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In early August, Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen told the Jackson Hole annual symposium of central bankers that the case for a further increase had strengthened with a speech that reflected a more upbeat assessment of the US economy. This has resulted in higher volatility in global bonds. Euro zone equities advanced in August. Euro zone economic growth was confirmed at +0.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q2. Annual inflation was estimated at 0.2% for August, the same level as in July, raising expectations that there could be further stimulus to come from the European Central Bank at its September meeting. In Japan, in the beginning of August, the Government released details of the fiscal spending package designed to run alongside the Bank of Japan’s continuing aggressive monetary policy. The spending package itself is expected to make a cumulative addition of up to 1.5% to GDP over the next two years which is a significant sum for a mature economy with such low trend level growth. Chinese equities finished the month up strongly as investors predict that more easing from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) will be forthcoming in the next few months given signs of a continued slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. India made a big step towards a landmark tax reform (GST) in early August, with the Rajya Sabha endorsing the same. This has been matched with a number of states endorsing the Act in their respective assemblies. The announcement of Deputy Governor – Mr. Urjit Patel as the succeeding RBI Governor has been seen as a signal of policy continuity and consequently left the market largely unperturbed.
Indian equities were up 1.7% in August 2016. Passage of GST bill in Upper House and an in-line Q1 earnings season were the key highlights of the month. Cyclicals – Materials, Consumer Discretionary and Financials outperformed during the month. Defensives – Telecom, IT Services and Health Care underperformed during the month. Within financials, there was a sharp run up in the non-banking financial services companies (NBFC's) as markets expect that incremental credit will be fulfilled by the NBFC segment given the damaged state of balance sheets at state owned banks post large recognition of stressed loans. Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) inflows remained strong at US$1.3 bn in August, taking CYTD tally to US$5.9 bn. DIIs sold US$787 mn in the cash segment.
Fixed Income markets eased in yield terms in the month of August. Yield on the 10 year benchmark moved lower to 7.10% from 7.26%, it eased by 16 basis points. Indian Rupee strengthened by 0.06% on August 30th, 2016 to 66.96 from 67.00 on July 30th, 2016. Index of Industrial Production (IIP) June IIP inched up further to 2.1% vs 1.2% in May led by mining and electricity output. Manufacturing growth stayed tepid at 0.9%YoY but largely due to continued weakness in electrical machinery group. July CPI breached the 6% target recording 6.07% vs 5.77% in Jun. The adverse base effect attributed to the breach. Notably sugar, vegetables and pulses led to the higher inflation. Core inflation stayed flat at 4.6%. WPI inched up in tandem with CPI for the 4th straight month to 3.55% vs 1.6% in led by food inflation. Monsoons are tracking at 2% deficit on pan India basis with North-West/Central India at 5%/7% excess rainfall while Southern/ Eastern regions at 13%/16% deficit as per India Met Department (IMD). A normal monsoon holds promise for tempering on primary articles inflation though the move in crude oil in August has led to a sharp rise in petroleum product prices in the country from September. July trade deficit narrowed to $7.75bn vs $8.1bn in previous month led by sharp decline in imports. Imports were down 19%YoY in Jul to $29.45bn led primarily by gold and oil imports. Exports were back in the red with 6.8%YoY decline in the month at $21.7bn On 9 Aug, Dr.Rajan had maintained status quo on the rates in his last monetary policy meet, in-line with market expectations. Dr.Urjit Patel has been announced as the next RBI Governor and the street expects continuity in the policy framework as Dr.Patel played a key role in structuring the current framework. The announcement of MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) members ahead of next policy meet will be closely watched. 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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