(Bloomberg) -- As India’s consumer spending slows down after a multiyear boom, one life insurer is betting on the nation’s plans to upgrade its infrastructure.
“Investment is a better way to revive the economy, not consumption,” said Hemant Kanawala, head of equities at Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Co. in Mumbai. “Jobs will be created only if investments pick up, and that will boost consumption in a way,” he said.
India’s latest budget targets the building of highways and railroads as well as providing water to all citizens. The spending plan comes amid a slowdown in the economy and a credit crisis in the shadow banking system that have dented consumer appetites.
Read: Cars and Shampoo Tell a Tale of India’s Slowing Consumption
With government plans to spend about 1.6 trillion rupees ($23.3 billion) on transportation infrastructure this year, Kotak Mahindra Life prefers shares of cement makers, engineering firms and construction contractors. The budget earmarks 100 billion rupees for drinking water projects in rural areas.
Kanawala also favors lenders that have good access to borrowing resources, as they’re likely to gain share amid the problems in the nonbank financial industry.
Kotak Mahindra Life has about 95 billion rupees in equity holdings. Kotak Classic Opportunities -- its top fund with 43.7 billion rupees of stocks -- has returned 11% annually over the past five years, beating 73% of rivals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
The U.S.-China trade dispute “becomes more and more painful after each round of talks between the two nations and no resolution.”“Central banks are getting accommodative across the globe and we expect another round of monetary easing in the next six to 12 months. We aren’t sure about how it impacts the global economy, but the impact on markets will definitely be positive.”“Among financial stocks, apart from banks, we prefer shares of insurance firms and asset management companies.”
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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lianting Tu at firstname.lastname@example.org, Kurt Schussler, Naoto Hosoda
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