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Sensex Rebounds to Finish Firm, ONGC Up by 1.4%
Mon, 5 Dec Closing

After trading flat in the morning session, Indian share markets witnessed buying momentum in the afternoon trade to begin the week on a positive note amid strong European markets. At the closing bell, the BSE Sensex stood higher by 118 points, while the NSE Nifty finished up by 42 points. Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Mid Cap & the S&P BSE Small Cap indices finished up by 0.7% and 0.3% respectively. Gains were largely seen in auto and metal stocks.

Asian markets finished broadly lower with shares in China being the biggest losers. The Shanghai Composite is down 1.21% while Japan's Nikkei 225 is off 0.82% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng is lower by 0.37%. Meanwhile, European markets are higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 1.74% while France's CAC 40 is up 1.51% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.80%.

The rupee was trading at 68.17 against the US$ in the afternoon session. Oil prices were trading at US$ 52.18 at the time of writing.

According to a leading financial daily, the production of sugar rose by 17.39% and stood at 27.41 lakh tonnes (LT) during the first two months of the current marketing year that started in October on the back of higher output in Uttar Pradesh, as per data compiled by Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA). The production stood at 23.35 LT in the year-ago period. The sugar marketing year runs from October to September.

Sugar production in Maharashtra declined to 9.5 LT during October-November 2016 as compared to 12.9 LT in the corresponding period of last year. The production fell in the state because mills started their crushing late this year. In Uttar Pradesh, sugar production increased to 8.51 LT from 1.74 LT during the period under review.

Further, as compared to 340 sugar factories which were crushing sugarcane last year on November 30, 2015; 365 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane on November 30, 2016 this year.

After remaining stable at Rs 36,000 a tonne in September, sugar prices touched a five-year high of Rs 36,200 a tonne in October. Post-demonetisation, it fell marginally to Rs 35,500 a tonne in November.

As per the ratings firm ICRA, sugar prices may remain firm over the next three quarters as the recent Government estimate pegged sugar production to fall by 10% compared to last year.

This augurs well for the profitability of sugar companies in the near term given the deficit situation of domestic and international markets coupled with moderate cane prices seen for the current sugar year across most states.

Sugar stocks finished on a negative note with Sakhti Sugars and Rajshree Sugars leading the losses.

Moving on to news from stocks in oil & gas sector. ONGC's share price finished the trading day on an encouraging note (up 1.4%) after it was reported that the company will begin producing oil from the Ratna and R-Series oilfield in Mumbai offshore in 2019.

Production from the fields is targeted to start in 2019 with an output of 10,000 barrels per day initially. The Ratna and R-series oil fields hold an estimated 87 million barrels of oil and 1.2 billion cubic metres of gas reserves.

Meanwhile, the company crossed its daily production target of 16,200 tonnes per day and has accordingly revised its annual goal upward to 5.9 million tonnes for this fiscal. The last six month's average is 16,290 tonnes a day. The company has given a target for production to all its assets across the country for the current financial year and expects that all assets will achieve it by the end of the fiscal.

This comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated that India needs to increase domestic oil and gas production and must reduce its import dependence. Towards this, he underscored his target of reducing energy imports by 10% by 2022.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last week decided to cut crude oil output by 1.2 million barrels a day to 32.4 million barrels, triggering a rally in oil prices. This is bad news for the country as India imports more than 80% of its crude requirement and the International Energy Agency expects it to be the fastest-growing consumer through 2040.

India's Import of Crude Oil

Indian refiners imported 17.62 million metric tons of crude oil in the month of September. While, 18.81 million metric tons (about 4.45 million barrels a day) of crude oil was imported during the month of August, a 9.1% increase over last year, according to the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell.

A net importer of crude oil, India was a beneficiary of low crude oil prices as it not only enabled to slash its import bill, but also keep petrol and diesel prices under check. The glut-induced low prices allowed the Indian government to raise taxes on petroleum products without impacting the retail price.

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Mar 20, 2018 11:05 AM