When Aparupa Ganguly visited South Africa in 2007, the country’s topography and wildlife made such an impression on the communications professional that she couldn’t wait to come back. Ganguly got her wish six years later – thanks to a stable rand.
Foreign-bound Indian travellers such as Ganguly are realizing that holidaying in countries such as South Africa and Australia offers value for money as their currencies have been largely stable in recent weeks and haven’t appreciated as much against the rupee, when compared to the dollar or the euro.
A 22-year-old photographer was gang-raped by five men in India’s financial capital Mumbai on Thursday, evoking comparisons with a similar incident in Delhi in December that led to nationwide protests.
The incident took place near the posh Lower Parel area when the woman, a photojournalist with a magazine, was out on assignment. She was accompanied by a male colleague, media reports said.
India on Monday imposed a 36 percent duty on flat-screen televisions that travellers bring back from other countries, seen as another step to support a falling rupee. The move, however, will do little to help the economy but will cheer television manufacturers in India and hit grey markets, experts said.
India has taken various measures in recent months to deter the import of commodities such as gold as Asia’s third-largest economy tries to tamp down its current account deficit and a weak rupee that touched record lows below 65 per dollar this week.
The 2008 financial crisis gutted Girish Kumar’s portfolio value by 90 percent. So much for technical and fundamental analysis. The 42-year-old textiles businessman from Jaipur turned to astrology, and now he says the stars guide him to a profit every month.
Kumar is part of a group of Indians who think that analysing the positions of the planets, stars and other celestial bodies can predict the direction of the stock market and suggest which companies and sectors deserve their money.
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
Indians use gold for all sorts of things. As the world’s biggest gold consumer, its citizens use coins, bars and jewellery as gifts, dowries and investments that are literally more solid than a share in a company. The ill effect that this has on India’s current account deficit has led the government to try to curb demand. Here are a few examples of demand that nobody can seem to curb.
This week, gold importer RiddiSiddhi Bullion’s subsidiary Dia Jewels unveiled India’s first gold-plated motorbike. About 35 to 40 kilograms of silver went into making the miniature two-wheeler model, which is gold plated and studded with diamonds, and took six months to make, said Mukesh Kothari, director of Riddisiddhi Bullions.
The BSE Sensex lost 3 percent in the week ending Aug. 2, extending its losses from the previous week and marking its biggest weekly fall since mid-March.
Markets remained on the edge on uncertainty over how long the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would continue measures to defend the rupee. The rupee fell 3.4 percent over the last five trading sessions and ended at a record closing low on Friday.
Nearly 70 percent of India’s population lives on less than $2 (around 120 rupees) a day, according to World Bank data. The country, the world’s second-largest producer of wheat and rice after China, is also home to a quarter of the world’s hungry.
Helping the poor has always been on the ruling government’s agenda since independence. India, which currently spends 900 billion rupees on giving the poor access to cheap food, hopes to increase it to 1.3 trillion rupees ($22 billion) and widen its scope with an ambitious food security programme launched this month.
It was a good week for Indian shares as the BSE Sensex gained 1 percent to close at 20,149.85, after the index touched a near two-month high during trade on Friday. The rupee gained for the second week and ended at 59.35/36 after rising 0.3 percent.
Markets reacted negatively on Tuesday to the Reserve Bank’s moves to tighten liquidity in the system in a bid to support the weak rupee. However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday that these steps may be temporary.
With the rupee hovering near a record low, Indian tourists would be tempted to give foreign shores a miss this year. But staying home is not an option for Harsh Chadha, a multinational executive just back from a three-week family vacation in the UK.
Chadha, 35, is part of India’s growing elite, whose trips abroad are not affected by the vagaries of the currency market.
Google Trends shows that the term “current account deficit” is among top searches from India in 2013. Add “gold” as a comparative keyword and the searches for the commodity Indians love are far higher.
Indians buy gold for everything – investment, gifts, wedding ceremonies and auspicious days. But of late, this has become a pain for policymakers.