Hindustan Petroleum Corp. (HPCL), India’s third-largest state refiner, is seeking to at least double the interest-free credit period for crude purchases from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to 60 days, B.K. Namdeo, the company’s refineries director, said in Mumbai. Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) wants price discounts for agreeing to contracts that are more than 10 years long, according to Managing Director P.P. Upadhya.
“Discussions are going on, and we expect the extended credit period to be reflected in the new contracts from April 1,” Namdeo said. “There is a surplus in the market, and India should take full advantage of the situation.”
India’s benchmark 30-share S&P BSE Sensex hit a record high Thursday of 21513.87 points, marking the third straight session of gains.
As India heads towards national elections, investors have been following the twists and turns of the political world more closely in recent months. The next election will likely have a big impact on whether, when and by how much Asia’s third largest economy will rebound.
The country announced this week that the national polls will begin April 7 and be done by May 16 which has some optimists hoping that uncertainty about who will be leading the world’s largest democracy will be over in a little more than two months.
Some investors have become frustrated by the ruling Congress party because they believe it has stalled reforms and delayed important investments in the close to ten years it has been in power. Instead, critics say, the Congress-party led coalition has focused on populist measures, including a bill to provide almost free food to around two thirds of the population.
One good thing about election season, investors say, is that Congress will not be able to announce any new perks for the poor. The Election Commission of India prohibits parties from launching welfare programs during the election process.
“The uncertainty is now over,” said Sharmila Joshi, an independent research analyst in Mumbai. “The market is (optimistic) that there won’t be any more populist measures.”
The company has often said its output would be 300 million tonnes more than the current figure of about 475 million given enough rail tracks to carry the fuel from new and remote mines.
Insufficient connectivity is one of the reasons the company has lagged output targets for more than six straight years – leading to shortages at power producers and crippling outages.
Speaking on the sidelines of a coal conference in the resort state of Goa, Sood said the company was seeking a joint venture partner to set up the plant.
India has made encouraging progress by halving its official poverty rate, from 45 percent of the population in 1994 to 22 percent in 2012. This is an achievement to be celebrated—yet it also gives the nation an opportunity to set higher aspirations. While the official poverty line counts only those living in the most abject conditions, even a cursory scan of India’s human-development indicators suggests more widespread deprivation. Above and beyond the goal of eradicating extreme poverty, India can address these issues and create a new national vision for helping more than half a billion people attain a more economically empowered life.
To realize this vision, policy makers need a more comprehensive benchmark to measure gaps that must be closed and inform the allocation of resources. To this end, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has created the Empowerment Line, an analytical framework that determines the level of consumption required to fulfill eight basic needs—food, energy, housing, drinking water, sanitation, health care, education, and social security—at a level sufficient to achieve a decent standard of living rather than bare subsistence.
In applying this metric to India, we found that in 2012, 56 percent of the population lacked the means to meet essential needs. By this measure, some 680 million Indians experienced deprivation, more than 2.5 times the population of 270 million below the official poverty line. Hundreds of millions have exited extreme poverty but continue to struggle for a modicum of dignity, comfort, and security. The Empowerment Gap, or the additional consumption required to bring these 680 million people to the level of the Empowerment Line, is seven times higher than the cost of eliminating poverty as defined by the official poverty line (exhibit).
India has secured a record 207 billion rupees ($3.4 billion) of investment in port projects after it deregulated tariffs.
The nation has awarded bids for thirty ports in the year ending March 31, Shipping Secretary Vishwapati Trivedi said in an interview. The value is more than three times greater than projects awarded in fiscal 2013, he said. The projects will add 217.6 million metric tons of annual cargo-handling capacity, according to the Ministry of Shipping.
The bids will ease congestion at Indian ports where the average turnaround time for ships was about three days in 2013, compared with about one day in Singapore and Shanghai, according to a report by Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers Ltd. They will also help India meet a 2020 target of more than doubling its port capacity to 3,200 million metric tons at an investment of 2.87 trillion rupees.
One of the most important questions in the global economy is the commitment to reform by China’s new leaders. Are they more reform-oriented than the last crew, who talked a lot about economic reform but often didn’t carry through?
China Real Time did a quick analysis based on the philosophy of Casey Stengel, the garrulous former manager of the New York Yankees and Mets known by the nickname “The Old Perfessor.” As Stengel often said, “You can look it up.” So we did.
“Transformation?” Mr. Li, 17; Mr. Wen, 5.
What would Mr. Li like to reform? Among many other things: socialism, markets, government, agriculture, science, investment, taxes, finance and schools.
And what would he transform? Industry and foreign trade mostly.
It won’t be easy to do all this, Mr. Li warned: “China’s reform has entered a critical stage and a deep water zone,” he told delegates to China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress. “We must rely fully on the people, break mental shackles and vested interests with great determination.”
Or as Mr. Stengel reportedly said: “Without losers, where would the winners be?”