Mumbai: In India, the parliamentary session is over and the government has taken the first bold step of raising fuel prices by Rs 7.5 per litre or 11.5%, reports Mint. This is the steepest rise ever and the first in six months, but it was long overdue since rupee depreciation has exacerbated losses of oil marketing companies. While the fuel price hike will relieve pressure on the strained government finances, it will bump up inflation by 10-15 basis points.
Asian markets were trading lower as concerns over Greece’s potential exit from Euro-zone and its implication for global growth knocked investor sentiment, reports Financial Times. All eyes were on the Chinese manufacturing data due later today. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite were trading marginally lower.
Wall Street’s S&P 500 reversed course to close 0.2 per cent higher, Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4% and Dow Jones ended lower on expectations of Greek departure from Euro. Markets erased gains even after reports indicated that new US home sales increased more than expected in April, reports MarketWatch.
In India, the rupee slide continued unabated as the currency closed at a new low of 56 per dollar on Monday. Even as the Reserve Bank of India has made attempts to halt the fall of rupee, it is up to the government to do more to protect the currency. Fuel price hike was long pending and it is a step in the right direction, said analysts.
NTPC will be in focus after it said that it plans to spend as much as $15 billion (Rs 82, 521 crore) over the next 10 years to secure overseas coal supplies as prices of fuel plunge to a 19 month low, reports Business Standard. India’s biggest power producer may sign contracts for the first time to import around 150 million tonnes of coal after it failed to meet targets of generation and capacity addition in FY12.
Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has offered to buy out Unit Trust of India’s stakes in ITC, Axis Bank and Larsen & Toubro at around Rs 37,000 crore, reports Economic Times. This could relieve pressure on the government’s fiscal burden, but it will raise the debate over the insurer’s risk and governance policies. The buyout, if it happens, could be staggered over months or even over two years.
Telecom operators on Wednesday warned customers that there could be a steep tariff hike, a day ahead of a crucial Telecom Commission meeting on the auction of 2G spectrum in which they might sharply increase the reserve price for sprectrum, reports Business Standard. Mobile services could become expensive by 28 paisa per minute if recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India are accepted in the current form.
Lastly, whales that feed by taking big gulps of the ocean have a special sensory organ in the middle of their jaws that helps them regulate their unique feeding methods according to a new study by researchers, reports Huffington Post.