Indian ETFs Fall on Widespread Corporate Reform; Plunging Rupee

Jacob Harper |

Investors in the emerging market of India were rocked Friday, as the country plans to concomitantly rework their outdated 57-year-old corporate legislative laws and address a rapidly devaluing currency. 

India has long been plagued by corruption. Kickbacks, gift and outright fraud are commonplace, as unscrupulous players take advantage of a financial system that has failed to keep pace with an increasingly complex global economy.

In 2009, the country was rocked by a massive fraud case involving the company Satyram Computer Services. The chairman confessed to overstating company assets and earnings by over $1 billion. The scandal, often called "India's Enron," made it clear the country lacked a proper oversight body and laws sophisticated enough to deal with modern finance.

The country is simultaneously scrambling to also stabilize the rupee, which is the worst performing emerging market currency in comparison to the dollar. The Reserve Bank of India is taking action and imposing controls to increase overseas direct investments, as the diminishing value of the country’s currency has made it more difficult for Indian corporations to buy assets outside the country.

India has also had to deal with inflation and a widening current account deficit. The corporate reforms and worsening economy coupled to spook investors and trigger an ETF sell-off.

Indian ETFs across the board retreated on Aug. 16. iPath MSCI India Index (INDA) dropped 4.84 percent to hit $21.41 a share. PowerShares India ($PIN) dropped 4.64 percent to hit $15.62 a share. WisdomTree India Earnings ($EPI) fell 4.53 percent to hit $14.76 a share.

The biggest loser on the day was Direxion Daily India Bull 3X Shares ($INDL), which plummeted 12.89 percent to hit $10.72 a share amid eight times normal volume. 

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