India shares surge as budget 2021-22 focuses on growth; bond yields rise

India shares surge as budget 2021-22 focuses on growth; bond yields rise

Gains in ICICI Bank and IndusInd Bank after quarterly earnings lifted the Nifty Bank index 8.3% to an all-time closing high.

India's blue-chip Nifty 50 index on Monday recorded its best performance on a budget day in over two decades after the finance minister announced a slew of measures to revive the pandemic-hit economy, while bond yields jumped sharply on the government's plans to raise more funds from the market.

The NSE Nifty 50 surged 4.7% to 14,281.2, while the S&P BSE Sensex jumped 5% to 48,600.61 after six sessions of losses in the run-up to the budget.

This marked the Nifty's best daily performance on a federal budget day since at least 1996, according to Refinitiv data.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed doubling healthcare spending, a vehicle scrappage policy, recapitalisation of public-sector banks and divestment of some state-owned lenders, aiming to bolster an economy that plunged into its deepest recorded slump amid the virus outbreak.

"The budget has ticked the boxes on the growth side, with infra capex increase of around 34% on a year-on-year basis, which is a very healthy sign, a good roadmap on divestment and monetisation of assets of state owned enterprises," said Rupen Rajguru, head of equity investment and strategy, Julius Baer India.

Courtesy: Getty Images

Fiscal deficit goes up

The benchmark 10-year bond yield closed up 13 basis points at 6.08%, while the rupee weakened to 73.02 per dollar versus its previous close of 72.95, after Sitharaman said the government's fiscal deficit for the current fiscal year to March was likely to reach 9.5%, compared with the budget estimate of 3.5%, and that the government will borrow an additional 800 billion rupees from the market by end-March.

A "substantially higher-than-expected" expenditure pushed fiscal deficit for fiscal 2021 and 2022 well above projections, said Aditi Nayar, principal economist at rating agency ICRA, adding that yields were expected to sustain a hardening bias, in the absence of frequent open market operations.

Shareholders and brokers react in the share market amid Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents Union Budget 2021-22. The Nifty Auto index climbed 4.2%, while the Nifty PSU Bank jumped 7.8% after Sitharaman said India would set up an asset reconstruction company to take over toxic assets.
Shareholders and brokers react in the share market amid Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents Union Budget 2021-22. The Nifty Auto index climbed 4.2%, while the Nifty PSU Bank jumped 7.8% after Sitharaman said India would set up an asset reconstruction company to take over toxic assets.Courtesy: ANI

Among stock sub-indexes, the Nifty Auto index climbed 4.2%, while the Nifty PSU Bank index, which tracks state-run lenders, jumped 7.8% after Sitharaman said India would set up an asset reconstruction company to take over toxic assets.

Gains in ICICI Bank and IndusInd Bank after quarterly earnings lifted the Nifty Bank index 8.3% to an all-time closing high.

India's economy is seen clocking robust growth of 11% for the coming fiscal year after likely contracting 7.7% in the current fiscal year to March 31, an annual economic survey showed on Friday.

Gold imports slashed

In a separate development, India slashed import duties on gold and silver on Monday in a surprise move that industry officials say could boost retail demand and curtail smuggling in the world's second-biggest bullion consumer.

Higher demand for gold from India could support global prices, which hit a record high last year, although that could increase India's trade deficit and weigh on the ailing rupee.

India cut import duties on gold and silver to 7.5% from 12.5%, but imposed a 2.5% cess - a separate tax - on the imports, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

After the changes, gold imports would effectively attract 10.75% tax against 12.5% earlier, said Somasundaram PR, the managing director of the World Gold Council's (WGC) Indian operations.

"Hopefully, this is the first of a series of such cuts to make bullion an asset class that operates mainstream," said Somasundaram.

India raised import duty on gold in 2019 to 12.5%, which industry officials said boosted smuggling of bullion into the country and hit banks and bullion dealers that were paying the duty.

"Higher import duty was not only indirectly promoting illegal gold transactions but also eroding government's revenue," said Ahammed MP, Chairman, Malabar Gold & Diamonds.

A saleswoman wearing mask showing gold jewelry to customers at a jewelry showroom. The government slashed import duties on gold and silver to curtail smuggling and boost retail demand yesterday.
A saleswoman wearing mask showing gold jewelry to customers at a jewelry showroom. The government slashed import duties on gold and silver to curtail smuggling and boost retail demand yesterday. Courtesy: ANI

Jewellers have a good day

Gold prices have come down with the duty cut and this will boost retail demand, said Prithviraj Kothari, managing director of RiddiSiddhi Bullions.

Gold futures fell nearly 4% after the announcement to 47,200 rupees per 10 grams, the lowest in over 7-months.

India also cut import duty on gold dore, or non-refined mined gold, to 6.9% from 11.85% and to 6.1% from 11% on silver dore, Sitharaman said.

Shares of jewellery makers such as Titan, P C Jeweller and Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Ltd closed up as much as 8.8%.

- Reuters

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