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Investing in India: News and forecasts for the long haul

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AP Photo/Gurinder Osan

(Read caption) A construction worker positions the outlet of a concrete mixer at a building construction site in Gurgaon, India in this March 4 photo. India's Finance Ministry in an economic survey released in February made an assertion that India could soon overtake China's growth rates and become the fastest growing economy in the world within next four years. Given the growing productivity of Indian workers and large working age population, it's certainly possible for India's economy to speed up, say economists and businesspeople.

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The private sector ruined itself in the bubble of ’03-’07. Now, it’s the public sector’s turn. All over the developed world – with a few exceptions – the feds are adding debt at an alarming rate.

The US has already passed “the point of no return,” says a report from Casey Research. Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart put that point where external debt passes 73% of GDP or 239% of exports. IMF data, says the Casey team, shows the US has already gone too far on both scores, with external debt at 96% of GDP and 748% of exports.

We’re in Mumbai, India, checking in with one of our ‘strategic partners.’

In our family office, where we keep the family money, we take big bets over long periods of time…working with strategic partners who are knowledgeable about key sectors. Last year, we missed the rally in US stocks. But we’re lucky in our choice of friends and business partners. Two of our strategic partners – one in the resource area…the other in India – more than doubled our money.

Over the last 12 months, Mumbai’s Sensex index has gone up more than 108%.

But our bet on India is for the very long term. In the recent financial crisis, that bet seemed to go bad. Foreign investors pulled their money out of India along with other emerging markets – even though India had very little exposure to the banking crisis itself.

What’s ahead? Seven percent GDP growth this year…nine percent next year. The first figure is news. The second is a forecast. But there are good reasons to be bullish on India for the long pull. Stay tuned…

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