“Changing the policy stance when inflation is still far above the tolerance level entails risks to the credibility of the Reserve Bank’s commitment to low and stable inflation,” the apex bank said in its policy review document.
Continuing with its tight monetary policy stance, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its quarterly policy review today, raised interest rates by 25 basis points (bps). Following the rate increase, the 13th since March 2010, the repo rate (the rate at which the RBI lends money to banks) now stands at 8.5%, and the reverse repo (the rate at which the RBI borrows from banks) rate has gone up to 7.5%. The central bank has, however, kept the cash reserve ratio (CRR) unchanged at 6%.
The series of rate hikes has cumulatively increased interest rates by 525bps in the last 18 months.
However, despite the RBI's tightening measures so far, the country's headline inflation was 9.72% in September, the 10th straight month where it has remained above 9 percent.
The RBI has also lowered the gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection to 7.6% from 8% in 2011-12. It added that inflation, which has been over the 9% mark, is expected to fall from December and has pegged it at 7% by March 2012.
In a major policy decision, governor D Subbarao also deregulated savings bank deposit rates with immediate effect.
"Changing the policy stance when inflation is still far above the tolerance level entails risks to the credibility of the Reserve Bank's commitment to low and stable inflation," the policy document said, even as it admits that growth momentum has slowed down.
Commenting on the rate hike, bankers opined that retail and corporate credit, including home and auto loans, are set to become costlier.
"Banks are likely to increase both lending and deposit rates following the RBI action. There could be a minimum 25bps rise in lending rates," Oriental Bank of Commerce executive director SC Sinha said.
Echoing Mr Sinha's views, IDBI Bank executive director RK Bansal said, "Lending rates would certainly go up on two counts-one, RBI has raised policy rates and second deregulation of deposit rates on savings bank accounts." G Chokkalingam, group CIO, Centrum Wealth Managers said, "This signals peaking out of the current interest rate cycle. Deregulation of savings bank account interest rate is positive for the old private sector banks like Karur Vysya Bank and large private sector banks like YES Bank, which have quite low CASA (current account and savings account) ratio."
According to Abraham Chacko, executive director, Federal Bank, "The 25bps hike in repo and reverse repo is in line with expectations. More importantly, there are indications that this is the last hike by the RBI for the year. A 25bps hike would not affect corporate borrowers much, but could have an adverse effect on retail borrowers, if the hike is passed on to them."
A few players in the insurance industry also feel that further rate hikes may not be on the cards. Sandeep Nanda, chief investment officer, Bharti AXA Life Insurance, said: "The indication of a pause in the rates going forward has fulfilled hopes that the credit cycle has in all probability peaked. The likelihood of further rate hikes is relatively low keeping in view that inflation would decline beginning December 2011, that past monetary policy actions have started taking effect and developments in the global scenario have started affecting growth. I expect rate sensitive sectors to perform better henceforth.
"Given the current liquidity environment, the deregulation of savings account rates would likely move up the interest cost curve for the entire banking system and the end-borrowers. To that extent, the policy may lead to hikes in bank base rates, increase interest-rate volatility and also deal a blow to margins of banks with high savings deposits," Mr Nanda added.
Rajiv Kumar, secretary general of FICCI said, "A clearer statement on preventing a rapid depreciation of the rupee by the governor would have been especially welcome. It is heartening to see that the RBI is finally giving some importance to supply-side measures and talking about the need for raising the potential rate of growth through the implementation of structural reforms.
Mr Kumar added, "The announcement of a 1% subsidy on home loans by the government which came almost at the same time at the Credit Policy announcement will surely help in arresting the further decline in demand for new housing. Overall, FICCI is relieved to see a halt in the cycle of interest rate increases and urges the government to take further steps that will restore investors' confidence in coming months." However, FICCI feels that the inflation rate of 7% projected by the apex bank at the end of March 2012 could possibly be an underestimation. "This is based almost entirely on the expectation that the higher base effect will bring down the inflation rate in the coming months," said the FICCI statement.
TRAI has notified a charge of five paisa on promotional SMSes, which the originating access provider may collect from the registered telemarketer. The directive would make it mandatory for all operators to charge the termination levy for commercial SMSes
New Delhi: In a bid to further clamp down pesky SMSes, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will impose a termination charge of 5 paise per SMS on operators from whose networks commercial messages originate, reports PTI.
Termination charges are paid by an operator from whose network calls or SMS originate to the one on whose network these communications end. These charges impact tariffs.
“The promotional SMS charge shall be Re 0.05 (five paisa only). The originating access provider may collect the promotional SMS charge from the registered telemarketer,” TRAI said in a notification.
After much delay, TRAI in September this year came out with recommendations to stop pesky calls and text messages, directing that no operators will permit the transmission of more than 100 SMSes per day per SIM.
The limit is, however, not applicable on ‘blackout days’ (festive occasions) and a customer is free to send as many messages he desires.
Subscribers also have the option of choosing to be under the ‘Fully Blocked’ category, similar to the “Do Not Call Registry’ to not receive any promotional SMS or call.
In case a user opts for ‘Partially Blocked’ category, he or she will receive SMS in only select categories.
At present, some operators charge a termination fee of up to 15 paise per SMS. The current directive would make it mandatory for all operators to charge the termination levy for commercial SMSes.
CDMA telecom operators have opposed the imposition of a termination charge on SMS, saying the move is anti-consumer, anti-competitive and not based on a scientific technical study.
“Some of the incumbent GSM operators always propagate high termination charges for calls as well as on SMS, as it works in their favour. Imposition of any termination charge on SMS will be anti-competitive, anti-consumer and not based on costs,” Auspi general secretary SC Khanna had said in a letter to the TRAI chairman.
He added that prices of bulk SMSes are currently 1.5 to 2 paise and if it shoots up to 7 paise per SMS, this important marketing avenue will be eliminated.
“It would result in thousands losing their jobs as a result of this change in regulation, which will add to the plight of lower sections of society,” Mr Khanna said.
TRAI has exempted select service providers—primarily the dealers of telecom operators, DTH operators, e-ticketing agencies and social networking sites—from the limit of 100 SMSes per day per SIM.
It also includes transactional SMSes from e-commerce agencies, companies registered with SEBI, IRDA, Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), NCDEX, and MCX; and goods delivery confirmation messages.
Nifty may hit 5,320 in the short-term
Factoring in the 25 basis point rate hike by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the market, which witnessed a sharp fall following the announcement, gathered momentum and closed sharply higher. Yesterday we had mentioned that the Nifty would move in the range of 4,990 and 5,160. Today the index opened higher and closed well above the resistance—at 5,192. This is the highest close since 5th August. From here we may see the Nifty reach the level of 5,220 and then to 5,320.
The market opened higher but cautiousness prevailed ahead of the RBI quarterly monetary policy review, where it was widely perceived that the central bank would hike interest rates by 25 basis points. The Nifty began the day at 5,138; 40 points higher than its previous close, and the Sensex gained 74 points to open trade at 17,013. Banking, IT, metals and realty stocks supported early gains.
The indices continued their upward journey till the mid-morning session. But the RBI’s policy announcement pulled the market into the negative with consumer durables, banking and realty sectors witnessing selling pressure. The steep fall led the market to its intraday low. At the low, the Nifty touched 5,086 and the Sensex fell below the 17,000 mark to 16,900.
The indices hovered on both sides of the neutral line for more than an hour, after which buying activity resumed once again, giving the market a much-needed push. Auto, IT, oil & gas and technology sectors helped the market hit the day’s high. At the intraday high, the Nifty rose to 5,211 and the Sensex reclaimed the 17,000 level to settle at 17,322. The market extended its gains for the second day in a row with the Nifty adding 93 points at 5,192 and the Sensex closing at 17,255, up 316 points. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a volume of 66.49 crore shares. Volumes were higher because today was the expiry date for October derivatives.
The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 750:893.
In the broader market space, the BSE Mid-cap index gained 0.40% while the BSE Small-cap index shed 0.07%.
BSE Auto (up 2.95%), BSE IT (up 2.66%), BSE Oil & Gas (up 2.22%), BSE TECk (up 2.19%) and BSE Metal (up 1.93%) were the top sectoral gainers while BSE Consumer Durables (down 2.94%), BSE Bankex (down 1.20%) and BSE PSU (down 0.05%) were the losers.
The top performers on the Sensex were Mahindra & Mahindra (up 5.49%), Wipro (up 4.29%), HDFC, Sterlite Industries (up 4.23% each) and Sun Pharma (up 3.80%). SBI (down 3.52%), HDFC Bank (down 3.17%) and BHEL (down 1.07%) made up the losers’ list.
Kotak Bank (up 6.18%), M&M (up 5.08%), Sterlite Ind (up 5.05%), ACC (up 4.99%) and Grasim Industries (up 4.96%) were the top five Nifty gainers. Punjab National Bank (down 4.66%), Axis Bank (down 4.33%), SBI (down 3.48%), HDFC Bank (down 2.59%) and BHEL (down 0.82%) ended at the bottom of the index.
Markets in Asia settled mostly higher as investors awaited the outcome of a key European summit tomorrow where policymakers are expected to chalk out the expansion of the bailout fund.
The Shanghai Composite surged 1.66%; the Hang Seng climbed 1.05%; the Jakarta Composite added 0.10%; the KLSE gained 0.54%; the Straits Times rose 0.33% and the Taiwan Weighted advanced 0.28%. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.92% and the Seoul Composite lost 0.51%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs101.10 crore on Monday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities worth Rs158.84 crore.
IT consulting and software services provider, Sonata Software, has established a dedicated centre of excellence (COE) for mobility, with a dual focus on supporting independent software vendors (ISVs) and enterprises. The new COE will develop new frameworks and solutions accelerators to enable faster mobile application development across platforms such as android, windows, mobile, blackberry, IOS, J2ME and MEAP (such as Sybase unwired platform). The stock lost 0.90% to close at Rs27.60 on the NSE.
State-owned GAIL India plans to source a shipload of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to commission the long-delayed LNG import facility adjacent to the beleaguered Dabhol power plant. The company stated that dredging of the navigation channel is in full swing and it plans to commission the terminal in the last quarter of the current fiscal. The stock shed 0.16% to close trade at Rs425 on the NSE.
Sezal Glass, leading player in the architectural glass business, has said it would invest about Rs500 crore to expand its value-added glass business with manufacturing set ups across India. The stock surged 11.36% to settle at Rs2.45 on the NSE.