ADB may raise India's growth and inflation forecast

New Delhi: Multilateral lending agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) today said it is likely to revise upwards by the September-end India's growth and inflation forecast, which is 8.2% and 5% respectively for the current fiscal, reports PTI.

"After seeing the high inflation in the first half of the fiscal, we plan to revise upwards the inflation forecast above 5% in our next Economic Outlook slated for September 28," ADB chief economist Jong-Wha Lee said here.

Mr Lee said inflation in India is coming primarily from the supply side and the double-digit food inflation is impacting the lower middle class the maximum as their share of income on food and beverages is high.

The economist was speaking to reporters after the launch of ADB's flagship annual statistical publication, Key Indicators: For Asia and the Pacific 2010, with a special chapter on 'The Rise of Asia's Middle Class'.

Without hinting at the direction India's growth outlook will be revised, Mr Lee said India was doing well in reducing poverty and nurturing middle class for sustainable growth, and must focus on providing quality education and infrastructure.

On the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) stance on checking inflation, he said that "tight monetary policy is the right step" but warned of excessive hike in rates "as raising rates would also attract more capital inflows" and related problems.

Besides, he said growth should also be a concern for RBI while trying to contain inflation. He contested the view that high inflation is unavoidable during high growth, which was recently ascribed to by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

According to Mr Lee, if Indian economy grows continuously improvement in agricultural productivity and building the country's infrastructure could result in lowering inflation and with a sustainable economic growth.

Further, he said India's fiscal and budget deficits are high and should press for fiscal consolidation.

"Withdrawal of fiscal stimulus is the right direction ahead ... it's only a matter of timing and speed," Mr Lee said.


Personal finance Thursday

Reliance MF files offer document with SEBI to launch Reliance Fixed Horizon Bond Fund; SBI Mutual Fund launches SBI Debt Fund Series-370 Days Fund-5; IDFC Mutual Fund to transact through BSE & NSE platform; State Bank of Indore hikes lending rate by 50 bps to 13.25%; ICICI Bank introduces Zero Transfer Fee on home loans

Reliance MF files offer document with SEBI to launch Reliance Fixed Horizon Bond Fund

Reliance Mutual Fund has filed an offer document with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to launch Reliance Fixed Horizon Bond Fund. The fund is a closed ended income scheme. The new fund offer (NFO) price will be Rs10 per unit for various series launched under the scheme. The series 1 to series 3 have duration of three years and series 4 to series 6 have duration of five years. The scheme offers two options-growth and dividend payout option. The entry and exit load for the scheme is nil. The minimum subscription amount for the scheme is Rs5,000 and in multiples of Re1 thereafter. The minimum target amount for each series is Rs20 crore. The investment objective is to generate regular returns and growth of capital by investing in government securities and other fixed income/debt securities normally maturing in line with the time profile of the scheme.

SBI Mutual Fund launches SBI Debt Fund Series-370 Days Fund-5

SBI Mutual Fund has launched a new fund called SBI Debt Fund Series-370 Days Fund-5. The fund is a close ended debt scheme. The new fund offer (NFO) price for the scheme is Rs10 per unit. The new issue will be open for subscription from 23 August and close on 25 August 2010. The scheme offers two options-growth and dividend payout option. The minimum subscription amount is Rs5,000 and in multiples of Re1 thereafter. The fund seeks to collect a minimum target amount of Rs1 crore under the scheme during the NFO period. Entry and exit load charge will be nil for the scheme. The investment objective of the scheme is to provide regular income, liquidity and returns to the investors by making investments in debt instruments such as government securities, corporate bonds and money market instruments maturing on or before the maturity of the scheme.

IDFC Mutual Fund to transact through BSE & NSE platform
IDFC Mutual Fund provides an alternate transaction platform to facilitate purchase and redemption of units of IDFC Asset Allocation Fund through the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE)-Mutual Fund Service System (MFSS). The fund includes three plans-Aggressive Plan, Conservative Plan and Moderate Plan. The facility will be offered from 19 August 2010. Units can be held according to the choice of the investor, in physical or depository mode. The investment objective of the fund is to generate capital appreciation by making investments in various mutual funds schemes primarily local funds based on a defined asset allocation model.

State Bank of Indore hikes lending rate by 50 bps to 13.25%

The State Bank of Indore has increased its lending rate by 50 basis points (bps). The benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR) of the bank is now 13.25%. With the increase, home, auto and corporate loans have become expensive for the existing borrowers. The decision comes days after the parent State Bank of India (SBI) raised its BPLR by 50 bps to 12.25%. The new rate of SBI became effective from 17th August. It is to be noted that the merger process of State Bank of Indore with SBI will start from 26th August. The entire undertaking of State Bank of Indore shall be transferred to and vested in State Bank of India from 26th August.

ICICI Bank introduces Zero Transfer Fee on home loans

ICICI Bank introduces a special offer called 'Zero Transfer Fee' on its home loans. The 'Zero Transfer Fee' allows customers to transfer the balance loan amount of their existing home loan from any other bank to ICICI Bank for no additional charge. For loans upto Rs30 lakh and above, the rate of interest would be fixed at 8.25% from the date of first disbursement till 31 March 2011 and at 9.25% from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. The loan will be converted to floating/ARHL (Adjustable Rate Home Loans) with effect from 1 April 2012. The ARHL loan will be benchmarked to I-Base. I-Base is the benchmark rate for all banks and all floating rate lending happens in reference to this benchmark rate. This scheme would be offered on sanctions done till 31 August 2010.


ADAG gets nod for exploration of CBM in Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal: The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) has been granted permission to explore coal bed methane (CBM) in the Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh, reports PTI.

The Madhya Pradesh Directorate General of Hydrocarbons has granted Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) to ADAG for exploration of CBM from Sohagpur (north) block in Shahdol district, on August 11, sources said.

As per the PEL, ADAG was given permission for exploring CBM in an area of 609 sq km, sources said.

Meanwhile, ADAG officials said the group has started its operation at the site since Wednesday and after undertaking the core drilling operations, proper study would be conducted to access the resources available there.

The project of ADAG, which is setting up a 4,000 MW Sasan Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) in Sidhi district, will open a new source of non-conventional energy in the state, which is in the grip of an acute power crisis for a long time, they said.

"ADAG's entry in the CBM sector is a good sign for the state," a source said.

Coal bed methane is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds by drilling holes into coal seams and can be utilised for power generation, compressed natural gas (CNG) and fertiliser manufacturing, sources said.

Power production from CBM would not only contribute in reducing ozone layer threat but also open alternative option of electricity generation, they said, adding it is certainly a matter of pride that there were abundant CBM deposits in Madhya Pradesh.


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