Until now, all eyes have been on FII investment fluctuations in the equity market. However, as we watch the consequences of the massive pull-out of FII investment from the debt market play out, it emerges as a new source of volatility for the Indian rupee
In June 2013 foreign institutional investors (FII) pulled out Rs22,000 crore from the debt market. This is a staggering amount, because as much as 12% of total FII investment in the Indian debt market flew out in a span of 21 days. To put things in perspective, the second largest FII outflow from the debt market was less than Rs8,000 crore in March, 2012 and the largest outflow from the equity market where much more foreign money has come in, was about Rs17,000 crore (7.2% of total FII investment) in January 2008.
This came at a time when the current account deficit (CAD) was already precarious, having reached an all-time high of 6.7% of GDP at the end of 2012. India’s trade deficit too reached a seven-month high in May at $20.14 billion because of an almost 90% annual increase in gold and silver imports. These factors have together, compounded and exacerbated the volatility of the Indian rupee. However, FII investment and exit from the debt market has now emerged as one of the main factors that will determine the value of rupee, a value that will be set through a path of far greater volatility.
It is interesting to note that the equity market in comparison, has witnessed a drop in FII investment only of a little less than Rs2000 crore, less than 1% of total investment. This is a very small figure as compared to January 2008 and October 2008 which both saw pull outs of over 7%. Large pull outs from equity markets often tend to be self-limiting. If a significant amount of capital was to flow out of an equity market, equity prices would drop considerably. Buyers would then step in to take advantage of lower prices, thus mitigating the impact of a mass-selling. However, this has not happened in the bond markets, possibly because bond prices still remain high.
While foreign flows into the equity market have always been a determinant of the strength of the rupee, the phenomenal growth of FII in debt over the last few years has created a new source of vulnerability for the rupee. FII inflows and outflows are often exogenously determined factors that the Indian government can have little control over, such as the tapering of quantitative easing (QE) by the US Federal Reserve.
When the rupee falls, foreign investors stand to lose from their Indian holdings, leading to a possible pullout from the market. A volatile currency also means that foreign investors need to pay more to hedge against a rising foreign exchange risk. Although yields from Indian debt are higher than other emerging markets like Brazil, Mexico and Hungary, these relatively high returns do not appear to be attractive enough against a falling rupee.
Two other factors have contributed to this massive pullout. The anticipated tapering of quantitative easing by the US Fed is likely to severely limit the liquidity at the disposal of FIIs to invest in emerging bond markets. The increase of treasury yields in the US, with the difference between yields in the 10-year US Treasury and the 10-year Indian G-Sec falling to 5.09% from 5.46%, also encourages a rebalancing of FII portfolios towards developed markets.
India’s immensely high current account deficit of about 6.7% of GDP increases the rupee’s sensitivity to disturbances in the external sector. One of the reasons that India managed to come out of the 1997 currency crisis relatively unscathed was that the CAD was low, at just about 1.25% of GDP in 1996-97.
After falling 1.5% against the dollar in response to massive pull-outs from the debt market, the rupee strengthened slightly on 21st June, closing at Rs59.26 against the dollar, up from Rs59.58 on 20th June. Inflows into the debt market, bolstered by Essar Steel’s 1 billion dollar fund-raising programme helped the rupee recoup to a small extent.
However, on Monday, the rupee weakened again. These fluctuations are indicative of just how vulnerable the rupee is under current circumstances. Volatility will only increase as the debt market grows and huge amounts of money move in and out. This increasing volatility is likely to have a seriously adverse impact on manufacturers of exports and investor confidence. The bridging of the current account deficit is also likely to become increasingly difficult.
Only if Nifty strengthens above any previous day’s high can we be ready for an upmove
A plunge in the Chinese market and a pullout by foreign investors from Indian stocks led the market lower today. Only if Nifty strengthens above any previous day’s high can we be ready for an upmove. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) reported a volume of 60.69 crore shares and a dismal advance-decline ratio of 256:1135.
The market opened on a weak note on concerns of a pull-out by foreign investors and China’s growth concerns, which led the Asian markets lower in morning trade. The Chinese market was the worst performer in the Asian pack as Goldman Sachs Group cut its growth forecast for China amid concern a cash crunch at banks in the world’s second-largest economy.
Back home, the Nifty opened 30 points lower at 5,638 and the Sensex started the day at 18,714, a loss of 60 points from its previous close. While the opening figure of the Sensex was also its intraday high, the Nifty touched its high a short while later with the index at 5,640.
Selling pressure from banking, IT and oil & gas sectors led kept the market lower in early trade. The benchmarks witnessed a great deal of volatility even as the losses expanded as trade progressed.
The losses in the Chinese market rattled investors all over the world, and India was no exception. The domestic market moved further southward in noon trade on selling in realty, consumer durables, capital goods, PSU and metal stocks.
The market fell to its lows in post-noon trade as continued selling pushed all sectoral gauges into the red. The Nifty touched 5,566 and the Sensex went back to 18,467 at their respective lows.
The benchmarks settled near the lows of the day on the pull-out by foreign investors and weak global cues. The Nifty declined 77 points (1.37%) to 5,590 and the Sensex dropped 233 points (1.24%) to close at 18,541.
The broader indices were punished in today’s trade, as the BSE Mid-cap index tumbled 2.56% and the BSE Small-cap index tanked 2.16%.
The rout in the market led all sectoral gauges lower. The main losers were BSE Realty (down 4.79%); BSE Consumer Durables (down 3.38%); BSE Capital Goods (down 2.91%); BSE PSU (down 2.42%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 2.10%).
Out of the 30 stocks on the Sensex, five stocks settled higher. The gainers were Jindal Steel & Power (up 1.44%); Hindalco Industries (up .64%); Tata Power (up 0.61%); ICICI Bank (up 60%) and HDFC (up 0.46%). The major losers were Sterlite Industries (down 3.91%); Bharti Airtel (down 3.23%); BHEL (down 3.02%); ONGC (down 2.97%) and Larsen & Toubro (down 2.80%).
The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—South Indian Bank (up 5.13%) and CESC (up 2.30%).
The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Gitanjali Gems (down 19.99%) and Jaiprakash Power Ventures (down 3.48%).
The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Ankur Drugs and Pharmaceuticals (up 19.88%) and Rajvir Industries (up 18.53%).
The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—Future Retail (down 19.98) and Techtran Polylenses (down 19.81%).
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 11 ended in the in the green. The major gainers were JSPL (up 1.61%); Lupin (up 1.14%); ACC (up 0.79%); ICICI Bank (up 0.64%) and HDFC (up 0.51%). The key losers were Jaiprakash Associates (down 11.45%); Ranbaxy Laboratories (down 6.99%); DLF (down 6.14%); Kotak Mahindra Bank (down 4.50%) and Asian Paints (down 3.68%).
Markets in Asia closed lower on concerns about China’s slowing growth. Goldman Sachs lowered its estimate for 2013 Chinese gross domestic product growth to 7.4% from 7.8%, on weaker economic indicators and tightening of financial conditions. Besides, China International Capital Corp also cut its GDP growth forecast, to 7.4% from 7.7%.
Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China has put a brake on infusing funds into money markets in a bid to rein in excessive credit growth, which has seen interbank rates surge over the past two weeks.
The Shanghai Composite plunged 5.30%; the Hang Seng tumbled 2.22%; the Jakarta Composite tanked 1.90%; the KLSE Composite declined 1.01%; the Nikkei 225 contracted 1.26%; the Straits Times dropped 1.60%; the Seoul Composite lost 1.31% and the Taiwan Weighted fell 0.45%.
At the time of writing, the CAC 40 of France was down 1.57%; the DAX of Germany declined 0.92% and UK’s FTSE was trading 1.47% lower. At the same time, US stock futures were in the negative, indicating a lower opening for US stocks later in the day.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of equities totalling Rs1,768.60 crore on Friday while domestic institutional investors were net buyers of shares amounting to Rs1,196.65 crore.
Edelweiss Financial Services today said its board of directors has approved a proposal to apply to Reserve Bank of India for setting a new private bank. It will transfer its existing merchant banking business to subsidiary as a step to comply with norms prescribed by RBI for new banking license, the company said in a release. The stock rose 0.50% to Rs30.10 on the NSE.
Cairn India plans to invest $3 billion over the next three years in finding more oil and raising output from its showpiece Rajasthan oilfields, the company’s chief executive P Elango said. Cairn will raise crude oil production from Rajasthan fields by as much as 23% to 215,000 barrels per day by March 2014. The stock declined 3.36% to close at Rs283.65 on the NSE.
Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company has bagged a Rs255-crore contract for maintaining and dry docking of deep water draft oil rigs. Pipavav Defence declined 4.97% to settle at Rs65.05 on the NSE.
SEBI opines that a single SRO for the mutual fund distributors would help remove complexity and duplication and also lower the costs while it would also help in a better oversight by the various regulatory authorities
The mutual fund industry is set for a slew of regulatory changes, including setting up of a single SRO (Self Regulatory Organisation) for all distributors, which would also be allowed to access the stock exchange platforms.
Besides, fund houses may also be allowed to conduct proprietary trades on the debt segments of stock exchanges, while separate changes are also in works to further strengthen the newly launched independent debt platforms of the bourses.
The proposed measures are expected to be discussed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) at its board meeting on Tuesday, sources said.
SEBI is of the view that a single SRO for the mutual fund distributors would help remove complexity and duplication and also lower the costs while it would also help in a better oversight by the various regulatory authorities.
Some entities have already evinced interest in setting up SROs for distributors of mutual fund products and a single applicant would be selected from amongst them by SEBI after getting formal applications from them.
SEBI may soon finalise the deadline for accepting such applications and the same would be communicated to the interested parties, sources said.
Regarding the separate debt segment of stock exchanges, SEBI would also consider various steps for their growth and the proposals being considered include mutual funds being allowed to trade on them as “proprietary trading members”.
Besides, the mutual fund distributors may also get access to infrastructure at the stock exchanges by getting their memberships, a senior official said.
However, according to stock exchanges—BSE, NSE and MCX—the distributors are not keen to take membership due to the financial and compliance burden of being a member.
Keeping in mind these views, SEBI is likely to deliberate on alternatives such as admitting subsidiary floated by mutual funds as member with the stock exchange with distributors effectively being authorised persons of these subsidiaries.
These subsidiaries would be responsible towards the investors and for complying with the regulatory norms.
The regulator might also suggest distributors to take “limited purpose membership” of the stock exchanges that would involve lesser financial and compliance burden.
Under this category the distributors may be allowed to use the infrastructure at the bourses to deal in mutual funds but may not be permitted to handle payout and pay-in of funds on behalf of the investors.
For enabling mutual funds to directly trade on the debt platform, SEBI plans to permit an Asset Management Company (AMC) appointed by these fund houses to take the membership under the “proprietary trading members”.
Further, SEBI is likely to bring in some changes to the broker norms related to the debt segment such as a deposit of Rs10 lakh for the new clearing members and an annual fee of Rs50,000, among others.