Business Today

From the editor

With clear signs of a US Economy-led global slowdown and an unprecedented rise in commodity, including food grain, prices all round, how bad are things going to be for the Indian economy? Predictions by most analysts point to a slower GDP growth. Inflation (7.41 per cent at the end of March) is causing concern.

Sanjoy Narayan        Print Edition: May 4, 2008

With clear signs of a US Economy-led global slowdown and an unprecedented rise in commodity, including food grain, prices all round, how bad are things going to be for the Indian economy? Predictions by most analysts point to a slower GDP growth. Inflation (7.41 per cent at the end of March) is causing concern. Consumer demand has been softening in some sectors and cost of funds for industry is high. All this together spells bad news for the economy, right? Well, as part of our cover package we polled 151 CXOs in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad between April 4 and 10. The results of that survey were pleasantly surprising. The mood in India Inc. is upbeat and the majority of those polled expects things not to be that bad, after all (check out The CXO Poll in the cover story Slowdown-It may hurt, but not kill).

In fact, they aren't. And that explains our cover headline, Why the Slowdown Won't Kill You. Our package opens with a story, by Associate Editor Shalini S. Dagar, that explores what lies ahead for GDP growth, inflation, interest rates and investment. The second story is on the Indian stock market, which, as we all know, has lost a massive 24.5 per cent since January 8, 2008.

Yet, even there, things may not be as bad as they may first seem. After all, the slowdown we are talking about here is a drop in GDP growth from last year's 9.4 per cent to a little above 8 per cent, a rate not very many economies of the world today can dream of. A third story looks at what a stronger rupee can do to exports (our finding: it may hurt but exports could still grow at a robust 25-30 per cent this year), while a fourth story looks at what rising inflation can do to consumer demand.

We took four leading headhunters and got them to brainstorm and pick 25 managers who they thought were the hottest young talent in India Inc. for BT's fifth Hottest Young Executives list. The criteria were simple: they had to be under 40 and they had to be extraordinary at what they do. Associate Editor Shamni Pande coordinated the brainstorming session and helped draw up the initial shortlist from which the 25 were selected. Go to India's hottest young executives to see the people to watch in corporate India in the coming years.

Commercial banks are getting a new breed of rivals- large non-banking financial companies. Increasingly, some of these NBFCs are muscling in on what traditionally has been bank territory by offering retail products like home loans, car/bike loans, personal loans and wealth management services. In Licence to Bank, Associate Editor Anand Adhikari looks at how the rise of the NBFC is changing the dynamics of the financial services market.

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