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India's sugar production likely to go up 12% to 30.5 MT in SY2021: ICRA

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The domestic sugar production is likely to go up by 12 per cent to 30.5 million tonnes (MT) during the sugar year 2021, beginning October, due to availability of sugarcane in Maharashtra and Karnataka, according to a report.

The sugar production in India is likely to increase by 12.1 percent to 30.5MT YoY in sugar year (SY) 2021, after adjusting for the impact of the diversion of B-heavy molasses and sugarcane juice for ethanol manufacture, ICRA said in a report.

The production is likely to increase in SY2021, because of higher production in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which was adversely impacted in the previous year due to drought.

In addition, heavy rainfall and waterlogging during the last year (August – September 2019) adversely impacted the sugarcane crop in a few regions of Maharashtra and North Karnataka for SY2020, the report said.

ICRA expects the closing stocks for SY2020 at around 11.0 - 11.5MT after considering the consumption of 25MT (decline of 3.8 percent YoY) and exports of 5-5.5MT.

This along with higher sugar production for SY2021 is likely to result in domestic sugar availability of around 42MT.

In the light of the continuing sugar surplus scenario in the domestic market, continued government support would be critical for industry's profitability, it added.

“This increase in production is majorly driven by the increase in cane availability in Maharashtra and Karnataka in SY2021. The domestic sugar consumption was adversely impacted by the nationwide lockdown owing to COVID-19 pandemic due to loss of demand on account either closure or limited operations of several beverage/food manufacturing units during April-May 2020," ICRA Ratings Senior Vice President and Group Head Sabyasachi Majumdar said.

He said, with the easing of lockdown rules, the consumption is back to pre-COVID levels in June-July 2020.

"While we expect a decline in the sugar consumption in SY2020, the same is likely to go back to 26MT levels in SY2021. The closing stocks are expected at around 10.5-11.0MT for the SY2021 season, which is higher when compared to the normative sugar stock levels," he added.

Without considering the impact of the diversion of B-heavy molasses and sugarcane juice for ethanol manufacture in SY2020, the production is expected to be around 32MT, the report stated.

In Maharashtra, production is expected to increase by 64 percent YoY at 10.1MT and in Karnataka, by 26 percent YoY to around 4.3MT in SY2021.

In UP, production is likely to decline by 3 percent YoY to 12.3MT, the report added.

In SY2020, the production was higher by around 0.5-0.6MT than anticipated because the cane which was generally used by the local gur and khandsari manufacturers, got diverted to sugar mills with the former's operations prematurely shut due to the lockdown, it said.

Meanwhile, the report said that the exports were on the lower side during the lockdown period given the modest port operations owing to the logistics issues and labour shortage, but the pace picked up in May-June 2020.

ICRA expects exports of around 5-5.5MT for SY2020.

Assuming the government continues support for exports for SY2021, considering the surplus scenario in the domestic market, exports are likely to be similar to the SY2020 figures, it added.

The sugar prices moderated closer to MSP ( minimum selling price) levels of Rs 31 per kg in March – May during lockdown period and then picked up to Rs 32-32.5 per kg in June.

The pick-up in consumption and pace of sugar exports is likely to support the sugar prices in the near term.

However, given the sugar surplus scenario, any significant increase in the sugar prices is ruled out, the ICRA report added.

Govt plans to auction 5-6 mineral blocks in MP over next 3 months

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The government plans to auction five to six mineral blocks, including iron ore and bauxite mines, in Madhya Pradesh over the next three months, according to an official. Of the 11 blocks that were put on sale by the state recently, there were takers for only five blocks and six mines received no interest from bidders.

"The six blocks had no bidders as they are commercially not viable and do not have very good market value," the official said.

Of these mines likely to be auctioned in the three months' time in Madhya Pradesh, there will be two bauxite blocks, one iron ore and one rock phosphate, he said.

The state saw auction of one mineral block in FY 2016-17, five mines in 2018-19 and two blocks in the last fiscal.

Of the eight blocks auctioned, three are limestone mines, two are graphite, two are diamond and one iron ore block.

Total revenue from the blocks to the government over a period of 50 years is expected at Rs 28,415.60 crore.

The Centre had last month asked each state having mineral resources to identify at least five new mining projects for auction with pre-embedded clearance on a pilot basis with a view to expediting the sale process as well as operationalisation of the blocks.

The mines ministry has released guidelines for the auction of mineral blocks with pre-embedded clearances as it explores ways to address the key issue of delay in mining production due to lack of various approvals such as forest and environment permissions.

The identified blocks would be auctioned along with other blocks without pre-embedded clearances.

Under the guidelines, the Centre has asked states to set up a project monitoring unit (PMU) to complete the preparatory work for obtaining requisite clearances, approvals and related work.

The unit would obtain all the clearances for starting a mining project.

Forex - Dollar Pushes Higher, For Now; ECB, Jobless Claims Eyed

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The U.S. dollar has recovered moderately in early European trade Thursday, reversing earlier losses, but the long-term prognosis for the greenback continues to look less healthy.

At 3:AM ET (0700 GMT), the ICE (NYSE:ICE) Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was up 0.1% at 96.135. EUR/USD dropped 0.1% to 1.1398, GBP/USD dropped 0.3% to 1.2544, and USD/JPY was flat at 106.92. 

Helping the dollar Thursday has been the continued rise of Covid-19 cases globally, as a flurry of localized outbreaks across the world pushes the overall number of infections to 13.5 million and the death toll to nearly 600,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

China reported a 3.2% growth in its second-quarter GDP year-on-year, a sharp bounce back from the first quarter’s 6.8% contraction, although the yuan weakened slightly as monthly data showed a surprising drop in retail sales that suggested ongoing weakness in consumer demand. 

“Global market trends are increasingly looking like a renewed relative rotation out of the stay-at-home winners (tech, USD) towards reflation trades (Dax, energy, EM FX) and not a global/US growth scare,” said analysts at Danske Bank, in a research note. 

“We continue to see EUR/USD as being part of this rotation,” Danske added. “With this in mind (and we have not even begun to price Brexit optimism) we have started to think we can overshoot our short-term 1M and 3M target at 1.15.”

The Dollar Index is expected to weaken about 2% to 94.1 by the second quarter of next year, according to an analyst survey compiled by Bloomberg. 

Additionally, Deutsche Bank’s Trade-Weighted Dollar Index has dropped more than 1% so far this month, Bloomberg reported, and is set to test the trendline in place since 2011, a break of which would be an important signal for dollar bears. 

Looking ahead, the European Central Bank meets later Thursday, but is unlikely to deliver another easing package so soon after June’s moves.

“We expect a repetition of recent comments from various governing council members, thereby striking a cautiously optimistic tone compared to the June projections

Important U.S. economic data are due later Thursday, with initial jobless claims set to a slowly improving employment situation, while analysts will be watching to see if May's big jump in retail sales can be repeated.


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EUR/USD Price Analysis: The 2020 high now looks closer

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  • EUR/USD corrects lower after recent tops around 1.1450.
  • A test of the YTD peak just below 1.15 stays on the cards.

After recording new 4-month tops around 1.1450 on Wednesday, EUR/USD is now shedding some ground and slips back below the 1.14 mark.

The ongoing downside is seen as corrective only, leaving the probability of a visit to yearly tops near 1.15 well on the table in the short-term horizon.

Furthermore, as long as the 200-day SMA, today at 1.1055, holds the downside, further gains in EUR/USD are likely.


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India's electricity output recovers further in first half of July

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India's electricity generation during the first half of July fell at a slower pace than in June, provisional government data showed, as industries and commercial establishments opened up after further following gradual easing of lockdowns.

Power generation fell 3.1 percent in the first 15 days of July compared with the same period last year, a Reuters analysis of daily load despatch data from federal grid operator POSOCO showed, compared with a 9.9 percent fall in June.

In the second half of June, electricity generation declined 5.3 percent.

While power use has picked up from previous months when India was under a strict lockdown, electricity demand - which is impacted by seasonal changes - is still lower when compared with the same periods from the previous year.

Industries and offices account for over half of India's annual power use. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been citing electricity consumption to show there are "greenshoots" in the Indian economy.

Major industrial states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat in the west and Tamil Nadu in the south continued to witness steep drops in electricity use amid higher incidence of coronavirus cases.

However, many states with smaller yet significant industrial profiles saw growth in power demand for the first time since Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in March.

The northern state of Uttar Pradesh - India's most populous and home to the largest number of medium and small scale enterprises (MSMEs) in the country - witnessed a 10.1 percent growth in electricity use.

Other states including Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh - all of which are known for MSMEs - saw an uptick in power demand.

Seasonal factors including hot weather could have fuelled higher power demand.

The states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have also seen a rise in coronavirus cases in the recent days, which could impact power demand. Bihar has also announced a lockdown beginning Thursday and ending July 31.

NZD/USD erases Wednesday's gains, trades below 0.6550

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  • NZD/USD is staying under bearish pressure following Wednesday's climb.
  • Upbeat GDP data from China failed to provide a boost to NZD.
  • US Dollar Index is staging a recovery ahead of key data.

The NZD/USD pair gained around 30 pips on Wednesday but struggled to preserve its bullish momentum on Thursday. As of writing, the pair was down 0.45% on the day at 0.6540.

Eyes on US data

Earlier in the day, the data from China showed that Industrial Production expanded by 4.8% on a yearly basis in June and the Gross Domestic Product expanded by 11.5% on a quarterly basis in the second quarter. However, annual Retail Sales in China contracted by 1.8% in June and didn't allow the China-proxy NZD to gather strength against its rivals.

Meanwhile, the souring market sentiment put additional weight on the risk-sensitive kiwi's shoulders and caused the bearish pressure to remain intact.

In the second half of the day, the weekly Initial Jobless Claims and Retail Sales data will be featured in the US economic docket. Ahead of these data, the US Dollar Index (DXY) is up 0.2% on the day at 96.23 and the S&P 500 futures are losing 0.65% on the day. If risk-aversion continues to dominate the financial markets in the second half of the day, the DXY could push higher and drag the pair toward 0.6500.



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Decade of the Dollar at Imminent Risk as Slide Threatens Uptrend

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The slump in the dollar is threatening to bring to an imminent end its near-decade-long uptrend against major peers.

Deutsche Bank’s Trade-Weighted Dollar Index -- a gauge of the currency against the U.S.’s most important trading partners -- has fallen to test the trendline in place since 2011, a break of which would be an important signal for dollar bears. The index has dropped more than 1% so far this month amid weakening demand for havens, an ongoing rally in risk assets and a shift in sentiment toward currencies like the euro and yuan.

Dollar strength has been a feature of much of the last 10 years. The trade-weighted basket climbed over 40% from the 2011 low to its recent peak in March, at the height of coronavirus fears. Yet a growing chorus of commentators is calling for the currency to decline, as the global economy attempts to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The ICE (NYSE:ICEU.S. Dollar Index -- another gauge of the currency -- is expected to weaken about 2% to 94.1 by the second quarter of next year, according to an analyst survey compiled by Bloomberg. It traded around the 96 level Thursday.

“Improving domestic economic trends in the euro area and China, as well as our rising conviction in structural dollar weakness over time, reinforce our view that the dollar is poised to weaken against these major currencies,” wrote Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS). strategist Zach Pandl this week.


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USD/CAD Falls to One-Week Low as BoC Says Economy Avoided Worst Case Scenarios

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The loonie gained on the dollar on Wednesday after the Bank of Canada kept its key interest rate unchanged and said the slump in the economy was not as bad as feared.

USD/CAD fell 0.73% to C$1.3512, its lowest in since July 9.

The Bank of Canada (BoC) kept its benchmark interest rate at the effective lower bound of 0.25% and vowed to keep rates unchanged until at least 2023.

In a boost to hopes of a robust recovery, the central bank said recent data had suggested the economy had bottomed in April.

"We now estimate that the economy contracted by about 15 percent in the first half of this year," the central bank said in its monetary policy statement. "As deep as this is, it suggests the economy has avoided the most dire scenarios we laid out in the April MPRIn the third quarter, we expect to continue to see a strong rebound in jobs and output."

The BoC did, however, its 2022 growth outlook, indicating that "permanent scarring from the COVID-19 pandemic (less investment, less immigration, permanent business closures) will reduce the economy’s long-term productive capacity by 4%," RBC said.

The central bank also pledged to continue to purchase bonds in an effort to keep rates low across the yield curve and support lending activity.

"The bank will continue its large-scale asset purchase program at a pace of "at least $5 billion per week of government of Canada bonds," said BoC governor Tiff Macklem.

Beyond monetary policy, the loonie was also supported by a rise in oil prices and upbeat Canadian manufacturing data.

Manufacturing sales in Canada rose by 10.7% in May, beating expectations for a 9.5% increase.

Manufacturing could likely build on the gains made in May as early reports for June - improvements in the Canada manufacturing PMI and a jump in manufacturing hours worked -  have been a "little more positive


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India's exports fall 12.41%, imports by 47.5% in June

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Contracting for the fourth straight month, India's exports declined by 12.41 per cent to $21.91 billion in June mainly due to drop in shipments of petroleum, textiles, engineering goods, and gems and jewellery items. Imports too plunged 47.59 per cent to $21.11 billion in June, leaving a trade surplus of $0.79 billion, compared to a deficit of $15.28 billion in the same month of the last year, according to the data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry on Wednesday.

During April-June 2020, exports fell by 36.71 per cent to $51.32 billion, while imports shrank by 52.43 per cent to $60.44 billion.

The trade deficit stood at $9.12 billion during the two months of the current fiscal.

Oil imports dipped 55.29 per cent to $4.93 billion in June. Gold imports in June plunged by 77.42 per cent to $608.7 million.

S&P 500 Futures Price Analysis: Potential bull flag on 1H calls for a test of 3250

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  • Upside appears more compelling amid a potential bull flag.  
  • A test of 3250 likely as buyers cheer vaccine hopes.
  • 3191 is the level to beat for the bears in the near-term.

Having faced rejection below Monday’s high in Asia, S&P 500 futures, the risk barometer, holds sizeable gains to battle 3200 levels amid broad market optimism, courtesy of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine progress.

The price has entered a phase of consolidation since then, which has now taken the form of a bullish flag on the hourly chart. This is a bullish continuation pattern and an hourly close above the falling trendline resistance at 3210 will confirm the formation.

The bulls will likely target Monday’s high at 3226 en route the psychological level of 3250 in the near-term.

Alternatively, the immediate downside will be limited by the falling trendline support at 3197, below which the bullish 21-hourly Simple Moving Average (HMA), now placed at 3,191, will test the bears’ commitment.

The next support awaits at the 50-HMA of 3180, which could offer some temporary respite to the bulls.

All in all, the path of least resistance appears to the upside, with bullish hourly Relative Strength Index (RSI) at 58.81.


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