Rupee likely to rebound to 60/$ by March: Crisil

Bathroom at Ireo Waterfront, Ludhiana

Bathroom at Ireo Waterfront, Ludhiana

The rupee is expected to recover from its current level to 60 to a dollar by March 2014, according to a report by Crisil Research.

The strengthening of the rupee will be driven by expectations of the CAD falling to 3.9 per cent of GDP in 2013-14 from 4.8 per cent last year. Current account deficit is expected to correct significantly in the second half of the year due to a decline in non-oil imports, including gold, Crisil said in the report.

Also, foreign capital inflows are expected to pick up in the second half of the year, the report said. This follows the steps announced by the Government to attract $11 billion in capital inflows. The steps include via foreign borrowings by state-owned financial institutions and public sector oil companies and measures to attract non-resident deposits, the report said.

“Our revised forecast of CAD is lower than our previous estimate of 4.2 per cent mainly due to expectations of a sharper slowdown in non-oil import growth, led by a near 28-30 per cent fall in gold imports,” Crisil said.

The rupee had plunged to 65.65 to a dollar on Thursday on persistent demand for dollars and concerns surrounding the funding the CAD amid heavy capital outflows following a possible pull-back of quantitative easing in the last quarter of 2013.

However, a sharp recovery to 63.30 against the dollar on Friday has built the momentum for appreciation.

Read more: Business Line

Banking

Indian rupee hits loan takers now, ICICI Bank, HDFC raise interest rates, home, auto loans turn costlier

Leading financial institutions ICICI Bank and HDFC Ltd today raised their benchmark lending rates by 0.25 per cent, making home and auto loans costlier.

How Indian rupee will hit you

The upward spike in interest rates follows fears within the system that the RBI’s recent tightening measures to prop up the battered Indian rupee are here to stay longer than expected.

ICICI Bank followed smaller rivals and increased its lending rate by 0.25 per cent to 10 per cent with effect from tomorrow. The bank also effected a similar hike in its prime lending rate, which is applicable to existing customers on floating rates, ICICI Bank said in a statement.

Mortgage lender HDFC increased its retail prime lending rate (RPLR) by 0.25 per cent. As a result, interest on housing loans of up to Rs 30 lakh will go up to 10.40 per cent from the existing 10.15 per cent, HDFC said in a statement.

The interest rate on housing loans exceeding Rs 30 lakh will rise to 10.65 per cent from tomorrow, it said.

ICICI Bank said fixed-rate customers will not be impacted by the revision and their contracted rates will remain unchanged.

Earlier this month, ICICI Bank raised fixed deposit rates by up to 0.75 per cent across select maturities due to a series of steps taken by the Reserve Bank of India, leading to tightening of liquidity conditions.

Read more: Financial Express

Infrastructure

L&T to merge engineering services

With an eye to further restructure its businesses, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is working on getting all its engineering services under a single unit called L&T

To begin with, the new entity will take over the engineering services from L&T Infotech, the company’s technology arm, and later all other engineering services within the group will also be transferred to it.

“We already have an engineering services business, now we are looking to put all that under L&T Technology Services. It will buyover the engineering piece from Infotech and then the engineering services within L&T will also be transferred to it. The restructuring will be done by April 2014 to bring more focus to the large engineering business that L&T has,” AM Naik, group executive chairman said on the sidelines of company’s 68th annual general meeting.

He said it was too early to comment on whether it will be listed on the stock exchanges.

In January 2012, L&T reorganised its business into nine ‘independent companies’ with internal boards. According to the plan, power, hydrocarbon, machinery & product, switchgear, heavy engineering, infrastructure, building & factories, metals & minerals and electrical businesses will be the nine independent companies.

In last year’s AGM, Naik had said that the company had all its 64 businesses under one company, however, it is undertaking the restructuring plan, to be executed over five years to simplify the company’s structure.

Read more: Financial Express

Green signal to multi-level parking lot at ISBT-43

The Standing Finance Committee (Upper), which approves projects/schemes costing between Rs 10 crore and Rs 50 crore, today approved the construction of a multi-level parking lot at the ISBT, Sector 43, Chandigarh.

The project will come up at a cost of Rs 18.33 crore. It will be a two-storeyed building with a three-tier parking floor. It will accommodate 376 cars and 336 two-wheelers. The total floor area of the parking lot is 85,000 sq ft.

The committee also gave a green signal to the construction of a central judicial archives building of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Industrial Area, Phase II, Chandigarh. An amount of Rs 29.26 crore has been earmarked for the project. It will be a five-level building (three storeyed) with 2 level basements. The total carpet area of the building will be 85,000 sq ft. It will help the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the shifting of decided cases to the record room. It will have a reprography room, weeding and fumigation room, preservation room, scanning/indexing operator room, project manager room, digitisation hall, digital media room, server and network control room and conference hall. The committee also approved the construction of an NCC complex, Sector 31, costing Rs 23.61 crore. It is a five-level building (four storeyed) with one basement.

The total carpet area of the building is 73,000 sq ft. The building will have a counselling room, clerical staff room, commanding officer room, administrative officer room, conference hall, multi-purpose hall, ship modelling room, aero-modelling room, classroom, medical instructor room, training officer room and group commanding officer room.

Source: Tribune News Service

Energy

Haryana power utilities allow online facility for industrial connections

In order to facilitate the prospective industrial consumers, the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam and the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam have decided to provide a facility of submission of online application forms for new connections.

It was revealed by the chairman and managing director, UHBVN and DHBVN, Devender Singh in the operation review committee meeting here today. He said that the State had adequate power and it was in the larger interest of the State to absorb the electricity by creating additional load in industrial and non domestic sectors. The Discoms will also reduce the period of demand notice for prompt release of connections.

It was observed that the applications for release of industrial connections were not being processed timely by the field offices, which led to loss of revenue to the Discoms. The superintending engineers were directed to personally monitor the pending cases in their areas and ensure rationalization of load and augment the system, if required, for expeditious release of connections.

The CMD said that the facility of registration of complaints regarding non acceptance of files by field offices has been made available to the applicants through consumer grievances redressal system. The applicants can also visit the offices of managing directors of Discoms to lodge such complaints, which will be monitored by a team of senior officers.

Read more: The Economic Times

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