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from India Insight:

Understanding the repo rate, cash reserve ratio and the Reserve Bank of India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday cut the repo rate as well as the cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 25 basis points, or 0.25 percent. Here's a quick explanation of what that means. It will be obvious to some readers, but many people haven't studied economics and are unfamiliar with the terms.

The repo rate, which now stands at 7.75 percent, is the rate at which the central bank lends money to Indian banks. As the repo rate goes down, it gets cheaper for banks to borrow money. That makes it easier for people to borrow money at cheaper rates too. As more people borrow money, which ought to be the result of action like this, they'll spend more money. That's good for the Indian economy.

The CRR, meanwhile, is the amount of funds banks must keep with the RBI. The CRR is at 4 percent, which means for every 100 rupees, the bank keeps 4 rupees with the RBI in cash. The ratio indicates the policy stance of the bank and is used as a tool to manage liquidity, or the amount of money in the system. By changing this ratio, the central bank can control the amount of liquidity. Tuesday's cut would release 180 billion rupees (or about $3.35 billion) into the system, meaning banks would have more money to lend to borrowers.

Cutting the repo rate doesn't always cut lending rates, of course. Banks might worry that lower lending rates could hurt their profits. However, IDBI Bank cut its base rate after the RBI announcement, and the head of India’s top lender, State Bank of India, said banks likely will cut lending rates.

Subbarao goes against his panel, again

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is not the only one walking alone.

Duvvuri Subbarao, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) chief, also seems to be on a solitary, and one hopes, contemplative walk.

No solution in sight for bipolar Indian stocks

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

As the end of 2012 approaches, investors will likely remember this as a bipolar year for Indian markets.

BSE Auto index falls 2 pct

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Auto stocks struggled in trade on Friday, as stocks like Exide Industries, M&M and Maruti Suzuki fell, pushing the sectoral index down 2 percent.

Exide Industries ended down 4.6 percent as the top loser in the auto index, followed by M&M which dropped 3.3 percent.

Banking index gains 1.5 pct

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It was a good day for banking counters, as the banking index ended with gains of 1.5 percent in a Mumbai market that ended 200 points higher.

HDFC Bank was the top gainer in the index, ending up 4.15 percent, followed by IndusInd Bank which gained 2.4 percent. Federal Bank was the only stock in the index which ended in red.

Unitech shares jump more than 9 pct

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Shares in Unitech, one of India’s leading real estate firms, rose 9.3 percent to close at 38.2 rupees, after a sell-off amid allegations that the firm was among those who were favoured in 2G licence grants in 2008.

On Tuesday, the CBI questioned Unitech’s MD as part of a probe into the alleged telecoms corruption scandal.

Mahindra Satyam shares jump on earnings

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Software services exporter Mahindra Satyam jumped 11.7 percent to 64.65 rupees after the firm reported its third quarter net profit, which more than doubled from a quarter ago.

The company also said that it put a planned merger with its parent firm, Tech Mahindra, on hold.

Realty stocks struggle, Unitech falls 10.6 pct

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Shares in Unitech, one of India’s leading real estate firm, fell 10.6 percent on Tuesday to close at 43.05 rupees. The stock ended as the top loser in the BSE Realty Index.

Rival DLF shares ended 1.4 pct lower. DLF said it was cautious on the near-term outlook as rising interest rates could weigh on demand after the firm reported a marginal drop in quarterly earnings.

TCS shares touch record high

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Shares in TCS gained nearly 5.5 percent on Tuesday after the firm had reported a good set of quarterly numbers on Monday evening after market hours.

TCS led the gains in the benchmark Sensex and rose to a record high after it beat street estimates and said it expected strong demand for outsourcing.

L&T shares fall after quarterly results

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Shares in engineering conglomerate L&T ended down 1.65 percent on Monday after the company posted a 10.5-percent rise in standalone profit for the quarter ended in December, but a fall in its operating margin hit investor sentiment.

The company said its operating margin in the third quarter was at 10.8 percent compared with 12.4 percent a year ago.

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