REC gets infrastructure finance company status

New Delhi: State-run Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) today said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted it the infrastructure finance company status which would allow the firm to lend more to power projects, reports PTI.

The RBI has now categorised REC as an Infrastructure Finance Company (IFC), the company said in a statement.

REC is into financing power generation, transmission and distribution projects in the country.

With IFC status, REC can now take an additional lending exposure of up to 5% of its owned funds in case of a single borrower and up to 10% of its owned funds in case of a group of borrowers.

The total permissible exposure would thus be 40% of owned funds in case of a group of borrowers.

REC also becomes eligible for issuance of infrastructure bonds and for raising funds up to $500 million (Rs2,500 crore approximately) through external commercial borrowing (ECB) in a year.

REC is the second company after Power Finance Corporation (PFC) to be accorded the status of IFC by the Reserve Bank. PFC was accorded the status in July this year.


USE’s currency derivatives trade receives positive response

Mumbai: The United Stock Exchange of India (USE), a new bourse for currency derivatives, began operations today and witnessed good volumes in the first hour of trade, reports PTI.

After the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), USE is the third bourse offering currency trading in the country.

"We are witnessing good volumes and it (volumes) has already crossed Rs2,000 crore in the first hour of trading," USE director Gaurav Arora told reporters after the launch.

The exchange commenced operations in the all four currency pairs allowed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) — dollar-rupee, euro-rupee, yen-rupee and pound-rupee.

Currency derivatives can be described as futures contracts between the sellers and buyers, whose values are to be derived from the underlying assets — the currency amounts.

Worldwide, currency derivatives market is bigger than equities with volumes of $3 billion a day while India's contribution is only 1%. Hence, there is a greater prospect for growth, USE head T S Narayanswamy said.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath, who along with SEBI chairman C B Bhave, inaugurated the bourse, said investors should start looking at currency trading as a new asset class.

Over-the-counter (OTC) activities are for those who have an underline commercial interest and want to hedge, but an instrument like this must be used by all residents, including those who want to speculate on currencies, Ms Gopinath said.

USE is a bourse on set up on public-private partnership with 21 public sector banks, five top private banks, the BSE, state-owned entity MMTC, Jaypee Capital, etc having stake in it.


Climate negotiations at Cancun headed nowhere: Ramesh

New York: India today said that the international community should not expect much from the upcoming Climate Change summit in Cancun and underlined that the West should do more to achieve sustainable development, reports PTI.

"I think frankly Cancun (Mexico) is headed nowhere because the financial commitments made by the developed countries at Copenhagen have not been fulfilled and are unlikely to be fulfilled in any substantial measure," environment minister Jairam Ramesh told PTI.

The Climate Change conference in Copenhagen last year yielded the contentious and non-binding Copenhagen Accord.

The accord was produced by 29 countries, but was principally drafted by the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa at the eleventh hour of the conference. It was slammed by certain countries including Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba for having left the majority of the nations out of the negotiating process.

Key elements of the accord included limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, $100 billion on finance in long term finance to developing countries and $30 billion to short-term finance to the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

The climate conference in Cancun is expected to produce a legally binding climate change treaty but so far the developed and developing countries have been unable to reach a consensus on key negotiating texts.

There is still no clear mechanism for the actual collection and disbursement of the aid money pledged in Copenhagen.

"I don't expect a breakthrough but I don't expect a breakdown either," Mr Ramesh said, adding that "expectations should be very very modest."

As part of his week-long trip to New York, Mr Ramesh attended the Global Sustainability Panel meeting at the UN on Sunday and will speak at the Major Economies Forum today.

At MEF, he said that he will highlight "what are the lessons that we learnt from Copenhagen both the process lesson as well as the product lesson" and called for clarity on "financing issue, technology issues, forestry related issues", among others.

During the week, he will also attend the Conference on Biodiversity and meet his counterparts from several countries.

The UN has found that the world has already missed the 2010 deadline for biodiversity conservation with potentially grave consequences, and the number of species facing extinction is growing by the day especially in developing countries.

India will host the Biodiversity Summit in 2012.


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