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Globally, UK decided to leave the European Union(EU) based on the outcome of a referendum (public vote) conducted on 23rd of June. Global equity markets faltered sharply the day after the referendum and the British pound fell to its lowest level in over three decades. However, the stability was restored within a week and equity market recouped the losses primarily due to expectation of continued easy monetary policy (and hence cheap liquidity) and secondly, due to unattractive returns in other asset classes. It is important to remember that the UK accounts for only 4% of global GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The European Central Bank (ECB) continues to stand behind the European recovery, and its bond purchase programme should help limit financial contagion from the Brexit vote. Political contagion risk is hard to judge, but the recent Spanish elections, while still inconclusive, showed no sign of imminent political concern in the rest of Europe. A recent poll also showed that less than 50% of people in Italy, Spain, France and Germany would support an exit from the EU. In China, this quarter has seen stabilization in growth, aided by stimulus and a reduction in concerns about the authorities’ management of the currency as capital outflows slowed and FX reserves stabilized. At home, Governor Raghuram Rajan’s decision to not seek a second term came as a surprise to the market. On the other side the Union Cabinet’s approval on recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, merger of SBI and its associates, clearing of the new civil aviation policy were positive developments. The key events to watch would be passage of the GST (Goods & Services Tax) in the monsoon session of parliament and the monsoon play out in coming months. Though the monsoon started slowly, recent data indicates a significant catch up at an aggregate level.
Indian equities were up 1.6% in June 2016. After the initial nervousness on Brexit, global markets appear to have taken this in their stride atleast on equities though yields continue to fall across a majority of developed markets and gold started rising (apx up 8% for the month) on fears of the fallout of Brexit. Markets shrugged off the disappointments on Brexit and Governor Rajan’s impending exit in August on some positive announcements from the government mentioned above. Utility, Material and Infrastructure were the outperforming sectors whereas Exporters and Telecom remained laggards. Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) invested US$531 mn in the cash segment while DIIs sold US$296 mn worth of equities. We expect Indian markets to focus back on the earnings season commencing July. As corporate India moves towards improved accounting standards (IND-AS) with the current reporting season being the first under IND-AS for most large caps (ex-banks), we believe there could be surprises leading to some volatility around earnings.
Fixed Income markets eased in yield terms in the month of June. Yield on the 10 year benchmark moved lower by 2 basis points from 7.47% to 7.45%. Indian Rupee weakened by 0.40% on June 30th, 2016 to 67.52 from 67.26 on May 31st, 2016. In a surprise move, Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU) in the June 23rd Referendum after the “leave” camp secured almost 52% of the votes primarily from England & Wales. Britain's vote (Brexit) has plunged the EU into its third major crisis of the decade after the euro zone debt turmoil that began in Greece and last year's influx of a million migrants and refugees. Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in April India’s industrial production witnessed its first contraction (-0.8%) in three months partly on the back of continued deceleration in capital goods and consumer nondurables and partly due to unfavorable statistical base for the manufacturing growth. Consumer Price Index Inflation (CPI) India’s retail inflation rose to 5.76% in May-16, the highest in 19 months on surging food prices especially of pulses and sugar. While there are some seasonal factors at play, structural mismatches are primarily responsible for surging pulses inflation despite a favourable base effect. Also, driven by rising food prices, India’s WPI-based inflation rose 0.79% in May-16, its highest level since October 2014. This is the second straight month that the WPI print has risen out of the disinflation zone. India’s merchandise exports contracted at their slowest pace in 18 months in May-16 (-0.8%) as non-petroleum exports finally turned positive, led by exports of engineering goods and gems and jewellery. India’s trade deficit too narrowed to $6.27 bln from $10.4 bln, a year ago. India's current account deficit (CAD) narrowed sharply to $ 0.3 bln, or 0.1% of GDP, in the fourth quarter of FY16 from $ 7.1 bln, or 1.3%, in third quarter, on account of lower trade gap. For the entire FY16 fiscal, CAD - the difference between the inflow and outflow of foreign exchange -- shrank to 1.1% of the GDP. The RBI kept its policy rate and CRR unchanged on June. However, there was enough assurance in the Policy that the RBI’s focus will remain on liquidity infusion, policy transmission to borrowing costs and maintenance of external sector stability. RBI Governor Appointment post Rajan’s exit, CPI target revision, formation of a monetary policy committee, global events 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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