The Week in review for 6 Nov 2009

The Week in review for 6 Nov 2009

New Delhi: The RBI is buying gold from the IMF. The central bank will buy 200 tonnes of gold for about Rs31,490 crore as part of its efforts to diversify its holdings. In the last one year, countries including China, Russia, the Philippines and Mexico have increased their gold reserves. India’s holdings of gold were about 21.9% in March of 1994 but fell to just 3.7% in June of 2009.

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And the RBI’s massive purchase set off a gold rush on international markets. On Wednesday gold prices reached a record high of $1,093.10 per ounce. India is the world’s biggest consumer of gold, and accounts for about 20% of demand worldwide.

The government announced a big push for PSU disinvestment on Thursday. All PSUs that are listed and make profits will have to unload a minimum 10% equity stake. And unlisted PSUs that meet the government’s profitability criteria will have to list similar amounts on stock exchanges. Proceeds from the divestment is expected to help reduce India’s fiscal deficit, which is projected to reach 6.8% or Rs400,000 crore by the end of the fiscal year.

GVK has announced it has purchased a 12% stake in Bangalore International Airport Limited for Rs485 crore. It’s subsidiary GVK Airport Developers bought the stake from Flughafen Zuerich and says it will buy more stake in the BIAL if it gets an opportunity. GVK also says wants to bid for an upcoming airport project in Navi Mumbai.

Eight months after its deadline, the peer review of Nifty companies is still incomplete. Mint has learnt the process hasn’t even begun in four companies- State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, SAIL and Jindal Steel and Power. The peer review is still going on at a fifth company, BHEL. India’ s market regulator Sebi ordered the review of companies on the Nifty and Sensex after news of the Satyam accounting scandal broke out.

Mint has learnt that the civil aviation ministry has decided to partly unfreeze its process of granting overseas flying rights to airlines. The decision is expected to benefit Jet Airways and Kingfisher, the only private carriers in India that are allowed to fly overseas. The government grants international routes after negotiating agreements with other countries.

India’s stem cell banks are likely to come under government regulation. Health ministry officials are drafting a bill for a biomedical authority that will cover issues including stem cells. Currently there are no checks on the conditions in which stem cells are stored and transported.

The Reliance gas dispute saw a dramatic development on Wednesday, when a senior Supreme Court judge withdrew from the case after concerns about a conflict of interest. The withdrawing judge, Justice R V Raveendran says his daughter is connected to a legal firm that is advising Mukesh Ambani’s RIL. The court adjourned for the day and resumed its hearing on Thursday with a newly constituted bench.

Bajaj Auto reported a 52% hike in two-wheeler sales for October to about 250,000 units. Exports also did well, going up 12% to 84,000 units.

Suzuki has quadrupled its forecast for its annual operating profit after strong sales in India. It expects operating profit to reach 40 billion yen instead of 10 billion yen. And its forecast for its net profit is 15 billion yen instead of 5 billion yen.

A survey shows Indian manufacturing expanded for the seventh straight month in October, but at a slower pace. The Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 54.5 in October compared to 55 in September. Any figure above 50 indicates an expansion.

Wipro is buying some of British firm Yardley’s businesses. It will spend $45.5 million to buy Yardley’s operations in Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and parts of Africa.

Cognizant’s third quarter results have shot past expectations. Net income rose to $137 million from $113 million a year earlier. The company’s revenue went up 16% to $853 million.