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In March, global markets partially recovered from the early 2016 selloff. Interest rate cuts by the European Central Bank and softening of rate increase projections by the markets on the U.S. Fed, lifted risk appetite. Earlier this week, the U.S. Fed Chair Janet Yellen reassured markets that policy adjustment will be gradual in light of risks to global growth outlook. Business confidence slumped in Japan as investors believe that Abenomics is losing steam. Activity in China's manufacturing activity unexpectedly expanded in March for the first time in nine months, adding to hopes that downward pressure on the world's second-largest economy is easing. The improvement could be linked in part to a growing property market recovery and resulting increase in construction activity, boosting demand for building materials from cement to glass and steel.At home, the Parliament has made a notable progress in the Budget Session, by passing key bills such as the Real Estate Bill and the Aadhaar bill. All eyes will be on the RBI next week and the markets should remain well-supported in the lead up to the policy review.
The Nifty was up 10.8%during the month post Union Budget. The Nifty recorded its best monthly performance in over four years, as hopes of an early rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India and a cautious stance by the US Federal Reserve boosted foreign fund inflows. In the FY17 budget, the Government was able to demonstrate commitment to fiscal prudence and continued its push towards higher growth, thus increasing chances of further rate cuts by the RBI assuming normal monsoons. Among sectors; real estate, automobiles, banks outperformed the market whereas consumer staples and media lagged. Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) invested heavily in the Indian market with net inflows of US$3.4 bn. Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs) sold equity worth US$2.4 bn in the cash segment.
Next month, apart from the actions taken by the RBI, we expect sentiment to move towards domestic factors as the FY16 earnings season commences from the 2nd week of April. After a sharp move in March, we expect markets to move sideways taking cues as earnings come in.
Fixed Income markets eased in yield terms in the month of March. Yield on the 10 year benchmark moved down 16 basis points from 7.62% to 7.46%. Indian Rupee strengthened by 3.17% on March 31st, 2016 to 66.25 from 68.42 on February 29th, 2016. Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month of January contracted by 1.5% vs -1.3% in December falling for 3rd straight month as manufacturing was down 2.8% in January. Within manufacturing, capital goods fell sharply by 20.4% vs 19.7% slide in past month. On demand side, consumer durables slowed down to 5.8% in vs 16.5% in past month. Consumer Price Index Inflation (CPI) for February at 5.2% vs 5.7% in January was a four-month low led by a surprise drop in food inflation (vegetables and pulses). In contrast, core CPI inched up to 5% vs 4.7% in previous month on the back of housing, education services etc. WPI contracted for 16th straight month as February WPI came in at -0.91% vs -0.9% in January as inflation in food articles declined in tandem with CPI data. Primary articles inflation slowed to 1.6% vs 4.6% in January. Fuel & power segment came in at -6.4% vs -9.2% in January. February trade deficit narrowed further to $6.5billion vs $7.6billion in January on the back of weak exports and imports. Exports contracted for 15th straight month in February to $20.7billion (-5.7%) and imports fell 5% to $27.3billion. Non-oil imports were down 0.47% while oil imports fell by 21.9% due to weak crude prices. Amongst exports, key laggards were engineering goods (-11.2%) and petroleum products (-28.3%). RBI Policy in April, 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 - December 2015
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