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Economic implications of Lok Sabha Election 2024 results: Would lack of a clear majority for BJP impact India’s growth story?

Economic implications of Lok Sabha Election 2024 results: Would lack of a clear majority for BJP impact India’s growth story?
If there is one word to aptly describe the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha election results, specifically for the incumbent party, it would be jolting, startling, and perhaps, even surprising. The exit polls were wide off the mark, and then some.

Less than a week ago, India reported a remarkable GDP growth rate of 8.2% for the fiscal year 2023-24. Over the weekend, exit polls predicted a clear and easy majority for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its alliance NDA. Consequently, benchmark indexes, Sensex and Nifty, both zoomed more than 3 per cent on Monday, breaching the all-time high records.

On Tuesday, the tides turned! Putting a harsh full stop on the ruling party’s “abki baar 400 paar” narrative, the electoral situation on Tuesday evening shows less than 300 seats to the NDA and over 230 seats to the opposing INDIA bloc. What’s even more concerning for the ruling party is its tally dropping from 303 in 2019 to less than 245 this year.

Consequently, on Tuesday, Sensex witnessed the steepest drop in over four years since the pandemic, recording a drop of 4,389 to settle just over 72,000. Nifty also dipped by almost 6%, standing at 21,884 points.

If the trends hold, the BJP will lack a clear, simple majority on its own for the next five years, even if it manages to form a government with its pre-poll allies. The question is, how stable the new government would be, what would be the overall impact of this verdict on India’s economy, and what’s the story behind the jitters exhibited by the markets on Tuesday?
India’s incredible economic growth story
Perched to be the world’s 3rd largest economy by 2027, India’s current GDP value stands at $3.9 trillion. As per FM Nirmala Seetharaman, the Indian economy is anticipated to grow at a rate of close to 7% in FY25 and hit $7 trillion by 2030.

The Gross Value Added (GVA) data supports the optimistic outlook, with a growth rate of 7.2% in FY24 compared to 6.7% in FY23. And notably, this strong economic growth has come at a time when most of the major economies across the globe are grappling with a slowdown. While few expect India to maintain a robust growth of 8.2%, most economists agree that GDP growth could moderate to around 7% in FY25.

But most of these growth forecasts are contingent on a stable government and policy reforms at the centre. So, does the sharp fall in benchmark indices on Tuesday foretell a twist in India’s growth story?
Is there a twist in the tale?
Firstly, the foreign portfolio inflows (FPI), indicative of the global confidence reposed in the Indian markets, have been on a consistent decline over the past 3 months. As of 4th June 2024, foreign institutional investors had withdrawn a total of Rs 14,339 crores from the Indian equity markets while investing Rs 55,273 crores in debt instruments, which are traditionally reflective of safety, security, and a low-risk and change appetite.

Foreign institutional investors had also withdrawn Rs 25,586 crores during May 2024, and Rs 8,671 crores during April 2024. If anything, the Indian market stands atop the strong confidence of domestic investors. The AUM (assets under management) of the Indian mutual fund industry stood at a record high of around $57 lakh crores in April 2024, even as the SIP AUM hit a record high of Rs 11.26 lakh crore.

"The steep fall is due to the results so far falling short of the exit polls which the market had discounted yesterday. If BJP doesn't get a majority on its own there will be disappointment and this is getting reflected in the market. Also it is possible that Modi 3.O may not be as reform-oriented as the market expected and may turn more welfare- oriented," said V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist, Geojit Financial Services.
Cautiously optimistic investors could prevail
But does this mean India’s growth story stands threatened or even jeopardized? Even though social media is flooded with memes that might lead one to believe it is all over for India’s story, the country remains the fastest growing economy amongst all G-20 nations in 2024, compelling almost all rating agencies to positively hike the country’s potential growth rate.

But, equally noticeable is the fact that India’s private consumption, a major indicator of the economy’s growth, jumped by only 3.5% over the last 3 months of 2024. India now makes up 6.7% of the world’s GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP). As figures go, India is set to become a $10 trillion economy by 2030.

Veteran investors like Raamdeo Agrawal, who heads Motilal Oswal Financial Services, believe that India’s potential growth rate of 8-8.5% is not going anywhere and that NDA’s leadership is here to stay. In his words, if an investor has managed to make 4-5x in the last 3-4 years, one will have to give in 20-30%. But that is where you will have to persist as an investor.

"With the NDA still looking to form a government, though with the important support of coalition partners, markets look jittery about the prospects of strong decision making. Markets believe that the reformistic approach, which was a hallmark of the previous two terms, might take a backseat in the third term. However, our sense is that it is still early to jump to conclusions and should ideally wait for a clearer picture," said Manish Chowdhury, Head of Research, StoxBox.

But all in all, the NDA government is most likely to stay for the full term, and those who bet on the same stand to stay safe despite the surprisingly strong performance of the INDIA alliance. However, in the end, the only one who wins in the market stays put in the market in the long run. Because NDA, or INDIA, compounding is here to stay, all set to immensely benefit long-term investors.

(With inputs ANI)