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Apprehensive of high government borrowings and widening fiscal deficit, bond markets are looking for some respite from PSU divestment funds but see no chance of yields falling significantly
Talks of the government’s burgeoning fiscal deficit have now reached a high pitch, giving vent to speculation on the direction of interest rates and bond yields. The government’s dose of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures, to revive an economy caught in the clutches of a global slowdown, have come somewhat at a cost. Now, with economic recovery slowly taking a more visible shape, the government has already given indications of withdrawing its supportive monetary stance in favour of a tighter, more aggressive interest rate regime.
Falling yields on government bonds are being mirrored by the corporate bond segment, as sluggish credit growth and low interest rates lead to oversupply of money
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has shied away from hiking interest rates, largely because credit growth has failed to match up to its expectations. During November, the resulting surplus cash lying with the banking system has contributed to the decline in corporate bond yields which have slumped by 30-50 basis points to their lowest in nearly 3.5 months. The yield on the Reuters benchmark five-year corporate bond ended at 8.07% on Friday, the lowest since 30th July.
Short-supply and growing demand from states such as Orissa, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have led to a rise in the price of jaggery. Prices of black jaggery in Andhra Pradesh have already surged by over 50% in October 2009 to Rs275-Rs295/10kg from Rs170-Rs190/10kg in October 2008. From November 2009, prices are expected to drop by 10%-20% as jaggery supply would increase significantly and demand would decline with the end of the festive season.
India is likely to become a net importer of rice for the first time in 21 years in 2010. The kharif output because of deficient rainfall is forcing India to consider importing three million metric tonnes of rice next year. The kharif crop, which accounts for 80% of total output, may slump as much as 24% to 65 million tonnes, from 85 million tonnes a year ago. Central Board of Excise and Customs scrapped the 70% import tax to encourage imports.
The Union Cabinet has fixed a ‘fair and remunerative price’ (FRP) of Rs129.84 per quintal payable by sugar mills for cane procurement from farmers during the current 2009-2010 crushing season (October-September). The FRP will replace the Centre’s statutory minimum price (SMP) of Rs107.76 per quintal (linked to 9.5% basic recovery) that was announced on 25th June for the current season. The approved price is linked to a sugar-to-cane recovery of 9.5%. For every 0.1% increase over the basic recovery rate, mills would be obliged to pay premium of Rs1.37 per quintal.