WEATHER DERIVATIVES – CONCEPT, CHALLENGES, AND FEASIBILITY

By  Ishan Kekre & Girish C

Introduction

A weather derivative is a tool for managing weather risk. It is a financial contract that allows a firm to hedge itself against unexpected and adverse weather. A weather derivative contract or WD derives its value from future weather conditions. Contrary to stereotypical weather insurance, the payout of this kind of derivative is based on a parametric weather index. For instance, the index could be centimeters or millimeters of rainfall. The index could also be a cumulative frequency distribution of temperatures across many locations. The underlying of WD could also be related to snowfall or hurricanes.

Origin of Weather Derivatives

The weather derivative market as compared to other financial instruments is relatively young. The first transaction in the WD market dates back to 1997. The sector developed due to the severe repercussions of El Niño. These events were forecasted correctly by the meteorological community. Firms that had their revenues linked to weather realized the importance of protecting themselves against seasonal weather risks. Many companies who were in the business of dealing with financial futures and options saw WDs as attractive tools to hedge weather risks.

The insurance sector achieved substantial financial consolidation. As a result, there was significant capital to hedge weather risks. Insurance firms started writing options with payoffs linked to weather events. This, in turn, elevated the liquidity for the development of a WD market. Thus, the WD market evolved over the years into a strong over-the-counter market.

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Budget Impact Analysis – FMCG and Consumer Durables Industry

By Nishant D’Souza

Year on year FMCG companies has posted robust results in their 3rd quarter reason being many major festivals happen during this period. However, the same was not emulated this year, companies posted flat or below par results as demonetization sent the FMCG sector into paralysis and the only budget could be the probable savior.

Measures and their impact:

  • Income tax has been lowered from 10% to 5% for individuals in tax slab 2.5 lakh- 5 lakh – This will greatly benefit the youth considering the fact that many falls in this tax bracket. Even individuals earning up to 8 lakhs will surely make an effort to bring their taxable income within the 5 lakhs tax slab. We shall see a launch of many entry-level products in the white goods sector.
  • Increase in MNREGA allocation from 38,500 crores to 48,000 crores year on year – MNREGA scheme provides a minimum of 100 days of guaranteed wage payment to every individual who has opted to do unskilled manual labor. MNREGA has already been a success in providing employment for rural folks during off-season farming. Considering the fact we had good monsoon in most parts of the country and with this increase in MNREGA allocation FMCG companies having exposure in rural areas will greatly benefit. FMCG companies will amend their existing products into smaller packs to attract rural attention.
  • Reduction in presumptive tax from 8% to 6% under section 44AD for gross payments received through electronic mode – This will benefit professionals and we can expect a rise in white goods sales with summer soon approaching. I don’t see mom and pop stores declaring taxable income even after this tax discount.
  • Reduction in corporate tax from 30% to 25% for companies with an annual turnover below 50 crores – Many raw material supplying companies fall within this tax bracket, we can expect a reduction in the cost of raw materials.

A lot of initiatives have been undertaken to revive agricultural growth and increase the focus of investments in rural areas:

  1. A target of 10 lakh fixed per person as agricultural credit and overall target of 10 crores for the financial year 2017-2018.
  2. Extension of tenure of loans under Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to 20 years.
  3. Allocation for agriculture sector has increased by 24% to Rs 1,87,223 crores.
  4. 8,000 crores set aside for dairy processing infrastructure fund.

Additional surcharge of 10% on annual income over 50 lakhs will surely come as a dent on the revenues of the high-end service industry.

Apart from the change in excise duty on cigarettes no other change in service tax or excise duty was witnessed. Abolition of Foreign Investment Promotion Board should witness the much needed FDI in the consumer durable industry. Overall this budget has greatly helped in meeting the expectations of the corporates who have been vying for an increase in the personal disposable income.

 

Budget Impact Analysis – Banking & Financial Sector

By Payal Sachdeva and Tuhina Kumar

Expectations

  1. Increase in tax concessions on bad loan provisioning as the Asset Quality Review by RBI has led to a steep increase in provisioning.
  1. The total requirement of capital infusion by banks till march 2019, as gauged in 2015, is 1,80,000 crores out of which the government has committed to allocate only 70,000 crores under the Indradhanush plan. The rest is expected to be raised by the banks from the markets. This may be difficult due to low valuation of the banks.
  1. Disinvestment in PSU banks to below 51% to help raise capital.
  1. Higher allocation to infrastructure, housing and urban development as a boost in the commodity sector would improve the banks’ asset quality.
  1. Provide a roadmap of incentives for a digital push.
  1. Enhance capital expenditure for credit demand revival.

Announcements made in the Budget

  • Abolishment of FIPB: The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) will be abolished in 2017-2018. FIPB is the body responsible for approving FDI proposals which are not cleared through the automatic route. Since 90% of the FDI inflows are through automatic route, the government has taken up this measure. Also, it focusses on ease of doing business.
  • Housing Finance:  Under the government’s aim to provide housing for all by 2020, the government proposed various measures. National Housing Bank (NHB) will refinance loans worth 20k crore in 2017-2018. This move saw a rise in stocks of HDFC (3.6%) and LIC Housing Finance (2.78%).
  • Tax relief on Masala Bonds: The government has announced that the rupee-dominated offshore bonds, called masala bonds will be subjected to a lower tax deducted at source (TDS) of 5%. This would be applicable retrospectively from 1st April 2016. This has been done to provide relief arising due to the appreciation of rupee against a foreign currency.
  • Law on Money Laundering: To curb money laundering by high net worth individuals via fake long-term capital gains, the government has tightened the screws on long-term capital gains. Only those equity investments are eligible for long-term capital gains where securities transaction tax (STT) has been paid.
  • Move to attract FPI: In order to attract funds from FPI, the finance minister made a proposal to exempt category I and category II FPIs from the provision of indirect tax transfer. Category I foreign portfolio investors include foreign central banks, sovereign wealth funds, and government agencies.
  • Recapitalization of banks: The government is going to infuse 10,000 crores out of the 70,000 crores committed under the Indradhanush plan for recapitalization of banks.
  • Set up PARA: An idea to set up a centralized Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency (PARA) that will take over banks’ largest and the most challenging bad loans. PARA will help reduce NPAs and restructured loans.
  • Amendment in SARFAESI Act: The amendment in the SARFAESI act will allow listing and trading of security receipts issued by securitization company or a reconstruction company on SEBI-registered stock exchanges. This will boost capital flows in the securitization industry and aid in dealing with NPAs.
  • Mudra Yojana: The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has been allocated 2.44 lakh this fiscal as it exceeded the target of 1.22 lakh crore allocated in the year 2015-16.
  • Attempt to push Digital Economy: In an attempt to promote digital transactions in the Indian economy, the allocation to BharatNet Project has been increased by Rs 10,000 crore in 2017-18 which will connect 150,000-gram panchayats with high-speed broadband. Also, BHIM, an Aadhaar-based mobile wallet, would be promoted under two schemes, a referral bonus scheme for individuals and a cashback scheme for merchants.
  • The Role of SIDBI: Moreover, the government wants to ease loan disbursement, where the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) would refinance credit institutions for extending unsecured loans to borrowers at reasonable interest rates based on their digital transaction history.

Conclusion

The government has met most of the expectations except for more capital infusion in the banks.  Thus, markets reacted positively to the budget and financial stocks shot up. Both Nifty and Sensex closed at a 3-month high of 28000 and 8700 respectively.

Stock Recommendation

The government’s move towards affordable housing is likely to push CanFin Homes as its loan portfolio is skewed towards the same.

 

Budget Series 2017-18-#2 Impact on Auto Sector

Roshan Raghuram & Jananee R Chandran

A look at the Union budget

Transform, Energise and Clean: the three-point agenda of the Union budget has very well reflected in its focus on job creation, rural spending, digitization, and GST. Some of the highlights are:

  • Total allocation to agriculture up by 24%, to double the farm income in five years
  • Infrastructure spending up by 11%, against the sluggish private sector investment
  • Housing for all by 2022-being the main job creator to help in demand revival
  • Disincentives on cash transactions to help in the retention of bank deposits, which will bring down market interest rates further
  • Widening of tax base and compliance, a significant medium-term positive to support quality spending

Auto sector: An introduction

Indian automobile sector is one of the largest and most dynamic in the world, resisting and growing positively through economic changes. India has emerged to be the 2nd largest two-wheeler maker, 6th largest car manufacturer and the 8th largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the world. The 92 billion dollar industry contributes 7.1 % of the country’s GDP and is responsible for the employment of 19 million people in the country.

Recent news in the industry

  1. A shift in paradigm in the industry: IT and e-commerce industries have reshaped the way the industry operates.
  2. Fuel emission norms and safety norms: In the era of global standards, we see India getting in line with the Euro emission norms. This translates into shorter product life cycle for the vehicles and an increase in the frequency of new models. The compulsory air bags regulation coming in the year 2017 would increase the demand for the auto ancillaries in the country.
  3. The impact of GST: There are broadly two kinds of prices in front of a car buyer: showroom price and on-road price. Prior to GST, excise duty levied on showroom price was 20% and a sales tax of 12.5 % (average of all states) was levied on on-road price. With the advent of GST, the common tax rate would bring down the effective tax rates for automobile companies which will improve their operational efficiency. This would mean reduced consumer prices as there is no cascading tax effect.

Effect of demonetization on Auto sector

Sales are reported on a monthly basis in the Auto sector. Post demonetisation it was seen that the sale volume of the auto companies dipped by around 5.48%. The rural demand for the sector would be affected in the coming quarter or two, mainly because a lot of NBFCs and banks refrain from giving auto loans to the rural population. This means most of the payment for the purchase of automobiles is made by cash, and this cash crunch would have an impact on the top lines of the companies for a shorter term but this is expected to improve once the effect of demonetization subsides.

Impact of Budget on Auto sector

The budget overall has been consumption positive. Reduction in income tax rate for a taxpayer with income INR 250000-500000 translates into increased disposable income. The spending on agriculture and crop insurance scheme will benefit the tractor and the 2-wheeler segment. Increased spending on infrastructure, on the other hand, will benefit the commercial vehicle segment. However, the decrease in the total outlay of AMRUT will lower demand for buses and would adversely affect urban players.

Proposal Impact Major players
Spending on agriculture and crop insurance Positive for tractor and 2W Hero
Bajaj
Decrease of  6% outlay on AMRUT Negative for urban players Eicher Motors
Ashok Leyland
Tata Motors


Market reactions of companies to Budget

Company Pre-budget price Post-budget price Change % change
M&M 1255 1260 0.40%
Eicher Motors 23174 23385.9 0.91%
Ashok Leyland 92.32 94.5 2.36%
Escort 362 379.5 4.83%
Bajaj Auto 2819 2808 -0.39%

Market reactions have been positive for four out of the above five companies. The Auto sector is likely to be positively impacted both by value and volume. And the Union budget is expected to be a helping hand to the demonetization affected Auto players.

Development of the Indian Corporate Bond Market

By Abraham Mathew Valliyakalayil

The world GDP stood at nearly 74 trillion in 2015. The worth of the world bond markets was 100 trillion. Where was India at that time? This article attempts to juxtapose the Indian bond market with that of the world. Indian debt market is just 17% of its GDP as compared to the US which is worth 123%. We also lag behind with respect to other emerging markets such as Malaysia, Thailand, and China.

There can be a plethora of reasons for this trend. Firstly, India in contrast to these countries offers much higher interest on fixed deposits. These attractive interest rates discourage retail investment in corporate bonds as term deposits carry lesser risk. Thus, risk-averse retail investors prefer fixed deposits over debt and risk-seeking investors opt for equity. 

  Break-up of Term-Deposit & Inflation Rates of Asian Countries

Country Fixed deposit rate Headline Inflation
India 7.95 % 3.4 %
Malaysia 4.33 % 1.8 %
China 3.75 % 2.1 %
Thailand 2.8 % 1.1 %

Secondly, institutions which are the major players in the bond market shy away from investing in corporate bonds. The reason being that the secondary market is still underdeveloped, owing to the lack of demand and supply (causing market illiquidity).

Issues on the demand side:

  • The first barrier is a high SLR of 21.5% that, places restrictions on various players including banks, insurers, FPI and Provident funds. Also, only 15% of the funds is allowed to be invested in corporate bonds below AA rating. However, for mutual funds, there are no such restrictions.
  • Secondly, India lacks a well-functioning derivatives market. This hampers the ability of players to hedge credit and currency risks.
  • Lastly, a factor that banks will have to deal with is the ‘mark to market’ aspect. On the balance sheet, corporate bonds will be valued according to the market in contrast to the loans which won’t be valued similarly.

Issues on the supply side:

The institutional restrictions, preference for higher ratings (reason for higher interest rates) and the high cost of issuing (resulting in a high cost of capital, KD) has an adverse impact on number primary issues.

Conclusion: 

Analyzing the supply and demand aspects, we can say it is analogous to the chicken and egg situation. The above problems can be tackled by an effective implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Act which was passed on 5th May 2015. This can hasten the liquidation of distressed companies, thereby protecting the value of companies’ assets. It will also aid the asset reconstruction companies by attracting more participation into the NPA market. Furthermore, improved banking governance and adoption of Basel III norms mandating holding of high-quality liquid assets can also act as an elixir. Overall, these measures can improve the investors’ confidence in the corporate bond market.

Should NBFCs be regulated in the same way as Banks in India?

By Nayan Saraf

Indian banking sector has played a crucial role in developing the Indian economy, but if there is one segment, which would significantly make a big difference in coming years, it would be the Non-banking financial services sector. The total asset base for NBFC’s stood at more than Rs. 14.5 Lac Crore and the profit of Rs. 30,000 Cr. in the year 2015 with a CAGR of about 13% over last 3 years. This enormous growth of NBFC segment has resulted in more regulations from RBI which in effect have opened the debate whether NBFCs should be regulated in the same way as banks or not.

Over the years, RBI has changed its stance on NBFC from no regulations to over regulations. This over regulation has come into the picture in recent years after the global financial crisis where the fall of systematically important FI, Lehman Brother, resulted in systematic risk across the financial world. But many economists have argued that these over regulations are nothing but overly cautious measures by the RBI which are hampering the growth of the NBFC segment.

One reasonable argument that goes in the favour of lesser regulations for NBFCs is that unlike banks they don’t have any unsophisticated depositors. The bank’s depositors are unsophisticated as they can withdraw money from the bank at any time and the bank is liable for that. Even for fixed deposits, the principal is protected in the case of premature withdrawal. Hence, banks run the risk of having ‘Run on the bank’. On the other hand, NBFC’s do not have unsophisticated depositors as they raise money by issuing bonds and promoter’s contribution. Hence, NBFCs do not run the risk of having ‘Run on the bank’.

Second argument that goes in favour of lesser regulations for NBFCs is the low risk of asset liability mismatch. Since, NBFCs lend money which was raised through bonds and promoter’s contribution rather than depositors’ money (as they cannot accept deposits); there’s a very little chance of having asset liability mismatch. In their balance sheet, the liability would be due only on maturity. Hence they can easily manage the asset liability mismatch. On the other hand, banks that lend depositors’ money, run a higher risk of asset liability mismatch as in their balance sheet the liability can be due at any time.

These two arguments question the importance of stringent regulations on NBFCs by RBI. When NBFCs are different from banks, then why should they have the same stringent regulations? NBFCs should be more risk seeking in nature for the growth of Indian economy.