Indian shares fall as Fed flags more rate hikes

Indian shares fall as Fed flags more rate hikes

22 Sep    Finance News

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BENGALURU — Indian shares ended lower on Thursday, while the rupee closed at a record low, after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates and indicated it would raise rate more often than markets had expected.

The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.5% at 17,629.80, while the S&P BSE Sensex dropped 0.57% to 59,119.72. The Indian rupee closed at a record low of 80.86 against the U.S. dollar.

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The Fed increased rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday to bring down inflation from four-decade highs and Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed “will keep at it until the job is done.”

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The Indian government, however, is in no hurry to push inflation – hovering near eight-year highs of 7% – back to the central bank’s 4% medium-term target, for fear that aggressive rate hikes could hurt economic growth.

The Reserve Bank of India is due to meet next week to decide on monetary policy.

“All eyes will be on RBI now and in all likelihood, RBI will need to follow through, to arrest the flight of capital and defend the rupee, even though the inflation in India is relatively under control,” Mohit Ralhan, CEO at TIW Capital Group said in a note.

Although, the Indian government is not averse to a weaker rupee in line with global market fundamentals, a senior official told Reuters.

“The markets are also pricing in the increasing threat of escalation by Russia as Putin appears to be doubling down including the option of using nuclear weapons,” Ralhan said, after Russia pushed ahead with its biggest conscription since World War Two.

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The Nifty bank index dropped 1.4%. The index has gained nearly 22% so far this quarter, to hit a lifetime high last week on expectations of higher credit growth.

The Nifty fast moving consumer goods index was the top gainer among all sectors, rising 1.3% to lock in gains of 4.4% for the week.

Foreign investors purchased a net $1.4 billion worth of Indian equities so far this month as of last close, compared with a net $6.44 billion worth of equities in August.

Among stocks, shares of Fortis Healthcare sank nearly 15% after India’s top court, according to media reports, ordered the continuation of a stay on IHH Healthcare’s open offer for the company. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman and Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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