India’s economy moving in positive direction: FM

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee maintained that India's economic fundamentals were strong and capable of meeting any challenge posed by the downgrade of the US economy and the crisis in some Eurozone nations

New Delhi: With all eyes on the global situation, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said India's macro-economy was moving in a positive direction and hoped international commodity prices would decline, helping the government tame inflation and cut subsidies, reports PTI.

Mr Mukherjee maintained that India's economic fundamentals were strong and capable of meeting any challenge posed by the downgrade of the US economy and the crisis in some Eurozone nations.

"I would like to emphasis that some of the investment banks have upgraded India to market weight, that means the basic fundamentals are strong and macro-economic recovery is moving toward a positive direction," he told reporters, referring to Monday's Goldman Sachs report.

The minister said the US downgrade has created some problems for India, but the country could handle any situation arising out of international developments.

"The challenge is there, but we have the capabilities of facing these challenges," Mr Mukherjee said. "... collectively, with the efforts of all concerned, particularly with the cooperation of the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), we will be able to face the challenges," he added.

Expressing happiness over the quick recovery shown by the Indian stock market, which was much better than other Asian countries, he said, however, it was too early to say how the markets would behave in future.

The downgrade of the US economy by Standard and Poor's last week has created havoc in stock markets worldwide, but led to a decline in commodity prices, including crude oil.

Talking about the decline in crude prices, Mr Mukherjee said he was not fully satisfied with the downward movement from $107 per barrel to $102 per barrel, as it is still 'reasonably high'.

Mr Mukherjee hoped that prices of oil and other commodities will come down further, "which will help us to manage inflation and also help in reducing subsidy on oil".

Referring to the movements in the Indian stock market on Tuesday, he said "it has recovered from the loss in the morning... if you compare it with Asian markets... the average going down of various Asian markets are varying from 2%-4% per cent."
 

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Subbarao gets 2-yr extension as RBI governor

The continuity of D Subbarao at the helm of the RBI comes at a time when the government and the central bank are gearing up to meet the challenge posed by downgrade of the US sovereign rating and the economic crisis in several Eurozone nations

New Delhi: Ending months of suspense, prime minister Manmohan Singh today gave a two-year extension to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor D Subbarao beyond September, reports PTI.

"The Prime Minister approved the extension to D Subbarao, governor of RBI, for two years," a PMO spokesman said.

The extension will be with effect from 5th September this year till 4th September 2013.

The 61-year-old IAS officer and veteran finance ministry official was appointed the 22nd governor of the central bank in September 2008, for a three-year term.

Interestingly, the announcement of his extension comes just two days before his birthday.

The continuity of Mr Subbarao at the helm of the RBI assumes significance as it comes at a time when the government and the central bank are gearing up to meet the challenge posed by downgrade of the US sovereign rating and the economic crisis in several Eurozone nations.

Mr Subbarao, who has headed RBI since 2008, steered the country through the economic crisis. He is credited with taking a tough monetary stance to check inflation.

Under his governorship, the RBI recently doubled the frequency of monetary policy reviews from every quarter to eight times a year with a view to decrease the need for off-cycle rate moves.

Mr Subbarao had earlier served under Manmohan Singh in the finance ministry as a senior official in the early 1990s, when the latter was finance minister. Prior to this appointment, he was the country's finance secretary.

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Amid the rout, insiders are buying

"They have a history of being more right than wrong about the market's direction," says this analyst.

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