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OPINION

Dollar worries behind India’s boom time

The sinking dollar – not ­the sub-prime fallout – is the big hurdle for India’s most buoyant sectors.

In a year most notable for a rolling series of financial crises that have claimed the heads of many of America’s top bankers, India’s vibrant financial markets and new-found economic clout have provided a breath of fresh air. Indeed, New Delhi and Mumbai have fast become regular destinations for America’s leading investment bank chiefs, many no doubt rather happy to leave behind the sub-prime stench for a few days.

Many visitors naturally incorporated global events into their itineraries. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs’s CEO and chairman, popped up at the Fortune Global Forum in New Delhi to offer his assessment of India’s, and the world’s, varying economic fortunes. Much of his India prognosis was, naturally, positive. The country’s economy is forecast to grow at roughly 10% for the next few years, and Blankfein suggested that if India continued to open up its financial and capital markets, Goldman would be prepared to treble its investment there to $3 billion.

Blankfein’s illustrious predecessor, Hank Paulson, now US Treasury secretary, also graced Fortune’s halls at the colonial-era Imperial Hotel, although he had an altogether more depressing task: explaining (yet again) to an assembled throng why the US’s latest gout-ridden export – sub-prime-linked securities – was a) not a problem for Asia but would b) probably get worse in the US before it got better.

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