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The benchmark stock indices opened the day on a

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10:00 AM

Indian shares rise ahead of central bank address

Investors turn their attention towards the RBI.

Reuters reports: “Indian shares opened higher on Wednesday, led by heavyweight financials, as market participants waited for an unscheduled address by the central bank governor where more pandemic relief measures are expected to be announced.

Local media, citing sources, has reported that banks have requested the central bank to allow another moratorium on loan repayments, or a relaxation in the recognition and provisioning for bad loans, to protect lenders and creditors during the ferocious second wave of coronavirus infections in the country.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das will give an address at 0430 GMT, the central bank said on its Twitter account, without providing any further details.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.43% to 14,558 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.42% to 48,453.87 by 0351 GMT.

Both indexes had closed at their lowest level in more than a week on Tuesday, as domestic coronavirus cases surged past the grim milestone of 20 million.

Many states have imposed curfews and lockdowns, while the country’s main opposition political party has called for a national lockdown.

In Mumbai trading, the Nifty Bank Index rose 0.45%, while the Nifty PSU Bank Index gained 0.82%.

HDFC Bank Ltd rose 0.6% and was the top boost to the Nifty 50.

Broader Asian shares were flat, following an overnight sell-off in technology stocks on Wall Street, while talk of rising U.S. interest rates also dented sentiment.”

9:30 AM

MFIs flag rural borrower distress to RBI

The pandemic’s second wave is affecting rural households far more than last year, with a large number of microfinance staffers, borrowers and their families hit by COVID-19, impacting many more livelihoods than during the first wave.

The trend, which poses a higher risk of loan delinquencies if the rising infections don’t taper off by the end of May along with mobility restrictions, was flagged by microfinance institutions (MFIs) to the Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday, according to two industry representatives who attended the meeting.

Urging the central bank to grant forbearance for borrowers unable to pay instalments with some flexibility for the MFIs to restructure affected loans, industry representatives observed that while collections had been normal till early April — in the wake of the gradual recovery — they had slowed down since then.


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