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RBI's First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20

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Following is the text of the Reserve Bank of India's First Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20 issued here today, based on the resolution of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):
 
On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its meeting today decided to:
 
reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points to 6.0 per cent from 6.25 per cent with immediate effect.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25 per cent.
 
The MPC also decided to maintain the neutral monetary policy stance.
 
These decisions are in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth.
 
The main considerations underlying the decision are set out in the statement below.
 
Assessment
 
Global Economy
 
2. Since the last MPC meeting in February 2019, global economic activity has been losing pace. In the US, the subdued performance in the final quarter of 2018 appears to have continued into Q1:2019 as reflected in declining factory activity. The Euro area slowed down in Q4:2018 on soft domestic demand and contracting manufacturing activity. Of its constituents, the Italian economy contracted for two consecutive quarters in Q3 and Q4. In the UK, growth slowed down on Brexit uncertainty, with industrial production contracting during September-January. The Japanese economy rebounded in Q4 on increased domestic consumption expenditure and recovering investment spending. However, the latest data on manufacturing activity and business confidence suggest that growth lost momentum in Q1:2019. The monetary policy stances of the US Fed and central banks in other major advanced economies (AEs) have turned dovish.
 
3. Economic activity also slowed down in some major emerging market economies (EMEs). The Chinese economy decelerated in Q4:2018 on subdued domestic and global demand impacting industrial activity. Much of this weakness seems to have continued into 2019 as reflected in low factory output in Q1, though the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) moved into expansion zone in March after three months of contraction. In Q1, the Russian economy continued to be impacted by both domestic and external headwinds. The Brazilian economy ended 2018 on a weak note; going into 2019, available economic indicators for Q1 suggest that economic activity remained restrained by both weak domestic and external demand. The South African economy slowed down in the final quarter of 2018. Subdued industrial activity and worsening external demand point to a further loss in momentum in Q1.
 
4. Crude oil prices have risen on production cuts by OPEC and Russia as well as disruption in supplies due to US sanctions on exports from Venezuela. Gold prices weakened on expectations of positive outcomes of the China-US trade deal. Inflation continued to remain low in major AEs and many key EMEs due to slowing global growth and stable or falling commodity prices.
 
5. Financial markets continued to be driven by monetary policy stances of key central banks and movements in crude oil prices. In the US, the equity market witnessed some selling pressure in the last week of March on weak economic data. Equity markets in EMEs gained, benefitting from country-specific factors and easing of global financing conditions. Bond yields in the US softened, slipped into negative territory in Germany and dipped further into negative territory in Japan as central banks signalled softer stances. Bond yields in most EMEs have been falling in tandem with those in AEs and on the improving inflation outlook. In currency markets, the US dollar has traded with an appreciating bias in recent weeks. EME currencies have traded with a depreciating bias on country-specific factors and on fears of a weakening economic outlook in China.
 
Domestic Economy
 
6. Turning to the domestic economy, the second advance estimates for 2018-19 released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in February 2019 revised India’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth downwards to 7.0 per cent from 7.2 per cent in the first advance estimates. Domestic economic activity decelerated for the third consecutive quarter in Q3:2018-19 due to a slowdown in consumption, both public and private. However, gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) growth remained in double digits for the fifth consecutive quarter in Q3, with the GFCF to GDP ratio rising to 33.1 per cent in Q3:2018-19 against 31.8 per cent in Q3:2017-18, supported primarily by the government’s thrust on the road sector and affordable housing. The drag on aggregate demand from net exports also moderated in Q3 due to a marginal acceleration in exports and a sharp deceleration in imports led by a decline in crude oil prices.
 
7. On the supply side, the second advance estimates of the CSO placed the growth of real gross value added (GVA) lower at 6.8 per cent in 2018-19 as compared with 6.9 per cent in 2017-18. GVA growth slowed down to 6.3 per cent in Q3 due to a deceleration in agriculture output from the record level achieved in the previous year. Industrial GVA growth remained unchanged in Q3, with manufacturing GVA growth slowing somewhat. Services GVA growth also remained unchanged in Q3; while growth in construction activity accelerated, there was some loss of momentum in public administration, defence and other services.
 
8. Beyond Q3, the second advance estimates of foodgrains production for 2018-19 at 281.4 million tonnes were 1.2 per cent lower than the fourth advance estimates of 2017-18, but 1.4 per cent higher than the second advance estimates of 2017-18. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US, El Niño conditions strengthened during February 2019, which may affect the prospects of a normal south west monsoon.
 
9. Of the high frequency indicators of industry, the manufacturing component of the index of industrial production (IIP) growth slowed down to 1.3 per cent in January 2019 due to automobiles, pharmaceuticals, and machinery and equipment. The growth of eight core industries remained sluggish in February. Credit flows to micro and small as well as medium industries remained tepid, though they improved for large industries. Capacity utilisation (CU) in the manufacturing sector, however, as measured by the Reserve Bank’s order books, inventory and capacity utilisation survey (OBICUS), improved to 75.9 per cent in Q3 from 74.8 per cent in Q2 exceeding its long-term average; the seasonally adjusted CU rose to 76.1 per cent from 75.4 per cent. The business assessment index of the industrial outlook survey (IOS) points to an improvement in overall sentiments in Q4. The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) remained in expansion zone for 20th month in March. The key indicators of investment activity contracted, viz., production of capital goods in January and imports of capital goods in February.
 
10. High frequency indicators of the services sector suggest significant moderation in activity. Sales of commercial vehicles contracted during February. Other indicators of the transportation sector, viz., port freight traffic and international air freight traffic, also contracted. However, indicators of the construction sector, viz., consumption of steel and production of cement, continued to show healthy growth. The hotels sub-segment showed some improvement in foreign tourist arrivals in January and international air passenger traffic in February. The services PMI continued to be in expansion zone for the tenth consecutive month in March 2019.
 
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11. Retail inflation, measured by y-o-y change in the CPI, rose to 2.6 per cent in February after four months of continuous decline. The uptick in inflation was driven by an increase in prices of items excluding food and fuel and weaker momentum of deflation in the food group. However, inflation in the fuel group collapsed to its lowest print in the new all India CPI series.
 
12. Within the food group, deflation in four sub-groups – vegetables, sugar, pulses and fruits – continued in February. Egg prices moved into inflation after remaining in deflation in previous three months, while inflation ticked up in all other food sub-groups.
 
13. Inflation in the fuel and light sub-group collapsed from 4.5 per cent in December to 1.2 per cent in February. Prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) declined sharply, pulled down by the lagged impact of the softening of international energy prices. The prices of firewood, with the second largest weight in the fuel group, also declined. Electricity slipped into deflation in January and February. Inflation in kerosene remained elevated, however, reflecting the impact of the calibrated increase in its administered price.
 
14. CPI inflation excluding food and fuel declined to 5.2 per cent in January, but rose to 5.4 per cent in February, driven by a broad-based pick-up in inflation in the personal care and effects, and recreation and amusement sub-groups. However, inflation in the clothing and footwear, and transport and communication sub-groups fell, the latter reflecting the reduction in petrol and diesel prices. Inflation in the health and education sub-groups remained elevated, even though it moderated markedly during January-February vis-à-vis December.
 
15. Inflation expectations, measured by the Reserve Bank’s survey of households, declined in the February round over the previous round by 40 basis points each for the three months ahead and for the one year ahead horizons. Firms participating in the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey of manufacturing companies reported reduction in input price pressures, but they expected an increase in staff expenses in Q1:2019-20. Farm and industrial input costs increased at a slow pace in January-February 2019. Nominal growth in rural wages and staff costs in the organised manufacturing and services sectors remained muted in Q3:2018-19.
 
16. From a daily net average surplus of Rs. 27,928 crore (Rs. 279 billion) during February 1-6, 2019, systemic liquidity moved into deficit during February 7 - March 31, reflecting the build-up of government cash balances. Currency in circulation expanded sharply in February-March. The liquidity needs of the system were met through injection of durable liquidity amounting to Rs. 37,500 crore (Rs. 375 billion) in February and Rs. 25,000 crore (Rs. 250 billion) in March through open market purchase operations (OMOs). Consequently, total durable liquidity injected by the Reserve Bank through OMOs aggregated Rs. 2,98,500 crore (Rs. 2,985 billion) for 2018-19. Liquidity injected under the LAF, on an average daily net basis, was Rs. 95,003 crore (Rs. 950 billion) during February (February 7-28, 2019) and Rs. 57,043 crore (Rs. 570 billion) in March. The weighted average call rate (WACR) remained broadly aligned with the policy repo rate in February and March.
 
17. Anticipating the seasonal tightening of liquidity at end-March, the Reserve Bank conducted four longer term (tenor ranging between 14-day and 56-day) variable rate repo auctions during the month in addition to the regular 14-day variable rate term repo auctions. Furthermore, the Reserve Bank conducted long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swaps of US$ 5 billion for a tenor of 3 years on March 26, 2019, thereby injecting durable liquidity of Rs. 34,561 crore (Rs.  346 billion) into the system.
 
18. Export growth remained weak in January and February 2019 mainly due to exports of petroleum products decelerating in response to a fall in international crude oil prices. Among non-oil exports, engineering goods, chemicals, leather and marine products recorded either sequentially lower or negative growth. As in the case of exports, lower international crude oil prices downsized the oil import bill. Non-oil non-gold imports declined sharply, dragged down by the subdued demand for pearls and precious stones, transport equipment, project goods and vegetable oils. The trade deficit narrowed in February 2019 – both sequentially and on a year-on-year basis – to its lowest level in 17 months. This, along with the increase in services exports and lower outgo of income payments, resulted in narrowing of the current account deficit sequentially. On the financing side, net FDI inflows were strong in April-January 2018-19. Foreign portfolio investors turned net buyers in the domestic capital market in Q4:2018-19. India’s foreign exchange reserves were at US$ 412.9 billion on March 31, 2019.
 
Outlook
 
19. In the sixth bi-monthly monetary policy resolution of February 2019, CPI inflation was projected at 2.8 per cent for Q4:2018-19, 3.2-3.4 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 3.9 per cent for Q3:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced around the central trajectory. Actual inflation outcomes averaged 2.3 per cent in January-February.
 
20. The inflation path during 2019-20 is likely to be shaped by several factors. First, low food inflation during January-February will have a bearing on the near-term inflation outlook. Second, the fall in the fuel group inflation witnessed at the time of the February policy has become accentuated. Third, CPI inflation excluding food and fuel in February was lower than expected, which has imparted some downward bias to headline inflation. Fourth, international crude oil prices have increased by around 10 per cent since the last policy. Fifth, inflation expectations of households as well as input and output price expectations of producers polled in the Reserve Bank’s surveys have further moderated. Taking into consideration these factors and assuming a normal monsoon in 2019, the path of CPI inflation is revised downwards to 2.4 per cent in Q4:2018-19, 2.9-3.0 per cent in H1:2019-20 and 3.5-3.8 per cent in H2:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced.
 
21. GDP growth for 2019-20 in the February policy was projected at 7.4 per cent in the range of 7.2-7.4 per cent in H1, and 7.5 per cent in Q3 – with risks evenly balanced. Since then, there are some signs of domestic investment activity weakening as reflected in a slowdown in production and imports of capital goods. The moderation of growth in the global economy might impact India’s exports. On the positive side, however, higher financial flows to the commercial sector augur well for economic activity. Private consumption, which has remained resilient, is also expected to get a fillip from public spending in rural areas and an increase in disposable incomes of households due to tax benefits. Business expectations continue to be optimistic. Taking into consideration the above factors, GDP growth for 2019-20 is projected at 7.2 per cent – in the range of 6.8-7.1 per cent in H1:2019-20 and 7.3-7.4 per cent in H2 – with risks evenly balanced.
 
22. Beyond the near term, several uncertainties cloud the inflation outlook. First, with the domestic and global demand-supply balance of key food items expected to remain favourable, the short-term outlook for food inflation remains benign. However, early reports suggest some probability of El Niño effects in 2019. There is also the risk of an abrupt reversal in vegetable prices, especially during the summer months. Second, inflation in fuel group items, particularly electricity, firewood and chips saw unprecedented softening in H2:2018-19. There is, however, uncertainty about the sustainability of this softening in inflation in fuel items. Third, the outlook for oil prices continues to be hazy, both on the upside and the downside. On the one hand, continuing OPEC production cuts will reduce supplies. On the other hand, there is considerable uncertainty about demand conditions. Should there be a swift resolution of trade tensions, a pick-up in global demand is likely to push up oil prices. However, should trade tensions linger and demand conditions worsen, crude prices may fall from current levels, despite production cuts by OPEC. Fourth, inflation excluding food and fuel has remained elevated over the past twelve months with some pick up in prices in February. However, should the recent slowdown in domestic economic activity accentuate, it may have a bearing on the outlook for inflation in this category. Fifth, financial markets remain volatile reflecting in part global growth and trade uncertainty, which may have an influence on the inflation outlook. Sixth, the fiscal situation at the general government level requires careful monitoring.
 
23. The MPC notes that the output gap remains negative and the domestic economy is facing headwinds, especially on the global front. The need is to strengthen domestic growth impulses by spurring private investment which has remained sluggish.
 
24. Against this backdrop, the MPC decided to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points and maintain the neutral stance of monetary policy.
 
25. Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra and Shri Shaktikanta Das voted in favour of the decision to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points. Dr. Chetan Ghate and Dr. Viral V. Acharya voted to keep the policy rate unchanged.
 
26. Dr. Chetan Ghate, Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra, Dr. Viral V. Acharya and Shri Shaktikanta Das voted in favour of the decision to maintain the neutral stance of monetary policy. Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia voted to change the stance from neutral to accommodative.
 
27. The minutes of the MPC’s meeting will be published by April 18, 2019.
 
28. The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled during June 3, 4 and 6, 2019.
 
NNN

RBI reduces repo rate by 25 bps to 6.0%, maintains neutral monetary stance

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The Monetary  Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today decided to reduce its key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points (bps) to 6.0 per cent from 6.25 per cent with immediate effect while maintaining the neutral monetary policy stance.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stood adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25 per cent, the RBI said in its First Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20.
 
"These decisions are in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth," the statement said.
 
This was the second consecutive reduction in the repo rate by the RBI. The MPC had reduced the repo rate by 25 bps to 6.25% in its Sixth Bi-Monthly Monetary Police Statement for 2018-19 on February 7.
 
The decisions were taken on the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the resolution of the MPC said.
 
"The MPC notes that the output gap remains negative and the domestic economy is facing headwinds, especially on the global front. The need is to strengthen domestic growth impulses by spurring private investment which has remained sluggish.
 
"Against this backdrop, the MPC decided to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points and maintain the neutral stance of monetary policy," it said.
 
The MPC recalled that, in its statement in February 2019, CPI inflation was projected at 2.8 per cent for Q4:2018-19, 3.2-3.4 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 3.9 per cent for Q3:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced around the central trajectory. Actual inflation outcomes averaged 2.3 per cent in January-February.
 
"The inflation path during 2019-20 is likely to be shaped by several factors. First, low food inflation during January-February will have a bearing on the near-term inflation outlook. Second, the fall in the fuel group inflation witnessed at the time of the February policy has become accentuated. Third, CPI inflation excluding food and fuel in February was lower than expected, which has imparted some downward bias to headline inflation. Fourth, international crude oil prices have increased by around 10 per cent since the last policy. Fifth, inflation expectations of households as well as input and output price expectations of producers polled in the Reserve Bank’s surveys have further moderated. 
 
"Taking into consideration these factors and assuming a normal monsoon in 2019, the path of CPI inflation is revised downwards to 2.4 per cent in Q4:2018-19, 2.9-3.0 per cent in H1:2019-20 and 3.5-3.8 per cent in H2:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced," the statement said.
 
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The resolution said GDP growth for 2019-20 in the February policy was projected at 7.4 per cent in the range of 7.2-7.4 per cent in H1, and 7.5 per cent in Q3 – with risks evenly balanced. 
 
"Since then, there are some signs of domestic investment activity weakening as reflected in a slowdown in production and imports of capital goods. The moderation of growth in the global economy might impact India’s exports. On the positive side, however, higher financial flows to the commercial sector augur well for economic activity. Private consumption, which has remained resilient, is also expected to get a fillip from public spending in rural areas and an increase in disposable incomes of households due to tax benefits. Business expectations continue to be optimistic. Taking into consideration the above factors, GDP growth for 2019-20 is projected at 7.2 per cent – in the range of 6.8-7.1 per cent in H1:2019-20 and 7.3-7.4 per cent in H2 – with risks evenly balanced," it said.
 
The MPC said that, beyond the near term, several uncertainties cloud the inflation outlook. 
 
"First, with the domestic and global demand-supply balance of key food items expected to remain favourable, the short-term outlook for food inflation remains benign. However, early reports suggest some probability of El Niño effects in 2019. There is also the risk of an abrupt reversal in vegetable prices, especially during the summer months. Second, inflation in fuel group items, particularly electricity, firewood and chips saw unprecedented softening in H2:2018-19. There is, however, uncertainty about the sustainability of this softening in inflation in fuel items. 
 
"Third, the outlook for oil prices continues to be hazy, both on the upside and the downside. On the one hand, continuing OPEC production cuts will reduce supplies. On the other hand, there is considerable uncertainty about demand conditions. Should there be a swift resolution of trade tensions, a pick-up in global demand is likely to push up oil prices. However, should trade tensions linger and demand conditions worsen, crude prices may fall from current levels, despite production cuts by OPEC. Fourth, inflation excluding food and fuel has remained elevated over the past twelve months with some pick up in prices in February. However, should the recent slowdown in domestic economic activity accentuate, it may have a bearing on the outlook for inflation in this category. Fifth, financial markets remain volatile reflecting in part global growth and trade uncertainty, which may have an influence on the inflation outlook. Sixth, the fiscal situation at the general government level requires careful monitoring," it said.
 
Among the MPC members, Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das voted in favour of the decision to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points. Dr. Chetan Ghate and Dr. Viral V. Acharya voted to keep the policy rate unchanged.
 
Dr. Ghate, Dr. Dua, Dr. Patra, Dr. Acharya and Mr. Das voted in favour of the decision to maintain the neutral stance of monetary policy. Dr. Dholakia voted to change the stance from neutral to accommodative.
 
The minutes of the MPC’s meeting will be published by April 18. The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled during June 3, 4 and 6, 2019.
 
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Key Indian equity market indices open in green

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Taking a cue from global markets, the key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened higher.
 
The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 38,877.12 points on Wednesday, opened higher at 38,935.75 points.
 
Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 38,915.17 points, up by 38.05 points, or 0.10 per cent.
 
At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader Nifty 50, which had closed at 11,643.95 points on Wednesday, was quoting at 11,655 points, up by 11.05 points or 0.09 per cent.
 
In BSE Sensex, 21 stocks including Tata Motors, Coal India were trading in green while 9 stocks including ITC and Tata Steel were trading in red at 9.22 a.m. 
 
Fears of a below normal monsoon and profit booking following four sessions of consecutive gains had pulled the key equity indices lower on Wednesday.
 
The Sensex was down by 179.53 points or 0.46 percent at the Wednesday's closing. In the day's trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 39,270.14 points and a low of 38,826.56 points. The Nifty, too was down by 69.25 points or 0.59 per cent.
 
On Thursday, Asian indices were showing mostly a positive trend. Japan's Nikkei 225 was quoting in green, up by 0.09 per cent while Hang Seng was trading in red, down by 0.50 per cent, South Korea's Kospi was up by 0.13 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite was also quoting in green, up by 0.26 per cent.
 
Overnight, the Nasdaq closed in green, up by 0.60 per cent while FTSE 100 was also up by 0.37 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.
 
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Chennai taste first defeat, lose by 33 runs to Mumbai

Mumbai Indians' Krunal Pandya in action during their IPL 2019 match against Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, on April 3, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Mumbai Indians' Krunal Pandya in action during their IPL 2019 match against Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, on April 3, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings tasted their first defeat in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 as they lost to Mumbai Indians by 33 runs here on Wednesday.
 
Chasing a target of 171, none of the Chennai batsmen were able to show resistance except Kedhar Jadhav, who played a fighting 58-run knock.
 
For Mumbai, Lasith Malinga and Hardik Pandya rattled the Chennai batting line-up, scalping three wickets each.
 
Chasing the target, Chennai started on a poor note, losing openers Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson cheaply. While Lasith Malinga accounted for Watson (5), Jason Behrendorff sent back Rayudu on a duck.
 
Chennai's most dependable batsman Suresh Raina also couldn't do much in the middle after managing just 16 runs off 15 deliveries.
 
It was Behrendorff who once again struck, giving the third blow to the visiting side, leaving Chennai reeling at 33/3 in 4.5 overs.
 
Jadhav (58 off 54, including eight boundaries and a six) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12 off 21) then anchored Chennai's inning with a 54-run partnership. However, the skipper couldn't stay for much time in the middle as he fell to Hardik Pandya while trying to accelerate the run-rate.
 
Jadhav tried to keep one end in control but Malinga ended his laborious effort before Chennai lost Ravindra Jadeja (1) and Dwayne Bravo (8) in quick succession as the scorecard read 115/7 in the 18th over.
 
With 56 needed off the last two overs, Chennai's lower middle order couldn't help their side cross the line as Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur could only contribute with 7 and 12 runs, respectively.
 
Earlier, despite a slow start, it was Hardik and Keiron Pollard's quick-fire play, which propelled Mumbai Indians to 170/5.
 
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While most Chennai bowlers, who maintained a tight economy rate in 18 overs, went profligate in the last two overs as Pollard (17 unbeaten off 7) and Hardik (25 unbeaten off 8) hammered them all around the park to help their team post a fighting total.
 
Suryakumar Yadav (59) and Krunal Pandya (42) also made valuable contributions to the team's score.
 
Put in to bat first, the hosts were off to a slow start with just three runs coming from the initial two overs, before Chahar drew first blood for Chennai. With runs not coming, de Kock handed an easy catch to Jadhav at square leg in the third over while trying to smash a delivery.
 
Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar then tried to repair the damage, adding 37 runs for the second wicket. But Jadeja cut short the former's stay, dismissing him on 13 as Mumbai were 45/2 in the eighth over.
 
With the addition of just five runs in the scorecard, Imran Tahir intensified Mumbai's troubles by sending Yuvraj Singh back to hut at 4.
 
Suryakumar and Krunal Pandya (42 off 32) then showed some resistance and stitched a 62-run partnership. Mohit Sharma finally broke the partnership by sending almost dangerous looking Krunal back in the 17th over. His knock was laced with five boundaries and a six.
 
While trying to shift gears and accelerate the run-rate, Suryakumar tried to clear the fence off a Bravo delivery, but ended up giving a catch to Jadeja at long-on. It left the hosts at 125/5 in 17.6 overs.
 
Suryakumar's fighting innings contained eight boundaries and one hit into the stands.
 
Pollard and Hardik showed some quick hands towards the end as they hammered Bravo for 29 runs in the final over to help Mumbai reach 170/5 in the allotted 20 overs.
 
Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 170/5 (Suryakumar Yadav 59, Krunal Pandya 42; Ravindra Jadeja 1/10) beat Chennai Super Kings 133/8 (Kedhar Jadhav 58, Suresh Raina 16; Hardik Pandya 3/20) by 33 runs
 
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Hardik, Pollard help Mumbai reach 170/5 vs Chennai

Mumbai Indians' Krunal Pandya in action during their IPL 2019 match against Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, on April 3, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Mumbai Indians' Krunal Pandya in action during their IPL 2019 match against Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, on April 3, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
After a slow start, Hardik Pandya and Keiron Pollard's quick-fire play propelled Mumbai Indians to 170/5 in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match with Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium, here on Wednesday.
 
While most Chennai bowlers maintained a tight economy rate in 18 overs, they went profligate in the last two overs. Pollard (17 unbeaten off 7) and Hardik (25 unbeaten off 8) hammered them all around the park to help their team post a fighting total.
 
Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav (59) and Krunal Pandya (42) made valuable contributions to the team's score.
 
Put to bat, the hosts were off to a slow start with just three runs coming from the initial two overs, before Deepak Chahar drew the first blood for Chennai. With runs not coming, de Kock handed an easy catch to Kedhar Jadhav at square leg in the third over while trying to smash a delivery.
 
Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav then tried to repair the damage, adding 37 runs for the second wicket. But Ravindra Jadeja cut short the former's stay, dismissing him on 13 as Mumbai were 45/2 in the eighth over.
 
With the addition of just five runs in the scorecard, Imran Tahir intensified Mumbai's troubles by sending Yuvraj Singh back to the hut at 4.
 
Suryakumar and Krunal Pandya (42 off 32) then showed some resistance and stitched a 62-run partnership. Mohit Sharma finally broke the partnership by sending almost dangerous looking Krunal back in the 17th over.
 
Krunal's knock was laced with five boundaries and a six.
 
While trying to shift gears and accelerate the run-rate, Suryakumar tried to clear the fence off a Dwayne Bravo delivery, but ended up giving a catch to Jadeja at long-on. It left the hosts at 125/5 in 17.6 overs.
 
Suryakumar's fighting innings contained eight boundaries and one hit into the stands.
 
Keiron Pollard (17 off 7) and Hardik Pandya showed some quick hands towards the end as they hammered Bravo for 29 runs in the final over to help Mumbai reach 170/5 in the allotted 20 overs.
 
Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 170/5 (Suryakumar Yadav 59, Krunal Pandya 42; Ravindra Jadeja 1/10) vs Chennai Super Kings
 
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Reliance enters into strategic transaction with conversational AI platform Haptik

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Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said its subsidiary Reliance Jio Digital Services Limited (RJDSL) has entered into a definitive business transfer agreement with Haptik Infotech Pvt Ltd (Haptik), which has built one of the world's largest conversational AI platforms.
 
The transaction size, including investment for growth and expansion, is estimated at about Rs. 700 crore, with Rs. 230 croe as the consideration for the initial business transfer.
 
The Haptik team will continue to drive growth of the business, including the enterprise platform as well as digital consumer assistants. On a fully diluted basis Reliance will hold about 87% of the business with the rest being held by Haptik founders and employees through stock option grants, a press release from RIL said.
 
The transaction will enable telecom service provider Reliance Jio to leverage Haptik’s capabilities across various devices and touch points in the consumer’s journey. 
 
"The investment focus is on enhancement and expansion of the platform, with an addressable market opportunity of over 1 billion users in India. This partnership will also give a boost to Haptik’s existing enterprise grade business, with the company continuing to build innovative AI solutions for corporates globally," it said.
 
Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio, said “This strategic investment underlines our commitment to further boost the digital ecosystem and provide Indian users conversational AI enabled devices with multi-lingual capabilities. We believe voice interactivity will be the primary mode of interaction for Digital India. We are delighted to announce this partnership, and look forward to working with the experienced team of Haptik in realizing this vision for offering greater connectivity and rich communication experiences to the billion+ Indian consumers.”
 
Aakrit Vaish, co-founder & CEO, Haptik said, “We started with the idea that conversational interfaces will cause a paradigm shift in the way people get things done. Over the course, we have built various products across both consumer and enterprise businesses, with the backbone always being a full stack chat and voice enabled AI technology platform. We truly believe now is the opportunity to serve the next billion users who come online, and who better to partner with than one of the world’s largest digital ecosystems in Jio. We look forward to using this strategic opportunity to exponentially scale up the business across various product lines.”
 
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IPL: Dhoni wins toss, opts to field first against Mumbai Indians

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Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to field first against Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
The visitors have made one change in the team. Mohit Sharma has replaced Mitchell Santner in CSK, while Jason Behrendorff and Rahul Chahar replaced Mitchell McClenaghan and Mayank Markande in the Mumbai playing eleven.
 
Defending champions Chennai top the league points table with three wins from as many games, while Mumbai is at the seventh place with just one win from three games.
 
Playing XI:
 
Chennai Super Kings: Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (Captain/wicket-keeper), Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Mohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir
 
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, Jason Behrendorff.
 
IANS
 

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Below normal monsoon prediction pulls markets down

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Fears of a below normal monsoon and profit booking following four sessions of consecutive gains on Wednesday pulled the key equity indices lower. Nifty, which hit an all-time high by a small margin, also slid significantly towards the close.
 
The global market, however, stayed positive due to signs of pick up in the Chinese economy and the prospects of a US-China trade deal.
 
The Sensex closed 179.53 points or 0.46 per cent lower at 38,877.12, while the Nifty declined by 69.25 points or 0.59 per cent at 11,643.95.
 
A day after the benchmark Sensex surpassed the 39,000-mark to hit an-all time high, the Nifty index touched a record high of 11,761 during the early trade session on Wednesday.
 
"Nifty touched a new all-time high by a very narrow margin of 0.8 Nifty points. Selling pressure emerged after a private weather forecaster predicted that there will be below normal monsoon rains this year," said Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities.
 
Skymet Weather on Wednesday predicted that monsoon rains will be below normal this year. 
 
"The market slid after touching a new high as initial forecast of below normal monsoon by Skymet and rise in oil prices impacted the sentiments. Investors are likely to be more vigilant going forward due to the polls and have a bottom-up-approach considering the performance of fourth quarter results," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services. 
 
Jet Airways fell steeply after it said that an additional 15 aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment of amounts outstanding to lessors.
 
Other major contributors in the Sensex decline were State Bank of India, down 2.40 per cent, followed by Yes Bank, Larsen and Toubro, Bharti Airtel and Tata Motors (DVR).
 
Maruti Suzuki, HCL Technology, HDFC, Tata Steel and Hero Moto Corp were the gainer on the Sensex, settling up to 3 per cent up.
 
IANS
 

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Raymond ventures into real estate development with housing project in Thane

Raymond Limited Chairman Gautam Hari Singhani at the launch of Raymond Realty in Thane, on April 3, 2019.
Raymond Limited Chairman Gautam Hari Singhani at the launch of Raymond Realty in Thane, on April 3, 2019.
Raymond Group, India’s leading fashion and textile retailer, today said it is foraying into the real estate development business through a new division called Raymond Realty that has taken up a large housing project in Thane, near Mumbai.
 
The move is part of its vision of "Raymond Re-imagined" and the company has undertaken the project to build quality housing with the central theme of "Go Beyond" by monetising land it has, Raymond Limited Chairman and Managing Director Gautam Hari Singhania said at a press conference here.
 
The large gated community, named Aspirational District, will be spread over 14 acres, will have 3000 residential units across 10 towers in the first phase. Each of these 42-storey towers will house smart-sized 2-bed homes with carpet area configuration of 515 sq. ft. and 640 sq. ft., respectively.
 
Singhania said that, apart from five acres of central landscaped greens, the project would offer several other amenities.
 
He said the project is expected to be cash-positive on a year-on-year basis and would not require significant debt funding. The peak funding till FY 20 is expected to be Rs. 250 crore and a major part of this has already been spent in the planning phase and obtaining statutory approvals. In the phase 1, Raymond Realty is expected to achieve a top line of over Rs. 3500 crores with a profit margin of over 25% during the period of five years.
 
"Keeping in mind the fact that this land parcel is in the heart of Thane, it offers a massive positive upside potential for venturing into the real estate sector. The decision is backed by our unmatched craftsmanship and eye-for-detail that has helped build the Raymond Legacy over the last century. Going forward, we intend to build a large integrated township that will have the potential to deliver a lifestyle well above the ordinary and still be in reach," Singhania said.
 
K. Mukund Raj, CEO, Raymond Realty added, “Raymond Realty is inspired by the principle of ‘Go Beyond’ and it is our endeavor to re-imagine living spaces with contemporary design and the benchmarks of quality that come with the Raymond brand."
 
"In this project we are offering world class services and amenities that Indian discerning consumers would avail for a delightful livelihood," he said.
 
In addition to the existing Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School, the project is also in the vicinity of the Smt. Sunitidevi Singhania School that will commence operations in June 2019
 
Both the schools are within the campus and are at a walkable distance from the proposed development. The project is also close to hospitals, malls, retail and has connectivity with major arterial roads such as the Eastern Express Highway, Ghodbunder Road, Mumbai-Nashik Highway and proposed metro station at Cadbury Junction, the company added.
 
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NIIF, Roadis to create platform for investment in road sector in India

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Roadis, one of the leading private investors and operators of transport infrastructure worldwide, and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) today announced the creation of a platform that will invest in road projects in India.
 
The platform will invest up to $ 2 billion of equity to target Toll Operate Transfer models, acquisitions of existing road concessions and investment opportunities in the road sector with the aim of creating a large roads platform in the country, a press release from NIIF said.
 
The release said that, with 710 km of highways under ownership and management, Roadis is the largest European highway concession manager in India and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), one of Canada’s largest pension funds.
 
"This jointly-held platform will benefit from the expertise and value creation capabilities of both ROADIS and NIIF. With strong investment and operational expertise, the platform intends to operate the roads portfolio with the highest global standards, while creating maximum value for the shareholders," it said.
 
José Antonio Labarra, CEO, Roadis said “This agreement, which aligns with our growth strategy, strengthens our long-term commitment to India. NIIF is a partner that perfectly fits our profile given its commitment to infrastructure investment and the robust governance standards it follows."
 
Sujoy Bose, MD & CEO, NIIF said, “The Indian road sector has attracted significant global capital over the last two decades and will continue to offer large investment opportunities. The road network is a key enabler for the Indian economy to grow and sustain its position as the fastest growing major economy in the world, and this provides significant upside potential for investments, while creating value for users.  We are delighted to partner with ROADIS, which brings global expertise and has the ability and interest to invest substantial capital in India.”
 
Roadis is present in six countries and three continents. It currently manages 1,892 kilometers of highways, divided among ten concessions in Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Portugal and India. It is also a shareholder in Wind Energy Transmission Texas (WETT), an electricity transmission line in the United States.
 
NIIF is a fund manager that invests in infrastructure and related sectors in India. An institution anchored by the Government of India, NIIF is a collaborative investment platform for international and Indian investors with a mandate to invest equity capital in domestic infrastructure. 
 
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Markets in green: Sensex up 180 pts, Nifty at 11,745

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The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a positive note during the morning session of the trade.
 
The Sensex of the BSE opened at 39,167.05 points and touched a high of 39,234.56 and a low of 39,141.09 after closing at 39,056.65 on Tuesday.
 
The Sensex was trading at 39,237.34 up by 180.69 points or 0.46 per cent in the morning.
 
On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 11,735.30 after closing at 11,713.20. It was trading at 11,745.05 in the morning.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Sensex ends at an all time closing high

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The benchmark Sensex finished at an all-time closing high on Tuesday led by gain in the auto, IT and banking stocks. Sentiments were upbeat over expectation of a rate cut in the upcoming RBI monetary policy review on Thursday.
 
Power and banking stocks rose after the Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) February 12, 2018, circular on banks' non-performing assets (NPAs), or bad loans.
 
Regarding the central bank's forthcoming policy review on April 4, an Edelweiss report on Tuesday said: "We expect the RBI to cut policy rates by 25 bps (basis points), and see a good chance of the policy stance shifting to dovish (currently 'neutral')".
 
Elaborating, the report said that since the previous monetary policy meeting in February, domestic growth momentum has slowed as reflected in high frequency data such as car sales and the Index of Industrial Productrion (IIP), among others, and inflation has remained benign.
 
The S&P Sensex gained 184.78 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 39,056.65, on its previous close of 38,871.87, while the Nifty edged up by 44.05 points or 0.38 per cent.
 
"Market maintained the positive momentum but struggled to cross above the all-time high due to profit booking in which mid and small caps underperformed. Inflow of foreign liquidity in expectation of rate cut from RBI and revival in earnings will provide some stability in the market," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
The top gainers on Sensex were Tata Motors, up over 8 per cent, followed by Tata Motors (DVR), Bharti Airtel, TCS and Bajaj Finance.
 
Bajaj-Auto, Sun Phrama, Vedanta, Tata Steel and HCL Tech closed at the bottom of the Sensex pack, declining up to 2 per cent.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex jumps over 100 pts, Nifty crosses 11,700

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The benchmark Sensex traded on a flat to positive note during the early trade on Tuesday after opening over 100 points higher.
 
The Sensex of the BSE opened at 38,988.57 from its previous close at 38,871.87 on Monday. At 9.36 a.m., it traded at 38,926.09 higher by 54.22 points or 0.14 per cent.
 
The Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 11,711.55 after closing at 11,669.15 on Monday. It traded at 11,684.95 during the morning trade session, up 15.80 points and 0.14 per cent.
 
On Monday, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) who have played a key role in pushing markets to fresh highs, bought Rs 898 crore worth of stocks, while Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs) off-loaded scrips valued Rs 1,032 crore.
 
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Former chairman of fraud-hit IL&FS nabbed by SFIO

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In its first arrest in its probe into fraud-hit Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on Monday arrested the lender's former chairman Hari Sankaran, an official statement said on Monday.
 
Sankaran was produced before a special court here which sent him to SFIO's custody till Thursday.
 
"Hari Sankaran has been arrested in connection with the ongoing investigations in to the affairs of IL&FS and its group entities.. He has been arrested on the grounds of abusing his powers in IL&FS Financial Services Ltd," the SFIO, which is probing IL&FS under provisions of the Companies Act, said.
 
It has accused Sankaran -- part of the erstwhile ILFS board -- of granting loans to entities that were not creditworthy or declared non-performing assets (NPAs), thus causing huge losses to the company and its creditors.
 
The IL&FS Financial Services Ltd had notched borrowings of over Rs 17,000 crore from debt instruments and bank loans.
 
Besides, provident, pension, gratuity and mutual funds, public and private sector banks were among who have invested in these debt instruments.
 
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Sensex hits all-time high, ends below 39k

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The benchmark Sensex closed slightly below the 39,000-mark -- after hitting an all-time high on the first day of FY19-20's trade -- over bets of a RBI rate cut and a healthy Chinese factory data, allaying fears of a global slowdown to some extent.
 
Metal stocks ended with strong gains primarily owing to some relief in the slowdown concerns among investors after China reported an unexpectedly healthy factory data.
 
The BSE Sensex hit an all-time high of 39,115.57 along expected lines as the pivotal banking index on the NSE was consistently rising over sustained foreign institutional investments.
 
The Nifty, however, closed over 100 points short of its all-time high mark.
 
"Pre-election rally extended to the new financial year with increase in prospects of political stability, rate cut expectation from RBI and improvement in GST collection in March," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
The BSE Sensex closed 198.96 points or 0.51 per cent up at 38,871.87, while the Nifty ended 31.70 points or 0.27 per cent higher at 11,655.60.
 
Nair added that a better than expected Chinese economic data and surge in US' 10-year yield eased global growth concern which further added impetus to the sentiment. In spite of this, market gave up some gains towards closing due to strong resistance at 11,700 levels.
 
Experts noted that an expectation of a non-coalition government post the polls have given push to the benchmark indices ever since the poll dates were announced. 
 
"All-time high was on he cards as the force behind the trend looks intact for further gains that may push Nifty to march beyond 12k-mark and Sensex beyond 39,500," Mustafa Nadeem, CEO, Epic Research said.
 
"We believe there may be some minor profit booking in the short term as the hurdle around 39K and 11,750 levels. Dalal Street is also looking forward to RBI meet this week and expects a rate cut."
 
Lower inflation, lower interest rate scenario, dovish stance from Fed Reserve and liquidity-driven markets -- all these factors are favouring the current scenario, experts noted.
 
Tata stocks dominated the gainers' pack on the Sensex. Tata Motors(DVR) and Tata Motors surged over 7 per cent, while the Tata Steel jumped 2.66 per cent.
 
Other top gainers included were Vedanta, up 2.86 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, 2.73 per cent. 
 
The laggards were IndusInd Bank, down 2.22 per cent, followed by Mahindra and Mahindra, Axis Bank, Power Grid and HDFC declining in the range of 1 to 2 per cent.
 
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Sensex at record high, crosses 39,000

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The BSE Sensex on Monday touched a record high and crossed the 39,000 mark for the first time.
 
Around 10.15 a.m., the Sensex hit a fresh record of 38,993 points.
 
At 10.27 a.m, the Sensex traded at 39,015.26, higher by 342.35 points or 0.89 per cent from the previous close.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange also crossed the 11,700 mark for the first time since September 3, 2018.
 
It traded at 11,710.25, higher by 86.35 points or 0.74 per cent from the previous close of 11,623.90 points.
 
A rise in the Asian indices, along with healthy buying in the auto, capital goods and metal stocks supported the gains in the domestic indices, analysts said.
 
IANS

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Equity indices open in green, Sensex up 270 points

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The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Monday, the first trading day of the financial year 2019-20, with the BSE Sensex trading around 270 points higher.
 
A rise in the Asian indices, along with healthy buying in the auto, capital goods and metal stocks supported the gains in the domestic indices, analysts said.
 
At 9.23 a.m., the Sensex traded at 38,942.91, higher by 270 points or 0.70 per cent from the previous close of 38,672.91 points.
 
It had opened at 38,858.88, and so far touched an intra-day high 38,945.79 and a low of 38,844.81 points.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,692.30, higher by 68.40 points or 0.59 per cent from the previous close of 11,623.90 points.
 
IANS

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IPL: Punjab fight back to restrict Mumbai at 176/7

Kings XI Punjab's Mohammed Shami in action during the ninth IPL 2019 match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians at Punjab Cricket Association I S Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Punjab on March 30, 2019. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Kings XI Punjab's Mohammed Shami in action during the ninth IPL 2019 match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians at Punjab Cricket Association I S Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Punjab on March 30, 2019. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
An impressive bowling effort helped Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) restrict Mumbai Indians to 176/7 in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the PCA I. S. Bindra Stadium here on Saturday.
 
Mohammed Shami, Hardus Viljoen and Andrew Tye scalped two wickets each but leaked runs, while Murugan Ashwin impressed with figures of 2/25 from his four overs. 
 
On the other hand, Mumbai were helped by valuable contributions from Quinton de Kock (60 off 39) and Hardik Pandya (31 off 19) while skipper Rohit Sharma also chipped in with 32 off 18 balls. 
 
It was the regular jolts by Punjab bowlers which hurt Mumbai's chances of putting a huge total.
 
Asked to bat first, openers de Kock and Sharma gave a perfect start to Mumbai, putting on 50 runs in the first five overs. However, Viljoen then dealt the first breakthrough by trapping Sharma plumb in front in the sixth over.
 
Murugan also struck soon to send back new batsman Suryakumar Yadav (11). 
 
de Kock and Yuvraj Singh then anchored Mumbai's innings with a 58-run partnership before Shami cut short the former's stay.
 
With 126 runs on board, Mumbai lost Yuvraj for 18 when the southpaw holed out to Shami off Murugan.
 
Mumbai then lost Keiron Pollard (7) and Krunal Pandya (10) cheaply, but Hardik Pandya once again proved his worth by smashing a quickfire 19-ball 31 runs to help his team post a fighting total.
 
Brief scores
 
Mumbai Indians: 176/7 (Quinton de Kock 60, Rohit Sharma 32; Murugan Ashwin 2/25) vs Kings XI Punjab
 
IANS
 

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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 1.029 billion to $ 406.667 billion

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Continuing an uptrend for the sixth consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 1.029 billion to 406.667 billion during the week ended March 22, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had soared by $ 3.603 billion to $ 405.638 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 1.031 billion to $ 378.805 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 23.408 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went down by $ 0.7 million to $ 1.46 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 1.5 million to $ 2.9938 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Sensex ends 127 points up, Nifty up 54 points

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The key Indian equity indices ended the financial year 2018-19 on a positive note with the BSE Sensex closing 127 points higher on Friday.
 
Healthy buying in metal, auto and healthcare stocks supported the gains on the domestic indices, along with the positive cues from the Asian indices, analysts said.
 
The Sensex closed at 38,672.91, higher by 127.19 points or 0.33 per cent from the previous close of 38,545.72.
 
It had opened at 38,675 and touched an intra-day high of 38,748.54 and a low of 38,546.68 points.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange settled 53.90 points or 0.47 per cent higher at 11,623.90 points.
 
Appreciation in the rupee during the day also supported the investor sentiments. The rupee closed at 69.15 on Friday, gaining 19 paise from the previous close of 69.34 per dollar.
 
The top gainers on the BSE were Vedanta, Tata Steel and Mahindra and Mahindra, while IndusInd Bank, ITC and Bajaj Auto lost the most.
 
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Urmila Matondkar is Congress candidate for Mumbai North seat

Actress Urmila Matondkar addressing mediapersons after joining the Congress in New Delhi, on March 27, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Actress Urmila Matondkar addressing mediapersons after joining the Congress in New Delhi, on March 27, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Well-known film actress Urmila Matondkar was today named by the Congress as its candidate for the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency.
 
"The Central Election Committee has approved the candidature of Smt. Urmila Matondkar as Congress candidate to contest the ensuing general elections to the Lok Sabha from 26 - Mumbai North Parliamentary constituency of Maharashtra," a press release from the All India Congress Committee (AICC), issued by its general secretary Mukul Wasnik, said.
 
Matondkar will face sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gopal Shetty in the constituency.
 
The 45-year-old actress, who had shot to fame as a child star in "Masoom" in 1983, had joined the Congress on March 27.
 
Bollywood star Govinda, contesting as a Congress candidate, had won the Mumbai North constituency in 2004, defeating former Union Petroleum Minister Ram Naik, now the Governor of Uttar Pradesh.
 
Mumbai's six Lok Sabha constituencies are going to the polls on April 29, along with 17 others in the state's fourth phase of elections.
 
Starting her film career as a seven-year old child star in a Marathi film, "Zaakol" (1980), Matondkar later got her first role in Bollywood in the Shashi Kapoor-Rekha starrer "Kalyug" (1981).
 
But, it was the highly-acclaimed Shekhar Kapur-directed film, "Masoom" (1983), that catapulted her to fame and significantly boosted her film career.
 
Later, she worked with some of the biggest actors in major films like "Dacait", "Bade Ghar Ki Beti", "Narasimha", "Chamatkara, "Aa Gale Lag Jaa" (opposite Jugal Hansraj, the child co-star of "Masoom"), "Rangeela", "Indian", "Judaai", "Daud", "Satya", "Kaun", "Mast", "Dillagi", "Khoobsurata, "Jungle", "Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya", "Ek Hasina Thi", "Om Jai Jagadeesh", "Bhoot", "Pinjar", "Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Maara" and "Speed", among others.
 
Besides, she has acted in Marathi and South Indian language films and several television serials.
 
(With inputs from IANS)
 
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Equity indices open in green, Sensex up 100 points

The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Friday with the BSE Sensex over 100 points.
 
The domestic indices rose in tandem with the rise in Asian markets, analysts said. Healthy buying in all the sectoral indices, led by telecom, metal and oil and gas stocks also supported the market.
 
At 9.30 a.m., the Sensex traded at 38,664.48, higher by 118.76 points or 0.31 per cent than the previous close of 38,545.72 points.
 
It had opened at 38,675 and till then touched an intra-day high of 38,748.54 and low of 38,664.48 points.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,613.30, higher by 43.30 points or 0.37 per cent from the previous close of 11,570 points.
 
IANS

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IPL: Mumbai pip Bangalore to clinch nail-biter

Mumbai Indians' Hardik Pandya in action during the seventh IPL 2019 match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on March 28, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Mumbai Indians' Hardik Pandya in action during the seventh IPL 2019 match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on March 28, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
In a match that went down to the wire, an unlucky Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) lost a thrilling Indian Premier League (IPL) contest to Mumbai Indians (MI) on Thursday by just six runs despite an all-out effort by AB de Villiers.
 
With de Villers (70 unbeaten off 41) on song, it looked Bangalore would overhaul the 188-run target well in time but Mumbai held its nerves to snatch their first win in this year's league.
 
de Villers, who knocked four boundaries and six hits into the stands, utilised the lifeline given to him well, as he was dropped by Yuvraj at slips off the very first delivery he faced.
 
Chasing the challenging target, Bangalore openers Moeen Ali (13 off 7) and Parthiv Patel started cautiously, putting up 17 runs in the initial three overs.
 
However, a brilliant direct hit by Rohit Sharma sent Ali back to the dug-out. Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli and Patel were then involved in a 40-run partnership, helping Bangalore cross the 50-run mark before Mayank Markande struck to get rid of the opener in the seventh over.
 
Kohli and de Villiers then anchored Bangalore's innings with some sensible shots and it seemed the duo would comfortably guide their team home. But Jasprit Bumrah came in as a major relief for the visitors, dismissing Kohli on 46.
 
Meanwhile, Kohli became the second player in the league's history to amass 5,000 runs.
 
Bangalore then lost Shimron Hetmyer cheaply (5), but de Villers kept one end intact and also notched up his 29th IPL half-century.
 
With the required run-rate rising as Bangalore needed 72 from the last six overs, the South African star shifted gears and started hitting the Mumbai bowlers all around the park.
 
With 17 required from final over, nothing went right for Mumbai as Shivam Dube clobbered Lasith Malinga for a maximum in the first delivery before Bumrah dropped the Bangalore batsman at point. However, Dube and de Villers failed to guide their team home as Bangalore fell six runs short.
 
For Mumbai, Bumrah (3/20) was the pick of the bowlers while Markande scalped one.
 
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Earlier, some valuable top-order contributions followed by Hardik Pandya's blitzkrieg helped Mumbai post a challenging 187/8 even as leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal shined for the hosts with a four-wicket haul.
 
Mumbai were looking good with the scoreboard reading 52/0 after six overs, but Chahal's arrival changed the scenario as the leggie returned with impressive figures of 4/38 before Hardik's (32 not out off 14) cameo brought Mumbai back into the game. 
 
Put in to bat, the visitors were off to a decent start, thanks to skipper Rohit (48 off 33) and Quinton de Kock (23 off 20). However, as soon as Kohli introduced Chahal in the seventh over, the spinner removed de Kock to put brakes on the 54-run opening stand.
 
Rohit and Suryakumar Yadav then tried to stablise the Mumbai innings, adding 33 runs for the second wicket before Umesh Yadav delivered a major breakthrough by dismissing the well-settled Mumbai skipper.
 
It was then up to Yuvraj Singh and Suryakumar to put things back in control and the duo succeeded a bit, adding 37 runs. Yuvraj, who tried his best to up the ante with a 12-ball 23, couldn't stay long in the middle as Chahal applied brakes on the veteran's inning with the Mumbai scoreboard reading 124/3 in 13.4 overs.
 
Before his dismissal, Yuvraj smashed Chahal for three consecutive sixes. However, the spinner had the last laugh.
 
Chahal looked unstoppable as he soon sent back Suryakumar for 38. The Mumbai middle-order then witnessed a collapse with Kieron Pollard (5), Krunal Pandya (1) and Mitchell McClenaghan (1) departing in quick succession with 147 runs on board after 17.1 overs.
 
However, Hardik's lusty blows towards the end of innings helped the visitors post a fighting total.
 
Apart from Chahal, Umesh and Mohammed Siraj picked two wickets each.
 
Brief scores: Mumbai Indians 187/8 (Rohit Sharma 48, Suryakumar Yadav 38, Hardik Pandya 32*; Yuzvendra Chahal 4/38) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (AB de Villiers 70 not out, Virat Kohli 46; Jasprit Bumrah 3/20) by 6 runs.
 
NNN
 

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Mumbai recover to post 187/8 against RCB after Hardik cameo

Some valuable top-order contributions followed by Hardik Pandya's blitzkrieg helped Mumbai Indians post a challenging 187/8 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) even as leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal shined for the hosts with a four-wicket haul.
 
Mumbai were looking good with the scoreboard reading 52/0 after six overs, but Chahal's arrival changed the scenario as the leggie returned with impressive figures of 4/38 before Hardik's (32 not out off 14) cameo brought Mumbai back into the game. 
 
Put in to bat, the visitors were off to a decent start, thanks to skipper Rohit Sharma (48 off 33) and Quinton de Kock (23 off 20). However, as soon as Kohli introduced Chahal in the seventh over, the spinner removed de Kock to put the brakes on the 54-run opening stand.
 
Rohit and Suryakumar Yadav then tried to stablise the Mumbai innings, adding 33 runs for the second wicket before Umesh Yadav delivered a major breakthrough by dismissing the well-settled Mumbai skipper.
 
It was then up to Yuvraj Singh and Suryakumar to put things back in control and the duo succeeded a bit, adding 37 runs. Yuvraj, who tried his best to up the ante with a 12-ball 23, couldn't stay long in the middle as Chahal applied brakes on the veteran's inning with the Mumbai scoreboard reading 124/3 in 13.4 overs.
 
Before his dismissal, Yuvraj smashed Chahal for three consecutive sixes. However, the spinner had the last laugh.
 
Chahal looked unstoppable as he soon sent back Suryakumar for 38. The Mumbai middle-order then witnessed a collapse with Kieron Pollard (5), Krunal Pandya (1) and Mitchell McClenaghan (1) departing in quick succession with 147 runs on board after 17.1 overs.
 
However, Hardik's lusty blows towards the end of the innings helped the visitors post a fighting total.
 
Apart from Chahal, Umesh and Mohammed Siraj picked two wickets each.
 
Brief scores:
 
Mumbai Indians 187/8 (Rohit Sharma 48, Suryakumar Yadav 38, Hardik Pandya 32*; Yuzvendra Chahal 4/38) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
 
IANS
 

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FII inflows; derivatives expiry lift equity indices

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Fresh inflows of foreign funds along with March derivatives expiry pushed the key Indian equity market indices higher by around 1 per cent each on Thursday.
 
Consequently, the S&P BSE Sensex closed 412.84 points higher at 1.08 per cent to 38,545.72 points, while the NSE Nifty50 jumped to 124.95 point or 1.09 per cent at 11,570 points.
 
Accordingly, the gains were led by the banking and IT stocks, with the Bank Nifty touching fresh high level.
 
"Markets witnessed a hefty rally on Thursday, as it resumed its uptrend after the sell-off seen in the early morning and late afternoon session. It was also the derivative expiry day of the March series," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.
 
According to Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services: "Benchmark indices outperformed the broader indices in the expiry day supported by banks and IT. Bank Nifty propelled to a new high in expectation of rate cut from RBI next week and recapitalisation of banks."
 
"Besides, the slid in India's 10-yr bond yield further raised the possibility of rate cut. Global economic growth concerns and Feds dovish view on rates will give a positive impetus to emerging markets like India."
 
The top gainers on Sensex were HCL Tech, State Bank of India (SBI), Yes Bank, Axis Bank and Sun Pharma which surge in the range of 3 to 2 per cent.
 
The losers in the Sensex pack were ONGC, Bajaj Auto, PowerGrid, NTPC and Mahindra and Mahindra declined up to 1 to 0.70 per cent. 
 
IANS
 

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