Cement prices may recover post-monsoon, says CMIE

Cement prices have declined following sluggish demand from May onwards. Prices in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata market are down from their peak levels of March-April 2011, CMIE said in its monthly review

Mumbai: With construction activity likely to pick up post-monsoon, cement prices are expected to recover, reports PTI.

"We expect cement prices to recover after rains. With the construction activity expected to pick up post-monsoon, demand is likely to rise," Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said in its monthly review here.

Cement prices have declined following sluggish demand from May onwards. Prices in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata market are down from their peak levels of March-April 2011, it said.

Prices in Mumbai market were down to Rs276 per 50 kg bag in July 2011 from Rs283 per 50 kg bag in April. In the Delhi market, cement prices declined to Rs256 per 50 kg bag from the peak level of Rs261 per 50 kg bag in April. Prices in Kolkata market have come down to Rs247 per 50 kg bag during the month from its peak level of Rs298 per 50 kg in March.

However, prices in the southern region are bucking this downward trend as they remained stable. Prices in Chennai and Hyderabad market remained almost stable at their peak of April 2011, in the month of July 2011.

Meanwhile, cement dispatches grew by 10.1% in July 2011.

All-India cement dispatches (including ACC and Ambuja) reported strong year-on-year (YoY) growth of 10.1%. Cement demand improved YoY in all regions except for southern region in July 2011.

Industry has reported a double digit volume growth for the first time in last six months, primarily due to lower base (in July 2010, cement dispatches had declined 3.9% due to heavy rains) and modest improvement in cement demand.

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RIL regains country’s most-valued firm status

RIL commanded a market value of Rs246,995 crore at 0945 hours on the Bombay Stock Exchange, followed by Coal India which stood second at Rs244,190 crore at the same time. ONGC, was at third position, with a market value of Rs243,831 crore

Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) today regained its status as the country's most-valued company, relegating Coal India (CIL) to the second position in early trade, reports PTI.

RIL commanded a market value of Rs246,995 crore at 0945 hours on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which was higher than any other listed company.

In comparison, the market value of CIL, which had dethroned RIL to emerge as the country's most-valued firm last week, stood at Rs244,190 crore at the same time.

Another state-run company, ONGC, was close behind at third position, with a market value of Rs243,831 crore.

Shares of all three companies were trading in the red today but the losses were sharper for CIL.

While RIL was down 0.26% at Rs754.30, ONGC was down 0.62% at Rs285 and CIL was 2.2% in the red at Rs386.60.

After reigning as the country's most-valued firm for more than four years, RIL slipped to second position behind CIL last week. Days later, RIL had briefly slipped to the third position after CIL and ONGC on 19th August, but managed to regain the second slot by the time the market closed.

Nevertheless, RIL was back on top this morning and marketmen will be keenly watching the three stocks to ascertain whether the market valuation charts undergo further changes.

Interestingly, RIL had toppled state-run ONGC over four years ago to become the India's most-valued firm, but slipped below the two public sector firms in terms of market valuation in intra-day trade last Friday.

A company's market valuation, or market capitalisation, is determined by multiplying its share price by the total number of shares.

CIL and ONGC had been closing the gap on RIL in terms of market valuation for the past few weeks, as RIL's stock has been under selling pressure and the two PSUs have been mostly performing well even in a weak market.

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Deven Sharma to quit as Standard & Poor president

Mr Sharma, 55, will take on a special assignment working on S&P's strategic portfolio review "until the end of the year, when he will leave the company to pursue other opportunities," S&P's parent company McGraw Hill said in a statement

New York/Washington: Ratings agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) today announced that Deven Sharma, the company's Indian-origin president who was at the helm of affairs when S&P downgraded United States' credit rating, will leave the company by the end of the year, reports PTI.

Taking Mr Sharma's place will be Citibank chief operating officer Douglas Peterson, 53, who will become president of Standard & Poor's effective 12th September.

Mr Sharma, 55, will take on a special assignment working on S&P's strategic portfolio review "until the end of the year, when he will leave the company to pursue other opportunities," S&P's parent company McGraw Hill said here.

Mr Sharma joined Standard & Poor's in 2006 as executive vice-president, investment services and global sales, and was named president in 2007.

Before joining S&P, he was executive vice-president, global strategy, at The McGraw-Hill Companies for five years.

He had joined the McGraw-Hill Companies in 2002 from Booz Allen Hamilton, a global management consulting company, where he was a partner.

Announcing the change, McGraw-Hill Companies chairman, president and CEO Harold McGraw said he had turned to Mr Sharma four years ago during one of the "most difficult times facing S&P in the midst of the financial crisis".

Mr Sharma's background as head of S&P's investment services and head of McGraw-Hill's global strategy "brought the right kind of skills to address the situation", Mr McGraw said.

"I particularly want to thank Deven for his dedicated leadership of S&P. Today, S&P is a stronger company, whose 1,300 global analysts are sharply focused on the quality, independence and transparency of S&P's research and analytics," Mr McGraw added.

Mr Sharma said, "It has been a privilege to serve as the president of S&P and I am proud of what we as an organisation have achieved over the past four years. As McGraw-Hill continues its portfolio review, I will work closely with the leadership team to find ways to create even more shareholder value."

Standard & Poor's was split into two separate organisations last year-S&P, the credit ratings service, and McGraw-Hill Financial-to enable both organisations to serve investors and customers more effectively.

"Mr Sharma assisted us with the creation of these two high-growth segments and was then ready for new challenges.

Accordingly, we began a process to identify a new leader for S&P," the company said.

Mr Sharma was thrust into the international spotlight when S&P made its unprecedented decision to downgrade the US long-term sovereign credit rating from the top-notch 'AAA' level for the first time ever since a rating was assigned to the world's largest economy.

Mr Sharma led from the front and defended S&P's move when the US administration took up cudgels against the ratings agency, terming its analysis flawed and questioning its credibility and integrity.

Mr Sharma holds a bachelor's degree from the Birla Institute of Technology in Jharkhand, a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin and a doctoral degree in Business Management from Ohio State University.

He did his schooling in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand.

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