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Hopes for better Indo-British bilateral trade agreement continue to increase.   Membership of the European Union EU could well have held back both India’s and the UK’s mutual growth and prosperity.   Both could sign a bilateral agreement after Brexit to reduce inflationary pressures in each country.

Could India supply existing UK import products and services cheaper once the UK leaves the European Union EU?   Could the UK export more to India?

The pound could still be at its post-Brexit vote devalued level and with the removal of tariff’s, the UK would be in a better position to export more to India.   For example, Scottish whisky would be substantially cheaper in India and the rapidly growing taste for whisky by the middle class in India could create a massive boost to the whisky industry in Scotland.   Once the EU tariffs were taken off Indian products, India’s goods would be cheaper in the UK.

There are powerful forces on both sides of a potential bilateral agreement to quickly conclude a free-trade agreement.   The UK is the third-largest investor in India and the largest investor among G20 nations.   India is the third-largest investor in the UK economy.   Current trading comes in around $20 billion, but the potential increase post-Brexit trade could be massive.

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2nd April 2018 – India Banking Industry Scandal

Indian government has had to find more than 3 trillion rupees to bailout state-run banks struggling under bad debts.   More than 10 percent of bank loans are stressed or troubled in some way.   Stressed loans have more than doubled in last five years.   The majority of banks are state-owned in India.

21 banks share around two thirds of assets under control of banking sector in India.   India has had to find the money due to poor lending controls by banking industry in India.

Further evidence of this is a number of banks have been hit by massive banking frauds which are still under investigation.

2nd April 2018 – Corporate Defaults in India Likely To Rise

Credit rating agency, ICRA, has been reported as saying that Indian companies are more likely to default on their borrowings this year.   Reasons for increased likelihood of default include:-

  • higher costs of borrowing money in India
  • deteriorating business environment
  • Weaknesses in India’s banking system

India’s banking system is under pressure to up its lending controls after a series of banking fraud’s were uncovered.

27th March 2018 – India China Trade

China says it will deal with India’s complaint’s surrounding unbalanced trading deficit between China and India.

The trade deficit has been increased to more than $50 billion in China’s favour.   India wants, and has been promised it will get, greater access to China’s marketplace.

20th March 2018 – Central Bureau of Investigations CBI Charges Former Canara Bank Chairman

The CBI has charged former chairman of Canara Bank over allegations that senior officials helped a company defraud the state-run bank several years ago.

4th March 2018 – India Arrests 4 More People In Connection With PNB Fraud

India’s federal police have arrested four more people in connection with PNB’s fraud case, the biggest banking fraud in India’s history.   India’s Central Bureau of Investigations CBI has arrested more than a dozen people to date, including PNB staff and employees of Firestar International, the company owned by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi.

Businesses owned by Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi have been accused of securing unauthorised loans using fraudulent letters of undertaking from PNB bank.

28th February 2018 – Economists Got India’s Growth Wrong According To India’s Government

India’s economy grew 7.2 percent in the 3 months ending in December according to India’s government, faster than the 6.9 percent predicted by many economic experts.

India’s growth is accelerating.   Annual growth in the thrid quarter was 6.6 percent.

28th February 2018 – Jeweler At Centre Of $2 Billion PNB Scandal Whereabouts Not Known

India’s federal police, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), does not know where Nirav Modi is.   He is at the centre of investigations into the banking fraud at PNB.   However, they have asked him to cooperate with the investigation by next week.

26th February 2018 – India Growth Accelerates In Oct-Dec 2017

India’s economy grew at its fastest pace in a year in the last quarter 2017 (6.9 percent year-on-year) according to a Reuters poll of economic experts.   In the 3rd quarter the growth rate was 6.3 percent year-on-year.

26th February 2018 – Punjab National Bank PNB Fraud Scandal

PNB is India’s second biggest state-run bank and has declared that the recently uncovered fraud at one of its branches will cost it over a billion pounds.

It is alleged that the fraud was actioned by two junior employees, however some of the biggest names in India corporately and individually are also at the heart of the PNB fraud scandal.

17th February 2018 – Two PNB Employees Detained

The state-run national bank $3 billion fraud investigation continues with the arrest of two employees.   The biggest ever bank fraud in India revolves around Gokulnath Shetty and Manoj Kharat who, allegedly, manipulated loans to companies linked to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and businesses connected to jewellery retailer Gitanjali which is headed by Modi’s uncle, Mehul Choksi.   Families of the two arrested so far claim they were just lowly servants doing what they were told by their superiors.

The fraud has not been denied, but who is guilty of fraud is unclear and is still being investigated.   However, the fraud is so big that if more people and more senior people in the financial sector, beyond PNB, are involved it could even develop into the systemic collapse of India’s banking system due to the fear in the marketplace that the first of many dominos are set to fall.   This is more remote compared to the chances of more individuals facing criminal actions, but the final outcome of the investigation could yet be critical.

13th February 2018 – January Inflation Reduced

According to the Central Statistics Office CSO, annual inflation fell to 5.07 percent in January, from 5.21 percent annual rate in December.   The newly released figure backs up the decision to kept interest rate on hold at 6 percent.

9th February 2018 – Taking The Temperature Of India’s Economy

India’s inflation is increasing and currently running at 5.21 percent.   The rising cost of fuel in 2018 should push inflation up further unless this can be counterbalanced by reductions in food prices.   India’s government has a target of 4 percent but it is moving further away from this preferred cost of living target.

Despite high inflation, interest rates have remained steady.   The current Reserve Bank of India RBI short term lending rate for commercial banks is 6 percent so the cost of money is already comparatively high in India.  Despite this India probably is, and will probably remain, the fastest growing economy in the world in 2018.

Government deficit is currently 3.5 percent which is high.   3 percent is probably and acceptable level of borrowing to cover costs of running the country, but it is not too excessive in comparison to other significant economies around the world.

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