Your Money: Worth a punt

Continuing his look at stock markets around the world, Liam Robb sizes up India, Indonesia, Ireland and Israel

India

Securities trading has taken place in for 200 years, and the first formal stock exchange was established in 1875.

Current economic concern centres on high interest rates (which peaked at 19 per cent last year), poor roads, ports and telecommunications, and slackening consumer demand (30 per cent of the 935 million population live in poverty). The cost of servicing the public debt accounts for 6 per cent of GDP. This depressing economic landscape has not, however, kept multinationals away: overseas investment in n shares almost doubled last year, to nearly $3bn.

Privatisation may hold the key to the future; the government recently announced measures aimed at stimulating international demand, which presaged the biggest ever daily rise in the BSE 30 last month - 5.4 per cent. Most widely traded companies include Steel Authority of , Reliance Industries, Hindustan Lever and State Bank of .

Indonesia

The world's largest archipelago has 3,700 islands stretching from the Malay Peninsula to New Guinea. Energy resources - particularly oil - have helped finance rapid industrialisation and the country is the world's largest liquefied gas exporter.

A major challenge is finding jobs for a workforce which increases by 2 million every year. National debt stands at more than $100bn. Such worries have not, however, prevented the 141 companies listed on the Jakarta Stock Exchange from recording dramatic growth, and the local index was up 24 per cent last year. One of the biggest fillips for the market came in the shape of Bank Negara Indonesia, floated last November. Daily trading volume now stands at around $150m a day, compared with only $10m four years ago.

Mary Whitehead, who is in charge of Asian allocation for Clerical Medical pensions, believes that the banking sector could surprise this year, as rationalisation leads to take-over speculation.

Republic of Ireland

The Irish Stock Exchange dates back to the 1790s. Until 1995 it was a constituent of the UK market, but in response to the EC directive on investment services, a separate Board of Exchange was established.

Strong consumer spending coupled with consistently low inflation (currently around 2 per cent), a balance of payments surplus and little upward pressure on interest rates meant real GDP grew by more than 5 per cent in 1996. Unemployment - 14 per cent - is one of the few blots on the landscape.

Irish equities have returned a respectable 22 per cent over the past year. Of the 91 listed companies, the biggest in terms of market capitalisation are Allied Irish Banks (AIB), Bank of Ireland, CRH, the buildings materials group, the packaging manufacturer Jefferson Smurfit and the pharmaceuticals company Elan Corporation, which also has a listing in the US.

Israel

Optimism for a successful conclusion to the peace process with Syria increased foreign investment by more than 30 per cent last year. It was not enough to prevent the 100 index shedding 12 per cent of its value. Inflation stands at around 11 per cent and, with interest rates having peaked at 17 per cent last year, the resultant strengthening of the shekel put severe dents in export industry profits. High unemployment, caused in part by an influx of nearly one million Jews from the former Soviet Union, has also hampered the economy.

The Tel Aviv stock exchange, however, is the Middle East's largest and most advanced capital market. Banking is an important sector and the country boasts massive agricultural potential. Food retailing has performed well, benefiting from a growing population (up 2.5 per cent last year). The sector is dominated by Supersol and Blue Square, which together account for more than 70 per cent of supermarket sales.

The telecoms industry is also increasingly important, and plans are afoot to sell a $415m, 23 per cent stake in Bezeq, the state-owned monopoly, by the end of this year. Analysts believe that, if the peace process continues, Israel can establish a foothold in international telecomsn

Performance statistics: Datastream. Country-specific funds include Foreign & Colonial's n Investment Company, Fleming n investment trust and BZW's Israeli investment trust. AIB manages the First Ireland investment trust and Natwest runs an Irish Smaller Companies fund.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

    Laura Norton: Project Accountant

    £50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine