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Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer
Navneet Munot joined SBI Funds Management as Chief Investment Officer in December 2008. He has over 25 years of rich experience in Financial Markets.
Navneet Munot joined SBI Funds Management as Chief Investment Officer in December 2008. He has over 25 years of rich experience in Financial Markets. In his role, Navneet is responsible for overseeing investments worth over USD 100 billion across various asset classes in mutual fund and segregated accounts. In his previous assignment, he was the Executive Director & Head – multi –strategy boutique with Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley Investment Management, he has worked as Chief Investment Officer – Fixed Income and Hybrid Funds at Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund and worked in various areas such as fixed income, equities and foreign exchange.
Navneet is the Chairman of Indian Association of Investment Professional (India society of CFA charter holders with over 3000 members).
Navneet is Nominee Director on the board of SBI PENSION FUNDS (P) LTD
Navneet is a postgraduate in Accountancy and Business Statistics and a qualified Chartered Accountant. He is also a Charter Holder of the CFA Institute and CAIA Institute. He has also done FRM.
30 Dec, 2019
A subtle shift in major Global central bank’s policy stance has been evident over the last few weeks. A combination of continuing/ shifting “transitory” drivers of inflation apart from persistent supply shocks even
as the global economy starts to recover helped by monetary and fiscal support and increased pace of
vaccination worldwide, has brought back debates surrounding potential stagflation. There has also been a
recognition that some of the drivers of inflation have remained more persistent and long lasting as against
initial expectations. Recent flare up in natural gas prices and by extension into crude oil prices, while supply
disruptions in semiconductors and logistics take longer to normalise reinforces the stickiness of headline
inflation worldwide. However, recent monetary policy guidance by the FED has reinforced the difference
between ‘tapering’ and ‘lift off’, with tapering likely to start as soon as this quarter. At the same time, the
process of policy normalisation and sequencing of measures would be different and driven by specific
economic dynamics, even as the directional shift to lesser accommodation needs to be accepted.
Pricing of risk assets based on expectation of ‘lower for longer’ are hence susceptible to repricing as the expectations on central bank support get dialled back. This has been fairly evident in the recent weeks and
could remain a source of volatility going forward.
Source: SBIFM research, Bloomberg
Indian equities continued their strong run both on an absolute basis and relative to global peers in September.
The Nifty and the Sensex returned 2.96% and 2.78% respectively last month while broader markets staged a
comeback too with the Nifty Midcap 150 index rising 5.92% and Nifty Small Cap 250 rising 5.76%. This came
at a time when global investors continue to weigh in on the possibility of potential stagflation. On one hand,
global growth appears to be moderating post the sharp reopening led uptick, with the Chinese economy and
its real estate sector leading the slowdown. On the other, inflation due to supply side disruptions and
exacerbated by geopolitics has continued to weigh too. In the near term, impact on demand and more
importantly policy making is likely to be keenly watched by markets. While our view continues to be that global
central banks are likely to normalize monetary policy in a calibrated manner to allow fiscal policy space to
operate, the beginning of the process can still bring about volatility in financial markets. This risk becomes
especially pronounced in the wake of stretched readings on our equity sentiment index for Indian markets and
may keep volatility elevated in the near term and bring caution back.
From a medium-term perspective there is room to be more optimistic. Infrastructure spends from the West,
especially the US if legislated should help pick up the slack from a slowing Chinese economy. On inflation,
while part of it may stay, some of it is likely to abate as supply gets back as economies reopen. Market based
inflation expectations for instance stay well anchored at the long end in the US. Importantly, after years of
deflation, inflation can itself act as a trigger for more investments and hence an economic upcycle. For India,
this inflection in global economic activity may be coming at a time when the country is already benefiting from
market share gains in the global marketplace. This could be positive for a multi-year upcycle in both the
economy as well as corporate earnings. Yet given the starting valuations at the headline index level, investors
should do well to moderate their return expectations.
The bigger opportunity in our view is in asset allocation and security selection. The last decade had been all
about deflationary assets as growth stayed anaemic, inflation globally was low, and rates generally stayed low.
Within equities, stocks that offered safety and earnings visibility did well. Winners over the next few years
however could look very different as economic growth and inflation both pick up. More generally, this would
mean moving away from low-rate beneficiaries to pro-economy assets. Within equities, investors are likely to
move focus on quantum of growth rather than just the certainty of it, which could present opportunities in
high growth structural opportunities on one hand and select asset owners and quality cyclicals on the other.
Central bank guidance to markets on policy stance are typically communicated through Policy stance and
actions, Monetary policy statements and periodic communication, which may be loosely called as Open Mouth
Operations. While the last policy review and policy minutes did seem to suggest tentative steps towards
normalisation, subsequent communication had pushed back against any such interpretation, with a very
benign tolerance for sustaining the “large liquidity for a little longer”. However, over the last few weeks, at
least RBI’s market actions and liquidity operations seem to suggest a change in assessment. While the RBI has
continued to conduct short tenor VRRR (variable rate reverse repo) auctions outside of the scheduled 14D
VRRR, the cut offs at these auctions have been on the higher side. At the same time, the pre announced GSAP
auctions were converted to liquidity neutral Twist auctions. While Twist auctions clearly point to the
discomfort with adding additional primary liquidity, the intent behind higher cut off, even closer to 4% in a 7
D VRRR auction can only be speculated to with respect to any signalling.
In this context, the forthcoming review provides the RBI, a clear window for communicating its guidance on
liquidity normalisation. Being ambivalent about this would only lead to drastic back ended actions that would
have larger dislocations with respect to markets. While the incremental actions on market intervention would
take care of the flow factor, the stock of surplus liquidity would need more durable absorption beyond short
tenor VRRR, ideally though market-based instruments. From a more structural perspective, increased usage
of electronic payments would tend to mute the impact of currency leakage that provides a natural drainage
for surplus system liquidity. The key challenges would be to unambiguously communicate that the crisis era
liquidity conditions and shorter end rate settings aren’t the base case, and that normalisation would proceed
gradually and secondly to clearly distinguish between tapering of liquidity support and monetary policy
tightening / reversal. Given the current policy objective to nurture economic growth, any adjustment to policy
rates seems pre mature at present and is unlikely.
From a market perspective, stronger government finances with an unchanged auction calendar remains
positive along with news flow on Index inclusion that has led to pick up in debt flows in the recent months.
Near term inflation readings would remain within the comfort range helped by base effects even as a more
directional trend remains neutral with elevated core and wholesale inflation. Headline inflation is likely to
temporarily head lower, but could eventually converge to core inflation, which has consistently remained
above 5%. The phase of market pricing / direction supported by central bank actions seems to be past us and
incremental direction would depend on how normalisation proceeds. Fixed income portfolio positioning
would be more oriented towards being biased towards a directionally lower duration stance.
Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Vinay M. Tonse, Deputy Managing Director of State Bank of India (SBI), is on deputation to SBI Funds Management Private Limited since June 22, 2020.
Mr. Tonse started his career with SBI in 1988 as Probationary Officer.
He has worked in different geographical locations in India and abroad heading various business functions. He has good experience of handling and managing various areas of Banking such as Operations, Retail Banking including Agriculture credit and MSME sectors, Corporate Credit, International Banking Operations, Treasury Operations, Equity Portfolio Management, Private Equity, Venture Capital and Training.
Before his deputation to SBI Funds Management Private Limited, he was heading the Chennai Circle of SBI as Chief General Manager (June 2018 to June 2020). He had an overall responsibility of managing all the branches and offices of SBI situated in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
Other key assignments held by Mr. Tonse during the last 10 years in SBI are as under:
• General Manager, Corporate Accounts Group – II, Mumbai (November 2016 to June 2018)
• Deputy General Manager, Equity & Commodities (Global Markets), Mumbai (June 2013 to November 2016)
• CEO, Osaka Branch, Japan (August 2009 to June 2013)