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Indian Indices Open Weak
Fri, 9 Sep 09:30 am

Major Asian markets have opened on a positive note with stock markets in Japan and Hong Kong leading the pack of gainers. The Nikkei 225 is up 0.19% while the Hang Seng is up 1.02%. European markets finished closed yesterday's trading session on a mixed note, while US markets closed in red.

Indian Indices have opened the day on negative note. The BSE Sensex is trading lower by 88 points (down 0.3%) while the NSE Nifty is trading lower by 37 points (down 0.4%). The BSE Mid Cap index is trading down by 0.2% and BSE Small Cap index is trading higher by 0.2%. The rupee is trading at 66.55 to the US$.

Barring healthcare, realty, oil & gas, major sectoral indices are trading in red with banking stocks leading the losses.

As per an article in a leading financial daily, natural gas price paid to producers like Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Reliance Industries is likely to fall by 20% to US$2.45 in October.

In line with softening the global trend, this will be the fourth reduction in last 18 months. Moreover, price of natural gas produced from existing fields is likely to fall to US$2.45 per million British thermal units as against the US$3.06 currently. The gas price was last slashed on April 1 to US$ 3.06, from US$ 3.82. On October 1 last year, the price of natural gas was lowered to US$3.82, from US$4.66.

Notably, this was seen after the NDA government approved the new gas pricing formula in October 2014. Based on this, the gas prices are revised every six months. Accordingly, the next change is due in October. Reportedly, the reduction in natural gas prices would mean lower raw material cost for compressed natural gas (CNG) and natural gas piped to households (PNG) and would translate into reduction in retail prices. While on the other hand, a price reduction will put further pressure on finances of upstream producers, since they do not find the current rate enough to invest more in oil and gas hunt.

Considering oil & gas sector, government is looking to merge 13 state oil companies to create a giant corporation. The idea is that the creation of such a giant firm will catapult India into a much bigger league. Whether this highly ambitious plan will be successfully executed is a big question.

Moving on to the news from mining sector. As per an article in The Economic Times, Coal India Ltd (CIL) has surrendered the prospecting licenses awarded to its wholly-owned subsidiary Coal India Africana Limitada (CIAL), Mozambique due to technical reasons. The company has completely surrendered the prospecting licenses covering the total 224 sq. km based on the geological report.

Despite its disastrous effort to develop its maiden foreign coal mine acquired six years ago in Mozambique, CIL had been budgeting funds for probable acquisitions every year.

With a bitter experience in the African country, CIL is now forced to gradually cut the provision for acquiring mining assets overseas plus probable investments in Mozambique from Rs 45 billion in FY15 to Rs 0.02 billion in FY17. Instead it would now focus on spending more on raising domestic mining capacity, upping its capex plan for 2016-17 to Rs 120 billion from Rs 80 billion planned earlier, the reports noted.

However, strategic interests were at play to shift focus to acquiring high-grade coking coal assets in South Africa instead of expending financial and management energy in uncertain assets in Mozambique. CIL proposed collaboration with African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (AEMFC) and expects to focus on coking coal in the African nation, the reports noted.

As the first move, CIL will seek to sign a memorandum of understanding with AEMFC, following which negotiations will take place on areas of collaboration, the company stated.

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