A Study on the Effect of Macroeconomic Variables on Indian Mutual Funds
Indian financial markets have witnessed very high levels of volatility in recent months, with a sharp decline in the BSE-SENSEX from a peak of around 21,000 points to a nadir below 11,000 points, with as much as a 700-point fall on one single day. Indian economic conditions have also seemed to stagnate, with an overall slow-down in economic growth, along with the pressures of increasing crude oil prices and increasing inflation. In fact, the overall global scenario has also been quite bleak, especially with the onset of recession in the US. Mutual fund investments, which are generally considered to be less risky than other financial instruments such as shares and debentures, have also suffered in the general atmosphere of volatility.
The present study investigates the effect of macroeconomic variables on mutual fund schemes, in terms of returns and volatility. The study uses the Granger causality test to analyze these effects. The results of these causality tests would identify the specific macroeconomic factors which affect the returns and volatility of particular mutual fund schemes, which, on the one hand, would enable fund managers to manage the risk profiles of their portfolios more effectively; and, on the other hand, would enable investors to understand the specific risk factors affecting their investments, so that they can take more informed investment decisions pertaining to mutual funds.
The data to be used in the study were the weekly returns and volatilities of different macroeconomic variables, such as market returns (calculated from the BSE-SENSEX), USD/INR and EURO/INR exchange rates, interest rates (Mumbai Inter-Bank Offer rates), inflation rates, and crude oil prices, over the period October ‘06 - June ‘08. The weekly returns and volatilities of a sample of major mutual fund schemes over the same period would be considered for the analysis.
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