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On face-off between RBI and govt, Raghuram Rajan backs central bank’s cause

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MUMBAI : Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan defended the central bank’s call for greater autonomy from the government, saying ultimately the nation stands to benefit from an independent and robust RBI.

In an interview on CNBC-TV 18 telecast on Tuesday Rajan said current rift between the central bank and the government can be resolved if both sides respect each other’s intent and autonomy.

“As far as possible, it is in the interest of the country that we respect the institutional autonomy of the Reserve Bank, as well as the traditions,” Rajan, who was succeeded by current governor Urjit Patel in September 2016, said.

 

Tensions between the two sides came to the fore last month after a scathing speech by a top RBI official blew the lid off a fractious dispute between the bank and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on issues ranging from lending curbs, more cash availability to the non banking finance companies (NBFCs) to who controls the institution’s reserves.

That speech by RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya roiled markets and prompted the government to issue a statement in support of the central bank’s autonomy. Many viewed Acharya’s comments as a sign that the RBI was pushing back hard against government pressure to relax its policies and reduce its powers ahead of a general election due by May.

Rajan, who is a finance professor at the Chicago Booth School of Business in the U.S., commended Acharya for warning of risks stemming from government meddling of central bank affairs. But he also said the RBI could inject liquidity to ease any cash crunch at financial institutions, indirectly supporting the government’s call for a liquidity window for NBFCs.

“If it’s a liquidity problem, the central bank can flood the market with liquidity or give the liquidity to specific private entities that are healthy, and are willing to lend to these other entities that are in trouble,” Rajan, a former chief economist at International Monetary Fund said in the interview.

India’s NBFCs, loosely known as shadow banks, are seeing a massive cash crunch after a major infrastructure funding company defaulted on a series of debt obligations in September triggering a sell-off in other financial institutions in the sector on worries over contagion risks.


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Business

Sensex sheds 298.82 to close at 38,811; Nifty shrinks to 11,650

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Mumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex erased early gains to end 299 points lower Thursday as investors booked profits after stocks soared to record highs after BJP’s strong showing in the Lok Sabha polls.

Sensex and NSE Nifty went on to record highs even as Lok Sabha election results showed that PM Modi-led NDA leading on over 300 seats. However after the euphoria during the morning session, Sensex shed 298.82 to close at 38,811 and Nifty shrank to 11,650 on the closing bell.

During the day, the Sensex hit the 40,000 mark while the Nifty crossed the 12,000-level for the first time ever. However, the indices succumbed to profit booking towards the fag-end of the session.

 

The 30-share Sensex tumbled 298.82 points, or 0.76 per cent, to close at 38,811.39. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty settled 80.85 points, or 0.69 per cent, lower at 11,657.05.

IndusInd Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 5.23 per cent, followed by Hero MotoCorp, Coal India, Yes Bank, PowerGrid, ICICI Bank, HCL Tech, L&T, Kotak Bank and Bharti Airtel, rising up to 1.56 per cent. On the other hand, Vedanta, ITC, Tata Motors, HDFC twins, Bajaj Finance, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, TCS, ONGC and Infosys fell up to 5.53 per cent.

Riding on a massive Modi wave sweeping through most parts of India, the BJP was set to return to power Thursday as it led in 298 seats while the Congress trailed far behind with 52, according to trends released by the Election Commission for all 542 seats that went to polls.

“Markets were initially enthused to see the election results falling in line with the exit polls. However, the run up to the D-day was so sharp that it turned out to be a sell on news phenomenon,” said Devang Mehta, Head – Equity Advisory, Centrum Wealth Management.

Participants would now be keen to know the future course of action for bringing the economy back on track, solution to the liquidity situation, the union budget, onset and progress of monsoon in June and most importantly the earnings trajectory, he added.

According to traders, weak cues from other global markets and a depreciating rupee also weighed on investor sentiment. The rupee depreciated 37 paise to 70.04 against the US dollar in afternoon trade. Globally, bourses in Asia ended in the red.

Indices in Europe were also trading on a negative note in early deals. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was trading 1.79 per cent lower at USD 69.72 per barrel.

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Silver up on increased offtake; gold steady

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Silver prices rallied by Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg in the national capital on Thursday, while gold held steady, according to the All India Sarafa Association.

Traders said silver prices rose on pick-up in offtake by industrial units and coin makers at the local spot market. Globally, spot gold was trading marginally higher at USD 1,276 an ounce, while silver was slightly up at USD 14.53 an ounce in New York.

In the national capital, gold of 99.9 per cent and 99.5 per cent purity dropped by Rs 10 each to Rs 32,670 per ten 10 gram and Rs 32,500 per 10 gram. Sovereign gold, however, held steady at Rs 26,500 per eight gram.

 

Silver ready surged Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg, while weekly-based delivery fell by Rs 66 to Rs 36,234 per kg. Silver coins held flat at Rs 79,000 for buying and Rs 80,000 for selling of 100 pieces.

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India PC mkt declines 8.3 per cent to 2.15 mn units in Jan-Mar qarter

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New Delhi: Personal Computer (PC) shipment in India fell by 8.3 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2019 to 2.15 million units, registering a year-on-year decline for the third consecutive quarter, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Besides, big commercial deals, market remained weak due to weak consumer demand, high inventory from previous quarters, and supply issues for Intel chips.

Shipments in the consumer segment saw a 26.5 per cent dip in the said quarter compared to the year-ago period. The commercial PC market saw a total shipment of 1.35 million units in the said quarter, a growth of 7.3 per cent over last year.

 

“The announcement of central elections on March 10, 2019 resulted in the model code of conduct coming into immediate effect further resulting in a delay in execution of government projects and impacting the commercial segment,” IDC said in a statement.

However, IDC expects the overall PC market in India to witness a growth in the second quarter. The commercial market is expected to pick up post new government formation in May, while the consumer market is expected to pick up largely driven by back to school campaign by vendors and online sales.

HP maintained its leadership position with an overall market share of 28.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, followed by Dell (25.9 per cent), Lenovo (25.2 per cent) and Acer (11.7 per cent).

The notebook PC (laptop) category accounted for 61.4 per cent of the shipment and witnessed a 9.8 per cent year-on-year decline.

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