Weekly Wrap Up – World is still on tenterhooks as pandemic rages

A global poll conducted by news agency Reuters inferred that the world economic recovery looked ever more shaky, as the pandemic raged on. In a worst-case scenario, the poll indicates, the world economy will contract 6.5% this year, much worse than the International Monetary Fund’s -4.9% projection, then grow just 2.0% next year.

India’s fiscal deficit in the three months ending June 2020 stood at 6.62 trillion rupees ($88.52 billion), or 83.2% of the budgeted target for the current fiscal year, government data showed. Net tax receipts were 1.35 trillion rupees ($18.05 billion), while total expenditure was 8.16 trillion rupees, indicating the government was front-loading its spending to combat the impact of the coronavirus.

Agriculture

The monsoon and the rains promise India a bountiful crop this year. As per a report from Central Water Commission (CWC), the live water storage available in 123 reservoirs in the country is 141 % of live storage of corresponding period of last year and 103% of storage of average of last ten years.

The total kharif crops have been sown on 882.18 lakh hectares (ha) against 774.38 lakh ha area during the corresponding period of last year, an increase in area coverage by 13.92% compared to last year in the country. Farmers has sown rice on 266.60 lakh ha against 223.96 lakh ha area of last year, an increase of 19.04%.

Pulses’ acreage has also increased by 19.26%, coarse cereals by 6.52%, oilseeds by 16.80 %, sugarcane by 1.13 % while under cotton area coverage increased by 11.29 %. Only jute and mesta sowing area has decreased by 1.30% this kharif season.

Meanwhile, the central government continues its farmers alleviating programmes. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, popularly known as PM-Kisan, is one of the most beneficial schemes for farmers of India.  The government will start disbursing the sixth installment of PM-Kisan from 1 August.

Metals

Metals are predicted to be set for a new bullish cycle, with prices to rise for the next four to five years on government post-pandemic stimulus, and silver set to be the star performer, few analysts have forecast. There are sure signs of a strong upwards movement in commodities prices that could signal a trend. 

The government’s fiscal stimulus will boost metals demand while supply will remain inelastic, not only due to mine production cuts having curbed supplies during the pandemic but also due to the recent lack of investment in new mine capacity, which will continue to curb supplies of some mine products, particularly copper, in coming years.

The world is going to spend its way out of this through infrastructure which requires base metals: this has impacted iron ore prices and will impact zinc; copper prices are already moving on increasing electrification in the world, including electric vehicles which also impact nickel prices.

Indian steel manufacturers expect green shoots for the industry to come in after July 2020, with contracts from metro rails picking up at a faster pace. The steel companies also expect demand for readymade steel structures going up in FY 21.

However, a fear of increase in China’s steel imports into the Indian market hangs dangerously close to the Indian steel makers.  In order to avoid dumping of China’s steel routed through countries like Vietnam, some steel producers have suggested a border adjustment tax. In FY20, as sixty per cent of India’s steel imports have come from the FTA countries which can very well be made by the Indian steel makers.

Gold

Gold  headed for its biggest monthly gain in 8-1/2 years as the impact of the worsening coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. economy hammered the dollar, prompting investors to seek refuge in bullion.

Spot gold closed the week, gaining 0.8% to $1,975.10 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures rose 1.5% to $1,970.80. Prices hit a record $1,980.57 on Tuesday and are up nearly 11% so far this month, their biggest monthly percentage gain since Jan. 2012.

Silver also climbed 3% to $24.25 per ounce, on course for its largest monthly rise on records going back to 1982 – up about 34% – with additional impetus from hopes for a revival in industrial activity.

Gold could potentially reach $2,000 – $2,500/oz within three years not only on investors’ and Central Banks’ appetite for this store of value but because a lot of gold oxide deposits are exhausted and recovery costs will grow as production shifts to lower-quality sulphide deposits with greater environmental considerations.

In India, gold price  jumped to Rs 53,200 from Rs 53,000 per 10 gram while silver rose sharply to Rs 65,000 from Rs 63,000 per kilogram

Energy

OPEC oil output has risen by over 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in July as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf members ended their voluntary extra supply curbs on top of an OPEC-led deal, and other members made limited progress on compliance.

July’s increase is the biggest since April, when OPEC briefly pumped at will before the latest supply cut was agreed. Meanwhile oil prices fell last week following a truly devastating second-quarter GDP report in the U.S., with WTI now stuck at the $40 a barrel mark and $43 a barrel for Brent. .

Meanwhile price of diesel in Delhi fell to Rs 73.64 per litre from Rs 82 per litre earlier, getting cheaper by as much as Rs 8.36 per litre, as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a massive cut in value added tax (VAT) from 30 per cent to 16.75 per cent. Diesel prices in Delhi had surpassed the petrol prices for the first time in history, after increasing consecutively for 18 days in June.

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