WEEKLY WRAP UP- Post Covid, a new world order emergeth: Modi

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The Group of 20 major economies need to focus on broad-based vaccine rollouts and consider all financing options for deeply distressed countries, including an allocation of International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), IMF’s chief economist Gita Gopinath said. She also called for additional for poor countries who could “barely spend during this pandemic” and will fall severely behind economically. “It’s important for the international community to come through with financing, in terms of concessional financing, with grants. Everything should be on the table, including SDRs,” Gopinath said.

Meanwhile in India, the prime minister said that the post-Covid world was turning out to be very different and a new world order was emerging, as happened after the Second World War. In such times, remaining isolated from the global trends will be counter-productive. He said the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity made a positive difference in people’s lives, helped the poorest of the poor, the marginalised and the downtrodden with the transfer of over Rs 2 lakh crore to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

AGRICULTURE

Asserting that India could no longer be content with status-quoist policies in agriculture and other sectors that are in desperate need of reforms, India’s Prime Minister, in an address to the parliament, said the small farmers in the country would get access to the ‘big markets’ of agriculture produce, thanks to the new laws. Even as he repeated the offer for dialogue on any specific concerns the agitating farmers might have with regard to the laws, Modi hit out at the Opposition for seeking to make political capital out of the situation.

He said that the positive outcomes of the farm laws have already become visible, adding that the laws merely multiplied the market options for farmers, without endangering the existing mandi set-up in any manner. He stressed that the new laws would encourage development of agri-based industries and greater investments in the agriculture value chain, boosting employment.

METALS

The recovery in the global and Indian economy has led to sharp improvement in steel demand in India. Indian steel producers shifted their steel output to domestic markets to cater to the requirements of our local customers by reducing exports. All the segments, especially automotive, have performed extremely well supported.

Steel maker JSW Steel has registered a rise of about 2 per cent in its crude steel output to 14.32 lakh tonnes during January, as against 14.10 lakh tonnes of steel in January last year. Tata Steel also reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 4,011 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2020. The company had posted a loss of Rs 1,228 crore in the same period a year ago. Sequentially, profit rose 140 per cent. It was Rs 1,665 core in the September quarter (Q2FY21).

Meanwhile, a weaker dollar has sent copper prices shooting up internationally, reaching almost a 8 year high this week. The three-month copper contract on the London Metal Exchange touched $ 8,289 a tonne, hovering near its highest since February 2013.

GOLD

Gold prices fell to Rs 47,900 per 10 grams this week, while silver price was trending at Rs 68,950 per kg. Internationally too, gold eased as the US dollar and Treasury yields edged higher. The dollar and benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields ticked higher, reducing gold’s appeal. Spot gold dipped to $1,820.73 per ounce.

The bigger picture should be positive for gold because of the current monetary and fiscal policy mix. Trading remained muted as many parts of Asia remained closed for the Chinese new year holiday.

The erratic trading in shares of GameStop in the US that turned markets combustible last week appears to have migrated to commodities, sending silver prices surging to an eight-year high. Silver futures jumped more than 9% last week to over $29.42 per ounce. Additionally, the rally in silver was also driven by the consistent demand for silver  primarily because of the green energy demand which is going to be using a lot of silver.  

ENERGY

OPEC expects oil demand to rise by 5.8 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, down by around 100,000 bpd from last month’s projection due to lockdowns in major developed economies in the first half of this year. The organization now expects healthy demand in the second half of 2021, driven by growing economies and massive stimulus programs.

In India, petrol and diesel prices show no signs of abating, soaring to record highs after rates were hiked for the fourth day in a row. Petrol price was increased by 31 paise per litre and diesel by 35 paise a litre. This took petrol price to an all-time high of Rs 88.14 a litre in Delhi and to Rs 94.64 a litre in Mumbai. Diesel rates rose to Rs 78.38 per litre in the national capital and to an all-time high of Rs 85.32 aa litre in Mumbai. Central and state taxes make up for over 61 per cent of the retail selling price of petrol and about 56 per cent of diesel.

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