Morgan Stanley sees India’s BoP deficit at $1.3 billion

Even though structural problems in Indian economy remains, Morgan Stanley feels that India is stabilising on account of lower current account deficit and inflows via NRI deposits. But it remains cautious on the country’s recovery

Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific (Morgan Stanley), in their latest note titled ‘Near-Term Relief, but Not Out of the Woods’, is cautious about the recovery of the Indian economy. They expect the balance of payments (BoP) deficits to be contained at $1.3 billion, with lower current account deficit (CAD). The note said, “We estimate a FY2014 BoP deficit of $1.3 billion in our base case, driven by a lower current account deficit of $59 billion, additional $15 billion inflows via deposits from non-resident Indians (NRIs) and relatively contained foreign institutional investment (FII) outflows.”

Morgan Stanley believes interest rates ought to be high for the economy to stabilise without going overboard. The report said, “While the balance of payment is important for the near term, the key to a sustainable external funding position for corporate and sovereign India is higher domestic real rates.”However, they feel that structural issues still remain most notably interest rates and asset quality of banks. The note said, “The key to stabilising macro remains higher domestic real rates, but unfortunately, that also de- stabilises Indian micro and for credit that means weaker financial sector asset quality and corporate funding risk.” Recently, Raghuram Rajan increased repo rates to reign in inflation. Morgan Stanley expects downward bias on inflation.

One of the key concerns of Morgan Stanley is the quality of assets held by the banking sector which is rapidly deteriorating. “The likelihood of a sustainable move depends on the stabilisation in bank asset quality and in corporate balance sheet quality,” said the note. Below is the chart that highlights the perils of the Indian banking system and Morgan Stanley expects it to get worse. This could stymie economic recovery.

However, India still remains exposed to external contingencies, especially on currency movements and economic recovery of the United States, and whether tapering will continue. Thus, one way to insulate this is to address domestic issues, though it remains to be seen if the Indian government will ever get around to doing this. The note says, “We expect India to remain exposed specifically to the trend in US real rates/US dollar and more generally to the external funding environment. Hence, we believe that the key will be to lift real GDP with policy reforms and change the expectation of the returns on investment for entrepreneurs by systematically addressing the issues related to the business environment.”

Regarding the Indian rupee, Morgan Stanley is bullish on the US dollar and Indian rupee and expects the domestic currency to touch 58 to the dollar from current levels.


RTI Judgement Series: SUR Section at MCD asked to index and catalogue all records

Taking cognizance of the issue, the CIC asked the director of SUR Section at MCD to ensure that indexing and cataloguing of all the records is done in specific time limit. This is the 183rd in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, asked the director of Slum Upgradation and Rehabilitation (SUR) at Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), to index and catalogue all the records of the department kept haphazardly in about 60 cupboards. The deputy director of SUR branch admitted during the hearing that the records are kept very haphazardly and they do not have the resources to locate records and provide the information within the 30 days limit under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.


While giving the judgement on 16 July 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, "...the SUR Section lacks the capacity to be able to meet the requirement of the RTI Act. It does not have an index and catalogue of the records it has. Thus compliance of the Section 4 of the RTI Act which is required by 12 October 2005 has still has not been done to fulfil even the basic need of running a public office which can do any reasonable work."


Delhi resident Farooque, on 27 September 2008, sought from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Slum and Jhuggi Jhopri Department at MCD information regarding number of people, who were living in slum near Shahdara Railway Station, to whom the plot had been allotted, their details and number of people who deposited money for allotment of plot.


In his reply the PIO asked Farooque, the applicant to collect required document from the DRAI Section by paying Rs112 as fee for copying the documents.


There was no reply received from the First Appellate Authority (FAA) due to which, Farooque, the appellant approached the CIC with his second appeal.


During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, observed that the appellant had been provided 43 pages of survey list which was not sought by him. The details of people who paid money had not been provided and no reasons had been given for this by the PIO, the Bench noted.


Farooque complained (to the CIC) that the FAA asked him to come on 19th February and then on 12 March 2009. However, on both occasions the FAA SK Jain, deputy commissioner was not present. "It appeared that he (the FAA) gave a further date of 23 March 2009 and postponed it to 27 May 2009. Finally the PIO brought an order from the FAA's dated 3 June 2009. A reading of the FAA's order showed that it did not take into account anything mentioned by the appellant in his first appeal. This reduced the whole process of first appeal to a farce," Mr Gandhi said.


The PIO stated that he sought assistance of NK Gupta, the accounts officer on 14 November 2008 to provide the information about the people who had deposited the amount for the plots. "However, after various notings no information was provided," the PIO said.


Purushottam Kumar, the AD (cash) who was present during the hearing admitted that the information was available with the record room of the Accounts Department. Mr Gandhi said, "Thus it appeared that the deemed PIO NK Gupta was responsible for denial of information without any reasonable ground."


The Bench also found the FAA SK Jain to be responsible for complete dereliction of duty. It then asked the FAA to send an explanation to the CIC before 30 June 2009 giving reasons why disciplinary action should not be recommended against him.


While allowing the appeal, the Bench then directed the PIO to refund Rs86 charged as additional fee for providing unnecessary data of 43 pages. The Bench also asked deemed PIO Gupta to provide the information to Farooque before 20 June 2009.


After finding the deemed PIO Gupta guilty of not furnishing the information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7 by not replying within 30 days, as per the requirement of the RTI Act, Mr Gandhi issued a show cause notice.


During the show cause hearing on 16 July 2009, Gupta, the deemed PIO stated that the records were actually with Slum Upgradation and Rehabilitation (SUR) branch and that SUR branch was responsible for providing the information. Ashok Bhatia, deputy director of SUR branch stated, "The SUR branch is in the process of segregation of the records contained in about 60 cupboards and it is a matter of chance that we may get the required information in out hands. The records are kept very haphazardly and we do not have the resources to locate records and provide the information within the 30 days limit of RTI."


The Bench took this in the cognizance and felt that the SUR Section lacks the capacity to be able to meet the requirement of the RTI Act. Mr Gandhi said, "It does not have an index and catalogue of the records it has. Thus compliance of the Section 4 of the RTI Act which is required by 12 October 2005 has still has not been done to fulfil even the basic need of running a public office which can do any reasonable work."


The Bench then directed YP Rawal, director of SUR Section to ensure that indexing and cataloguing of all the records is done before 15 September 2009 and to send a compliance report to the CIC before 20 September 2009 failing which the CIC will be forced to take action.




Decision No.  CIC/SG/A/2009/000985/3712adjunct

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/000985



Appellant                                           : Farooque

                                                            Dilshad Garden, Delhi—110095


Respondent                                      : YP Rawal

                                                            Public Information Officer

                                                            Municipal Corporation of Delhi

                                                            Slum & JJ Department

                                                            Room No. 8, Punarwas Bhawan,

                                                            ITO, New Delhi


Easing of deficit positive for India: Nomura

In their latest note, Nomura is cautiously optimistic about the recovery prospect of the Indian economy in the face of current account deficit, and believes that it easing of the deficit is a positive. It is bullish on IT services, pharmaceuticals, non-PSU oil & gas and private banks

Nomura Financial Advisory and Securities (India) Pvt Ltd is cautiously optimistic about the prospects of the Indian economy but still finds it weak. In a research note it said, “The reason we are not outright bullish on the market is that the medium-term outlook on growth still remains weak. At 13.4x 12-month forward consensus based earnings, the market’s earnings multiple does not provide much comfort when compared to its 14.3x five-year average, which covers a period when India’s GDP growth averaged above 7%; the median street forecast for FY14 GDP growth is currently at 4.7%.”

Nomura has stated their preference for exporters such as IT services, pharmaceuticals, and non-PSU oil & gas.

However, it finds that growth differentials between India and her trade partners have narrowed down, which has been helping the deficit to be bridged. Imports have reduced while exports have increased, which bodes well for India. The note said, “We expect differentials to remain low, with positive implications for both exports and the trade deficit.”

It goes on to say, “A cheerier outlook on the current account deficit (CAD) augurs well for the rupee. After all, the rupee’s high-beta status was a result of large twin-deficits in the backdrop of steadily falling growth differentials.”

Even though festival season is upon us, with the ongoing Navratri celebrations and Diwali next month, India’s gold imports have been culled and controlled, on the back of restrictive measures taken by the government. This has eased current account deficit and boosted the rupee. “The flood of gold imports seen since 2011—which on their own destroyed India’s external account metrics in FY12 and then again in FY13—has been reduced to a trickle over the past two months,” the note said.  According to the note, India imports fell 18% in September while exports increased 11%. This is a positive metric and a sign that current account deficit is stabilising.

Speculations have been made about the US Federal reserve tapering bond purchases this year. However, uncertainty still persists and Nomura feels this is positive as it gives Indian policy makers breathing space to accommodate domestic monetary policy. The note said, “Market concerns of an imminent Fed-taper, in all likelihood, have been pushed further down the road given the negative growth and sentiment implications of the current fiscal impasse in the US. This provides breathing space for domestic monetary policy.” It remains to be seen what stance Raghuram Rajan would adopt, but it is expected to be hawkish until inflation is reined and deficits bridged.

Apart from IT services, pharmaceuticals, and non-PSU oil & gas, Nomura also prefers private banks to PSU-banks due to worsening asset quality of the latter. “We remain concerned on the asset quality cycle of PSU banks amidst growth worries and have a clear preference for private banks within rate-cyclical,” Nomura adds.


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