10-year benchmark government security (G-Sec) yield, which sets the tone of the fixed-income market, was over 9% a month ago and was at 8.9% on 17th December even though it fell to 8.7% on 27th November. RBI did not raise benchmark rates, despite higher inflation rate in November. RBI hopes that retail prices will ease and expressed concerns about decelerating GDP growth. The market was expecting RBI to increase the repo rate by 25bps (basis points), but it opted to keep the bank rate unchanged at 7.75%. According to Nomura’s research report, “We expect cumulative hikes of 50bps to the repo rate in H1 2014, taking it to 8.25%.” G-Sec yields should remain at the current level of below 9%, in the short term.
The consumer price index (CPI) increased from 10.05% to 11.24% in November while wholesale price index (WPI) escalated to 7.52% compared to 7% in October. Future RBI policy direction will be guided by the outlook on CPI inflation.
Since commodities are cyclical in nature, one must aim to buy these stocks at, or below,...
RBI introduced polymer notes of Rs10 denomination in select cities in India. But most of the counterfeit currency notes in circulation are in higher denominations of Rs500 and Rs1,000
More than 25 countries in the world have successfully introduced polymer currency notes which are at least 2.5 times more durable than cotton-based paper currency. The latter has a shorter shelf life and is easily counterfeited. Some countries which have introduced, including the pioneer Australia, are New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Fuji to name a few.
Mark Carney, who introduced the polymer currency notes in Canada, in 2011, is currently the governor of the Bank of England. He is a native Canadian who is now set to introduce polymer currency banknotes in the United Kingdom, with two notes of GP5 and GP10 in 2016. The ten pound note will be introduced in 2017. According to information available, Bank of England plans to issue 350 million GP5 in 2016 and bring out 650 million GP10 notes in 2017. The GP5 notes will carry the portrait of Sir Winston Churchill while the GP10 will have the famous Jane Austen in the background. Dates have not been set for GP20 and GP50 notes but these will follow in due course.
The British plan is to immediately withdraw the old paper currencies of these denominations as soon as the polymer bank notes come into circulation. Such a move is expected to help in stopping the counterfeiting of these lower denominations, estimated at about GP30 million annually.
Moneylife has carried a detailed story on the counterfeit (or fake) Indian currency in circulation in the country. In the last report, we had given full details of how, beyond reasonable doubt, it has been established that this fake Indian currencies have been "manufactured" with identical paper used by the Pakistani government, and how these have also been smuggled into the country, via Nepal and Bangladesh land borders.
Though the Indian government has continuously held series of discussions on various issues, no where have we found any record of their raising this issue of counterfeit Indian currency being pushed into the market. It is time that our prime minister introduces it into the agenda for discussions. It should be brought to the notice of his Pakistani counterpart that this “mosquito bite” to the Indian economy must stop.
It may be recalled that, in fact, Reserve Bank of India has been toying with the idea of introducing polymer currency notes for some time. A few months ago, RBI introduced polymer notes of Rs10 denomination in select cities in India, which included Mysore and Cochin in the south. The results of the market testing carried out by RBI have still not been made public.
However, it must be noted, that, by and large, most of the counterfeit currency notes in circulation are in higher denominations of Rs500 and Rs1,000. It would have made sense if RBI had chosen to bring out polymer currency notes, for market testing in these denominations.
It might sound ironic that, recently, the Srirangapatna, Karnataka, subdivision police, based on a tip received, raided and caught a gang of members involved in the money-exchange racket, which included a member of Mandya City Municipal Council and seized Rs25 lakh in cash, which included counterfeit currency notes. Further, investigations are underway to find the root source of supplies and how these came into the market.
With the general elections on the anvil, this smuggling activity is bound to increase and vigilant action is needed to prevent large scale smuggling that may occur or, in fact, is occurring on a regular basis.
Reserve Bank must categorically announce its plans to introduce polymer currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000 immediately and demonetize the paper currency as soon as possible.
This must be done on a war footing and without any more delay.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)