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Reforms, rate cut and rupee movement to propel markets


By Rohit Vaid

Mumbai, Hopes of further economic reforms, rate cuts, range-bound commodity prices and stabilisation of the yuan and rupee are expected to propel the Indian equity markets during the upcoming week, experts said.



“Investors have appreciated the government’s effort in trying to pass key economic legislation in the (just-concluded) monsoon session (of parliament). Markets believe that the government will be able to meet the GST (Goods and Services Tax) roll-out deadline,” Devendra Nevgi, chief executive of ZyFin Advisors, told IANS.
“There are solid hopes that the government will either call a special or joint session of parliament to get the GST bill passed. If this happens then it will send in a very positive signal to the world that India is serious about reforms and ease of doing business,” he added.

Lately, investors have been reluctant to place bets given the possibility that the whole reforms process might be stalled due to the government’s inability to conduct business in parliament.

Nevertheless, the key macro-economic data points released last week is expected to keep the investors solely focused on the apex bank’s moves on a rate cut.

Investors are hopeful of a rate-cut based on healthy macro-economic data points including the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and the Wholesale Price Index (WPI).

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 to (-) 4.05 percent, there was a rise in the factory output to 3.8 percent in June.

The WPI, coupled with the CPI, have pointed out at a gradual reining in of prices. The RBI has set a target for CPI inflation at 6 percent by January 2016.

“The double of joy of growth and inflation numbers have stoked optimism for an inter-policy rate cut, which could support banks’ run in the week ahead,” Anand James, co-head, technical research desk, Geojit BNP Paribas.

Banks will be at the centre of the markets attention, especially in the light of government’s announcements on recapitalisation of public sector banks and setting-up of a Banks Board Bureau.

“The announcements by the finance ministry on the PSU banks should have positive impact on the PSU banks’ functioning over the medium to long term perspective,” Dipen Shah, head of private client group research, Kotak Securities.

The government on August 14 announced its plans to provide Rs.25,000 crore capital in the current and next fiscals to banks, while Rs.20,000 crore would be provided during 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The Rs.25,000 crore this year will be provided in three tranches.

At the same time, Indian markets will be impacted by global trend in commodity prices, rupee and yuan movements.

The yuan’s surprise devaluation last week had stroked fears of competitive devaluation across Asia, especially before the (US) Fed’s monetary policy decision due in September.

The yuan has fallen by 4.6 percent since August 11, 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 August 13 fell to its lowest level against the US dollar in 24 months at Rs.65.23.

However, relief came to the global markets when yuan rose 0.05 percent on August 14. This helped stabilised rupee which stood at Rs.64.99 against the dollar.

“The trend in commodity prices globally, rupee movement and the sharp bounce back on Friday seems to continue in the week ahead,” Vineeta Mahnot, equity research analyst, Hem Securities.


Next Story

Zimbabwe Ends Its Interim Currency in New Currency Reform

This move is really beginning to restore full monetary policy

Zimbabwe, Currency, Reform
FILE - People walk past the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe building in Harare, Zimbabwe, Feb. 25, 2019. VOA

Zimbabwe made its interim currency the country’s sole legal tender on Monday, ending a decade of dollarization and taking a another step towards relaunching the Zimbabwean dollar.

The central bank also hiked its overnight lending rate to 50% from 15% as a part of a set of measures to protect the RTGS dollar introduced in February.

“The march towards full currency reform is part of our transitional stabilization program,” Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said in a video posted on Twitter. “This move is really beginning to restore full monetary

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced longtime leader Robert Mugabe after an army coup in November 2017, is trying to repair an economy ruined by hyperinflation and a long succession of failed economic interventions.

Zimbabwe, Currency, Reform
Zimbabwe made its interim currency the country’s sole legal tender on Monday. Pixabay

But a hoped-for economic turnaround is yet to materialize, and many Zimbabweans are distrustful of Mnangagwa’s promises.

Mnangagwa’s government last month agreed a staff-monitored program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) whereby the fund will help Zimbabwe implement coherent economic policies.

Analysts are skeptical that the latest currency reforms will be a quick fix for the deep problems that have constrained economic growth in the southern African country.

“Zimbabwe will have to show results before people are convinced,” said Jee-A Van Der Linde, an economist at South Africa-based NKC African Economics.

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Van Der Linde said banning the use of currencies such as the U.S. dollar and South African rand could create panic since Zimbabwe did not have large foreign-currency reserves to back the RTGS dollar.

There was nothing standing in the way of the Zimbabwean central bank printing money as it had done in the past, he added.

The central bank said in a statement on Monday that it had put in place letters of credit worth $330 million to secure imports for important goods such as fuel.

It would also try to boost liquidity on the interbank forex market by removing a cap on margins for banks and making sure that more than 50% of the foreign currency that Zimbabwean companies have to surrender ends up on the interbank market.

Zimbabwe, Currency, Reform
The central bank also hiked its overnight lending rate to 50% from 15% as a part of a set of measures. Pixabay

Zimbabwe abandoned its own dollar in 2009 after years of hyperinflation had destroyed trust in the local unit.

Mnangagwa said this month that Zimbabwe must reintroduce its own currency by the end of the year.

The IMF has said Zimbabwe should quickly allow the RTGS dollar to float freely, allow exporters to sell dollars at the interbank rate rather than surrender them to the central bank, and raise interest rates to curb inflation.

The RTGS dollar has been hitting new lows on the black market in recent days.

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It was trading between 11 and 12 against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market on Monday versus a level of around 6 on the official interbank market.

Many Zimbabweans complain that goods and services are still priced in other currencies.

While more than 80% of Zimbabweans earn RTGS dollars, goods ranging from bricks to groceries have their prices pegged in U.S. dollars.

Inflation raced to 97.85% in May, eroding salaries and savings and causing Zimbabweans to fear a return to the hyperinflation era a decade ago. (VOA)