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Interest in India intact and more

Nov 19, 2008

Interest in India still intact
If the turnout in the recent equity conferences on India is any indication, then India does not seem to have fallen way off the radar of foreign investors. Quite a few international financial majors that have their stock broking arms in India have held their India centric conferences both in India as well as abroad and the response, as per a leading business daily, has been quite impressive. Corporates, hedge funds and long-only investors emerged as the major participants in these events. Although conscious of the fact that valuations in the country have turned quite attractive, these investors wanted to wait for macro stability to emerge before they could start investing in India again. Comforting thoughts indeed in these volatile times.

UK's inflation falls sharpest in 11 years
Inflation, the bugbear of policymakers across the globe not until long back, now seems to be a thing of the past. Thanks to retreating prices of commodities and slumping demand, a lot of nations have started reporting sharp pullback in inflation rates. UK is the latest country to join the fast mushrooming club. One of the world's and the Eurozone's largest economies has recorded the steepest drop in inflation in more than 11 years, thus giving its central bank, the Bank of England further headroom to cut interest rates. Data released by the country's national statistics office has revealed a monthly drop in the CPI to 4.5% from a high of 5.2%, pointing to the fact that the Brits have indeed curbed some their splurging ways. While this could have been very good news in normal times, it is likely to make policymakers jittery in the current recessionary environment, as falling consumption is not likely to do any good to the nation's economic growth. Important to add that the Bank of England had earlier reduced interest rates by a record 1.5% to help contain the decline in GDP. If conditions do not improve, UK could well be staring at both price as well as demand induced deflation.

Another US automaker raises cash in stake sale
That US automakers are desperately in need of some financing was proven once again yesterday. Close on the heels of the country's largest automaker GM selling its stake in Suzuki, there has come another stake sale. This time around by Ford, the country's second largest automaker. As per reports, the company has sold its 20% stake in Japanese automaker Mazda for a total consideration of US$ 540 m to help it tide over the acute cash crunch that it is facing currently. The sale marks a huge reversal in the fortunes of Ford as it had emerged the saviour for Mazda, when the latter had run into problems of debt and excess capacity, exactly the same problems that Ford is facing now, way back in 1996. Important to add that India's Tata Motors had bought the ownership of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford earlier this year for a total of US$ 2.3 bn. As far as financial aid from the US government is considered, odds continue to be stacked against the auto majors with the Big 3 coming in for sharp criticism for their short sightedness and lack of business vision at a Congressional hearing yesterday.

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