RBI holds repo rate at 6% for 4th straight policy review

Apr 5, 2018 0

Mumbai– The RBI on Thursday maintained the status quo on its key short-term lending rate at 6 per cent, along with its ‘neutral’ stance, at the first bi-monthly monetary policy review of the new fiscal, in line with what was being widely expected.

This is the fourth policy review in succession that the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has kept the repo, or short-term interest rate for commercial banks, unchanged, according to the RBI monetary policy statement.

“The decision of the MPC is consistent with the neutral stance of monetary policy in
consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent, while supporting growth,” it said.

Consequently, the reverse repo rate remains at 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at 6.25 per cent.

As per official data, retail inflation based on the CPI fell to 4.44 per cent in February, from 5.07 per cent in January, but remained outside the RBI’s medium-term target of 4 per cent.

“We continue to remain vigilant on how inflation unfolds, in the sense that we are data dependent,” RBI Governor Urjit Patel said at a media briefing here following the MPC meeting.

Noting that the February retail inflation turned out “softer” than RBI’s earlier projection mainly owing to the “seasonal softening” in vegetable prices, Patel said that several uncertainties continue to surround “the baseline inflation path.

“The revised formula for MSP (minimum support price) as announced in the Union Budget 2018-19 for kharif crops may have an impact on inflation, although the exact magnitude will be known only in the coming months,” he said.

“Besides, in case of further fiscal slippage from the Union Budget estimates for 2018-19 or the medium-term path, it could adversely impact the outlook on inflation. Another risk is from fiscal slippages by states on account of higher committed revenue expenditure.”

“Also, companies polled by the RBI expect input and output prices to rise, going forward,” he added.

The central bank slightly lowered its inflation forecast for the first half of the current fiscal to between 4.7 per cent and 5.1 per cent, and 4.4 per cent for the second half, “including the HRA impact for central government employees, with risks tilted to the upside”.

According to the MPC statement, the recent volatility in global crude prices has brought considerable uncertainty to the near-term inflation outlook.

The MPC noted that growth has been recovering and the output gap is closing, which “is also reflected in a pick-up in credit offtake in recent months”.

On the downside, the central bank noted that “rising trade protectionism and financial market volatility could derail the ongoing global recovery”.

“In this unsettling global environment, it is especially important that domestic macroeconomic fundamentals are strengthened, deleveraging of distressed corporates and rebuilding of bank balance sheets persisted with, and the risk-sharing markets deepened,” the RBI said.

In a repeat of the previous policy review in February, five members of the MPC, including the three external ones and the Governor, voted in favour of the decision, while RBI Executive Director Michael Patra voted for an increase in the repo rate by 25 basis points. (IANS)

Read More

Indian equities tumble on global trade war tension

Apr 4, 2018 0

Mumbai– After two consecutive sessions of gains, the key indices of the Indian equity markets — the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty50 — tumbled on Wednesday after further trade protectionist measures imposed by two major global economies on each other spooked investors.

Besides, investors remained cautious ahead of the outcome of the central bank’s first bi-monthly monetary policy of 2018-19 on Thursday.

On a closing basis, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) declined by 116.60 points or 1.14 per cent to 10,128.40 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 33,019.07 points — down 351.56 points or 1.05 per cent from its previous session’s close.

The Sensex shed almost 500 points from its day’s high at 33,505.53 points on closing.

The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,483 declines and 1,157 advances.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index edged lower by 0.92 per cent and the small-cap index by 1.01 per cent.

“Markets corrected sharply on Wednesday after two sessions of gains. The Nifty50 in the process broke the previous session’s low of 10,171 points,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“The weakness came on the back of weak global cues due to escalating trade war between China and the US. Indian indices tracked the European indices and Dow Futures — both of which kept weakening,” he added.

According to market observers, the domestic equity markets reacted to intensifying trade war fears after China on Wednesday unveiled a list of products worth $50 billion imported from the US that will be subject to higher tariffs, including soybeans, cars and chemical goods.

The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council decided to impose additional tariff of 25 per cent on 106 items of products under 14 categories as a countermeasure after the US administration published a list of about 1,300 Chinese products it plans to hit with a 25 per cent tariff.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Market slid approximately two per cent from day’s high due to looming trade war tensions and caution ahead of Reserve Bank of India policy meet.

“Global market volatility continued to give a ripple effect to the market despite gradual recovery in domestic economy and moderation in inflation. RBI’s policy is likely to support near term sentiment while clarity on earnings growth and monsoon will give more transparency in direction,” said Nair.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by 13 paise to close at 65.15 against the US dollar from its previous close at 65.02.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors bought scrips worth Rs 335.18 crore, while the domestic institutional investors divested in stocks worth Rs 152.55 crore.

All the sectoral indices slumped, barring the S&P BSE auto index which rose by 103.16 points.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE consumer durables index plunged by 567.49 points, followed by banking index by 447.47 points, metal index by 370.48 points and capital goods index by 368.13 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Wednesday were: Tata Motors, up 3.60 per cent at Rs 355.70; Tata Motors (DVR), up 2.84 per cent at Rs 198.90; Hero MotoCorp, up 0.81 per cent at Rs 3,669.95; Hindustan Unilever, up 0.59 per cent at Rs 1,356.35; and Adani Ports, up 0.15 per cent at Rs 367.35.

The Sensex losers were: Tata Steel, down 3.29 per cent at Rs 560.45; Axis Bank, down 2.61 per cent at Rs 490.15; Larsen and Toubro, down 2.52 per cent at Rs 1,296.35; Kotak Bank, down 2.25 per cent at Rs 1,078.20; and Yes Bank, down 2.24 per cent at Rs 305.65. (IANS)

Read More

Muthoot Finance plans to raise Rs 3,000 cr through public issue of NCDs

Apr 3, 2018 0

Mumbai– Gold financing firm Muthoot Finance on Tuesday said that it plans to raise Rs 3,000 cr through the public issue of non-convertible redeemable debentures (NCDs).

“Company has filed a shelf prospectus for issue of secured redeemable non-Convertible debentures (Secured NCDs) of face value of Rs 1,000 each aggregating upto Rs 3,000 crore (Shelf Limit),” Muthoot Finance said in a statement.

“The tranche issue is with a base issue size of Rs 500 crore with an option to retain oversubscription up to shelf limit of Rs 3,000 crore (tranche I issue).”

According to the company, the issue opens on April 9, 2018 and closes on May 8, 2018 with an “option to close earlier and or extend up to a period as may be determined by a duly authorised committee of the board”. (IANS)

Read More

Equities gain despite weak global cues, banks stocks up

Apr 3, 2018 0

Mumbai– Despite volatility in the global markets, the key Indian equity indices closed Tuesday’s rangebound trade session with appreciable gains led by healthy buying in banking, auto, oil and gas, and healthcare stocks.

According to market observers, banking stocks got a fillip after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday allowed banks to spread bond losses over four quarters, which also led to an upsurge in the benchmark indices during the closing hour of trade.

On Tuseday, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) edged higher by 33.20 points or 0.33 per cent to close at 10,245 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 33,370.63 points — up 115.27 points or 0.35 per cent from its previous session’s close.

The BSE market breadth was bullish with 1,848 advances and 798 declines.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index was up 0.92 points and the small-cap index up 1.35 points.

“Markets moved up further on Tuesday to end with modest gains for the second consecutive session. The Nifty in the process closed above the immediate resistances of 10,227 despite weak global cues,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Major Asian markets closed on a negative note. European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the red,” he added.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee strengthened by around 16 paise to close at 65.02 against the US dollar from Wednesday’s close at 65.18.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 376.51 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 479.18 crore.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Market traded rangebound throughout the day due to volatility in the global market. But towards the close, pace picked-up supported by moderation in yield and growth in core sector.”

Official data released post market hours on Monday showed that the Index of Eight Core Industries (ECI) — which represents the output of major sectors like coal, steel, cement and electricity — rose by 5.3 per cent last month compared to an increase of 6.1 per cent in January.

However, on an year-on-year basis, the ECI showed an uptrend. It had inched up by 0.6 per cent in the corresponding month of 2017.

“Yield declined amid central bank allowing the banks to spread their bond trading losses which gave a positive sentiment to banking stocks. On the other hand, investors are gradually shifting focus to upcoming Q4 (fourth quarter) results and RBI policy outcome which will dictate the market outlook in the near term,” said Nair.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE banking index rose by 293.63 points, followed by auto index by 208.09 points and oil and gas index by 90.98 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE consumer durables index fell by 135.26 points, IT index by 29.60 points and Teck (media, entertainment and technology) index by 5.31 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Tuesday were: ICICI Bank, up 2.94 per cent at Rs 269.60; Mahindra and Mahindra, up 2.92 per cent at Rs 769.40; Tata Motors (DVR), up 2.22 per cent at Rs 193.40; Yes Bank, up 2.11 per cent at Rs 312.65; and Power Grid, up 1.90 per cent at Rs 198.40.

The Sensex losers were: Wipro, down 2.02 per cent at Rs 283.90; ONGC, down 1.28 per cent at Rs 177.70; Adani Ports, down 0.86 per cent at Rs 366.80; HDFC Bank, down 0.74 per cent at Rs 1,916.10; and Bajaj Auto, down 0.60 per cent at Rs 2,791.75. (IANS)

Read More

Positive global cues, healthy auto sales data lift equity indices

Apr 2, 2018 0

Mumbai– Key Indian equity indices closed the first day of the 2018-19 financial year with appreciable gains as broadly positive global peers, along with robust automobile sales data, lifted investors’ risk-taking appetite.

According to market observers, healthy buying was witnessed in auto, capital goods and healthcare stocks.

On a closing basis, the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) rose by 98.10 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 10,211.80 points.

The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE closed at 33,255.36 points — up 286.68 points, or 0.87 per cent, from its previous session’s close.

The BSE market breadth was bullish with 2,101 advances and 537 declines.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index edged higher by 1.40 per cent and the small-cap index by 2.35 per cent.

“Markets ended sharply higher on Monday after the correction seen in the previous trading session. It was the first trading session of the near month April derivative series and also the first trading session of the financial year 2018-19,” Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.

“Markets moved higher on the back of positive Asian equity markets and beginning of new derivatives series/new fiscal year,” he added.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 689.75 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 413.16 crore.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “Markets rallied on account of stellar auto sales and value buying of pharma stocks influenced by US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approvals. US stock futures dropped and other Asian markets reversed an early advance, where volume was low as many markets remained closed.

“The markets are expected to remain choppy and support levels are likely to be tested globally due to looming uncertainty. Back home, investors are focusing on upcoming RBI (Reserve Bank of India) policy while consensus shows status quo on key rates due to declining yield and inflation,” he added.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE auto index augmented by 515.45 points, followed by capital goods index by 375.74 points and healthcare index by 326.36 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE banking indiex fell by 99.57 points and the oil and gas index by 18.75 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Monday were: Kotak Bank, up 4.65 per cent at Rs 1,097.40; Adani Ports, up 4.33 per cent at Rs 370; Tata Motors, up 3.47 per cent at Rs 338.80; Wipro, up 2.95 per cent at Rs 289.75; and Tata Motors (DVR), up 2.88 per cent at Rs 189.20.

The Sensex losers were: ICICI Bank, down 5.93 per cent at Rs 261.90; Axis Bank, down 2.20 per cent at Rs 498.20; Coal India, down 2.01 per cent at Rs 277.80; State Bank of India, down 1.52 per cent at Rs 246.30; and Bharti Airtel, down 1.12 per cent at Rs 394.45. (IANS)

Read More

Huawei posts 28% rise in 2017 net profit, to hike R&D investments

Mar 30, 2018 0

New Delhi– Eyeing the growth-driven Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G markets, Shenzhen-based Huawei on Friday reported net profit of 47.5 billion yuan ($7.3 billion) for 2017, an increase of 28.1 per cent year-on-year, and registered revenue of 603.6 billion yuan ($92.5 billion) — a rise of 15.7 per cent over 2016.

In 2017, Huawei’s annual investment in research and development reached 89.7 billion yuan ($13.8 billion), up 17.4 per cent compared with 2016.

The company’s total R&D spend over the past decade has exceeded 394 billion yuan ($60.4 billion).

“We’re on a new journey. Over the next 10 years, Huawei will continue to increase investment in technological innovation, investing more than $10 billion back into R&D every year,” Ken Hu, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman, said in a statement.

“We will actively pursue open collaboration, attract and cultivate top talent, and step up efforts in exploratory research. We want to better enable all industries to go digital and intelligent,” Hu added.

Focusing on helping global carriers maximise the potential of their existing network assets and seize new opportunities in video, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud markets, Huawei’s Carrier business group generated 297.8 billion yuan ($45.7 billion) in revenue, an increase of 2.5 per cent year-on-year.

Huawei’s enterprise business group enhanced innovations in cloud, big data, campus networks, data centres, IoT and other domains.

In 2017, the enterprise business generated 54.9 billion yuan ($8.4 billion) in revenue, an increase of 35.1 per cent compared with 2016.

Huawei set up a Cloud Business Unit in 2017, which launched 99 cloud services across 14 major categories, and over 50 solutions.

The company also unveiled the Enterprise Intelligence (EI) platform and developed over 2,000 cloud service partners.

“As we look to 2018, emerging technologies like IoT, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 5G will soon see large-scale application,” Hu added. (IANS)

Read More

Indian banks’ credibility at all-time low, says Congress

Mar 30, 2018 0

Bengaluru– With several fraud cases worth thousands of crores of rupees surfacing in Indian banks, the banking sector gone into a “deep crisis” with credibility at all time low due to failure of regulatory oversight, Congress said on Friday.

“Unimaginable sums of thousands of crores have been looted by select few by faking letters of undertaking (LoUs), not paying loans and fraudulent means under a complicit banking system,” party spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told media persons here.

About Rs 61,000 crores was swindled through the 11 banking fraud cases that were uncovered over the past few months, he said.

“India’s banking sector is in deep crisis due to the undermining of integrity of regulatory institutions and the failure of regulatory oversight.”

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being on an indefinite vow of silence, Surjewala said under his “direct watch”, the duping, loot, cheating and swindling of banks were taking place.

“‘A scam a day’ and ‘Let the looters run away’ were the slogans of the Modi government.

“People’s money was allowed to be brazenly looted by the likes of (liquor baron) Vijay Mallya, (former Indian Premier League Chairman) Lalit Modi and (Punjab National Bank fraud accused diamantaire) Nirav Modi, who were all allowed to flee the country,” the Congress leader said.

As a result of the scams, the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of the banking sector in the country have tripled, he alleged, adding that there isn’t any bank in the country that is unaffected by the scams.

Attacking the Modi government, he said it has been in deep slumber and has also refused to acknowledge publicly the “looting and duping” of common man’s money by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi through Ponzi gold schemes.

Even as the frauds were piling up, the PM and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were maintaining their deafening silence, Surjewala added. (IANS)

Read More

India’s Forex reserves rise by $1.19 bn

Mar 30, 2018 0

Mumbai– India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves increased by $1.19 billion as on March 23, official data showed on Friday.

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) weekly statistical supplement, the overall Forex reserves rose to $422.53 billion from $421.33 billion reported for the week ended March 16.

India’s Forex reserves comprise of foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs) and the RBI’s position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Segment-wise, FCAs — the largest component of the Forex reserves — increased by $1.13 billion to $397.29 billion during the week under review.

Besides the US dollar, FCAs consist of nearly 20-30 per cent of major global currencies. It also includes investments in US Treasury bonds, bonds of other selected governments and deposits with foreign central and commercial banks.

In addition, the country’s gold reserves value rose by $52.7 million to $21.61 billion.

Similarly, the SDRs value increased. It inched up by $3 million to $1.54 billion, while the country’s reserve position with the IMF edged up by $4 million to $2.08 billion. (IANS)

Read More

Telcos’ 2016-17 pre-tax losses broaden to Rs 38,153 cr

Mar 29, 2018 0

New Delhi–  Pre-tax losses of telecom companies have broadened to Rs 38,153 crore during financial year 2016-17 from Rs 1,699 crore in the previous fiscal, the Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

“Based on audited/unaudited information submitted by telecom service sector companies to TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), the profit before tax (PBT) for the telecom service sector companies has decreased from Rs (-) 1,699 crore for the financial year 2015-16 to Rs (-) 38,153 crore for the financial year 2016-17,” Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

He said for the financial year 2016-17, 24 out of a total of 50 companies have shown losses before tax.

“Government ensures healthy competition in telecom sector. Recently, TRAI has reiterated the regulatory principles of non-predatory, non discrimination and transparency in tariff offers vide Telecommunication Tariff (63rd Amendment) Order, 2018 on February 16, 2018,” Sinha said.

According to data provided by Sinha, losses of MTNL for 2016-17 stood at Rs 2,941.08 crore and that of BSNL at Rs 4,793 crore. (IANS)

Read More

HCAH looks at Rs 1,000 crore revenue by 2020

Mar 29, 2018 0

Kolkata–  HealthCare atHome (HCAH), backed by Dabur promoters Burman family, is looking at a Rs 1,000 crore revenue by 2020 with increasing demand for home healthcare services in India.

“Our revenue has grown by 70 times since 2014 till date. We started in NCR region and have now expanded our services in Punjab, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and many other cities and towns. We are targeting about Rs 1,000 revenue by 2020,” company’s co-founder and CEO Vivek Srivastava said.

The company has witnessed a significant growth in ICU space. Since inception in September 2012, it has done over 25,000 oncology or immunology procedures and more than 20,000 ICU days at home and served over 4 lakh patients across 40 cities.

“For our hospital at home services business, about 40 per cent of it comes from the ICU space and while in terms of total revenue, the ICU services contribute about 20 per cent. Our integrated pharma business which has also grown rapidly contributes a sizeable share in total revenue,” Srivastava said.

Currently, the company has been doing about 500 oncology procedures a month and it is expected to grow manifold, he said.

Depending on the services, the prices vary from as low as Rs 500 for injection administration, wound dressing and others to Rs 20,000-Rs 25,000 a day for high-end services including ICU care, he said.

Entering into the Kolkata market, the home healthcare service provided is looking to make the metropolis a base to cater to other eastern states like Bihar, Jharkhand and northeastern states, he added. (IANS)

Read More