Bears circle India’s slowing economy

NEW DELHI, July 10, 2011 (AFP) – Not long ago it was the toast of investors, but India’s appeal has taken a hit, with bearish sentiment building thanks to worries over stubbornly high inflation and widespread political corruption. “If we had the right supportive economic ecosystem and big-ticket reforms, 10 percent growth would not have evaded us,” he adds.

“It’s really disappointing.” Investor ardour for Asia’s third-largest economy has been cooled by a litany of bad news, from slowing growth, rising prices and spiralling interest rates to paralysis on economic reforms and a string of high-profile graft scandals.

Last week, global business information agency Dun and Bradstreet reported that its India business optimism index had fallen by a hefty 22 percent quarter-on-quarter.

“There has been a confluence of bad news dragging down sentiment,” Kaushal Sampat, Dun and Bradstreet’s India chief executive, told AFP.

The bad news comes as the government battles multiple corruption scandals that forced the resignation of a second cabinet minister last week over accusations he abused his power while he held the telecom portfolio.

“There are so many political fires, it makes it hard for the government to fo