Bulls turn bears on India as doubts grow

NEW DELHI, March 27, 2011 (AFP) – Investors have turned bearish on India despite government forecasts of nine percent economic growth, as concerns over widespread corruption and high inflation knock confidence, analysts say. Only a few months ago investors were pouring into Indian equities, seeing the country as a promising high-growth market and talking about the “India story”. But now the mood looks to be on the turn.

The government’s lack of progress on economic reform, massive corruption scandals including the cut-price sale of telecoms licences, and eight interest rate hikes to try to tame high inflation have all had an impact.

Citigroup economist Rohini Malkani said she had met some 50 investors in Singapore and Hong Kong this month and about 70 percent were “bearish on India”.

Fears about reduced investment in infrastructure, high inflation and the fallout from political scandals topped the list of investor worries, she said.

The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index or Sensex has dropped more than eight percent this year, making it Asia’s worst large market performer — after it climbed 17 percent last year on the back of $29 billion poured in by foreign investors.

Foreign institution