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Thursday, March 26, 2009

If we are seeing disinflation rather than deflation, what does that mean?

Disinflation is a drop in the rate at which prices rise, and does not actually mean a price fall -- at least, on a sustained basis across-the-board. For example, the WPI rate was 0.44 per cent in the week to March 7, which means prices actually rose by a tiny percentage. We call that disinflation because the WPI has been falling almost continuously since August, 2008, when the rate nearly touched 13 per cent.
In the coming weeks, if the WPI goes into negative territory, and prices actually start falling, it would still be called disinflation -- as long as the fall does not continue indefinitely. On the other hand, the US, Western Europe and Japan are closer to deflation, as their inflation rates are down and economies are actually contracting .It is to counter the threat of deflation that their governments are shovelling trillions of dollars into the credit markets, into failing banks and industries like autos.
So what will tell us if we are really into a deflationary scenario? Experts says the first signal would be a contraction in GDP. "A contraction in output (GDP) is when there will be a worry on deflation. This is happening in the US, where prices are declining and output is contracting. GDP is not contracting in India; there is only a slower rate of growth."
This, however, does not mean we have no cause for worry, or that deflation will never happen. Experts belive "More than cutting rates, ensuring the flow of credit is important. If credit does not flow then any amount of interest rate cuts will not help. We have room for cuts, but cuts should be only a part of the plan. The main objective should be credit flow, which is not happening now."

It's disinflation, not deflation, we're facing now

Today inflation number came at -- a drop to 0.27 per cent in the wholesale prices index (WPI) -- brought more worries than cheers. That's because deflation -- a situation where prices, jobs and incomes keep falling on a sustained basis, and the economy keeps contracting -- has become a new cause for worry. Is India on the way of a debilitating deflation?
INDIA is not going through deflation, just disinflation. What we have now is inflation coming down. It is coming off a high commodity price base. Deflation is when prices fall very rapidly and we haven't seen that happening. In a deflation, people stop spending because they believe that prices will fall further. That is not the situation we are in.
Though WPI for all commodities is up 0.1% at 227 (WoW) in the week ended March 14, from 226.7 in the , CPI is still hovers around 9-10 per cent levels from the double digits of 10.75 per cent. The world over, inflation is measured in CPI, not WPI. The fact that CPI is up means that the price level is still very high. The prices of food, primary articles and housing have still not fallen much. So rather than talking about deflation, policy measures should concentrate on how to bring the CPI down.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

THE RELIANCE RPL MERGER IN RATIO OF 16:1

The big piece of news from India’s corporate world this past weekend has been the merger of two companies under the Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Group. The news broke & developed over and was a done deal by the time the weekend was over. In every sense the affair has been handled in true Reliance style – quickly, efficiently and without making too much of a fuss. The integration of Reliance Petroleum Limited into Reliance Industries is being handled with a lot of care. Considering the ease with which Reliance has started to pull this off has been commendable.
The company has been careful enough to make sure that they do not get into the bad books of their shareholders.Tackling integration requires managing the priorities of both the companies being integrated. In this case the interests of the shareholders of both Reliance Industries and Reliance Petroleum have been safeguarded.
Mukesh Ambani in a statement was quick to point out that the deal would create “shareholder value”.
Shareholders themselves are pretty satisfied with the merger of Reliance Industries and Reliance Petroleum. They get to be part of a bigger entity with a much more simplified company structure.
Reliance Petroleum being the refining arm of Reliance Industries no longer needs to be kept separate from the company’s core business of oil and gas exploration and marketing.
By integrating the refinery business into the main fold they will be able to function as before with the petroleum wing being an internal subsidiary.
All that Reliance had to do was to simply re-purchase a 5% stake in Reliance Petroleum which until now belonged to Chevron. This being successful allows the company to increase its stake to seventy five percent in RPL thus making the merger a matter of detail.
RIL has agreed upon a price of Rs.60/share to buy Chevron’s stake in RPL. By no means has the company overpaid. In fact they’ve paid the IPO launch price for the stake. Shareholders can therefore be satisfied that the company has not overspent.
Reliance has also been fair with the share distribution ratio for RPL shareholders.The company has decided to fix the ratio of RPL to RIL shares at 16:1.
The ratio is a fair reflection of the current market value of both the companies.Therefore the shareholders have not been crossed in this matter as well.Small investors and fund managers alike agree on the ratio being a good deal thus the merger should not face any serious problems in the future.
RPL has just recently started commercial production. From a financial point of view it does depend on its parent company RIL for funds and easy credit access. The channel for credit being much simpler now that both companies come under the same name is a good move.
The RIL-RPL combine also catapults RIL higher into the list of the world’s biggest refining companies.Ironically RIL now replaces and gets ahead of Chevron which decided to exit its stake in RPL
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