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.
Thousands stranded in parts of northern India awaited rescuers on Wednesday as floods caused by heavier-than-usual monsoon rains killed at least 150 people in worst-hit Uttarakhand.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a 10-billion-rupee aid package for the state after he and Congress president Sonia Gandhi did an aerial survey of the flood-hit region.
Indian markets struggled in trade on Thursday with the Sensex falling more than 200 points while the Nifty sank over 50 points. Weak Asian markets also weighed as the Nikkei slumped more than 800 points on worries the U.S. Fed would trim its stimulus programme in the coming months.
The rupee also remained weak, trading below 58 versus the dollar, as Finance Minister P. Chidambaram did not announce any concrete steps to arrest its fall.
Fitch Ratings revised India’s sovereign rating outlook to “stable” from “negative” on the back of measures taken by the government to contain the budget deficit, it said in a statement on Wednesday. The rating agency had cut India’s outlook to negative in June 2012 and currently has a ‘BBB-‘ rating for the country.
“Fitch expects the government to broadly meet its FY14 budget deficit target of 4.8 percent of GDP (including privatisation receipts) and to gradually reduce the high level of public debt over the medium-term,” the rating agency said.
The cabinet on Tuesday approved the much awaited Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill that proposes to make India’s largely unregulated and once booming real estate sector more transparent.
Ajay Maken, minister of housing & urban poverty alleviation, in a government statement said the bill provides for a uniform regulatory environment to protect consumer interests and ensure orderly growth of the real estate sector.
Going by stock returns, lenders have had a mixed year so far. The BSE banking sub-index has gained less than 1 percent, as compared to the benchmark Sensex’s return of nearly 3 percent. Big banks such as the State Bank of India have lost 13 percent while HDFC Bank has gained around 4 percent. Some smaller players have struggled, with IDBI and Bank of Baroda falling more than 20 percent.
Investors and policymakers will be closely watching India’s fourth-quarter and full fiscal year 2012/13 gross domestic product (GDP) growth figures on Friday.
The economy grew 4.5 percent in the December quarter, but a Reuters poll has shown that Asia’s third-largest economy will likely perform a little better and expand by 4.8 percent in the quarter that ended in March.
Reliance Industries, India’s third-biggest company by market capitalization, surged more than 5 percent on Monday, after the conglomerate and its partners said on Friday they had made a significant gas discovery in the KG-D6 block.
Niko, the Canadian oil and natural gas producer which partners with Reliance and BP, said the discovery is expected to add to gas resources in the block without revealing potential reserves.
The BSE Sensex ended above the 20,000 mark on Friday after gaining 2.6 percent in the last five trading sessions. The index has now risen for four straight weeks. Here are the top five Sensex gainers and losers of the week:
Tata Motors: The automaker’s stock surged 8.15 percent in the week ending May 10, making it the best Sensex performer. Though the stock is still flat in 2013, it has gained nearly 15 percent since April. However, Ambareesh Baliga of Edelweiss Financial Services advises caution: “Tata Motors’ overdependence on Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) to negate the Indian underperformance makes it a risky investment at this juncture especially in view of lower margins at JLR”