In a move to stimulate India’s economic growth, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) announced a more lenient framework for borrowing through debt securities issuance. Large corporates, defined by their long-term borrowing of Rs 100 crore or more and a credit rating of ‘AA and above’, are now mandated to source just 25% of their borrowings from bonds. This modification offers incentives for surplus borrowings while balancing out with moderated penalties for those not meeting the benchmark.
This shift is not only expected to ease compliance but also bolster the business environment. From the fiscal year 2025, SEBI clarified that this borrowing stipulation will be extended over a three-year span. The terminology has also seen an update; “incremental borrowings” now reads as “qualified borrowings”. With the updated framework set to be in effect from April 1, 2024, large corporates must ensure 25% of their borrowings for the years 2022 to 2024 are via debt securities. Any deviations will necessitate a clarifying remark in their annual reports.
Market Response: Institutional Investors’ Play
The market displayed mixed reactions to the changing financial landscape. On one hand, foreign institutional investors (FII) sold shares amounting to net Rs 13,867.93 crore by October 19, 2023. Domestic institutional investors (DII), on the other hand, showed increased confidence, purchasing shares worth net Rs 11,875.27 crore within the same timeframe. Such movements by FIIs and DIIs have significant implications for the country’s net investment flows. For context, FIIs or Foreign portfolio investors invest in a nation’s financial assets without being residents, whereas DIIs invest domestically.
Equity Indices Reflect Underlying Tensions
Market indices exhibited fluctuations, revealing investor sentiments. On a particular day, the NSE Nifty 50 dipped by 46.40 points, settling at 19,624.70, while the BSE Sensex saw a reduction of 247.78 points. Though broader indices painted a mostly negative picture, Smallcap stocks resisted the downtrend. Analyst Deepak Jasani from HDFC Securities commented on the Nifty’s movements, pointing out the resistance and potential trends for the market.
The combined impact of SEBI’s newly introduced norms and the contrasting investment behaviors of FIIs and DIIs will determine the trajectory of India’s financial sector. Both factors present opportunities and challenges. It is imperative for stakeholders to stay vigilant, understanding the complexities, and acting decisively in this dynamic environment.