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Economic impact of blasts to be limited: JPMorgan Chase

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July 12, 2006

According to JPMorgan Chase, the broad economic impact of the last evening's blasts will be limited. However, it believes that the markets will be under pressure today. The group's Rajiv Malik says that the blasts at best will have a near term impact. But it won't have much of an impact in the medium to long term.

He expects the rupee to be under pressure. But he says that if the slip up is too much, the RBI will always step in. He feels that bond will also be weak due to blasts and yesterday's auction.

Excerpts from CNBC-TV18's exclusive interview with Rajiv Malik:

What do you think will be the impact business wise and money market wise?

The biggest issue is the tragic loss of human life. If one looks at previous episodes of similar attacks in India, the broad economic impact has generally not been that substantial. At least today the financial market impact needs to be much more focused on the near term. So equity prices and INR will certainly come under pressure.

But probably, the pressure is not going to be very much. We expect the RBI to come in, if INR does show substantial moves. But my sense is that INR, atleast, in terms of fundamental views is still poised to weaken further. Equity prices obviously will slip at opening.

What is your sense of what it may do to sentiment particularly in a scenario, where people have been generally a bit shy of putting fresh money into emerging markets? Do you think on the margin it may dampen sentiment or do you think investors have learnt to take these things in their strides in India?

As far as India is concerned, this particular incident is a local issue. Any seasoned investor in India would have come across similar issues in the past. Do not forget that just in October in last year, we had attacks in New Delhi where about 60 odd people had died. But that did not really do much to the then bullish outlook as far as equity markets are concerned.

There is slight improvement as far as sentiments towards emerging markets go. But it would be difficult to say that given the still somewhat uncertain outlook for the US rates that we are totally out of the woods. I still think this particular ratio is going to be much more of an India story.

At the margin, for anyone, who has been not familiar with India could act as a dampener. But these attacks do not do anything to the medium or long-term story. So in that sense the reaction is going to be pretty much very near term.

What are the levels that you would be watching on the rupee this morning?

Rupee has been fairly stable in recent days. It has been hovering around the 46 mark and the typical intra-day volatility has been around 10 paise. We see it slipping maybe 20-30. Then the RBI could come in and try and tone it down. But don't forget that RBI's main concern here would be not necessarily to allow movements on the rupee that actually feed on themselves and create a bigger issue.

So in that sense from a fundamental standpoint, these attack don't really change the fundamental view on the Indian economy. We see the markets slipping but the RBI can always step in and make sure that the slip up is not excessive.

What sort of impact are you expecting for the bond markets this morning?

To begin with yesterday's auction is only going to reinforce the fairly bearish sentiment that bond investors have almost come to live with. There is some element of flight to safety in government bonds, but I still think the broad trend for bonds remains towards weakening especially after yesterday's bad auction.

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