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India Remittance Growth to Benefit Investors and Industries (Explained)

India Remittance Growth to Benefit Investors and Industries (Explained)

Analysis of 12.4% India remittance growth outlook for 2023 and implications across industries and investors.

Analysis for Layman

The article predicts that the money sent by overseas Indians to their families in India, known as remittances, is expected to grow by 12.4% to reach $125 billion in 2023. This growth rate surpasses the global average of 3.8%. The main reasons behind this growth are the robust job markets in the United States and Europe, where many Indians work. To put this in perspective, remittances will constitute 3.4% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). India has also signed agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore to make fund transfers more accessible, which supports this growth. Remittances primarily help families afford better housing, education, and healthcare. The report anticipates slower remittance growth of 8% for India in 2024 as global economies cool off. However, India’s relationships with Gulf nations and the emergence of financial technology innovations provide reasons for optimism.

Impact on Retail Investors

Increased remittances directly benefit recipients by providing extra disposable income for consumption and small investments. This, in turn, can have a positive influence on the stock prices of companies in various sectors, including consumer goods, healthcare, education services, and affordable housing-related companies. Investors should explore publicly traded companies in these sectors that cater to middle and lower-income groups, as they are well-positioned to gain a larger share of consumers’ wallets. Examples include budget housing developers like Repco Home Finance, microfinance firms such as CreditAccess Grameen, and affordable healthcare providers like Narayana Hrudayalaya. Investors may see potential upside in the stocks of these companies. The article also highlights India’s thriving financial technology sector as a driver of remittance growth through efficient platforms. Investors can consider investing in fast-growing fintech companies like PayTM, MobiKwik, and Pine Labs. However, if global economic growth slows more than expected in 2024, reduced remittances could limit domestic spending capacity, putting pressure on revenues for companies catering to mass-market consumer goods and services. Therefore, investors need to closely monitor leading economic indicators to assess shifts in consumer demand.

Impact on Industries

The following industries stand to benefit from remittance growth:

Housing/Construction

Increased savings for families result in higher demand for home purchases and upgrades, benefiting builders such as Oberoi Realty and Prestige Estates, which cater to mid-market buyers. Allied sectors like cement (UltraTech), paints (Asian Paints), and mortgages (HDFC) also benefit.

Healthcare

With more disposable income, middle-class and rural families are likely to spend more on medical treatments at affordable healthcare chains like Apollo Hospitals, Narayana Hrudayalaya, and Max Healthcare. Pharmaceutical companies serving mass-market segments, such as Cipla and Sun Pharma, also see higher revenue potential.

Education

Enrollments are expected to increase in K-12 schools, vocational training centers, and universities focused on providing affordable education, benefiting institutions like EuroKids, Aptech, and Amity University. This supports long-term skill-building.

Financial Services

Growth in India’s payments ecosystem and fintech innovations connect senders and recipients faster, benefiting banks like ICICI and Axis that are expanding their digital services, platform providers like PayTM and Infibeam, and digital transaction processors like Visa.

Consumer Goods

Categories like basic staples, personal care products, electronics/appliances, and clothing/footwear used extensively by middle and low-income groups could see increased demand. Stocks like DMart, Titan Company, and Voltas may react positively.

However, if global demand experiences a slowdown in 2024, leading to reduced remittances, mass-market spending power may decrease. Companies in the above industries could face revenue growth pressures in line with consumer health, potentially impacting investors’ profits.

Long-Term Benefits

The 12.4% projected remittance growth for 2023 and the resilient forecast for 2024 underscore India’s structural advantages, suggesting long-term gains:

  • Deepening partnerships between India’s payments ecosystem and other countries create efficient channels for cross-border money transfers, supporting future remittance growth and priority sector development.
  • India maintains favorable demographic profiles in external labor markets, with English-speaking, highly educated workers occupying various positions, sustaining remittance reliability.
  • Government sector agreements, such as the India-UAE pact to promote rupee-dirham trades, reduce transaction costs, with more bilateral partnerships expected.
  • India’s thriving fintech sector is recognized as an innovation hub, making remittance processing accessible and affordable. Continued technological advancements can enhance India’s remittance infrastructure.
  • As India continues to urbanize, workers migrating internally also drive domestic remittances and multiplier effects by stimulating second-order consumption, expanding the beneficiary base.

In summary, positive structural shifts driving India’s integration with global labor and financial markets provide confidence that high remittance inflows will persist over the long term. This enables India to leverage its external sector strength to drive broad-based economic development, with a focus on mass-market prosperity.

Negatives

However, India’s reliance on external remittances also exposes certain risks if global challenges require moderating the growth outlook for 2023-2024:

  • A global recession affecting labor markets can quickly reduce outbound remittances. For instance, layoffs in US technology firms may impact software professional transfers.
  • Geopolitical risks in the Gulf region becoming more severe can impact the livelihoods of South Asian migrant workers. India’s inability to reduce reliance on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remittances remains a structural weakness.
  • If there is increased uncertainty in peasant income domestically due to food price inflation, this may hinder their ability to fund migrant city transfers, further compounding external risks.
  • India has limited control over external regulatory changes, such as US/EU policies arising from nativist political pressures. Restrictive provisions aimed at protecting domestic job spaces pose an ongoing regulatory risk.

In essence, despite strong structural advantages driving India’s remittance economy expansion, global interconnections also present risks. Sudden external shocks can quickly translate into local spending deficiencies, given how deeply these transfers stimulate broader consumption, as reported. Investors should be aware of these nuances when considering their investments.

Potential Impacts of Rising Remittances to India:

Indian Companies that could gain:

  • Financial Services Companies:
    • Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank: Increased remittances could lead to higher transaction volumes and fee income from money transfers and foreign exchange conversion.
    • Paytm, PhonePe: Growing digital adoption in India could benefit mobile wallet and fintech companies facilitating remittance transactions through their platforms.
  • Consumer Goods Companies:
    • Hindustan Unilever, ITC Ltd.: Rising disposable incomes due to remittances could boost demand for consumer staples and discretionary goods.
  • Real Estate Companies:
    • DLF Ltd., Oberoi Realty: Higher inflows could translate into increased investments in property by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), potentially benefiting real estate developers.

Market Sentiment:

  • Positive sentiment for financial services, consumer goods, and real estate sectors due to anticipated boost in spending and investment.
  • Increased investor interest in stocks exposed to these sectors.

Indian Companies that could potentially lose:

  • Informal Money Transfer Services: Increased adoption of formal channels like UPI-PayNow for remittances could reduce business for informal money transfer networks, impacting their revenue and potentially leading to job losses.
  • Gold Retailers: As disposable income increases, consumers might shift spending away from traditional investment avenues like gold towards other assets or experiences, potentially impacting gold retailers.
  • Microfinance Institutions: Improved access to formal financial services through remittances might reduce dependence on microfinance loans, impacting the loan volumes and profitability of these institutions.

Global Companies that could gain:

  • Money Transfer Providers:
    • Western Union, MoneyGram: Increased remittance flows could benefit global money transfer companies with operations in India, especially if formal channels are more widely used.
  • Consumer Brands:
    • Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever: Increased consumer spending in India could benefit global brands with a strong presence in the country.

Market Sentiment:

  • Positive sentiment for global companies with exposure to the Indian consumer market.

Global Companies that could potentially lose:

  • Currency Exchange Bureaus: Increased adoption of digital channels for remittances could reduce the need for physical currency exchange services, potentially impacting the business of currency exchange bureaus.
  • Companies reliant on cheap Indian labor: Increased wages in India due to higher remittances could raise labor costs for global companies outsourcing production or services to the country, potentially impacting their margins or competitiveness.

Companies less likely to be affected:

  • Indian companies focusing on exports: Rising domestic demand due to remittances may not significantly impact sectors heavily reliant on exports.

Disclaimer: This analysis is based on the provided information and does not constitute financial advice. Please consult a qualified financial advisor for personalized investment recommendations.

Citation:
ET Bureau. (2023, December 19). Remittances to India Likely to Rise 12.4% to $125 b in ’23. The Economic Times.

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