Sideways movement to continue

Indian investors continued to stay cautious ahead of the Union Budget as share prices slumped towards the end of the day

Indian markets moved sideways throughout the day as railway minister Mamata Banerjee announced a populist railway Budget for 2010-2011. However, the market slumped towards the end of the day. The market sentiment continued to remain cautious ahead of the Economic Survey and the Union Budget 2010-11 which will be tabled in Parliament on 25 February 2010 and 26 February 2010, respectively. The Sensex declined 30 points from the previous day’s close to 16,256 while the Nifty closed at 4,859, down 11 points. The market is expected to remain highly volatile tomorrow with the focus being on the derivatives expiry.

Rollover in Nifty futures from February 2010 series to March 2010 series stood at about 35% at the end of Tuesday’s trading. Rollover in Mini Nifty futures was about 32% and the market-wide rollover was about 43%. The trend will stay sideways until the Union Budget is tabled in Parliament.

At 12:00 hrs IST, the Sensex was trading down six points from the previous day’s close at 16,281; but at 14:00 hrs IST, the Sensex was trading at 16,294, up eight points.

At the end of the day, index heavyweight Reliance Industries (RIL) remained flat after petroleum minister Murli Deora reportedly stated on Tuesday that oil and natural gas producers, including RIL, need not share the marketing margin they charge from their clients with the government.

Parenteral Drugs (India) gained 3% after the company signed a pact with a Kenyan firm to form a joint venture company for manufacture and supply of pharmaceutical formulations for the entire African continent McNally Bharat Engineering Company bagged an order worth Rs5.80 crore. The stock was down 1%.

Gateway Distriparks gained 1% after a foreign fund bought 0.59% stake in the logistics firm.

REpower Systems AG, a subsidiary of Suzlon Energy, and French company Akuo Energy SAS have signed three agreements for the supply of 25 wind turbines. The Suzlon stock was down 1%.

Mamata Banerjee kept passenger fares as well as freight rates unchanged in the Railway Budget presented today. The freight rate for foodgrains and kerosene was cut by Rs100 per wagon. The railway minister said that the service charge on air-conditioned fares will be cut. Ms Banerjee said the time was ripe for private partnership in Indian Railways, but clarified that the railways would not be privatised. She said that clearance to private investment would be provided within 100 days to speed up projects. Ms Banerjee appealed to business houses to join hands for building partnerships with the Railways. She said a special task force will be set up for early clearance of projects. She added that the need of the hour was to invite domestic investments through public-private partnership.

During the day, Asia’s key benchmark indices in Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan fell by 0.56%-1.48%, while China rose 1.33%.

As per media reports, Japan’s shipments abroad advanced 40.9% from a year earlier, the biggest increase since February 1980.

On Tuesday 23 February 2010, in the US markets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 101 points while the S&P500 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 13 points and 29 points, respectively.
 

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Now, Hyundai faces a total recall of its new Sonata

The Korean carmaker is halting sales of its top-selling vehicle in the US and South Korea owing to concerns about sticking door locks. However, this will not affect Hyundai’s India sales, say analysts.

First, it was Japan’s Toyota and Honda, then India’s Maruti, and now Korean chaebol Hyundai is facing a total recall of its recently launched ‘2011 Sonata sedan’ cars due to concerns about sticking door locks.

Acting on a handful of customer complaints, Hyundai Motor intends to carry out a voluntary recall of its new Sonatas produced in Korea and the US to replace some front-door latches, the company said in its official statement. 

However, this will not affect Indian sales of the vehicle, as it’s a different model. “This will not impact sales of Sonata in India, as the YF Sonata model being sold in the US and South Korea is a new one, while in India the Sonata Transform is sold,”  said Hyundai’s spokesperson Rajiv Mitra.

Automobile dealers and analysts also do not believe that the problems with the new Sonata model launched in the US will affect Hyundai’s sales in India, especially because of the low volume of Sonata car sales in the domestic market. “Sonata hardly contributes to the Indian volumes, as the Indian market is concentrated more on small vehicles, so sales will not be affected” an analyst from a brokerage said.

The Sonata is Hyundai's largest-selling vehicle, with global sales of 120,028 cars in 2009. The 2011 Sonata model went on sale only two weeks ago. There are currently only about 5,000 cars in the US inventory, and about 1,300 cars have been sold. In India, Hyundai sold 500 imported Sonata cars in 2009.
 
According to a report by Autoweek.com, Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson was quoted stating that the problem involves a lock malfunction that occurs when front-seat passengers try to open their doors from the inside while depressing the lock button at the same time. When that happens, the interior door handles don't return to their original positions, trapping the passenger until the lock button is pressed again.

Mr Johnson also stated that Hyundai has become highly sensitive to product issues amidst a series of high-profile congressional hearings involving its Japanese competitor Toyota Motors.

Analysts in India believe that owing to these global issues, exporters are becoming more cautious about product quality. “They are themselves reviewing product quality and checking safety norms that apply in different markets,” the analyst said.

The recall will affect YF Sonatas produced in Korea until 6th December, which is around 46,000 units, and those produced at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing in Alabama (HMMA) and sold to customers until 16th February, which are nearly 1,300 units, the company said.

“Since the launch of the Sonata in Korea last September, Hyundai Motors discovered a mechanical problem with its front-door latches which, in very rare instances, will not close properly. To avoid a possible occurrence of the problem, Hyundai has been applying modified parts to some of its Korean and US production models,” the company said.
 
The company says that it will officially notify Korea's ministry of land, transport and maritime affairs in Korea and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US of the voluntary recall this week.
 
Johnson said Hyundai engineers were trying today to determine whether the malfunction even warranted notification to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which governs product recalls.

Consumers are happy with Hyundai’s decision to recall. Paul Landerman blogged on Autoweek

“That's awfully sweet of Hyundai, given the light at Toyota's dissatisfaction.” Another blogger said “Pretty sad when the Koreans can get it right. Maybe Toyota can learn from them”.

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Steep rise in coal imports required to power India

The power ministry has estimated coal imports of 48 million tonnes in FY10-11, sharply higher than the expected imports of 28mt in the current fiscal, as domestic supply shrinks due to issues like environmental clearance and Naxalite threats

India’s coal imports for power production are likely to rise to 48 million tonnes (mt) in the next fiscal, sharply higher than the expected imports of 28mt for FY09-10. Both private and public power utilities are likely to contribute to this high figure. Despite India being a coal-rich country, delay in mining activities at captive coal blocks, inferior quality of coal and hindrances in domestic coal transportation has increased power utilities’ dependence on imported coal. 

According to the HS Brahma, secretary, ministry of power, public and private power utilities will together import 48mt of coal in the next fiscal. The import volume has been planned to ensure regular fuel supply to Indian power plants. Australia, Indonesia and South Africa are the major countries catering to India’s coal demand.

As per a PTI report, the total coal requirement during the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) is expected to touch 700 million tonnes, and the demand from power companies is likely to be at 550 million tonnes. A major portion of this requirement is likely to be met through coal imports.

The constant increase in coal imports by Indian power utilities is ironical, given that India has the fourth-largest reserves of coal in the world. However, effective utilisation of these reserves has hit roadblocks like environmental clearances, rehabilitation issues and the Naxalite movement.

Power utilities are increasingly looking at coal imports as an easier option to ensure coal linkages for their plants. With a large of number of captive coal blocks stuck in various pre-implementation stages, companies are more comfortable with their dependence on coal imports.

Coal blocks allotted for captive use to various power utilities as early as 2008, are still in the environmental clearance stage. The coal block allotted to GMR Energy in Orissa is one of the many examples. It is still in the environmental clearance phase, but company officials claim the coal linkage for the project has been secured and the plant will go on steam as scheduled, despite the delay in mining activity.

Similarly, Adani Group’s power plant in Tiroda (Maharashtra) hit a roadblock after two of its coal blocks in Lohara were refused environmental clearance.

Pramod Menon, chief financial officer, JSW Energy Ltd, confirms the necessity of imported coal. “Domestic coal has its own challenge; if we want to ramp up capacity, there are issues. We have tried to enter the space very differently, with a mix of domestic coal and imported coal. We generally take three to five years for exploration after allocation of a coal block. A lot of capacity is coming in, but we have to wait and watch out for the challenges which these capacities will face in procuring domestic coal. The reason for this is that we are not seeing a huge amount of coal capacity actually coming on-stream,” he said.

Coal linkages through imports have become extremely important for power utilities to ensure timely commissioning of their planned power capacities. An excellent example of this is the Videocon group. It has been able to achieve financial closure for its Gujarat power project due to assured coal linkages through imports. However, a second power project of the same group in Chhattisgarh still awaits financial closure. The coal supply for this plant will depend on captive coal blocks which have not been allotted. The group is confident that the Gujarat plant will be completed on schedule, but it refused to provide a timeline for the Chhattisgarh project as the coal linkages have not yet been secured.

Operational power plants in the country are also under constant threat of irregular coal supply due to mining and transportation issues. According to the Central Electricity Authority data, around 22 thermal power stations (TPS) were in the critical list with less than seven days of coal supply. Of these, 13 TPS are in the super-critical list with less than four days of coal supply. The number of TPSs in the critical list has been constant for several months, with no improvement in the coal supply scenario. The main reasons cited for the coal shortage are delay in coal imports or reduced coal supplies from the captive coal blocks for these plants.

India’s major coal reserves lie in the ‘red’ belt or the Naxal-affected regions of the country. Power plants fuelled by coal blocks in these regions face issues like irregular supply. Coal India Ltd, India’s largest coal supplier, is also seriously looking at the coal import option. CIL officials had earlier admitted to transportation problems from coal mines in the Naxal-affected regions of Jharkhand, Orissa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (NTPC), which is India’s largest power producer, plans to import coal in large quantities from Australia, despite the fact that domestic coal blocks have been allotted to each of its projects. It has already imported 9mt of the targeted 12.5mt during the current financial year (2009-10). NTPC’s thermal power stations at Farakka and Khalagaon have been on the super-critical list for several months due to inadequate coal supply.
 

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COMMENTS

Shadi Katyal

7 years ago

Coal is one of the biggest natural resource India has but due to mismanagement and control of coal Mafia under the PSU, more coals is stolen and sold in Black market . Neither the Center nor the Bihar govt is willing to
get involved with unions.
The argument by Mr..Menon is a typical nay sayer. It takes time to develop any mine and business and thus even given his 3-5 years period does he wants to wait for ever.
We are already dependent on Oil and now Coal. While natural gas by Amban'si is not being explored.
Did India try to buy Natural gas from Bangladesh?
Wake up India and start thining of future and not just keep finding excuses.

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