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Sensex Finishes Strong; Metal Stocks Surge
Tue, 24 Jan Closing

Share markets in India finished on a strong note as buying activity intensified in the afternoon session amid strong global markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 258 points, while the NSE Nifty finished up by 84 points. The S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 1% and 0.9% respectively. Metal sector gained the most, followed by auto and power stocks.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Hang Seng gained 0.22% and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.18%. The Nikkei 225 lost 0.55%.European markets are higher today with shares in London leading the region. The FTSE 100 is up 0.17% while Germany's DAX is up 0.16% and France's CAC 40 is up 0.03%.

The rupee was trading at 68.08 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 53.23 at the time of writing.

Steel Authority of India (SAIL) share price finished the trading day on a firm note (up 0.8%) after it was reported that the company has started commercial production of the world's longest single rail from the newly inaugurated Universal Rail Mill (URM) at its Bhillai steel plant. Every single rail will extend to 130 meters.

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The company has established the URM with an investment of Rs 12 billion, taking the total capacity of the Bhillai steel plant to produce rails to 2 million tonnes per annum. This will be the largest rail production capacity in any single location for a plant in the world. The URM complex is a part of the plant's modernization and expansion program.

The development is significant as it would help the country's largest integrated steel maker to meet the demand of Indian Railways (IR) besides upgrading its export portfolio. The IR had been procuring rails only from the SAIL though private steel makers were also in the race for supply.

As per the reports, at present, SAIL had been exporting rails to 11 countries. The old mill that would continue in operation had been producing short rail, which is in demand in the international market. The global order that SAIL has been receiving is for short rail.

In another development, SAIL has managed to widen its export base to Europe with Rourkela Steel Plant flagging off its maiden export consignment from its new Plate Mill. The Mill, which was inaugurated in February 2015, was part of steel plant's Rs 120 billion modernization plan to raise capacity to 4.5 million tonne from the existing 2 million tonne.

Steel Stocks finished the trading day on a positive note with Jindal Steel and Power and Adhunik Metaliks leading the gains.

Moving on to news from commodity sector. According to a leading financial daily, the imports of gold has witnessed a fall of about 32% to US$17.7 billion in April-December of the current fiscal compared to US$26.4 million of import in the corresponding period of 2015-16. The softening prices of the precious metal in the domestic and world markets could be the reason for the fall in import. Cash crunch in the system due to demonetisation also impacted the inbound shipments.

According to data compiled by the commerce ministry, the gold imports dipped by 48.49% to US$1.96 billion in December. In volume terms, the country's total official gold imports declined to 60 tonnes in April-July of this fiscal, much lower than 250 tonnes in the year-ago period.

Gold Prices on the Rise Again
Gold Prices on the Rise Again

Observing that cash crunch is taking a toll on gold demand in the short term, World Gold Council in the report said even genuine gold buyers are reluctant to buy wedding jewelry as there is panic after taxmen investigated some jewelers who had, immediately after demonetisation, created opportunities to convert old currency for fake or back-dated sales.

India is one of the largest gold importers in the world, and the imports mainly take care of demand from the jewelry industry. The country has imported 650 tonnes of gold in 2015-16. The fall in imports of precious metal is expected to keep a lid on the current account deficit.

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Jul 21, 2017 (Close)