Business

India Surges Past Hong Kong to Become World’s 4th Largest Stock Market

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By Roshan Dey

In a landmark achievement for the Indian economy, the nation’s stock market surpassed Hong Kong to become the world’s 4th largest stock market. As of Monday’s close, the combined value of shares listed on Indian exchanges reached $4.33 trillion, inching ahead of Hong Kong’s $4.29 trillion, as per Bloomberg data. This milestone marks a significant shift in the global financial landscape, emphasizing India’s burgeoning prominence and Hong Kong’s recent challenges.

File photo of Bombay Stock Exchange of India

The ascendancy of India’s stock market is not an overnight phenomenon but the culmination of years of consistent growth underpinned by robust fundamentals and strategic policy reforms. The market cap of Indian equities crossed the $4 trillion threshold for the first time on December 5, with approximately half of this growth occurring in the past four years alone. This growth trajectory has been fueled by an expanding retail investor base and strong corporate earnings, reflecting the country’s dynamic economic environment and investor-friendly policies.

India’s rise in the global equity market rankings coincides with a downturn in Hong Kong’s stock market, which has suffered due to several factors, including stringent anti-COVID-19 measures, regulatory crackdowns, and geopolitical tensions. The Hang Seng Index, Hong Kong’s benchmark, recorded a cumulative decline of approximately 32-33% over the past year. In contrast, India has been demonstrating firm GDP growth, manageable inflation levels, and political stability, coupled with a significant inflow of funds from foreign portfolio investors, painting a promising picture for its economy.

Despite these developments, the future dynamics of the global equity markets remain uncertain. Analysts from UBS Group AG foresee Chinese stocks potentially outperforming their Indian counterparts in 2024 due to the significant upside potential in the currently battered valuations of Chinese equities. Bernstein, however, suggests taking profits on Indian stocks, considering them expensive and anticipates a recovery in the Chinese market.

The shift in foreign investment trends also highlights India’s rising appeal. Overseas funds have increasingly focused on India, redirecting attention from China. This shift is further evidenced by global pension and sovereign wealth funds favoring India, a reflection of its stable political environment and fast-growing, consumption-driven economy.

In conclusion, India’s emergence as the fourth-largest stock market globally is a testament to its economic resilience and growth potential. It represents a shift in the global financial power balance, highlighting India’s growing influence and the challenges faced by Hong Kong and China. As the global economic landscape continues to evolve, India’s stock market achievement marks a significant chapter in its economic narrative.