The Mint Report for 12 April 2010

The Mint Report for 12 April 2010

New Delhi: A pause in hostilities- that’s what finance minister Pranab Mukherjee achieved Monday when he got India’s market and insurance regulators to stop attacking each other. Mukherjee said market regulator Sebi and insurance regulator IRDA have agreed to seek a binding legal mandate from an appropriate court. His statement came soon after he met with the heads of both organizations.

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Sebi and IRDA are fighting a turf war over which of them gets to regulate Unit linked insurance products or Ulips. Ulips are like mutual funds, but also provide life cover. The dispute between the two regulators heightened on Friday, when Sebi barred fourteen life insurance companies from selling Ulips without its authorization.

Industrial output has increased in double digits for the fifth month in a row. The index of industrial production went up 15.1% in February compared to a year earlier. In January, the index went up 16.7%.

Industrial output may be easing, but it’s still growing at a double-digit rate, something that could prompt the RBI to increase interest rates. Last month it hiked policy rates by 25 basis points. And concerns about inflation could set off another round of increases when the RBI meets on 20 April.

Tata Steel is sounding a warning about the profitability of its European units. On Monday the company said production costs at European steel companies have shot up between $120-140 per tonne.