Business Live: Shares slip as virus fears persist; banks, financial stocks drag

The benchmark Indian stock indices have opened sharply down this morning amid negative global cues.

US stocks last night witnessed a sharp sell-off from the day’s high amid increasing uncertainty around the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Join us as we follow the top business news through the day.

1:00 PM

WPI inflation falls 1.81% in June, but food prices rise

Food prices shoot up even as drop in aggregate demand causes overall price inflation to drop.

PTI rreports: “The wholesale price-based inflation declined 1.81 per cent in June due to decline in prices of fuel and power, even as food articles remained expensive.

The rate of deflation in May was 3.21 per cent.

“The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI (Wholesale Price Index), stood at (-1.81 per cent) (provisional) for the month of June, 2020, as compared to 2.02 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year,” the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement.

Inflation in food articles during June stood at 2.04 per cent, as against 1.13 per cent in May. In fuel and power basket, deflation stood at 13.60 per cent in June, against 19.83 per cent in the previous month.

Manufactured products, however, witnessed inflation of 0.08 per cent in June. In May deflation was 0.42 per cent.

Meanwhile, the final print of April WPI inflation stood at 1.57 per cent, the ministry said.”

12:40 PM

Recent liquidity measures help reduce financing cost in corporate bond mkt to decadal low: RBI

The RBI seems to be declaring victory in its goal to keep the system flush with liquidity.

PTI reports: “The abundant surplus liquidity in the system provided by the Reserve Bank amid COVID-19 related dislocations in the financial market has helped reduce financing cost in the corporate bond market to decadal lows, according to an article published in the RBI Bulletin.

The article has been prepared by Radha Shyam Ratho and Pradeep Kumar of the Financial Markets Operations Department of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

RBI deployed several conventional and unconventional tools to restore orderly conditions in financial markets and maintain normal functioning of financial intermediaries, the article published in RBI’s monthly bulletin for July showed.

Abundant liquidity provided through generic (LTROs) as well as targeted instruments (TLTROs), and other policy measures announced by RBI in the backdrop of dislocations observed in the financial markets, have brought down financing costs in the corporate bond market to decadal lows, eased the access of non-AAA rated entities, and led to record primary issuances, the article said.

Yields have dropped and the spreads have compressed despite foreign portfolio investment (FPI) outflows of around USD 3 billion from corporate bonds in 2020, it said.

Over the past few months, RBI infused liquidity through long-term repo operations (LTROs), targeted long term repo operations (TLTROs), TLTRO 2.0, special refinance facilities to NABARD, SIDBI, NHB and Exim Bank, and a special liquidity facility for mutual funds.

On Saturday, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the liquidity measures announced by the central since February 2020 aggregate to about Rs 9.57 lakh crore, which is equivalent to about 4.7 per cent of 2019-20 nominal gross domestic product (GDP).

The article further said the current level of surplus liquidity in the system has ensured that the short-term rates have remained anchored and soft relative to the policy repo rate, aiding monetary policy transmission with positive spillovers to other segments of the market spectrum.

While the corporate bond market in the country has traditionally been a bastion of AAA-rated entities, the stylised evidence suggests that the recent RBI measures were successful in rekindling the investors’ risk appetite, it said.”


12:20 PM

Barbeque Nation Hospitality gets Sebi’s go ahead to float IPO

The popular restaurant chain has been given the nod by Sebi to float an IPO.

PTI reports: “Casual dining chain Barbeque Nation Hospitality has received markets regulator Sebi’s approval to raise about Rs 1,000-1,200 crore through an initial public offering.

The IPO comprises a fresh issue of shares worth Rs 275 crore and an offer-for-sale of up to 98,22,947 equity shares, according to the draft papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

The company may consider a pre-IPO placement to the tune of Rs 150 crore.

Barbeque Nation Hospitality, which had filed its draft papers with Sebi in February, obtained “observations” from the regulator on July 7, latest update with the capital markets watchdog showed.

Sebi’s observations are necessary for any company to launch public issues like initial public offering (IPO), follow-on public offer (FPO) and rights issue.

Proceeds of the issue will be utilized to repay an outstanding borrowing of Rs 205 crore in part or full and for general corporate purposes.

The company is promoted by Sayaji Hotels, Sayaji Housekeeping Services, Kayum Dhanani, Raoof Dhanani and Suchitra Dhanani and is backed by private equity firm CX Partners, which made its first investment in 2013 and again in 2015.

The promoters hold 60.24 per cent, CX Partners owns 33.79 per cent and renowned stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s investment firm Alchemy Capital holds 2.05 per cent in the company.

According to market sources, the IPO size will approximately be between Rs 1,000 crore-1,200 crore.

The issue is being managed by IIFL Securities, Axis Capital, Ambit Capital and SBI Capital Markets.

In 2017, the company had filed IPO papers with Sebi seeking to raise Rs 700 crore. However, the regulator kept the processing of the company’s proposed IPO in abeyance “pending regulatory action for past violations” and finally approved the IPO plan in January 2018.

Although, the company could not launch the initial share-sale due to averse market conditions.”

11:50 PM

Passenger vehicle sales in India decline 49.59% in June

The coronavirus lockdown has clobbered demand for automobiles.

PTI reports: “Passenger vehicle sales in India declined by 49.59 per cent in June to 1,05,617 units as against 2,09,522 units in the same month last year as the sector looks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown, auto industry body SIAM on Tuesday said.

According to the latest data by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), two-wheeler sales were also down 38.56 per cent at 10,13,431 units as compared to 16,49,475 units in the same month last year.

Motorcycle sales were at 7,02,970 units as against 10,84,596 units in June 2019, down 35.19 per cent.

Scooter sales were also down 47.37 per cent at 2,69,811 units as against 5,12,626 units in the same month last year.”

11:20 AM

Coronavirus lockdowns push more people into hunger

11:00 AM

Rupee slips against US dollar in early trade

The rupee depreciated 16 paise to 75.35 against the US dollar in opening trade on Tuesday tracking weak domestic equities and strengthening American currency.

The rupee opened at 75.33 at the interbank forex market, then lost ground and touched 75.35 against US dollar, down 16 paise over its last close.

It had settled at 75.19 against the US dollar on Monday.

Forex traders said steady crude oil prices and foreign fund inflows supported the rupee, while factors like strong dollar, negative domestic equities and rising COVID-19 cases dragged the local unit down.


10:40 AM

Oil prices drop on demand recovery fears, OPEC+ easing expectations

The coronavirus pandemic continues to play spoilsport for oil’s recovery.

Reuters reports: “Oil prices fell more than 2% on Tuesday on worries that new clampdowns on businesses to stem surging U.S. coronavirus cases could threaten fuel demand recovery and expectations that OPEC+ might ease output cuts from August in an upcoming meeting.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slid 96 cents, or 2.39%, to $39.14 a barrel by 0443 GMT, while Brent crude futures fell 88 cents, or 2.06% to $41.84.

Both benchmark contracts lost just over 1% on Monday.

California’s governor on Monday ordered bars to shut and restaurants, movie theatres, zoos and museums to cease indoor operations as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations soared.

The most populous state’s two largest school districts, in Los Angeles and San Diego, also said they would teach only online when classes resume in August.

California’s moves follow the recent reinstatement of some restrictions in other states, such as Florida and Texas.

“With the California soft lockdown now framing the picture, July could be an even more challenging month for oil than expected with even more demand woes emanating from coronavirus-linked uncertainty,” AxiCorp market strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.

The market will be watching the next move from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, whose Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee will meet on Wednesday to recommend the next level of cuts.

Under the existing agreement, OPEC+ is set to taper its record supply cut of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) to 7.7 million bpd from August through December.

The oil market is getting closer to balance as demand gradually rises, OPEC’s secretary general said on Monday.”

10:20 AM

Abundant liquidity kept short-term rates  soft: RBI bulletin

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it had deployed several conventional and unconventional tools to restore orderly conditions in financial markets and maintain normal functioning of financial intermediaries when COVID-19 sent financial markets in India and the world into a tailspin.

As a result, markets remained resilient, liquid and stable, establishing conditions for a finance-led recovery of the economy ahead of the revival of demand, it said in its monthly bulletin.

It said that with the onset of COVID-19, financial institutions were faced with liquidity stress, loss of access to funding and tightening of financial conditions amid disruption of cash flows and working capital cycles.


10:00 AM

Indian shares slip as virus fears persist; banks, financial stocks drag

The Indian stock bourses are down in line with the late sell-off seen last night in US stocks.

Reuters reports: “Indian shares ticked lower on Tuesday led by losses in banking and financial stocks, as domestic coronavirus cases continued to surge, while a weak performance among Asian peers also weighed on the sentiment.

The broader NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.68% at 10,729.75 by 0345 GMT and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.74% at 36,423.79.

Coronavirus cases in the world’s second-most populous country rose to 906,752 as of Tuesday morning, according to the federal health ministry data, leaving investors concerned about its impact on the Indian economy as many states and cities tighten restrictions again.

Asian shares slipped on simmering Sino-U.S. tensions and persistent coronavirus concerns among investors.

In Mumbai, banking and financial fell further after a Moody’s report on Monday warned on COVID-19 related headwinds to Indian banking, which is already facing a high number of bad debt and a loan repayment moratorium which threatens to hurt revenue.

The Nifty banking index fell 1.6% and the financials index shed 1.5% in early Tuesday trading.

Among stocks, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were the top losers, dropping 1.63% and 1.17%, respectively.

Wipro Ltd was the session’s top gainer, advancing 1.36%, ahead of its quarterly earnings report scheduled for later in the evening.”


9:50 AM

HDFC Bank launches probe into auto loan practices following allegations

An inquiry into possible wrongdoing in auto lending.

PTI reports: “HDFC Bank on Monday said it has launched a probe into its auto lending practices following allegations against the conduct of a long-time executive who retired on March 31 this year.

“We would like to state that the executive concerned who was on an extension of service retired on March 31, 2020 in the normal course of his employment. The bank has a well established process of investigating every complaint that it receives and takes actions as appropriate,” an HDFC Bank spokesperson said.

The auto loan department executive could not be contacted for comments.

The allegations pertain largely to the professional conduct which raises issues about possible conflicts of interest, sources said, stressing the quality of the bank’s auto loan book is strong.

The spokesperson said the “due process” was followed in this instance and asserted that the bank has followed “highest standards of governance and propriety at all times“.

The auto loan book had stood at Rs 83,935 crore as of March 31, 2020, constituting less than a fifth of the overall retail book. The auto loans had grown by only 4.04 per cent in FY20 as against the 14.61 per cent growth in the overall retail advances. It can be noted that auto sales were also in the slow lane for much of the year.

Meanwhile, Munish Mittal, the bank’s chief information officer has decided to move on to pursue higher studies at an overseas university, sources said.

Mittal had joined the lender way back in 1996 and had been serving as the CIO since 2015, they said.

HDFC Bank shares closed 2.26 per cent down at Rs 1,080.40 apiece on BSE on Monday against gains of 0.27 per cent on the benchmark index Sensex.”

9:30 AM

‘Profitability, asset quality in Indian, ASEAN banks to worsen’

The challenging economic and credit conditions stemming from COVID-19 will weigh on ASEAN and Indian banks’ asset quality and profitability, Moody’s Investors Service said in a new report.

“In ASEAN and India, bank downgrades in 2020 have been driven by Indian banks, following the downgrade of the sovereign in June,” said Eugene Tarzimanov, Moody’s vice-president and senior credit officer.

“That said, the majority of the banks in the region are well-positioned at their ratings, despite a higher share of negative outlooks on bank ratings,” he said.

Moody’s said the asset quality and profitability will deteriorate from good levels in 2019 across most banking systems, with Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines having the best asset quality with non-performing loans below 2%. While government support measures will offset some of the pressure on banks, they will not fully eliminate the negative impact, the report said.


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