Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Falling yuan, sinking rupee, stalled reforms subdue markets

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Mumbai, Devaluation of the Chinese yuan and the Indian rupee, as also the stalled reforms process, dampened investor sentiments in the equity markets during the weekly trade ended Aug 14.

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The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) fell by 169.08 points or 0.59 percent during the weekly trade, ending at 28,067.31 points from the previous close of 28,236.39 points on Aug 7. The S&P BSE Sensex had marginally gained by 121.83 points during the weekly trade ended Aug 7.
“The devaluation of yuan is a sign that the currency wars have started at a time when the world economy is stalling, commodities prices are falling and the Chinese markets are bleeding,” Anand James, co-head, technical research desk, Geojit BNP Paribas.
“The yuan’s surprise devaluation also stroked fears of competitive devaluation across Asia, especially before the (US) Fed’s monetary policy decision due in September,” he added
The yuan has fallen by 4.6 percent since Tuesday, its biggest devaluation since 1994.
The devaluation, intended to boost exports, has made investment in China cheaper, thereby leading foreign funds away from India.
This also impacted the rupee, which on Thursday fell to its lowest level against the US dollar in 24 months at Rs.65.23.
The logjam in parliament and the yuan’s devaluation led the markets to lose a total of 724 points during the first three trading days of the week.
However, investors were seen hopeful of a rate-cut based on healthy macro-economic data points including Consumer Price Index (CPI), Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
“The recovery was led by the 0.05 percent rise of the yuan (on Friday), after three days of depreciation instigated by the People’s Bank of China, and better than expected macro data,” Rahul Dholam, senior analyst with Angel Broking, cited
The macro-economic data points showed a fall in India’s annual retail inflation rate to 3.78 percent in July, the annual wholesale inflation fell to (-)4.05 percent, however there was a rise in the factory output to 3.8 percent in June.The WPI coupled with consumer price index (CPI) have pointed at a gradual reining in of prices.
The RBI has set a target for CPI inflation at 6 percent by January 2016.
On the bright side of the volatile weekly trade was the possibility that the government might extend the “Monsoon Session” or call for a “Special Session” of parliament to pass the GST bill kept investors optimistic about the future of the key economic legislation.
“The signals that are coming — like an extension of the monsoon session or a proposed special session to get the GST bill passed — are very encouraging,” Devendra Nevgi, chief executive of ZyFin.
“The India growth story is based on the ability of the government to bring in reforms. For the central bank to be able to cut rates and usher in the demand by propping-up the consumer sentiment. The lack of reforms will send a dampening signal to the rest of the world,” Nevgi elaborated.
Lately, investors have been reluctant to chase higher prices given the possibility that the reform process might be stalled due to the government’s inability to conduct business in parliament.

(IANS)

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Chinese Police Catches Hold of $1.5 Billion Money in Online Lending Scandal

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

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Chinese policemen watch as depositors from Ezubao gather outside the State Bureau for Letters and Calls Reception Division office in Beijing, Jan. 1, 2016. China's policy ministry says it investigated 380 online lenders following an avalanche of scandals. VOA

Chinese police have investigated 380 online lenders and frozen $1.5 billion in assets following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry, the government announced Monday.

Beijing allowed a private finance industry to flourish in order to supply credit to entrepreneurs and households that aren’t served by the state-run banking system. But that threatens to become a liability for the ruling Communist Party after bankruptcies and fraud cases prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to small investors.

The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste.

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The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste. Pixabay

The ministry gave no details of arrests but said more than 100 executives were being sought by investigators and some had fled abroad. It said authorities seized or froze 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) but gave no indication how much might be returned to depositors.

Police say some lenders and investment vehicles were brazenly fraudulent, while others collapsed after inexperienced founders failed to manage risk.

Monday’s statement said P2P lenders were investigated for complaints including wasting money, reporting phony investment plans and using illegal tactics to raise money.

Lending through online platforms grew by triple digits annually until 2017 when regulators tightened controls.

Depositors lent 1.9 trillion yuan ($280 billion) last year, but that was down by 50 percent from 2017, according to the Shenzhen Qiancheng Internet Finance Research Institute.

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The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved. Pixabay

The outstanding loan balance stood at 1.2 trillion yuan ($177 billion) at the end of 2018, down 25 percent from a year earlier, according to Diyi Wangdai, a web site that reports on the industry.

P2P lenders are part of a privately run Chinese finance industry the national bank regulator estimated in 2015 had grown to $1.5 trillion.

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

Many lend to factories and retailers or invest in restaurants, car washes and other businesses. But inexperience and poor risk control means a downturn in business conditions can bankrupt them.

Also Read: Sales of Smart Feature Phones Expected To Be About $28 Billion Over Next Three Years

Finance as a whole has come under tougher scrutiny after a 2015 plunge in stock prices led to accusations of insider trading and other offenses.

In one of China’s biggest financial scams, authorities say depositors lost 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) in online lender Ezubo before it was seized by regulators in 2015.

The founder and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2017. (VOA)