Five Megathemes That Will Dominate Indian Economics Over The Next Five Years

Tyler Durden's picture

Lately it seems that the entire world has forgotten that in addition to China, the EMs are also the BRI - Brazil, Russia and India. However, now that Brazil is outright hostile toward US policies (not so much toward China), and Russia continues to be Crazy Ivan, the only relevant other overheating economy appears to be India. The reason why India has not attained much media attention in recent years, is that unlike China, the country has been doing its thing and not engaging in overt or covert conflict with the developed world. And as China's inflationary star may be waning, we believe ever more investors will continue looking toward India. Which is why, courtesy of Ambit, we present an analysis of what the investment bank believes will be the five key megathemes which will dominate the Indian economy over the next five years.

Megatheme 1: Structurally high inflation

Supply constraints in India’s manufacturing sector have historically caused core inflation to spike every time the economy expands rapidly (see Exhibit A on the left). Limited access to finance, hard infrastructure deficits and labour market issues have and will prevent timely supply responses in this demand powerhouse thus driving manufacturing inflation higher. Furthermore, a growing and young population with rising incomes will cause food demand to grow rapidly, while supply responses continue to be weak. This supply-demand mismatch will drive food prices higher over the next decade.

High inflation has historically been a negative for stock market returns (see Exhibit B on the left) as it crunches companies’ margins through higher input costs. Financial services’ companies emerge as being the most inflation-immune due to their limited exposure to employee costs as well as to raw material costs. Commodity-driven sectors emerge as an obvious hedge against higher commodities’ prices. IT and other labour-intensive export-facing sectors appear to be the most vulnerable to high inflation as higher domestic wages erode their price competitiveness.

Megatheme 2: the rise of the “aspirational” consumer

As a country’s per capita incomes rise, the consumption basket of its citizens changes away from food (see Exhibit C on the left) and essentials to non-food and aspirational items (such as cosmetics, motorbikes and jewellery). India’s consumption basket has been undergoing just this sort of change. Given the structural drivers of this trend (rising incomes, high share of youth and urbanisation), investors should focus on aspirational product manufacturers vis-à-vis essentials within India’s broader consumption story. Exhibit 25 on pg19 gives a list of aspirational stocks. Exhibit 23 & 24 on pg 19 show the outperformance of aspirational stock vis-à-vis consumer essentials.

Megatheme 3: a capex boom in the making

The experience of India’s Asian neighbours suggests that a high GDP growth rate coupled with the investment:GDP ratio hitting 33% triggers a surge in capex (see Exhibit D below). These trigger points along with India’s infrastructure deficit and the Government’s desire to address this deficit has set the scene for a seven year surge in capex. History suggests that the Indian Capital Goods sector stands to gain most, both from profitability and from a stock price perspective, from this impending surge in capex.

Megatheme 4: The coming of age of financial intermediation

India’s per capita income in PPP terms recently breached the $ 3K and its savings to GDP ratio stands at a healthy 32%. Cross country experience suggests that India’s savings ratio should touch ~40% in FY15(see Exhibit E on the left) and will continue to rise until India’s per capita income reaches $ 8 K (in PPP terms) and will max out only at 46%. The disproportionate rise in the quantum of India’s savings over the next decade heralds tremendous opportunities for financial intermediaries as the Indian saver looks to channelize these savings into not just bank accounts but into stocks and bonds as well.

Megatheme 5: India will become a hotbed of conflicts

Whilst the ongoing and widespread conflict in central India between the Indian establishment and Maoists generates headlines, we see a broader theme in these stray instances of conflict and expect their intensity to trend upwards over the next decade as inequalities persist.

As corroborated by cross country experience, the unequal distribution of gains of economic development across social groups and individuals will be the main driver of this trend (see Exhibit F on the left). A vast and stratified populace with a youth bulge will add to the conflict risk.

The escalation of the Maoist movement, indisputably the biggest threat to internal security will pose challenges for the Metal and Mining Sector (refer to Exhibit 59 on pg 36 for details of company-level exposure to Maoism). Security costs for the corporate sector as a whole will rise as crime rates and the frequency of conflict trends upwards. Indirect costs in terms of political donations, bribes and CSR initiatives will be the other head under which costs will rise. Additionally, the corporate sector will continue to partially fund the Government’s fiscal transfers directed at rural India. FMCG and aspirational product companies stand to gain from these transfer payments.

Full report with details on every "megatrend" below.


Ambit_Megathemes_191110 -

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TWORIVER's picture

Long Rice/Short Cattle?

CPL's picture

You forgot to add in food: distribution, obtaining and farming.

Making money is nice and all but we're talking about a country on a rationing system right now in terms of exports. Plus it's local neighbours are also in the same boat in terms of limiting exports.

The hope is argentina can keep making productive farm land indefinately.

Green Leader's picture

Time Zone is 12 hrs ahead....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Oh regional Indian's picture

;-) Thanks Do Chen.

IF I may, from July 13th... an excerpt.

"India is such a highly or should I say Capitally In-efficient nation, that the recognition of that fact alone can cause this entire facade of progress that we are living, to come crashing down. Capitalism’s growth in India has been created by using legislated and under-the-table in-efficiencies as ways to build crony-capital empires.

No trickle down theory applies here. The trickle downees are stuck in front of their idiot-boxes, mesmerized. Wishing the show would never end. In fact, it would be shockingly and startlingly instructive for every “modern” Indian to do a simple exercise to see how you have been “led” by your nose, to this place of false belief in our “progress” as a “nation”. The sham has been shined into our eyes so brightly that we are, for the most part, like deer in headlights."

For the rest, see here:


As for this analysis, mostly spot on. India was "gathered together" by the British to make for easy control. Too many kingdoms made their task hard. They wrote India's constitution, left us their broken parliamentary system, their Corrupt, Maritime Law based Judicial system and made sure that bribery would be an integral part of the body politic.

A spark in any of 10 or so hot-beds will rip this nation apart.

Does not help that the US is now our "friend" (shudder!!!) and old pal pakistan is going up in flames. Meanwhile, the CIA driven war in Sri-Lanka has been brought to a temporary halt, but India can be pincered easily by our little neighbours all around, all American puppets.

Meanwhile, the Dragon breathes down our neck, literally and figuratively, annexing territory and funding "separatism".

Poor India, like all other experiments of the 20th century coming out of th eroots of the CITY OF LONDON, our use-by date seems fast approaching.

I'd say save your investment monies for hard assets. If one wants to prosper in India, food is all that will matter.

The aspirational society is a Credit driven bubble. No more. 

My 2 paisa, FWIW.


Sudden Debt's picture

India is heading fast to a ecological disaster. Faster then China.

Droughts, floods and farmers leaving their fields is causing foodprices in India to skyrocket.

Also the once that make money are the elite and there are a lot of poor people that will never get out of their social classes.

Revolution is the only answer and the only thing that is keeping a lid on that is their religion but the muslims over there are heating things up fast.

Yardfarmer's picture

indeed. the largely forced transition from a subsistence farming and largely agrarian and rural population to an industrialized and urban economy is evidently causing severe mass dislocations in Indian society. this is particularly true when "metal and mining sectors" funded by foreign investment banks with government and police complicity expropriate small farms to exploit the sub continents vast mineral resources such as bauxite along with its water resources. the epidemic of suicides among the rural Indian farmers is an ongoing national tragedy and in balance it might be the case that it is these global corporate interests which pose as much of a real and equal threat to national security as do the Naxal Maoist rebels who oppose them.

nufio's picture

its also becoming a transition form agrarian and rural to a service economy with all the IT and BPO skipping the manufacturing transitition, which i think is leading to bigger income disparity.

Most of the upcoming second-tier cities in india like bangalore, hyderabad, pune, etc are entirely focused on the service sector with very little industrialization. another epidemic is the mall culture in the cities. the governmental policy to keep citizens entertained in the cities seems to be to build a mall every 2 blocks. Most of these malls have all the big international brand stores but ive never seen anyone buying anything in there. the middle class in india is ridiculously price conscious. most of the call center employees in india have the same sense of entitlement and consumeristic tendencies that ive noticed in the american population.


Green Leader's picture

"most of the call center employees in india have the same sense of entitlement and consumeristic tendencies that ive noticed in the american population."

And their names also happen to be Western, too!

My name is Kenny, how can I help you?

AnAnonymous's picture

Actually, all those people are required to live in the US culture. By contract, they have to know base ball results, watch US TV shows and stuff like that to give a friendly and familiar feeling to US customers.

Parth's picture

You are missing out on the fact that Pharma and auto components are other industries. The key issue is power in India- i.e. electricity which will be soon non issue due to Mr. Bush helping India

get the nuclear 123 agreement. Yes Bush jr did one thing right. He well "empowered India" (well that may backfire too as more jobs move there- its impossible to win isn't it).

goldmiddelfinger's picture

Hard to believe the casino lands didn't make top 5.

Sudden Debt's picture

It was actually a lot less

Occupation Annual Salary 2000 $

1900 Census Average Salary $449.80 $8,973
Unskilled Female $120 $2,394
African-American male laborer $150 $2,992
African-American Female laundress $180 $3,591
Nurses after two years $193 $3,850
Factory women (Boston) $295.44 $5,885
Retail Women (Boston) $303.84 $6,045
National average female teachers $381.50 $7,601
Lynn, MA factory seamstresses $384 $7,660
Male Stenographer $400 $7,980
Eden, NY Union Free School female teacher $400 $7,980
National average male teachers $452 $9,017
Nurse Supervisors $463 $9,237
Western U.S. female teachers $505 $10,074
Buffalo Railway Company trolley conductors $533 $10,663
NYC Female teachers $600 $11,970
Buffalo teacher after 4 years $600 $11,970
Western U.S. male teachers $610 $12,169
Buffalo NY factory planers $624 $12,449
Buffalo School "department principal" $750 $14,902
NYC male teachers $900 $17,955

YHWH's picture

This article is talking dots, not feathers.

Tense INDIAN's picture

Tyler...i always wanted to know FROM u about the INDIAN economy ....what happens when the GLOBAL RESET is here

Parth's picture

The Indian economy is in fine shape structurally as the outstanding debt matches the reserves. The Central bank also is honest to maintain high interest rates and let currency partially float. If you are rich India is a safe place to have paper money unlike unfortunate Americans and our money printing fed.

YHWH's picture

Go long skin lightening cremes, and go longer on deodorant.



raki_d's picture

looks like you went longest on the one-side cheek transplant.. must be 1 of those lighter skin ppl thngs

Caviar Emptor's picture

I wonder if the political conflicts will not increase dramatically as inflation worsens and resources get scarce. There's also the issue of Pakistan. India's political elite are pro-Anglo, but there are obviously competing forces. 

MeTarzanUjane's picture

India, what a disgusting excuse for a country.

The next customer service rep that you speak to that rolls 'R's and calls himself Bob. Think about where his toilet is... In his trash basket next to his desk.

He then sells his waste to the local pharmaceutical company and they use that as inert fillers for the pills that they manufacture and ship to the USA.

trav7777's picture

what can you expect from a nation where you'll see an airline pilot groom and physician bride bow down before a fucking COW prior to getting married??

chindit13's picture

Religion is a bad place to go.  Don't know if you practice one yourself, but if you do, guaranteed someone else can make it seem absolutely absurd.  They all are.  But if it works for you.....

whacked's picture

Everyone misses the biggest problem and principle Megatheme and that is their caste system.

Even though their own constitution forbids it they are the biggest racists / discriminatory wankers that exist on this planet ...


Try being a Dalit for a day ... no one would last 5 seconds! God forbid if you are a female and a Dalit!

laosuwan's picture

stray instances of conflict? You have china banrolling the maoists in the north, that will intensify. You have two fanatical islamic republics on either side, one, pakistan has pledged to "retake" the hindu state of india and return it to islam, the other, bang bangladesh, is sending tens of thousands of illegal immegrants across the border to settle in india and drive out the buddhist and hindu there and in the chittigong highlands. And then you will have china coming into the south waters of the andaman through ports in burma within a few years. Now, with neighbors like that the situation is not so rosy for india. Plus there is a sixth megatrend not even mentioned: the increasing shortage of water. much of india is suffering droubt and there is dessertification already in some parts of the country. there is no shortage of hostile neighbors or crisis waiting to gobble up whatever economic gains india creates. The problems will bleed india dry, both figuratively and literally.

Parth's picture



Thats highly ignorant of you. China is not bankrolling the Maoist. The Maoists are bankrolling it themselves by a shadow economy and extortion. Bangladesh is Islamic, but they are like the mildest moslems you met. I live in USA and have a bangladeshi girlfriend. True Pakistan is the problem, but then its everybodies problem and NATO is in Afghanistan (Thank you NATO thank you US military!!). INdia has deep experience and success in dealing with insurgencies for 1000s of years. Bonding a land of 23 states, 1600 languages will lead to bloodshed. But the bonds that bind the country are strong- and sometimes amusing. Bollywood(Indian movie industry) bonds all of South Asia. Worry about inflation in China. What will you do when Bernanke does QE3 QE 4- China will be sunk and in revolt. The corrupt CPP will beoverthrown. China is already rattled and introduced price controls (big mistake- start of black market and parallel economy is assured).

Did you know that the average Indian has the most gold or silver of any country in planet earth. Total 18,000 tonnes gold in Indian private hands. Worth $800 billion today and probaly $4 trillion in a few years. What does China have as reserves? $2trillion in US securities- HAHA worth ZERO in few years. India will be around after China or USA disintegerates. Remember the Golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.

laosuwan's picture



South Asia Analysis group paper about Communist Party of India-Maoists (CPI-Maoists) too much cooincidence not to believe that China wants to destabilize India in this way as well as others.


Regarding Bangledesh, The government there is as brutal as Pakistan, just less organized. For example,


 you might begin by asking your girlfriend why she values to live somewhere else?

Parth's picture



China is not bankrolling Maoists as alleged by anyone. Can you imagine the diplomatic fallout for China? Come on China is China but its not North Korea. Bangladesh is not as venal as Pakistan. My girlfriend lives here in California  because most Asians with money want to live here. Surely California in living standards exceeds anything South Asia has to offer. She has no qualms to live in Bangladesh. Remember the women are more powerful in Bangladesh, most of their Prime Ministers are Women. Pakistan and Bangladesh are fundamentally different, in fact most of Pakistanis have nothing against Indians except for the small group amongst Punjabis and Pathans. We know ample Pakistanis who just want normal relations and trade with India.

laosuwan's picture

When has china ever been concerned about diplomatic fallout?

So, maybe you know more about Bangladesh than the UN high commission for human rights via your girlfriend.


As for female politicians in Bangladesh, Begum Khaleda Zia was charged with corruption and the government arrested Sheikh Hasina, who almost died while in custody fro lack of medical care. In 2004 islamists tried to kill Sheikh Hasina.


Is this the high profile woman leaders you talk of?


Bangladesh is a hell hole. Islamists there slaughter hindu and buddhist, they oppress moderates, they create instability in burma and india. it is not a neighbor anyone with a brain would like to have. No matter what your girlfriend tells you.


Tense INDIAN's picture

Thats highly ignorant of you. China is not bankrolling the Maoist. The Maoists are bankrolling it themselves by a shadow economy and extortion....

wrong ..they r bankrolled by CNINA , PAKISTAN ,n bangladesh combined....u dont want me to think that those poor adivasis have the money to buy AK47s -56s and blast of the Indian police.?..

Bangladesh is Islamic, but they are like the mildest moslems you met.........


Dont know about ur girlfriend ...Try living with the Bangladeshi immigrants in Western assmam n eastern Bengal of Midnapore district....

(Thank you NATO thank you US military!!)....


I dont believe at all Al-Qaeda exists...and the Taliban whichis trying to take over pakistan is completely funded by the CIA...u know,...break up Pakistan ...denuclearise it...For ISREAL..:)...Pakistan is not completely innocent..but u dont have to thank NATO...There is more chance that Mumbai attacks is CIA-MoSSAD put pressure on Pakistan ..


Total 18,000 tonnes gold in Indian private hands.


but we will always have a Billion poor people with Substandard living standards...

He who has the gold makes the rules.

..I wonder who has got d gold from FORT KNOX






Parth's picture

I am almost amused by some of the posts obvious bigotry. Somehow I must be missing out on this horrid place some here describe as India. Let me give you a different picture. In view of the corrupt plutocracy that runs the US banking system India actually has a Central bank of the people that actually raises interest rates to contain inflation. India practices caste system in its umpteen villages but the Western world practices it in its cities. You as an average citizen of the West are a lower caste citizen because you are subject to an invisible tax levied by the Fed- QE2 is the latest one. In 10years the West will have permenant lower caste with food lines- inspite-hear ye hear ye- inspite of having the resources to feed the world. Now thats a true cruel caste system. Oh and BTW Indian economy is slated to be the largest in 2050 and I believe it.

The country is truly emerging as a land of free enterprise (albeit corrupt-but equal opportunity corruption), excellent cheap education and healthcare, political freedom, religious freedom (acknowledged the villagers in India have to be dragged into the 20th century), excellent healthcare for those with money. Yes there are problems as any civilization that just escaped the yolk of colonialism and tribal warfare. From 1993 when liberalization began, to now the pace is breathtaking. Expect only good things to happen there. All myfolks have retired with loads of extra cash in the stocks while everyone who moved to the US is gritting their teeth (except for the one that are lawyers and doctors). I will be honest- as of 2010 a watershed point has been reached where the educated middle class Indian sees no need to emigrate, and I see the need to start my next software startup in India, not US or UK. Simply not enough talent here (outsourcing now is due to lack of educated people in the West- not wages).

bigkahuna's picture

I'm not at all amused by the bigotry. One of the reasons many of us have so many fires raging in our back yards is BECAUSE WE ARE TOO BUSY TALKING SHIT ON OTHER PEOPLE!!!

Too bad that otherwise productive minds are wasted in this fashion. We all pay the price for it.


Green Leader's picture

"Simply not enough talent here (outsourcing now is due to lack of educated people in the West- not wages)."


Parth's picture

Surprisingly true. All my recent hires are from India, Russia and China. I simply do not run across American born Americans in Silicon Valley to staff my projects. H-1 programs need to be expanded or we will be forced to set up shop in INdia as 90% of out staff is Indian anyways. H-1 is political football in US, but its a great boon to US economy and industry. 85% of our staff is on H-1 or recently gotten their greencards, Thats about 30 Java related engineers making 100,000$s a year. Imagine if we were forced to set up offshore operations. Then new homes will not be sold in Bay area California. California debt would lose tax revenue. The immigration dept is truly holding ip H-1 processing due to our economy here, which is politically understandable but makes no economic sense. The unemployed AMericans are mostly from the Real estate business.

Abhishek's picture

Another useless sell side report spewing out generalities by the dozen.I hold ZH to higher standards than republishing such trash....Note India has always been a hotbed of conflicts for anyone with a slim knowledge about India.Inflation in India is running at 10% or more for the last year or so.So 2 of these megathemes are already backward looking

Indian GDP is strongly dominated by consumption so another backward looking theme.Every Tom,Dick and Harry knows about Capx in India growing while Financial Sector in India is not as rosy.Government owned banks with most of the assets sit on billions worth of shady loans made to crappy companies.

The recent Soros,Khosla backed much hyped IPO SKS Microfinance debacle exposes these risks.Read this here

mooneclips's picture

"Doing same thing and expecting different result". We are following the same broken economic model of western world. Real-estate prices have gone up 50 times in last 15-20 years. Most people look other side when discussing india is CORRUPTION. Having potential and realising them are two different things. We cannot built a decent road which can last 1year, leave aside anything else. People have misplace optimism about us. Only 10% of India is growing at the cost of rest. Our prime minister is great proponent of "trickle down economy". Now he too imbroiled in greatest corruption of all time involving massive sum of $40 billion. There are two India: neon lite and no light India.

Parth's picture

India is very corrupt. But who said corruption is an obstacle? Its just a way of doing business.People go "OMG corruption let's scram", but reality is its just a huge parallel "blackmoney economy" that is very well understood. Call it donations that are known. If its so well defined and known, then it is easily overcome. Even if 10% of India grows fast, that 100million people.

Education is the key. 

whatsinaname's picture

Indian stockmarkets are way out of proportion out of the reality of whats really happening to the economy. Lots of easy money is flooding stock markets driving them to crazy heights. Very good thing in India's favor is that govt bond markets are closed off to the outside world making borrowing difficult to the local savers BUT keeps interest rates high enough that it encourages good saving habits.

tom's picture

Goddamnit, did those bloody Indians PPP in the GDP data again?

"per capita income in PPP terms recently breached the $ 3K"

Oh yippee yahoo. What is that in planet earth terms? $1k?

Lovely country, if you can afford the staff to clear the beggars out of your view.

RECISION's picture

 the country has been doing its thing and not engaging in overt or covert conflict with the developed world

No, not with the Developed world...

But anywhere else, well...

David99's picture

Indian leadership is very poor India can never be China for centuries to come

BigDuke6's picture

The same religion that makes otherwise sensible adults bow down toward cows also comes in handy as a very effective control of society.

with the reincarnation thing then if you at the top then its because you did well in a former life and the plebs are down there because they deserve it.

so the plebs work hard for the next life and the elite can happily ignore the beggars hacking bits off themselves and their kids in order to earn a few rupees

alexwest's picture





#4 corruption

#5 caste system

AND ON on on .. only complete insane idiot would even approach

this bag of shit called INDIA