Domestic stock markets are likely to start Thursday’s session on a flat note, a day after official data showing higher-than-expected consumer inflation dashed hopes of further monetary easing for the time being. The Singapore Exchange (SGX) Nifty futures – an early indicator of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty index in India – declined as much as 12.5 points to 12,216.50 ahead of the opening of Indian markets. At 8:18 am, the SGX Nifty futures were down 8.00 points – or 0.07 per cent – at 12,221.00.
Equities in other Asian markets wobbled on as the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths in the outbreak’s epicentre increased. China’s Hubei province, where the virus is believed to have originated, reported 242 new deaths, double the previous day’s toll, and confirmed 14,840 new cases on February 12.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was steady in morning trade but the news knocked the week’s momentum from stock markets. Japan’s Nikkei 225 benchmark index was flat.
Government data released after market hours on Wednesday showed annual retail inflation – or the rate of increase in consumer prices – in India accelerated to to 7.59 per cent in January, its highest level recorded in nearly six years.
Economists said the rising inflation could prompt the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to leave interest rates unchanged in coming months as it tries to support the faltering economy.
Separate official data on the same day showed industrial output contracted 0.3 per cent unexpectedly in December, after rising for the first time in three months in November. That highlighted that the economy, which is staring at its worst pace of annual expansion since the 2008-09 global financial crisis – remains troubled.
Earlier on Wednesday, the S&P BSE Sensex index had climbed up 349.76 points – or 0.85 per cent – to end at 41,565.90, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark settled at 12,201.20, up 93.30 points – or 0.77 per cent – from the previous close, both the highest closing levels recorded since January 24.