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India's trade, infrastructure growth prospects most promising: HSBC

HSBC Trade Confidence Index for India stood at the highest -- 142 points, followed by UAE (132 points) and Indonesia (127 points)

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Despite subdued economic growth, India has elicited a vote of trust  from businesses worldwide, in a survey.

The HSBC puts India at the highest spot, 142 points, followed by UAE (132 points) and Indonesia (127 points).

"The HSBC Trade Confidence Index reports a positive outlook for world over the next six months, as companies expect demand to increase," said the HSBC Global Connections Report.

Armed with growing demand because of its population, India offers a  huge market for consumption goods, the report said. "Despite its recent slowdown, the economic promise of India remains substantial, with the growing population and nascent domestic middle class generating a burgeoning market for consumption goods."

This, it said, signals that businesses are generally confident about trade prospects in the country.

The report might give some respite to the government, trying hard to sell our growth prospects to investors. Finance minister P Chidambaram leaves on Wednesday for Washington and San Francisco to woo investors there.

On long-term prospects, HSBC said Asia was expected to see the fastest growth in merchandise exports till 2030, with China, India and Vietnam averaging over 10 per cent annual growth.

The report also said India was set to overtake America as the biggest importer of inputs for infrastructure by 2020, as it builds new transport networks and power plants, among other amenities. India has pegged infrastructure spending at $1 trillion in the 12th five year plan (2012-13 to 2016-17) from a little less than $500 billion in the previous five years.  

At present, the US is the world's largest importer of intermediate goods for infrastructure. "But by 2020, India will push the US out of pole position to import the highest share of intermediate goods," said the bank.  In fact, India will increase the share of infrastructure goods in its total imports.  

"Following a recent push to improve its infrastructure and economic development, India is set to increase its share of infrastructure-related imports from 67 per cent now to 71 per cent by 2030," the report noted. However, it noted that infrastructure bottlenecks were the reasons for stalling growth.

The report mentioned India would become one of the fastest-growing infrastructure import markets in the medium term, accompanying Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh.  

It further said that India will become the third-largest exporter of intermediate goods by 2030, after China and the UAE. At present, India is 11th.

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