Sufficient supplies keep edible oil prices under pressure

Adequate supply is keeping edible oil prices under pressure in the domestic as well as international market. Both soy oil and palm oil are trading at six-seven month lows. If weather and rains continue to be favourable, prices will see further correction in the coming months.
Refined soy oil futures on the National Commodities and Derivative Exchange (NCDEX) hit 9-month low and fell more than 14.6 per cent to Rs 623 per 10 kg, so far, this calendar year. Crude palm oil (CPO) prices on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) have fell about 14.5 per cent since January’s highs.

Falling sales, high stocks affect sugar prices

Sugar sales in the country have been heading southward for some time now. Sales are seen down 1 million tonnes from the start of the sugar season in October 2016. The decline is partly attributed to higher domestic prices and partly to the effect of demonetisation when high-value notes were scrapped.

Gizmo geek: Million dollar babies

In case you’ve been moaning about the fact that that high-end laptop you covet is going to top the six-figure mark, here’s some gossip to put things in perspective. Last year at the Cannes Film Festival, HP sold two of their custom-configured and designed laptops for a combined price of approximately Rs 40,00,000 ($60,000) — yes, we got the zeroes right, and yes, you could buy a house in that amount depending on where you lived, or perhaps a luxury car.

Sow some optimism

In recent years, the agrarian crisis has been largely discussed and described in terms of farmer’s suicides. Obviously, this is a serious issue and merits very careful consideration and appropriate remedial action, considering the fact that agriculture is the main life giving profession of humankind. Although this matter rightly attracts attention, we need to go into greater depth on the problems being faced by farming communities in our country. I suggest a 10-point action plan to reverse with trend of decline in the productivity of major crops.

Insurance coverage of TB negligible in India

Although India carries a huge burden of tuberculosis (TB), only a miniscule number of patients are covered by insurance as health insurers have not yet penetrated to the economic classes, which register a higher incidence of the disease.
As per World Health Organisation data, India has the highest incidence if TB with 2.2 million out of the global 9.6 million cases in 2011. This number was revised to 2.8 million in 2015.

Investment avenues for tax exemptions

Tax saving tools provided to citizens reduce the government’s revenues, but in return enable the citizen to compensate for what most governments of developed countries provide in terms of social security and medical care. Another benefit of tax deductions is that the citizen can directly contribute to economically beneficial investments, with a discount built-in from the lowering of the tax.

US visa noise overhang to trigger volatility

The Indian information technology (IT) sector corrected sharply as on reports about the introduction of yet another bill in the US Congress – the High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 – proposes to raise minimum wages for H-1B visas up to $130K from $60K currently. We believe the Indian IT sector will continue to face the overhang and will witness volatility until the noise around the visa issues wanes.

Budget: does it matter?

Every year, fears and expectations grip the market ahead of the Union Budget. The irony is that most of the time, expectations are not met and fears are proven wrong. Still, the cycle of fears and hopes revisits the market each year.
This year is no different. Hopes are now running high about a cut in corporate tax rates and higher thresholds for personal tax slabs. Fears are also expressed about a tweak in capital gains tax that could hurt market sentiments.

The domestic consumption is seen at 29 million bales, leaving 11.4 million bales for exports

While sugar and wheat are facing supply issues in India due to lower production, cotton has emerged as the flavour of the season, which, if planned well, could possibly earn enough from exports to take care of the import costs in the other two commodities.
The Mumbai-based Cotton Association of India (Cai) last week scaled down its production estimate for this year to 34.1 million bales from the December forecast of 34.5 million bales. But it is still higher from last year’s total output of 33.77 million bales. One bale of cotton weighs 170 kg.

While the output cost has increased 8-10%, prices did not rise accordingly

As the date for presentation of the Union budget for 2017-18 is drawing closer, expectations of different sectors and industry verticals have started rising. For instance, it’s expected that the Centre would continue to exempt necessary food items like milk, grains, vegetables from the goods and services tax (GST) and would not add to burden to the consumer. For tea, with GST rate being seen at 5 per cent on the basis recommendations of the GST council, the overall impact could be neutral compared with the current taxes.