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Indian equity markets recovered in the afternoon session to finish well above the dotted line amid strong Asian markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex closed higher by 164 points, the NSE Nifty finished higher by 46 points. The S&P BSE Midcap the S&P BSE Small Cap finished up by 0.3% and 0.1% respectively. Sectoral indices finished mixed with stocks from FMCG and realty sector leading the gains. While, losses were largely seen in oil & gas and engineering stocks.
Asian markets finished mostly higher. Japanese markets finished up by 0.33%. Chinese markets reversed their morning losses, with the Shanghai composite closing up by 0.84% and the Shenzhen composite ended higher by 1.72%. European markets are lower today as French and British stocks fell. The French CAC 40 is off 0.86% while the London FTSE 100 is down 0.34%.
The rupee was trading at 66.82 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 45.96 at the time of writing.
According to a leading financial daily, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) is planning to spend around Rs 60 billion on various modernization and expansion programs as well as on research and development (R&D) initiatives. In 2015-16, the public sector undertaking (PSU) had spent Rs 44.83 billion as capital expenditure.
The money will go to energy saving methods, enrich product mix, pollution control, developing mines and collieries to meet higher requirement of key inputs (Subscription Required) and to introduce customer centric processes.
Meanwhile, SAIL is in the process of enhancing its hot metal production capacity from 13.82 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 23.46 MTPA under its expansion and modernization program with an investment of Rs 619 billion, which is expected to be completed this fiscal. The script of SAIL finished the day down by 1.56% 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.
Metal stocks finished the day on a positive note with Vedanta and JSW Steel leading the gains. After a prolonged weakness in commodity prices, metals stocks have been on the rise in the last three months. The BSE Metal index is almost up by 27% since mid-February. The recovery in the prices globally can be attributed to lower production and capacity curtailment.
Moving on to news from banking sector. According to a leading financial daily, the Finance Ministry in its 2015-16 annual report has said that the gross non-performing assets (GNPAs) of banks could rise to 6.9% by March 2017 in a "severe stress scenario". Reportedly, the report said that the GNPA ratio may rise to 5.4% by September 2016 from 5.1% in September 2015. The Capital to Risk Asset Ratio, an indicator of bank's capital adequacy, could decline to 10.4% by March 2017, from 12.7% as of September 2015.
The report also stated that the main reasons for increase in NPAs of banks include sluggishness in domestic growth during the recent past, slowdown in recovery in the global economy and continuing uncertainty in the global markets. On external factors, it said, ban in mining projects, delay in clearance of projects in power and steel sector, volatility in prices of raw material and shortage of power have impacted operations in infrastructure sectors, which were aggressively funded by the banks in the past, have also resulted in rising NPAs.
Moreover, the report highlighted that the government has taken various steps to contain NPAs such as capital infusion in PSU banks, streamlining the appointment process and changes in laws for faster debt recovery. It said that in order to address the NPA situation, the government has taken sector specific measures in identified areas like road, steel, power and textiles. It is also setting up six new Debt Recovery Tribunals to facilitate recovery of bad loans.
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