New Delhi: India's vegetable oil imports are likely to increase to 93-95 lakh tonnes during the next oil year, ending October, 2011, reports PTI quoting an expert.
"For the next oil year (November, 2010 to October, 2011), Indian vegetable oil imports will expand further to between 9.3 and 9.5 million tonnes," Dorab Mistry said in Mumbai recently.
The country's vegetable oil imports during the current year are expected to amount to around nine million tonnes.
According to the Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA), during the first ten months of the current oil year, India's overall imports of vegetable oil rose to 74.47 lakh tonnes, up by 5% from 70.70 lakh tonnes in the same period last year.
Mr Mistry, however, said it was too early to say what oil India would import next year, but he had no doubt that sunflower oil imports would decline due to high prices.
"Higher soya oil tonnages will depend on the price relationship with palm. Also, do bear in mind these estimates are tentative because rapeseed has not even been planted," he added.
According to Mr Mistry, India is likely to import 72 lakh tonnes of palm oil, 15 lakh tonnes of soyabean oil and four lakh tonnes each of sunflower and lauric oils in the next oil year.
India's edible oil consumption has grown by 6.5% per annum since 2000-01 and currently stands at 147 lakh tonnes, valued at $15 billion, which is expected to go up to 200 lakh tonnes in 2015, according to Rabo India Finance.
High property prices and lack of completed housing units increase cost of home rentals; consumers are being forced to look for alternatives
You might receive a hike of more than double the usual appreciation in your monthly home rent bill when you lease comes up for renewal this time around.
Jit Nandi of Vashi, Navi Mumbai, received a 20% increase in his home rent bill this year compared to the usual 10% every year. But despite the high rent and a desire to move to cheaper accommodation, Mr Nandi says that he is unable to move to a new location. "At the back of my mind, I know that I need to shift as rent is on the higher side. But due to certain problems such as shifting, paying deposits and brokerage, getting adjusted to a new landlord and society, I'm not able to move to new accommodation. But sooner or later, I'll have to shift," he told Moneylife.
However, for some, getting a new apartment was an outright solution to the rising residential rentals in Mumbai. Rajat Kumar of Powai (central Mumbai) said that increasing rentals triggered the idea of opting for a house on ownership. His rent increased from Rs18,000 to Rs25,000 in three years - an increase of 40%. He will get the possession of his 2BHK next month.
Mahendra Ahuja (name changed on request) of Sanpada, Navi Mumbai, who recently purchased a 3BHK in Thane and will get possession next year, said he found it prudent to invest in property rather than paying monthly rent. He said, "My rent has more than doubled in five years. With my increase in income levels, I found it wiser to invest in an apartment as real estate prices are on the rise. Plus, I will get the much-needed tax benefits, whereas, the monthly rent doesn't accrue any benefit as it goes into the landlord's pockets."
According to real-estate dealer Abhay (who uses only one name), the number of persons opting for outright purchase has increased by 8% this year. But Mr Abhay maintained that these are mainly those who are looking to get settled in the financial capital of India. Others such as BPO or private firm employees usually take apartments on rent as they keep shifting from one city to another for better opportunities, he added. Such people don't hesitate to pay high rent and live in plush localities and apartments, according to Mr Abhay.
In the second quarter this year, residential rentals have risen alarmingly. According to a study by real estate portal 99acres.com, residential rentals have seen an escalation of more than 20% in Mumbai. Khar, a western suburb of Mumbai, has seen 47% appreciation in rentals in the second quarter this year compared to the same period last year. Mahalaxmi and Napean Sea Road saw 28% and 13% rise in rentals over the same period. Bandra (West) witnessed an 11% rise in residential rentals.
"Home rentals in Mumbai have always been on the higher side," said Sandeep Reddy, a former real-estate analyst with Kotak Institutional Equities and co-founder of GrOffr.com, a real estate website for group buying. According to a report, the city needs 84,000 houses every year additionally, but the combined effort of private housing companies and government housing authorities yields only 55,000 houses annually. The deficiency in supply of houses keeps on propelling the real estate prices to a new zenith every year.
According to Mr Reddy, lack of completed housing units has led to the rise in residential rentals. "In the last two years, many housing projects have been launched but as they take time for completion, the lack of completed units has led to rise in rentals as the demand for accommodation continues to rise due to various factors such as migration of work force."
According to Yashwant Dalal, president of the Estate Agents' Association of India, high property prices are responsible for the rise in rentals in the city. Mr Dalal told a tabloid recently, "Property prices have gone up beyond the 2008 peak and are consistently going up since the last three quarters. So people are waiting for the prices to correct and have postponed their purchasing plans for some time. As preference is more towards leased property, the rentals have gone up in the city."
It's the same story in other metropolitan cities. According to the study, Saket in South Delhi saw a 31% rise in rentals in the second quarter this year compared to the same period last year. South Extension, Safdarjung and Malviya Nagar followed at 24%, 22% and 21% respectively.
But according to Pankaj Kapoor, founder and managing director, Liases Foras, the rental market is stable and there has been only a slight increase. He said places where high appreciation is reported are mostly high-end locations and these places don't come under the rental market. "These (places mentioned in the study) are high-end locations. It all depends on the kind of property leased out. You can have a gamut of properties but there is something called high-end or exclusive properties and all of a sudden if it goes off at a certain premium, it will have an impact on the kind of rent," Mr Kapoor said.
In the case of Mr Nanda who is unable to shift to a new location due to logistical problems, Mr Kapoor said there is no solution other than to bear the high expenses or move to locations far off from the main business areas where rents are cheaper.
The nodal bank, a stronghold of the Congress-NCP combine, is in deep financial trouble due to its suspicious loan distribution to some of its favoured co-operative banks as well as some loss-making sugar co-operative factories
Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank Ltd (MSCB), the nodal bank for all co-operative banks in the state, is in deep financial trouble due to its suspicious loan distribution to some of its favoured co-operative banks as well as some loss-making sugar co-operative factories.
The apex co-operative bank is scheduled to celebrate its centenary year next month in Pune in the presence of president Pratibhatai Patil and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. The majority of the directors on the bank's 'jumbo' board (44 elected and 33 appointed, a total of 77 directors) belong to the Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Some ministers from the ruling Congress-NCP combine like Ajit Pawar, Rajendra Shingane, Diliprao Deshmukh, Madan Patil, Hasan Mushrif and powerful leaders such as Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, Sadashivrao Mandlik, Yashwantrao Gadakh, Prasad Tanpure, Jaywantrao Awale and Dilip Sopal are directors of MSCB.
For FY10, the bank's auditors, Joshi Nair and Associates, have given a 'D' grade to MSCB as it could score only 31 marks out of 100 based on various parameters. As per the provisional figures provided on the bank's site, for FY10, its gross non-performing assets (NPA) are 20.9%. However, while converting the same into net NPAs, the bank has shown the figure at 7.7%.
Although the auditors refused to share the audit report with Moneylife, according to some media reports, politicians are pressing hard to change MSCB's audit grade to 'C' from 'D' as a damage control measure. The bank has shown deposits of Rs21,500 crore and a net profit of Rs2.83 crore. However, according to the audit report, the bank had to suffer a loss of Rs1,070 crore, mainly due to NPAs.
The bank had to make a provision of Rs768 crore for the NPAs, but it failed to do so. In addition, for the NPAs, it made a provision of around Rs144 crore from its cash reserve instead of showing the same in the profit & loss account.
Banks in India are required to maintain a Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 9%; however, MSCB's CAR is 8.66%. In the audit report, the bank was able to score just one mark out of 48 marks that are assigned to CAR, loan worthiness, management and income, together. This was the main reason why the bank scored a 'D' grade in the auditor's report.
The MSCB is the apex co-operative bank in the state since 1954 and has initiated major schemes for the co-operative banking sector in India. It has been helping agricultural credit co-operatives and agricultural processing co-operatives. The bank provides re-finance facility to District Central Co-operative Banks, which cater to the agricultural sector.
It also promotes finance to artisans and agro-industrial co-operatives - especially sugar factories and spinning mills by providing them medium-term loans as well as interim loans.
Traditionally, MSCB has been a stronghold of the Congress-NCP. Even the efforts of the then ruling Shiv Sena-BJP combine in 1998 to take control of the apex co-operative bank had failed. The combine's effort to appoint an administrator for MSCB did not materialise at that time.
Earlier, in March, all parties in Maharashtra joined hands for the MSCB elections and got their representatives elected by a seat-sharing formula. This shows why despite very strong 'strictures' from the auditors, no one, including the opposition parties, is willing to speak about it. Given the political pressure and involvement of all parties, one should not be surprised if the Maharashtra government bails out MSCB from this financial mess.