Random thoughts on the Market

It is a well-known fact that when companies are to tap the capital markets with right issues or FPO’s (follow on public offer), it is common practice that friendly intermediaries are used to support the issue and maintain the price if not raise it. When this is done in the case of a private company it is considered as price rigging. What about the same being done by LIC in the case of ONGC? Would the government and LIC be charged with price rigging?

CCI or Competition Commission of India has fined 11 cement companies Rs 6,300 crs for forming a cartel and raising cement prices. This fine which will be challenged is more than half the net profit of these companies in the last two years. Our OMC’s (Oil Marketing Companies) raise prices,and once in a while lower petrol prices in an almost identical manner and at the same time. The pump price differs by a few paisa only. Is this not a cartelisation and if at all they are investigated will any fine or penalty be imposed on them? Secondly the fact that they are selling diesel at prices which are not remunerative can they get away by saying that their pump prices are regulated and therefore they have no control on prices?

Two weeks ago the day IIP numbers were announced; SBI CMD said that interest rates need to be reduced by 100 basis points. This was a sort of pressure being brought upon the RBI governor. That weekend on Friday the Deputy Governor helped ease the pressure by saying that there was no need to reduce the interest rates. And come Monday, RBI governor maintained interest rates.

The FM is to lay down office on Tuesday the 26th of June and there is wild speculation about who would step into his post. It appears to put all speculation at rest; the PM Dr Manmohan Singh will fill in the casual vacancy for the time being and keep the portfolio with himself. One sincerely hopes that the architect of reforms in the 1991-1995 eradoes rise to the occasion and do atleast something in his period of 8 years which could be mildly termed to be a disaster. I believe the man owes it to the country after being at the helm of affairs for such a long time.

Let’s hope that in a country plagued with scams of all shapes and sizes some good does come out.

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