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Budget News

  • Sensex snaps three-day streak; Nifty holds 8660
  • March 27,2020  17:07
  • The Sensex corrected on Friday, breaking its three-day rising streak. The Nifty, however, managed to close with minor gains above 8660 level. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday joined the global central banks in slashing interest rates to minimize the damage from Covid-19 crisis. Despite RBI's monetary bazooka, the sentiment was clouded by worries of evolving situation on COVID-19 crisis and its implications on the economy and corporate profitability.

    The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex fell 131.18 points or 0.44% at 29,815.59. The index surged 1179.26 points in early trade to hit the day's high of 31,126.03.

    The Nifty 50 index added 18.80 points or 0.22% at 8,660.25. It erased gains after spurting 397.45 points at the day's high of 9,038.90.

    In the broader market, the S&P BSE Mid-Cap index lost 0.29% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index added 0.28%.

    The market breadth was almost even. On the BSE, 1143 shares rose and 1164 shares fell. A total of 174 shares were unchanged.

    Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have offloaded Indian shares worth Rs 58006.68 crore so far in March 2020.

    RBI Action:

    On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the Reserve bank of India (RBI)'s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its meeting today (27 March 2020) decided to reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 75 basis points to 4.40% from 5.15% with immediate effect. Accordingly, the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate stand reduced to 4.65% from 5.40%. Further, consequent upon the widening of the LAF corridor as detailed in the accompanying Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Polices, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands reduced by 90 basis points to 4%. The MPC also decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as it is necessary to revive growth and mitigate the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economy, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target.

    RBI reduced the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of all banks by 100 basis points to 3% of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) with effect from the reporting fortnight beginning 28 March 2020. This reduction in the CRR would release primary liquidity of about Rs 1,37,000 crore uniformly across the banking system in proportion to liabilities of constituents rather than in relation to holdings of excess SLR. This dispensation will be available for a period of one year ending on 26 March 2021.

    Under the marginal standing facility (MSF), banks can borrow overnight at their discretion by dipping up to 2% into the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR). To provide comfort to the banking system, RBI increased the limit of 2% to 3% with immediate effect.

    In order to mitigate their adverse effects on economic activity leading to pressures on cash flows, RBI will conduct auctions of targeted term repos of up to three years tenor of appropriate sizes for a total amount of up to Rs 1,00,000 crore at a floating rate linked to the policy repo rate.

    RBI permitted all commercial banks, co-operative banks, all-India financial institutions and NBFCs to allow a moratorium of three months on payment of installments in respect of all term loans outstanding as on 1 March 2020. Accordingly, the repayment schedule and all subsequent due dates, as also the tenor for such loans, may be shifted across the board by three months.

    In respect of working capital facilities sanctioned in the form of cash credit/overdraft, lending institutions are being permitted to allow a deferment of three months on payment of interest in respect of all such facilities outstanding as on 1 March 2020. The accumulated interest for the period will be paid after the expiry of the deferment period.

    RBI said the global economic activity has come to a near standstill as COVID-19 related lockdowns and social distancing are imposed across a widening swathe of affected countries. Expectations of a shallow recovery in 2020 from 2019's decade low in global growth have been dashed. The outlook is now heavily contingent upon the intensity, spread and duration of the pandemic. There is a rising probability that large parts of the global economy will slip into recession.

    RBI added that GDP growth of 4.7% for Q4:2019-20 within the annual estimate of 5% for the year as a whole, is now at risk from the pandemic's impact on the economy. High frequency indicators suggest that private final consumption expenditure has been hit hardest, even as gross fixed capital formation has been in contraction since Q2:2019-20. On the supply side, the outlook for agriculture and allied activities appears to be the only silver lining, with food grains output at 292 million tonnes being 2.4% higher than a year ago. A pick-up in manufacturing and electricity generation pulled industrial production into positive territory in January 2020 after intermittent contraction and/or lacklustre activity over the past five months; however, more data will need to be watched to assess whether the recent uptick will endure in the face of COVID-19.

    As a consequence of COVID-19, aggregate demand may weaken and ease core inflation further. Heightened volatility in financial markets could also have a bearing on inflation, it added. Apart from the continuing resilience of agriculture and allied activities, most other sectors of the economy will be adversely impacted by the pandemic. If COVID-19 is prolonged and supply chain disruptions get accentuated, the global slowdown could deepen, with adverse implications for India. Upside growth impulses are expected to emanate from monetary, fiscal and other policy measures and the early containment of COVID-19.

    The MPC is of the view that macroeconomic risks, both on the demand and supply sides, brought on by the pandemic could be severe. The need of the hour is to do whatever is necessary to shield the domestic economy from the pandemic.

    The RBI measures came after Moody's Investors Service slashed India's growth rate for calendar year 2020 to 2.5% from an earlier estimate of 5.3%. The deep cut in growth estimate is due to rising economic cost of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Numbers to Track:

    In the foreign exchange market, the partially convertible rupee edged higher to 74.81 compared with its previous closing of 75.16.

    The yield on 10-year benchmark federal paper fell to 6.145% compared with 6.225% in the previous trading session.

    In the commodities market, Brent crude for May 2020 settlement was down 34 cents to $26 a barrel. The contract fell 3.83% or $1.05 to settle at $26.34 a barrel in Wednesday's trading session.

    MCX Gold futures for 3 April 2020 settlement rose 0.18% to Rs 43,620.

    Global Markets:

    European shares tumbled while most Asian markets ended higher on Friday as uncertainty over the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak continues to weigh on investor sentiment.

    On the economic data front, China's industrial profits for January-February plunged 38.3% year-on-year, according to the country's National Bureau of Statistics. The period covered by the data release coincided with lockdowns announced by the Chinese government to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the country, where the disease was first reported.

    A surge in reported infections in recent days has made the US the country with the largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Globally, more than 542,000 have been infected while at least 24,300 lives have been taken.

    Meanwhile, the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to a record of more than 3 million last week as strict measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic ground the country to a sudden halt.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reportedly said on Thursday that the central bank will not run out of ammunition to keep the economy stable.

    In US, stocks roared higher on Thursday, closing up for the third day in a row despite a report from the Labor Department that showed unemployment claims soared to a record 3.28 million last week, as the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses across the nation.

    Investors took some comfort from the overnight passage of a historic $2 trillion economic stimulus bill by the Senate, putting it one step closer to being signed into law to mitigate the economic fallout from the outbreak.

    Buzzing Indian Index:

    The Nifty Auto index fell 2.42% to 4,938.70, underperforming the other sectoral indices on the NSE.

    Hero MotoCorp (down 8.04%), TVS Motor Company (down 5.54%), Maruti Suzuki India (down 4.81%), Eicher Motors (down 3.17%), Bajaj Auto (down 2.48%) and Escorts (down 1.22%) declined.

    Tata Motors fell 0.21%. The board of Tata Motors approved plan to subsidiarize the firm's Passenger Vehicles (PV) including Electric Vehicles (EV) business into a separate subsidiary through a scheme of arrangement. The company said that this shall help provide differentiated focus for the PV and CV businesses and help each of them realise their potential. It added that this decision is a first step in its plans to secure mutually beneficial strategic alliances for the domestic PV business and help secure its long-term viability.

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday reportedly allowed sale of 10% of unsold BS-IV inventory for 10 days post the lockdown, except in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR).

    Auto body FADA requested SC for an extension of 30 days to exhaust BS-IV inventory as vehicles worth over Rs 7,000 crore are still unsold.

    Stocks in Spotlight:

    NTPC rose 3.17% to Rs 83.05. The company said that it had signed a share-purchase agreement with the central government to acquire North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) for Rs 4,000 crore and THDC India (THDCIL) for Rs 7,500 crore. The acquisitions are subject to regulatory approvals.

    ICICI Bank rose 2.44%. The private lender has entered into an agreement to invest in Auxilo Finserve (previously known as Stellenyak General Finance) by acquiring 9.9% stake, or 34.1 million equity shares for Rs 51.1 crore.

    Piramal Enterprises surged 3.73% after CARE Ratings affirmed CARE AA (outlook stable) credit rating for the additional non-convertible debentures issuance of up to Rs 1,000 crore by the company.

    Phoenix Mills slipped 0.30%. The credit rating agency CRISIL placed its rating on the long-term bank facilities of Phoenix Mills on 'Rating Watch with Negative Implications'.

    Sanghvi Movers hit a lower circuit of 5% at Rs 50.95. The company informed that ICRA had retained the long-term rating at [ICRA]A- and short-term rating at [ICRA]A2+. The outlook on the long-term rating has been revised to 'negative' from 'stable'.

    HDFC Life Insurance Company slumped 7.64% to Rs 440.85 after the media reported that promoter Standard Life will sell up to 5 crore shares or 2.5% equity stake in the company. As on 31 December 2019, Standard Life (Mauritius Holdings) 2006 held 14.73% stake while Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) held 51.45% stake in HDFC Life Insurance Company.

    Yes Bank slipped 0.94% to Rs 26.40. The bank said its board has approved raising funds amounting to Rs 5,000 crore, in addition to Rs 10,000 crore cleared in January, through issuance of securities. The board of the bank has also been reconstituted.

    Aurobindo Pharma spurted 8.55%. The drug maker said with regard to the USFDA inspection of Unit VIII, API manufacturing facility at Gaddapotharam, Hyderabad, the company has received the Establishment Inspection Report (EIR) with Voluntary Action Initiated (VAl) status from USFDA.

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