Indian (SENSEX) stock-index futures dropped, signaling benchmark indexes may extend yesterday’s slump to a seven-week low.
SGX CNX Nifty Index futures for June delivery fell 0.6 percent to 5,757.5 at 9:54 a.m. in Singapore. The underlying CNX Nifty (NIFTY) Index dropped 1.5 percent to 5,788.80 yesterday, the lowest close since April 18. The S&P BSE Sensex tumbled 1.5 percent. The Bank of New York Mellon India ADR Index of U.S.- traded shares fell 2.8 percent to the lowest since Nov. 21.
The nation’s stocks plunged yesterday amid concern the rupee’s decline to a record low will limit the central bank’s scope to cut interest rates at a policy review next week. The government releases industrial production data for April and consumer price inflation figures for May today.
“We didn’t expect the rupee to weaken as it has over the last few weeks,” Robert Aspin, a Singapore-based investment strategist with Standard Chartered Bank, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV India yesterday. A weak currency will stoke price pressures, impacting “the ability of the Reserve Bank of India to cut rates. We were looking for a 25 basis-point cut.”
Data due today may show consumer prices increased 9 percent in May, according to a Bloomberg survey of 22 economists. The rate hasn’t slowed to less than 9 percent since February 2012. Factory output climbed 2.4 percent in April, compared with 2.5 percent the previous month, according to the median estimate of 32 analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
The rupee weakened to a record low of 58.9850 per dollar yesterday, before paring losses after the government said it’s considering an overseas bond sale to spur inflows and on speculation the RBI sold dollars. The currency has been weighed down by a record current-account gap, the slowest economic growth in a decade and speculation the dollar will gain if the U.S. reduces monetary stimulus.
The central bank, which has cut the benchmark repurchase rate three times this year, will keep it at 7.25 percent on June 17, according to 11 of 19 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The rest forecast a 25 basis-point reduction.
The Sensex climbed to the highest level in more than two years on May 17 as stimulus measures from central banks in the U.S. to Europe and Japan lured inflows into emerging markets. The gauge has slumped 5.6 percent since then on concern those measures may be pared back. The index has lost 1.5 percent this year.
Still, overseas investors bought $36 million of local stocks on June 10, according to data from the market regulator. That extended this year’s inflows to $15.4 billion, a record for the period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Sensex is valued at 13.6 times projected 12-month profits, the least in a month, compared with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index’s 9.8 times. The gauge’s 50-day volatility, a measure of price swings climbed to 16.8 yesterday, the highest in 13 months.
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