Vietnam Hikes Rates From 7% to 12%

WSJ reports that Vietnam hiked its rates today.

HANOI—Vietnam's central bank Tuesday raised two of its key policy rates on dong-denominated loans in another bid to tame inflation.

Prem Watsa's Annual Report: 25% p.a. over 25 years!

Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings has published its annual report, and it makes for great reading. (Thanks Lovesh Vashist)

They've grown their book value 25% per year, compounded, in the last 25 years, which is pretty awesome. Fairfax's stock price has compounded 21% per year. Incredible performance.

They are big on insurance, and to add an Indian connection, own 26% in ICICI Lombard.

India Composite PMI goes to 61 from 59.6 in Feb

HSBC India Composite PMI has gone to 61.0, up from January's 59.6. Services has strongly increased the PMI - the composite is a mix of the Manufacturing (last at 57.9) and services. Anything about 50 is expansion and below is contraction.


India Services PMI

HSBC India Manufacturing PMI: Up at 57.9

HSBC's India Purchase Managers' Index (PMI) is up to 57.9 from last month's 56.8. The PMI is an imageearly indicator, which quantifies the orders received by firms. India gets two PMIs - Manufacturing and Services.

SEZ Developers On The MAT

Minimum Alternate Tax (or MAT) will apply for SEZ developers as well. Not just the real estate players, even companies like Opto Circuits had gone into developing SEZs. The funda was that if you developed an SEZ, or if you were a unit in an SEZ, you paid no MAT at all, regardless of how much profit you had made. This is a useful way to move money around and make it non-taxable.

Developers in SEZs will now pay MAT as well.

Also such SEZ developers paid no dividend distribution tax (DDT); but from 1 June 2011, they will have to pay 15% DDT.

This affects way too many stocks, if you ask me. I need to find out how to make a list of them without killing myself.

Budget 2011: The Said and the Unsaid

With this budget, the FM has said a lot, but there is a lot that he has left unsaid, which are just as important. But let me cut the bullshit and get to the point: what does this mean for you?

PI Inflation up at 15.77% for Feb 12, 2011

Primary Articles Inflation on 12-Feb 2011 has bumped itself up to 15.77%, according to the latest data.

Primary Articles Inflation Chart

Brent Crude at $120

To continue the oil story: Brent Crude is now at $120.

Brent crude on Thursday spiked nearly USD 7 in the 90 minutes to 0800 GMT. It rallied as much as USD 8.54 a barrel to a peak of USD 119.79, trimming gains to trade up USD 6.00 at USD 117.25 by 0902 GMT. The contract has risen nearly 14% in four days.

Rs. 150 Coins Will Be Here

Inflation is really really getting to us. The government will issue coins of Rs. 150, it seems.

For the first time in the country's minting history, government will issue coins of Rs 150, marking the number of years of taxation in India.

The special coins, to be released by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee before his Budget speech, will also be brought out in Rs 5 denomination on the occasion of completion of 150 years, from 1860 to 2010, of the Income Tax department.

This is the first time that coins of Rs 150 denomination are being minted by the government. The Department of Economic Affairs under the Finance Ministry recently notified the order.

The Rs 150 coin, made of an alloy of Silver, Copper, Nickel and Zinc, will have an international design with ''Satyameva Jayate'' and ''India'' on the front side while a portrait of ''Chanakya and lotus with honeybee'' on the reverse side.

I imagine the honeybee is to indicate how much it hurts to have to pay Rs. 150 with coins.

(I'm just kidding.There are just 200 such coins, no big deal!)

Crude up 9% on the Libyan Unrest

Crude oil is up more than 7 dollars at 94 dollars, a rise of 9%, which is HUGE. Libya is seeing huge unrest after Egypt's revolution, and the Great Gaddafi is likely in some trouble after about 40 years at the helm. Bahrain, too, is seeing serious protests, and oil supply is under some threat, it seems. Or at least, the markets think so.

Brent Crude, more relevant to India, is at $104+.