Sensex picks momentum by 255 points, riding on bank stocks

Mumbai, March 30 (IANS): India’s Sensex, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), made healthy gains in the early morning session on Monday. It was trading 255 points or 0.93 percent up, as bank stocks rose.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also made healthy gains during the early morning session. It was trading up 67.70 points or 0.81 percent up at 8,409.10 points.

The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 27,655.79 points, was trading at 27,713.88 points (10.00 a.m.) in the early morning session, up 255.24 points or 0.93 percent from the previous day’s close at 27,458.64 points.

The Sensex touched a high of 27,719.28 points and a low of 27,624.76 points in the trade so far.

Last week, India’s foreign exchange reserves increased by $4.26 billion to $339.99 billion for the week ended March 20, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed.

According to analysts, the Indian reserves are being build-up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to absorb any future global financial shock that was witnessed in June 2013.

“The RBI is building up the reserves to counter any future financial shocks like the one which was witnessed at the time of the tapering announcements were made. Apart from that the reserves will also act as a support to the Indian rupee,” Anindya Banerjee, senior manager, currency derivatives, Kotak Securities told IANS.

The RBI is cautious about the US Fed’s stand that the rate hike might take place in the later part of the year.

With higher interest rates in the US, the foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) are expected to be led away from the emerging markets such as India.

The US Fed dropped an assurance to be “patient” in raising interest rates and signalled the hike could come by mid to late this year.

“Just because we removed the word patient from our statement doesn’t mean we will be impatient,” Janet Yellen, US Federal Reserve Board chairman said at a press conference after a globally-awaited meeting of the policy committee on March 18.

For the previous week ended March 13, the reserves had decreased by $2.06 billion to $335.72 billion. For the week ended March 6, the reserves had fallen by $286.3 million to $337.79 billion.

The fell in reserves for the previous week (March 13) was attributed to rally in the US dollar and that major non-dollar currencies were trading at their weekly lows. The Indian reserves hold nearly 20-25 percent of the non-dollar currencies.

According to the RBI’s weekly statistical supplement, foreign currency assets, the biggest component of the forex reserves grew by $4.53 billion at $314.88 billion in the week under review.

The foreign currency assets had declined by $1.97 billion at $310.34 billion in the week ended March 13. under review. However, for the week ended March 6, the foreign currency assets had risen by $122.4 million at $312.32 billion.

The RBI said the foreign currency assets, expressed in US dollar terms, include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the pound sterling, euro and yen held in reserve.

India’s reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the week ended March 20 decreased by $295.8 million and stood at $1.28 billion.

The value of special drawing rights (SDRs) was higher by $18.2 million in the week under review at $3.97 billion.

Gold reserves were static at $19.83 billion. The gold reserves had plunged by $346.2 million in the week ended March 6. (IANS)


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