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Straight from the Specialists

Pakistan apology deal incidental to real problem of its support for terrorists

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

As Washington closed down for the Independence Day holiday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly apologised to Pakistan for the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers inadvertently killed by a NATO military strike along the Afghan border last November.

In return for the formal American apology, Pakistan will re-open Afghan supply routes it shut down in retaliation.

The seven month closure of the routes forced the U.S. to rely on more expensive routes running north of Afghanistan — the so-called Northern Distribution Network.

India Market Weekahead – PM’s call for “animal spirit” gets the bull raging

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

The last trading day of June brought back memories of a raging bull market with a single-day gain of over 2.5 pct while the month ended with a 6 pct gain. On taking over the finance portfolio, Manmohan Singh along with his ‘dream team’ seems determined to revive both domestic as well as institutional sentiment. It started off by mending announcements made by his predecessor, especially the general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR) which kept foreign investors away in the last few months.

Life insurance business remains almost stagnant

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

The life insurance industry in India is still struggling on the growth front while the general insurance industry seems to be doing well. The life insurance industry grew by a marginal 1.4 pct while the general insurance industry grew by 18.3 pct. This is based on data released by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) for the first two months of the financial year.

RBI vs the govt: who will blink first?

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(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.

Foreign borrowing or foreign investment?

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

The market’s response to the currency measures announced on Monday was a dip in the Sensex. Much was expected after the announcement made over the weekend by the finance minister. What has been actually initiated cannot make much difference either to the rupee or to growth.

India Market Weekahead: Time to buy after a period of caution

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

Markets opened with a healthy dose of optimism last week. Two big events were expected to boost sentiment. On the global front, Greece election results eased fears of immediate global financial turmoil. Back home, expectations were high of an interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to boost the falling economy.

Can we provide more cover at lower costs?

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

When it comes to financial products, does the general rule “low cost = low quality” hold true? By quality, I mean the quality of experience and service levels that should be expected from a standardised product.

RBI makes the right policy call

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(Rajan Ghotgalkar is Managing Director of Principal Pnb Asset Management Company. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of either Principal Pnb or Reuters)

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy states that “..it is relevant to assess as to what extent high interest rates are affecting economic growth. Estimates suggest that real effective bank lending interest rates, though positive, remain comparatively lower than the levels seen during the growth phase of 2003-08. This suggests that factors other than interest rates are contributing more significantly to the growth slowdown.”

RBI needs to take bold steps

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

Expectations of a rate cut were legitimate. But the RBI preferred to pause, not quite convinced that inflation is under control. That has been its singular target though it is dressed up to look more appealing as growth-inflation dynamics.

Where are the Alphonsos?

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

I had my first Alphonso mango of the season a few weeks ago in London. Oddly enough, although so many things are so easy to get hold of in London, Alphonsos aren’t. You either have to go to very expensive food halls — places like Fortnum & Mason or Selfridges or Harrods — or pick them up at one of the more selective South Asian food shops that are scattered around.

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