labels: housing finance, markets - general
US economy, housing crisis to worsen: Rakesh Jhunjhunwalanews
06 October 2007
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, investor and trader, feels that the impact of the sub prime crisis will be far worse than expected. He has said that the Fed rate cut is unlikely to solve the sub prime crisis and the US economy will slow down and the housing crisis will worsen.

He said that markets may see short-term reactions, but they will decouple from the US. He added that India''s long-term bull market remains intact. He cautioned that the US slowdown will adversely impact the Indian IT sector.

Excerpts from CNBC-TV18''s exclusive interview with Rakesh Jhunjhunwala:

From morning we have heard a variety of views on sub prime and what impact it could have on India and emerging markets. What''s your take on it?
I think the impact of the subprime crisis is going to be far worse than markets are expecting today. I do not think Fed rate cut can solve the subprime crisis.

I do not think that the US housing market is going to bottom for the next 24-30 months. I think the US economy will further slow; anyway at the moment the markets are quite elated with the Fed rate cut. Let''s see what happens.

You''ve been bearish on US saying that the bull-run over there has ended. We saw how this bubble has burst, the whole housing market has gone into a slump, and US stocks are down. What is your take on it?
The US market has not slumped; the Dow is nearly at a new high. The markets perceive that this problem will be surmounted, just like all other problems.

You expect more Fed cuts to keep fueling the markets going forward?
I do not know what kind of Fed cuts will happen, because inflation also has to be looked at. But I do not think the Fed rate cuts can solve this problem.

Our Indian markets, or almost all emerging markets are clued on to what is happening over there (US). Because of that, we are seeing heavy volatility coming into the markets (particularly) in the past three days.
I would disagree. About two-two and half years ago, the Sensex first crossed the Dow and today the Sensex is at least 20 per cent higher than the Dow, in numerical terms. So you may have day-to-day reactions, but over a period of time you will decouple.

From a longish point of view, what is your take on the Bull Run in India?
I think the longer-term bull market in India is very much alive.

The factors driving the bull market are alive and kicking and will be present in India for a very long time to come. Having risen from 3,000 to 18,000, we can always be prepared for corrections or some fall. Markets may not even go up for maybe another year. But I do not think the bull market is dead. We had a rise from 3,000 to 18,000 and if we consolidate and do not go up for a year or two, I do not think it''s going to make any difference to the long-term bull market.

Do you think we are going to consolidate from now on and then only progress further?
I do not know whether we will consolidate. But even if we were to consolidate and not go up much or go down a little, the longer-term bull market will still be alive.

We heard Chris Wood say in the morning that the Sensex target, the long-term CLSA target, is 40,000. What is your take on that?
I can only have some idea of the directions; I have no targets.

You been bearish on Indian IT for quite sometime now. What could happen to the US economy? When we talked to the tech companies, they say fundamentals have not changed, rupee is the only problem.
Fundamentals today might not have changed. But if there is a big slowdown in the US economy, which I personally anticipate, then I think software will also come under pressure.

Earlier, we had all tailwinds for the software industry and in my opinion we have headwinds now. I do not say that software companies are going to go down. Although volume may or may not get affected, margins will be affected and therefore price earnings ratios can be affected.

Midcaps have been very tepid over the past one-month. Is it just like in the middle of the storm? How do you see them bounce back?
I disagree. Mid caps are doing exceedingly well. I think 50 per cent of all listed stocks have made new highs. So I do not agree that they have been tepid.
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US economy, housing crisis to worsen: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala