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Sensex slips 286 points after RBI cuts growth forecast

In a bid to strike a balance between the "inadequate" 25 basis points (bps) and "excessive" 50 bps, the RBI on Wednesday slashed key policy rates by an unconventional 35 bps, but markets slid as it revised down the economy's growth forecast.
 
Metal, PSU banks, auto and realty stocks contributed most to Sensex's 286-point  fall after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) lowered the economy's projection of real GDP growth from 7 to 6.9 per cent for 2019-20.
 
The Sensex closed 286.35 points or 0.77 per cent lower at 36,690.50, while the broader Nifty slipped by 92.75 points to 10,855.50.
 
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the downward adjustment in the GDP growth projection was warranted by various high frequency indicators pointing to weakening of both domestic and external demand conditions.
 
"A downside risk to the lowered GDP forecast of 6.9 per cent in FY20 due to growth headwinds in global economy and slowdown in domestic consumption curtailed investors' sentiment," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.
 
Nair however, added that the RBI's balancing act by adding liquidity to NBFCs, agri and MSMEs will set the wheels of economy on a revival path in H2FY20.
 
India Bulls Housing Finance was the biggest loser of day, as it shed over 13 per cent followed by Tata Steel, Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra, which declined in the range of 4 to 6 per cent.
 
Growth slowdown is a major concern in the financial markets and central banks across the globe currently. Asia central banks signalled major concerns on Wednesday about the outlook for economic growth.
 
In reviewing the global developments, the MPC noted that global economic activity had slowed down since its meeting in June in an environment rendered hostile by elevated trade tensions and geo-political uncertainty.
 
New Zealand's central bank cut its official cash rate 50 basis points to a record low of 1 per cent. The Bank of Thailand followed suit, cutting its one-day repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 1.5 per cent.
 
IANS
 

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75,000 flood-affected persons evacuated in Maharashtra

NDRF personnel carrying out rescue operations in Maharashtra's flood-affected Nashik on August 5, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
NDRF personnel carrying out rescue operations in Maharashtra's flood-affected Nashik on August 5, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
In one of the biggest operations, various government agencies and the armed forces have rescued and evacuated around 75,000 flood-affected people, including 66,000 from the worst affected Kolhapur and Sangli districts, officials said here on Wednesday.
 
While more than 54,000 were shifted from Sangli, another 12,000 were moved from Kolhapur, 3,000 from Pune and 6,000 others from Solapur, Raigad, Ratnagiri and other districts, said the officials.
 
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, along with Revenue Minister and Kolhapur Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh, Public Works Department Minister Eknath Shinde, and Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam, reviewed the flood situation in south-western parts of Maharashtra.
 
Collectors from various affected districts of Konkan, south and western Maharashtra informed Fadnavis of the flood crises in their respective areas during a video-conference here this afternoon.
 
Fadnavis has directed the district authorities to make alternate arrangements for drinking water, food, medicines and other essential items for the affected people on a priority basis, besides sharing information on water discharged from various overflowing dams with the Indian Railways on a regular basis.
 
"Around 22 NDRF and SDRF teams are deployed in these regions. Besides, teams of Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are also engaged in rescue and relief efforts," the Chief Minister said.
 
He also directed the Health Ministry to make available medical teams from Mumbai for these districts in case of any requirements by local authorities, besides ensuring special care for children and women. A total of 162 medical teams are kept ready and shall be dispatched as demanded by the local authorities.
 
"All necessary items like medicines must be made available on top priority, the health authorities must ensure there is no outbreak of any diseases. Immediate survey of the damage to crops must also be carried out in these districts," said Fadnavis.
 
A defence spokesperson here said that five teams of the Indian Navy left for Kolhapur and Sangli on Tuesday evening, and another five teams departed on Wednesday.
 
Initially it was planned to airlift people from affected regions, but on two consecutive days (Tuesday and Wednesday), helicopters flew up to Kolhapur but were forced to return to base due to heavy rains, poor visibility and adverse conditions.
 
Accordingly, the rescue teams left from Pune by road overnight armed with rescue gears, but inflatable rubber boats will be airlifted by an IAF AN-32 aircraft to Kolhapur and to other affected areas as decided by the district authorities.
 
Simultaneously, the Goa Naval Area has sent four teams of divers for rescue in Kolhapur, said the official.
 
The teams were flown from INS Hansa in Goa for the Kolhapur airfield where they have joined other teams in coordination with the district officials.
 
For the sixth consecutive day today, parts of Pune, Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli continued to be hammered by incessant rains, submerging large areas of land, fields, villages, towns and cities, hitting both road and rail traffic badly.
 
IANS
 

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Veteran filmmaker J. Om Prakash passes away at 93

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Veteran film director and actor Hrithik Roshan's maternal grandfather J. Om Prakash breathed his last at his residence here on Wednesday morning. He was 93.
 
Sharing the news of his uncle's demise, actor Deepak Parashar tweeted: "My dearest uncle Mr J. Om Prakash passed away about an hour ago. So saddened as he joins his friend, my Mamaji Mr Mohan Kumar in heaven! Their contributions to Indian cinema is a gift they left behind for us!"
 
Parashar also shared a photograph of Prakash with his tweet. "Took this pic few months ago when went to see him! Om Shanti!," he wrote.
 
The veteran filmmaker directed movies like Rajesh Khanna-starrer "Aap Ki Kasam" (1974), "Aakhir Kyon?" (1985) and "Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka" (1977), Dharmendra and Hema Malini starrer "Aas Paas" (1981), Rajinikanth and Rakesh Roshan and Sridevi starrer "Bhagwan Dada" (1986). 
 
As a producer, he had to his credit movies like "Aaye Din Bahar Ke" (1966), "Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke" (1969), "Aandhi" (1975) and "Aankhon Aankhon Mein" (1972).
 
His funeral will be held today at Pawan Hans Vile Parle (West) in Mumbai.
 
IANS

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Full Text: RBI's Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20

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Following is the text of the Reserve Bank of India's Third 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 35 basis points (bps) from 5.75 per cent to 5.40 per cent with immediate effect.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands revised to 5.15 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 5.65 per cent.
 
• The MPC also decided to maintain the accommodative stance of monetary policy.
 
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. Global economic activity has slowed down since the meeting of the MPC in June 2019, amidst elevated trade tensions and geopolitical uncertainty. Among advanced economies (AEs), GDP growth in the US decelerated in Q2:2019 on weak business fixed investment. In the Euro area too, GDP growth moderated in Q2 on worsening external conditions. Economic activity in the UK was  subdued in Q2 with waning consumer confidence on account of Brexit related uncertainty and weak industrial production. In Japan, available data on industrial production and consumer confidence suggest that growth is likely to be muted in Q2.
 
3. Economic activity remained weak in major emerging market economies (EMEs), pulled down mainly by slowing external demand. The Chinese economy decelerated to a multi-year low in Q2, while in Russia subdued economic activity in Q1 continued into Q2 on slowing exports and retail sales. In Brazil, the economy is struggling to gain momentum after contracting in Q1 on weak service sector activity and declining industrial production. Economic activity in South Africa appears to be losing pace in Q2 as the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) contracted for the sixth month in succession in June and business confidence remained weak.
 
4. Crude oil prices fell sharply in mid-May on excess supplies from an increase in non-OPEC production, combined with a further weakening of demand. Consequently, extension of OPEC production cuts in early July did not have much impact on prices. Gold prices have risen sharply since the last week of May, propelled by increased safe-haven demand amidst rising downside risks to growth and a worsening geopolitical situation. Inflation remained benign in major advanced and emerging market economies.
 
5. Financial markets were driven by the monetary policy stances of major central banks and intensifying geopolitical tensions. In the US, the equity market recovered most of the losses suffered in May, boosted by dovish guidance by the US Fed and some transient respite in trade tensions with China. EM stocks lagged behind their developed market counterparts, mainly reflecting the weak performance of Chinese and South Korean stocks. Bond yields in the US, which were already trading with a softening bias on increased probability of policy rate cuts, fell markedly in early August on escalation of trade tensions. Bond yields in some more member countries in the Euro area moved into negative territory as expectations of more accommodative monetary policy by the European Central Bank gained traction. In EMEs, bond yields edged lower on more accommodative guidance by systemic central banks. In currency markets, the US dollar weakened against major currencies in June on dovish guidance by the US Fed but appreciated in July. EME currencies, which traded with an appreciating bias in July, depreciated in early August on escalation of trade tensions.
 
Domestic Economy
 
6. On the domestic front, the south-west monsoon gained intensity and spread with the cumulative rainfall 6 per cent below the long-period average (LPA) up to August 6, 2019. In terms of its spatial distribution, 25 of the 36 sub-divisions received normal or excess rainfall as against 28 sub-divisions last year. The total area sown under kharif crops was 6.6 per cent lower as on August 2 than a year ago. The live storage in major reservoirs on August 1 was at 33 per cent of the full reservoir level as compared with 45 per cent a year ago. Rainfall during the second half of the season (August-September) has been forecast to be normal by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
 
7. Industrial growth, measured by the index of industrial production (IIP), moderated in May 2019, pulled down by manufacturing and mining even as electricity generation picked up on strong demand. In terms of the use-based classification, the production of capital goods and consumer durables decelerated. However, consumer non-durables accelerated for the third consecutive month in May. The growth in the index of eight core industries decelerated in June, dragged down by a contraction in petroleum refinery products, crude oil, natural gas and cement. Capacity utilisation (CU) in the manufacturing sector, measured by the order books, inventory and capacity utilisation survey (OBICUS) of the Reserve Bank rose marginally to 76.1 per cent in Q4:2018-19 from 75.9 per cent in Q3; seasonally adjusted CU, however, fell to 74.5 per cent in Q4 from 75.6 per cent in Q3.
 
The Reserve Bank’s business assessment index (BAI) for Q1:2019-20 improved marginally, supported by a modest recovery in profit margins of the surveyed firms even as production and order books slowed. The manufacturing PMI rose to 52.5 in July from 52.1 in June, underpinned by a pickup in production, higher new orders and optimism on demand conditions in the year ahead.
 
8. High frequency indicators of services sector activity for May-June present a mixed picture. Tractor and motorcycle sales – indicators of rural demand – continued to contract. Amongst indicators of urban demand, passenger vehicle sales contracted for the eighth consecutive month in June; however, domestic air passenger traffic growth turned positive in June after three consecutive months of contraction. Commercial vehicle sales slowed down even after adjusting for base effects. Construction activity indicators slackened, with contraction in cement production and slower growth in finished steel consumption in June. Import of capital goods – a key indicator of investment activity – contracted in June. The services PMI expanded to 53.8 in July from 49.6 in June on increase in new business activity, new export orders and employment.
 
9. Retail inflation, measured by y-o-y change in the CPI, edged up to 3.2 per cent in June from 3.0 per cent in April-May, driven by food inflation, even as fuel inflation and CPI inflation excluding food and fuel moderated.
 
10. Inflation in the food group rose to 2.4 per cent in June from 2.0 per cent in May and 1.4 per cent in April, caused by a sharp pick up in prices of meat and fish, pulses and vegetables. Inflation also edged up in cereals, milk, spices and prepared meals. However, inflation in eggs and nonalcoholic beverages softened. Prices of fruits, and sugar and confectionery remained in deflation in June.
 
11. Inflation in the fuel and light group moderated in June, with electricity moving into deflation. Fuels such as firewood and chips, and dung cake have been in deflation from April. Inflation in liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and subsidised kerosene prices, however, remained elevated.
 
12. CPI inflation excluding food and fuel fell by 50 basis points to 4.1 per cent in May from 4.6 per cent in April, and remained unchanged in June. The softness in inflation in this category was broad-based across clothing and footwear; household goods and services; transport and communication; and recreation and amusement. Housing inflation remained unchanged over the last three months. Despite some moderation, inflation in the health sub-group remained elevated. Inflation in personal care and effects edged up in June due to a resurgence in gold prices.
 
13. Inflation expectations of households remained unchanged in the July 2019 round of the Reserve Bank’s survey for the three months ahead horizon as compared with the previous round, but they moderated by 20 basis points for the one year ahead horizon. Input cost pressures from prices of agricultural and industrial raw materials continued to ease in May and June. Nominal growth in rural wages was muted, while growth in staff costs in the manufacturing sector eased in Q1. Manufacturing firms participating in the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey expect input cost pressures to soften on account of lower raw material costs in Q2.
 
14. Liquidity in the system was in large surplus in June-July 2019 due to (i) return of currency to the banking system; (ii) drawdown of excess cash reserve ratio (CRR) balances by banks; (iii) open market operation (OMO) purchase auctions; and (iv) the Reserve Bank’s foreign exchange market operations. The Reserve Bank absorbed liquidity of Rs 51,710 crore in June, Rs 1,30,931 crore in July and Rs 2,04,921 crore in August (up to August 6, 2019) on a daily net average basis under the LAF. Two OMO purchase auctions amounting to Rs 27,500 crore were conducted in June, thereby injecting durable liquidity into the system. The weighted average call money rate (WACR) – the operating target of monetary policy – was aligned with the policy repo rate in June, but it traded below the policy repo rate on a daily average basis by 14 bps in July and 17 bps in August (up to August 6, 2019). 
 
15. The transmission of policy repo rate cuts to the weighted average lending rates (WALRs) on fresh rupee loans of banks has improved marginally since the last meeting of the MPC. Overall, banks reduced their WALR on fresh rupee loans by 29 bps during the current easing phase so far (February-June 2019).
 
16. Merchandise exports contracted in June 2019, weighed down by the subdued performance of gems and jewellery, petroleum products, rice, engineering goods and cotton. After a modest increase in May, imports also contracted in June, impacted by falling prices of petroleum products and reduced imports of pearls and precious stones, transport equipment, machinery, metalliferous ores, chemicals and fertilisers. As the fall in imports was larger than that of exports, the trade deficit declined modestly during May-June on a y-o-y basis. Provisional data suggest a sequential decline in net services exports in May 2019. On the financing side, net foreign direct investment flows moderated to US$ 6.8 billion in April-May 2019 from US$ 7.9 billion a year ago. Net foreign portfolio investment (FPI) flows in the domestic capital market amounted to US$ 2.3 billion during the current financial year so far (up to August 5, 2019) as against net outflows of US$ 8.5 billion in the same period last year. India’s foreign exchange reserves were at US$ 429.0 billion on August 2, 2019 – an increase of US$ 16.1 billion over end-March 2019.
 
Outlook
 
17. In the second bi-monthly monetary policy resolution of June 2019, CPI inflation was projected at 3.0-3.1 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 3.4-3.7 per cent for H2:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced. The actual headline inflation outcome for Q1:2019-20 at 3.1 per cent was in alignment with these projections.
 
18. The baseline inflation trajectory for the next four quarters will be shaped by several factors. First, the uptick in food inflation may be sustained by price pressures in vegetables and pulses as more recent data suggest. Uneven spatial and temporal distribution of monsoon could exert some upward pressure on food items, though this risk is likely to be mitigated by the recent catch up in rainfall. Second, despite excess supply conditions, crude oil prices may likely remain volatile due to geo-political tensions in the Middle-East. Third, the outlook for CPI inflation excluding food and fuel remains soft. Manufacturing firms participating in the industrial outlook survey expect output prices to ease in Q2. Fourth, one year ahead inflation expectations of households polled by the Reserve Bank have moderated. Taking into consideration these factors and the impact of recent policy rate cuts, the path of CPI inflation is projected at 3.1 per cent for Q2:2019-20 and 3.5-3.7 per cent for H2:2019-20, with risks evenly balanced. CPI inflation for Q1:2020-21 is projected at 3.6 per cent. 
 
19. In the MPC’s June resolution, real GDP growth for 2019-20 was projected at 7.0 per cent – in the range of 6.4-6.7 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 7.2-7.5 per cent for H2 – with risks evenly balanced. Various high frequency indicators suggest weakening of both domestic and external demand conditions. The Business Expectations Index of the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey shows muted expansion in demand conditions in Q2, although a decline in input costs augurs well for growth. The impact of monetary policy easing since February 2019 is also expected to support economic activity, going forward. Moreover, base effects will turn favourable in H2:2019-20. Taking into consideration the above factors, real GDP growth for 2019-20 is revised downwards from 7.0 per cent in the June policy to 6.9 per cent – in the range of 5.8-6.6 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 7.3-7.5 per cent for H2 – with risks somewhat tilted to the downside; GDP growth for Q1:2020-21 is projected at 7.4 per cent.
 
20. The MPC notes that inflation is currently projected to remain within the target over a 12-month ahead horizon. Since the last policy, domestic economic activity continues to be weak, with the global slowdown and escalating trade tensions posing downside risks. Private consumption, the mainstay of aggregate demand, and investment activity remain sluggish. Even as past rate cuts are being gradually transmitted to the real economy, the benign inflation outlook provides headroom for policy action to close the negative output gap. Addressing growth concerns by boosting aggregate demand, especially private investment, assumes the highest priority at this juncture while remaining consistent with the inflation mandate.
 
21. All members of the MPC unanimously voted to reduce the policy repo rate and to maintain the accommodative stance of monetary policy. Four members (Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra, Shri Bibhu Prasad Kanungo and Shri Shaktikanta Das) voted to reduce the policy repo rate by 35 basis points, while two members (Dr. Chetan Ghate and Dr. Pami Dua) voted to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points.
 
22. The minutes of the MPC’s meeting will be published by August 21, 2019.
 
23. The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled during October 1, 3 and 4, 2019.
 
NNN

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RBI cuts repo rate by 35 bps to 5.40% to address growth concerns by boosting demand

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RBI logo
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today reduced its key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 35 basis points (bps) from 5.75% to 5.40%, saying that addressing growth concerns by boosting aggregate demand, especially private investment, assumed the highest priority at this juncture.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stood revised to 5.15% and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 5.65%, the central bank's Third Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20, based on the resolution of the MPC at its meeting here today.
 
The MPC also decided to maintain the accommodative stance of monetary policy.
 
"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 fourth 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, by 25 bps to 6.00% in its First Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20 on April 4 and by 25 bps to 5.75% in its Second Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2019-20 on June 6.
 
The statement noted that, in the second bi-monthly monetary policy resolution of June 2019, CPI inflation was projected at 3.0-3.1 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 3.4-3.7 per cent for H2:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced.
 
The actual headline inflation outcome for Q1:2019-20 at 3.1 per cent was in alignment with these projections.
 
"The baseline inflation trajectory for the next four quarters will be shaped by several factors. First, the uptick in food inflation may be sustained by price pressures in vegetables and pulses as more recent data suggest. Uneven spatial and temporal distribution of monsoon could exert some upward pressure on food items, though this risk is likely to be mitigated by the recent catch up in rainfall. Second, despite excess supply conditions, crude oil prices may likely remain volatile due to geo-political tensions in the Middle-East. Third, the outlook for CPI inflation excluding food and fuel remains soft. Manufacturing firms participating in the industrial outlook survey expect output prices to ease in Q2. Fourth, one year ahead inflation expectations of households polled by the Reserve Bank have moderated.
 
"Taking into consideration these factors and the impact of recent policy rate cuts, the path of CPI inflation is projected at 3.1 per cent for Q2:2019-20 and 3.5-3.7 per cent for H2:2019-20, with risks evenly balanced. CPI inflation for Q1:2020-21 is projected at 3.6 per cent," it said.
 
In the MPC’s June resolution, real GDP growth for 2019-20 was projected at 7.0 per cent – in the range of 6.4-6.7 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 7.2-7.5 per cent for H2 – with risks evenly balanced.
 
"Various high frequency indicators suggest weakening of both domestic and external demand conditions. The Business Expectations Index of the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey shows muted expansion in demand conditions in Q2, although a decline in input costs augurs well for growth. The impact of monetary policy easing since February 2019 is also expected to support economic activity, going forward. Moreover, base effects will turn favourable in H2:2019-20. Taking into consideration the above factors, real GDP growth for 2019-20 is revised downwards from 7.0 per cent in the June policy to 6.9 per cent – in the range of 5.8-6.6 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 7.3-7.5 per cent for H2 – with risks somewhat tilted to the downside; GDP growth for Q1:2020-21 is projected at 7.4 per cent.
 
"The MPC notes that inflation is currently projected to remain within the target over a 12-month ahead horizon. Since the last policy, domestic economic activity continues to be weak, with the global slowdown and escalating trade tensions posing downside risks. Private consumption, the mainstay of aggregate demand, and investment activity remain sluggish. Even as past rate cuts are being gradually transmitted to the real economy, the benign inflation outlook provides headroom for policy action to close the negative output gap. Addressing growth concerns by boosting aggregate demand, especially private investment, assumes the highest priority at this juncture while remaining consistent with the inflation mandate," the statement said.
 
According to it, all members of the MPC unanimously voted to reduce the policy repo rate and to maintain the accommodative stance of monetary policy.
 
Four members --  Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra, Mr. Bibhu Prasad Kanungo and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das -- voted to reduce the policy repo rate by 35 basis points, while two members -- Dr. Chetan Ghate and Dr. Pami Dua-- voted to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points.
 
The minutes of the MPC’s meeting will be published by August 21, 2019.  The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled during October 1, 3 and 4, 2019.
 
NNN
 

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Sensex, Nifty flat ahead of MPC results

Sensex and Nifty on Wednesday traded on a flat note ahead of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) policy rates announcement later in the day.
 
The RBI is widely expected to go for a 25 basis points rate cut amid a widespread slowdown in the Indian economy. Except for metal stocks most other sectoral indices traded in the green.
 
The benchmark Sensex opened at 37,025.27, higher from its Tuesday's close of 36,976.85.
 
At 9.49 a.m., the Sensex traded 73 points higher at 37,049.85. The broader Nifty also traded 15.70 points higher at 10,963.95.
 
Meanwhile, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) continued to sell Indian stocks. On Monday, FPIs offloaded stocks worth Rs 2,107.93 crore.
 
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Markets turn red after opening in green

The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a positive note but soon entered the negative zone.
 
The Sensex of the BSE opened at 37,025.27 and touched a high of 37,037.60 and a low of 36,916.68. It is trading at 36,908.08 down by 68.77 points or 0.19 per cent from its Tuesday's close at 36,976.85.
 
On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 10,958.10 after closing at 10,948.25.
 
The Nifty is trading at 10,938.15 points in the morning.
 
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Sensex gains 277 pts on FM's word to FPIs, rate cut hopes

Investors cheered Monday's decision by the government to hold discussions with stakeholders over the taxation surcharge on the super-rich category, which has triggered a massive outflow of foreign funds.
 
Hopes of further easing of key lending rates and attractive valuations buoyed the Indian equity markets on Tuesday with the S&P BSE Sensex gaining 277.01 points, or 0.75 per cent, to close at 36,976.85. 
 
Similarly, the NSE Nifty50 gained 85.65 points or 0.79 per cent to close at 10,948.25 points.
 
On sector specific basis, healthy buying was witnessed in the banking, auto and metal stocks.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex opened at 36,568.03 from its Monday's close of 36,699.84 and hit an intra-day high of 37,241.77 and low of 36,536.59 before settling at 36,976.85.
 
On Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she would meet FPIs over the issues faced by them. "I have made it absolutely clear that if there are FPIs who want to tell me something, I am quite open to hearing out what they have to say. We have not just left it at that," she said. The list of meetings included discussions with the stock market and investor representatives, she added.
 
The Finance Minister said the DEA Secretary (Atanu Chakraborty) had also taken out some time to meet FPIs separately and have their views. "I will also meet the FPIs at that DEA Secretary's meeting," she said.
 
The budget proposal of taxation surcharge on the super-rich category caused massive outflows of foreign funds. Market participants fear that once implemented, the move will adversely impact FPIs, which are set up as non-corporate vehicles. 
 
Typically, FPIs are set up as trusts or limited partnerships in their home jurisdictions. The definition of a partnership firm under the Indian tax law refers to the Indian Partnership Act, which does not recognise foreign partnerships or limited partnerships. 
 
"Market recouped Monday's losses, aided by broad-based buying across sectors supported by the Finance Minister's decision to have a discussion with FPIs amid continued outflow," said Vinod Nair, Head Of Research at Geojit Financial Services. Global cues were positive due to China's step to prevent further slide in the yuan, he added.
 
The hope for a 25 basis point rate cut on Wednesday too extended some support to the trend, Nair said. 
 
According to Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research for HDFC Securities, "technically, while the Nifty has bounced back, the underlying short-term trend remains down."
 
"Further downsides are likely once the immediate support of 10,826 is broken. Any further pullback rallies could find resistance at 11,018-11,080," Jasani said.
 
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Reliance, BP to form JV for retailing auto, aviation fuels

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Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BP today said they had agreed to form a new joint venture that will include a retail station network and aviation fuels business across India. 
 
"Building on Reliance’s existing Indian fuel retailing network and an aviation fuel business, the partners expect the venture to expand rapidly to help meet the country’s fast-growing demand for energy and mobility," a press release from the two companies.
 
This is a further development of RIL and BP’s longstanding partnership, which began in 2011 and expanded in 2017 including agreement to seek options to work together to develop differentiated fuels and mobility businesses, it said.
 
According to the release, India is expected to be the fastest-growing fuels market in the world over the next 20 years, with the number of passenger cars in the country estimated to grow almost six-fold over the period. RIL and BP’s venture will incorporate and build on RIL’s current fuel retailing network of over 1,400 sites across India, which the partners aim to grow rapidly to up to 5,500 sites over the next five years.
 
This joint venture will also include RIL’s aviation fuels business, which currently operates at over 30 airports across India, providing participation in this rapidly-growing market.
 
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, and Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive of BP, signed heads of agreement for the venture in Mumbai today.
 
Ambani said: “We are delighted to expand our partnership with BP, one of the global leaders in the fuel-retailing sector. This partnership is a testimony to the strong ties between BP and Reliance. Our robust partnership in developing gas resources in India has now expanded to fuel retailing and aviation fuels. This transformative partnership will deepen our engagement with the consumers in further enhancing the world-class services across the country.”
 
Dudley said: “India is set to be the world’s largest growth market for energy by the mid-2020s. BP is already a large investor here and we see further attractive, strategic opportunities to support this growth. We are working closely with Reliance to develop India’s gas resources, helping meet the country’s demand for that key fuel. Together we will work to provide consumers across India the high-quality fuels, convenience retail and services they need, continuing to drive modernisation and mobility solutions across the country.”
 
The release said the partners have agreed to set up a new joint venture company, held 51% by RIL and 49% by BP, that will assume ownership of RIL’s existing Indian fuel retail network and access its aviation fuel business. It is anticipated that final agreements will be reached during 2019 and, subject to regulatory and other customary approvals, the transaction will be completed in the first half of 2020, it said.
 
The new venture will seek to offer Indian consumers high-quality differentiated fuels and services at its network of sites, benefitting from RIL’s extensive retail business experience and market-leading access and digital connection to consumers through its Jio digital platform.
 
BP will bring its international experience in convenience and fuel retailing and aviation operations. Castrol lubricants will also be available across the venture’s network.
 
"The venture will seek to expand its reach, broadening access through mobile fuelling units and providing packaged fuels to customers, including home delivery," the release said.
 
The venture is also expected to benefit from access to competitive fuels supplies from RIL’s Jamnagar refining complex in Gujarat on the west coast of India, the world’s largest refinery complex. 
 
After initial co-operation from 2008 in exploration offshore India, BP and RIL entered into their current partnership in 2011 when BP acquired a 30% interest in RIL’s portfolio of exploration and production interests offshore India, including the major producing KG D6 gas-producing block off the east coast. More recently, since 2017 the partners have sanctioned three new gas developments in the KG D6 block.
 
Since formation of this partnership in 2011, the two companies have invested over $2 billion in deep-water exploration and production to date. In addition to the D55 gas discovery announced in 2013, the partnership has combined BP’s technology and skills with RIL’s execution and operational capability to sustain production from the geologically complex reservoirs in D1D3 in KG D6. This has included the deployment of world-leading technologies for production from deep-water gas fields for the first time in India.
 
The partners have recently sanctioned three new developments in the KG D6 block: the ‘R-Series’ fields in 2017, the Satellites cluster in 2018 and the MJ project earlier this year. With a total investment of around $5 billion, development of the three projects together is expected to produce a total of around 1 billion cubic feet of gas a day. The first project, the R-Series development, is expected onstream in 2020.
 
India Gas Solutions Private Limited, a 50:50 joint venture to source and market gas in India, is also part of BP’s gas value chain alliance with RIL.
 
With its many investments in India and employing around 7,500 people in the oil, gas, lubricants and petrochemicals businesses, BP is one of the largest international energy companies in India. In addition to its gas value chain alliance with Reliance Industries Ltd., BP’s activities include Castrol lubricants; the licensing of competitive petrochemical technologies; oil and gas trading; clean energy projects through investment in Lightsource BP; IT and procurement back-office activities; staffing and training for BP’s global marine fleet; and the recruitment of skilled Indian employees for its global businesses.
 
RIL is India’s largest private sector company, with a consolidated turnover of INR 622,809 crore ($90.1 billion), cash profit of INR 64,478 crore ($ 9.3 billion), and net profit of INR 39,588 crore ($5.7 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2019. RIL’s activities span hydrocarbon exploration and production, petroleum refining and marketing, petrochemicals, retail and digital services.
 
RIL is the topmost ranked company from India to feature in Fortune’s Global 500 list of ‘World’s Largest Corporations’ – currently ranking 106th in terms of both revenues and profits. The company stands 71st in the ‘Forbes Global 2000’ rankings for 2019 – top-most among Indian companies. It ranks 10th among LinkedIn’s ‘The Best Companies to Work For In India’ (2019).
 
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AustralianSuper and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to invest up to $ 2 billion through NIIF

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The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India today said that AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest superannuation fund, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers’), Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan, have each signed agreements for investments of up to $ 1 billion with the NIIF Master Fund.  
 
The agreements include commitments of $ 250 million each in the Master Fund and co-investment rights of up to USD 750 million each in future opportunities alongside the Fund, a press release from NIIF said.
 
This marks the third close of the NIIF Master Fund. AustralianSuper and Ontario Teachers’ will now join the Government of India (GOI), Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Temasek, HDFC Group, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance and Axis Bank as investors in the Fund. 
 
AustralianSuper and Ontario Teachers’ will also become shareholders in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited, NIIF’s investment management company. Domestic investors HDFC Life and Kotak Bank have further committed Rs 600 million in the third round.
 
"With this, NIIF Master Fund becomes the largest infrastructure fund in India with assets under management of over USD 1.8 billion and a co-investment pool of USD 2.5 billion, which will enable the Fund to invest at the scale required for the large infrastructure requirements in India. The Fund invests in equity capital in core infrastructure sectors in India with a focus on transportation, energy and urban infrastructure.  The Master Fund, has a tenure of 15 years and is denominated in Indian Rupees to suit the requirements of the infrastructure sector," the release said.
 
Sujoy Bose, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of NIIF, said: “We are delighted to welcome two of the world’s leading pension funds as investors in the NIIF Master Fund and as shareholders of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited, alongside other eminent investors. AustralianSuper and Ontario Teachers’ are among the most respected infrastructure investors in the world and bring considerable global perspective and value to NIIF.  Their significant investments demonstrate the international interest in Indian infrastructure and reconfirms the many strengths of NIIF, which positions it as one of the primary Indian pooling vehicles for global capital”.
 
Dale Burgess, Senior Managing Director, Infrastructure & Natural Resources of Ontario Teachers’, said: “NIIF's investment strategy aligns with the long-term and partner-oriented investing approach we have successfully used in other regions.”
 
Ben Chan, Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Ontario Teachers’, said: “A commitment to NIIF will substantially bolster Ontario Teachers’ presence in India, providing us with on-the-ground market insights and capabilities to be well-positioned in a large market with significant expected growth.”
 
Mark Delaney, Chief Investment Officer with AustralianSuper, said: “India's burgeoning infrastructure market is among the largest in Asia, which presents many opportunities for investment. We are pleased to have entered into this agreement with the NIIF Master Fund and to be shareholders of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited and look forward to participating in a strong pipeline of projects across a range of sectors.”
 
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Sensex up 200 points, auto, PSU banks gain

The Sensex and the Nifty on Tuesday gained over 200 points during early trade after they opened in the red amid heightened US-China trade spat and tension in the Jammu and Kashmir region.
 
Buying was seen in heavily beaten down auto and PSU bank stocks.
 
The benchmark Sensex opened at 36,568.03, lower from its Monday's close of 36,699.84.
 
At 9.38 a.m., the Sensex traded 208.87 points higher at 36,908.71, while the Nifty also gained nearly 50 points to 10,912.15.
 
The Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) continued to sell Indian stocks. On Monday FPIs offloaded stocks worth Rs 2,016.73 crore.
 
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday proposed to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and said the state will be split into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
 
Making the historic announcement in the Rajya Sabha that triggered bedlam, Shah said: "I am presenting the resolution to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir except the first clause 370 (1)."
 
Global markets came under stress after the renewed trade tension between US-China. US imposed 10 per cent tariffs on about $300 billion of Chinese goods.
 
IANS
 

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Retrospective of V S Gaitonde's paintings begins in Mumbai

One of the works of artist V S Gaitonde on view in the retrospective of his works that has opened in Mumbai.
One of the works of artist V S Gaitonde on view in the retrospective of his works that has opened in Mumbai.
A three-month retrospective of one of India's best-known artists Vasudeo S. Gaitonde has  begun at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum here.
 
The exhibition "V.S. Gaitonde: The Silent Observer" will conclude on November 3. It began on Saturday, and is organised by the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation.
 
Nagpur-born Gaitonde (1924-2001) went to the Sir J. J. School of Art and was considered an abstract painter, but preferred calling his work "non-objective". He believed that "there is no such thing as abstract art." Gaitonde was also asked to join the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group, which comprised M. F. Husain, S .H. Raza, Tyeb Mehta, and F. N. Souza, among other big names.
 
Armed with a roller and palette knives to create his own layered texture, he worked with various media. "Gaitonde's paintings, evocative of subliminal depths, are known for their spiritual quality and characteristic silence...the textural structure along with the interplay of colour is the main aspect of his works," the gallery said in a note on the exhibition
 
The exhibition brings together, for the first time, works from two iconic collections that date back to the early 1950s -- from the Jehangir Nicholson collection and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research collection.
 
It includes works from Pundole Art Gallery, one of Mumbai's first galleries that began a relationship with the artist from his earliest days as a painter. 
 
Gaitonde's work has been exhibited at several exhibitions in India and abroad. In 2014-2015, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York organised a major retrospective of the artist's works, titled "V S Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life".
 
IANS
 

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Trade war, Kashmir issue dent rupee to biggest fall in 6 years

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The impact of the US-China trade war along with domestic political factors led the Indian rupee to its biggest fall since September 2013 on Monday.
 
Global cues, such as a rise in protectionist measures along with a massive fall in the Chinese Yuan and other emerging markets (EMs) currencies, dented the Indian rupee.
 
Additionally, the abrogation of Article 370 which provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir, spooked foreign investors, further impacting the rupee. 
 
The Indian rupee weakened to 70.7350 per US dollar from its previous close of 69.6013.
 
The currency had opened at 70.06 to a greenback. It ranged, thereafter, between 70.06-70.7350 to a dollar.
 
"The rupee suffered one of its biggest falls today on the back of the heightened trade tensions between the US and China which led the Chinese yuan to depreciate to 7 per USD," Anindya Banerjee, senior currency analyst at Kotak Securities, told IANS.
 
"Apart from trade war, the abrogation of Article 370 and consequent domestic political tensions too weighed heavy on the rupee; as FIIs sold over Rs 2,000 crore in the equity segment." 
 
Besides, market observers cited an apparent intervention from the central bank to defend the currency. 
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is known to intervene in the markets via intermediaries to buy or sell US dollars to keep the rupee in a stable orbit.
 
According to Sajal Gupta, Head Forex and Rates, Edelweiss Securities: "The rupee depreciated in tandem with other Asian currencies. CNY depreciated to an 11-year low, the rupee too followed the same path and depreciated almost 1.7 per cent in a single day -- biggest fall -- since September 2013."
 
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Equities, currency tumble over weak global cues, J&K decision

The equity and currency markets declined on Monday over heightened trade tension between the US and China, and the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
 
Union Home Minister Amit Shah earlier in the day proposed to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and said the state will be split into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
 
Though the markets did not repond to the announcement with any major volatility, the Sensex closed 418.38 points lower at 36,699.84, after trading heavy losses throughout the day. The broader Nifty fell by 134.75 points or 1.23 per cent to 10,862.60.
 
Market analysts said the Kashmir development was an add-on to the US-China trade tension, which was the main cause of the Monday's market fall. Global markets came under further stress after China vowed to respond to the US tariffs announced last week.
 
The Indian rupee too registered a three-month low following the slide in Yuan, which declined below 7 to a dollar for the first time since 2008.
 
"Multiple headwinds led to the day's market volatility. Concerns of a political crisis brewing in J&K and no further cues on the exclusion of surcharge for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) added to the market volatility," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
"Selling was broad-based despite late recovery witnessed in auto and banks, and IT held on to gains due to a weakening rupee. Consolidation may extend given the headwinds in global trade negotiations and the risk aversion strategy adopted by the FPIs," Nair added.
 
The investor sentiment is already weak owing to an exodus of foreign funds on account of weak corporate earning results and the controversial super-rich tax proposed in the Budget last month.
 
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Sensex loses 580 points in early trade

The benchmark Sensex fell over 580 points on Monday over sustained outflow of foreign funds and poor global investor sentiments.
 
Global markets came under further stress after China vowed to respond to the US tariffs it announced last week, sending shockwave across world financial markets.
 
The Sensex was down 582.64 points to 36,535.58 during the early trade after it opened over 270 points lower at 36,842.17.
 
Following a sharp revovery on Friday after news that the government might intervene to arrest the fall in the markets, the Sensex closed at 37,118.22.
 
However, no such announcement has been made as yet.
 
At 9.44 a.m., the broader Nifty was trading 175.50 points or 1.60 per cent lower at 10,821.85.
 
It opened 98 points lower at 10,895.80 from its Friday's close of 10,997.35.
 
The super-rich tax has caused one of the worst ever outflow of foreign funds as it impacted the Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs).
 
Besides the the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is widely expected to announced a rate cut amid a massive slow down in Indian economic activity.
 
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Big B starts shooting for 'Kaun Banega Crorepati 11'

Amitabh Bachchan (File photo: IANS)
Amitabh Bachchan (File photo: IANS)
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has started shooting for the 11th season of the quiz-based reality show "Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC)".
 
"It has begun. Another 'KBC', 19 years since it started, 11 seasons and the love of all the viewers," Amitabh tweeted.
 
The 76-year-old thespian shared a string of photographs from the "KBC" set.
 
"The signature tune and the applause and 'KBC' and the tech rehearsals come alive and the palpitation for the morrow and the first episode for this year and its apprehensions and uncertainties but shall try to give it a best knock," he wrote.
 
"Kaun Banega Crorepati" is based on the British programme "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Its 10 seasons have been hosted by Amitabh. Only season three was hosted by superstar Shah Rukh Khan, but it failed to make an impact.
 
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5 dead in Maharashtra rains, IAF, NDRF rescue villagers

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At least five persons were killed in Mumbai and Satara as rains continued to batter large parts of Maharashtra, especially the coastal Konkan region, on Sunday, hitting train services badly. Helicopters rescued 73 people in Thane and boats were deployed to rescue around 400 people stranded in Mumbai suburbs, officials said.
 
In the state capital, a woman and her son were killed due to electrocution in Santacruz east and a youth was washed away in Dharavi while two persons from Pune drowned in a waterfall in Satara after their vehicle hit a barricade and fell into a flooded drain at Babhalnala early on Sunday.
 
Following incessant overnight rains, water seeped into many homes in Kranti Nagar, Indira Nagar, Jarimari, Shankarnagar and Bail-bazar areas of Kurla suburb and two teams of the NDRF deployed rubber boats to rescue around 400 residents stranded there.
 
"They have been temporarily shifted to Bazarwad Municipal School and other schools. Congress activists have also made arrangements for food, water and medical help as required," local MLA and Congress deputy leader in Assembly Naseem Khan said.
 
The Indian Air Force deployed a MI-17 helicopter to rescue 58 villagers, including 18 children, from Ju village in neigbouring Thane as they were stranded in rising flood waters.
 
In another operation, 15 marooned villagers were saved by a MI-17 chopper in Buranda village of Palghar this evening.
 
The operations were conducted after a request by the Maharashtra government, and all the stranded people have shifted to safer locations at the Air Force Station in Thane, and another location in Palghar, said an official spokesperson.
 
In Church Road-Dahanukarwadi areas of Kandivali, some locals made temporary rafts of wooden boards to ferry people to nearby areas for replenishing stocks of essentials.
 
In some villages in Pen of Raigad district, around 60 people were stuck in five-six feet deep water since 4 a.m. on Sunday, were rescued by NDRF teams in boats and similarly 40 saved from marooned Mori village in Palghar this afternoon.
 
Most schools and college in Thane, Ratnagiri and Pune have declared a holiday on Monday in view of continuing rains.
 
The Western Railway (WR) services between Vasai-Virar were suspended for several hours as the tracks were flooded, before resuming at reduced speeds after 14.35 pm.
 
Even Central Railway (CR) services were hit in some sectors like Kurla-Sion due to waterlogging on tracks, breaches in railway lines, and landslides on outstation routes, while its suburban Harbour Line was paralysed.
 
Owing to boulders falling on railway tracks, the CR cancelled 18 trains, diverted three services and short-terminated seven long-distance trains at various points. Trains like the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express were stuck at Igatpuri since 4 a.m.
 
Thousands of outstation passengers were stranded at various stations in Mumbai, Thane and Palghar as the train services were disrupted, while hundreds more were stuck in incoming trains that have been halted at various locations en route.
 
Similar chaos was witnessed on the Konkan Railway with trains getting delayed, inconveniencing thousands of passengers.
 
Mumbai experienced a 4.86 metres high tide at 2.29 p.m., and the combined effect of the existing waterlogging and continuing rains, led to homes in many parts of the suburbs experiencing fresh flooding this afternoon.
 
The BMC, NDRF, two columns of Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, besides all other agencies are on a high alert for any eventuality in Mumbai and Thane.
 
A portion of a bridge on Pinjal River in Palghar was washed away on Sunday morning, bringing traffic to a complete halt on both sides, though there are no casualties.
 
For the second consecutive day, waterlogging has been reported in many areas of Nala Sopara, Vasai, Virar, Vikramgad (Palghar district), Mira Road, Bhayander, Thane City, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Titwala, Ulhasnagar (Thane), Roha, Pali, Mangaon, Karjat, Pen, Panvel (Raigad), and Mandangad, Chiplun, and Dapoli (Ratnagiri).
 
In Mumbai several vulnerable spots in Dahisar, Borivali, Kandivali, Andheri, Santacruz, Khar, Bandra, Matunga, Parel, Dadar, Kings Circle, Sion, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Bhandup, Mulund and other parts were flooded. However, there were no traffic snarls, since it was a holiday.
 
Subways in Kandivali, Malad, and Andheri were flooded, hampering traffic movement in the east-west directions.
 
However, most flights were operating at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport with delays of around 30 minutes, said officials.
 
Till Sunday morning, the IMD said Mumbai city recorded 142 mm rains and the suburbs notched 204 mm.
 
The BMC's rain monitors pegged the figure at 116 mm for Mumbai city, and 195 mm for the eastern-western suburbs.
 
The BMC Disaster Control had issued a warning to people not to venture near the beaches as a very high tide of 4.9 metres will occur at 1.44 p.m. and keep away from all seafronts for the next two days as extremely heavy rains are forecast.
 
IANS
 

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Four college girls drown in Navi Mumbai waterfall

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At least four college girls, who bunked classes for an impromptu picnic, drowned in the raging Pandavkada waterfall in Kharghar town of Maharashtra on Saturday, a police officer said.
 
The incident occurred around 11 a.m. when the girls skipped their classes to go to the picturesque waterfall along with six other friends. Three of the girls were studying in the SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce.
 
The three girls have been identified by the college authorities as Aarti Nair, Neha Dama and Shweta Nand. 
 
The fourth victim, Sneha Jain, was not from the same college. She has been identified by some of her friends who were part of the picnic group. All the drowned students are in the 18-19 years age group.
 
"The college is functioning normally, despite heavy rains. The classes started at 7.30 a.m., but these three girls were absent today. We also learnt of this tragedy from the police and mediapersons," college Principal Milind Vaidya told IANS.
 
Pandavkada waterfalls are listed as a dangerous picnic spot and picnickers are banned from going there. It is not clear how the girls managed to reach the restricted area and whether there was security deployed at the spot.
 
In 2010, at least 12 students had drowned in the waterfall, and in 2005 four had been swept away by the swirling waters of the fall.
 
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IT raids top Mumbai realtor in Rs 700 crore tax evasion case

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The Income Tax Department carried out raids at 40 premises in Mumbai and Thane belonging to a leading Mumbai realtor for a tax evasion case of around Rs 700 crore, official sources said here on Friday.
 
The raids, which started five days ago, are still continuing and the IT sleuths have unearthed various incriminating evidences pertaining to the tax evasion by the group whose identity has not been revealed.
 
The IT found evidence related to receipts of 'On Money' on sale of residential and commercial blocks, bogus unsecured loans availed, fake long term capital gains and various other sham transactions to evade income of about Rs 700 crore
 
'On Money' receipt on sales of residential/commercial blocks of around Rs 100 crore were corroborated during the raids.
 
The searches also revealed certain peculiar transactions by accounting jugglery to evade taxes on around Rs 525 crore.
 
The IT sleuths also found incriminating evidence on modus operandi establishing the introduction of accommodation loans by the company which were found to be fraudulent.
 
They also detected use of entry providers/hawala operators for long term capital gains by the promoters of the group during the IT action, besides jewellery worth around Rs 14 crore.
 
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Sensex stages 500-pt bounce-back on likely PMO intervention

The Sensex took a sharp u-turn during Friday afternoon trade gaining over 500 points from its intra-day low on reports of possible government intervention to arrest the prolonged fall in markets.
 
The highly volatile trade session saw the Sensex closing with a 100-point gain at 37,118.22 before it fell to 36,607.41 on a surprise move by the US to levy additional tariffs on Chinese goods overnight.
 
According to reports, officials of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Finance Ministry met to discuss the controversial super-rich tax proposed in last month's Union Budget, which has since caused an exodus of Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPIs).
 
Consequently, the benchmark Sensex closed 100 points higher at 37,118.22, while the broader Nifty settled 17.35 points higher at 10,997.35.
 
"Benchmark indices bounced back in afternoon trade after media reports suggested that Prime Minister's Office and Finance Ministry top bureaucrats were in talks over foreign portfolio investor (FPI) surcharge issue," Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities said.
 
Besides, State Bank of India (SBI) on Friday reported a consolidated net profit for the quarter at Rs 2,950.50 crore, versus a loss of Rs 4,230.44 crore a year ago.
 
The state-run lender's provisions and contingencies dropped 51.54 per cent to Rs 9,448.71 crore in the quarter, from Rs 19,499.21 crore a year ago.
 
Most Asian markets fell on Friday after US President Donald Trump vowed to levy 10 per cent tariff on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, sparking fears of an escalation in the prolonged trade row.
 
European stocks posted their biggest drop of 2019 on Friday, while German bond yields hit record lows, after the US President fired his latest salvo in the trade war with China.
 
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India’s forex reserves fall by $ 727.1 million to $ 429.649 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $ 727.1 million to $ 429.649 billion during the week ended July 26, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had soared by $ 1.578 billion to a new record high of $ 430.376 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the foreign exchange reserves, had dipped by $ 1.734 billion to $ 399.357 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 went up by $ 1.025 billion to $ 25.33 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) decreased by $ 2.8 million to $ 1.444 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) declined by $ 15.8 million to $ 3.5178 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Essar Port’s Vizag Terminal registers 45% cargo growth; triples third-party cargo handling

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Essar Vizag Terminal Limited (EVTL), that operates the 24-million-tonnes (MT) Vizag terminal, which is India’s largest integrated iron ore handling complex located on the outer harbour of Visakhapatnam Port, has announced a 45% growth in overall cargo throughput in the quarter ended June 30, 2019.
 
The significant growth in overall cargo was primarily driven by a sharp rise in third-party cargo, with volume more than tripling when compared with the corresponding quarter in FY 2018-19, a press release from the company said.
 
Cargo volumes from the anchor customer increased by 5.6% over the same period. The share of third-party cargo in the overall cargo volumes grew to 40.6%, it said.
 
According to the release, competitive advantage through the high degree of mechanisation at the terminal and the state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment that helps ensure rapid turnaround times have been the key drivers for attracting new clients.
 
Essar Ports is one of India’s largest private sector port and terminal developers and operators. It has invested Rs 11,000 crore in developing five world-class terminals in three Indian states. Its current operations span four terminals with a combined capacity of 110 MTPA, which is roughly 5 per cent of India’s port capacity. The company is a leader in the non-containerised bulk cargo space. Having clocked a throughput of 40 MT in FY19, Essar Ports is expecting to handle over 60 MT in the current financial year.
 
"All Essar Ports terminals use advanced cargo handling infrastructure and are equipped to double capacity in the near to medium term. The company is, therefore, focused on not only enhancing cargo throughput, but also on ramping up capacity and contributing meaningfully to the Government of India’s ambitious target of developing 3,130 MT of port capacity in the country by 2020," the release said.
 
Outside India, Essar’s port assets include a liquid terminal in the UK and a coal berth in the development stage at Mozambique’s Beira port.
 
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Sensex falls 356 pts amid US-China trade tension

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As the US decided to raise further tariffs on Chinese goods, global markets took a beating on Friday.
 
The Sensex and Nifty along with other global markets traded with heavy losses after US President Donald Trump said: "The US will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional tariff of 10 per cent on the remaining 300 billion dollars of goods and products coming from China into our country."
 
At 10.04 a.m., the Sensex was trading 356.43 points lower at 36,661.89. It opened at 36,920.11 lower from its previous close of 37,018.32.
 
The broader Nifty traded 111.25 points lower at 10,868.75.
 
The Indian markets are going through one of the worst patches ever. A mix of negative news since the budget has eroded massive wealth.
 
On Thursday, the hawkish comments from the US Federal Reserve had pushed the Nifty below the 11,000 mark.
 
Besides, the autos sales data and macro-economic data released earlier, has failed to cheer investors.
 
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Rupee ends at five-month low post hawkish Fed comment

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The Indian rupee fell to a five-month low while gold lost sheen after a surprise hawkish tone of the US central bank on Thursday.
 
The Indian rupee weakened to Rs 69.05 from its Wednesday's close of Rs 68.79 after the US central bank stated that the rate cut was "not the beginning of a long series of rate cuts". 
 
The precious metal also declined by half per cent. At the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) at 20.55 IST gold expiring in August was trading at Rs 35,235 per 10 gram, down Rs 184 or 0.52 per cent. It fell to a low of Rs 35,025 per 10 gram earlier. 
 
"Market was expecting a 25 bps rate cut and Fed delivered it. Though it was the first rate cut in a decade, it was a pre-emptive action to protect the US economy from slowing global growth and impact of the ongoing US-China trade war," said Rahul Gupta, Currency Research Head, Emkay Global Financial. 
 
"Ideally a rate cut should have depreciated the dollar, however, the unexpected hawkish tone of Fed led to a dollar rally. Also, the risk appetite plunged, putting pressure on emerging market currencies, resulting in a gap down opening in the rupee."
 
Gold contract expiry in December was trading at Comex at $1427.25 per troy ounce, lower by $10.75 or 0.27 per cent from previous close. 
 
Earlier the contract fell to $1412.25 during the Thursday's trade.
 
Commodity expert Ajay Kedia of Kedia Commodity attributed the fall in gold prices to strengthening of the dollar which followed the rate cut.
 
IANS

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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M&M's July sales down 15% on subdued consumer sentiment

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Automobile major Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) on Thursday reported a 15 per cent decline in its total vehicle sales for July, owing to tight liquidity and low buying sentiment in the domestic market.
 
The total sales of the company fell to 40,142 units last month, against 47,199 units sold during the corresponding period of 2018.
 
Similarly, the company's domestic sales plunged by 16 per cent to 37,474 units from an off-take of 44,605 units in the like period of last year.
 
However, M&M's exports inched higher by 3 per cent to 2,668 vehicles in July.
 
"The headwinds faced by the automotive industry continue as a result of subdued consumer sentiment, triggered by various factors," said Veejay Ram Nakra, Chief of Sales and Marketing, Automotive Division, M&M.
 
"The industry needs stimuli to help revive consumer demand and conversions. We hope that the overall buying sentiment will improve in the run-up to the festive season and with the monsoon turning out to be better than initially anticipated," he added.
 
IANS

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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