Posts tagged ‘Reserve Bank of India’

15/11/2016

The Economist explains: Why India scrapped its two biggest bank notes | The Economist

In a surprise televised address on the evening of November 8th, Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, delivered a bombshell: most of the money in Indians’ wallets would cease to be accepted in shops at midnight. The two most valuable notes, of 500 and 1000 rupees ($7.50 and $15), were to be “demonetised”, economist slang for taken out of circulation. Indians have until the end of the year to visit banks to either exchange their cash against newly printed notes or deposit it in their accounts. After that, their notes will become mere pieces of printed paper with no value at all.

Citizens and businesses face weeks or months of disruption as the new currency stock is deployed. So why bother?

The government justified the move in part due to concerns over a proliferation of counterfeit notes (not unusually, it pointed the finger at neighbouring Pakistan), which it claims is fuelling the drug trade and funding terrorism. But its main impact will be on “black money”, cash from undeclared sources which sits outside the financial system. Perhaps 20% of India’s economy is informal. Some of that is poor farmers, who are largely exempt from tax anyway. But the rich are perceived to be sitting on a vast illicit loot. Though a large part of that sits in bank accounts in predictable foreign jurisdictions, a chunk of it is held in high-value Indian notes. Purchases of gold or high-end real estate have long been made at least in part with bundles (or suitcases) of illicit cash. The impact of the move is that everyone will have to disclose all their cash or face losing it. Those with mere bundles of 500 rupee notes clearly aren’t the target: the government has said tax authorities won’t be told about deposits of less than 250,000. But those who have stashed large piles of notes are in a bind. A recent amnesty programme for “black money” has just passed meaning the tax man is unlikely to look upon undeclared cash piles with sympathy.

The question is not whether the scheme will work but whether the cost of implementing it is worth it. The notes being nixed represent 86% of all cash in circulation: everyone is impacted. Queues have snaked around banks for days as Indians have tried to convert their notes into new money. And the “black money” hoarders have ways to liquidate their loot, for example hiring lots of people to deposit their notes into their own accounts and then send it back, all for a fee. The benefits are hard to gauge for now. The government is keen to be seen to be cracking down on tax-dodgers on behalf of the “common man”. But if the poor fellow then has to spend his days (like your correspondent) scouring the streets for an ATM that works, he may end up wondering if he is a beneficiary of the scheme or its victim.

Source: The Economist explains: Why India scrapped its two biggest bank notes | The Economist

Advertisements
03/10/2016

India joins Paris Climate Change Agreement, submits instrument of ratification at UN headquarters – Times of India

With the US, China and now India signing the accord, other nations should not hesitate to join them. On any case, thes three account for the vast majority of the pollution, so even if no one else signs up, its good news for Mother Gaia.

India formally joined the Paris Climate Change Agreement by submitting its instrument of ratification+ at UN headquarters in New York on Sunday – the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The instrument of ratification was deposited by India’s permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin.

By putting Gandhi seal on the climate deal, the country will now urge the global community to adopt ‘Gandhian way of life’ (shun extravagant lifestyles) to reduce their carbon footprints and protect the earth from adverse impact of climate change.

India will articulate its point vigorously during the next climate conference (COP22) at Marrakech in Morocco, beginning November 7.

“India had led from front to ensure the inclusion of climate justice and sustainable lifestyles in the Paris Agreement+ . We will put across this view based on Gandhian lifestyle in Morocco”, said environment minister Anil Madhav Dave.

Spelling out next course of action after India formally joined the Agreement, Dave said, “It is important that apart from emission cuts, we also focus on measures that involve broader participation. People in developed countries live extravagant lifestyles with high carbon footprint.

“Simple everyday changes in lifestyles, when practiced by a large number of people around the globe, collectively will make a huge impact”.

Source: India joins Paris Climate Change Agreement, submits instrument of ratification at UN headquarters – Times of India

01/09/2016

Indian manufacturing growth at 13-month high in August | Reuters

Indian factory activity expanded at its fastest pace since mid-2015 in August, helped by surging new orders, while only modest price increases should give the central bank scope to ease policy further, a survey showed.

The data will cheer policymakers after an official report on Wednesday showed Indian annual economic growth slowed in the April-June quarter to 7.1 percent, short of expectations for 7.6 percent in a Reuters poll.

The Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 52.6 in August from July’s 51.8, marking its eighth month above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

“Manufacturing PMI data show that the positive momentum seen at the beginning of the second semester has been carried over into August, with expansion rates for new work, buying levels and production accelerating further,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at survey compiler Markit.

The new orders sub-index, which takes into account both domestic and external demand, was 54.8 in August – its highest since December 2014 and indicating robust demand for Indian manufactured goods.

That pushed factories to increase production and the output sub-index climbed to a 12-month peak in August.But price growth lost momentum last month, with raw material costs increasing at their weakest rate in six months and output prices barely rising at all, suggesting consumer inflation could cool in coming months.

“In light of these numbers, the Reserve Bank of India has scope to loosen monetary policy in the upcoming meeting to further support economic growth in India,” De Lima said.On Oct. 4, the RBI is due to announce its first policy decision under newly-appointed governor Urjit Patel, who economists expect to broadly follow in outgoing chief Raghuram Rajan‘s footsteps.

Economists in a Reuters poll last month predicted the RBI would cut the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 percent in the final three months of the year.

They see little steam left in the RBI’s current easing cycle, in which the policy repo rate has come down by 150 basis points since January 2015, to its lowest in more than five years.Consumer inflation in India was 6.07 percent in July, well above the RBI’s March 2017 medium-term target of 5 percent.

Source: Indian manufacturing growth at 13-month high in August | Reuters

25/08/2016

Indian Company Earnings are at Last Showing Some Signs of Recovery – India Real Time – WSJ

India Inc. is finally starting to report the kind of growth one would expect from companies in the world’s fastest-growing large economy.

India’s biggest companies have been stuck in a rut for the last two years even though the country surpassed even China in terms of gross domestic product growth and it voters picked a prime minister who pledged to boost business.

Last quarters’ earnings suggested things may at last be looking up.In the three months ended June, the net profit of companies in the benchmark index, the S&P BSE Sensex, rose 7% compared to a year earlier. While a few companies still haven’t announced results yet, so far it looks like the highest growth for Sensex companies in two years.

Take out the earnings at banks–which are being hurt as the Reserve Bank of India forced them to write off more soured loans–and the profit picture is even prettier. Profit at the non-financial Sensex companies jumped 15% during the quarter, according to data from broker Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd.

While the outlook on global demand is gloomy, hurting exporters and software companies, local demand is strong and getting stronger.

Workers at an IKEA carpet-making facility in Bhadohi, India, August 26, 2015. PHOTO: VIVEK SINGH FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“The earnings growth mostly came from companies focused on domestic demand rather than companies relying on global markets,” said Vivek Mahajan, head of research at Aditya Birla Money.

Companies selling products to people in India can expect even more demand later this year as above-average monsoon rains bolster farmers’ incomes and government employees receive a massive wage hike, he said.

Sectors such as cement, consumer goods, and auto makers are going to be big beneficiaries of the rising consumer demand.

Source: Indian Company Earnings are at Last Showing Some Signs of Recovery – India Real Time – WSJ

01/07/2016

India factory growth at 3-month high in June on strong demand | Reuters

Indian manufacturing activity edged up to a three-month high in June, driven by stronger demand, but firms barely raised prices, a private survey showed, leaving the door open for another rate cut by the central bank this year.

The Nikkei/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.7 in June from May’s 50.7, its sixth month above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction after it fell below that level in December for the first time in more than two years.

“The domestic market continues to be the main growth driver, as the Indian economic upturn provides a steady stream of new business,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit.

“There were also signs of an improvement in overseas markets, as new foreign orders rose. However, it looks as if lackluster global demand remains a headwind for Indian manufacturers.

“While retail inflation hit a near two-year high in May, the survey’s output prices sub-index fell to a three-month low of 50.1 in June versus 50.5 the previous month, as input costs rose at a weaker pace.

There was also broadly no change to manufacturing employment in India during June, the survey showed.

“This lack of inflationary pressures provides the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with further leeway to boost economic growth through cutting its benchmark rate,” said De Lima.

According to a Reuters poll, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan could deliver another rate cut before his term ends in September. After cutting rates in April, he has left the key interest rate unchanged at a five-year low of 6.50 percent.

However, at the June policy meeting he signalled another rate cut later in the year if monsoon rains were sufficient enough to dampen upward pressure on food prices.

Rains are expected to be above average this year which could keep prices in control and give the government room to focus on key economic reforms in tandem with low interest rates.

Source: India factory growth at 3-month high in June on strong demand | Reuters

29/06/2016

India approves rise in salaries, pension for govt employees – govt source | Reuters

India’s cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to revise up salaries and pensions for government employees, an official, privy to the decision, told reporters.

The official declined to be named or identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The move is estimated to benefit nearly 10 million government employees.

Details were not immediately available ahead of a government briefing later.

Source: India approves rise in salaries, pension for govt employees – govt source | Reuters

24/06/2016

Two stumbles forward, one back | The Economist

LAST November, two days after India’s ruling party suffered a drubbing at local polls in the state of Bihar, the government unexpectedly opened a dozen new industries to foreign direct investment (FDI). A gushing official called it “the biggest path-breaking and the most radical changes in the FDI regime ever undertaken”.

On June 20th, two days after Raghuram Rajan, the respected governor of India’s central bank, abruptly announced that he would soon step down, the government covered its embarrassment with another impromptu salute to FDI. The slim package of enticements, amounting to a slight lowering of barriers in some of the same industries, has made India “the most open economy in the world for FDI,” said the office of Narendra Modi, the prime minister.

Hyperbole is not unexpected from a government keen to burnish its liberalising credentials. But it has not lived up to its cheery slogans (“Startup India”, “We Unobstacle”, “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”). Two years after clinching a sweeping electoral mandate, and with the opposition in disarray, Mr Modi’s reform agenda should be in full swing. Instead, as with previous governments, his ill-focused initiatives have run up against India’s statist bureaucracy.

To be fair, much of what has been done is useful. Corruption has been stemmed, at least at ministerial level. A vital bankruptcy law has been approved. Yet for all the evidence that Mr Modi’s team is doing a better job running the existing economic machinery, it has shown limited appetite for overhauling it.

Pessimists see Mr Rajan’s departure as evidence of a further wilting of ambition. After all, as a former chief economist of the IMF, he is an enthusiastic advocate of structural reform. Then again, at the central bank he has focused chiefly on bringing down inflation. Optimists hope he is being eased out because of his habit of speaking his mind, thereby occasionally contradicting the government line, rather than to pave the way for retrograde policies.

Thanks to a mix of lower oil prices and prudent fiscal policies (and perhaps also flawed statistics) the economy grew by 7.9% in the first quarter, compared with the same period the year before, the fastest pace among big economies. Ministers think further acceleration is possible.

That may prove difficult. India’s public-sector banks, which hold 70% of the industry’s assets, are stuffed with bad loans; the central bank reckons that some 17.7% are “stressed”. That Mr Rajan forced them to disclose this fact will not have endeared him to politically connected tycoons now being badgered to repay the banks. Bank shares rose after he said he was leaving, presumably in the hope that his successor will go easy on them. Rating agencies fret that they will still need recapitalising, blowing a hole in the government’s finances. In the meantime, credit to industry has all but ground to a halt.

India’s overweening bureaucracy is another drag on growth. Copious red-tape and poor infrastructure put India 130th out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s “Ease of doing business” rankings. Getting permits to build a warehouse in Mumbai involves 40 steps and costs more than 25% of its value, compared with less than 2% in rich countries. It takes 1,420 days, on average, to enforce a contract.

A slew of liberalising reforms in 1991, when India was in far worse shape than now, were left unfinished as the economy gradually recovered. Whereas product markets were freed from the “licence Raj”, which no longer dictates how much of what each factory can produce, inputs such as land, labour and capital are still heavily regulated. Having once sought to prise those open, the Modi government now encourages state governments to take the lead with their own reforms.

One result is that there is no proper market for land: businesses that want to set up shop are best off wooing state governments to provide some. Chief ministers with a presidential approach (a model Mr Modi espoused in his previous job running Gujarat) scurry around scouting for plots on behalf of the private sector in a manner that would have seemed familiar to the central planners of yore.

That India is pro-business but not necessarily pro-market is a frequent refrain. “The government wants to create jobs, not the environment in which job-creation flourishes,” says one investor. Special economic zones are set up as sops, sometimes to entice single companies. Even big foreign investors are essentially told what to do: Walmart can only open cash-and-carry stores closed to the general public, Amazon must sell mostly other merchants’ goods rather than its own, and so on.If businesses cannot get things done themselves, even the most energetic politician will struggle to set up enough factories to general public, Amazon must sell mostly other merchants’ goods rather than its own, and so on.

Source: Two stumbles forward, one back | The Economist

09/04/2015

India’s Credit Outlook Gets Boost From Moody’s – India Real Time – WSJ

India has inched farther away from junk-bond status.

Moody’s Investors Service MCO +0.71% on Thursday changed its ratings outlook on Asia’s No. 3 economy to positive from stable, citing the “increasing probability that actions by policy makers will enhance the country’s economic strength.” But it maintained its Baa3 rating, one level above junk, saying the Indian economy is still heavily exposed to external and financial shocks. Moody’s has rated India at Baa3 since 2004.

The move is a vote of investor confidence in the economic management of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Reserve Bank of India Gov. Raghuram Rajan. Standard & Poor’s raised its India outlook to stable last fall. Fitch Ratings has had a stable outlook on India since 2013.

All three of the big agencies currently assign Indian debt their lowest investment-grade ratings. They cite similar reasons. Inflation is high. The public sector—the federal government plus the states—is highly indebted. Infrastructure is sorely deficient. The banking system is burdened with bad assets.

“While policies are beginning to address each of these factors, the extent of likely improvements is as yet unclear,” Moody’s said Thursday.

via India’s Credit Outlook Gets Boost From Moody’s – India Real Time – WSJ.

08/04/2015

Rural Electrification Corp share sale subscribed more than twice | Reuters

A sale of shares in state-run Rural Electrification Corp Ltd(RURL.NS) worth up to $250 million has been subscribed nearly two-and-a-half times, at an indicative price of over 316 rupees each, exchange data showed.

An employee from the electricity board works on newly installed overhead power cables in Allahabad December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash/Files

The share sale is part of New Delhi‘s plan to raise about $11.1 billion through asset sales during the current financial year ending March 2016. The asset sales are crucial to meet a fiscal deficit target of 3.9 percent of GDP for 2015/16 financial year.

The government has missed its divestment target for the past five years. A shortfall in receipts from stake sales and taxes has led to cuts in public spending of about $48 billion in the past three years, slowing economic recovery.

“Given the positive response and sentiment from both global and domestic investors there should be good appetite for quality issues if valuations are attractive,” said Navneet Munot, chief investment officer of SBI Funds Management.

Greater faith in the India’s political leadership and reform process should help government’s divestment drive, he added.

Overseas and domestic portfolio investor demand for REC’s shares exceeded supply, in a vote of confidence of recovery in power starved Asia’s third-largest economy.

via Rural Electrification Corp share sale subscribed more than twice | Reuters.

05/02/2015

Falling oil prices pull India’s budget out of the fire | Reuters

Falling oil prices have been a major windfall for India: Just weeks ago it faced failing to meet fiscal deficit targets, but can now expect a budget that not only hits its targets, but also provides extra cash to support reform.

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gestures during the session 'India's Next Decade' in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

The coming budget for fiscal 2015/16 (April-March), which will be unveiled on Feb. 28, is widely seen as a test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s ability to lead economic reform.

Fortunately for Modi, the economic climate has handed him a chance to pass that test with flying colours: Budget planners are optimistic that he will set Asia’s third-largest economy on a path for growth of 7 percent to 8 percent over the next two years.

“The situation is far better now than in December,” said one finance ministry official, who spoke to Reuters despite a ban on contact with the media in the secrecy-shrouded run-up to the presentation of the annual budget. “The budget will deliver on Modi’s promise of better days for the economy.”

The halving of global oil prices since mid-2014 has allowed the Modi government to raise diesel and petrol fuel taxes and cut diesel prices by 25-30 percent – a windfall gain for households as well as businesses, and dampening inflationary pressures in the economy.

via Falling oil prices pull India’s budget out of the fire | Reuters.

Law of Unintended Consequences

continuously updated blog about China & India

ChiaHou's Book Reviews

continuously updated blog about China & India

What's wrong with the world; and its economy

continuously updated blog about China & India