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Budget 2022: Sectors To Watch: Infrastructure, Residential RE and Financials

By Emkay Global

The upcoming budget faces acute policy trade-offs between nurturing a nascent growth recovery and diminishing fiscal space with challenging debt dynamics. The uneven recovery post the pandemic raises questions about the sustainability of demand, especially as the labor market is also potentially divided. For targeted policy responses, the fiscal policy tends to be more effective than monetary policy. Thus, a delicate balance needs to be maintained, ensuring the fiscal impulse is maximized to boost potential growth, even as policy adherence to medium-term fiscal sustainability is signaled. This would require: (1) the expenditure-to-GDP ratio remaining healthy; and (2) front-loaded investment-focused stimulus, especially amid its larger multiplier effect on growth and employment. This necessitates innovative reforms, better resource allocation, and possible fiscal funding by aggressive asset sales in the form of existing functional infrastructure monetization, disinvestments, and strategic sales, among others.

Budget 2022: Sectors To Watch: Infrastructure, Residential RE and Financials

Slow consolidation ahead: FY23E GFD/GDP poised to moderate to 6.2% vs. 6.8% in FY22E

Amid various push and pull, FY22 GFD/GDP could just about balance at 6.8%. Positive buffers such as (1) bumper RBI surplus, (2) robust tax collection, and (3) higher nominal GDP could get offset by (1) higher payouts than budgeted on food, fertilizer subsidy, health, NREGA, Air India SPV; and (2) possible miss on ambitious divestment targets (despite possible mega LIC IPO in Mar'22). For FY23, we model slow consolidation of ~0.5-0.6% and see GFD/GDP at 6.2%. Asset-sale execution will undeniably become the key balancing aspect, especially with a healthy NMP pipeline. We pencil in a modest divestment of Rs800bn, and do not account for any major 5G spectrum windfall amid limited clarity on the reserve price.

Capex/GDP to remain steady at 2.3% in FY23; focus on welfare spending, PLI and MSME

We expect both revenue expenditure (revex) and capex to grow in FY23, with a mild skew in favor of revex. That said, the Centre's Capex/GDP ratio will likely be steady at 2.3% -- almost 0.7-0.8pts higher than the pre-pandemic level. Capex pipeline will continue through a mix of direct fiscal and IEBR routes via PSEs. The capex focus in FY22 will be specifically on roads, railways, housing, and rural/urban infrastructure. Centre may also offer incentives to states to increase capex, especially as states' revenue capacity could be hit with the possible expiry of the GST compensation clause.

The spending focus will likely be on welfare, rural, health and MSMEs. We will also watch for financial sector initiatives (resolutions, higher FPI limits to facilitate divestment in select PSBs on sale, etc.), which could improve the efficacy of the financial sector's ability to fund the recovery better.


Net market borrowings to remain elevated at Rs9.5tn; Pressure on bonds to persist

We expect FY23 gross and net market borrowing to be ~Rs12.9tn and Rs9.5tn (Rs9.3tn in FY22). Heavy reliance on NSSF (more than 25% of GFD) will continue, while cash drawdown may increase too. We watch for announcement on FPI taxation exemptions on Euroclear, which may expedite global bond index inclusion. This could somewhat support bonds, amid elevated borrowings, RBI's tolerance to rising yields and policy normalization by stealth, expected tighter global financial conditions and higher oil prices.

(The above is extracted from the report of Emkay Global)

Read more about: budget 2022 msme sme
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