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Upfront

Quick take on major events
     Print Edition: May 12, 2013

Bank on Rate Cut: Wholesale Price Index-based inflation dipped to 5.96 per cent in March, a 40-month low. Food inflation, the bugbear of policy makers, declined to 8.73 per cent in March from 11.38 per cent in February. A year ago, in March 2012, inflation was at 7.69 per cent. The market now hopes for a further rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India on May 3.

CORPORATE
Reliance Industries reported a six per cent year-on-year rise in standalone net profit in fiscal year 2013. Revenue rose 9.2 per cent year-on-year to Rs 3.71 trillion, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani aims to double RIL's profits in the next five years by increasing petrochemical-producing capacity. The company is also planning to re-enter the telecom space through Reliance Jio Infocomm, the only company to have access to broadband wireless spectrum across India.

After Adani Power, it is now the turn of Tata Power to be awarded compensation for losses incurred from having to import coal. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has directed five state governments to compensate it for losses incurred by the 4,000-MW Mundra ultra mega power project.

  • Infosys may not have set the markets on fire with its results, but the country's leading software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the fourth-biggest software services provider HCL Technologies met market expectations. Both companies have reported robust volume growth in the March 2013 quarter. Their managements also sounded confident about future growth.
  • The government has announced a package of reforms, including easing of land requirement norms and an exit policy, to woo investors in special economic zones.
Rama Prasad Goenka, Chairman Emeritus of RPG Enterprises
Rama Prasad Goenka, Chairman Emeritus of RPG Enterprises
Rama Prasad Goenka, Chairman Emeritus of RPG Enterprises and dubbed 'takeover tycoon' by the media, died at the age of 83. Goenka expanded his industrial network across the country and beyond, acquring interests in tyres (CEAT), power generation and distribution (CESC), infrastructure (KEC International), IT (Zensar), retail (Spencer's), life sciences, chemicals (PCBL), plantation (Harrisons Malayalam), media & entertainment (Saregama). His sons Harsha Vardhan and Sanjiv Goenka are now leading the group.

  • Yahoo Inc's first quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street targets, as the Internet company continued to feel the effects of declining traffic to its Web properties and of falling display ad sales. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that revitalizing Yahoo will be a long-term project measured in years.
  • Intel Corp said its current-quarter revenue would decline as much as eight per cent and trimmed its 2013 capital spending plans.Personal computer sales are dropping due to the popularity of tablets and smartphones.
  • China, the world's second-biggest economy, grew 7.7 per cent in the first quarter from a year ago, lower than 7.9 per cent it hit in Q4 2012.
ECONOMY
Aviation Minister Ajit Singh
Aviation Minister Ajit Singh
India is going to be the second-largest air traffic market in the world, Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said. The domestic carriers flew close to 162 million passengers in 2011/12, up from 143 million in 2010/11.

The International Monetary Fund said that growth in the Indian economy had bottomed out. Improved external demand, recent policy moves, solid consumption and a better monsoon are expected to spur the recovery. In its World Economic Outlook, IMF has cut India's growth projection to 5.7 per cent for calendar year 2013 from its earlier projection of 5.9 per cent.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has sought to attract foreign investment from the U.S. and Canada to fund a record high current account deficit. Officials initiated steps to attract at least $20 billion in new investment to fund the deficit without depleting India's $300 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

12,000 MW Power deficit of the country during peak hours in the last financial year. Against the peak demand of 1,35,453 MW, total power availability was 1,23,294 MW in the last financial year. The Southern region was the worst hit as demand for electricity exceeded supply by 6,052 MW. Availability was 31,586 MW during peak hours, according to the Central Electricity Authority.

$30.8 bn India's exports in March, compared to $28.8 billion in the same month a year ago. Imports dipped by 2.87 per cent to $41.16 billion in March, leaving the trade deficit at $10.31 billion, down from $13.5 billion in March last year.

MARKETS

Gold prices are slipping and consumers are cheering. The import of the metal has dropped 24 per cent since January 2013. Demand for the yellow metal has surged in domestic market. More commodities also got caught in gold price vortex. Silver and copper have hit multiyear lows.

An extraordinary 34-carat 'Princie' diamond from the mines of Golconda, once owned by the world's richest man - the last Nizam of Hyderabad - managed to shock and awe everybody by being sold for $39 million. It set a new record for any jewel sold at Christie's, surpassing the record of $24.3 million for the Wittelsbach Diamond in 2008.

COMING UP
  • The government is likely to offload 10 per cent stake in navratna defence equipment maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd through an initial public offer in the second half of the financial year.
  • The government will set up independent regulators for coal and road sectors in two to four months, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said.
  • The RBI is considering easing fund transfer norms for incorporation of companies by nonresident Indians to promote foreign direct investment.

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