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from Expert Zone:

Interest rates likely to remain high

(Rajiv Deep Bajaj is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Capital Ltd. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Thomson Reuters)

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) raised its benchmark repo rate by 25 basis points to 8 percent at its policy review meet in January. The reverse repo rate rose to 7 percent while the bank rate and marginal standing facility rate climbed to 9 percent. This is the third hike in repo rate since RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan assumed office in early September.

The primary reason for the hike, as stated by the RBI, has been high retail food inflation and a recovery in core WPI inflation. However, fears over further tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve could have forced the hike as well.

If one looks at inflation data, one would find that inflation had in fact moderated in December as compared to the previous month. Hence, if the RBI paused in the mid-December policy meet, there was less reason (purely from inflation data) for it to raise rates in January.

from Expert Zone:

Budget 2013: Balancing fiscal prudence and populism

(Rajiv Deep Bajaj is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Capital Ltd. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Reuters)

With a four-month equity rally showing signs of fatigue, the focus is on Budget 2013 to provide further impetus.

from Expert Zone:

Will Indian stocks end 2012 on a happier note?

(Rajiv Deep Bajaj is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Capital Ltd. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The rally in the Indian stock markets, fuelled by the so-called reform announcements, seems to have fizzled out. Frontline indexes have retraced more than 60 percent of the gains made since Sep. 13, 2012, the day the reform measures were made public.

from Expert Zone:

Rating downgrade a credible threat for India

(Rajiv Deep Bajaj is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Capital Ltd. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Indian stock markets have hardly gone anywhere since June, with the Nifty hovering in the 8-9 pct range. But the coming months may see a breakout of this range as volatility, as measured by the India VIX index, seems to be rebounding from four-year lows, after having fallen for three months in a row. A short-term break, out of the range, on the downside seems more probable.

from Expert Zone:

RBI vs the govt: who will blink first?

(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)

At its mid-quarter monetary policy review on June 18, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its rates unchanged despite expectations of a cut. To further augment liquidity and encourage banks to increase credit flow to the export sector, the RBI has increased the limit of export credit refinance from 15 percent of outstanding export credit of banks to 50 percent, which will potentially release additional liquidity of over 300 billion rupees, equivalent to about 50 basis points reduction in the CRR.

from Expert Zone:

Investors shouldn’t read too much into repo rate cut

(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The last time the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) surprised the markets was when it announced a 75 bps cut in cash reserve ration (CRR) days before its mid-quarter review of monetary policy on March 15. It did so again in its annual monetary policy meeting on April 17, with a 50 bps repo rate cut when the markets were either expecting no rate cut or a 25 bps rate cut at best.

from Expert Zone:

‘Sense of disbelief’ in markets to extend current rally

(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)

As they say, it is always darkest before the dawn. Equity markets seem to be the finest proponents of this axiom. They have a habit of surprising investors. What we have seen so far in 2012 sums it up pretty well.

from Expert Zone:

2012 – Boom or Doom?

(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)

What a year 2011 has been. Except certain commodities such as gold and oil, every other asset class has been hit. With Sensex down more than 20 pct YTD, 10 year g-sec yields up by almost 1 pct and rupee down by almost 14 pct against the dollar, it has been a poor year for investors. This was caused by a bout of strong global risk aversion led by the European sovereign debt crisis, high inflation in emerging markets and consequent monetary tightening, and lack of proper policy action in India. The only salvation came from commodities such as oil (up almost 26 pct in rupee terms) and gold (up almost 38 pct in rupee terms).

from Expert Zone:

Indian stocks: Paradise for value investors

(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The BSE Sensex romance with the 16,000 level seems to have been rekindled, with the Sensex closing below it on August 26, after a gap of more than 18 months during which it touched a high of 21,109 (missing the all-time high of 21,207 by a whisker).

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