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Only two percent of Indians invest in stocks

IANS
Oct 22, 2008 at 02:14am IST

New Delhi: Even as investors in India worry over the markets crash and depleted value of their portfolio, Minister of State of Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal on Tuesday said barely two percent of Indians invest in stocks and that losses or gains from the markets were purely notional.

"What we are witnessing today in the Indian markets is an indirect effect of the global financial situation," the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house.

"This is only a reflection of the uncertainty and anxiety in the global financial markets. However, there is no reason for any anxiety or uncertainty in India," he said.

WE INVEST LESS: Losses or gains from the markets were purely notional, MOS of Finance.

"As regards the stock markets, it must be noted that the loss or gain arising from market movement is notional. In this context, it may also be mentioned that only a very small portion of our total population, less than two per cent, has any sort of exposure to the stock market," he added.

A key Indian barometer for stock movement, the sensitive index (Sensex) has shed some 25 percent over the past month and as much as 45 percent over the past year to bring down the value of Indian investors portfolio by billions of rupees.

In his comments, just a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India may have to face a slowdown despite strong economic fundamentals, Bansal said the current boom in oil economies will be supportive of Indian exports and inward remittances.

"The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also informed that India's real economy would be affected to a lesser degree than USA or Europe since our growth is largely domestically driven and our export markets not concentrated."

He also outlined the steps taken by the government and the regulators to "balance financial economy" in the country, including measures to infuse additional liquidity into commercial banks and lending institutions.

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