The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to end the year on a quite note. After announcing a series of rate cuts and reforms pertaining to the banking sector since the start of the year, the central bank decided to stay put with no changes in rates or projections in its meeting on Tuesday.

RBI, which has cut rates on four occasions by 125 basis points, focused more on policy transmission than guidance. While it maintained its accommodative stance, it pegged future policy cuts on the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations and inflation.

With the rate cutting exercise on hold, RBI is expected to adopt a 

wait-and-watch approach towards a possible rate hike by Federal Reserve and the fiscal deficit targets for the government which may be under pressure given the One Rank One Pension scheme and Seventh Pay Commission recommendations. The bank may not cut rates till the budget session.

Meanwhile, the data for factory activity released on Tuesday were a disappointment after the GDP figures released on Monday showed economy accelerating by 7.4 per cent in the second quarter, buoyed by the manufacturing sector and core sector data maintaining a similar rate of growth last month. But Nikkei PMI figures for November showed factory activity inching closer to contraction coming at a 25-month low.

While there was no big development on the market front on Tuesday, capital markets regulator SEBI late last night announced new listing norms for stock exchanges. The norms aim at putting in palace procedures with respect to shareholding norms, fit and proper criteria and other issues of conflict of interest.   

“The exchanges would need to take steps for maintaining of 51 percentage of shareholding of public category and ensuring that holding of trading members, associates or agents does not exceed 49 per cent,” SEBI said.

RBI also released guidelines on Monday easing borrowing rules for local firms, allowing Indian companies to borrow from sovereign wealth funds and foreign insurers.

The guidelines laid down by the central bank also allowed for raising the limit for small value of external commercial borrowing with minimum average maturity of three years to $50 million from the existing $20 million.

This is expected to open up other avenues for Indian firms to raise capital. Data released by RBI for October had shown that Indian firms had raised $2.1 billion through ECB.

The decision by the central bank comes after the government had earlier this month opened up FDI in a lot of sectors to enhance inflow of foreign capital into the country.

Tuesday was uneventful for the markets too. The BSE Sensex traded in a narrow band, ending at 26,169.41, just a couple of points higher than the previous day’s close. With major data releases for the week out of the way, all eyes will be on the government which will push the GST bill through the upper house. 

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