Bank deposit rates set to rise: Moody's

Moody's said that deposit rates are set to rise in view of surging investments, which have soaked up excess liquidity in the banking system

Bank deposits rates in India are expected to rise, bringing some relief to citizens who have been reeling under inflation and low returns on their savings, said the research arm of global rating agency Moody's, reports PTI.

"Indian bank depositors will soon see interest returns rise for the first time since late 2008," Moody's Analytics said today.

"The move will be welcomed by savers, who have seen rising prices and falling deposit rates erode the value of their savings over the past year," it added.

Moody's said that deposit rates are set to rise in view of surging investments, which have soaked up excess liquidity in the banking system.

It said the deposit rates, which have fallen sharply since late 2008, are yet to rise in response to the recent hikes in policy rates by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to tackle inflation—which stood at 9.59% in April.

Excess liquidity has been a major factor in holding down commercial bank rates.

From late 2008, liquidity in the banking system rose sharply as monetary easing and weak private borrowing left banks awash with funds.

"Since the beginning of this year, however, the volume of surplus funds deposited at the RBI has trended down, and since 31st May, banks have moved from net lenders to net borrowers of funds from the central bank," Moody's said.

It said that inflation is still uncomfortably high and the RBI is expected to raise its main policy rates by 25 basis points at its July meeting.

The next RBI rate hike is expected to flow through to deposit rates at commercial banks, Moody's added.

It said, however, that the uncertain situation in Europe and vulnerability of India’s financial system to sudden capital outflows provide good reasons to continue the current gradual approach to monetary tightening.

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Mining cos to be asked to give 26% profit to local area: Minister

Apart from the government, the industry also has a responsibility to give back to the land from which the resources have been extracted, the minister said

The government will make it mandatory for mining companies to earmark 26% of their profit for local and tribal welfare, a move that has found support of the Tatas, mines minister BK Handique said today, reports PTI.

The proposal would be part of the new mines legislation, the draft for which would be sent to the Cabinet later this month, Mr Handique told PTI, adding that the issue of profit sharing for local area development to quell social unrest has been supported by the Tatas.

"We are introducing the annuity of 26% of profit (earned by mining companies) towards corporate social responsibility (CSR)...  26% is a convenient one for us and will bring justice to these people," he said, adding that other mining companies have not yet responded to the idea.

"Yes, the Tata Group has backed it...the Tatas came to me the other day. They did appreciate the annuity," Mr Handique said while pointing out that he knew the task was not easy as miners' bodies were opposed to it.

Handique said the draft had been sent some time back to the law ministry for approval after extensive consultations with the states and other stake holders.

"We are awaiting vetting of the draft by the law ministry... This will come to us next week and then we will go to the Cabinet," he said, hoping that it would be introduced in the winter session of Parliament, which normally commences in December.

"After we introduce the bill, it will be immediately referred to the standing committee. It is up to the standing committee how much time it takes," he said when asked when the new law would be in place.

Elaborating on the new provision, distinct from a windfall tax on mining, which is under consideration of the finance ministry, he said that apart from the government, the industry also has a responsibility to give back to the land from which the resources have been extracted.

"You see, we have certain responsibilities, commitment to the host population. They must be given justice. You will shift them out of their land for your projects. You will not do anything for their welfare? We are very particular on this point," Mr Handique said, adding that he is fully aware that there would be "stiff opposition" to the move.

It is for this reason, the ministry had eight rounds of consultations with various stake holders besides the 11-mineral bearing states, Mr Handique said, adding the provision in the new Act "will be not palatable to many.

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INQ: The FB phone

While this advertising platform is sound for a launch commercial, it has zero value in the near future as social networking is a generic concept—any phone brand can employ it

On face value (quite literally), INQ Mobile seems to have come up with the right idea for its 3G-enabled phones. Imagine launching a cell phone at this point, in the Indian market, when there are more phone brands than jihadis in POK.
 
Their communication strategy is simple: forget talk-time, forget signal clarity, forget keeping in touch with family, forget packages. In fact, forget talking, which is the key use of a phone. (Sir Alexander Graham Bell must be buzzing with furious ring tones in his grave). They are targeting the new gen that’s 24x7 glued to social networking sites. ‘The Facebook’ generation, so to speak.
 
In one sense, this is the right idea. The FB gen is the one that constitutes a huge segment for high-end phones. And this ad platform is something they’ll immediately connect with. Also, this tack provides the communication some degree of distinctiveness and style. The commercial is set in a film/ad shoot location. The director is getting ready for the next shot. One female model is seen communicating with fellow models on Facebook. A male model is seen blissfully snoring away, as another male colleague shoots his picture and uploads it on FB.

And this sets off a chain of social smiles. So good time pass. All communication done without opening the mouth and bothering the film’s director. And yes, the commercial is shot pretty stylishly.
 
Two big problems: One, Facebook is not a unique feature on INQ’s cell phones, so the brand isn’t creating a unique, long-term identity out here. So while the advertising platform is sound for a launch commercial, it has zero value in the near future as social networking is a generic concept, any phone brand can employ it.

In fact, large, cash-rich brands like Nokia can own it with a huge advertising blitzkrieg. Two, the creative rendition of the thought is poor as well. It’s great to be stylish in the execution, but if there’s no big idea going around, the brand recall will be very poor. Models yapping away on FB at a film shoot can hardly be termed a ‘surprising solution’.  
 
Net-net: The INQ brand managers will have to quickly return to the drawing board and do two things: (A) Come up with a stupendous creative idea to milk out social networking before the rivals move in. (B) Think of a solid, unique, long-term communication concept. And INQ it before the brand ends up as just another phone in a hugely crowded category.

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