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Monday, February 01, 2016

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India a bright spot in gloomy energy industry: Muller

Industry experts have said that India is a bright spot in the gloomy global energy industry with oil giant ONGC taking a lead in upstream activities amidst the depressed oil price environment which has forced others to cut costs and review or shelve projects. Commenting on the issue, Oslo-based Rystad Energy AS Senior project manager Jon Fredrick Muller said, “As a market, the Indian energy demand growth is driven by the strong economic performances and the increasing middle class spending while state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has taken a lead in calling tenders for chartering of offshore drilling rigs and support vessels of upstream projects.” As per reports, the Indian Government is emphasizing that the ONGC-led industry should cut import dependence by 10 per cent in next seven years to 68 per cent. In accordance, India's upstream oil and gas companies have retained their focus on domestic exploration and development projects despite low oil prices.

Govt to begin work on 3 major ports soon: Min

The Indian Government has said that it will begin work before March for setting up three major ports at Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Maharashtra, Commenting on the issue, Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari told the media, "We will invite tenders before March for setting up three major ports - one at Colachel in Tamil Nadu, one at Sagar in West Bengal and one at Dahanur in Maharashtra." “A note in this regard is pending with the Cabinet and is likely to get cleared next month. The government was also serious to develop 280 light houses and 1,300 islands as tourist attraction,” he added. The Minister further added that he was hopeful of getting Parliament nod on bill to convert 111 rivers across the country into waterways. According to the Minister the work was on full swing to develop 1,620 km of Varanasi to Haldia stretch on Ganga for which the World Bank had already sanctioned Rs 4,200 crore.

As RBL Bank IPO awaits nod, Sebi examines past violation

Sebi is examining past violation by RBL Bank (formerly known as Ratnakar Bank) as the private sector lender awaits approval for its initial public offering. RBL Bank, had filed draft papers with Sebi in June last year, seeking approval to float its IPO, said the media report. The IPO proposes fresh issue of equity shares worth Rs 1,100 crore and offer for sale of up to 17,568,408 scrips by existing shareholders including Beacon India Private Equity Fund and GPE (India) Ltd. Without disclosing the nature of violation, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said "past violation is being examined," as per the latest update as on January 22, 2016. When asked for response from RBL Bank, it told PTI that it "will not be in a position to comment since it (IPO) is still under review with Sebi". The markets regulator had last received a communication in this regard from the company on December 14. The proceeds of the IPO would be used to shore-up the equity capital base, to meet future capital requirements and to ensure compliance with Basel III and other Reserve Bank's guidelines. According to RBL Bank, the listing of equity shares will enhance the visibility and brand name among existing and potential customers. Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, Citigroup Global Markets India, Axis Capital, HDFC Bank, ICICI Securities, IDFC Securities, IIFL Holdings, Morgan Stanley India Company and SBI Capital Markets are the merchant bankers of the issue.

Karnataka Bank bags 4 social banking excellence awards

Mangaluru headquartered Karnataka Bank has said that it has bagged four ASSOCHAM Social Banking Excellence Awards. “Shri P Jayarama Bhat MD & CEO of the Bank received the awards from Hon'ble Minister of State for Finance Shri Jayant Sinha, in a glittering function held on 29-01- 2016, at Mumbai,” the company informed in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Speaking on the occasion Shri Bhat said, "At Karnataka Bank we believe that integrating social, environmental and ethical responsibilities into business ensures long term success and sustainability. Accordingly, Kamataka Bank continues to engage, in carrying out various social initiatives directed at making a positive impact on both society and business. In line with the vision of our Founders, Bank continues to serve the rural sector by engaging itself in implementation of various government sponsored schemes aimed at rural and agricultural development". The Bank has 710 branches and 1200 ATMS across the country and aims to increase its service outlets to 2,000 by end of the current Fiscal with 725 branches and 1275 ATM5, including 25 e-lobbies. Meanwhile, shares of the company were trading at Rs 99 apiece, up 0.35 per cent from the previous close at 09:32 hours on BSE.

Vakrangee partners Tata AIG to distribute insurance products

Vakrangee has said that it has tied up with Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited, a joint venture between TATA Group and American International Group (AIG) to distribute quality General Insurance products through Vakrangee distribution network. “By this tie-up, citizens, especially in un-served and underserved areas shall now be able to access quality general insurance products offered by TATA AIG General Insurance Company Limited,” the company informed in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Incorporated in 1990, Vakrangee is a unique technology driven company focused on building India's largest network of last-mile retail touch points to deliver real-time banking, insurance, e-governance, e-commerce and ATM services to the unserved rural, semi-urban and urban markets. Meanwhile, shares of the company were trading at Rs 185.65 apiece, up 1.59 per cent from the previous close at 09:47 hours on BSE.

V-Guard Ind surges over 5 pct as Q3 profit rises

Shares of V-Guard Industries rose over 5 per cent on Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) after the company reported more than doubled net profit at Rs 21.48 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2015 (Q3FY16). The company had profit of Rs 9.23 crore in the same quarter year ago. Net revenue from operations for the quarter were Rs 416 crore; an increase of 5.3 per cent over the corresponding quarter of last fiscal. “Efficiency in operations and better working capital management have supported in improving the margin,” V-Guard Industries said in a release. Reacting to the news, shares of the company gained 5.01 per cent to Rs 934.05 a piece on Bombay Stock Exchange. Shares of the company surged 5.23 per cent to Rs 939 a piece on National Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, the broader benchmark BSE Sensex was trading at 24,953.65, up 82.96 points, or 0.33 per cent at 11.00 hours.

Royal Enfield reports 65 pct jump in Jan sales

Eicher Motors' Royal Enfield today reported a 65 per cent jump in its total motorcycle sales at 47,710 units in January 2016. The company had registered sale of 28,927 units in January, 2015, it said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. The Chennai-based two-wheeler maker said sales of models with engine capacity up to 350cc stood at 44,234 units last month as against 25,799 units in January, 2015, a jump of 71 per cent Sales of models with engine capacity exceeding 350cc stood at 3,476 units last month, up 11 per cent from 3,128 units in the year-ago period. Exports of Royal Enfield stood at 570 units during the month as against 770 units in January last year, down 26 per cent. Meanwhile, shares of Eicher Motors were trading at Rs 16888 a piece, up 2.06 per cent from the previous close at 12:53 hours on BSE.

Dr Reddy's gets tentative USFDA nod for Zenavod Capsules

Pharma giant, Dr Reddys Laboratories Ltd said that it has received tentative approval from US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) for Zenavod Capsules for the treatment of Rosacea in adults. “Zenavod is a tetracycline-class drug indicated for the treatment of only inflammatory lesions of rosacea in adult patients,” the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Promius Pharma LLC. the U.S. subsidiary of India’s Dr Reddys Laboratories will be responsible for commercializing Zenavod in U.S. market, added the filing. Commenting on the development, Dr Reddys Laboratories, CEO and Co-Chairman, G V Prasad said, “This development confirms our ability and commitment to develop differentiated dermatology products leveraging the in-house capabilities of Promius Pharma, LLC and Dr. Reddy’s.” The approval of the new drug application is tentative because the FDA has determined that the drug meets all of the requires quality, safety and efficacy standards for approval, but it is subject to an automatic stay of final approval for upto 30 months pending a patent infringement process under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act. Meanwhile, shares of the company were trading at Rs 3094.90 apiece, down 0.28 per cent from the previous close at 12:44 hours on BSE.

Ipca Labs gets USFDA warning on mfg lapses at three units

Drug maker Ipca Laboratories Ltd on Monday said that the US FDA issued it a warning letter for three of its factories located at Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh), SEZ Indore (Pithampur) and Piparia (Silvassa). “Ipca receives warning letter from US FDA for Ratlam (Madhva Pradesh), SEZ Indore (Pithampur) and Piparia (Silvassa) manufacturing units,” Ipca Laboratories Ltd said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange on February 01, 2016. The US health regulator had issued the company a warning letter highlighting manufacturing quality lapses at its manufacturing units. These manufacturing factories have already been banned from supplying to the United States after the FDA inspected them in July 24, 2014, January 23, 2015 and March 25, 2015. The drug maker said it has since been trying to fix the problems and has been informing the FDA of its remedial measures. The company further said that it is fully committed to resolving these issues at the earliest. Meanwhile, shares of the company were trading at Rs 639.90 apiece, down 4.33 per cent, from previous close on BSE at 13:30 hours.

Richa industries bags order worth Rs 32 cr

Construction & Engineering firm Richa Industries Limited said that it has received an order worth Rs 32 crore for the construction of multilevel car parking for Public Works Department (PWD) in Mussoorie. It is a complete turnkey project and the scope of work includes Electrical & Maintenance, Civil work along with PEB, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. The area of the building is approximately 11,000 sqmt. The multilevel car parking will have ground plus four floors with the total height of 20 meters. The project is expected to be complete by next year in January 2017, the filling added. Commenting on this achievement, Sandeep Gupta, Joint Managing Director, Richa Industries Limited says, “This is the first multilevel car parking project acquired by the company. It will be a ready to use building at the time of handover as entire Interior and exterior of the project is under our scope. We are geared up to carry out the project effectively in the desired time frame at the challenging location and expecting to work on more such projects in the near future.” Meanwhile, shares of the company were trading at Rs 35.55 apiece, up 3.80 per cent from the previous close at 13:13 hours on BSE.

Cambridge Innovations invests in Photokharma Inc

IT services provider Cambridge Technology Enterprises Ltd on Monday said Cambridge Innovations has invested in Photokharma Inc, a company focused on using advanced face recognition and other deep learning technologies to automatically share photographs. In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company said, “Cambridge Innovations, launched by Cambridge Technology Enterprises, an IT services leader focused on the convergence of big data and cloud, announces its investment in Photokharma Inc., a company focused on using advanced face recognition and other deep learning technologies to automatically share photographs.” However, the company did not disclose the transaction details. Meanwhile, shares of the company closed at Rs 145.40 apiece, up 1.96 per cent, from previous close on BSE.

Post Session: Markets end in red ahead of RBI policy; financial stocks weigh

The Indian equities ended tad lower on Monday, led by profit booking in frontline bluechip stocks coupled with selling across financial space, tracking a subdued cues from Asian peers. The traders refrained from enlarging any fresh positions before the RBI’s policy meet on Tuesday despite surprise expansion in India’s January manufacturing PMI. India’s official manufacturing purchasing manager’s index (PMI) expanded to a four-month high of 51.1 against 49.1 in December, signalling a pickup in Asia's third biggest economy.

The 30-share BSE SENSEX closed at 24824.83, down by 45.86 points or by 0.18 per cent, and the NSE Nifty ended at 7555.95, down by 7.6 points or by 0.1 per cent.

In the volatile trade today, the BSE Sensex touched intraday high of 25002.32 and intraday low of 24788.58, while the NSE Nifty touched intraday high of 7600.45 and intraday low of 7541.25.

Bucking the trend, the broader market ended higher, with the BSE MIDCAP closing at 10476.82, up by 59.56 points or by 0.57 per cent, while the BSE SMLCAP settled at 10901.41, up by 31.57 points or by 0.29 per cent. The apex bank is likely to keep interest rates unchanged amidst the recent acceleration in inflation and as the central bank eyes the progress & direction of key macroeconomic parameters including the fiscal deficit in the upcoming Union Budget. The apex bank had cut borrowing costs by a total 125 bps in 2015.

On the sectoral front, bankex and power indices emerged as top losers, falling 1.4 and 0.55 per cent, respectively.

The top losers of the BSE Sensex pack were ICICI Bank Ltd. (Rs. 217.15,-5.63%), State Bank of India (Rs. 172.90,-3.92%), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (Rs. 3946.80,-3.68%), Axis Bank Ltd. (Rs. 399.30,-2.17%), Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (Rs. 800.90,-1.96%), among others.

Meanwhile, Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. (Rs. 220.50,+3.67%), Coal India Ltd. (Rs. 328.60,+2.67%), Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Rs. 296.50,+2.35%), Asian Paints Ltd. (Rs. 887.25,+2.12%), Cipla Ltd. (Rs. 597.80,+2.07%), were among top gainers on BSE.

The Market breadth, indicating the overall strength of the market, was strong. On BSE out of total shares traded 2984, shares advanced were 1527 while 1302 shares declined and 155 were unchanged..

On the global front, the Asian equities ended mixed with markets in China and Hong Kong succumbing to losses after underwhelming Chinese factory data which showed continued manufacturing contraction in the world’s second biggest economy, souring sentiment. Japan’s Nikkei 225 soared nearly 2 per cent amidst last week’s surprise central bank stimulus move.

NSE launches e-IPO bidding system; will conduct mock bidding for brokers

The National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) has launched its new e-IPO bidding system and will hold a mock bidding session for brokers to help familiarise themselves for the next two days. The move is in line with markets regulator Sebi's decision to streamline the public issue process by making application supported by blocked amount (ASBA) as a mandatory payment mechanism for all investors from January 1, 2016, said the media reports. NSE had announced the launch of new 'e-IPO Web-based bidding system' on December 31 last year, reported PTI. It had also announced that it would discontinue its IPO terminal which supports non-ASBA bids for all public issues opening on or after January 1, 2016. "To make trading members accustomed to the system, the exchange is conducting mock bidding session from January 12, 2016 to January 13, 2016 in the NSE e-IPO system," NSE said in a notice today. The new bidding system has the facility of Web-based log-in through the Internet, offline bid entry post market hours, download facility of orders and order history, among others. Sebi on January 1 had put in place a new form for ASBA facility, which has become mandatory for all categories of investors applying for a public issue for making payment. The provision allows the bid amount to remain in the applicant's account till the time shares are finally allotted. A keenly-awaited move from Sebi is the e-IPO (Electronic Initial Public Offers) mechanism, through which investment in public offerings can be done online without signing any physical documents. E-IPOs will help fast-track the public offer process and lower costs, besides allowing investors to apply for shares and buy these at the click of a mouse without the need for signature on bulky physical documents. The board of Sebi had already approved a proposal to use secondary market infrastructure for public issuance called e-IPOs.

Wide 'digital divide' between states: Assocham

There exists a stark "digital divide" among states, with Delhi having the highest score of 238 per cent while Bihar and Assam lag behind at around 55 per cent, business chamber Assocham said on Sunday, on the basis of "tele-density" or telephone connections for every 100 individuals. "India may have achieved a significant success in reaching the number of telephone subscribers to over one billion, but the tele-density data points to a stark 'Digital Divide' with large populations in Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh still being deprived to communicate with the rest of the country," the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) said in a statement. "The digital divide is clearly visible between different states with some of the eastern states not finding favour with the telecom service providers. The reasons may vary between the lack of infrastructure like power availability to even indifference in terms of business opportunities," it added. Compared to the national tele-density of 81.82 per cent, the figure for Bihar is 54.25 per cent, Assam 55.76 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 62.33 per cent and Uttar Pradesh 62.74 per cent, the report added. On the other end, while the tele-density in Delhi is over 238 per cent, that of Himachal Pradesh is 123.19 per cent. Other states figuring higher on the tele-density scale are Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala.

Credit costs to erode bank’s profits in FY17

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), a part of Fitch group, has maintained a stable rating and sector outlook on private sector banks and a stable to negative sector outlook for public sector banks (PSBs) for financial calendar year 2017. Ind-Ra expects credit costs to increase sharply in FY16E and FY17, given the persistent stress from large levered corporates and increasing recognition of the stress by the banking system. Impaired assets are expected to rise to 12.5 per cent of loans by FY17 (including gross non-performing loans, standard restructured assets and asset reconstruction company receipts) compared to 10.8 per cent in FY15. Private sector banks continue to improve their funding profile, on the back of their growing market share in current and savings account deposits. Conversely, most PSBs continue to report high funding gaps and may see a negative impact on their margins from increasing requirements on liquidity coverage ratio and the guidelines relating to the marginal cost of funding based lending rate. Ind-Ra also expects the small finance bank and payment banks to lead the change in the banking landscape, by cornering increasing share of small ticket transactions and gaining market share in both granular liabilities and well as retail assets. Capital requirements towards Basel III transition continued to increase in FY16, despite Rs 700 billion as announced under the Indradhanush plan. Ind-Ra will watch out for any addition capital infusion announcement in the forthcoming union budget. The agency expects large private banks and the some large PSBs to be better placed with healthy internal accruals, strong capitalisation and better access to the capital markets. “Most PSBs are likely to be under pressure to consolidate growth and focus on profitability given their significant capital requirements both from government and capital markets,” the agency said in a statement. Ind-Ra has also assigned a stable outlook to small finance banks.

Ind-Ra upgrades pharma sector to stable for FY17

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), a country’s leading rating agency, on Monday revised the outlook on the pharmaceuticals sector to stable for FY17 from positive as the sector’s growth momentum is likely to moderate due to muted export growth. The agency expects export revenue to grow at modest 5 per cent over FY16 and FY17 due to increased regulatory actions and a lower value of drugs going off-patent. Higher depreciation of emerging market currencies is likely to impact export growth to semi-regulated markets. However, Ind-Ra expects the domestic pharmaceutical market to sustain the recently gained momentum and grow at 13 per cent-15 per cent over FY17. Overall sector growth is likely to be 8per cent-10per cent over FY17. The agency believes that a majority of pharma companies will be able to generate positive cash from operations on the back of stable operating profitability and working capital cycle. CFO margins are likely to remain at the current level of 12 per cent-13 per cent in FY17. Free cash flow is also expected to continue to be positive at around 4 per cent on no major increase in annual capex outflows. The strong cash flow generation ability of sector companies is likely to keep the credit metrics stable over FY16 and FY17. Large capex or medium-sized acquisitions would need debt funding. Individual company’s credit metrics may be affected by large debt-funded acquisitions. Ind-Ra continues to maintain a stable rating outlook as the sector’s credit metrics continue to be strong and most of the pharmaceutical companies are rated at ‘IND A’ category or above.

Over $150 bn investments required for smart cities: Study

The Modi government’s vision of creating 100 smart cities will require an investment of about USD 150 billion in the next few years, with private sector being a significant contributor, reported PTI. According to Deloitte, nearly USD 120 billion will come from the private sector. The government has already initiated two programmes with an initial outlay of nearly USD 7.5 billion for the Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation of Urban Transformation (Amrut) for upgrading 500 existing cities. “Even as funding for these smart cities is an area of concern, the major challenges remain with respect to the development of smart cities project management, government decision making and policy and regulatory framework,” Deloitte India Senior Director P N Sudarshan said. The government recently announced the list of first 20 cities to be developed as 'smart cities' with Bhubaneswar topping the list followed by Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur, Vishakapatnam, Sholapur, Davangere, Indore, New Delhi, Coimbatore, Kakinada, Belagavi, Udaipur, Guwahati, Chennai, Ludhiana and Bhopal. While several cities have made incremental investments in smart solutions, the challenge will be to replicate these on a larger scale, he said. According to the study, in 2016, service providers and over-the-top content providers will invest heavily in city-wide Wi-Fi networks which will be the backbone for smart city services. “As smart solutions are heavily dependent on ICT, service providers will play a significant role in smart cities. In 2016, service providers will participate in (and lead in many cases) consortiums for responding to RFPs for smart/digital solutions for various city and state governments,” Sudarshan said. Reliance Jio is likely to roll out Wi-Fi services across over 50 cities in 2016. Similarly, Bharti and Vodafone are deploying Wi-Fi through a joint venture company, Firefly. Facebook is working with BSNL to deploy Wi-Fi in 100 areas in rural India, while Google has announced a partnership with the railways to provide hotspots in 400 railway stations by 2016. “Over the next 10-15 years, these cities will emerge as key technology, economic, and social hubs for the country. We believe that service providers that expect to be serious players in smart cities will take a center-forward position in leading consortiums in the development of smart cities,” he added.

India to face tough test in sticking to fiscal roadmap: S&P

Rating agency Standard & Poor's has said that India will face challenges in sticking to the fiscal consolidation roadmap as the expected revenues may not be fully realised and subsidy cuts may be delayed. Commenting on the issue, a S&P Official told the media,” Although we expect the administration to pursue its stated fiscal consolidation programme, we foresee that planned revenues may not fully materialise and subsidy cuts may be delayed." "India's fiscal challenges reflect both revenue under performance and constraints on expenditure (mainly related to subsidies for food, energy, and fertilisers)," he added. The Official further added that in the medium term, S&P expected improved fiscal performance primarily from revenue-side improvements, brought about by the planned introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and administrative efforts to expand the tax base. As per reports, in the Budget 2015-16 Government deviated from the fiscal consolidation path, postponing fiscal deficit targets by a year. The original target was to bring it down to 3.6 per cent of the GDP in 2015-16 but it had been postponed by a year. Now, Government is targeting 3.9 per cent in the current fiscal and 3.5 per cent by next year.

RBI unlikely to cut interest rates on Tuesday

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which meets this Tuesday for a sixth bi-monthly policy review is unlikely to tinker with interest rates as a recent acceleration in inflationary pressures in Asia’s third biggest economy leaves little room for the central bank to undertake further monetary easing. The central bank is tipped to leave its repo rate unchanged at 6.75 per cent, while the cash reserve ratio is set to be maintained at 4 per cent. The apex bank had cut borrowing costs by a total of 125 basis points (bps) in 2015. At its last policy meet in December, the RBI had indicated that further cuts in borrowing costs will hinge on the inflation trajectory in the country’s economy. Consumer inflation accelerated to the highest level in fifteen months to 5.6 per cent in December 2015, rising for the fifth straight month, but staying below the RBI’s 6 per cent goal for January 2016. However, a continued global commodity rout may exert downward pressure on inflation over the coming months. The RBI is also awaiting the progress and direction on key macroeconomic parameters including the fiscal deficit in the upcoming Union Budget. Singapore-based DBS Bank expects the RBI to maintain status quo on interest rates on Tuesday with a 25 bps cut in borrowing costs likely in March or April depending upon the government’s fiscal consolidation efforts that will be unveiled in the budget.

CBDT signs two bilateral deals with United Kingdom

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into two bilateral advance pricing agreements (APAs) with United Kingdom on 29th January, 2016, according to an official statement released by the ministry of finance. With this signing, CBDT has concluded three bilateral APAs the first one being a bilateral APA signed with Japan in December, 2014, the ministry notified. The two bilateral APAs were signed with two Indian group entities of a UK based Multi-National Company (MNC). The APAs have been entered into soon after the Competent Authorities of India and United Kingdom finalised the terms of the bilateral arrangement under the Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) process contained in the India-UK DTAA. The APAs cover the period 2013-14 to 2017-18 and also have a “Rollback” provision for 2 years (2011-12 and 2012-13). Transfer pricing disputes on the same transaction were recently resolved under MAP for each of these two companies for the years 2006-07 to 2010-11. With the signing of the bilateral APAs, the two Indian companies have been provided with tax certainty for 12 years each (5 years under MAP and 7 years under APA). This is a significant step towards providing a stable and predictable tax regime. The two APAs are also significant because they address the issues of payment of management & service charges and payment of royalty. These transactions generally face prolonged and multi-layered transfer pricing disputes, it said. With this signing, CBDT has so far signed 41 APAs out of which 38 are unilateral and 3 are bilateral, FinMin said.

India's core sector growth slows to 0.9 pct in December

Output of the eight core sectors expanded in December, albeit at a slower pace, indicating the challenges faced by the Modi government as it aims to jumpstart capital investment in a bid to boost growth in Asia’s third biggest economy, bolstering the case for further monetary policy easing by the RBI in the near-term. The index comprising of core infrastructure sectors which includes coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity climbed by 0.9 per cent in December 2015 from the same month a year ago, government data showed on Monday.

In November 2015, output of the core industries declined 1.33 per cent from the year ago month amid sharp decline in steel production due to weak demand and imports.

The index of the eight core industries has a 38 per cent weightage in the index of industrial production (IIP). India’s industrial output contracted 3.2 per cent in November as against 9.8 per cent growth in October 2015.

Steel production contracted by 4.4 per cent, year on year in December 2015 as cheaper Chinese imports hit domestic manufacturers while output of crude oil and natural gas, declined by 4.1 per cent and 6.1 per cent, respectively, a sign that capital spending remains soft as a global slowdown weighs.

Meanwhile, growth of output of coal, petroleum refinery, fertilizer, cement and electricity accelerated to 6.1 per cent, 2.1 per cent, 13.1 per cent, 3.2 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.