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Strong Open to the Week
Mon, 9 May 09:30 am

Most Asian markets are higher today as Japanese and Hong Kong shares show gains. The Nikkei 225 is up 0.54% while the Hang Seng is up 0.32%. European and American markets ended their previous session in green. The Nasdaq composite closed up 0.4% while The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.45%.

Indian stock markets have opened the day on a strong note. BSE Sensex is trading higher by 177 points and NSE Nifty is trading higher by 46 points. Meanwhile, both S&P BSE Mid Cap and S&P BSE Small Cap are trading higher by 0.6% respectively. All the sectoral indices have opened the week in green with realty and FMCG stocks leading the gains. The rupee is trading at 66.58 against the US$.

According to a leading financial daily, Steel consumption in India fell to 5.75 million tonnes (MT) in April. The consumption in the month under review was the lowest since April 2015, when it was around 5.45 MT. The steel consumption in the country stood at 7.31 MT in March this year. According to Steel Ministry's Joint Plant Committee, the steel consumption fell as both production for sale and imports of steel declined (Subscription Required).

In another development, ratings agency Fitch has withdrawn rating Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) for commercial reasons and will no longer provide ratings or analytical coverage on it. Fitch had earlier downgraded SAIL's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB'. According to Fitch, the negative outlook reflects the risk of further weakening in steel prices, increase in Indian steel imports and weaker-than-expected steel demand over the next 12-18 months. The script of SAIL has opened the day up by 0.5% on the BSE.

Indian steel makers have been battling falling steel prices, high imports and muted demand in the last 12 months. The directorate general of foreign trade recently imposed a minimum import price (MIP) on 173 steel products. The prices range from US$ 352 per tonne to US$ 752 per tonne. The MIP has been imposed in order to counter the dumping of cheap Chinese steel and should help Indian steel companies.

Buying activity is witnessed across majority of the energy stocks in early trade with MRPL and Cairn India leading the gains. According to an article in The Financial Express, ONGC and the Gujarat government-owned GSPC are in advanced talks to negotiate a 50%+ stake in the latter's 1,850 square kilometer KG Basin block KG-OSN-2001/3. The deal is likely to be completed within the next few months and ONGC is likely to acquire a 50%+ stake in the deal for a price of anywhere between US$2 and $2.5bn.

The basin is reportedly set to commence commercial production as early as next month. GSPC is the operator for the block and has an 80% share in the consortium. While the GSPC-consortium has already spent close to Rs 200 billion on the project including borrowing costs of nearly Rs 60 billion, it does not have the funds needed to develop the block fully . The estimates are it will need another US$1.5bn to develop the Deen Dayal West field.

While ONGC has nearly Rs 115 billion of cash reserves, it is in the process of embarking on its own $5.1bn gas exploration program in the KG-DWN-98/2 block which it bought from Cairn India. Since 98/2 is close to the GSPC facilities, ONGC could utilize some of the facilities already erected by GSPC.

The script of ONGC opened the trading up by 1.1% on the BSE. Since the higher of June 2014, oil prices have crashed 70%. Meanwhile, ONGC's stock price has crashed 53% (Subscription Required).

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