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Healthcare regulations must factor in complex structure of private sector

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Health is a public good; hence the regulation is not only about enforcement but also but timely intervention by the concerned to ensure fair play and justice for both the healthcare provider and the patient

Representative image.

As per NSO (75th round), private sector accounts for 55 percent of patient care, public sector 42 percent, and 3 percent patents are treated in medical charitable trusts. Given this, for the private sector to be trustworthy partners in healthcare delivery, regulatory framework, and its mindful implication is imperative.

Recent news reports show that investigations by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) have found that some super-speciality hospitals of well-known chains that operate in the Delhi-National Capital Region abused their positions of dominance by charging “unfair and excessive prices” for renting rooms, medicines, medical tests, medical devices, and consumables.

The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the requirement for regulation with widespread complaints of over-charging, unnecessary procedures, issues in quality, denial of admission without advance, opaqueness in treatment protocols, and so on. At the same time, one must acknowledge that without the participation of private hospitals, India’s fight against COVID-19 was not possible. During the testing times, many states requisitioned beds in private hospitals, centrally allocated them at fixed charges, and the private hospitals willingly co-operated.

The Clinical Establishment Act 2010 and the Clinical Establishment Rules (2012) — which provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in India with a view to prescribe the minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them — have been adopted by 11 states, and came into force in most union territories except Delhi. This is because states are free to enact their own Act.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has not been supportive of this Act. They object to the Act requiring private hospitals and clinics to provide standard facilities, and yet charge minimum fees. The law also requires hospitals and clinics to stabilise patients, who are in a critical condition; this may not be possible for small establishments not having specialists, they argue. It is true that healthcare establishments have to comply with multiple regulatory requirements.

The Report on the Working Group on Clinical Establishments, Professional Services Regulation and Accreditation of Health Care Infrastructure for the 11th Five-Year Plan highlights this issue while stating that, health regulation in India encompasses a variety of actors, and issues. These include promulgation of legislation for health facilities and services, disease control and medical care, human power (education, licensing, and professional responsibility), ethics and patients’ rights, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, radiation protection, poisons and hazardous substances, occupational health and accident prevention, elderly, disabled, and rehabilitation family, women and child health, mental health, smoking/tobacco control, social security and health insurance, environmental protection, nutrition and food safety, health information and statistics and custody, civil and human rights to enumerate a few. The Consumer Protection Act also covers healthcare services.

Private healthcare entities are not a homogenous lot. Ranging from super-specialty chains of hospitals, you have nursing homes, single-specialty hospitals of varying sizes, urgent care clinics, birth centres, hospice homes, ambulatory surgical facilities, rehabilitation centers, radiology and imaging centers, et al. The book ‘Perils in Practice: The Prevention of Violence Against Healthcare Professionals aptly points out another complexity: While doctors are held to ethical standards, hospitals and corporate health institutions are accountable to industry regulations. Regulatory arrangements, therefore, have to keep in mind the diversity and complexity of healthcare service delivery.

As the first step to transparency and accountability, hospitals can post on their websites, or on association websites, outcomes (for example, average duration of length-of-stay, readmission, and mortality rate), and patient feedback on quality, safety, and cost of care. This will help build confidence, and also dispel any doubts about patient care.

Health is a public good; hence the regulation is not only about enforcement but also but timely intervention by the concerned to ensure fair play and justice on both sides. Since health is a state subject, states will need to take the initiative with all stakeholders on board. An independent regulator with enabling single-window clearances for different forms of healthcare establishments is perhaps the practical way forward. Appointing a healthcare ombudsman by states could also help. The ombudsman could act as an arbitrator enabling fair play for all stakeholders.

With the government encouraging initiatives like ‘Heal in India’ and ‘Heal by India’, a well-laid out, implementable, facilitatory, regulatory framework with the underlying principle of acknowledging health as a public good is a must.

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Energy prices to fall 11% in 2023 as economies slow down: World Bank study

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Currency depreciation in developing countries could deepen food and energy inflation: Commodity Markets Outlook report

Photo: Bloomberg

Global energy prices will ease in the next couple of years but "remain considerably" higher than the historic average, said a report on Wednesday.

In many economies, prices in domestic-currency terms remain elevated because of depreciation and this could deepen food and energy crises.

"As the global growth slowdown intensifies,  are expected to ease in the next two years, but they will remain considerably above their average over the past five years. Energy prices are expected to fall by 11 per cent in 2023 and 12 per cent in 2024," said the Commodity Markets Outlook report for October 2022 released by the .

However, "prices will remain more than 50 per cent above their five-year average through 2024."

 oil is expected to average at $92 per barrel in 2023, over $30 per barrel higher than the average of the last five years of $60 per barrel, said the report. In 2024, the average  oil is expected to cost $80 per barrel.

Natural gas and coal prices will become cheaper in 2023, but Australian coal and US natural gas are expected to double their average of the last five years. Separately, low grain supplies in 2023 could result in high .

"First, export disruptions by Ukraine or Russia could again interrupt global grain supplies. Second, additional increases in energy prices could exert upward pressure on grain and edible . Third, adverse weather patterns can reduce yields; 2023 is likely to be the third La Niña year in a row, potentially reducing yields of key crops in South America and Southern Africa," said John Baffes, senior economist at the World Bank’s Prospects Group.

"Higher-than-expected energy prices could pass through to non-energy prices, especially food, prolonging challenges associated with food insecurity," the report said.

Almost all regions in the world saw double-digit  in the first three quarters of 2022. India's  in September was recorded at 8.6 per cent year-on-year (YoY) with vegetable and spice prices rising 18.5 per cent and 16.88 per cent respectively.

"A further spike in world food prices could prolong the challenges of food insecurity across developing countries. An array of policies is needed to foster supply, facilitate distribution, and support real incomes," said Pablo Saavedra, the World Bank’s vice president for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions in the report's press release.

"Policymakers in emerging markets and developing economies have limited room to manage the most pronounced global inflation cycle in decades. They need to carefully calibrate monetary and fiscal policies, clearly communicate their plans, and get ready for a period of even higher volatility in global financial and commodity markets," said Ayhan Kose, director of the World Bank’s Prospects Group and chief economist at EFI, which produces the Outlook report.

India's Russian oil binge sends West Asian imports to 19-month low

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India's imports from the West Asia fell to about 2.2 million bpd, down 16.2% from AugustOil prices

By Nidhi Verma

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's  from the  fell to a 19-month low in September while Russian imports rebounded although refining outages hit overall crude imports, data from trade and shipping sources showed.

Iraq remained the top supplier while Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the second biggest after a gap of a month, the data showed.

India's total  in September fell to a 14-month low of 3.91 million barrels per day (bpd), down 5.6% from a year earlier, due to maintenance at refiners such as Reliance Industries and Indian Oil Corp, the data showed. [REF/OUT]

India's imports from the  fell to about 2.2 million bpd, down 16.2% from August, the data showed, while imports from Russia increased 4.6% to about 896,000 bpd after dipping in the previous two months.

Russia's share of India's  surged to an all-time high of 23% from 19% the previous month while that of the  declined to 56.4% from 59%, the data showed.

The share of Caspian Sea oil, mainly from Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan, rose to 28% from 24.6%.

 

India's monthly oil imports from various regions 

 

oil imports

 

India has emerged as Russia's second biggest oil buyer after China, taking advantage of discounted prices as some Western entities shun purchases over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

"The discount on Russian oil has narrowed now but when you compare its landed cost with other grades such as those from the Middle East, Russian oil turned out to be cheaper," said a source at one of India's state refiners.

Imports for Saudi Arabia fell to a three-month low of about 758,000 bpd, down 12.3% from August, while imports from Iraq plunged to 948,400 bpd, their lowest level in a year, the data showed.

Imports from the United Arab Emirates declined to a 16-month low of about 262,000 bpd.

Higher intake of Caspian Sea oil has hit the share of other regions in India's imports in April-September, the first half of the fiscal year, and also cut OPEC's market share in the world's third biggest oil importer and consumer to its lowest ever.

In the first half of this fiscal year, Indian refiners also reduced purchases of African oil, mostly bought from the spot market. However, supply from the Middle East rose from a low base last year when the second wave of the coronavirus cut fuel demand.

 

India's oil imports from various regions
 

Graph

 

 

Opec's share of India's oil imports drop to record low 

Graph

 

Share Market Closing Note | indian Stock Market Trading View 27 October 2022

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Share Market Closing Note

Benchmark indices ended on positive note in the highly volatile session on October 27.

Markets begin fiscal on high note; Sensex, Nifty log record closing

At Close, the Sensex was up 212.88 points or 0.36% at 59,756.84, and the Nifty was up 80.70 points or 0.46% at 17,737. About 1770 shares have advanced, 1548 shares declined, and 125 shares are unchanged.

JSW Steel, Hindalco Industries, Tata Steel, Adani Ports and Power Grid Corporation were among the top Nifty gainers, while losers included Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Asian Paints, Bajaj Auto and Nestle India.

Among sectors, Metal, Power and Realty up 2-3 percent.

The BSE midcap and smallcap indices up 0.4 percent each.

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Topic :- Time:3.00 PM

Nifty spot if holds above 17660 level on closing basis then expect some quick upmove in coming sessions and if it closes below above mentioned level then some sluggish movement can be seen in the market. Avoid open positions for tomorrow as Nifty is majorly rangebound.

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Topic :- Time:2.30 PM

GOLD Trading View:

GOLD is trading at 50730.If it breaks and trade below 50680 level then expect some decline in it and if it manages to trade and sustain above 50780 level then some further upmove can follow in it.

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Topic :- Time:2.00 PM

Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 17720 level then expect some upmove in the market and if it breaks and trade below 17680 level then some decline can follow in it.

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Topic :- Time:1.30 PM

COPPER Trading View:

COPPER is trading at 662.30.If it manages to trade and sustain above 664.20 level then expect some quick upmove in it and if it breaks and trade below 660.00 level then some decline can follow in Copper.

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Topic :- Time:1.15 PM

Just In:

BEL reports Q2 earnings.

Cons net profit down 0.11% at Rs 623.7 cr Vs Rs 624.4 cr (YoY)

 Cons revenue up 7.7% at Rs 3,961.6 cr Vs RS 3,678 cr (YoY)

Cons EBITDA up 0.5% at Rs 868.2 cr Vs Rs 863.9 cr (YoY)

Margin at 22% Vs 23.5% (YoY)

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Topic :- Time:1.10 PM

Just In:

Rising deposit rates to hurt bank profits in coming quarters

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Topic :- Time:1.00 PM

Nifty is still trading in a very small range. Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 17720 level then expect some upmove and if it breaks and trade below 17680 level then some further decline can follow in the market.

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Topic :- Time:12.00 PM

Nifty is highly rangebound on this expiry day. Nifty spot if breaks and trade below 17700 level then expect some decline in it and if it manages to trade and sustain above 17740 level then some upmove can follow in the market.

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Topic :- Time:11.50 AM

Just In:

TAMILNADU MERCANTILE Q2 : ST. NET PROFIT AT 260 CR V 190 CR PROFIT (YOY]

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Topic :- Time:11.30 AM

News Wrap Up:

1. Sensex rises 250pts, Nifty50 above 17,700; Metal index up 2%

2. NMDC trades ex-date for demerger; stock surges 14% on heavy volumes

3. PNB, BHEL, IDFC among top mid-, smallcap stocks that can rally up to 25%

4. Billionaire Gautam Adanis wealth up relative to Indias GDP, shows data

5. Telcos need to install atleast 10K 5G towers per week: Ashwini Vaishnaw

6. Meta misses profit expectations as Q3 sales slip 4%, income falls 52%

7. SIP account redemptions rise to 11-mth high as investors dip into savings

8. Amber Enterprises hits 52-week low; sheds 9% in four days post Q2 loss

9. Gland Pharma plunges 13%, hits 52-week low on disappointing Q2 results

10. Zee, Sony agree to sell three Hindi channels to address CCI concerns

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Raghuram Rajan says India's job situation 'really alarming', needs equal focus on services

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The former central banker expresses concern over the Centre's production-linked incentive schemes for the manufacturing sector, saying the money could be better spent elsewhereRaghuram Rajan says India's job situation 'really alarming', needs equal  focus on services

Former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan has expressed concern over India's employment situation, calling it "really alarming", and said the government must focus on promoting labour-intensive jobs such as those in the services sector.

"I would say we need to do far more. And it's not about bombastic 'oh we have arrived, we are the fifth biggest economy in the world'. It is about doing the hard work that is necessary to support the kind of jobs we need. And the jobs situation, I would say, is really alarming," Rajan said late on Wednesday in a conversation with students of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Rajan, the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, served as the governor of the Reserve Bank for three years starting September 2013.

Rajan said the rise in agriculture and related jobs was unprecedented for a growing economy.

"People leave agriculture for services and manufacturing. Here, over the last couple of years, we have seen people go back to agriculture. So the unemployment numbers are in a sense misleading because they don't account for this effective underemployment of people who have gone back into agriculture," he said.

Under fire for not creating enough jobs, the central government recently launched a nationwide 'Rozgar Mela' with the aim of appointing 10 lakh personnel.

Service-led growth

According to Rajan, the government's approach to boosting growth and increasing employment through a heavy focus on the manufacturing sector is misguided.

"I am not in any way saying that we should not focus also on manufacturing jobs. What I am saying is that the enormous subsidies that are now going into manufacturing, we need to think of whether they would be better employed in creating the underpinnings of strong service jobs, not just in this country but as exports," he said.

The government has widened the scope of its production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to numerous sectors, under which it provides incentives on incremental sales for locally manufactured products, and is said to be considering its further expansion.

Rajan, however, argued that it may be much easier to increase services exports than manufacturing in the current global environment. Further, service sector jobs are more labour intensive, which would help create more jobs.

"Rather than manufacturing chips, which is a very capital-intensive and low-labour-intensive business, could we instead design chips, which is a very high-value-added business where we have the potential because of our smart engineers and management people."

In April-September, India's services exports amounted to $150 billion, with a trade surplus of $61 billion. Meanwhile, merchandise exports were higher at $232 billion, but India faced a huge trade deficit of $148 billion in the first half of FY23.

Rajan continued his criticism of the PLI scheme, saying that providing a subsidy to the manufacturing sector while raising tariffs on certain products seemed arbitrary.

"How do you expect to have a decent export strategy when in fact you are subsidising arbitrarily, raising tariffs arbitrarily; some bureaucrat decides whom to benefit and whom not to benefit, who knows on what basis… And I don't think we have any idea, despite claims by some of our ministers, that this (PLI scheme) actually works… I worry that we are putting all our eggs in one basket when we should be spending more carefully on other thing also," Rajan said.

What Rishi Sunak’s rise can tell Congress in India

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Own up Jawaharlal Nehru’s role as the builder of Independent India’s capitalism, instead of persisting with the once-expedient rhetoric of socialismRishi Sunak: 10 things to know about UK PM - Times of India

Rishi Sunak has made it to 10, Downing Street. This after Liz Truss was forced out of office by the hostile reaction of the markets to the very measures she had campaigned on to win the support of the Conservative Party membership and defeat Sunak to become Britain’s Prime Minister just seven weeks ago.

This article does not discuss the Colony Strikes Back theme that seems to have gripped the imagination of many Indians after Sunak’s rise to the top of the British political establishment. Rather, it is about the implication of the raw deal Truss got for the Indian National Congress.

She got a raw deal: after all, the policies that sent Britain’s bond prices plummeting, yields soaring, and the pound to near parity with the US Dollar, were the policies she had championed during her campaign to replace Boris Johnson as the leader of the ruling Conservative Party and thus become Prime Minister.

In his General Theory, John Maynard Keyes had warned: “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”

Truss was slave to an old nostrum of the Conservatives. Cut taxes, and growth would follow — that is an article of faith for British Conservatives, who saw, in Margaret Thatcher, their mascot for the post-Churchill world. Thatcher was seen as the political soul mate of United States’ Ronald Reagan, who also cut taxes, and made a fetish of bashing Big Government — the most terrifying nine words in the English language, he said, were “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

To become Prime Minister, Truss had to beat Sunak, who had campaigned on a platform of sound finance, for which it would be necessary to raise taxes. The Conservative Party did not have to think a lot to dismiss him and choose Truss.

In effect, Truss was undone by the unthinking dogma — that to cut taxes is good and to raise taxes is obnoxious — that had become an integral part of the Tory subconscious.

Socialist Myth

There are lessons here for the Congress, which today faces the charge that Nehruvian socialism throttled India’s economic potential for the first three-and-a-half decades of Independence. This narrative holds that till Rajiv Gandhi began to relax controls in the mid-Eighties, Indian industry was in manacles, and that the opening up and decontrol brought in by PV Narasimha Rao in 1991 unleashed Indian entrepreneurship, and only the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can carry this dynamic forward. Nehru is blamed for his Fabian socialism, and the desire to build a socialistic pattern of society in India.

The Congress peddled this myth because it was politically savvy to be socialist and pro-poor, rather than to admit its government was building capitalism in the country, and were helping to create a capitalist class capable of shouldering ever-larger responsibilities. The Communists lambasted the government under Nehru and Indira Gandhi as ‘Tata-Birla-ki-Sarkar’ (the government of the Tatas and the Birlas).

Politically Counterproductive

It is a different world today. Socialism is seen as a false credo, and its pursuit, as damaging. The Communists are politically irrelevant. The BJP, the Congress’ ideological nemesis, champions capitalist growth as enriching, and empowering. The Congress, instead of citing the evidence that its policies under Nehru and subsequent Congress Prime Ministers launched the broad based capitalist growth that is now pushing India to the forefront of global growth and delivering its people out of poverty, disease, and inequality, is giving the platform of growth to the BJP.

The Congress’ continued lip-service to socialism is not just politically counterproductive against the BJP, but also carries with it the risk of being pushed into policy disasters of the kind into which Truss landed, following her party’s cherished nostrums.

Handsome is as Handsome does. What did Nehru do, regardless of what he said? He used deficit financing to generate the resources to invest in building the infrastructure that the economy needed and the Indian capitalist class was too feeble to build on its own. He used the State sector to build a machine tool industry, to build power plants, and the turbines to run the power plants. He built the steel plants that would produce the steel a growing economy would need. He built the commanding heights that the economy did not have but needed, and was beyond the reach of India’s capitalists.

Helping Capital Formation

But that was not all. Nehru provided Indian capitalists with the funds they needed to invest. This, he did in three ways.

One, by protecting industrial goods from external competition via tariffs and import restrictions, he raised the prices of nascent Indian industry’s output relative to not just what they ought to have been in an open-trade regime, but in relation to farm prices. When the terms of trade are skewed against agriculture, farmers have to part with more farm produce than they need have, to buy industry’s output, whether tools, tractor trailers, salt or cooking oil. This transferred resource from farming to industry, helping capital formation in industry.

The other route was by handing over the public’s savings to industry to use as debt and equity capital. The government set up development financial institutions (DFIs) that gave industry long-term loans. The IFCI was set up in 1948, the ICICI in 1955, and the IDBI in 1964 (Nehru died in May of that year, and IDBI’s formation was notified in June — the decision to set it up was taken in Nehru’s time). These channelled the public’s savings to Indian capitalists. All banks were required to maintain a statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) – a proportion of all their assets (a loan is an asset) had to be invested in government bonds or other instruments notified as SLR-eligible. The government notified DFI bonds to be SLR-eligible, and the banks bought up DFI bonds, channelling the public’s deposits to the DFIs. The DFIs gave long-term loans to licensed projects of industry, with the money they got from issuing bonds.

This was not the only State-sponsored route to channel the public’s savings to private industry. The Nehru government set up the Unit Trust of India (UTI). The public put their savings into UTI, and UTI invested in industry’s equity.

Yet another way of diverting the public’s savings to industry was via deficit financing. When deficit financing creates inflation, workers’ wages adjust with a lag, which means the share of wages declines in relation to the share of profits in national income. These boosted profits become another way of capital mobilisation for Indian industry.

Pro-Capitalist Reforms

Indian industry needed a dirt-poor population to buy what it produced. The government’s investment in infrastructure, intermediate goods, and capital goods not just created public enterprises and a consuming middle class, but also put purchasing power in the hands of those involved in this activity. They purchased the consumer goods, durable and non-durable, that Indian industry produced, ranging from Hamam soaps to Ambassador cars. Indians could not have purchased Yardley soaps or Volkswagen automobiles because their imports were restricted.

Yet another helping hand the Nehru government lent industry was in the nurturing of the engineering and R&D talent industry needed. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) did not crop up after a monsoon shower. State-owned labs did research that Indian industry was too timid to undertake on its own, whether CSIR labs or the Central Leather Research Institute.

Even the abolition of zamindari and pursuit of land reforms in some states was a classical pro-capitalist reform, both expanding the base of consumption, and releasing rural workers to work in industry.

Sham Socialism

Nehru might have had a good spiel on socialism, but his policies and State action were designed to build the infrastructure that Indian industry needed but was too small to build on its own, build locally the machine tools and other capital goods that industry needed, supply industry with capital, provide industry with a protected, captive market where State spending created purchasing power for the industry’s produce, and to make available trained manpower.

Nehru invited voters to worship at the new temples of modern India, but the deities of these new temples showered, when not stepping out to moonlight in the service of Indian industry, their benevolence, as intended, on India’s burgeoning capitalists.

To persist with the picture of Nehru as a socialist, merely on the strength of the State-owned enterprises he built, is analytically mistaken, and politically misguided. Broad based capitalist growth is what reduces poverty, and redeems people from the wretchedness of poverty, and that is what the government sought to do under Nehru. There is no shame in accepting this.

By espousing a sham socialism, the Congress cedes the plank of promoting broad based growth to the BJP, as if it were the inventor and champion of such a project. What Truss said was unwise, but had the endorsement of the Conservative Party. Most Congressmen, even those who eat out of the hands of industry or own industrial units themselves, pretend to swear by socialism, thereby giving credence to the BJP’s claim to be the champions of growth.

The Congress must listen to Keynes, and learn from Truss’ debacle; it must embrace Nehru, the builder of modern Indian capitalism, and create new political space of contemporary relevance by promising to build yet more on that pro-growth legacy.

Steel prices fall 40% in last six months to Rs 57,000 per tonne: SteelMint

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Steel prices fell about 40 per cent to Rs 57,000 a tonne in the domestic market over the last six months on subdued export orders in the wake of the 15 per cent export levy, according to Steel

 fell about 40 per cent to Rs 57,000 a tonne in the domestic market over the last six months on subdued export orders in the wake of the 15 per cent export levy, according to SteelMint.

In early 2022, the prices of hot rolled coil (HRC) started showing an upward trend. It had become a matter of concern for the user industries as movements in  have a direct impact on industries like real estate and housing, infrastructure and construction, automobile and consumer goods.

The  in the domestic market peaked at Rs 78,800 per tonne in April. After 18 per cent GST levy, the price was about Rs 93,000 per tonne, the research firm said.

The prices started to fall from April-end and came down to Rs 60,200 per tonne towards the end of June, according to SteelMint data.

It continued to fall in July and August and came down to Rs 57,000 per tonne by mid-September.

SteelMint cited "government tax on steel products, subdued overseas demand and high inflation and energy costs" as the reasons for the fall in steel prices.

All prices are excluding 18 per cent GST.

On the outlook, it said domestic HRC prices to remain range-bound in the next quarter. As steel exports are likely to remain less than usual and inventory pressure is likely to sustain, mills are unlikely to increase the prices over the next two months.

On May 21, the government hiked the duty on exports of iron ore by up to 50 per cent and a few steel intermediaries to 15 per cent.

It also waived customs duty on the import of some raw materials, including coking coal and ferronickel, used by the .

The move was aimed at increasing the availability of these raw materials for domestic manufacturers.

China | Xi Jinping ups Taiwan rhetoric, promises complete reunification

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The rhetoric on Taiwan, in conjunction with the exhortation to the PLA to ramp up its might, presents a possibility that Xi Jinping will place Taiwan on the front burner in his third term, which must worry the worldChina | Xi Jinping ups Taiwan rhetoric, promises complete reunification

President Xi Jinping kicked off the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) National Congress, which charts its policy trajectory for the next five years and finalises its future leadership, with an address to the Party faithful for nearly 1 hour and 45 minutes.

This year, the CCP’s leadership conclave comes amidst a major strain on the Chinese economy with important segments like real estate, manufacturing, and retail bleeding either as a result of COVID-19 curbs or policy shifts. The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, released in October, estimates China’s GDP growth at 3.2 percent this year; in contrast, India and ASEAN-5 are expected to post 6.8 percent and 5.3 percent growth respectively. There have been sporadic protests against curbs imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another worry is China’s relationship with the US, which has deteriorated due to the former’s close ties with Russia, its refusal to criticise Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, and its threat to mount an invasion of Taiwan. Many of these concerns, along with Xi’s “achievements” since he assumed office in 2012, resonated in his speech. In 2021, the Chinese government announced that as many as 100 million had been brought out of poverty, which Xi touted as a major victory. On the issue of Hong Kong, Xi expressed satisfaction that “patriots” were presiding over the island’s affairs, and its diplomatic corps was doing a stellar job of upholding the nation’s dignity.

China’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was to shutter down cities and initiate mass testing of the population, which has caused some dissent within the population. Liang Wannian, chief of China’s Epidemic Response and Disposal Leading Group—a committee that operates under the National Health Commission—admitted that there was an anticipation of returning to life as it was before the pandemic, but admitted that there was no exit strategy in an interview to the state broadcaster ahead of the Congress.

There have been nearly 1 million COVID cases in China since the start of the pandemic, which is around 0.07 percent of its population. According to China’s health officials, when compared with Western nations, both the rate of infection and total death toll (approximately 5,200) is low, but Liang expressed fears that in the absence of “better means of treatment”, abruptly discontinuing the policy could overwhelm the healthcare system and lead to more deaths. Nearly 90 percent of China’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID as of mid-October and around 86.3 percent of those in the 60+ age group have also been vaccinated as of early October.

But given the CCP’s penchant of turning an adversity into an opportunity, Xi has sold China’s zero COVID-19 policy as prioritising the protection of lives of citizens. A recent article in People’s Daily, the CCP’s mouthpiece, justified the continuation of the zero COVID-19 policy. The article chided the approach of some nations that have “chosen to live with the virus” despite a huge death toll, contrasting it with China’s approach, which has “saved lives” but caused economic damage.

However, upon closer examination, the gloss around Xi’s accomplishments seems to be wearing off. The abrupt lockdowns necessitated by the zero COVID strategy have hit the poor and threaten to jeopardise the gains of China’s poverty alleviation programme, which the CCP touted as a feat that had “not been accomplished in human history”. The authorities in provincial Jilin recently started doling out 200 yuan (US$31.5) to low-income households and poor residents, along with vegetables and some medical supplies.

In 2022, more than 10 million students will graduate and the race for jobs is likely to get intense. This raises the prospects of high unemployment that may have a bearing on China’s growth in the long run. The findings of a study conducted by academics at Peking University revealed that China’s unemployment rate could reached the levels of 2020 under the pandemic prevention measures that are still in place. The research estimated the number of unemployed Chinese in mid-2020 could have been 92 million, which is nearly 12 percent of the working population. The state media’s portrayal of Xi as leading the campaign to fight the pandemic has tied him closely to China’s COVID-19 control efforts. Thus, any immediate relaxation after the Congress could contradict the claim that China’s stern response is intended at putting people’s lives and health first.

What does the future portend?

The decibel level of the audience applause on Xi’s pronouncements on Taiwan is, perhaps, a pointer to the direction of Cross-Straits relations and Sino-US relations. Xi assured the party and the people that he was up to the challenge of tackling the forces of separatism and foreign interference on the island. The CCP has showcased hard power after a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August; Beijing sees the broadening of contacts between the American and Taiwanese leaderships as a chipping away of the notion of one-China and as a major violation of its sovereignty. Following which, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) staged military exercises that was tantamount to a partial blockade and flew warships and aircraft with increasing regularity across the de-facto median line in the Taiwan Strait.

In his work report, Xi promised to make utmost efforts to unify Taiwan peacefully, but also reiterated that the Party retains the right to use force to bring it back to the fold. Additionally, Xi has pledged that the complete reunification of China would see fruition soon, and that the Chinese military expedite its efforts to become a superior war machine that has the ability to win regional wars. The rhetoric on Taiwan, in conjunction with the exhortation to the PLA to ramp up its might, presents a possibility that Xi will place Taiwan on the front burner in his third term, which must worry the world community.

Techno-nationalism too featured in Xi’s address. Ahead of the Congress, the Biden administration has upped the ante on two key factors that played a role in China’s rise– capital and technology. It has further restricted China’s access to high-end semiconductors that have application in Artificial Intelligence, and also added more companies to a blacklist that bars US citizens from investing in them. In his address, Xi made repeated references to China’s scientific development in the field of space exploration, nuclear technology, medical  breakthroughs, and ocean exploration China poured a record 2.79 trillion yuan (US$388 billion) into research and development in 2021, a rise of more than 14 percent from 2020. His thrust on China becoming more innovative and self-sufficient in the technological sphere is, thus, a response to the Biden administration’s actions.

To conclude, Xi paints a picture of the future as one replete with opportunity and danger as evidenced from his warning that “external forces” could seek to “blackmail, contain and blockade” China. The sub-text is clear that it is under his stewardship that China has been able to come to grips with the problems and that it is his strong leadership that has been able to made a difference. However, one aspect that Xi has overlooked is the naming of a successor. A large country like China needs a defined line of succession, and any void can risk the chances of political tensions.

(This article first appeared in the ORF.) 

Kalpit A Mankikar is a Fellow with Strategic Studies programme at ORF’s Delhi centre. Views are personal and do not represent the stand of this publication.

Share Market Closing Note | Indian Stock Market Trading View For 19 October 2022

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 Share Market Closing Note

After holding on to their gains for better part of the day, benchmark indices edged lower in the fag-end.

Day trading guide for today: 6 stocks to buy or sell on Wednesday — 19th  October | Mint 

The S&P BSE Sensex closed at 59,107, up 147 points or 0.25 per cent, extending its rally into fourth day. It hit an intra-day high of 59,400.

 The Nifty50, meanwhile, ended at 17,512, up 25 points or 0.14 per cent. It hit an intra-day high of 176,608.

HDFC, Nestle India, ITC, RIL, Axis Bank, and Ultratech Cement were the top gainers, while Bajaj Finserv, NTPC, SBI, HCL Tech, Infosys, and Maruti Suzuki were the top laggards. 

In the broader markets, the BSE MidCap index gained 0.13 per cent, while the BSE SmallCap index dipped 0.03 per cent. Sectorally, the Nifty IT, and Metal indices fell up to 1 per cent, while the Nifty Oil & Gas index added 0.57 per cent. 

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Topic :- Time:3.00 PM

Nifty spot if manages to close above 17520 level then expect some pull back in coming sessions and if it close below above mentioned level then some sluggish movement can follow. Avoid open positions for tomorrow. Currently Nifty spot is at 17491.

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Topic :- Time:2.30 PM

GOLD Trading View:

GOLD is trading at 50342. IF it manages to trade and sustain above 50380 level then expect some further upmove in it and if it breaks and trade below 50300 level then some decline can be seen in Gold.

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Topic :- Time:2.20 PM

Just In:

HDFC AMC Q2 : NET PROFIT AT 360 CR V 340 CR (YOY).

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Topic :- Time:2.00 PM

Nifty is still melting. Nifty spot if breaks and trade below 17480 level then expect some decline in it and if it manages to trade and sustain above 17520 level then some upmove can follow in it.

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Topic :- Time:1.00 PM

Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 17520 level then expect some upmove and if it breaks and trade below 17480 level then some decline can follow in it.

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Topic :- Time:12.30 PM

COPPER Trading View:

COPPER is trading at 637.50.If it holds below 640.50 level then expect some decline in it. Sell on every rise till it trades below 640.50 is recommended in it.

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Topic :- Time:12.15 PM

Important Alerts:

1. Domestic air traffic soars 46.5% in September

2. UK inflation accelerates to 10.1% in September

3. Nestl� launches direct-to-consumer platform MyNestl�

4. Vodafone Idea to weigh raising debt funds through convertible debentures

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Topic :- Time:12.00 PM

Nifty is trading in a range. Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 17580 level then expect some upmove in it and if it breaks and trade below 17540 level then some decline can follow in the market.

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Topic :- Time:11.30 AM

News Wrap Up:

1. Sensex leaps 400 pts, Nifty tests 17,600; RIL up 3%, HDFC 2.5%

2. Jio overtakes BSNL to become largest landline service provider in August

3. Adani Group buys Air Works, forays into aircraft maintenance business

4. Physical inactivity may cost the world $300 bn between 2020 and 2030: WHO

5. NSE floats consultation on index components ahead of HDFC-HDFC bank merger

6. Midhani surges 7%; hits new high on pact with Boeing for aerospace parts

CEOs of Indian companies get nearly 4% compensation hike in FY22

7. Piramal Pharma lists at Rs 202 on BSE; shares tumble 5% intra-day

8. Tata Elxsi dips 14% in 2 days, hits 3-month low post weak Q2 revenue growth

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Topic :- Time:11.00 AM

After positive start nifty is still trading in green. Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 17620 level then expect some upmove in the market and if it breaks and trade below 17560 level then some decline can follow in the market.

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Topic :- Nifty Opening Note

Indian Stock Market Trading View For 19 October 2022:

Nifty to trade volatile and is likely to follow global cues. Trade as per market trend.

Nifty spot if manages to trade and sustain above 17540 level then expect some upmove in the market and if it breaks and trade below 17440 level then some further decline can follow in the market. 

Please note this is just opening view and should not be considered as the view for the whole day.

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Fitch says India’s external finances becoming less of a strength but sufficient buffer

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The rating agency expects India’s current account deficit to widen to 3.4 percent of the GDP in FY23, nearly three times the FY22 levelFitch says India's external finances becoming less of a strength but  sufficient buffer

India's external finances are becoming "less of a strength" but continue to be sufficient to cushion risks emanating from abroad, Fitch Ratings said on October 19.

"External finances are becoming less of a strength in India's credit profile, but we expect foreign-exchange reserves to remain robust and India's current-account deficit to be contained at a sustainable level," the rating agency said in a note.

The comments by Fitch, which rates India at BBB-with a stable outlook, come amid a sharp decline in the country's foreign exchange reserves, which have been deployed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to stem a rapid fall in the rupee.

According to data released earlier this week, the RBI sold a gross $23.11 billion in August following the record-breaking sale of $38.77 billion in July. However, despite the central bank's intervention in the foreign exchange market, the rupee has continued to weaken against the greenback and crossed the 80-per-dollar mark for the first time in mid-July.

Earlier on October 19, the rupee sank to a new low after it broke past 83 to a dollar.

"The RBI recently reiterated that it does not have a target level for the exchange rate, but we expect the authorities will continue to use reserves to manage exchange-rate volatility. This will probably erode reserve buffers further in the near term, but the impact will depend on the scale and duration of intervention," Fitch said.

Sliding rupee 

So far this calendar year, the rupee has depreciated by over 10 percent against the dollar, while India's foreign exchange reserves have fallen below $550 billion.

On October 7, India's foreign exchange reserves stood at $532.87 billion, down $110 billion from its early September 2021 peak of $642.45 billion.

"Reserve cover remains strong at about 8.9 months of imports in September. This is higher than during the 'taper tantrum' in 2013, when it stood at about 6.5 months, and offers the authorities scope to utilise reserves to smooth periods of external stress. Large reserves also provide reassurance about debt repayment capacity. Short-term external debt due is equivalent to only about 24 percent of total reserves," Fitch noted.

However, it added that public finances continue to be the key driver of India's rating and are only "modestly affected" by current external developments due to the limited exposure to external financing.

"Gross external debt stood at 18.6 percent of GDP in 2Q22 (April-June), which is low compared with the median of 72 percent for 'BBB' rated sovereigns in 2021. Sovereign exposures are small, with only about 4 percent of GDP in primarily multilateral financing," Fitch said.

The rating agency expects India's current account deficit to widen to 3.4 percent of the GDP in FY23, nearly three times the FY22 level of 1.2 percent.

Commenting on the Indian monetary policy, Fitch said there were upside risks to its forecast of the repo rate peaking at 6 percent in FY24 due to a "significant chance" of interest rate hikes in the US exceeding what its forecasts assume.

On September 30, the RBI's Monetary Policy Committee increased the repo rate by 50 basis points to 5.9 percent, taking its cumulative rate hikes since the start of May to 190 basis points in its battle to lower persistently elevated inflation.

Data released last week confirmed the RBI had breached its inflation mandate and must now submit a report to the government explaining why it failed, the remedial actions it proposes to take, and the time period within which inflation will return to target.

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