sizzling profit potential amidst indias heatwave 146

Market Trends

Sizzling Profit Potential Amidst India's Heatwave


Lauren Miller

April 6, 2024 - 00:31 am


India's Sweltering Forecast: A Hotbed for Market Opportunities

Amidst the sweltering forecasts for India, traders are strategically eyeing stocks that show promise of outshining the general market. With India's meteorological department cautioning about heat waves intensifying through the end of June, investors are turning their focus to industries that could benefit from the rising mercury levels.

A Surge in Cooling Solutions

Shares in manufacturers of air coolers and power generators have seen an uptick this week following the weather bureau's warnings of above-average temperatures. This has breathed some life into sector stocks, which are otherwise showing signs of stagnation in the face of an overwhelmingly buoyant market in recent times.

The impending summer heat is poised not just as a natural phenomenon but as an economic stimulant, especially as hundreds of millions of individuals will be partaking in campaign rallies and casting votes in a weeks-long parliamentary election beginning mid-April. This surge in activities is expected to exacerbate the effects of the heat wave and trigger a rise in demand for products designed to combat the heat.

Businesses operating within the air cooling sector are likely to observe a substantial jump in sales. The alert of higher temperatures acted as a catalyst, seeing an immediate response from the market. Collectively, an assortment of eight firms in this sector, which includes producers of air conditioners, coolers, and fans, soared over 8% in the past week.

Consumer behavior indicates a trend toward increased purchases of durable consumer goods and domestic appliances, not just in the urban sprawls but extending to semi-urban and rural regions of India. Strategists like Gaurang Shah from Geojit Financial Services Ltd. acknowledge this trend. In comparison, the broader market, as measured by the benchmark NSE Nifty 50 Index, trailed far behind, with less than a 1% increase in the same timeframe.

Commercial interest in the air cooling segment remains robust, with attention directed towards various companies such as Voltas Ltd., Blue Star Ltd., Havells India Ltd., Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd., and the fan manufacturer Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Ltd. The market sentiment in this sector remains buoyant, with experts like Nikhat Koor, an analyst at Dolat Capital Market, championing the cause.

There is a general consensus that factors such as low market penetration, an increasing number of residential and commercial projects, and affordable consumer finance opportunities will drive a surge in demand for air conditioners. A 15% to 20% uptick in sales during the peak months through May is what dealers are projecting, notes Koor in an analyst report from the previous month.

Energy Demand and Supply: A Balancing Act

Predictions by the Indian meteorological department indicate that the upcoming summer heat waves may persist for 10 to 20 days in various regions, a significant increase from the usual expectancy of four to eight days. These heat waves see the temperature rise to over 45C (113F) in particular areas during the season.

Extreme Heat in India

The potential demand for power in the country is staggering, with an expected rise of close to 3% from the previous year, reaching a maximum of 250 gigawatts during the hot months. The power ministry has taken preemptive measures, urging power plants to continue importing coal and manage any shortage in domestic supply, anticipating the rise in electricity consumption.

In light of this, companies such as Adani Power Ltd. and Reliance Power Ltd., which run thermal power generating plants, experienced a notable increase in their share value, each climbing by at least 15% in the past week.

Thirst Quenchers and Cool Treats on the Rise

The searing summer heat also sets the stage for a spike in sales for the consumer goods industry. Beverages, including sodas and ice creams, as well as dairy products, usually experience a steep rise in demand. To capitalize on this, larger corporations like Hindustan Unilever Ltd. and ITC Ltd. are redirecting their focus on stimulating demand in rural markets through various strategic initiatives, including offering products in smaller sizes that are priced more affordably.

Varun Beverages Ltd., which counts itself amongst the largest bottlers in the world for PepsiCo Inc., has seen an impressive performance with its stock climbing over 6% this week, further solidifying this year's gains to approximately 20%. Other companies that could draw investor interest in light of the meteorological predictions include the dairy firms Hatsun Agro Product Ltd., Parag Milk Foods Ltd., and the ice cream conglomerate Vadilal Industries Ltd.

Expert market watchers and strategists like those at Geojit Financial Services remain positive, citing firms' efforts to innovate and target varied consumer segments with novel products in readiness for the anticipated summer demand escalation.

Moreover, analysts are keeping a keen eye on Emami Ltd., renowned for its Navratna oil, a product widely used for its cooling properties, especially when massaged into the skin during hot conditions.

Anticipating Weather-Related Market Risks

While the projections offer hints of market optimism, the harsher summer comes with its share of concerns. Strains on energy supplies and agriculture are imminent. The potential damage to wheat harvests could pose a risk to food prices, potentially remaining high enough to delay a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India.

Furthermore, the impact of extreme heat on technology centers such as Bengaluru has already precipitated water shortages even before the summer heat intensifies. In 2022, several states were plagued with extended power outages as crushing heat waves drove electricity demands higher while coal stockpiles dwindled.

The depletion of water sources poses operational risks for companies, especially those reliant on substantial water supply for their processes. Past summers have seen certain companies have no choice but to halt operations temporarily due to a severe lack of water.

Jigar Shah, CEO of MIB Securities India, has expressed caution regarding the risks presented by extreme climate events. The realization of predictions like longer-lasting heat waves could wreak havoc on industries dependent on groundwater, impacting their supply chains and operations directly.

Bloomberg's coverage of the situation provides a detailed analysis and the potential repercussions on the markets and the overall economy.

For more in-depth information on India's central bank and its interest rates, please refer to India Central Bank Holds Key Rate as Inflation Risks Persist, and to understand how India is preparing for the energy demands, explore India Mulls Emergency Rules for Gas Power to Meet Summer Demand.

As the country braces for higher temperatures and their associated challenges, one thing becomes clear: market opportunities and risks are two sides of the same coin. Investors and businesses alike must navigate this landscape wisely, capitalizing on the potential boosts while mitigating the adverse effects that come with a hotter summer season.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. This comprehensive report reflects the current market dynamics and economic conditions in the Indian market related to temperature elevations and how they are predicted to affect various business sectors. It provides a snapshot of how trends in temperature can shape market trajectories, presenting potential investment opportunities and forecasting challenges that lie ahead.