Is India the next China? Analyst says he is ‘very, very bullish’ on one of them

Workers are silhouetted against the setting sun at the Coastal Road Project construction site in Mumbai.
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India is not the new China, and the emerging superpower is marching to the beat of its own drum and could “enjoy some very high growth years,” said Riedel Research Group.

“[I’m] very, very bullish on India — they are doing all the right things and have a very high chance to outperform expectations in the next six to 24 months,” David Riedel, CEO of the equity research and analysis firm, told CNBC in an e-mail.

“Definitely prefer India over China,” he continued. “China’s economy [is] much larger but this is a notable shift as India has perennially underperformed China.”

Riedel also maintained that India is a “very different country” from what China is today and ever was.

According to Riedel, India is successfully maneuvering the middle income growth trap with a number of instruments in their toolbox, such as the monetization and digitization of their economy, as well as a change in their tax structure.

The middle income trap is an economic development situation where growing economies stagnate at middle-income levels and are unable to advance to the ranks of high-income countries.

“I think it has the chance to enjoy some very high growth years, and I think that’s what investors should be looking for,” he said in an interview with “Street Signs Asia” on Friday.

India is set to overtake Japan and Germany to become the world’s third-largest economy before the end of the decade, according to forecasts from S&P Global and Morgan Stanley last December.

And some of the brighter spots could be found in the outsourcing and finance sectors.

“This is really the decade and expansion of Indian financial services,” Manish Chokhani, director of Enam Holdings, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.

“The whole mutual fund business, the private sector banking business … they really have a decade of growth ahead of them.”

Dimmer outlook for China

On the other hand, China’s growth trajectory may not be as rosy as it used to be.

China will not be as strong in the next five years as it was in the past five years, Riedel projects. He cited headwinds like high urban unemployment among youth and an increasing number of supply chains shifting away from China.

In May, China’s youth unemployment rose to a record high of 20.8% for youths aged 16 to 24.

China has also recently recorded a slew of weaker-than-expected economic data, pointing to fizzling growth momentum. China’s factory activity in June marked another contraction, while non-manufacturing activity was at its weakest since Beijing abandoned its strict “zero-Covid” policy late last year.

That being said, Riedel said he saw some green shoots in certain consumer and travel industries that came out of Covid lockdowns.

“I’m not a perennial bear on China. I just have a harder time finding opportunities today.”

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