Meteorological Department to come out with projections next week

El Nino, which may affect India’s South-West Monsoon and result in drought, could derail the bull party in the equities market, analysts and brokers fear.

This week, the Austrlian Bureau of Meteorology said there was more than 70 per cent chance of the El Nino occurring, while the US Climate Prediction Center said there is 50 per cent chance of the phenomenon, resulting from rise in the sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean, setting in later this year.

Next week, the India Meteorological Department will come out with its projections of this year’s monsoon and chances of El Nino setting in.

May cause strategy change

Global investment banker and institutional securities firm Jefferies said El Nino is one of the extremely few extraneous events that could cause the new Government to change the focus away from investment-inducing, pro-economic growth policies.

“Overall, we are not too concerned about El Nino currently despite rising risks.

“While the situation should be monitored, there is no reason to reduce our positive bias on the market both ahead of and after the election, at least for the next three months,” it said.

In the worst case, the weather could become a substantial factor around the Budget time in mid-July, Jefferies said.

According to Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, the real test for the investors will be impact of the three big ifs facing the country — the polls, the El Nino and the dollar.

BNP Paribas said El Nino-driven rainfall deficiency could enhance profitability of plantation companies but depress margins of home and personal care consumer companies.

Inflation, GDP concerns

Singapore-based brokerage DBS on Friday said inflation in India may jump to over 8.5 per cent and GDP growth may slip to 5 per cent in the current fiscal if the much-feared El Nino threat plays out this year.

Dipen Shah of Kotak Securities said: “We continue to maintain that, in the short term, markets will continue to be volatile at current levels with a positive bias. Focus will shift to growth, interest rates and valuations once the political event is out of the way.

“Valuations are above the long-term average and there is a possibility of sub-normal monsoons. These can act as headwinds for the markets in the medium term.”

Unaffected earlier

El Nino is likely to set in only after July, but there have been occasions when India had gone unaffected by the weather phenomenon.

Already, Australia and parts of South-East Asia are reeling under hot weather and prolonged dry period. On the other hand, central and north-western parts of India have received rains and hailstorm during February-March, resulting in better water storage level.

Currently, the level in the 85 major reservoirs is more than the average seen in the last 10 years.

(This article was published on April 11, 2014)
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