I am staring outside my window this morning, and the scene looks no different than the one I have seen all summer. Drab, dank, damp, cloudy and raining.
Don’t get me wrong — Alaska is breathtaking and I am gazing at incredible mountains from my house as if I can reach out and touch them. Yet, we have had the wettest summer in recent history.
Depressing, especially as we gear up for a long winter ahead …
But one man’s rain is 1.1 billion Indians’ dance of joy.
While one may suffer through the stereotype of India being the land of call centers and IT geeks, here are some interesting facts as it relates to India and agriculture:
• India ranks second in the world in agriculture output
• In India, 52 percent of employment is based on agriculture and support industries
• India is the largest producer in the world of milk, cashew nuts, coconuts, tea, and spices such as ginger, turmeric and black pepper.
• India also has the world's largest cattle population.
• India is the second largest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, groundnut and inland fish.
• India accounts for 10 percent of the world’s fruit production.
So when India experiences a bounty monsoon season, there are massive street celebrations around the harvest season due to abundance of food and profits due to excellent crop production.
For all of you who do not know about the dependence of India on monsoon — monsoon is the season of summer rains and ranges from mid-June to mid-September. As we enter into the final phase of monsoon in India, the meteorological reports indicate a 6 percent above-normal monsoon. And that means we will finish the year with a normal or above-normal monsoon. And this will mean India will experience a surge in its GDP growth due to the rain.
While all of this is great for the coming six to nine months, what excites me is the economic news that greeted us last week. Indian GDP for April-June 2010 came in at 8.8 percent. And this was on the heels of 8.6 percent for the January – March 2010 period. The agriculture portion of the GDP growth was significantly higher compared to last year (52 percent higher).
What has me in raptures is that manufacturing is surging ahead at a very strong rate, which indicates that India is firing on all cylinders.
Another fact not commonly known about India is that it consumes more than 85 percent of what it produces. Internal consumption is very high. India does not depend on exports as heavily as China.
The one major Achilles’ heel for India is its huge dependence on imports of oil and oil products. India’s foreign exchange reserves are at record highs.
India is the world’s largest democracy and is blessed with one of the most prudent Central Banks, one which holds the progress of the economy in its steadfast vision.
I have attempted to promote business between my partners in the United States and India. The most frustrating part is trying to get attention to deals. Most folks I deal with are running at full tilt and politely decline deals as they cannot focus on more business offers. They are at full capacity and turn down new business routinely.
The stock market seems overvalued slightly, but the local analysts have a different view. The traditional model by which the globe values each market is not a great indicator in current times due to the significant diversion in growth trajectories around the world. Asia is growing around 6.5 percent to 7.0 percent while the West (the United States, Canada, and Europe) are growing at around 1.5 percent.
Being a native of India, I can extol the virtues of India forever. I am in constant touch with folks on the ground there and keep a very close pulse on the events in India as they unfold.
All in all, I am extremely bullish on India.
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