India hikes import tariffs on US goods

 

In retaliatory strikes on the Donald Trump administration last week, India hiked import tariffs on over two dozen US goods.

The decision to hike duties on US goods comes after the Trump administration’s decision to unilaterally raise import levies on certain steel and aluminium products earlier this year, which had a tariff implication of ₹241 million on India. India’s latest measures will have an equal impact on the US.

Normally, any change to indirect taxes such as import duty comes into effect from the date of the notification. However, in this case, it will apply from August 4.

The notification includes 29 products: walnuts, almonds, pulses, apples and non-iron.

Shelled almonds imported from the US will now attract duty at ₹120/kg as against ₹100/kg earlier. Almonds in shell will attract duty at ₹42 per kg (up from ₹35/kg). The levy on walnuts in shell will be 120 per cent against 30 per cent earlier; apples will attract 75 per cent duty, up from 50 per cent.

Among pulses, the duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal has been raised to 70 per cent from 30 per cent, while that on lentils has been hiked to 40 per cent from 30 per cent.

Duty on flat-rolled iron products has been raised to 27.50 per cent from 15 per cent, while certain flat-rolled stainless steel products will now attract 22.50 per cent duty against 15 per cent earlier. Duty on artemia, a kind of shrimp, has been raised to 30 per cent.

MCX starts options trading on zinc futures

 

 

Multi Commodity Exchange of India commenced trading in zinc options contract last week with zinc (5 million tonnes) futures as the underlying.

Currently, the options contracts expiring in July, August and September of the current year have been offered for trading. Each expiry shall have a minimum of 15 strikes available for call and put options (seven each for in-the-money, seven out-of-the-money and one at-the-money).

The zinc options contract will offer its stakeholders the flexibility to hedge and manage their price exposures in a transparent and regulated trading environment, said the exchange in a press release.

Zinc, a non-ferrous base metal, has seen a surge in demand from the galvanising industry over the last few years. However, with prices turning volatile, zinc consumers and producers were facing challenges.

Pause in monsoon slows kharif sowing

 

A week-long break in the South West Monsoon, after an early start, has slowed the progress of kharif sowing. Except for maize, ragi and sugarcane, the acreages of most kharif crops, so far, are trailing last year's levels shows data as of June 22 from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Also, as the monsoon, which has covered the Deccan, North East and parts of East India is yet to advance in most parts of Central India and Gujarat, the sowing of key crops such as oilseeds — soyabean and groundnut, pulses and cotton is yet to take off.

Soybean planting typically starts from the second half of June and gets completed early July. So far, soybean has been planted in about 2.1 lakh ha (lha) as compared to 5.14 lha in the same time last year.

As per IMD data, 14 of the 36 meteorological sub-divisions, accounting for 42 per cent of the country's geographical area, have received deficit rains in the season. Cumulative rainfall has been normal so far in 11 sub divisions accounting for 35 per cent of the area, and excess in 11 sub-divisions covering 23 per cent.

Paddy transplantation which picked in the second week of June has slowed down in the week ending June 22.

Area under pulses is also down compared to last year.

Cotton acreages, which saw a pick up last week, were been trailing last year’s levels as of June 22.

Sugarcane area has been higher as farmers have planted more cane in UP, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

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