Money & Banking

Bonds rally as Government avoids large fiscal stimulus

Bloomberg Mumbai | Updated on August 26, 2019

Slide in oil prices, US Treasury yields are also helping the bond market.


Sovereign bonds in India rose after the government desisted from providing a large fiscal boost to the economy, easing fears it may borrow more to fund the stimulus. The rupee weakened in line with emerging-market peers after the escalation in the Sino-American trade war.

Stocks were little changed after a brief spurt in early trade on concerns about the effectiveness of the measures amid a deteriorating global environment.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman late Friday scrapped a tax on overseas funds, allowed concessions on vehicle purchases and hastened an infusion of an already announced ₹70,000 crore ($9.8 billion) of capital in public sector banks. She didn’t outline any fiscal support the businesses had been calling for.

Read also: Stimulus package: Capital infusion brings smiles to bankers

The measures should assuage concerns of investors as the Finance Minister refrained from making populist overtures, said Shubhada Rao, chief economist at Yes Bank. The steps show the government has begun to respond to the economic pain, she said.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond fell five basis points to 6.52%. The rupee slid 0.6% to 72.0975 per dollar. Yields have risen 22 basis points over the past three weeks on concerns that the government may spend more to pump-prime a slowing economy.

The Sensex was flat at early trade in Mumbai after rising as much as 1.8% in early trade. On Friday, the gauge completed a sixth week of losses in seven as investors weighed the outlook for growth amid signs of slowing local demand and concerns over the U.S.-China trade spat.

Indian equities were due for a rebound after a steep decline and Friday’s announcement provided that trigger, but the global cues aren’t conducive, said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at HDFC Securities in Mumbai. I’m not sure if these steps will make a material impact on stocks beyond a few weeks.

Bond traders are also focusing on a central bank board meeting later today, which will likely announce the final dividend that it will transfer to the government. The Reserve Bank of India will also consider the report of a panel studying how much reserves the authority should hold, according to an official aware of the development, the Bloomberg Quint reported.

Any transfer of surplus capital by the RBI will help the government meet its goal of narrowing its budget deficit over time.

Published on August 26, 2019

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