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How US mid-term poll outcome will impact Indian IT and pharma sectors

At the moment most experts are in a wait and watch mode, while some players from these sectors think that it could be a mixed bag.

twitter-logo E Kumar Sharma        Last Updated: November 13, 2018  | 22:07 IST
How US mid-term poll outcome will impact Indian IT and pharma sectors

How India's export-led sectors IT and pharma would be impacted with Democrats taking control of the House, following the midterm elections in the US? At the moment most experts are in a wait and watch mode, while some players from these sectors think that it could be a mixed bag. However, there are concerns about policy reforms for the IT sector and generic pricing pressures for the pharma sector.

Though both the sectors are taking comfort in that there is little likelihood now repeal of Obamacare (the former US president Barack Obama's legislation on affordable care, known more as Obamacare). This would mean less disruption for the pharma sector.

For the IT sector, the major questions are around legislations on H1B visa and tax regulations that can put more or less money in the hands of the US companies to spend on digitisation.  Similarly, for the pharmaceutical industry, interest would be around the policies for the generic drug industry and the move towards low cost medications.

Sudheer Guntupalli, research analyst at Ambit, says: "We turn cautious on IT as Democrats regain control of the House post mid-terms." He feels any populist stimulus packages (e.g. middle class tax cuts) would be thwarted by democrats.

"With a lag, this can result in a reset in IT growth expectations for two reasons: (1) another phase of stagnation in NIMs (net interest margins) of US banks and (2) weakening of dollar. On a positive note, the mid-term outcome checkmates Trump's ambitions on Obamacare repeal."

He adds, "The healthcare vertical should cease to be a drag on growth of IT." Now, that could be good news for companies like Wipro and Cognizant who have healthcare as an important business vertical."

On the issue of H1B visas, he says, "Under changed politics and pressure from US companies (like Alphabet, Microsoft etc.), we foresee little likelihood of any adverse legislation against H-1Bs."

For the pharma sector, any move that can lift the pressure on the generic firms would watched by the Indian companies. At the moment, as a senior official in a leading Mumbai-based pharma company puts it, "The key problem facing Indian generic companies is the pricing pressure in the US market. The distributors as well as the innovators are making money and the pricing pressures have really been on the generic players."

Therefore on this front, companies would want to still wait and watch.

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