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Government approves merger of state owned banks

Indian Economic Update

  • FDI into India grew by 37% to $10.4 bn during the first quarter of the current fiscal, compared with $7.59 bn during the same quarter of the last fiscal.
  • Financial Stability & Development Council (FSDC) says India has macro-economic stability on the back of improvement in its macro-economic fundamentals and structural reforms with the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • Prime Minister says the Centre wants to move towards making India a less-cash society and to achieve this he asks young CEOs to partner with the government to build momentum.
  • Finance Ministry formally announces the launch of the new Rs. 200 note.

 

Global Update

  • The Trump administration formally launched an investigation into Chinese intellectual property theft on Friday, prompting fears of an imminent trade war.
  • In another major administration shake-up, White House on last Friday announced that Mr. Stephen Bannon, chief strategist of the President would resign from his post.
  • US President Donald Trump has indicated a possibility of deploying at least 4,000 more troops in Afghanistan aimed at preventing the country from becoming an Islamist safe haven nation. He also hinted at a tougher policy stance towards Pakistan and argued for more co-operation from India on areas of economic assistance and development with Afghanistan.
  • The US Trump administration has imposed sanctions on a number (10) of Chinese and Russian companies and individuals (6) that it accused of helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons.
  • US President, Mr. Donald Trump has said that he will be willing to risk a shutdown of the government to secure funding for the wall along the US- Mexico border. The comments come ahead of the September end deadline to raise the US debt limit ceiling or risk a default on debt payments.

The annual Jackson Hole economic symposium is scheduled to begin today (Thursday).

 

Equity

Indian equities started this week in red. The scuffle in leadership of IT heavyweight Infosys has been dragging the Nifty for the second straight session. Weakness in global equity markets continue as investors start to doubt US President, Mr. Donald Trump’s ability to deliver on his economic agenda.
Equity markets gained subsequently. Pharmaceuticals and energy sectors were the major drivers of the indices, while shares related to real estate were a major drag. The rebound in global equity markets also aided the domestic equities. In-principle approval of the merger of state owned banks by the Government led to a surge in banking stocks.
Global investors now await the annual Jackson Hole economic symposium wherein the chiefs of important central banks are likely providing cues on their future trajectories.

 

During the week Sensex gained 0.26% to close at 31605.47 while Nifty inclined 0.26% to close at 9863.35.

 

Debt

Indian government bonds started the week flat. Bond prices traded in a narrow range as market players refrained from taking fresh positions ahead of the huge supply of government bonds. Absence of any fresh triggers also led to thin volumes trade.

Meanwhile, weaker than expected cut-offs at the gilt auction weighed on the bonds. Further, the truncated weekend along with investors awaiting comments from top central bankers over the coming days led to thin volume in trading.

 

The 10Y benchmark yield ended at 6.54% vs. previous week’s close of 6.51%.

 

 

Oil

Oil started this week flat. Crude prices closed at its highest level in last week buoyed by disruptions in Libyan production and a favourable reduction in rig count by 5 to a total of 763, announced by baker Hughes. Libya declared force majeure, a legal clause that allows the suspension of deliveries, on supplies from the Sharara field after it was blocked on Sunday. The rally was capped as investors closed positions on higher prices.
Crude was lifted on signs of market tightening. A note of caution should be taken on the demand side with the waning of the peak summer season for oil. OPEC’s production is forecast to fall 419,000 barrels a day this month, to 32.8 million barrels a day, according to Petro-Logistics.
Crude prices weighed down towards the end of the week as supply disruptions in Libya corrected and built concerns of a glut again, although instability in the country points to volatile output. Adding to the pressures was a mixed API data release, which reported a drop in oil stocks by 3.6 million barrels and an increase in gasoline stocks by 1.4 million barrels. Both numbers failed to meet the market expectations.

 

Gold

Gold edges up during beginning of the week. The yellow metal extended its impressive run as it breached the 1300 mark for the first time this year last Friday, levels seen last on November. The safe haven asset was buoyed following the attack in Spain and escalating tensions as USA and South Korea begin joint military exercises against North Korea.

The yellow metal came under pressure from a stronger dollar ahead of an annual meeting of central bankers. Investors were waiting for speeches from the ECB President and Federal Reserve Chair at Jackson Hole Wyoming, for cues to the direction of interest and currency rates. Focus remains on the Korean peninsula as well.

Gold prices edged up on the back of new political jitters as US imposed fresh North Korea related sanctions, targeting Chinese and Russia firms and individuals. The dollar inched lower after the President raised prospects of a government shutdown, which supported the metal.

 

Currency

Indian Rupee started this week marginally weaker. Dollar purchases by Public sector banks along with weak equity performance dragged the rupee down.
Rupee erased most of the early gains after foreign banks resorted to heavy dollar purchases taking advantage of the arbitrage in the non-deliverable forward markets. Positive performance of domestic equity markets capped losses.

 

Source: ICICI Bank Research, Bloomberg and CRISIL.