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Rupee has strengthened against British pound this year: FM Sitharaman

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Global factors such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, soaring crude oil prices and tightening of global financial conditions are major reasons for the weakening of the Indian Rupee against the US Dollar

Nirmala Sitharaman

The  has strengthened against the British  in 2022 though it has depreciated against the US dollar, Finance Minister  said on Tuesday.

Global factors -- such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, soaring  and tightening of global financial conditions -- are the major reasons for the weakening of the  against the US Dollar, she said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

"The British Pound, has weakened more than the  against the  and therefore, the Indian rupee has strengthened against the  in 2022," she noted.

The nominal exchange rate is only one of the factors that impact an economy, the minister said.

The depreciation of a currency is likely to enhance the export competitiveness, which in turn impacts the economy positively while it is also likely to impact the imports by making them costlier.

In reply to another question, Sitharaman said GST rates or rate slabs applicable on goods and services are prescribed on the recommendations of the GST Council.

GST Council has not made any recommendation for change in the existing GST rate slabs so far, she said, adding that a Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted by the council in its 45th meeting held on September 17, 2021.

One of the terms of reference of the GoM is to review the current rate slab structure of GST, including special rates, and recommend rationalisation measures, including a merger of tax rate slabs, required for a simpler rate structure in GST.

Regarding Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), she said a new procedure for the flow of funds to the state governments was introduced with effect from July 1, 2021.

As per the revised procedure, each state has to notify a Single Nodal Agency (SNA) for each CSS and open a bank account of each SNA, she said in another reply.

The CSS funds flow from the Centre to the consolidated fund of the respective state and further to the bank account of SNA, she said.

The new procedure has brought more transparency to the availability of CSS funds in state treasuries and bank account of SNAs, and this has led to better monitoring of the utilisation of funds and availability of funds with SNAs for CSS implementation.

Decade of low inflation is ending for emerging Asia, warns Moody’s

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Emerging economies of Asia are about to face a surge in retail inflation to levels not seen for a decade. The rising inflation pressure has already forced the central banks across Asia spring into action with rate hikesDecade of low inflation is ending for emerging Asia, warns Moody's

The decade-long dream run of low inflation for emerging economies in Asia is about to end and there will be consequences, warned Moody’s Analytics, the research arm of the rating agency Moody’s Investor Services Ltd.

“Starting with a slow creep and swirling into a Category 5 hurricane, inflation will make itself felt across the region, landing later than in the rest of the emerging world and proving only slightly less disruptive,” Moody’s said in a report.

For more than a decade, consumer price inflation in emerging Asian economies such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and China have remained low despite short episodes of sharp increase in the prices of commodities globally.

“This is partly due to gains on the supply side of the economy, with growth in labour productivity helping the region absorb the pressures of a rising consumer class,” the report said. Local subsidies given by governments also helped offset the impact of global price hike.

Most of these economies have current account surpluses and export more than they import. The outcome of this is higher domestic savings which find its way into offshore markets.

All this has changed now. Moody’s believes that the rise in inflation is mostly demand-led for emerging Asian economies. Excluding China, Asian countries have reported a stellar rebound in their economic growth in the first six months of 2022. This means demand impulses have come back with force, showing up in price increases. Needless to say, supply hasn’t kept pace which has accelerated the price increases.

“Now that the reopening process in India and South East Asia is nearly complete, the supply shock from the invasion of Ukraine and lingering supply-chain bottlenecks have crashed into demand,” the report noted. The far reaching effects of the Russia-Ukraine war on food, oil, metals, engineering goods and others have begun to show across economies.

The rising inflation pressure has forced the central banks across Asia spring into action with rate hikes. Most have effected one or more hikes so far but Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are yet to bite the bullet.

Moody’s pointed out that unlike other economies such as those in Latin America, emerging Asian countries are underbanked. This blunts the impact of the rate hikes by central banks on the economy somewhat. It also means that the central banks will see the effects after a long lag and therefore need to be patient.

The casualty of rate hikes would be the economic growth, Moody’s said. It expects the Asian economies to see a deceleration in economic growth this year. The gains from economic growth would be limited in terms of employment and income generation, the report said.

Haryana DCs asked to expedite cases related to mobile tower installation

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Haryana Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal has directed all deputy commissioners in state to expedite pending cases related to RoW permissions for installation of towers for mobile and internet service.

Mobile tower, telecom sector, telecom tower

 Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal has directed all deputy commissioners in the state to expedite pending cases related to Right of Way (RoW) permissions for installation of towers for mobile and internet service.

He was holding a review meeting on the issue of RoW with all the Deputy Commissioners through video conferencing here on Monday.

Kaushal gave special directions to the Deputy Commissioners of Rohtak, Ambala, Kaithal, Karnal, Sonipat, Panipat, Yamunanagar, Nuh, Hisar and Kurukshetra districts, where the percentage of cancellation of applications for RoW is high.

He said that all those service providers may also be directed to ensure that they submit their documents and prescribed fee within seven to 10 days so that the pending cases can be completed at the earliest.

RoW permissions are needed for overhead and underground telecom infrastructure, including laying of telecom fiber.

Kaushal said that the state government is committed to increase the communication and mobile connectivity infrastructure.

In the districts where there is still any problem related to mobile signal and internet connectivity, the DCs were directed to contact the Department of Telecommunications for immediate installation of telecom towers in those districts, according to an official statement here.

It was informed in the meeting that more than 5,700 applications have been approved in the districts related to RoW permissions.

Presently 1,091 cases are pending. There are some cases where the service providers have not submitted the required documents or in some cases the prescribed charges have not been paid.

It was informed in the meeting by the officials that some cases are pending due to non-submission of 'radiation' certificates.

The chief secretary apprised the deputy commissioners that according to the policy of communication and connectivity infrastructure, radiation certificate has to be submitted within 30 days of installation of tower, so there should not be any delay in grant of permission due to this certificate.

In the meeting, the Director General (Telecom), Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India, connected through video conferencing and said that they will establish contact with the service providers and ensure that they get the required documents submitted within the stipulated time as well as pay the fixed charges, as per the statement.

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As rupee continues to slide, RBI may be back to spot intervention

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Reserve Bank of India's foreign-exchange reserves have fallen by about $30 billion since the end of May to $573 billion, according to its dataReserve Bank of India, RBI

India’s central bank may be pivoting to the spot market from forwards in its attempts to shield the  from fresh record lows -- in order to minimize the knock-on effects of its intervention strategy.

Reserve Bank of India’s foreign-exchange reserves have fallen by about $30 billion since the end of May to $573 billion, according to its data. While part of the drop is likely down to revaluation due to a stronger greenback, economists say the  has also been selling more spot US currency after previous interventions via forwards caused dislocations in that market.

In the April-May period, when the  ramped up forwards intervention, annualized one-year dollar- forward premium slid. That caused importers to aggressively cover their unhedged exposures and exporters to stay away, putting further depreciation pressure on the .

“This might explain why the central bank has returned to spot reserves for intervention purposes,” said Radhika Rao, senior economist at . The RBI’s strategy “caused distortions, as the unwinding of the long forward position pushed forward premia down sharply.”

Dollar-rupee one-year annualized forward premium fell to 2.86% in June as the  ran down its long forwards book by $16 billion to $49 billion in two months to May, RBI data showed. It bounced back to 3.18% on Monday amid signs of slowing forward market activity.

The RBI will deploy its reserves to contain rupee volatility, and let it align with fundamentals and not allow jerky or bumpy movements, Governor  said last week. The central bank has likely been a net seller in the spot market to the tune of $12.4 billion in the four weeks to July 15, Bloomberg Economics estimated.

“While May and June saw RBI being more active on the forwards and futures front, there is a possibility that the intervention mix now has spot as a key tool to defend the INR, especially when seen in the light of recent fall in FX reserves,” said Madhavi Arora, lead economist at  Ltd.


Nearly 10,000 MSMEs shut shop during 2019-2022, says minister

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India’s pandemic-hit economy is recovering but the informal sector, which has come under significant financial stress and has lost market share to larger firms, is lagging.Nearly 6,000 MSMEs got shut down during FY21 and FY22: Govt data | The  Financial Express

Nearly 10,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) shuttered from 2019 to 2022, according to a parliamentary response on July 25.

According to data from the erstwhile Udyog Aadhaar and Udyam, 9,667 MSMEs closed since 2019, Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, the minister of state for MSMEs said in a written response to a lawmaker’s question in the upper house of parliament.

ALSO READ: Govt making necessary policy changes to encourage MSME sector: PM Modi

This compares with 400 MSMEs that closed during 2016-2019, the minister added.

India’s pandemic-hit economy is recovering but the informal sector, which has come under significant financial stress and has lost market share to larger firms, is lagging.

The Centre had unveiled a raft of measures right after the pandemic hit, including emergency credit line guarantee for businesses, including MSMEs.

Still, MSMEs continue to face issues of rising costs, liquidity, labour, and raw material availability.

MSMEs employ millions across the country.

In response to a separate question, minister Verma said that the closure of 6,222 MSMEs during financial year 2021-22 has led to a loss of employment for 42,662 persons. Meanwhile, the shutting of 2,870 MSMEs had led to a loss of 19,862 jobs this fiscal year until July 20.

Share Market Closing Note

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Topic :- Share Market Closing Note

Nifty ends around 16,600, Sensex falls over 300 pts; autos drag, metals rally.

A mixed trend was seen on the sectoral front with Metal index rose 1.5 percent, while Auto index slipped nearly 2 percent.


Topic :- Time:3.15 PM

Lakshmi Machine reports Q1 earnings. 

 Net profit at ₹72.6 cr vs loss of ₹9.6 cr (YoY)

Revenue at ₹982.6 cr vs ₹457.6cr (YoY)

EBITDA at ₹85.7 cr vs ₹7.2 cr (YoY)

EBITDA margin at 8.7% vs 1.6% (YoY)


Topic :- Time:3.00 PM

Nifty spot close above 16620 level will result in some further upmove in coming sessions and if it closes below above mentioned level then some sluggish movement can follow in it. Avoid open positions for tomorrow.


Topic :- Time:2.55 PM

Just In:

GAIL India board meet to consider bonus share issuance cheers investors


Topic :- Time:2.30 PM

NATURALGAS Trading View:

NG is trading at 667.60.If it breaks and trade below 666.80 level then expect some further decline in it and if it manages to trade and sustain above 668.80 level then some upmove an follow in it.


Topic :- Time:1.45 PM


Aluminum down by -5125MT

Copper down by -750MT

Lead down by -125MT

Nickel down by -594MT

Zinc up by 50MT.


Topic :- Time:1.40 PM

Just In:

Policybazaar says its IT systems were breached, authorities informed.


Topic :- Time:1.30 PM

GOLD Trading View:

GOLD is trading at 50613.If it manages to trade and sustain above 50650 level then expect some quick upmove in it and if it breaks and trade below 50550 level then some decline can follow in Gold.


Topic :- Time:1.00 PM

Nifty is highly rangebound. Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 1600 level then expect some quick upmove and if it breaks and trade below 16580 level then some decline can follow in the market.


Topic :- Time:12.55 PM

Just In:

Indias COVID-19 tally declines to 16,866, positivity rate highest in 168 days at 7%.


Topic :- Time:12.45 PM

Just In:


CANARA BANK: Q1 GNPA 6.98% VS 7.51% (QOQ) || Q1 NNPA 2.48% VS 2.65% (QOQ)





Topic :- Time:12.30 PM

COPPER Trading View:

COPPER is trading at 628.90.If it manages to trade and sustain above 629 level then expect some further upmove in it and if it breaks and trade below 627.50 level then some decline can follow in it.


Topic :- Time:12.10 PM

Just In:

Rishi Sunak gets tough on China, to close all 30 confucius institutes in UK if elected PM


Topic :- Time:12.00 PM

Nifty is reacting to news now. Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 16620 level then expect some upmove in the market and if it breaks and trade below 16580 level then some decline can follow in the Nifty.


Topic :- Time:11.30 AM

News Wrap Up:

1. Sensex slips 400 pts, Nifty near 16,600; Reliance drops 3%

2. My election proves poor can dream and achieve too: President Murmu

3. Reliance Industries falls 4% on lower than expected June quarter profit

4. India to attend SCO FM meet; Bilawal, Wang Yi, Jaishankar to meet in person

5. Jio, Airtel poised to gain at Vodafone Ideas expense in 5G auction

6. Zomato tanks 14%, hits new low as lock-in for pre-IPO investors ends

7. Delhi AIIMS raises room rent for private ward after 5% GST rate hike

8. Expect 60% of sales to accrue from pure-electric variants, says Jaguar


Topic :- Time:11.00 AM

Reliance dragging nifty before its result. Nifty spot if breaks and trade below 16580 level then expect some further decline in the market and if it manages to trade and sustain above 16600 level then some upmove can follow in the market.


Topic :- Stocks under F&O ban on NSE

1. Indiabulls Housing Finance

2. RBL Bank

3. Delta Corp


Topic :- Results on July 25

Axis Bank, Tata Steel, Tech Mahindra, Canara Bank, Macrotech Developers, KPIT Technologies, Aether Industries, Anupam Rasayan India, Aurionpro Solutions, Central Bank of India, Century Textiles & Industries, Chennai Petroleum Corporation, Craftsman Automation, Glaxosmithkline Pharmaceuticals, Indian Energy Exchange, IIFL Wealth Management, Jindal Stainless, Jyothy Labs, Lakshmi Machine Works, Orient Electric, RattanIndia Power, Sharda Cropchem, Sterlite Technologies, Tanla Platforms, Tatva Chintan Pharma Chem, and Tejas Networks will be in focus ahead of June quarter earnings on July 25.


Topic :- Nifty Opening Note

Indian Stock Market Trading View For 25 July,2022:

Expect volatility to stay in the market. Nifty is likely to remain volatile and is expected to trade as per global sentiments.

For Monday:

Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 16750 level then expect some upmove in the market and if it breaks and trade below 16660 level then some decline can follow in the Nifty. Please note this is just opening view and should not be considered as the view for the whole day. 


Fall in Delhi govt's excise revenue 'inexplicable' as sales rise: Report

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The excise revenue of the Delhi government in the first quarter of the current fiscal year remained flat compared to 2019-20 despite a steep rise in whiskey and wine sales

Centre not allowing MCD polls; will approach court: Delhi CM in Assembly

The office of Delhi's lieutenant governor on Sunday said that the state government's data on  collection is wrong. The  said that its  increased by Rs 1,484 crore in the Q1FY23, owing to the implementation of the revised excise policy, according to a report in Times of India.

This came two days after the LG's office recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the Delhi government’s excise policy.

The  of the  in the first quarter of the current fiscal year remained flat compared to 2019-20 despite a steep rise in whiskey and wine sales, argued the central government's sources. According to the report, data from FY21 and FY22 were not taken in comparison due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the second wave of coronavirus, respectively.

While wine sales in Delhi are estimated to have risen 87 per cent, whiskey and beer sales witnessed an increase of 59.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent, respectively, the Centre's sources told Times of India as they added that the mismatch is "stark and inexplicable."

“Of the Rs 1,484 crore being touted as excise revenue, Rs 980 crore are refundable security deposits of the vendor licensees. In fact, in the last five financial years, 2017-18 to 2021-22, the revenue earned by the  through  has come down by a staggering Rs 567.98 crores,” The Hindustan Times reported, quoting an official.

The Delhi government last year in November had lowered the VAT on liquor from 25 per cent to 1 per cent. However, now, the regime has been changed and excise and VAT were merged for the calculation of reserve licence fee.

After factoring in the numbers for the last fiscal year including the security deposit, the licence fee component for liquor may add up to nearly Rs 4,500 crore, and along with VAT, the collections are estimated at Rs 5,741 crore, sources told TOI. This collection is nearly Rs 568 crore lower than the collections five years ago as in FY18, it was pegged at Rs 6,309 crore.

The central government's sources told TOI that the fall in revenue is difficult to explain.

India will be lucky if GDP grows by 6% in FY23, says Pronab Sen

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According to Pronab Sen, India’s former chief statistician, the government must ensure fiscal support to ensure the economy does not tip over into a slowdown at a time when the RBI is applying brakes to curb red hot inflation.GDP to contract 10.8% without more fiscal stimulus, says Pronab Sen |  Business Standard News

India would be lucky if its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grows by 6 percent in the financial year 2022-23, according to Pronab Sen, head of the Standing Committee on Economic Statistics.

Sen, formerly the chief statistician of India, said while the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may not go “overboard” with interest rate hikes, the elevated uncertainty levels could damage growth.

“All of these 7 percent-plus growth estimates that are floating around, you really have to rubbish all of that. We would be lucky if we do 6 percent this fiscal,” Sen told Moneycontrol in an interview in Delhi.

Last week, Nomura cut its growth forecast for India for 2023 to 4.7 percent from 5.4 percent.

According to Sen, India’s potential growth rate has fallen to around 5.5 percent.

Fiscal support needed

In a scenario where the monetary authority is applying brakes to curb red hot inflation, Sen feels the government must ensure fiscal support to make sure the economy does not tip over into a slowdown.

“Once you start having monetary tightening, the dangers of growth retraction go up. You don’t want growth to go down too fast because if it does, there is always a tipping point after which the contractions start getting a momentum of its own and it just gets worse after that,” Sen said.

“It becomes incumbent on the fiscal policy to make sure that the economy doesn’t go over that tipping point.”

The RBI has raised the policy repo rate by 90 basis points so far in FY23 to 4.9 percent to combat elevated inflation levels, with another rate hike expected next month in August.

One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation print for June, at 7.01 percent, met market expectations. However, it was the 33rd month in a row that it came in above the medium-term target of 4 percent.

Sen expects the repo rate to be raised to as much as 5.5-6 percent from 4.9 percent currently as the RBI continues its fight against high inflation.

“The repo rate should be marginally above where you want the inflation to be… getting inflation down to 4 percent is not going to happen in the near future, but getting it down to 5.5 percent can happen. So, you just take it there and leave it there and wait for inflation to come down,” he said.

Asia’s third-largest economy, faced with a cost-of-living crisis, is barely above its pre-pandemic level and faces headwinds from elevated commodity prices, a widening current account deficit (CAD), and a likely recession in the West as central banks world-over quicken monetary tightening to combat multi-decade high inflation.

“Some of the (slowdown) is bound to happen, and should happen, otherwise monetary policy might be ineffective. So, the responsibility now should be of fiscal policy to make sure that doesn’t happen because the RBI has no choices left,” Sen added.

How much support the Centre can offer is questionable. Pandemic-related costs, loss of revenue, and cleaning up of the government’s books saw the central government fiscal deficit jump to 9.2 percent of GDP in FY21, before easing to 6.7 percent in FY22.

The Budget has targeted a fiscal deficit of 6.4 percent for FY23. But Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has a tough task on her hands as expenditure on food subsidy has been raised, while earnings have been hit by excise duty cuts and a lower dividend from the RBI.

Investment question

Key to the Indian recovery is investments.

The pandemic has led to the Indian corporate sector garnering a larger share of the economy as the so-called micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were battered by the second wave of the pandemic.

“If you look at corporate data, there is fantastic recovery, better than anywhere else in the world. But if you look at it as a whole, the MSMEs are still in very, very bad shape,” Sen said.

According to Sen, the spurt in investments seen in the second half of FY22 is not sustainable as that reflected a rush to finish projects, with the past lockdowns leading to a bunching of investments.

“These were projects that were already on the ground, the finances were tied up, everything was in place. So, there was a huge rush to complete that, which is why you saw a bulge in capex in the second half of the last fiscal year,” Sen said.

“Will the corporates want to invest more now? Do they have the confidence, particularly when you are looking at a global recession staring you in the face by the end of this year and next year?”

Sen’s doubts are reflected in data. While the government has highlighted that private sector project announcements are high, not all of the money is finding its way out of companies’ pockets. According to the RBI’s latest Financial Stability Report, released in late June, companies have been sitting on increasingly large piles of cash.

Let rupee ease

Meanwhile, Sen is not too worried about the rupee, which has plummeted to new lows recently.

According to Sen, the rupee probably needs to continue depreciating as it continues to be overvalued when seen against currencies other than just the US dollar.

As per latest data, the rupee’s real effective exchange rate (REER) against a basket of 40 other currencies stood at 104.18 in June.

A REER of more than 100 is indicative of overvaluation of the currency.

“The thing is, do you actively manage the deprecation, that is, do you force the rupee down or do you just allow it to happen? My opinion is to just let it happen if it happens. Just manage the volatility,” Sen said.

On the CAD likely hitting 3 percent of GDP in FY23, Sen said that didn’t warrant an overreaction given the overall “unusual situation”.

Sen was appointed to head the newly-formed Standing Committee on Economic Statistics in late 2019 to improve the quality of India's official data amidst criticism of political interference.

The RBI currently sees India's GDP growth cooling to 7.2 percent in FY23 from 8.7 percent in FY22. However, economists have lowered their forecasts in recent weeks due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war and the tightening of financial conditions by the RBI to lower inflation.

ICICI Bank Q1FY23 result: Net profit increases 49.59% to Rs 6,905 crore

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ICICI Bank PAT declined from Rs 7,018.71 crore recorded in the preceding quarter


 on Saturday has reported a growth of 49.59 per cent in net profit to Rs 6,904.94 crore for the quarter ending June 30, 2022 (Q1FY23) period, compared to Rs 4,616.02 crore in the corresponding period last year.

The company's profit after tax (PAT), however, declined from Rs 7,018.71 crore recorded in the preceding quarter. Its net interest income (NII) rose 21 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to Rs 13,210 crore compared with Rs 10,936 crore in the same quarter last year.

Non-interest income, excluding treasury income, climbed 25 per cent year on year to Rs 4,629 crore from Rs 3,706

The consolidated PAT increased by 55 per cent y-o-y to Rs 7,385 crore in Q1FY23 from Rs 4,763 crore in Q1FY22.

The retail loan portfolio grew by 24 per cent y-o-y and 5 per cent sequentially, and comprised 53.1 per cent of the total loan portfolio at June 30, 2022.

In December 2020, the bank had expanded its mobile app, iMobile, to iMobile Pay which offers payment and banking services to customers of any bank. There have been 7.3 million activations of iMobile Pay from non- account holders as of June 30, 2022.

The value of credit card spends in Q1 grew by 13 per cent sequentially and was two times the value of spends in Q1FY22 driven by improvement in discretionary spending, higher activation rate through digital onboarding of customers.

The value of the bank’s merchant acquiring transactions through UPI in Q1FY23 grew by 27 per cent over Q4FY22 and was 2.3 times the value of transactions during the same quarter last year.

Four out of five brokerages, including JP Morgan, Edelweiss Securities, and Emkay Global, expect ICICI Bank’s Q1 net profit to soar between 40 per cent and 47 per cent on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, up to Rs 6,790 crore.

Deposits, meanwhile, were swelling to 17 per cent YoY to Rs 1.08 trillion. Against this backdrop, NII was expected to rise in the range of 18 per cent to 21 per cent YoY, between Rs 12,900 crore and Rs 13,276.4 crore. In Q4FY22, NII of the lender increased by 21 per cent year-on-year to Rs 12,605 crore.

'Day by day': Trade bans, inflation send food prices soaring

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Soki Wu’s food stall, tucked in a food court in a shopping mall in Singapore, is a crowd favorite for its fresh, juicy chicken rice,” a national dish. But customers recently began complaining that his chicken didn’t taste quite as good as it used to.Day by Day': Trade Bans, Inflation Send Food Prices Soaring

Soki Wu’s food stall, tucked in a food court in a shopping mall in Singapore, is a crowd favorite for its fresh, juicy chicken rice,” a national dish. But customers recently began complaining that his chicken didn’t taste quite as good as it used to.

Wu was forced to switch to frozen chicken after Malaysia banned exports last month of live broiler chickens that are more affordable and better tasting in a bid to offset rising local prices. For Singapore, which sources a third of its poultry from Malaysia, the impact was immediate.

This is unavoidable. Using frozen chickens have affected the taste of the dish, but we have no choice, Wu said.

As inflation surges around the world, politicians are scrambling for ways to keep food affordable as people increasingly protest the soaring cost of living. One knee-jerk response has been food export bans aimed at protecting domestic prices and supplies as a growing number of governments in developing nations try to show a nervous public that their needs will be met.

For business owners, the rising cost of cooking ingredients from oil to chicken has prompted them to raise prices, with people paying 10% to 20% more at Wu’s food stall. For consumers, it has meant paying more for the same or lesser-quality food or curbing certain habits altogether.

In Lebanon, where endemic corruption and political stalemate has crippled the economy, the U.N. World Food Program is increasingly providing people with cash assistance to buy food, particularly after a devastating 2020 port blast that destroyed massive grain silos. Constant power cuts and high fuel prices for generators limit what people can buy because they can’t rely on freezers and refrigerators to store perishables.

Tracy Saliba, a single mother of two and business owner in Beirut, says she used to spend around a quarter of her earnings on food. These days, half her income goes to feeding her family as the currency loses strength amid soaring prices.

Im not buying (groceries) like I used to, Saliba said. Im just getting the necessary items and food, like day by day.

Food prices have risen by nearly 14% this year in emerging markets and by over 7% in advanced economies, according to Capital Economics. In countries where people spend at least a third or more of their incomes on food, any sharp increase in prices can lead to crisis.

Capital Economics forecasts that households in developed markets will spend an extra $7 billion a month on food and beverages this year and much of next year due to inflation.

The pain is being felt unevenly, with 2.3 billion people going severely or moderately hungry last year, according to a global report by the World Food Program and four other U.N. agencies.

Food prices accounted for about 60% of last years increase in inflation in the Middle East and North Africa, with the exception of oil-producing Gulf countries. The situation is particularly dire for Sudan, where inflation is expected to hit 245% this year, and Iran, where prices spiked as much as 300% for chicken, eggs and milk in May, sparking panic and scattered protests.

In Somalia, where 2.7 million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and where children are dying of malnutrition, sugar is a source of energy. In May, a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of sugar cost about the equivalent of 72 cents in Mogadishu, the capital. A month later, it had shot up to $1.28 a kilogram.

In my home, I serve tea (with sugar) three times a day, but from now on, I have to reduce it drastically to only making it when guests arrive, said Asli Abdulkadir, a Somali housewife and mother of four.

People there are bracing for even higher costs after India announced it would cap sugar exports this year. Even if that doesn’t reduce India’s sugar exports compared with previous years, news of the restriction was enough to cause speculation among traders like Ahmed Farah in Mogadishu.

”The cost of sugar is expected to surge since Somalia counts heavily on the white sugar exported from India and a few brown sugars from Brazil, he said.

Food export restrictions aimed at protecting domestic supplies and capping inflation is one reason for the rising cost of food.

Food prices had been steadily climbing worldwide because of drought, supply chain issues, and high energy and fertilizer costs. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says food commodity prices were up 23% last year.

Russias war in Ukraine further sent the price of wheat and cooking oils up, fueling a global food crisis. There was a breakthrough this week to create safe corridors for Black Sea shipments, but Ukrainian ports have been blocked from exporting these key goods for months and it will take time to get them moving again to vulnerable countries worldwide.

There’s concern that the impact of all these factors will lead more countries to resort to food export bans, which are felt globally. When Indonesia blocked the export of palm oil for a month in April, palm oil prices spiked by at least 200%.

Analysts say food export bans are shortsighted because they have a domino effect of driving up prices.

I would say that roughly 80% of the bans we see are ill-advised a kind-of, sort-of gut reaction by certain politicians, said David Laborde, who is credited with creating a food trade policy tracker at the International Food Policy Research Institute.

In the world where you will be the only one to do it, that can make sense,” he said. But in a world where other countries can also do it, actually that’s far from being a good idea.

Laborde said bans are a very selfish policy … because you try to get better by making things worse for others.

The list of food export restrictions Laborde has been tracking since the COVID-19 pandemic is long and changes constantly. Examples of their impact include Kazakhstan’s restrictions on grains and oil on prices in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan; Cameroon’s rice export restriction on Chad; and Tunisia’s fruit and vegetable restrictions on Libya.

In Singapore, 29-year-old Wu is hopeful he can keep the family business running as Singapores government signed off on Indonesia as a new chicken supplier.

Things will get better,” he said. (This) will only make us more resilient.


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