Policy uncertainties, monetary stance leading to slowdown: RBI

“Growth is clearly decelerating. This reflects the combined impact of several factors—the uncertain global environment, the cumulative impact of past monetary policy tightening and domestic policy uncertainties,” the RBI said in monetary policy review

Mumbai: Amid deceleration in economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said the domestic policy uncertainties and the tight monetary stance are among the factors leading to slowdown and cautioned against downside risks to growth, reports PTI.

“Growth is clearly decelerating. This reflects the combined impact of several factors—the uncertain global environment, the cumulative impact of past monetary policy tightening and domestic policy uncertainties,” it said in monetary policy review.

While several key economic legislations, including insurance and Pension Funds Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) bills, are pending in Parliament, the government had to recently put on hold its decision to open the multi-brand retail sector to foreign investors.

Before today’s halt in rate hikes, the central bank had increased key policy rates 13 times since March 2010 to tame rising prices.

The central bank said since October the global economic outlook, amid Eurozone crisis, has worsened significantly and is posing threats to emerging market economies (EMEs), including India.

Referring to its earlier gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection of 7.6% for the current fiscal, the RBI said “considering the global and domestic macro-economic situation, the downside risks to the RBI growth projection, as set out in the second quarter review (in October), have increased significantly.”

In October, the RBI had revised downward its growth projection to 7.6%, from 8% earlier, citing high inflation and global slowdown, as major reasons.

The government has already lowered its estimates for the economic growth to 7.5% from 9%.

“Overall, the growth momentum in the economy is clearly moderating,” the RBI policy document added.

RBI further said that while agricultural prospects look promising on account of expected record kharif output and satisfactory progress on rabi sowing, there are concerns on industrial performance.

“Industrial activity is moderating, driven by deceleration in investment, which is a matter of serious concern,” the central bank said.

The review said the deceleration in economic activities during the second quarter was mainly due to a sharp moderation in industrial growth. Factory output shrank by 5.1% in October, mainly due to contraction in manufacturing and mining activities.

Economic growth in July-September quarter slumped to a 6.9%, the lowest in over two years, against 8.8% in the same quarter of last fiscal. Growth in the first half (April-September) stood at 7.3% as against from 8.6% in the year-ago period.

Referring to the recent European Union summit, it said the “agreement did not assuage negative market sentiments, thereby increasing the likelihood of persistent financial turbulence as well as a recession in Europe”.

The central bank also expressed concern on high crude oil prices despite global slowdown. India imports about 80% of its crude oil requirements.

Global growth in 2011 and 2012 is expected to be lower than earlier anticipated.

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Hindustan Zinc makes advance tax payment of Rs400 crore for Q3

In the first three quarters of the current financial year, Hindustan Zinc has cumulatively paid Rs1,025 crore in advance tax

Vedanta Group firm Hindustan Zinc has paid Rs400 crore as advance tax for the October-December quarter, an over 23% rise on a year-on-year basis, the company said.

"The higher advance tax payment is due to improved efficiency in business operations and expansion in business," it said in a statement, adding that the company had paid Rs325 crore for the same period last fiscal.

In the first three quarters of the current financial year, the  Rajasthan-based zinc, lead and silver producer has cumulatively paid Rs1,025 crore in advance tax, the statement added.

Hindustan Zinc, in which the government sold a majority stake to Vedanta Group in 2002, currently produces 10,64,000 tonnes of zinc and lead, while its silver production stood at about 180 tonnes in 2010-11.

Stating that the Vedanta Group firm has invested about Rs12,000 crore on expansion since its disinvestment, the statement said the company recently commissioned a 1,00,000 tonnes per annum lead smelter at Dariba, in Rajasthan, and 350 tonnes per annum silver refinery at Pantnagar, in Uttarakhand. "These are only going to give a boost to the company's revenue," it added.

In the late afternoon, Hindustan Zinc was trading at around Rs116.80 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.09% down from the previous close.

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Strides Arcolab gets USFDA nod for cancer drug

According to IMS data, the US market for cytarabine is worth nearly $12.3 million

Drug firm Strides Arcolab said it has received approval from the US health regulator to market cytarabine injections, used in the treatment of cancer, in the American market.

Onco Therapies Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Strides Arcolab, has received approval for three abbreviated new drug applications of cytarabine injections from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), Strides Arcolab said in a statement.

The company has received approval for "cytarabine injection 20 mg/mL, packaged in 500 mg/25 mL multiple-dose vials, 20 mg/mL, packaged in 100 mg/ 5 mL single-dose vials and 20 mg/mL, packaged in 1,000 mg/50 mL pharmacy bulk packages," it added.

According to IMS data, the US market for cytarabine is worth nearly $12.3 million. Cytarabine is part of Strides' oncology portfolio licenced to Pfizer in January, 2010, for the US market and is expected to be launched shortly, the company said.

Cytarabine is used to treat different forms of leukaemia, including acute and chronic myelogenous and acute lymphocytic leukaemia.

It is also used to treat cancer found in the lining of the brain and spinal cord.

In the late afternoon, Strides Arcolab was trading at around Rs389 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 2.35% down from the previous close.

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