In the private sector, Ultratech
Cement is negotiating bank finance for the acquisition of Brazilian assets of
Holcim, which have to be disposed of to meet regulatory requirements for its
merger with Lafarge. Kotak Mahindra Bank has received RBI approval to set up a
general insurance subsidiary; the insurance regulator has already assented. ONGC
Videsh is to acquire interests in two Russian oilfields: Vankor, with estimated
reserves of 500MT and Yurubcheno/Tokhomskoya with more than 990MT of reserves.
The balance of payments looks
sound for now, foreign reserves are strong and the RBI seems to be
well-positioned to protect India from the effects of external shocks.
Meanwhile, market momentum may be slow through year-end as monetary easing, the
big trigger for the next upward move in equities looks set for early in the New
Year. The smart money may be in place already.