Sentiments in the global financial markets remained mixed even as persistent worries about a global trade war, particularly between the US and China, kept Asian markets on the edge. The Chinese index was down 1.1% in the week gone by. Even the Indian equity markets were down 0.4% after the exit of a key ally from the ruling coalition of the Modi government upped the political risk. However, market indices in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore managed to post weekly gains.

The US markets were down 1.5% in the past week despite upbeat economic data. The industrial production rose 1.1% in February, its fastest pace in four months. Even the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index jumped to a 14-year high in March. However, major personnel changes in the Trump administration upped US political worries. These included the departure of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, and the naming of Lawrence Kudlow as the director of the National Economic Council.

Back home in India, Andhra Pradesh’s Telugu Desam Party moved a no-confidence motion against the government in the Lok Sabha on Friday, after party president N Chandrababu Naidu announced the party’s exit from the National Democratic Alliance. This acted as a double whammy for the BJP that lost key by-polls in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar last week. On Friday, the BSE Sensex fell by 509 points or 1.5% to end at 33,176.

Key World Markets During the Week

On the sectoral indices front, IT and metal stocks were the major losers whereas telecom and consumer durable stocks were among the gainers during the week.

BSE Indices During the Week

Key economic and industry developments last week

Data released by the Central Statistics Office showed India’s industrial production grew at a robust pace for the third straight month, at 7.5% in January.

The factory output growth was seen on the back of a robust growth in the manufacturing sector which showed a growth of 8.7%. The index expanded in the month of January compared to a 7.1% growth in December and 8.8% in November. Meanwhile, retail inflation cooled to 4.4% in February compared to 5.07% in January.

Even the automobile sector remained upbeat as passenger vehicle sales in India continued their growth momentum last month with new models such as the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Verna and Tata Nexon pushing up volumes.

As per the data released by industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), passenger vehicle sales increased 7.77% to 2,75,329 units in February. Commercial vehicles and two-wheelers also had a strong show with sales of commercial vehicles up by 31% to 87,777 units, and those of two-wheelers up by 23.8% to 16,85,814 units.

Vehicle sales grew by 11.3% YoY during this period. The best performing of the lot were commercial vehicles (CVs), volumes of which grew by 15% YoY. Two-wheelers also did well growing by around 12% YoY.Further for the first nine months of FY18 at least, the auto industry has done well to grow in double digits after some lean years.

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