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Shri J P Nadda launches new Nurse Practitioner courses and Live Register for Nurses
Jun 28,2016

Underscoring the importance of upgradation of skills of nurses across the country, Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare stated that the Government is committed to providing accessible, affordable and quality training to them. He also emphasised that the Nursing Staff occupies important position in healthcare delivery and without them the desired results cannot be achieved. n++The role of the nursing staff can be compared equally to that of the doctors when we think of achieving the SDGsn++. Shri J P Nadda was speaking at the inauguration of Indian Nursing Council Office Complex. Dr Kirit P Solanki, Member of Parliament, Shri Ganesh Singh, Member of Parliament, and Shri Dileep Kumar, President, Indian Nursing Council were also present during the inaugural function. Shri Nadda launched two new Nurse Practitioner Courses, one in Critical Care and the other in Primary Healthcare. He also launched a web-based Live Register for Nurses.

While laying stress on importance of adequate skill enhancement through appropriate training, Shri Nadda stated that the training course for the nurses should be contextualised, so that they are imparted education and knowledge of the Indian healthcare landscape. He also underscored the importance of informal education in addition to formal education, as it shall provide a holistic and rounded understanding of the various issues the nursed are required to deal with in their profession. The need for sensitisation towards laid down protocols in treatment should be made part of the curriculum, the Minister added. The Health Minister stated that in harmony with the vision of the Hon. Prime Minister to n++Skill Indian++, we also need to ponder on how the courses for skilling the nurses can be synced with the Skill India program.

Shri Nadda termed the newly launched n++Live Registern++ as path-breaking. Through the Live Register accurate data of active and registered nurses will be made available online. This will help the Government in better manpower planning and for making policy level decisions for the nursing professionals in India. Shri Nadda stated that this will help in rationalisation and optimum utilisation of manpower. He further added that the government has given high priority for improving the Nursing and Midwifery cadre through skill development and continued professional development. He said that the Government has undertaken major expansion of nursing and technical education leading to a three-fold increase in the numbers of nursing institutions and in the number of students passing out of these institutions.

The Health Minister informed that the Government has undertaken several initiatives for strengthening of nursing cadre are. Some of these are establishment of ANM/GNM schools, up-gradation of institutions from School of Nursing to College of Nursing, Training of Nurses, development of 11 one year specialisation courses, revision of curriculum for all nursing programs, establishment of national PhD consortium for Nursing Research.

The Nurse Practitioner in Critical Care Program will be a two-year residential M.Sc degree in Nurse Practitioner in Critical care. On completion of the program Nurses will be qualified to assume responsibility and accountability for the care of critically ill patients. Whereas, the Nurse Practitioner in Primary Healthcare Program will be a one-year residential Post Graduate diploma program.

The Health Minister further said that there is an urgent need to make training course contextual to countrys needs. The Health Minister also suggested that the Nursing courses can be blended with skill India training Courses for countering the shortage of Nursing Staff.

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Multi System Operators to display details of their nodal officers on their website and inform the same to their linked LCOs
Jun 28,2016

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) wrote to all multi system operators to display details of their nodal officers on their website and inform the same to their linked LCOs for ease of business and to reduce disputes.

The Telecommunication (Broadcasting and cable services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) Regulations, 2012 requires that no Multi System Operator shall make available signals of TV channels to any linked local cable operator without entering into a written interconnection agreement. Further it also requires that each & every transaction between the MSO & its linked LCOs must be in writing.

It has been brought to the notice of TRAI that the authorized representatives or nodal persons of MSOs are either inaccessible or issue sometimes hand written transaction notes to LCOs without any specific authorization and company seal / stamp which is not in line with the regulations in this regard. These practices also give rise to disputes as LCOs are not sure whether the contact person is authorized by respective MSO or not.

For improving the coordination between multi system operators and local cable operators all MSOs are directed to declare their nodal officers, which must be easily accessible to LCOs, physically as well as through Email/ mobile, so that they can interact with each other and resolve their issues in time bound manner.

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Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot Releases First Ever Draft List of Denotified & Nomadic Tribes
Jun 27,2016

Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, released first ever draft list of Denotified, Nomadic & Semi Nomadic Tribes, prepared by National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic & Semi Nomadic Tribes here today. The draft list has state wise details of the Denotified, Nomadic & Semi Nomadic Tribes.

Shri Gehlot said that it is intention of the Government to bring all the downtrodden groups of the country into the mainstream as envisioned by the Prime Minister. In addition to the draft list of DNT communities, Minister also released the feedback from these communities, decisions of the commission and its communication with the State Governments. He also said that for the first time his Government has reviewed the progress of development of these communities, so as to identify their issues and suggest appropriate measures for their improvement.

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CSIRs CRRI validates usage of Ghazipur Municipal Waste to NHAI for earth-filling in construction of highways
Jun 27,2016

NHAI had entrusted the assignment of technically verifying whether Solid Waste Material generated from Municipal/City waste can be utilized for highway construction to CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI). The CSIR-CRRI conducted a study by collecting 70 tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste from different locations of 5/10/15 years old from Ghazipur land fill site of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and have recommended the following :

The municipal solid waste contains about 65 to 70 % of Soil components which can be used in embankment construction after segregation from the municipal solid waste. The methodology suggested for use is by drying the collected municipal solid waste and passing through different sieves. The percentage passing from the 16 mm sieve contains 44 to 48 % of municipal solid waste which can be directly used in embankment construction. For utilizing the municipal solid waste passing through 32 mm sieve, the segregation of plastic material and PVC etc., will have to be blown by using high capacity blowers at the segregation plant.

Director CRRI presented the report and findings to Chairman NHAI in presence of senior NHAI officers and various stake holders.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (East) had earlier approached NHAI to make use of waste at Ghazipur Landfill site, whereupon Chairman NHAI had commissioned analytical study through CRRI. NHAI plans utilization of this Solid Waste Material for its highway construction program on NH-24, i.e. Meerut Expressway. To allay the doubts of Concessionaires and to encourage them to utilize this waste, NHAI has offered to indemnify the Concessionaires for the stretches where this waste material shall be tried. Also, NHAI will write to MoEF to allow usage of solid waste material in lieu of fly-ash wherever feasible. This initiative of NHAI shall promote the construction of Green Highways in the country as it amounts to substantial replacement of natural earth, mining of which causes environmental problems.

NHAI is already utilizing fly-ash upto 30% of earth filling in the Eastern Peripheral Expressway and using other slag materials elsewhere. This will be in keeping with Prime Ministers directions for use of waste in a productive way.

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RGI releases Census 2011 data on Age at Marriage by Category of Economic Activities
Jun 27,2016

The Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India today released the Census 2011 data on Age at Marriage by Category of Economic Activities.. Table C-7 presents data on number of ever married and currently married population by age at marriage, duration of marriage and economic activity at India/State/District level. The mean age at marriage, as calculated from the table, for both males and females for all the categories of economic activities has improved during the last decade of 2001-2011. The comparative position for census 2001 and 2011 for various economic activities is given below:

Mean Age at Marriage by category of economic activity, India 2001-11

Category of Economic ActivityMalesFemales2001201120012011Main Workers22.623.518.219.2Cultivators 21.522.517.618.6Agricultural labourers21.822.517.718.5Workers in household industry23.723.419.519.1Other workers24.420.8Marginal Workers21.822.517.618.7Non-Workers22.823.518.519.4

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Government initiates process to constitute Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934
Jun 27,2016

Government decides to bring the provisions of amended RBI Act regarding constitution of MPC into force on 27th June, 2016 so that statutory basis of MPC is made effective; Rules governing the procedure for Selection of Members of Monetary Policy Committeeand Terms and Conditions of their Appointment and factors constituting failure to meet inflation target under the MPC Framework notified on 27th June, 2016.

With a view to maintain price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth, the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (RBI Act) has been amended by the Finance Act, 2016 to provide for a statutory and institutionalised framework for a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). A Committee-based approach will add lot of value and transparency to monetary policy decisions. Out of the six Members of MPC, three Members will be from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), including the Governor, who will be the ex-officio Chairperson, the Deputy Governor, RBI and one officer of RBI. The other three Members of MPC will be appointed by the Central Government, on the recommendations of a Search-cum-Selection Committee, which will be headed by the Cabinet Secretary. These three Members of MPC will be experts in the field of economics or banking or finance or Monetary policy and will be appointed for a period of 4 years and shall not be eligible for re-appointment. The meetings of the MPC shall be held at least 4 times a year and it shall publicise its decisions after each such meeting.

The Government has decided to bring the provisions of amended RBI Act regarding constitution of MPC into force on 27th June, 2016 so that statutory basis of MPC is made effective. The Rules governing the Procedure for Selection of Members of Monetary Policy Committee and Terms and Conditions of their Appointment and factors constituting failure to meet inflation target under the MPC Framework have also been notified on 27th June, 2016.

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Banks should shed reluctance in lending to urban poor as recovery is 98%, says Shri Venkaiah Naidu
Jun 27,2016

Reiterating the Governments top priority of eliminating poverty, Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today urged the commercial banks to shed their reluctance in lending to the urban poor. In his inaugural address at the National Conference on Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission organized in the national capital, Shri Naidu stressed the need for enhanced credit flow to the Self-Help Groups and for self- employment through individual and group enterprises under the Mission.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu asserted that loan repayment by Self-Help Groups is 98% and hence, were most bankable and eligible for lending. He expressed concern over inadequate credit linkages to such groups in the States in the Northern and Eastern regions of the country with the Southern states accounting for 62% of total credit linkage of Rs.3,173 groups advanced during the last two years under DAY-NULM. He highlighted the importance of supporting Self-Help Groups that are in the forefront of addressing poverty by taking up various economically productive activities through internal lending among the members.

The Minister said that with several initiatives being taken to promote domestic and Foreign Direct Investment in various sectors, there is a vast scope for employment generation leading to increased demand for skilled manpower.

Shri Naidu said that the Government is committed to eliminating poverty by skilling the unskilled, funding the unfunded and reaching the unreached. The Minister stressed on the need for convergence in implementation of skill development programmes and scaling them up in a convergence mode. He said 25% of people still living Below Poverty Line is clearly unacceptable when the country is aspiring for a lead role in the comity of nations. Concerted efforts need to be mounted to eliminate poverty. Due emphasis needs to be given on training to catch the fish instead of giving fish all the time. While banks should scale up financing, loans need to be repaid.

Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that an integrated eco-system is being put in place for skilling of 30 crore people while 24 ministries were involved in handling 70 skill development programmes. He expressed concern over skills not being given due recognition as a result of which in our country there are no Professors of Carpentry or Plumbing. Referring to what he called the paradox of people with 15 years of formal education and not finding jobs being promised jobs after a 15 week training, Shri Rudy said this needs to be resolved with proper course content and certification. He urged the banks to accept skill certification issued by approved agencies for advancing loans to skilled people.

Minister of State for Finance Shri Jayant Sinha suggested promotion of financial literacy among the beneficiaries as part of skill certification under skill development programmes to enable them with better management of money and enterprises for further growth in chosen area of career development. He favoured credit lending in the name of women stating that they proved to be more adept in managing finances. He also called for lending higher amounts under anti-poverty programmes. This suggestion assumes significance in the context of average loan amount sanctioned so far for setting up individual micro-enterprises under DAY-NULM being Rs.75,000/- against the permissible limit of Rs.2.00 lakh per beneficiary and Rs.3.11 lakh as against the ceiling of Rs.10 lakhs under group enterprises.

Shri Sinha said that under Prime Ministers MUDRA Yojana, Loan Origination System has been introduced under which credit history of beneficiaries would be tracked to help them develop further by extending all necessary support. He informed that lending target under MUDRA for the current financial year has been increased by Rs.50.000 cr from the Rs.1.30 lakh cr advanced to 3.40 cr beneficiaries during the last fiscal.

The National Conference on Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-NULM is being organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to discuss ways of scaling up skills training and credit flow to self-employment programmes and Self-Help Groups.

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MNRE sets Target of Setting up One Lakh Family type Biogas Plants for FY 2016-17
Jun 27,2016

With an objective to provide clean gaseous fuel for cooking and organic bio-manure as a by-product, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has allocated to the States /UTs an annual target of setting up one lakh family size biogas plants (1 m3 to 6 m3capacity) for the current year, 2016-17.

This will result in a likely saving of about 21,90,000 LPG cooking cylinders annually, besides providing biogas plant processed bio-manure to reduce and supplement use of chemical fertilizers. There would be saving of about 10,000 tonnes of urea equivalent. The average envisaged saving of emissions through carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere would be about 4,50,000 tonnes and about 2,50,000 tonnes respectively, that would help in reducing the causes of climate change.

The MNRE is implementing a National Biogas and Manure Management Progamme (NBMMP) for setting up family type biogas plants in the country. The objective of the scheme is to provide clean gaseous fuel for cooking and organic bio-manure as a by-product in the form of biogas plant left over slurry, which contains higher values of Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N, P&K).

NBMMP also helps in mitigating drudgery of women in rural and semi-urban areas by saving in their time both in collection of firewood, making cattle dung cakes and cooking. A biogas plant will facilitate in achieving sanitary in villages by linking sanitary toilets with cattle dung based biogas plants and the slurry bio-manure can be applied for crop production in solid, liquid or dried form.

There are applications of biogas to meet n++lifeline energyn++ needs for cooking & lighting in the n++Integrated Energy Policyn++ of the Planning Commission, now National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. Otherwise also biogas is clean gaseous fuel for cooking, heating, generating electricity, and also for motive power and operating vehicles. It has the potential for leveraging livelihood development as well as tackling the issues related with health hazard associated with indoor air pollution.

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145 villages electrified last week ; 8,529 villages electrified till date under DDUGJY
Jun 27,2016

145 villages have been electrified across the country during last week (from 20 th to 26th June 2016) under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY). Out of these electrified villages, 67 villages belong to Assam, 16 in Jharkhand, 29 in Meghalaya ,8 in Rajasthan , 11 in Odisha, 3 in Madhya Pradesh , 8 in Bihar, 2 in Chhattisgarh and 1 in Uttar Pradesh.

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Indo-US Cooperation On Clean Energy Moving In Right Direction: US Embassy
Jun 27,2016

Minister Counsellor for Economic, Environment, Science and Technology Affairs, Embassy of the United States of America, Mr. George N Sibley on Friday asserted that the research and development engagements of Indo-US clean energy cooperation has been progressing objectively, making a prophesy that it might lead to invent technologies for storage facilities of solar and other clean energies.

Speaking at a Business Sustainability and Responsibility Reporting Summit 2016 under joint aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and FORE School of Management, Mr. Sibley even forecast that this exercise might also produce scholars for noble prize in case the storage solutions for clean energy are discovered.

n++The world has so far not been able to create storage facilities for energy generated both in the segments of fossil and non-fossil and, therefore, a time has come that research and development work is necessitated for creating energy store housesn++, he emphasised.

Speaking on the occasion Counsellor for Trade and Economic Affairs, Embassy of Sweden, Ms. Anna Ferry informed her country has come out with an action plan as per which its corporates are required to integrate their business processes with environment and ecology so that these are kept unspoilt from all possible sources of pollutions and degradation. The action plan makes it obligatory for the Swiss companies to apply same standards and tools including applications for production even outside their country so that the sensitivities of environment and ecology are hurt little, she added.

Convener and Chief Programme Executive (CSR), National Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility (NFCSR), Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, Ms. Gayatri Subramaniam emphasised that national voluntary guidelines pave a way for the companies to apply sustainability practices at their workplace taking care of people and plant along with profits.

Director, FORE School of Management, Dr. Jitendra Das sought the participation of all citizens of the world including those of India to resist all attempts intended or unintended so that production methodologies of any economic activity is prevented from hurting the environment.

In their remarks, President and Vice President, PHD Chamber, Dr. Mahesh Gupta and Mr. Anil Khaitan also emphasised the need to maintain an eco system that can strike is suitable balance between production processes and environment. Sr. Secretary, PHD Chamber, Dr. Jatinder Singh moderated the summit.

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UK Exit to Bring Central Banks Back in Focus for DebtFX Markets
Jun 27,2016

The formal exit of the UK from the European Union is likely to create more uncertainties rather than alleviating them in the coming months and will bring central banks back in focus, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Indian markets are unlikely to be completely insulated from the impact of this global contagion, despite the relatively resilient domestic macroeconomic conditions.

Domestically, the ensuing global volatility could put the both currency and debt markets on tenterhooks, but the markets will await clarity from global central banks as they tackle this unprecedented event. The markets are likely to be gripped with two major concerns hereon: (1) the instability that euro area will face as other nations contemplate their membership in the European Union (2) the response of global central banks especially the US Federal Reserves stance on policy rates.

The UK referendum decision is a harbinger for more volatility in the short to medium term while the modalities, process and timeline of the exit are being ironed out. Ind-Ra believes that Brexit will have a destabilising impact on the UK and euro region with increasing scope for other nations to rethink their position in the euro region.

The financial markets are likely to move back into the central banks zone as the latter steps in to stave off global deflationary pressure while boosting growth. The US Federal Reserve is likely to delay its ongoing rate normalisation. Concomitantly, the possibility of a weak domestic and global recovery, stronger dollar and slump in commodity prices may necessitate the US Fed to reassess its policy rate trajectory. The median federal open market committee expectation of federal funds rate for end-2016 suggested two rate hikes (with members seeing the rate between 0.75%-1%). An extended period of global volatility, however, is likely to keep the Fed on the side of caution and constrain the imminent rate hikes before stability is restored.

Ind-Ra believes the Reserve Bank of Indias initial line of action will be to address temporary shocks in systemic liquidity through liquidity channels rather than policy rates. The possible tools can be (1) stepping up the size of open market operations (2) reducing the daily requirement of cash reserve ratio (3) broadening the collateral base in the repo market (4) increasing the size and duration of discretionary term repos. Presently, the liquidity conditions are broadly easy with core systemic deficit hovering in the range of 0.2%-0.4% of net demand and time liabilities.

The currency market is likely to witness high volatility, keeping the rupee trading with a weak bias in the near term. In terms of negative implications, an overall environment of risk-off is unlikely to revive foreign flows to India in a hurry. In 2016, the equity segment noted a net portfolio inflow of USD2.8bn while debt outflows stood at USD1.1bn. Additionally, tail risks over FCNR B (foreign currency non-resident) deposits redemption may get pronounced on account of external volatility. On the positive side, Ind-Ra believes the US Fed will stay put with a protracted pace of hikes. This may check the deterioration in overall emerging market sentiments.

For the bond market, an interplay of three factors will be critical (1) the period of low global yields and benefit from near-term softening of commodity prices may augur well for the domestic market, keeping the head room open for the Reserve Bank of India to ease rates later in the year (2) in event of weak portfolio flows, scope for stepping up open market operation purchase will be supportive for G-sec market and (3) the high portfolio investors debt exposure at INR3.3trn presently (INR1.7trn in government securities and INR1.6trn on corporate debt front) suggest the risk of outflows cannot be undermined.

Ind-Ra continues to assert that the domestic corporate sector outlook will remain challenging over the coming two years, aggravated by this recent episode. Ind-Ra earlier has highlighted external risks could derail a fragile recovery. Bouts of global risk aversion corresponding with rupee depreciation are likely to limit the corporate sector appetite for investments, keeping the economy on an overall low equilibrium.

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More jobs & entrepreneurship opportunities needed to promote women empowerment & achieve gender parity: Study
Jun 27,2016

There is an urgent need to create more jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities to promote women empowerment thereby making them economically independent as female labour force participation (FLFP) rate in India has fallen significantly by 10 per cent during the last decade, noted a recent ASSOCHAM-Thought Arbitrage Research study.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) along with knowledge firm Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) conducted a study titled Female Labour Force Participation in India, analysing Indias performance in female labour force participation (FLFP) in comparison with the rest of the world and identifying factors that determine FLFP in India along with barriers to its growth.

Though there was a spurt in the number of working women in India during 2000-2005, increasing from 34 per cent to 37 per cent, the female labour force participation rate has reduced continuously thereafter and reached 27 per cent in 2014, particularly during the period when economy was experiencing unprecedented growth according to World Banks report on World Development Indicators.

More so given the turn in Indian economy in the 1990s, and the rates of growth that have been achieved, an obvious conclusion that is often drawn is that FLFP should be increasing - due to increase in disposal incomes, job opportunities, education and healthcare - all factors that economic growth would normally have an impact on.

There are certain primary reasons for low participation of women in the labour force like lack of access to higher education among women, dearth of opportunities to work and even lack of flexibility in working conditions tends to dissuade women from joining the labour force as they turn to their domestic duties.

Another concerning aspect is that India rates lowest in terms of FLFP with a dismal score and a huge gap between it and the next among BRICS countries - China (64 per cent), Brazil (59 per cent), Russian Federation (57 per cent), South Africa (45 per cent) and India (27 per cent).

Further, the gap between rural male and female labour force participation in India in 2011 stood at about 30 per cent while in urban centres gap was more pronounced (about 40 per cent). n++This can be attributed to social and cultural curtailment and often the lack of work opportunities.n++

It has also been highlighted that in India, marriage decreases the probability of FLFP by about eight per cent in rural areas and more than twice as much in urban areas.

As per the latest available data, the FLFP rate in India was about 36 per cent as of 2011-12, with 31 out of 35 states and union territories scoring rates below national average, while only Andhra Pradesh (erstwhile), Chhattisgarh, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh faring better in this regard.

Initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Make in India, Start-up India and others are positive steps in the direction to improve female labour force participation in India, however, more initiatives towards womens empowerment need to be taken to create an enabling environment for increasing female employment and entrepreneurship, noted the ASSOCHAM-TARI study.

The study suggested promoting skill training programmes for women, setting up child care centres in large numbers, ensuring women safety and security in every sphere through efforts by both the Central and state governments and other such measures are imperative to boost female labour force participation in India.

Considering that even a 10 per cent increase in FLFP rate can boost gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.3 per cent, according to The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), it is imperative that policy measures and programmes are introduced and implemented to increase the participation of women in the workforce in India.

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Kharif Crop sown in 124.94 lakh hectare so far
Jun 24,2016

The total sown area as on 24th June, as per reports received from States, stands at 124.94 lakh hectare as compared to 164.10 lakh hectare at this time last year.

It is reported that rice has been sown/transplanted in 19.86 lakh ha, pulses in 9.66 lakh ha, coarse cereals in 17.60 lakh ha, oilseeds in 6.97 lakh ha, sugarcane in 44.38 lakh hectare and cotton in 19.07 lakh ha.

The details of the area covered so far and that covered during this time last year are given below:


CropArea sown in 2016-17Area sown in 2015-16Rice19.8621.86Pulses9.6612.19Coarse Cereals17.6018.19Oilseeds6.9727.85Sugarcane44.3841.58Jute & Mesta7.407.56Cotton19.0734.87Total124.94164.10

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Soft Global Economy Continues To Weigh On Emerging East Asian Bond Yields
Jun 24,2016

Bond yields in most emerging East Asian markets continued to track lower from 1 March to 15 May 2016 as investors factored in forecasts of continued slow growth for the global economy, Asian Development Banks (ADB) latest Asia Bond Monitor said.

At the same time, the US Federal Reserves cautious approach to keep interest rates steady in its first three meetings in 2016 led to positive inflows in a number of emerging East Asian local currency government bond markets between January and April. Domestic equity markets and emerging East Asian currencies were mostly stronger over the review period, while credit default swap spreads fell, reflecting reduced perceptions of default risk in the region.

n++The outlook for emerging East Asian bonds remains mostly benign given still strong fundamentals and interest in the region, however, there are downside risks, including the possibility that quicker than expected US Federal Reserve interest rate hikes trigger a foreign investor pullback from the region,n++ said Shang-Jin Wei, ADBs Chief Economist. n++At the same time policies to improve the efficiency and transparency of financial markets can help economies in the region remain flexible in the face of external shocks.n++

The report notes that further stagnation in the global economy and worries about financial instability, along with emerging deflation in emerging East Asia, are other risks.

Most local currency government bond yields, including for 10-year government paper, fell. The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the Philippines were exceptions, with yields mostly up.

Local currency bond markets in emerging East Asia continued to grow, rising to over $9.6 trillion at end-March, marking a nearly 4% rise from end-December, and a more than 20% climb over the same period the year earlier. Local currency bond issuance of over $1 trillion in the first quarter was down over 2% from the previous quarter, but was still up 51% from the year earlier period.

The PRCs bond market remained emerging East Asias largest, accounting for nearly 68% of total bond stock as of end-March 2016. Local currency government bonds continued to dominate, accounting for nearly 62% of total holdings at end-March with corporate bonds less attractive due to their more illiquid nature.

Between 1 March and 15 May, equities rose in all emerging East Asian markets, except for modest declines in Indonesia and Malaysia, while currencies were broadly stronger against the US dollar, with the Republic of Korea won appreciating the most (up 5% during the review period), followed by the Malaysian ringgit, which gained over 3%.

The reports theme chapter examines the macroeconomic factors affecting sovereign bond yields in emerging Asia, highlighting the role of inflation and the different yield impacts of consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI) inflation, the importance of domestic liquidity, and the influence of the global economic environment on bond yields.

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ADB, IRRI Sign Knowledge Partnership Agreement
Jun 24,2016

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Director General Matthew Morell signed an agreement to promote food security in Asia and the Pacific by scaling up collaboration on disseminating research and other knowledge on the role of advanced agricultural technologies in providing affordable food for all.

Under the partnership agreement signed today during ADBs Food Security Forum 2016, the two institutions will undertake annual consultations to review and ensure alignment of ongoing collaborative activities, and to develop a joint work program. The 2016 program will focus on expanding the use of climate-smart agriculture and water-saving technologies to increase productivity and boost the resilience of rice cultivation systems, and to minimize the carbon footprint of rice production.

This new form of collaboration with IRRI is another step toward our shared goal of ensuring good food and nutrition for all citizens of this region, said Mr. Nakao. We look forward to further strengthening our cooperation in this area to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, as well as to combat climate change.

I am delighted to build on our partnership with ADB to add a new dimension to our long-standing collaborative work, Mr. Morell said.

IRRI looks forward to deepening our already strong partnership as we jointly develop and disseminate useful agricultural technologies throughout Asia.

ADB and IRRI have collaborated since 1975 on agricultural research to provide scientific solutions to a wide array of challenges including low crop yields, vulnerability to extreme weather, pests and disease, postharvest losses, deteriorating land and water resources, and greenhouse gas emissions.

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