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Indian Indices Trade Marginally Lower
Tue, 23 Aug 11:30 am

After opening the day on a flat note, the Indian indices have continued to trade near the dotted line and are currently trading marginally lower. Sectoral indices are trading on a mixed note with stocks from the oil & gas, FMCG and capital goods sector witnessing maximum selling pressure. IT stocks are, however, trading in the green.

The BSE Sensex is trading down 27 points (down 0.1%) and the NSE Nifty is trading down 5 points (down 0.1%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading down by 0.2%, while the BSE Small Cap index is trading up 0.1%. The rupee is trading at 67.08 to the US$.

As per an article in the Economic Times, ministers and top bureaucrats expect Urjit Patel to maintain a balance between inflation and growth. Expectations are that Urjit Patel - the newly appointed Governor of the RBI - will rise to the occasion and use his experience of handling monetary policy at the RBI to deliver on this front.

This comes as the Narendra Modi government on August 20, 2016, appointed Urjit Patel as the 24th governor of the RBI. Patel, who is currently deputy governor at the RBI, will take over the top job from Raghuram Rajan, on September 4, 2016.

Hopes are that Urjit Patel will follow Rajan's legacy and keep inflation levels in check. This is because he holds very strong opinions about maintaining the inflation trajectory as set by the RBI. Further, he is also considered to be a fiscal hawk; meaning, he places great emphasis on keeping government budgets under control. All of these views can be vouched from his past work. The most significant of which is the Urjit Patel Commission Report, released in January 2014. We believe that Mr Patel's appointment is a step in the right direction.

That said, there still remain some challenges for Urjit Patel ahead. The biggest of all is his focus on the inflation front. Vivek Kaul, editor of Vivek Kaul's Diary, has shared his views on what can one expect from the new RBI Governor in one of his recent articles. He emphasizes that with inflation levels at nearly two-year high, it is important that the focus on inflation is retained. In a slight different vein, Richa Agarwal, Research Analyst at Equitymaster, has raised some questions that will be critical to RBI's effectiveness in one of the recent editions of The 5 Minute WrapUp.

Moving on to the news from global markets... US Fed Vice-Chair Stanley Fischer has said that the time is ripe for the next rate hike anytime this year. This comes as yet another speculation from the Fed regarding the timing of interest rate hike.

Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes signaled that the door for a 2016 interest rate hike is still open. Policymakers at the US central bank came up with the view that an interest rate increase will be needed soon. However, the general agreement is that they'll need more data before such a move becomes reality.

The minutes also signaled that FOMC members are generally upbeat about the economy and the labor market. However, several members said a hiring slowdown would hinder a near-term hike. Notably, other members expressed concern that low interest rates could hurt financial stability. We've written about the ill-effects of low interest rates and central bank policies many times before. Bill Bonner, for instance, recently stated what it takes to survive in an era of low interest rates. Also, a recent article from Vivek Kaul's Diary titled God, Government, and YOU offers two theories and explains how they influence policies of central bankers and economists.

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