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DAVOS: India moved up a notch to overtake Japan as the fifth most attractive investment destination in a survey of global CEOs, even as the International Monetary Fund said that the country will once again emerge as fastest growing major economy in 2018 amid signs of an improvement in the overall economic environment.
In a survey conducted by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, chief executives said that excluding their home market they are most likely to invest in the US, followed by China with the world’s largest economy expanding its gap as corporate chiefs expect more rapid growth in America. While China held on to its popularity, India moved a up slightly but still trailed Germany and the UK as an investment destination.
The survey will come as a booster for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will court international investors on Monday and Tuesday in a bid to get more investment into the country, especially in the manufacturing sector, which has remained sluggish and is crucial to job creation.
“Backed by definitive structural reforms, the India story has been looking better in the past one year. Most of our clients are optimistic about their growth. The government has made efforts to address concerns around areas like infrastructure, manufacturing and skilling, although newer threats like cybersecurity and climate change are beginning to play on the minds of our clients,” said Shyamal Mukherjee, chairman, PwC India.
Aided by opening up of several key sectors over the last few years, foreign direct investment in India surged 17% to over $25 billion during the first half of the current financial year, even as private investment has remained muted due to excess capacity and high financial stress. It had for the first time topped $60 billion in 2016-17 but remains less than half of China’s $137 billion in 2017, which was an increase of around 8%.
But IMF on Monday reiterated its earlier estimate that India will grow 7.4% in 2018 and accelerate to 7.8% in 2019 from 6.7% last year. In contrast, China, which IMF estimates suggested grew 6.8%, a ad faster than India, is estimated to slow down to 6.6% in 2018 and further to 6.4% next year.
At a press conference, IMF chief Christine Lagarde urged global policymakers to “fix the roof” while the going was good, calling for a more inclusive development strategy as nearly one-fifth of developing and emerging economies saw their per capita income decline in 2017.
She also asked for structural or fiscal reforms and called upon leaders to put together a robust global collaboration to fight corruption, improve conditions for trade, stop tax evasion and prevent catastrophic climate change.