A roller-coaster ride: 2020 shows best and worst of foreign flows

March recorded the worst-ever foreign portfolio investor (FPI) equity outflows in a calendar month, at Rs 58,632 crore ($7.9 billion).

Now, August is set to log the highest-ever foreign investor flows into domestic stocks. With one trading session to go, the FPI investment tally for the month stands at Rs 47,518 crore ($6.4 billion), surpassing the previous best monthly tally of Rs 33,782 crore in March 2017 in rupee terms, and $6.4 billion in dollar terms during September 2010.

While the sell-off in March was triggered by the panic caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and a virtual halt in economic activity, the 180-degree turn in sentiment was orchestrated by aggressive stimulus measures taken by global central banks, particularly the US Federal Reserve.

Market players say the flow remains stable as long as the US Fed keeps interest rates low. Strong inflows over the past few months have seen the benchmark Nifty rise 53 per cent from its coronavirus lows seen on March 23.

They have also helped India Inc launch a record $26 billion worth of share sales this year.