Intellectual Thoughts by Sanjay Panda: February 2015

31 Minerals to be notified from major to Minor in India

The Ministry of Mines in India  will notify 31 additional minerals as minor minerals. These minerals are currently under the list of major minerals. Notifying them as minor minerals will give regulatory and administrative powers to the State Governments over these minerals. This is being done with the intention to devolve more power to the States, and consequently expedite the process of mineral development in the country.

After being notified as minor minerals, State Governments can frame rules, prescribe rates of royalty, contribution to District Mineral Foundation and decide on the procedure for granting mineral concessions for these 31 minerals. These minerals account for over 55% of the total number of leases and nearly 60% of total leased area. Further  in order to strengthen the mineral inventory database of India, the Government is planning to notify PSUs to carry out prospecting work and  the Geological Survey of India has plans to scale-up exploration operations.

Currency war

There is a growing consensus  that an unspoken currency war has broken out. Countries from Australia,  Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, Israel,  Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway &  to those that are part of the European Union are now  trying to  stabilize prices or gain competitiveness, simply by  easing the monetary policies  to weaken their currencies.

Many countries, earlier  used tools like  rate cuts,  quantitative easing ( QE)  or direct interventions on the  currency markets  to export deflationary problems to others and gain growth . With out much of success,   now they seems to  apply the other  mechanism available to generate demand  is  the  monetary policy.

But this is ultimately   a zero-sum game,  as someone gains only because someone else will lose.  A weak currency might provide a short-term boost to the countries engaging in currency devaluation. However, if everyone is playing the same game,  we will end up with  more and higher FX volatility. This in turn likely exact a toll on global trade and capital flows.