The Mint Report for 15 September 2011

The Mint Report for 15 September 2011

Advance tax numbers for this year’s second quarter are giving strong indications of a slowdown. At the very least, they suggest the three months to September will not be very profitable for corporate India. Payments from the hundred biggest companies based out of Mumbai went up 18% for the quarter ending September. In contrast, the government expects to see a full 31% increase in advance taxes for the current fiscal.

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Companies pay advance taxes based on their projected earnings. And the numbers from some of Mumbai’s biggest firms suggest a mixed picture. RIL’s payments shot up 67% to 2,000 cr. But the country’s biggest bank, SBI, saw a fall to more than 10% to 1,700 cr and ICICI Bank’s payments remained static at 650 cr. I-T giant TCS has reported a whopping 111% rise to 570 cr.

Bad news for consumers, as government owned oil marketing companies raised petrol prices by 2.61 per litre. The hike will be effective from midnight on Thursday and when combined with local levies will translate in different prices in different parts of the country. Petrol prices were last hiked by 5 on the 15th of May 2011.

Maruti Suzuki is stopping production of automobiles on Friday. The company says it will close down its two factories in Manesar and Gurgaon during the day. The move came in response to worker protests at Suzuki’s nearby engine-manufacturing unit Workers at Maruti’s Manesar plant have already been on strike for 18 days.

Food inflation has eased slightly through the end of August and beginning of September. The food price index rose 9.47% in the week to the 3rd of this month. In the previous week it climbed 9.55%. Inflation across the board has remained stubborn in India. New figures released on Wednesday showed an acceleration in wholesale inflation to 9.78%. The Reserve Bank is scheduled to review interest rates once again on Friday.

Sonia Gandhi is back at work. On Thursday she attended a meeting of the Congress’ central election committee to discuss the UP state elections slated to take place sometime early next year. Gandhi returned from the US last week after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed illness.

Indian markets made gains on Thursday, reacting positively to the news on advance tax numbers and improved worldwide sentiment. The Sensex jumped 166 points to 16,877. And the Nifty rose 63 points to 5,076.

Indian I-T stocks got a further boost thanks to a weakened rupee, which is expected to help all export-oriented firms. TCS jumped 2.26% on the BSE to 1,040 and Infosys gained 2.23% to 2,406. Wipro climbed a more modest 1.5% to 348.