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Friday, November 14, 2008

Cheers!! Inflation down to single digit - November 2008

The inflation rate fell sharply to a near six-month low of 8.98% for the week ended November 1, a drop of almost 4% from its August peak.

The decline is due to less demand in the market for the commodities.The decline, helped by a steep drop in prices of some petroleum products and metals, will provide a welcome relief to the central government reeling under a raft of bad news on the economic front from falling exports and a drop in tax collections. Politically, this could help the government ahead of key state elections later this month.

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Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI) — the most watched inflation measure — dropped 1.74% from 10.72% in the preceding week, official data from the Office of the Economic Advisor in the ministry of commerce and industry showed. It hit a peak of 12.91% in early August, but still remains more than double the 3.35% inflation seen in the same week last year.

“I was surprised by the quantum of fall in the fuel index. After consolidating around this level for coming weeks, I expect the inflation number to drop to the 8% territory by end-November,” said ICRA economist Saumitra Chaudhari and a member of the prime minister’s economic advisory council.

The fall in fuel prices, especially those which are not government-controlled, is expected to have a positive impact for the manufacturing sector, going forward since fuel is a key input cost for industry. For instance, the cost of jet fuel comprises almost 40% of the operational cost of an airline.

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Food prices inched up marginally during the period, rising 0.1%, but analysts expected the food articles index to move down in coming weeks, given the forecasts for a robust winter harvest.

Crisil principal economist DK Joshi said that the slowdown in the economy meant that both demand-supply side pressures were easing and inflation would not emerge as a major concern until the overall economic growth revived.

We can also get a cut in fuel prices as government is thinking about a fuel price cut. It may be noted that Crude oil prices have come down to US$ 58 level when compared to $ 147 levels few months back. so more drop in inflation is predicted by me in coming future due to possible fuel price cut by indian government.

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- with extracts from economictimes.com

India Economy would be hit more in 2009 - thanks to Global crises

The global downturn will pressurise the Indian economy more next year and the government has to speed up reforms and boost investment to sustain high growth rates.

The report jointly prepared by World Economic Forum and Confederation of Indian Industry also said India could see a sharp outflow of capital, and a fall in share and asset prices due to the global financial crises. The report was released ahead of the annual India Economic Summit starting Nov. 16 in New Delhi, where top government officials are expected to interact with heads of global firms.

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"India's dependence on capital flows to finance its current account deficit is a macroeconomic risk and the global crisis could generate a sharp increase in capital outflows and a reduction in the availability of finance,Clearly, the global economic picture will be harsher next year and there will be greater pressures on Indian economy." it said

"It (global crisis) could also weaken the balance sheets of the financial institutions, cause a further fall in share and asset prices, and challenge the macroeconomic situation due to shrinking global growth," WEF said.

Indian policymakers expect a moderation in economic growth to less than 8 percent in the year to March 2009, compared with 9 percent recorded in 2007/08 fiscal year.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cautioned that the global financial crisis could be more severe and prolonged, and the government would take all necessary steps monetary and fiscal to protect growth.

"A tighter environment may also help speed reforms and encourage greater efficiency," WEF said, adding a great deal of political will and dialogue with

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different stakeholders would be required to take reforms forward.

However India economy will be less affected when compared to global economies. The growth of Indian economy would be strong for coming decade that's for sure.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rupee may return to strength by early to mid 2010

Worried over the sharp depreciation of the rupee? Here's some solace for you. Risk management consultancy major Mecklai Financial has predicted the rupee will begin to rise again by late 2009 and could return to strength by early to mid 2010.

In its latest research report, Mecklai has said that capital flows will take some time to return to 'normal'. However, "we believe that by late 2009, we should see investment flows resume, which should be the trigger for some modest strength in the rupee ...which could return to strength by early to mid 2010."

Even today "the silver lining for India is that the sharp depreciation of the rupee has rendered exports much more competitive. So, too, the dramatic fall in oil will make the trade balance much more manageable," the report says.

Of course, capital flows remain a major negative for the rupee. After having more than quadrupled to $108bn over the previous two years, capital inflows are expected to fall to $31bn in 2008-09. Portfolio flows are forecast to decrease by $10bn, as compared to an increase of $29bn in the previous fiscal, while borrowings are expected to fall from $41bn to $15bn. FDI has been the only bright spot this year, doubling to $10bn for Apr-Aug 2008; despite the crisis, the net figure should easily surpass last year's level of $15bn.

However, with equity prices having fallen 60% this year, as a result of which many, many companies are cheap even compared to their cash assets, and the credit market slowly on its way to normalcy, "we would expect capital flows to begin to show improvement by the second half of 2009," the report says.

The RBI's recent decision to reverse all restrictions it had placed on ECBs, NRI deposits, and FII flows through participatory notes is timely and will boost flows as and when the environment improves. Interestingly, one of the fallouts of this crisis is that "we will have a more liberal external account when the smoke clears."

Of course, the overall balance of payments is expected to be negative in fiscal 2009 and has already resulted in a substantial drawdown of reserves. However, in view of the factors listed above, "we believe fiscal 2010 should see a surplus of around $20bn, which should support a return to a modestly stronger rupee," the report says.