Indian equity markets began the day's proceedings on a weak note but recovered from early losses as buying interest emerged in oil and gas and banking shares following positive inflation numbers. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation fell to 5.96% in March 2013 from 6.84% in February 2013. This is the lowest recorded figure in 40 months. While the BSE-Sensex closed higher by 115 points, the NSE-Nifty closed higher by 39 points. Both the BSE Mid Cap and the BSE Small Cap closed on a strong note.
As regards global markets, Asian indices closed in the red on back of disappointing Chinese GDP data. European indices have also opened in the red. The rupee was trading at Rs 54.65 to the dollar at the time of writing.
According to a leading financial daily, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has reopened its Durgaiburu mine, largest among the Gua assets, in Jharkhand, after 22 months of closure. The mine has a capacity to produce 2.4 million tonne (mt) per annum of iron ore. The Ministry of Environment and Forests finally gave the clearance last month, after causing delay in allowing SAIL to restart the mining operation. The Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board has now given its formal permission to reopen the mine. Delays in reopening of the mine took its toll on SAIL's monthly and yearly iron ore output. The resurrection of Gua is vital for SAIL, as it is going to hike its overall iron ore production to 39 mt by 2015-16. After expansion, the mine will be one of the major suppliers of iron ore to SAIL plants.
According to a leading financial daily, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), which jointly promotes the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Private Limited has sought Central Electricity Regulatory Commission's intervention to review power tariff for electricity generated from the 1,967 MW plant. The erstwhile Dabhol project has no domestic gas and if the plant is stranded for longer term, it would become a non-performing asset. As a result NTPC has little option but to run the power plant, with imported gas. It cannot sell electricity at the current rate after using expensive imported fuel. At present, the electricity tariff is around Rs 3.40-3.50 a unit. It includes Rs 2 a unit as fixed cost and remaining variable. Using imported gas would push up the electricity rate by three to four times. Electricity from the Dabhol station is sold to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited. The distribution utility is not ready to buy expensive electricity. NTPC has sought Power Ministry's intervention to sort out the issue with the Maharashtra Government.