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The 2014 All-Asia Research Team: Economics, No. 2: Chetan Ahya & team

Chetan Ahya & team
Morgan Stanley
First-place appearances: 7

Total appearances: 17

Team debut: 1995

Advancing from third place to second are Singapore-based Chetan Ahya and his seven-analyst squad at Morgan Stanley. “He’s a very conceptual-thinking economist,” one backer says of Ahya. “He’s not just extrapolating data but combining it with news flow [to] explain the impact and magnitude of events like the Indian elections.” In general, the team is circumspect on the region’s prospects, expecting “the macro environment to remain challenging despite brighter growth prospects for developed markets,” the crew chief says. Countervailing forces include “weaker domestic demand growth, higher real interest rates and slowing infrastructure demand due to weaker urban population growth,” he adds, the latter of which “will keep capital expenditure growth weak over the next 12 to 18 months.” The core challenge, however, has been the rapid deterioration of productivity gains over the past six years, the analysts advise. Against this backdrop, they project that consumption and investment in the region will remain subdued and real gross domestic product will not expand faster this year than the 6.1 percent rate posted in 2013. That level, Ahya notes, “is close to 2009 lows and significantly weaker than the 9 percent growth rate that the region was averaging over 2003–’07.”


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