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Plan for gold spot exchange picks up pace; govt approval awaited

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Gold


A panel led by the head of the Indian arm of the World Gold Council (WGC) and industry stakeholders, including 12 domestic banks, eight foreign institutions and trade bodies, have proposed a spot exchange for gold.


The WGC, market development body for the gold industry, had earlier volunteered to play a role. When the government approves the proposal, it will invite all stakeholders. The report on the issue is now with the Union ministry of finance.



The exchange is envisaged as connecting all stakeholders — jewellers, bullion dealers, gold refineries and consumers.


The Union government had already decided to set up a precious metals board of India, as a regulating agency. This is yet to be formalised. Once done, the board would decide on a framework for a spot exchange and stakeholders invited to hold equity. Somasundaram P R, managing director for India at the WGC, who chaired the panel on the subject, said: “Establishing a spot exchange will set the stage for an efficient, transparent and trusted trading eco-system. India is well poised to enable a positive structural shift in trading and become a global gold trading hub.”


According to the report, banks need to be able to buy and sell gold on the exchange, to build and maintain liquidity, and trade derivatives to hedge their pricing risk. It is also proposed that banks act as clearing entities, apart from market making. All these require amendments in the Banking Regulation Act. At present, banks can only sell gold; they can’t buy back.


Banks will also have to push the development of physical delivery and retail buy-ins. Delivery centres have to be established in all cities. Regulations for all participants in the value chain, including vaults, will be necessary.


The report says quality control needs to be maintained by mandating Good Delivery Standards. And, the government needs to devise incentives to ensure the exchange proves attractive to participants.


Once the spot exchange starts functioning, the panel has also proposed the government allow deferred contracts on it.

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Sitharaman’s sops for NBFCs may perk up lending, ease liquidity stress

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Illustration by Binay Sinha


To further ease the liquidity stress in the non-banking sector and nudge them to revive their lending activities, Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced a slew of measures for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies (HFCs). The government hopes this will result in more credit support for purchase of houses, vehicles, and consumption goods.


The government has provided additional support of Rs 20,000 crore to the stressed housing finance companies from National Housing Bank (NHB). With this, the additional liquidity support for the HFCs from NHB has gone up to Rs 30,000 crore.



In the Union Budget last month, the FM had encouraged public sector banks (PSBs) to buy high-quality pooled assets of NBFCs up to Rs 1 trillion for which the government would provide a one-time six-month partial credit guarantee for the first loss of up to 10 per cent.


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had also chipped in by tweaking banks’ bond-holding norms. This will allow banks to borrow an additional Rs 1.34 trillion exclusively for buying such pooled assets and giving loans to NBFCs. The FM on Friday said this partial credit guarantee scheme will be monitored at the highest level in each bank. Through this, it is expected that many of the assets will get quickly pooled and NBFCs will receive the necessary liquidity. “NHB has already settled some of the issues. NBFCs are receiving money from the banks and are moving towards funding,” said Sitharaman.


Sanjaya Gupta, managing director, PNB Housing Finance, said “This will support growth and ease the liquidity crunch. HFCs will now get an additional Rs 20,000 crore from NHB. The initiatives have potential to kick start the real estate sector.”


The government has also permitted NBFCs to use Aadhaar-authenticated bank KYC to avoid repeating the same process when a customer approaches it for credit. This has been a long-standing demand. The necessary changes in the Aadhaar regulations and Prevention of Money Laundering Act rules will be made, the FM said.


“This will streamline the process and also reduce frauds,” said Raman Aggarwal, chairman, Finance Industry Development Council.


The government has also asked PSBs and NBFCs to fast-track their collaboration to provide credit to micro, small and medium enterprises, small traders, self-help groups, and micro finance industry client borrowers.

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Market Updates

PACL Case: Sebi panel invites expression of interest for 28,974 properties

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Sebi


A committee headed by Justice R M Lodha has invited expression of interest (EoI) from prospective buyers for a total of 28,974 properties belonging to PACL Group.


Market regulator Sebi had set up a committee headed by former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha following a Supreme Court order to refund money to investors in the matter of PACL Group.



As per the notice issued by Sebi, the committee has divided the total 28,974 properties belonging to PACL group in four zones — east, west, north and south — with maximum properties being located in the southern zone.


Regarding PACL properties, the apex court’s order dated July 30 observed “we also leave it open to the committee to receive any further offers and to explore them after duly publishing a further notice on the website,” the notice said.


In pursuance of apex court’s order, the committee “invites Expression of Interest from prospective buyers clearly indicating therein, list of properties in each zone, its circle rate, the offer amount and other relevant details,” the Friday notice said.


“The proposal should be for properties in each zone aggregating in value not less than Rs 1,000 crore,” the notice added.


The notice further said that the last date of receipt of proposals is September 9.


PACL, also known as Pearl Group, had raised Rs 60,000 crore from public in the name of agriculture and real estate businesses and was found by Sebi to have collected these funds through illegal collective investment schemes over 18 years.

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Improved market access for domestic retail investors with Aadhaar-based kYC

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Markets, Investors, Indices, Stocks


The government will allow Aadhaar-based KYC for domestic retail investors, and necessary amendments to the rules under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act will be issued.


Announcing a slew of measures to boost the economy, the government said the Depository Receipt Scheme 2014 is expected to be operationalised soon by Sebi. “This will give Indian companies increased access to foreign funds through American Depository Receipt (ADR)/ Global Depository Receipt (GDR),” she said.



In order to improve market access for the domestic retail investors, Aadhaar-based KYC will be permitted for opening of demat account and making investment in mutual funds. In this regard, necessary notification for amendments in PMLA rules would be issued.

Besides, steps would be taken with regard to offshore rupee market.


“To bring offshore rupee market to domestic stock exchanges and permit trading of USD-INR derivatives in GIFT IFSC, Ministry of Finance is working with RBI to introduce this measure shortly,” the government said.

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