India will topple the United States as the world's biggest importer of infrastructure goods by 2020 and is expected to hold this position till 2030, a report by HSBC said.
According to the report, the demand for materials needed for infrastructure projects like metals, minerals, buildings and transport equipment is expected to increase as the country invests in building its civil infrastructure.
The US is currently the biggest importer of infrastructure-related goods, but by 2020 India will become the lead importer of such goods as it invests in building its domestic networks and is expected to remain at the top of the chart till 2030, the report said.
At present, the list of countries importing infrastructure goods is topped by the USA, followed by India, Hong Kong, China and Germany.
By 2030, this is likely to undergo a sea-change as India will topple the US to become the largest importer of infrastructure related goods followed by the US in the second place and China, Hong Kong and Korea making into the top five.
Meanwhile, China is set to become the top importer of investment equipment (machinery that are required by businesses to boost production) by 2030 as it continues to invest in manufacturing productivity.
"Rising middle classes across Asia's rapidly emerging markets, especially India and China, will drive significant infrastructure demand in the region," Sandeep Uppal, HSBC India Managing Director and Head of Commercial Banking, said.
Uppal further added that "aspirations of the new middle class and rapid urbanisation will force India to upgrade its civil infrastructure, thus pushing up demand for overseas infrastructure related goods."
The report further said Asia is forecast to see the most rapid growth in merchandise trade in the decade to 2030 led by India, China and Vietnam at an average of more than 10 per cent a year.
Yet advanced European economies – such as the UK, France and Germany -- are also forecast to expand their exports of goods at rates of 4-5 per cent a year on average over this period, while average growth in US goods exports will be closer to 6 per cent.
According to the report, growing Asian economies will take an increasing share of infrastructure-related imports over the period, with Malaysia, Korea and Vietnam moving up the rankings.