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Investment via P-Notes shrinks to Rs 2.68 lakh crore

Investments into Indian markets through participatory notes (P-Notes) have dropped to Rs. 2.68 lakh crore (USD 42 billion) at the end of April, after hitting over 7-year high in the preceding month.

P-Notes, mostly used by overseas HNIs (High Net Worth Individuals), hedge funds and other foreign institutions, allow such investors to invest in Indian markets through registered Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs).

This saves time and costs for them, but the flip side is the route can also be used for round tripping of black money.

According to data released by Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), total value of P-Notes investment in Indian markets (equity, debt and derivatives) declined to Rs. 2,68,168 crore at the end of April, from Rs. 2,72,078 crore at the preceding month-end.

Market experts are of the view that fear and uncertainty over the levy of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) may have a negative impact on investment sentiment in India.

In March this year, investment through P-Notes surged to the highest level since February 2008, when the cumulative value of such investments stood at Rs. 3.23 lakh crore.

However, the quantum (percentage) of FII investments through P-Notes rose to 11.4 per cent last month from 11.3 per cent in March.

Till a few years ago, P-Notes used to account for more than 50 per cent of the total FII investments, but their share has fallen after Sebi tightened the disclosure norms and other regulations for such investments.

P-Notes have been accounting for mostly 15-20 per cent of the total FII holdings in India since 2009 while it used to be much higher — in the range of 25-40 per cent — in 2008.

It was as high as over 50 per cent at the peak of Indian stock market bull run in 2007.

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