Sensex closes above 45,000 level as RBI raises GDP target
Photo Credit: Reuters

India's benchmark stock index clawed back some losses to close above 45,000 points for the first time ever on Friday, as the country's central bank upgraded its GDP target for the current fiscal year and kept interest rates steady in the face of stubbornly high inflation.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said India's prospects have brightened with progress on COVID-19 vaccines, and projected real GDP for the current financial year to shrink just 7.5% from an earlier expectation of a 9.5% contraction.

The S&P BSE Sensex closed 1% higher at 45,079.55 while the NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.95% higher at a record closing high of 13,258.55. Both indexes ended over 2% higher for the week, their fifth straight week of gains.

The RBI kept the key lending rate unchanged at 4%. All 53 analysts and economists in a Reuters poll conducted in November had said they did not expect any change in rates.

The central bank has already cut its key interest rate by a total of 115 basis points this year to revive growth and cushion the impact of the pandemic.

Governor Das also announced measures to improve access to funding for stressed sectors and said the central bank would take further steps when necessary to ensure ample rupee liquidity to sustain visible growth impulses.

Including today, the benchmark indexes have hit record highs in 11 of the last 18 sessions. They added more than 11% in November on record inflows from foreign institutional investors.

The Nifty Banking index, which surged nearly 24% in November, ended up 2.05%.

UltraTech Cement closed 4% higher after touching a record high earlier in the session, a day after the cement manufacturer said it would invest 54.77 billion rupees to expand capacity.

Steel Authority of India closed 1.2% higher after reporting higher crude steel production and sales for November.

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