rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Business » FMCG, mobike sectors may feel monsoon heat

FMCG, mobike sectors may feel monsoon heat

April 25, 2003 12:57 IST

The blows are landing on the markets' solar plexus from all corners. The first one thudded in when Infosys Technologies and Mastek 'guided' investors to lower their expectations for the next year.

Then came the Wipro data and then Hindustan Lever reported anaemic growth in sales.

Elsewhere, inflation has shot the bolt past 6 per cent for the first time in four years, even as the 10-year bond yield has fallen to 5.8 per cent.

The truckers' strike has upset delivery schedules in the auto, cement, fertilisers industries and caused distribution delays and de-stocking of inventory at the dealer level.

And above all, the Indian Meteorological Department's initial assessment of the monsoon, nearly a month ahead of schedule, is that this year's precipitation is likely to be on the "lower side of normal".

To top it all, analysts at Citigroup Global Markets have forecast a mixed outlook for the Indian markets based on this year's monsoon expectations.

Last year's drought was offset by the new growth drivers in the infrastructure and retail credit sectors. But a second consecutive weak monsoon will hurt sentiment and affect growth, Citigroup's analysts said.

The Citigroup in-house meteorologists, Jon Davis and Mark Russo, in a special weather report "Summer Outlook 2003" have discussed and analysed prospects for temperatures and rainfall for the coming months.

The three variables that they believe are important are the recent decline in sunspot activity, the change in sea-surface temperatures, and the relationship between the winter and summer weather.

The impact on agriculture and implications of another bad monsoon for India are many more. Agriculture production during the summer growing season depends on a combination of rainfall and temperatures. Arguably, the most critical factor, however, is the timing in which these events play themselves out.

Indian crop production is solely dependent on rainfall during the monsoon season- June through September.

Despite the fact that El Nino will not be a factor this season, there are other factors/indicators that warrant watching. The trend of monsoon precipitation across all of India since the late 1990s has been in a declining mode.

While this does not mean that the upcoming monsoon season will be another poor one,  the fact remains that monsoons throughout the past century have tended to be weak when there was an El Nino effect, but active in a La Nina phase.

While the latter event is not expected during the next six months, certainly an active monsoon this season does not look apparent.

Some of the long-term global circulation models are indicating a dry bias across much of India during June through September.

For what it is worth, these projections are indicating a dry bias last monsoon season too. Rather, the fact that the guidance is indicating the dryness simply raises the probability of a dry bias this season.

Citigroup strategist, Ratnesh Kumar says in a research report that while the ups and downs in the agriculture sector may have less significance for the economy as a whole, they still matter for a few listed sectors, primarily the consumer non-durables , motorcycles and tractors industries.

The reason is that urban consumers have an increasing share in the sales of consumer non-durables and motorcycles, sales in these sectors are still closely linked to the trends in rural income growth and disposable incomes.

The analysts have a 5.7 per cent gross domestic product estimate for the year. However, if the monsoon is weak, overall GDP growth is likely to be lowered from 5.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent. In addition, there could be a temporary rise in inflation in primary products.

BS Research Bureau