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India In-Focus — Shares end higher; L&T to issue 4-month CP; July retail inflation may ease to 5-month low

RIYADH: Indian shares closed higher for a sixth straight session on Wednesday, led by gains in information technology stocks, as investors await the central bank’s policy meeting outcome later this week.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.25 percent to 17,388.15, at the close, and the S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.37 percent at 58,350.53, after see-sawing between gains and losses for most of the session against the backdrop of escalating US-China tensions.

Larsen & Toubro to issue 4-month CP

India’s Larsen & Toubro Ltd. plans to raise funds through the issuance of commercial paper maturing in nearly four months, four merchant bankers said on Wednesday.

The company will offer a yield of 5.90 percent on this issue, and has received commitments worth around 10 billion rupees ($126.25 million) so far, the bankers said.

The notes are rated A1+ by CRISIL and the issue will mature on Nov. 30.

India July retail inflation may ease to 5-month low

India’s headline retail inflation is expected to ease to its lowest level in five months in July due to declining food prices as well as the lagged effect of a cut in fuel taxes, Barclays said.

“There is more evidence that inflation in India has peaked for now, and it is likely to slow faster than Reserve Bank of India’s published trajectory, coming into the target band by October, according to our latest tracking estimate,” Rahul Bajoria, chief India economist at Barclays, said in a note.

The bank expects July inflation at 6.65 percent over a year ago, as compared to 7.01 percent in June and a near eight-year high of 7.79 percent in April. India is due to release July inflation data on Aug. 12.

The government reduced excise duty on petrol and diesel in May to insulate consumers from rising prices.

Barclays expects food inflation to moderate to 6.6 percent in July, 100 basis points lower than in June, but said strong monsoons over the last month and flooding in parts of the country may lead to some losses of perishable crops.

It however expects inflation to stay above the RBI’s tolerance level. The RBI aims to maintain inflation at 4.00 percent, with tolerance levels of 200 basis points on either side.

(With input from Reuters)