The Chinese central bank on Sunday hiked reserve requirements for banks, the fourth this year, in a bid to control spending
The domestic stock market is likely to open on a cautious note on news that the Chinese central bank on Sunday once again raised reserve rates for lenders. The move resulted in markets across Asia were mostly higher in early trade on Monday while Wall Street edged higher on Friday tracking positive economic data. The SGX Nifty fluctuated between green and red and was last seen up 10 points at 5,835 from its previous close of 5,825.
On the earnings front, HDFC Bank, IFCI, IndusInd Bank and CMC are among the companies that are expected to announce their quarterly numbers today.
The market ended marginally lower in the holiday-shortened week, mostly on domestic cues. Weak industrial output numbers for February, a rise in headline inflation for March and lower-than-expected fourth-quarter results and guidance by Infosys were the main factors that were responsible for the decline. The Sensex lost 65 points (0.33%) to end the week at 19,387 and the Nifty shed 17 points (0.30%) to settle at 5,825.
Corporate earnings are likely to influence the direction of the market in the week ahead. While the IT sector will be subdued, the manufacturing and services sectors are expected to show good Q4 growth.
US markets settled higher on Friday as positive economic news overshadowed disappointing earnings from Google and Bank of America which missed their earnings estimates. US factories increased production for the ninth straight month. Besides, the Labor Department said consumer prices rose just 0.1% last month excluding food and gas prices against analysts’ expectations of a 0.2% rise.
Also, a survey by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan said that consumers' confidence was growing more than predicted. The preliminary April reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment came in at 69.6, up from 67.5 in March. The sentiment reading is still below February's level, with March sentiment the lowest in more than a year.
The Dow rose 56.68 points (0.46%) to close at 12,341.83. The S&P 500 gained 5.16 points (0.39%) to 1,319.68 and the Nasdaq added 4.43 points (0.16%) to 2,764.65.
Markets in Asia were mostly higher despite the Chinese central bank on Sunday hiking reserve rates for big banks. The Chinese markets reversed early losses and were in positive terrain. However, the Japanese benchmark was trading lower following the Chinese rate hike.
Reserve rates in China will rise a half point from 21st April, pushing the requirement to a record 20.5% for the biggest lenders. The move comes less than two weeks after an interest-rate increase.
The Shanghai Composite was 0.02% higher, the Hang Seng rose 0.36%, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.06%, the KLSE Composite surged 0.61%, the Straits Times climbed 0.34%, the Seoul Composite added 0.19% and the Taiwan Weighted rose 0.39%. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 was 0.19% lower in early trade.
Back home, with inflation showing no signs of moderation, economists expect the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to hike key policy rates by at least 25 basis points in its annual monetary policy to be unveiled on 3rd May.
The headline inflation (WPI) stood at 8.98% for March, much above the RBI’s projection of 8%, fuelling speculation that the central bank may go in for another hike in the repo (lending) and reverse repo (borrowing) rates.
Speaking at a workshop on Right to Information Act, organised by Moneylife Foundation, Mr Ravat said more use and involvement of citizens with the RTI movement would pressurise authorities to disclose information voluntarily.
“More citizens should get involved with the Right to Information (RTI) movement, and the goal must be to pressurise the authorities to disclose information voluntarily”, said Ashok Ravat, social activist and honorary secretary of All-India Bank Depositors Association (Mumbai).
Speaking at a workshop on Right to Information Act, organised by Moneylife Foundation, Mr Ravat shared his experiences with the RTI Act, which he has used during his fight for customer protection, environment and civic issues. He discussed how to formulate specific queries and on the correct format for application. These formats can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/RTI-Application-Formats.
“RTI Act and grievance redressal go hand in hand. So all activists should be aware of redressal mechanisms, so they can force authorities to rectify these irregularities”, he said.
The RTI Act, with certain exceptions, can be used to get information about decisions taken by public authorities, details of public expenditure, status of projects and many other administrative issues. An effective tool to prevent corruption, it is essential that citizens use this act regularly to keep a check on public authorities.
Mr Ravat advised RTI Act users to keep their queries crisp, specific, and limited to one particular aspect, which falls under the domain of that particular public information officer (PIO). “If you ask questions which falls under more than one information officer, things will get complicated and the information may be delayed”, he said.
Asking the activists to use the RTI responsibly Mr Ravat said they (RTI activists) need to understand that seeking information is not equivalent to complaining. “Some people keep on posting irrelevant and endless queries, which is unacceptable. We must understand that a government officer’s time is valuable and he should rather devote it to his duty than for somebody’s amusement”, Mr Ravat said. He also reiterated that not everything requires exercising the RTI. Much information is available free for the public with government authorities.
He also talked about the processes of filing appeals and complaints with higher authorities in case the information got is unsatisfactory. “And remember, always reserve your right to check the relevant documents in your RTI query”, he said.
Prominent RTI activist Krishnaraja Rao provided links to articles related to the Act, which will help a citizen understand the Act better and file their queries. Bilingual versions of the RTI Act can be found at http://tinyurl.com/RTI-Act-Eng-Hindi (English-Hindi) and http://tinyurl.com/RTI-Act-Eng-Marathi (English-Marathi). An abridged and simplified version is available at http://tinyurl.com/RTI-Act-Simplified . One can get the annotated version, with interpretation of the sections of the Act is found at http://tinyurl.com/RTI-Act-with-notes, and key High Court judgments on various related cases can be found at http://tinyurl.com/RTI-Case-Law-Digest. Petitioners can benefit from the tips provided at http://tinyurl.com/RTI-Tips-n-Tricks, and public information officers, too, can learn about the Act and their duties from http://tinyurl.com/RTI-PIOs-Guide .