debt burdens.

As a result, over the past five years, the average emerging markets fund has generated a return less than an investor would have got from investing in the stock markets of the UK, Europe and the world.

But the fact remains that the thesis behind Bric remains largely intact – that a new world order is under way that will see the globe's economic might continue to shift inexorably East.

It's a point made in an excellent new book, The World In 2050: How To Think About The Future, by economics journalist and Mail on Sunday City columnist Hamish McRae.

Drawing on research by economists at HSBCBank, McRae believes that by around 2030, China will become the world's largest economy, surpassing that of the United States, and will remain so for the next 20 years and beyond.

India's economy, driven forward by a young and growing population, will surpass the size of the UK economy in the early 2020s and by 2050 will be the world's third largest economy. Brazil and Russia will be ranked 8th and 13th respectively.

On India, McRae highlights the 'many gifts' that will drive it forward – for example, a huge supply of skilled young people 'pouring' into technology-heavy industries and its great strength in both service industries and manufacturing.

Although he acknowledges the challenges that India faces in ensuring the country's growth is for the good of the entire population, and not just for the burgeoning middle class, McRae says 'stunning opportunities' abound.

Not surprisingly, for many professional fund managers, it is now India – not China – that represents one of the world's most exciting long-term investment opportunities. Not just as a result of the country's expected rapid economicgrowth over the next 30 years, but because India is the world's biggest democracy.

In investment terms, this means that its stock market, and the businesses that are listed on it, are not at the mercy of state interference as has happened recently in China. Investing in India is an unencumbered financial bet on the country's future.


Although leading emerging markets fund managers are reluctant to look 28 years into the future as McRae has done, they acknowledge that India is currently in economic growth mode (seven per cent per annum) – and that such growth should power higher company profits and drive the stock market forward.

Their positivity is reflected in the exposure their funds have to India. Investment trust Mobius was launched in late 2018 to find investment opportunities in some of the world's fastest growing economies. It currently has 16 per cent of assets in Indian companies – only Taiwan isa bigger country position, while it has 10 per cent exposure to China.

Although the portfolio is managed day-to-day by Carlos Hardenberg, it benefits from the input of octogenarian Mark Mobius, who is considered by many as the 'godfather' of emerging markets.

Thirty five years ago, Mobius started running the world's first emerging markets fund, Templeton Emerging Markets, and managed it successfully for more than three decades.

Last week, Mobius said India was 'emerging as something very exciting'.

It's a view shared by Hardenberg. Speaking from Sao Paulo in Brazil, he told us: 'In a world which understandably is focused on the negatives – the fear of rampant inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, China and Covid, and events in Ukraine – it isheartening to visit countries like Brazil and India and see that economic growth very much remains the reality.'

Hardenberg acknowledges that India's economy is not immune from the negative impact of higher oil prices (it's a big importer of oil) and inflation more generally. Indeed, research issued last week by the investment arm of Bank of America warned of India facing 'macro headwinds' caused by a global recession.

Yet Hardenberg is in no doubt that India will become the world's economic powerhouse as a result of a raft of reforms introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

'India is looking really good,' he says. 'It is led by a pro-business government. Modi has stripped away layers of bureaucracy that previously made doing business in India a nightmare.It's embarked on ambitious digitalisation programmes and helped ensure the population has widespread access to banking.'

Reformer: India's premier Narendra Modi

The government's support of business, says Hardenberg, has triggered an abundance of capital available to support new start-up businesses and companies that want to expand.

'Our job as fund managers is to find new investment opportunities – and we see them in India, in areas such as tech and IT, where it is a global leader.'

Ewan Thompson, an emerging markets fund manager at asset manager Liontrust, is also enthused. India is the biggest country position in Liontrust Emerging Markets at 23 per cent.

'When you compare China and India from an investment point of view, India is the clear winner,' he says.

'Demographically, a third of the country's 1.4billion population is under the age of 20 – half under the age of 30. That provides a runway for economic growth.

In contrast, China's population is ageing as a result of the one-child per family rule that was in place up until six years ago. That will stymie growth.'On top of this, says Thompson, is anIndian government so intent on supporting 'free enterprise that it makes Margaret Thatcher's backing of small businesses in the early 1990s modest by comparison.'

Furthermore, the Chinese state is increasingly restricting the ability of leading companies – operating in areas such as educational support and the internet – to go about their day-to-day businesses. 'Disorderly capitalism,' the state has said, will no longer be tolerated.

He adds: 'In India, there is a sense of unbridled optimism. Companies are extremely positive about Modi and everyone is in growth mode.'

Thompson, who also runs the Liontrust India fund, says his modus operandi as a fund manager is to identify emerging market 'leaders' – companies that are leading the way in their respective sectors.

Two Indian businesses that wear this cap comfortably, he says, are bank ICICI (it also has a successful UK operation) and conglomerate Reliance Industries, which is a leader in the manufacturing of solar panels.

From an investment point of view, there are short-term challenges, but I'm optimistic in the medium to long term

Charles Jillings, Utilico Emerging Markets

The country's commitment to green energy excites Charles Jillings, manager of investment trust Utilico Emerging Markets. Like Hardenberg and Thompson, he welcomes the 'quiet economic revolution' that Modi has overseen.

'Before Modi, India was a dysfunctional economy and heavily based on agriculture,' he says. 'Now, the mix of tax reforms and cuts that he has introduced are feeding through to economic growth. From an investment point of view, there are short-term challenges, but I'm optimistic in the medium to long term.'

Jillings' current focus is on companies involved in improving India's energy infrastructure – whether it is through building solar energy farms (Power Grid Corporation of India) or extending and improving the transmission network (India Grid Trust). 'The government understands that energy security is key to delivering economic growth,' he says.


All the investment experts agree that the economic case for investing in India is compelling: a young workforce, a growing middle class with money to spend and growing corporate profits.

And the stock market performance numbers look good. For example, the MSCI India Index, comprising 85 per cent of all listed Indian companies, posted a positive return of nearly 9 per cent in the year to the end of May. This compares with a 14 per cent fall in the broader MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Like all emerging markets, the Indian stock market is volatile

But it's not without risk. Like all emerging markets, the Indian stock market is volatile. While the MSCI India Index has delivered investors average annual returns of 13 per cent over the past ten years, there have been years of near market carnage. In 2008, for example, the index fell by more than 56 per cent as the country was caught up in the global financial crisis.

'Investors do need to take a long-term view,' cautions Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis atwealth manager AJ Bell. 'They must buckle up for a bumpy ride because this is a risky area of the world. When investor sentiment is poor, money tends to flow out of the market pretty quickly, which can lead to sliding share prices.'

Like other experts, Khalaf believes that a more pragmatic approach is to invest in a broader Asia Pacific or emerging markets fund with exposure to India. For example, the Asia Pacific Leaders Sustainability fund, managed by Stewart Investors, has almost half of its assets in India, while Fidelity Asia has 20 per cent. Over the past five years, they have generated returns of 36 and 28 per cent.

Investment trust Pacific Assets is liked by both Dzmitry Lipski, of wealth platform Interactive Investor, and Jason Hollands, of wealth manager Evelyn Partners. It has delivered five-year returns of 24 per cent and has 46 per cent exposure to India. Hollands also likes Aubrey Global Emerging Market Opportunities, with five-year returns of 38 per cent and more than a third of its assets in India.

There are 25 Indian funds or investment trusts run by some big investment brands such as Fidelity, Jupiter, JP Morgan and Liontrust.

The only adviser brave enough to put forward Indian fund recommendations is Hollands: investment trust Ashoka India and Goldman Sachs India Equity Portfolio.

One final bit of advice. Only invest for the long term (think more 2050 than 2030) and invest on a regular basis, preferably through a pension or Isa.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.


Are we heading for a recession 2022 UK? ›

The UK is expected to fall into recession before 2022 is up, according to the British Chambers of Commerce. However, according to the actions of the government, the UK could return to economic growth as soon as next year.

How can I invest in Indian economy? ›

There are many different ways to invest in India. You can choose from U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to securities listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). There is also the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) that you can trade on.

Is India a good country to invest in? ›

The major encouraging factor for the foreign investors to invest in India is the low wages, highly skilled workforce and liberal foreign direct investment policies. India is termed as the fastest growing economy and the capital markets of the country are also booming.

Can I invest in India from UK? ›

The answer is yes, NRIs are allowed to invest in mutual funds in India.

Will there be a UK recession in 2023? ›

Short-term GDP expected to go into recession

However, unlike the Bank of England, the BCC expects the economy to grow in 2023, albeit at a very low 0.2%, with a slight increase to 1% in 2024.

Will house prices drop in a recession? ›

Analysis reveals that during a 50-year holding period, constant severe recessions can deteriorate the value of the property by 75% in the long run, compared to no recessions during a holding period (see report for further understanding: (How much do house prices fall, or crash: 40 years of data analyzed.)

Which country invests most in India? ›

Trend on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India. Singapore (27.01%) and USA (17.94%) have emerged as top 2 sourcing nations in FDI equity flows into India in FY2021-22 followed by Mauritius (15.98%), Netherland (7.86%) and Switzerland (7.31%).

Why do people invest India? ›

The country offers abundant investment opportunities across different sectors. From consumer goods to infrastructure and IT to agriculture, India has substantial room for economic development. It is a good time to invest in India.

Which is best investment in India? ›

Top Investment Options in India
Investment OptionsPeriod of Investment (Minimum)Returns Offered
Public Provident Fund (PPF)15 years7.9 per cent
Bank Fixed Deposits7 daysFixed Returns, different from bank to bank
Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS)5 years8.7 per cent
Real Estate5 years19-15 per cent
9 more rows

How much does the UK invest in India? ›

The UK is the 6th largest investor in India and has invested $31.90 bn in foreign direct investment inflows. There are currently ~572 UK companies in India with a combined turnover of $ 48 Bn and directly employing 416,121 people directly as of FY20.

Why do British firms invest in India? ›

The top reasons British firms invest in India are the size and growth potential of the market, the easy availability of talented workers and the stable political system. The UK also remains the largest job creator in India via FDI.

How many Indian companies are there in the UK? ›

Grant Thornton's annual research into Indian business in the UK has found that there are now 850 Indian companies operating in the UK – rising by eight from its 2020 benchmark.

Is India safe to invest? ›

India has people of all ages and in all stages of life making investments in the stock market. With this huge population willing to put their money into stocks, you may consider it a safe enough investment asset.

Which country is best to invest? ›

  • Mexico. #1 in Invest In Rankings. Not Ranked in 2020. ...
  • Indonesia. #2 in Invest In Rankings. ...
  • Lithuania. #3 in Invest In Rankings. ...
  • United Arab Emirates. #4 in Invest In Rankings. ...
  • Malaysia. #5 in Invest In Rankings. ...
  • Portugal. #6 in Invest In Rankings. ...
  • Switzerland. #7 in Invest In Rankings. ...
  • Croatia. #8 in Invest In Rankings.

What is the best country to invest in 2022? ›

Sweden maintained its No. 1 rank from 2021 as the country with the most potential to attract foreign investment, followed by the UK at No. 2 and Denmark at No.

What will interest rates be in 2025 UK? ›

The BoE forecast that it could raise the key interest rate to 3% in the third quarter of 2023, from 1.6% in 2022. The bank expects to ease its monetary policy by cutting the rate to 2.5% in the third quarter of 2024 and 2.2% in the third quarter 2025.

Do house prices go down in a recession UK? ›

Some commentators are expecting UK house prices could fall by at least 10% next year as the economy sinks into recession and mortgage rates rise sharply, making house moves unaffordable for many.

Will interest rates drop in 2023? ›

When Will Interest Rates Go Down? We expect the Fed will pivot to easing monetary policy in 2023 as inflation falls back to its 2% target and the need to shore up economic growth becomes a top concern. The full analysis is detailed in our 2022 U.S. interest-rate & inflation forecast.

Is it a good time to buy a house UK 2022? ›

Rising inflation and costs do mean house prices could fall, though it is “unlikely that house prices will crash”. Property site Rightmove says that house prices could fall slightly towards the end of 2022, although it predicts that prices could still be 5% higher than they were at the end of 2021.

Is 2022 a recession? ›

According to the general definition—two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP)—the U.S. entered a recession in the summer of 2022. The organization that defines U.S. business cycles, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), takes a different view.

What will happen to house prices in 2023? ›

Our new, higher, interest rate forecasts mean that we now expect house prices to fall marginally in 2023 and 2024. While there are risks on both sides, our base case is that prices drop by 5% overall, reversing a fifth of the surge in house prices since the pandemic began.

Which country likes India the most? ›

By country

In 2014, a Pew Research Center survey found that Israelis and Russians are the most pro-Indian sentiments worldwide, with 90% and 85% respectively expressing a favourable view of India.

Who is the best friend of India? ›

There is not a single country to be said as the best friend of India. There are some countries which evaluated to be closest to India like Russia, Israel, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and the United States.
  • USA. USA has always been one of India's closest allies . ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Israel. ...
  • Afghanistan. ...
  • Bhutan. ...
  • Russia. ...
  • Myanmar. ...
  • The Maldives.
15 Jul 2022

Who is the biggest investor in India? ›

Individual Investors
NameNetworth (Crs.)
Ashish Kacholia 36 Ashish Kacholia #Company Holdings: 361,772
Mohnish Pabrai 3 Mohnish Pabrai #Company Holdings: 31,653
Anil Kumar Goel and Associates 34 Anil Kumar Goel and Associates #Company Holdings: 341,573
Bhavook Tripathi 1 Bhavook Tripathi #Company Holdings: 1961
13 more rows

Why foreign companies are not investing in India? ›

Companies are reluctant to invest in India for a wide variety of reasons. This includes tax terrorism, frequent change in regulations and sometimes with retrospective effect, poor physical infrastructure, very high turnaround time at Indian ports, poor labour productivity, inspector raj, etc.

Is India still a Favourite among foreign investors? ›

Manufacturing sector is also seeing a boost with global investors seeing India as a preferred destination. In a major boost to the economy, FDI Equity inflow in the Manufacturing Sectors has increased by 76 per cent in FY 2021-22 (USD 21.34 billion) compared to previous FY 2020-21 (USD 12.09 billion).

How can we increase our wealth in India? ›

How to build your wealth from scratch
  1. Savings is the key.
  2. Turn your savings into investments.
  3. Set Your Risk and Return Expectations.
  4. Invest in asset classes suitable for you.
  5. Keep a long-term horizon.
  6. Increase your investments periodically.
  7. Monitor regularly.
20 Jun 2022

Which is the safest investment in India? ›

The Best Safe Investments Of 2022
  • Public Provident Fund (PPF)
  • National Savings Certificate (NSC)
  • Post Office Monthly Income Scheme.
  • Government Bonds.
  • National Pension Scheme (NPS)
  • Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs)
  • Equity Mutual Funds.
  • Unit-linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs)
9 Sept 2022

What is the most profitable investment in India? ›

Best investment plans in India
  • Stocks. Stocks represent a share of ownership in a company or an entity. ...
  • Fixed deposit. Fixed deposit is an ideal investment tool for risk-averse investors. ...
  • Mutual funds. ...
  • Senior citizen savings scheme. ...
  • Public provident fund. ...
  • NPS. ...
  • Real Estate. ...
  • Gold Bonds.

Which investment gives highest return in India? ›

8 best investment plans in India for high returns
  • Saving Account.
  • Liquid Funds.
  • Short-Term & Ultra Short-Term Funds.
  • Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS)
  • Fixed Maturity Plans.
  • Treasury Bills.
  • Gold.

Which country is biggest investor in UK? ›

The country through which UK companies invested the most into the UK in 2020 was the United States (Figure 3), which accounted for one-fifth of the UK round-tripping value. The other nine countries in the top 10 for round-tripping accounted for a further three-fifths of the total round-tripping value.

Which country is largest investor in UK? ›

According to a recent report released by UK Trade and Industry (UKTI), the U.S. remained the largest source of inward investment, with a total of 564 projects in 2014-15, followed by France (124 projects) and India (122 projects). During the year, investment from India increased by 65 per cent.

What does India import from UK? ›

India Imports from United KingdomValueYear
Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins$1.51B2021
Machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers$1.01B2021
Electrical, electronic equipment$451.14M2021
93 more rows

Is India competitive enough to attract foreign direct investment? ›

According to the report, India can target attracting greater FDI into seven capital-intensive sectors -- textile & apparels, food processing industry, electronic goods, pharmaceuticals, vehicles & parts, chemicals & active pharmaceutical ingredients, and capital goods -- that have contributed $181 billion of ...

Where is India investing? ›

Singapore, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Japan, the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany are the main investing countries in India.

Which Indian companies have invested abroad? ›

Investment in Indian Companies by FIIs/NRIs/PIOs
1.DSQ Biotech Ltd
2.Global Trust Bank Ltd.
3.Madras Aluminium Co. Ltd
4.SPL Ltd
5.Seirra Optima Ltd
2 more rows

Which Indian IT companies are there in the UK? ›

List of Indian Companies in UK
HCLICICI Bank LimitedInfosys Technologies Limited
MindTree ConsultingRolta India LimtedSundaram Fasteners Limited
Tata Consultancy ServicesThermax LimitedUnited Phosphorus Limited
VIP Industries LimitedWipro LimitedWockhardt Limited
26 Jun 2006

How many Indian companies are in USA? ›

"Together, 155 Indian companies employ nearly 125,000 people across 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The total value of tangible investments made by these 155 companies exceeds $ 22 billion," the CII said.

How likely is a recession in 2022? ›

The sharp contrast between the index's average recession path and the six-month path in 2022 suggests that a recession is unlikely to have started in first quarter 2022, despite two consecutive quarters of declining GDP in the first half of 2022.

Is there a recession coming 2022? ›

There are many different signs but there's no one indicator.” During the second quarter of 2022, growth slowed at a 0.9% annualized rate, which some economists would consider to be the start of the recession.

What are the odds of a recession in 2022? ›

The median probability of a recession over the next 12 months is 47.5%, up from 30% in June, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists completed last week.

Are we in a recession 2022? ›

According to the general definition—two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP)—the U.S. entered a recession in the summer of 2022. The organization that defines U.S. business cycles, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), takes a different view.

Which is worse inflation or recession? ›

One common argument is that inflation is worse than a recession because it impacts everyone. By contrast, a recession—and the associated job losses that come with it—may impact a smaller number of people.

Will there be a recession in 2023? ›

A recession is now likely in 2023. Here's what could trigger a sharp downturn in the economy. The economy appears to be on solid footing, with strong job growth. But warnings signs are mounting.

Is there any recession coming in India? ›

Slim chance of recession in India

According to the Bloomberg survey of economists, the probability of recession is zero for India. Inflation and a possible growth slowdown are primarily due to global shocks. The external headwinds having a bearing on the Indian economy could see a moderation.

What is the reason for 2022 recession? ›

The labor market is robust

Lower revenue compels businesses to cut back on staff, which leads to higher unemployment. Ultimately, higher unemployment leads to lower consumer spending and that creates a vicious cycle. In 2022, however, unemployment is still at a record low.

How to prepare for a recession? ›

What happens in a recession?
  1. Take stock of your financial priorities. ...
  2. Focus on debt repayment if you're able. ...
  3. Consider your career opportunities, both now and in the future. ...
  4. Try to bolster your emergency fund ahead of time. ...
  5. Make an effort to stay on top of your financial situation.

Are we heading towards recession? ›

The world may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession, only two years after the last one”. The baseline forecast for global growth is for it to slow from 6.1 per cent last year, to 3.2 per cent in 2022 – 0.4 per cent lower than forecast in the last Outlook update in April.

What are the signs of a recession coming? ›

Signs That We Are in a Recession
  • Widespread Increases in Layoffs and Hiring Freezes.
  • The Cost of Copper is Falling.
  • Gas Prices Have Been Rising.
  • Slowing Home and Auto Sales.
  • GDP Contraction Was Miniscule.
  • U.S. Consumer Spending Remains Strong.
  • Healthy Balance Sheets and Rosy Outlooks.
  • The Labor Market is Strong.
15 Aug 2022

Will there be recession in 2024? ›

While some economists don't see a global recession happening anytime soon, other top finance execs have predicted everything from a recession by the end of this year to a 50-50 chance of a recession next year to a “mild” recession come 2024.

What do you do with money in a recession? ›

Consider these five strategies: Build up some cash. Avoid the temptation of high-yield securities, such as junk bonds. Look for bargains in the stock market that pay solid dividends. If you're nearing retirement — or are semi-retired — prepare for the possibility of losing your job.

How long it takes to recover from recession? ›

A typical recession persists for about a year, while an expansion often lasts more than 5 years. Recoveries from recessions are strong, reflecting the presence of a bounce-back effect.

Will there be a recession UK? ›

Is the UK heading for a recession? Yes—the UK is heading for a recession. According to the Bank of England, the UK will enter a recession before the end of the year and will remain there for the next year, at least.

How long will a recession last? ›

3. How long do recessions last? The good news is that recessions generally haven't lasted very long. Our analysis of 11 cycles since 1950 shows that recessions have persisted between two and 18 months, with the average spanning about 10 months.

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