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After opening the day on a positive note, the Indian stock markets have added to their early gains. Sectoral indices are trading on a positive note with stocks from the banking, capital goods and auto sectors leading the gains.
The BSE Sensex is trading up 308 points (up 1.1%) and the NSE Nifty is trading up 97 points (up 1.1%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading up by 1.1%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up 1.2%. The rupee is trading at 66.81 to the US$.
In a major economic development in the global markets, the Bank of England (BoE) cut its benchmark interest rates to 0.25% from 0.5% yesterday. This is the lowest in the nation's 322-year old history and the first cut since 2009.
Along with the above move, the bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced additional measures to stimulate the UK economy. It announced a 100-billion-pound scheme to force banks to pass on the low interest rates to households and businesses. The bank is also going to buy 60 billion pound of UK government bonds and 10 billion pound of corporate bonds. This bond buying programme, often referred as quantitative easing, has been on pause since 2012 by the BoE.
With these stimulus measures, the ECB stated that the total stock of these asset purchases now stands at 435 billion pound. The issuance for the above measures will be financed by the central bank's reserves.
And that's not all. Further projections as regards to rate cuts by the bank rounds out the news. The Bank of England signaled that rates could go lower if the economy worsens. Governor Mark Carney stated that there remains scope to cut the interest rate further.
The above development is the latest show that the central banks around the globe are depicting. In the recent past, central banks across the world are seeking to prod their economies to growth by cutting interest rates and introducing stimulus measures. Last week, there were two major announcements from the central banks of Japan and the US. While the Federal Reserve stood pat, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided on a modest dose of monetary stimulus.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reduced its interest rates Tuesday to a record low by reducing its cash rate 25 basis points to 1.5%. The fiscal and monetary authorities in Japan had recently announced more plans over the past few days to spur inflation in hopes of driving the broader economy.
Being on the topic of central banks, a recent entry in Vivek Kaul's Diary explains how central bankers make us poorer. Also, Asad Dossani, editor of Daily Profit Hunter, has written on how to successfully trade political events such as above.
While the above development has its say in the volatility across global financial markets, market participants now have their eyes on the US jobs data that is due later today.
On the domestic front, as per a leading financial daily, the government has extended the minimum import price (MIP) norms to 66 steel items for two more months. However, this has meant pruning the existing list of 173 products.
As per the order notified by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), the items under MIP now include flat-rolled non-allow steel and plastic, zinc or lead-coated steel among others. Products on which safeguard or anti-dumping duties were imposed have been removed from the list. However, the range of prices, which is between US$341 to US$752 per tonne, has not changed.
Early this week, India's leading steelmakers had sought an extension of the minimum import price (MIP) imposed on steel by six months to a year.
One must note that the government of India on February 5, 2016 had imposed the MIP on 173 steel products. This was done to promote domestic growth of steel manufacturing industry. MIP is the minimum price per tonne that firms have to pay while importing products. To know more about MIP and its impact on steel industry, do read this interesting 5 Minute WrapUp Premium (subscription required).
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