Asian share markets are lower today as Japanese and Hong Kong shares fall. The Nikkei 225 is off 0.5% while the Hang Seng is down 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite is trading down by 0.5%. US stocks rose sharply on Thursday after President Donald Trump clarified his position on a possible missile attack in Syria, while bank shares popped ahead of earnings.
Back home, India share markets opened the day on a firm note. The BSE Sensex is trading higher by 121 points while the NSE Nifty is trading higher by 36 points. The BSE Mid Cap index and BSE Small Cap index both opened the day up by 0.3%.
In the news from the economy. As per the data released on Thursday, retail inflation cooled to a five-month low of 4.28% in March following a decline in food prices including vegetables. The inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 4.44% in February.
The inflation remained above the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target, supporting views that monetary policy is likely to remain unchanged at the next review in early June.
The RBI, which has kept rates steady since a cut of 25 basis points in August, is widely expected to maintain rates at their current level in the next review due on 6 June.
Last week, the central bank lowered its April-September retail inflation projection to 4.7% to 5.1%, from a previous range of 5.1% to 5.6% released in February.
Notably, the retail inflation rate has been moderating since it hit a 17-month high of 5.2% in December. It had crossed the 12% mark in 2013 but has remained under control since, thanks to lower crude oil prices, tighter monetary policy and fiscal measures.
RBI Governor Urjit Patel said last week there were still uncertainties, such as a proposed hike in the minimum purchase prices of foodgrains, fiscal slippage worries and volatility in global crude prices.