Karvy extends footprint in Middle East

The Karvy Group and Computershare have entered a definitive agreement with Bahrain based KPMG Fakhro to acquire a majority stake in its affiliate, Bahrain Shares Registering Company WLL.

The Karvy Group and Computershare, through their securities registry joint venture Karvy Computershare Pvt Ltd, have entered a definitive agreement with Bahrain based KPMG Fakhro to acquire a majority stake in its affiliate, Bahrain Shares Registering Company WLL (BSRC). The acquisition is part of Karvy Computershare's Middle East expansion strategy enabling the extension of its investor services.

Karvy Computershare Pvt Ltd (KCPL) provides registrar services to mutual funds and corporates across India. Currently, KCPL services over 67 million investors, across 500 corporate and 29 mutual funds from nearly 500 locations, making it clearly the largest investor servicing entity in India. Karvy Computershare is a 50:50 joint venture between Karvy from India and the Australia based global registry leader, Computershare.

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Growth of currency in circulation slowest since August 2010, on economic slowdown

Currency growth drops to 15.8% in June, from the peak of 21% in August last year

Growth of currency in circulation in the country has slowed down to its lowest in about a year, the outcome of the slowdown in economic activity and partly the higher real deposit rates over the past couple of months.

According to a study by Nomura Financial Advisory and Securities (India), the growth of currency in circulation (CIC) came down to 15.8% year-on-year in June 2011, after falling steadily since August last year when it was at a peak of 21.2%.

"In our view," Nomura says, "the sharp fall in CIC this year is partly due to high real deposit interest rates prompting a shift away from cash to deposits. However, we believe the slowdown in economic activity and a moderation of asset prices are more important reasons as they have likely reduced transaction demand for money."

The causes for the fall in CIC are in contrast to the reasons that saw high growth last year, when price rise was a major factor. "High inflation, strong growth, low bank deposit rates and rising asset prices were cyclical factors driving increased public demand for cash from transaction and portfolio balance motives (last year)," Nomura said.

The report also mentioned that cash payments made to people in rural India, under various rural employment guarantee schemes, also contributed to the growth of CIC last year. "A structural driver was cash payments made to rural households (most of which do not bank) under the rural employment guarantee scheme."  

Currently, the economic slowdown, which has reduced transaction demand, and the rise in real deposit interest rates, which is encouraging a shift of cash to deposits, are the main reasons for the fall in CIC.

Major industry sectors such as steel, cement, oil & gas and fertilisers have seen slower growth over the past few months, mainly due to sluggish demand and rising inputs costs. (Read, "Slowdown spreading across all core sectors in India") This is the newest concern for the government which is already under pressure on account of uncontrolled inflation, besides the series of scandals that appear to have seriously dented its credibility.

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Cement prices down Rs10-Rs15 a bag; further cut likely next month

The downward revision in cement prices is not unusual in the monsoon as construction and infrastructure development nearly come to a standstill. However, a slackening of demand for cement noticed in May as well because of poor growth of infrastructure and real estate sectors due to high cost of finance

New Delhi: Already down by Rs10-Rs15 per 50 kg bag across the country, barring Mumbai, since the beginning of the month, cement prices may come down further next month due to poor offtake in the seasonal lean period during monsoon, reports PTI.

The price of cement in Mumbai, however, has been slashed by Rs7-Rs8 per bag with effect from today, an official of the Mumbai-based Cement Stockists and Dealers' Association said.

The official said that with the price cut, the average price of cement currently stands at over Rs260 per bag in the country and hardly any chances are there for the price to move up next month as demand would further wane during monsoon.

"There is a slackening in demand for cement across the country which has reflected in the price cut. Now, with the onset of monsoon, another round of price cut is likely next month," he said.

However, when contacted, Shree Cement managing director HM Bangur declined to comment on the price cut, saying, "I will not comment."

The downward revision in cement prices is not unusual in the monsoon days as the construction work and infrastructure development come nearly to a standstill.

However, slackening of demand for cement was there in May as well because of poor growth of infrastructure and real estate sectors due to high cost of finance.

The cost of finance is on the rise as the apex bank hiked the key policy rates 10 times since March last year to rein in runaway inflation. The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) move, however, has impacted both the cement makers as well as its end-users.

The price cut effected by the cement makers, however, is unlikely to impact the common man much as housing rates have already moved up, as also mortgage rates.

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