Govt not considering diesel price decontrol: Deora

New Delhi: The government is not considering freeing diesel pricing from its control yet, reports PTI quoting oil minister Murli Deora.

"Currently, there is no proposal under consideration to fully decontrol the price of diesel," Mr Deora said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation sell diesel at a rate which is Rs2.62 per litre below its imported cost, he said.

The government had, on 26th June, decided to give public sector oil firms freedom to price petrol and diesel in line with cost. However, while petrol pricing was freed with immediate effect, for diesel it was stated that complete decontrol will be done in stages.

Mr Deora said the move resulted in price of petrol going up by Rs3.50 a litre in Delhi.

Besides, the government decided to raise the diesel price by an ad-hoc Rs2 per litre even though the difference between the domestic retail price and imported cost of the fuel was almost twice that.

Since then, diesel rates have not been changed, Mr Deora said, without saying as to when diesel pricing will be freed completely.

Meanwhile, petrol price has risen by Rs1.48 per litre on top of the 26th June increase, he said.

Mr Deora said that for the current fiscal, the public sector oil marketing companies were projected to lose Rs72,000 crore in revenues on selling petrol, diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost.

But after the 26th June decision, when kerosene price was raised by Rs3 per a litre and LPG rates went up by Rs35 per cylinder, the projected revenue loss has come down to Rs53,000 crore, provided crude oil (raw material for making these products) stays around $75 per barrel, Mr Deora added.

"However, the OMCs' actual under-recovery (revenue loss) will depend upon the movement of international oil prices during the current financial year," he said.


NTPC asks MOEF to remove Dulanga block from ‘no go’ list

New Delhi: State-run NTPC has requested the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) to remove the Dulanga coal block in Orissa from the list of "no go' areas where mining activities are prohibited, reports PTI.

"Only one of the coal blocks (Dulanga in Orissa) allotted to us has gone into the no-go area... We have taken it up with the MOEF," NTPC CMD Arup Roy Chowdhury told reporters here.

NTPC is optimistic about getting the coal block back. "We are hopeful we would get it very soon," Mr Chowdhury said.

'No-go' areas are zones where the MOEF has prohibited coal mining, citing environmental concerns.

The company said planned investment and development activities in the block have been delayed due to the indicative categorisation of the area as a 'no-go' zone by the MOEF.

NTPC is currently developing the Pakri Barwadih, Chatti Bariatu, Kerandari and Talaipalli coal blocks in Jharkhand, in addition to the Brahmani & Chichro Patsimal mines in Orissa.

The company is also scouting for overseas coal properties and has zeroed in on countries like Australia, Mozambique and Indonesia.


Tuesday Closing Report: Bears on the rampage; watch 19,700

Losses in the Asian markets, along with all-round selling pressure from institutional investors, took the domestic gauges below the psychological levels at close of trade today.

The Indian market opened with modest gains this morning, defying the regional trend, but slipped into the red soon after touching the day's high. A feeble recovery attempt was seen in the mid-morning session, but an across-the-board sell-off by institutional investors pulled the indices deeper into negative terrain. There was some sideways movement in the post-noon session, but it looked as if the market had made up its mind to stay in the red, tracking the Chinese market, and this dragged the domestic indices to below their crucial levels at the close.

The Sensex closed 444.55 points (2.19%) down at 19,865, below the crucial level of 20,000. The barometer touched a high of 20,380 and a low of 19,832 in trade today. The Nifty closed below the 6,000-mark at 5,988, down 132.90 points (2.17%). The index oscillated between a high of 6,144 and a low of 5,970 intraday.

The market breadth was dismal, moving in tandem with the losses suffered by the indices. The 30-share Sensex had 29 losers and only one advancing stock. The 50-share Nifty settled the day with two gainers and 48 declining stocks. The broader indices also had a bad day today. The BSE Mid-cap index tanked 2.15% while the BSE Small-cap index tumbled 2.92%.

Bharti Airtel was the lone gainer on the Sensex, up 1.16%. The losers were led by Sterlite Industries (down 5.40%), Hindalco Industries (down 5.21%), Jaiprakash Associates (down 4.57%), Reliance Communications (down 3.72%) and Tata Motors (down 3.65%).

The sectoral space was a sea of red today. BSE Realty (down 3.55%), BSE Metal (down 3.11%), BSE Capital Goods (down 2.78%), BSE Consumer Durables (down 2.58%) and BSE Auto (down 2.22%) were the sectoral losers.

Meanwhile, the union government today tabled the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the 2G spectrum allocation in parliament. The CAG has estimated the revenue loss caused at Rs1.76 lakh crore, and said that A Raja, the then telecom minister, had ignored the advice of the prime minister, besides those of ministries of law and finance, giving "undue" benefits to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications.

The CAG highlighted that the entire process of allocation of Unified Access Service licences "lacked transparency" and was undertaken in an "arbitrary, unfair and inequitable manner", in the process "flouting every canon of financial propriety, rules and procedures."

Markets in Asia mostly ended on a subdued note on economic concerns and fears of harsher measures to rein in rising prices. The Bank of Korea, for the second time this year, raised interest rates by 0.25 percentage points to 2.5% today. Worries about the Chinese government's proposed plan to keep a strict check on money supply and prices plunged the country's benchmark index to its lowest in a month.

The Shanghai Composite plunged 3.98%, the Hang Seng declined 1.39%, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.31%, the Straits Times declined 0.76% and the Seoul Composite tanked 0.77%. On the flip side, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.48%, the KLSE Composite rose 0.13% and the Taiwan Weighted was up 0.87% at the end of trade today.

Leading macroeconomic research agency Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) has forecast capital flows topping $91 billion by the end of the fiscal, a staggering 70% over $53.6 billion that the country received in the last fiscal.

The agency's monthly macroeconomic report says this record spike is on the back of the massive inflow of $30.4 billion in the September quarter alone. For the foreign funds looking for high returns on the back of dirt-cheap funds from their home markets where returns are negligible, India and especially its stock markets has been a hot destination.

Wall Street ended mostly lower on Monday on mixed economic data and fears that the Federal Reserve might reduce the 'quantitative easing' announced recently. On the other hand, mergers and acquisition news kept a check on the losses. The Dow added 9.39 points (0.08%) at 11,202. The S&P 500 tripped 1.46 points (0.12%) to 1,197. The Nasdaq lost 4.39 points (or 0.17%) to 2,514.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs313 crore on Monday. Domestic institutional investors pulled out funds worth Rs3 crore on the same day.

Dabur India Ltd (down 3.96%) has acquired 100% equity in Namaste Laboratories LLC and its three subsidiary companies - Hair Rejuvenation & Revitalization Nigeria Limited, Healing Hair Laboratories International, LLC, and Urban Laboratories International, LLC along with its South African arm - for $100 million, in an all-cash deal.

This marks Dabur's entry into the fast-growing $1.5 billion ethnic hair care products market in US, Europe and Africa. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the 2010 calendar year, subject to regulatory approvals in the US.

State-run NTPC (down 1.45%) is in talks with Cement Corporation of India to set up a new cement plant in Orissa that will utilise fly ash produced at the power major's coal-fired thermal plants. Fly ash is a residue left after coal is burnt in thermal plants and is used in the production of cement.

The company will try to utilise cement produced at the plant, while excess quantities will be sold in the open market.

Kemrock Industries and Exports (down 1.62%) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the formation of a joint venture company in India to develop and manufacture aerospace grade carbon fiber pre-pregs for the defence and aerospace programmes in India.


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