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RBI likely to keep key interest rate unchanged on Wednesday

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Mumbai, Dec 4: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to keep its key interest rate unchanged at its penultimate monetary policy review of the fiscal on Wednesday owing to higher inflation in October and a surge in oil prices, even as the reversal in the decline of GDP growth during the second quarter has eased pressure on the central bank to cut rates.

At its previous bi-monthly policy review here in October, the RBI had maintained status quo on its repo, or short term lending rate for commercial banks, at six per cent, citing risks to inflation and uncertainties on the external and fiscal fronts.

The central bank had earlier, in August reduced the repo, or its repurchase rate by 0.25 percentage points to six per cent.

According to the minutes of October’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, Governor Urjit Patel said: “We have to be vigilant on account of uncertainties on the external and fiscal fronts; this calls for a cautious approach.”

Japanese financial services major Nomura said in a report that input cost pressures are marginally higher now, which along with higher food inflation is likely to push retail inflation slightly above the RBI’s target of four per cent in November and beyond.

“We expect a hawkish hold from the RBI..and policy rates to remain unchanged through 2018,” it said.

Data released in November showed that India’s annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices (wholesale price index) rose to 3.59 per cent in October due to an exponential rise in food prices.

In addition, the consumer price index (CPI), or retail, inflation for October rose to 3.58 per cent from 3.28 per cent in September.

Domestic credit rating agency ICRA said the MPC would leave the repo rate unchanged at six per cent “in a non-unanimous decision in the December 2017 policy review, given the expectation of a further rise in the CPI inflation in the coming months”.

On the other hand in October, the central bank lowered the country’s growth projection for 2017-18, pegging the Gross Value Added (GVA) to 6.7 per cent, from earlier estimate of 7.3 per cent.

Declaring that inflation is expected to rise from the then-level of around 3.3 per cent “and range between 4.2-4.6 per cent in the second half of this year”, Patel said the MPC remains committed to keeping headline inflation close to four per cent “on a durable basis”.

Five members of the six-member MPC voted in favour of maintaining the key lending rate.

The MPC had expressed concern about the upside risks to inflation and that implementation of farm loan waivers by states may result in fiscal slippages resulting in upward pressure on prices.

“Although the domestic food price outlook remains largely stable, generalised momentum is building in prices of items excluding food, especially emanating from crude oil. The possibility of fiscal slippages may add to this momentum in the future,” it said.

Breaking a five-quarter slump, a rise in the manufacturing sector’s output pushed India’s growth rate higher to 6.3 per cent during the second quarter ending September, official data showed last week.

On a sequential basis, GDP growth for the second quarter went up to 6.3 per cent, from 5.7 per cent reported during the first quarter of 2017-18.

On the oil price front, the Indian basket, comprising 73 per cent sour-grade Dubai and Oman crudes, and the balance in sweet-grade Brent, regained the $60 a barrel level in November and closed trade on November 30 at $61.60.

IANS

 

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RBI asks HDFC Bank to temporarily stop issuing new credit cards

Furthermore, the filing said that these measures shall be considered for lifting upon satisfactory compliance with the major critical observations as identified by the RBI.

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The Reserve Bank has asked HDFC Bank to temporarily stop all launches of the ‘Digital Business generating activities and sourcing of new credit card customers.

The RBI’s order dated December 2 comes after outages in the bank’s online facilities or payment utilities occurred over the past 2 years, including the recent incident in the internet banking and payment system on November 21, 2020 due to a power failure in the primary data centre.

In a regulatory filing, HDFC Bank on Thursday said: “The RBI vide said ‘Order’ has advised the Bank to temporarily stop i) all launches of the Digital Business generating activities planned under its program – Digital 2.0 (to be launched) and other proposed business generating IT applications and (ii) sourcing of new credit card customers. In addition, the Order states that the Bank’s Board examines the lapses and fixes accountability.”

Furthermore, the filing said that these measures shall be considered for lifting upon satisfactory compliance with the major critical observations as identified by the RBI.

“The Bank over the last two years has taken several measures to fortify its IT systems and will continue to work swiftly to close out the balance and would continue to engage with the Regulator in this regard.

“The Bank has always endeavoured to provide seamless digital banking services to its customers. The Bank has been taking conscious, concrete steps to remedy the recent outages on its digital banking channels and assures its customers that it expects the current supervisory actions will have no impact on its existing credit cards, digital banking channels and existing operations.”

In addition, the bank said these measures will not materially impact its overall business.

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Petrol, diesel become dearer after OMCs raise retail prices

The pump price of petrol increased by 17 paisa per litre on Thursday to Rs 82.66 a litre in Delhi from a level of Rs 82.49 a litre a day earlier.

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Oil marketing companies on Thursday increased the prices of petrol and diesel after keeping the retail prices unchanged for the past couple of days.

The pump price of petrol increased by 17 paisa per litre on Thursday to Rs 82.66 a litre in Delhi from a level of Rs 82.49 a litre a day earlier.

Similarly, the diesel price increased by 19 a litre to Rs 72.84 a litre in the national capital as compared to Rs 72.66 per litre on the previous day.

The prices of auto fuel have also increased across the country but the level of rise has been different depending on the taxation structure in each state.

In the past 14 days, due prices have risen 11 days with petrol prices rising by Rs 1.60 per litre and diesel by Rs 2.38 a litre.

The increase has been primarily on account of firming up of global oil and product prices following news of successful coronavirus vaccine.

Petrol prices had been static since September 22, and diesel rates hadn’t changed since October 2.

Though retail pricing of petrol and diesel has been deregulated and oil marketing companies were following a daily price revision formula, the same was suspend ended for almost two months to prevent volatility in international oil markets from impacting fuel prices regularly during the pandemic.

But with crude on the boil again on news of a successful coronavirus vaccine launch soon, the patience was lost by OMCs who finally resorted to price increase to cover for their under recovery on the sale of two petroleum products.

The benchmark Brent crude has crossed $48 a barrel on Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) lately. It has remained an over $44 a barrel for most part of November.

OMCs need almost 40 paise per litre increase in retail price of petrol and diesel to cover for $ 1 increase in crude.

Going by this yardstick, product prices would have to be increased by upto Rs 2 per litre to cover under recovery on its sale.

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MDH owner Mahashay Dharampal Gulati passes away

According to MDH Masala, Mahashayji used to donate 90 per cent of his salary to charity. A trust run by MDH runs several hospitals and schools in Delhi.

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New Delhi, Dec 3 : Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, the owner of the spices brand ‘MDH’ passed away on Thursday morning.

Reports suggest that his health deteriorated recently and he was undergoing treatment at a Delhi hospital.

On Thursday early morning, he suffered cardiac and passed away.

Born in 1923 in undivided India in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, Mahashay ji, also popularly known as ‘Dadaji’, had a very humble beginning.

Being a school dropout, he soon joined his father’s spices business at a very young age.

The flourishing family business suffered after participation and Mahashayji had to move to India and live in refugee camp in Amritsar.

But soon the family business of spices was set in a store in Delhi’s Karol Bagh. From there started the journey of building a spices brand with the birth of MDH in 1959.

Ever since then the brand has now established itself as the most recognisable one in the species segment with a global presence in over 100 countries.

And the brand itself has been synonymous with Mahashayji whose presence in TV commercials sporting a flowing white moustache and wearing red turban became an iconic image on Indian television.

His decision to appear on the masala commercials for his own brand became a big commercial success story making MDH and ‘Dadaji’ household names in the country.

His success was not without its share of rewards with reports suggesting that Dharampal Gulati navele the highest paid CEO in the FMCG space in 2017 drawing a mind boggling salary of over Rs 20 crore, much higher than the likes doyens of India Inc. that time.

According to MDH Masala, Mahashayji used to donate 90 per cent of his salary to charity. A trust run by MDH runs several hospitals and schools in Delhi.

For his work, Mahashayji was awarded the Padma Bhushan, third highest civilian award in India in 2019.

Dharampal Gulati took MDH to new heights with its masala packets selling in crores and becoming a household necessity. MDH now has a capacity of producing 30 tonnes of spices in a day. The baton now passes to the next generation to keep the flag flying.

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