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Markets Continue to Trade Lower
Wed, 24 Feb 11:30 am

The Indian equity markets continued to extend losses in the morning trade on weak oil prices and heavy selling by retail investors. All the sectoral indices are trading below the dotted line with healthcare and metal sector witnessing majority of the selling activity.

The BSE Sensex is trading lower by 225 points (down 1%) and the NSE Nifty is trading lower by 65 points (down 0.9%). The BSE Mid Cap index and the BSE Small Cap index are trading lower by 0.7% and 0.8% respectively. The rupee is trading at 68.64 to the US$.

As per an article in Economic Times, exports of over half of the sectors out of the 30 closely monitored by the Commerce Ministry were in the negative territory in the month of January 2016. According to the data, outbound shipments of as many as 17 sectors dipped last month. The fall was witnessed due to a fall in global prices and demand.

Top two sectors - engineering and petroleum products contracted 27.6% and 35.2%, respectively in January 2016.

Further, agri-products, which constitute over 10% of the country's total shipments, too recorded a negative growth during the month under review. Overall, 8 out of 13 main agriculture products slipped into negative territory. Exports of rice, cashew and oil meals fell 34%, 25% and 78%, respectively.

India's merchandise exports, extending its decline for the fourteen months in row, plunged by 13.6% in January 2016 at US$ 21 billion as against US$ 24 billion in January last year.

Decline in these exports has dragged down India's overall merchandise exports. Due to continuous dip, the total merchandise shipments are expected to reach a figure of US$ 270 billion in 2015-16.

Exporters' body - Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) regarding this said that in order to boost the shipments, the government should announce incentives in the Budget. It said that the inverted duty structure in respect of various items may be given due consideration in the Budget as it not only affects exports but also the manufacturing sector.

Some respite was sought from the exports of pharmaceuticals, plastic, carpet, tea and coffee which recorded positive growth in January 2016.

It should be noted that India has aimed at taking exports of goods and services to US$ 900 billion by 2020 and raising the country's share in world exports to 3.5% from the present level of 2%. While hopes are set high, the present situation suggests that the exports based economy is vulnerable and highlights the need for further diversification. And to address that, the government needs to clear structural bottlenecks in the Indian economy.

In order to meet its divestment target for the year, the Indian government is looking to sell Rs 50 billion worth of stocks in National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) through its two day offer for sale (OFS) that began yesterday i.e. 23rd February 2016. The floor price for the OFS is set at Rs 122 per share. The bid for retail investors will commence on 24 February 2016 and will close on the same day. Retail investors will be provided a 5% discount on the floor price. Should you subscribe to the offer? Read on to find out.

In another news, Idea Cellular has entered into a joint venture (JV) with Aditya Birla Nuvo. The company, in collaboration with Aditya Birla Nuvo, has incorporated a company named Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank. The development follows the in-principle approval issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to AB Nuvo, promoter and single largest shareholder of Idea Cellular, to set up a payments bank.

Idea Cellular will hold up to 49% equity capital in the JV and AB Nuvo will hold the remaining 51%.

It should be noted that last year the RBI gave approval for 11 entities to open payments banks. The move is aimed at granting millions of citizens access to basic banking.

Idea Cellular provides Global System for Mobile communications (GSM)-based wireless service at the pan-India level. The company is present in all 22 telecom circles in India. Presently its scrip is trading down by 0.3% on the BSE.

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Mar 19, 2018 (Close)