kochi l saturday l october 01, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 16 l late city EDITION Natural gas prices at record levels after steep 40% hike This is the third increase in rates since April 2019 and comes on the back of firming up of benchmark international prices $8.57 PER MBTU FOR LOCALLY PRODUCED GAS CNG, png RATES TO INCREASE IN TANDEM The rate paid for gas produced from old fields was hiked to $8.57 per million British thermal units (mBtu) from the current $6.1, according to an order from the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. Simultaneously, the price of gas from newer and difficult fields such as Reliance-BP’s D6 block in KG basin, was hiked to $12.6 per mBtu ■ ■ Increase in natural gas prices will likely reflect in higher rates for CNG and piped natural gas as natural gas is used to generate electricity, make fertiliser and is converted into CNG The Centre sets gas price twice a year (in April and October) based on rates in gas surplus nations such as the US, Canada and Russia 70% iNCREASE IN THE PRICES OF CNG & piped natural gas IN THE PAST ONE YEAR CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI EMIs to go further up as RBI steps up inflation fight D i pa k M o nda l @ New Delhi HOME loan EMIs are set to rise as the Reserve Bank of India has increased the repo rate, at which it lends to commercial banks, by 50 basis points (0.5%) on Friday . With this, the floating home loan rates, which are linked to repo rates, will immediately rise by 50 bps. Since May this year, RBI has raised the repo rate by 190 bps to 5.9% resulting in home loan rates shooting up from 6.65% to 8.55% in five months. A 50-basis point increase in home loan rates would cost `1,600 more in EMI for a `50-lakh loan with a 20- FOURTH HIKE IN A ROW 190 basis points The 50-basis point increase in the repo rate is the fourth consecutive one since May According to the RBI policy statement, inflation is likely to be above the upper tolerance level of 6% through the first three quarters of 2022-23, with core inflation remaining high. “We believe that a 35 bps rate hike in December looks imminent,” said Soumyakanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser, State Bank of India. Another 35-50 basis point increase may take the home loan rates to 9% or more. Such high levels were last seen in 2018. Friday’s rate hike may, however, bring some joy for depositors as FD rates are languishing RBI has increased the policy repo rate by 1.9% since May to quell inflationary pressure Current repo rate at 5.9% is the highest level since April 2019 BLEAK OUTLOOK Growth: Real GDP growth estimate for FY23 down to 7% from 7.2% year tenure, or `300 more on a `1 lakh loan amount. What is more worrying for borrowers is that RBI is not done with rate hikes. Since the central Inflation: Expected to remain stubborn as RBI has retained FY23 inflation projection at 6.7% bank has not changed its inflation estimate for the full year at 6.7%, most analysts expect another 35-50 bps hike in rates in December 2022. Kharge in, set to win with backing of Cong big guns Ukraine Internal Congress elections took a dramatic turn on Friday with its veteran Dalit face Mallikarjun Kharge entering the race for the party’s president on the last day of filing of nomination papers. He is 80 and has the support of top party stalwarts and the backing of the Gandhi family, making his victory in the October 17 election a foregone conclusion. Senior rebel leaders, known as the G-23, deserted Kharge’s rival candidate Shashi Tharoor, who was till recently part of their group. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Anand Sharma, Prithviraj Chavan and Manish Tiwari were among the G-23 leaders who signed Kharge’s nomination form. They were also present at the Congress headquarters in his support when he arrived to file his nomination papers. After filing his nomination papers, Kharge told reporters, “I thank senior leaders from all states for supporting me in the Congress presidential election…I am fighting for a big change in the party.” This newspaper was the first to reveal that the Congress will elect a non-Gandhi as party president. The nominations for the polls closed on Friday and members of the Gandhi family stayed away from the process. For mer Madhya Mallikarjun Kharge Shashi Tharoor ‘Status quo vs change’ In a message to party voters, Shashi Tharoor said, “go with Kharge if you want status quo, if you want change, come with me.” He called Kharge as the candidate of continuity Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh backed out after Kharge’s name was announced and it became clear that the latter had the party leadership’s support. Digvijaya signed Kharge’s nomination and accompanied him to the AICC office. Sources said Kharge will soon resign from the post of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha in keeping with the party’s rule of one-personone-post. The party leadership had earlier asked Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot to fight the election but he declined after his loyalist MLAs refused to authorise party president Sonia Gandhi to choose his successor as CM. Sonia will now decide whether or not he would continue as CM after his failure to control the revolt against central leadership. Tharoor gets ‘surprise’ support from home state C y n t h i a C h a nd r a n @ T’Puram Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has cleared the first hurdle in the Congress presidential campaign by getting nearly 15 party leaders from Kerala propose his name in the nomination papers. However, this has left many in the state leadership red-faced. Tharoor is elated over the development and is confident of garnering more support in the secret ballot to be held on October 17. A week ago, the majority of state Congress leaders were under the impression that Tharoor would not succeed in getting even a single supporter from the 319 KPCC members. Tharoor personally spoke to them which saw two MPs M K Raghavan and Hibi Eden, senior ‘A’ group leader from Thiruvananthapuram Thampanoor Ravi, Kozhikode-based ‘ ’ group A leaders K C Abu, K M Ummar, Nanu Master, Ratnavalli Teacher and Balakrishnan Kidavu, ● More on P5 endorsing him. Luhansk Donetsk @ Kochi Kherson Black Sea Crimea Annexed in 2014 Grabbed on Friday russia Putin Land Grab 2.0 Russian President Valdimir Putin announces seizure of four areas of Ukraine — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — after sham referendum, grabbing about 15% of its territory; signs treaties. Annexation of Crimea in 2014 was the first land grab Indicates they are now under Russia’s nuclear umbrella, asks Ukraine to hold talks, warns against attacks Sees Western sabotage in leaks from Nord Stream gas pipelines Formal process to integrate them includes approvals by Constitutional Court, State Duma and Federation Council before Putin signs the documents. Expected to be wrapped up by October 4 Putin perhaps hopes his nuclear threat will persuade the West to pressure Ukraine to back off and sign peace treaty But Western govts reject annexation, increase sanctions. Ukraine submits accelerated application to join NATO car v i n g a sa f e n i c h e New system in place to protect birds nesting in roadside trees vey. Those trees were marked with paint and ribbons. They should not be IN RESPONSE to the widespread out- felled,” Deputy Forest Conservator rage over the killing of 50 birds after a (Malappuram division) Saji Kumar tree along the national highway was told TNIE. “We’ve created two Whatfelled callously in MalapsApp groups. Local resipuram, the social forestdents and SFD officials ry department (SFD) will be the members in has put a system in the first while NHAI ofplace. ficials, its contractors As part of it, the deand SFD officers will be partment did a survey the members in the and identified five trees second. on the NH 66 stretch “If the birds in the from Ramanattukara to trees face any threat, loPonnani in which procal residents will alert tected birds like cormous via the WhatsApp rants and egrets are livgroup and we’ll take reing. The protection of quired measures. The the trees will be ensured NHAI officials and the t h r o u g h W h a t s Ap p contractors have been groups. asked to post pictures of Birds flying away when a tree in “Earlier, the tree com- Malappuram district was axed for the trees before felling mittees had given per- road development | file photo them for road developmission to the NH aument. They should not thorities to fell these cut the trees in which trees for road development. But some birds are living,” said the official. protected birds have started living in The SFD has not decided yet to imthese trees. We identified five such plement the new system across the ● More on P4 trees on the NH stretch during the sur- state. V i s h n u p r a s a d K P @Malappuram pride of kerala President Droupadi Murmu presents the Best Female Playback Singer Award to tribal folk singer Nanchamma during the 68th National Film Awards presentation ceremony at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Friday. The audience gave Nanchamma a standing ovation as she came to receive the award | PTI EXPRESS READ Muslim League divided over PFI ban Kozhikode: Different voices have started emerging from the IUML over the Centre’s ban on Popular Front of India (PFI). Party state general secretary P M A Salam told a news conference in Kozhikode that Muslim League has every reason to suspect the ban was unilateral. P4 CPI meet begins, age cap bone of contention T’Puram: As the CPI’s state meet began in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday, the prominent factions seem to have come to a temporary ceasefire though age cap remains a bone of contention. K E Ismail and C Div-akaran drew flak at the executive meet ahead of the state conference. P4 16 pages, including 4 pages of KOCHI Express Sundays meant for faithful, not schools, bishops’ council tells govt E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Zaporizhzhia Senior rebel leaders desert Tharoor; party prez election on Oct 17 S h a h i d F a r i d i @ New Delhi below the 6% level across maturities. However, slow transmission of hike in repo rates to deposit rates means it may take some time before deposit rates breach the 6% mark. Currently, FD rates range from 5.5% to 5.7% across all maturities. Meanwhile, RBI has lowered the FY23 GDP growth estimate from 7.2% to 7%. The equity markets, however, showed resilience despite the rate hike and lowering of GDP estimate. The Sensex and Nifty rose 1.8% as RBI rate hikes were in line with market expectation. Flexing muscles, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) on Friday issued an open call to defy the state government order directing schools to function on Sunday, October 2, to hold anti-drug activities. Going a step further, the apex body of the Catholic denomination in the state asked the Church’s educational institutions to ignore any future government orders to work on a Sunday . “Sunday is a day that has to be set aside, like how it used to be till now, only to engage in activities related to the Christian faith. Also, henceforth, all Catholic educational institutions needn’t obey the state government order that directs them to work on a Sunday,” said the KCBC. However, the students, teachers and parents can organise anti-drug awareness programmes on a suitable date later and thus cooperate with the state government, it said. The government had, in a circular dated September 28, asked all the schools in the state to function on the Gandhi Jayanthi day to hold activities as a part of its ‘Drug-free Kerala’ initiative. As per the circular issued by the Department of General Education, one month, from October 2 till November 1, was to be used to organise intensive programmes to curb drug abuse among students. “On October 2, Sunday, the state-level inauguration of the anti-drug campaign by the CM and his speech afterwards are to be shown to the students at the school assembly the ,” ● More on P4 circular said. 14% rain deficit during Southwest monsoon season An IMD source said monsoon started withdrawing from north India on Sept 17 and is expected to retreat from Kerala by Oct 20 | P5
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