Indian stocks fell the most in two weeks on speculation faster inflation will limit the extent to which the central bank may ease monetary policy next week. The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 1 per cent to 19,362.55 at the close, its steepest slide since February 28. Volumes on the gauge were 13 per cent less than the 30-day average. Tata Motors lost 1.2 per cent after Jaguar Land Rover sales in China dropped22 per cent last month. Infosys, India's second-largest software exporter, had the sharpest fall in three months and ICICI Bank tumbled 3.3 per cent.
Consumer-price inflation climbed 10.9 per cent in February from a year earlier, compared with 10.79 per cent in January, data showed on Tuesday. Another report today may show that wholesale prices rose 6.6 per cent last month, compared to 6.62 per cent in January, says a survey. Reserve Bank of India governor Duvvuri Subbarao said last month inflation risks will affect how much he can cut borrowing costs.
A cut in borrowing costs "may not happen and hopes are going down on that side," Prateek Agrawal, chief investment officer at ASK Investment Managers, which has Rs16 billion ($295 million) under management and advisory, said in an interview to Bloomberg TV India yesterday.
Tata Motors retreated 1.2 per cent to Rs301. Sales of Jaguar Land Rover dropped 22 per cent last month in China, its biggest market. Maruti Suzuki India, the biggest carmaker, plunged 3 per cent to Rs1,374, its fourth day of decline. Local carmakers are bracing for the first industrywide annual sales decline, with local deliveries having fallen 4.6 per cent to 1.71 million units in the 11 months through February, data from the producers' group show.
"Things are slowing down and auto sales have started to reflect the mood of the population," ASK's Agrawal said. "After a long period of time we're looking at negative numbers from the two-wheeler and automobiles space."
ICICI Bank fell 3.3 per cent to Rs1,085, its third day of decline. HDFC, the biggest mortgage lender, dropped 1.8 per cent to rs809. All 14 lenders on the S&P BSE Bankex retreated. The measure slid 2.2 per cent, the most since February 28.
Infosys slid 1.9 per cent to Rs2,863. Aluminum maker Hindalco sank 3.7 per cent to Rs95.
The central bank, which last reduced the repurchase rate by 25 basis points in January, will review policy on March 19. Consumer-price inflation running at more than 10 per cent for a third straight month in February has diminished prospects of the wholesale price index remaining below 7 percent last month, Tim Condon, chief Asian economist at ING Groep NV in Singapore, said in a report dated yesterday. The Sensex slumped 5.2 per cent in February.
time of oman