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The global economy continued to pick up steam in October with the US leading. The first estimate of third-quarter real GDP showed that the US economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.9% last quarter. Politics dominated media headlines, whether it was the follow through effects of Brexit or US elections. Crude oil continued to rise, ending October at USD 48.6 a barrel. Though growth and inflation data were still muted in Japan, Japanese equities (the TOPIX) beat peers for monthly returns, as the yen weakened from 101 to 105 per US dollar. Chinese GDP data was steady for the third quarter (GDP grew 6.7%, retail sales were up 10.7% and industrial production increased by 6.1%.) which confirmed its rebalancing story i.e. the shift from investment-led to consumption-led growth. Going forward, key things to watch are the US Election results and the outcome of the discussions between the Center and States on GST. This is especially with relation to the band of rates and where various products are classified.
Indian equities were flat during the month 2016. Strong auto numbers and a repo-rate cut of 25 basis points were positive indicators. However, there were disappointments due to news of weak Chinese export data and the Fed minutes appeared to make a case for a rate hike in December. India's newly-constituted monetary policy committee (MPC) voted unanimously to cut policy rates by 25 bps. Q2 earnings so far have been mixed with better-than-expected earnings in the consumer discretionary sector. From a sector performance perspective, oil & gas, metals and real estate outperformed whereas IT, Telecom & Financials underperformed, largely owing to disappointing results. Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) were sellers of Indian equities to the tune of around USD 450mn in October, after seven consecutive months of being buyers. Mutual funds bought around USD 1bn of equities. Paper supply (primary market) has been active in the past three months. The Special Unit Scheme – UTI (SUUTI) is planning to liquidate part of its core holdings in a few index names which can be an overhang.
Fixed Income markets moved marginally in the month of October. Yield on the 10 year benchmark moved lower to 6.79% from 6.81%, it eased by 2 basis points. Indian Rupee weakened by 0.30% on October 28th, 2016 to 66.78 from 66.60 on September 30th, 2016. The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) contracted for the second straight month with August IIP at -0.7% vs -2.4% in July led by decline in manufacturing and mining. Within manufacturing, capital goods continued to remain subdued. September Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) was the lowest in a year with CPI recording at 4.30% versus 5.00% in previous month. Vegetables contributed around 64bps of the 74bps decline in headline CPI in September while in the previous month they contributed 90bps of the 100bps decline. Excluding the outliers, the CPI ex- pulses, vegetables, sugar shows a range-bound trend at 4.8%. September trade deficit inched up higher to $8.3bn vs $7.7bn despite pickup in exports. Exports recovery led primarily by gems & jewelry followed by engineering goods. Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) unanimously decided to cut repo rate by 25bps in its first policy meeting in line with market expectations. In addition, the key highlights from the policy statement are - RBI has no specific timeline to achieve the 4% CPI target, real policy rate guidance was lowered to 125bps (vs 150-200bps earlier) and repeated emphasis on growth objective Global events predominated by U.S. elections and commodity price movements will be watched for future cues on interest rates.
Our aggregate Traditional portfolio witnessed a growth of 27.2% and overall portfolio grew by 14.7% over the last one year (FY 2015-16).
Investment newsletter - March 2016
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