Gloom engulfs corporate India: survey

NEW DELHI, October 6, 2008 (AFP) – India’s corporate optimism has sunk on worries about the global economy and weakening demand, according to a new survey Monday, as the stock market and rupee fell to fresh lows. Some 57 percent of the 348 firms in the cross-sector survey reported Asia’s third-largest economy had grown “moderately to substantially worse” in the first quarter of the financial year.

In the same April-June period last year, just 12 percent believed the business climate had deteriorated, the survey by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said.

The findings came days ahead of the start of India’s quarterly reporting season and as the stock market fell to a two-year-low amid concerns about the world credit crisis while the rupee hit a five-year low against the dollar.

The BSE benchmark 30-share Sensex index tumbled 469.65 points or 3.75 percent on Monday to hit an intraday low of 12,056.67 — a level last seen in October 2006 — as risk-adverse investors continued to pull out funds.

The outward flow of investment pushed the rupee down to 47.35 to the dollar, its weakest level since April 2003.

As of Friday, Indian shares had lost more than