Asia Economy

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio says he's 'impressed' by Indian prime minister Modi

Key Points
  • After describing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "one of the best, if not the best, leaders in the world," in a tweet, billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio clarified his position. 
  • Dalio explained he is "impressed" by Modi's ability to bring together Indians by "helping the full range of people, from those who are in abject poverty to rich business leaders."
  • His tweets came on the same day that ratings agency Moody's downgraded India's rating outlook from 'stable' to 'negative,' citing risks to economic growth partly due to lower government and policy effectiveness. 
Ray Dalio, billionaire and founder of Bridgewater Associates LP, speaks during the Institute of International Finance (IIF) annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio said in a tweet that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "one of the best, if not the best, leaders in the world" — then clarified his position in a series of follow-up tweets.

His tweets came on the same day that ratings agency Moody's downgraded India's rating outlook from 'stable' to 'negative.' To be clear, his original tweet appeared before Moody's announced its ratings change.

Earlier Thursday, Dalio posted a video on his Twitter account where he shared the stage with Modi at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last month.

Modi delivered a keynote address at the event in Saudi Arabia where he talked about empowering "the poorest of the poor." Dalio and Modi then spoke on a range of topics that included meditation, the state of the world and global conflicts.

Dalio clarified his original tweet in a series of tweets later in the day.

"I am getting a lot of questions about this post, mostly about geopolitics. I want to make clear that I'm not commenting on his geopolitical policies as I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment on them," the founder of Bridgewater Associates said.

Modi's government has been criticized for revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status earlier this year and its heavy-handed approach in the Kashmir valley to prevent any backlash.

Dalio explained he is "impressed" by Modi's ability to bring together Indians by "helping the full range of people, from those who are in abject poverty to rich business leaders." He said Modi is doing so by "providing both basics and cutting edge digital technologies," and pointed to the Indian leader's Swachh Bharat campaign that built more than 100 million toilets around the country.

In May, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party won a landslide victory at the Indian parliamentary election.

"I think he has a good chance of creating revolutionarily better outcomes with the broad support of the population," Dalio said.

Still, India's economic problems are mounting. Growth hit a six-year low in the April-to-June quarter, during which the economy grew 5% from a year ago. Its finance sector is in crisis mode, which has hamstrung lending, while the manufacturing sector is struggling, economists said.

Recent policy reforms have left small-and-medium businesses reeling. In addition, the Indian economy is also struggling to create enough jobs for its workforce.

Modi's government is said to be in a precarious position where it needs to keep its fiscal deficit under control in order to retain investor confidence while also initiating policy moves to stimulate the economy.

All of those issues appear against a backdrop where global growth is also slowing down.