India’s 10-year bond prices extended gains for the sixth day on Wednesday, hitting a near 18-month high, following a fall in global crude oil prices and the slide in US treasury yields. The yield on the benchmark note closed at 7.126% -- a level last seen on 8 December 2017-- compared with Tuesday's close of 7.148%.
Bond yields were down for the sixth consecutive session, the biggest losing streak since March 2016. Bond yield and prices move in opposite directions.
Global crude oil prices fell after two days of gains on Tuesday as deepening trade conflict between the U.S. and China stoked fear of global growth slowing down, and a likely hit to demand for fuel.
Traders will now await the key gross domestic product (GDP) data for the March quarter, due on Friday, and the Reserve Bank of India's bi-monthly policy statement on 6 June, with most analysts expecting a rate cut.
According to Bloomberg economists’ estimate, GDP data will show growth in the three months through March was the slowest in almost two years.
"The Reserve Bank of India’s easing cycle has a long way to go yet. We expect the RBI to reduce the repo rate by another 25 basis points at its June 6 policy review and -- importantly -- shift to targeting a surplus in banking system liquidity to counter a slowdown in growth. We are also lowering our baseline view for the RBI’s terminal policy rate to 5.25% -- implying another two more cuts after the June move", said Abhishek Gupta economist at Bloomberg.
"A sharp drop in core inflation since the last policy meeting and a steep slowdown in growth evident across all sectors of the economy should likely result in a unanimous vote for a rate cut at the June policy, in our view", Gupta added.
Also, with expectation that the strong mandate for the Bharatiya Janata Party will help the government at the Centre pursue bold reforms to revive the economy, traders will eye the Union Budget for fiscal deficit and borrowing targets.
Meanwhile, the Indian rupee weakened for the second session against the US dollar on Wednesday along with other Asian currencies due to persistent concern over US-China trade war and a slowdown in global growth.
The domestic currency ended at 69.83 a dollar, down 0.21% from its previous close of 69.68. The Indian had currency opened at 69.70 a dollar.
The benchmark Sensex index fell 0.62% to close at 39,502.05 points. Year to date, the index has risen 10%.
So far this year, the rupee has risen 0.1% against the US greenback. During the period, foreign investors bought $10.09 billion in Indian equities and sold $158.40 million in debt market.