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

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Financial Controller

    £45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

    £12500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Adviser - OTE £24,500

    £22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...

    Day In a Page

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
    Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

    Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

    David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
    Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

    Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

    A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
    10 best DSLRs

    Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

    Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine