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Indian equities, rupee in free fall on another ‘Manic Monday’

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Mumbai: Another “Manic Monday” saw a key Indian equity index log its steepest ever closing fall in point-terms, spooked by a crash in Chinese bourses, unmindful of the assertions by policymakers that the turbulence was transient and the country’s economy remained strong. In this turmoil, the Indian rupee also fell to its lowest in two years at 66.74 to a dollar. The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) lost as much as 1,624.51 points, or 5.94 percent which was the steepest in terms of points, surpassing the previous highest closing loss of 1,408.35 points on Jan 21, 2008. In terms of percentage, the loss of nearly 6 percent on Monday was around a half of the steepest fall of 11.13 percent in the Sensex, which was logged on May 17, 2004, data available with the Mumbai bourse showed. In fact, all these were Mondays.

Sensex-to-remai8567
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The wider, 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) followed a similar trend to close 491 points, or 5.92 percent, down at 7,809 points. In both bourses as much as Rs.7 lakh crore ($100 billion) was wiped out in terms of market cap. At BSE, out of 2,835 companies that traded on Monday, 2,477 of them declined. Just 303 managed to stay afloat. In terms of Sensex, all the 30 shares that go into the bellwether’s basket ended in the red.
So massive was the crash that top policymakers, led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan sought to talk the market up, by saying the the core fundamentals of the Indian economy were strong and the turmoil will tide over. “Factors responsible for the markets fall are entirely external. There isn’t a single domestic factor,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at a conference here. “The turbulence is transient and temporary in nature. Markets will settle down once the turbulence is over.” Rajan spoke a similar language and also tried to calm the currency market vis-a-vis the rupee. “I’ll say that relative to other countries India is in a good position with strengthening growth, a low current account deficit and narrowing fiscal deficit, moderating inflation, low short-term foreign currency liabilities and sizeable exchange reserves,” he said.

Analysts said weak global cues emanating from a continuous slide in the Chinese markets, along with concerns over the stalled domestic economic reforms program were the main reasons for Monday’s mayhem. “International investors are pulling-back funds from emerging markets especially China. There is a slowdown there. The clear and present danger now is the slowdown impacting the US and European based companies,” Anand James, co-head, technical research, Geojit BNP Paribas. A look at the sector-wise indices showed how widespread the losses were in the Indian markets. All the 12 sub-indices of the BSE closed deep in the red. Banking, auto, healthcare, capital goods particularly came in for hammering.

The losers on Monday were led by Amtek Auto, down 25.19 percent at Rs.48, followed by Wockhardt, down 21.26 percent at Rs.1,301.75, Vakrangee, down 20 percent at Rs.100, BF Utilities, down 19.44 percent at Rs.476.80 and HDIL, down 18.99 percent at Rs.58.65. Major Sensex losers were: Vedanta, down 15.30 percent at Rs.80.25, Tata Steel, down 13.11 percent at Rs.206.15, Gail India, down 12.78 percent at Rs.271.90, ONGC, down 11.17 percent at Rs.227.35, and Bajaj Auto, down 9.09 percent at Rs.2,188.45. Elsewhere around the globe, Chinese stocks crashed pulling down the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index 8.45 percent to close at 3,211.2 points. The Shenzhen Component Index also shed 7.27 percent to end at 10,983.42 points. The Hong Kong stocks also dived for the 7th consecutive trading session on Monday. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 1,158.05 points, or 5.17 percent, to close at 21,251.57 points. It traded between 21,136.48 and 21,679.45. The massive fall in the Chinese stock market comes from the disappointment that Beijing did not announce expected policy support over the weekend after the country’s main market indexes shed 11 percent last week, brokerage Share khan said. Going ahead, all eyes were on the opening bell of Tuesday. They were worried if history would repeat itself. For on Jan 22, 2008 a day after “Manic Monday” the Sensex at one point had shed 2,273 points. It was only after the finance ministry’s intervention that the losses were pruned to 875 points.

(IANS)

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RBI maynot have been Authorised to Issue Currency Notes of Rs 2,000 and Rs 200

the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) does not seem to have any official records to prove that it had authorised the issue of new currency notes in denominations of Rs 2,000 and Rs 200, after demonetisation

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authorised to issue currency notes
Reserve Bank of India doesnot have any proof to have been authorised to issue currency notes. Wikimedia.

Mumbai, Oct 28: In what could be a bizarre situation, the Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) does not seem to have any official records to prove that it had authorised the issue of new currency notes in denominations of Rs 2,000 and Rs 200, after demonetisation, according to documents available through RTI.

“As per RTI replies provided by the RBI, the country’s central bank has apparently not published any Government Resolution (GR) or a circular till date to issue the new Rs 2,000 and recently, the Rs 200 currency notes,” says Mumbai-based RTI activist M.S. Roy.

Authorised to Issue Currency Notes.
Rs. 2000 note was issued by RBI who maynot ahve been Authorised to Issue Currency Notes. Wikimedia.

A May 19, 2016 document — roughly around six months before demonetisation — shows that the RBI’s Central Board of Directors approved a proposal put forth by its Executive Director on May 18, 2016.

This (proposal) pertained to the new designs, dimensions and denominations of future Indian bank notes, and the Board resolved to forward it to the central government for approval, as per extracts of the minutes of that Board meeting.

Essentially, this was carrying forward an earlier such proposal made on July 08, 1993 to introduce a new family of Indian bank notes of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 500 of reduced sizes.

This old proposal (July 08, 1993) was approved at an RBI Central Board Of Directors meeting on July 15, 1993 as per a memorandum dated August 3, 1993 sent from RBI’s Central Office, Mumbai, to the Chief Officer, Department Of Currency Manager (RBI Mumbai), which was signed by the then Executive Director, A P Aiyer.

As per that proposal (of July 8, 1993), these new Indian currency notes of reduced size were to incorporate several fresh and enhanced security features in order to check counterfeiting, according to the same August 3, 1993 memorandum (quoted above).

Roy had also filed a separate RTI query on February 27, 2017, asking for documentation about photographs of Mahatma Gandhi which are not being printed on the Re 1 notes, but were being printed on all currency notes of denominations ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 2,000.

In reply to this particular query, the RBI provided resolutions of its board meetings held on July 15, 1993, July 13, 1994 and May 19, 2016.

authorised to issue currency notes
RBI had issued notes with no proof if authorised to issue currency notes. Wikimedia.

However, these resolutions talk about design features merely for Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 500, all of which bear the photographs of the Father of the Nation.

None of these RBI board resolutions make any references about design features or Mahatma Gandhi photographs for denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000 and now, the latest entrant to the Indian bank notes family, the Rs 200 currency note.

Hence, Roy said that if the RBI board resolutions never even discussed design features or Mahatma Gandhi photographs to be incorporated in Rs 1,000 notes (discontinued after demonetisation), Rs 2,000 denomination notes (introduced on November 8, 2016) and the subsequent Rs 200 notes (introduced in mid-2017), it clearly indicates that no official approval was granted.

He questioned that if no approval was granted for issuing these denominations, who authorised these denominations, their design, printing and distribution.

“If there has been no approval by the RBI Board, no supporting GR or any other known documentation in the public domain, then there is a big question mark about the legal validity and official (monetary) status of these notes — namely Rs.200 and Rs.2,000. The matter merits an independent investigation,” Roy said.

However, if such approvals do indeed exist, then the RBI and government must explain why these documents were not made available despite an RTI query or why they were not in the public domain. (IANS)

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New Rs 200 notes: It may take ATMs three months to dispense Rs 200

Will all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated?

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Wait for 3 more months as ATM recalibration is not yet done
Wait for 3 more months as ATM recalibration is not yet done. Wikimeida
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up
  • The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent
  • The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon
New Delhi, September 4, 2017: While the RBI launched the new Rs 200 notes a week ago, it may take up to three months for ATMs to start dispensing the new denomination currency “new Rs 200 note” as it will involve a huge exercise of recalibration.

What are ATM companies saying about when will the new Rs 200 notes come into the market?

Some banks have even asked the ATM companies to begin testing the new Rs 200 notes for recalibration of the machines, though they have not got supplies of the new Rs 200 notes/ currency. Only last year, the banks were involved in the recalibration of ATM machines after the demonetization of high-value currency notes in November.
ATM manufacturing companies said that they have not received any directive from the RBI regarding the recalibration of ATMs for the new Rs 200 note. They disclosed that some banks have at an informal level have asked them to start testing of the new note since it is of a different size.

 

When will the supply of the new Rs 200 notes see an increase?

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up but has not given any time-frame by which it will be available in adequate numbers.

 It is yet to be seen whether all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated for dispensing the new Rs 200 notes.

 

 avi B Goyal, Chairman, and Managing Director, AGS Transact Technologies Limited, which claims to have an installed base of 60,000 ATMs, told IANS, “The process of recalibration will begin once we receive the directive from the RBI. The size of the new Rs 200 notes are different from the existing ones and so, once we receive the new Rs 200 notes, we will have to understand its dimensions and accordingly reconfigure the ATM cassettes. Next, we will have to check if the supply of new Rs 200 notes is good enough to run the cassettes at full capacity.”

 “The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent. In fact, the ATMs will continue to be fully operational during recalibration and will continue to supply Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denominations,” he said.

 

Among the other companies operating in the sector are NCR Corporation, which has over 1,08,000 machines, and BTI Payments, which has 4,500 cash dispensers. NCR Corporation said that while some banks have reached out to them to start testing of the new Rs 200 notes, they were yet to receive the supply to begin the process.

 “Banks have started getting in touch with us for testing the same “new Rs 200 notes”. They will let us know which machines they wish to configure for new rs 200 notes, which will require physical visits to ATMs. However, the new Rs 200 notes are still to be provided to us by the respective banks so that the testing can begin,” Anand Garollu, General Manager (Services), NCR Corporation said.

K. Srinivas, Managing Director, and CEO of BTI Payments, a RBI-licensed firm that operates cash dispensers not owned and managed by banks, said, “Recalibration will begin as and when we receive adequate quantity of new Rs 200 notes. We are looking to roll this out as quickly as possible.”

 He said that the industry was expecting new Rs 200 notes to be available over a period of time across various geographies.

 “The recalibration can be done progressively as and when the new denomination note starts to become available. Unlike the last time around (during demonetization), when we had to recalibrate all machines in one go,” Srinivas added.

 The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon. However, emails to RBI in this regard did not elicit any reply, they said.

 “The production of these “new Rs 200 notes” is being ramped up by the currency printing presses and over time, as more notes are printed, it will be distributed across the country through the banking channels and will be available for the public in adequate quantity,” the RBI had said in a statement.

 Currently, new Rs 200 notes are available only through select RBI offices and some banks.

While State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank are reported to have received the new Rs 200 notes, Eknath Baliga, Manager, KYC-Antimoney Laundering Cell, Corporation Bank, Mangalore, told IANS that none of its branches across the country had received the new Rs 200 notes so far.

The new Rs 200 notes are currently being printed only by RBI presses. Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) sources told IANS that the company has not received any indent so far for the printing of new Rs 200 notes. India’s two currency presses are owned by RBI and two by SPMCIL, which is a government-owned company.

 How ATM recalibration happens:

Usually, an ATM holds four cassettes — three of which can continue to be used for Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 2,000, and the fourth cassette can be used for the new Rs 200 notes. On an average, each cassette has a capacity to hold 2,000-2,500 notes depending upon the quality of cash issued by banks. However, there are many ATMs that only have either two or three cassettes.

The number of slots in the ATM can be configured as per the bank’s preference. The banks decide which denomination needs to be configured in a machine on the basis of the customer profile in the area where the ATM is located and the number of transactions on that machine.

The banks need to make requisite changes at their ATM switch before the rollout of the physical recalibration at the ATMs in the field.

The recalibration of a new denomination takes 30-45 minutes per ATM. The process of recalibration is not very difficult but is time-consuming given an engineer has to visit every ATM and configure it to dispense the requisite denomination.

The introduction of the Rs 200 note has been welcomed as it would ease the currency circulation in the market as people prefer lower denomination cash withdrawals from ATMs. Rs 200 would also be more convenient for rural consumers. (IANS)

 

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Jammu Engineer Rahul Jarngal scales Mount Everest

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Rahul Jarngal along with three other members of an ONGC team scaled the world’s highest peak.

Jammu, May 29, 2017: Rahul Jarngal, an engineer belonging to Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district, has scaled the Mount Everest.

Jarngal belongs to the border village of Gurabeldaran in Hira Nagar and is an engineer with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC).

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On May 27, he along with three other members of an ONGC team scaled the world’s highest peak (8,848 ft) under the guidance of Loveraj Singh of the Border Security Force.

Singh represents the Indian Mountaineering Federation.

The expedition was flagged off by Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on March 27.

The team had left Kathmandu for the summit on April 4, sources said.

(IANS)