Money on the markets

A maturing market amid the mayhem

from Expert Zone:

India Market Weekahead – Policy action, rupee to decide market direction

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

The week gone by displayed indecisiveness by participants as the markets garnered small gains after moving in a tight range. The Nifty managed to hold on to the 4900 level mark as investors cheered the government’s announcement to raise petrol prices in an attempt to revive the policy inaction tag.

State-run oil marketing firms took the long overdue step of raising petrol prices by 7.50 rupees per litre -- the steepest ever increase in retail prices. The revision comes as the rupee hit an all-time low against the dollar leading to a jump in the oil import bill. As expected, the government faces strong protests by the opposition and a partial rollback could be on the cards in the next few days. This could also delay the decision on the increase in retail prices of diesel and LPG which form a lion’s share of the subsidy bill and is one of the important signals about the seriousness of the government to pull through bold and tough measures.

The rupee slid further during the week and crossed 56 a dollar. Token measures by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the form of 50 percent conversion of exporters’ dollar holdings into rupee provided some respite. Given the short-term risk conditions, the rupee will remain generally on the defensive and a rally beyond 52-53 does not seem likely in the near-term.

from India Insight:

It’s time India bites the diesel bullet

"81 rupees?" asked an astonished TV anchor when an irate Bengaluru-based consumer called in after the recent 7.5-rupee hike in petrol prices. Perhaps cars that run on milk are now needed, the anchor suggested -- when the caller said the dairy product costs around 30 rupees a litre.

While milk-powered automobiles might be a distant dream, the reality remains that those relying on petrol vehicles will now need to do their budgeting again. If a falling rupee and high inflation were not enough, this steepest-ever rise in petrol prices will surely pinch.

from India Insight:

The rupee’s fall from grace

Indian milk and dairy products producer Amul’s campaign has a new subject -- the rupee.

The newspaper advertisement features the iconic Amul girl, in her polka dotted red dress, in a boat made of the rupee, about to sink in turbulent waters. She says ‘mujhe mere rupee se bachaao!’ in Hindi. Loosely translated into English, it would mean 'save me from my rupee.'

from India Insight:

As the economy and markets struggle, India needs tough actions

Slowing growth, a falling rupee, sliding stock markets, a rising current account deficit, drying foreign inflows and policy paralysis at the centre. Things certainly don’t look rosy for India.

With the rupee down 22 percent in the last 10 months and a 6 percent drop in stock markets so far in May (as of Friday’s close), is it time for the government to seriously rethink its strategy ahead of the 2014 general elections?