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RBI cuts key rates; repo rate unchanged

Mumbai: Taking a cautious stance, the Reserve Bank on Tuesday cut CRR by 0.25 percent - the percentage of deposits banks keep with central bank - but refrained from reducing lending rates in view high inflation.

Following the cut, CRR will come down to 4.25 percent while the repo rate, at which the central bank lends to the banks, would remain unchanged at 8 percent.

The reverse repo, at which it absorbs excess liquidity through borrowings from banks, remains at 7 percent.

RBI said government's reform efforts are in the right path but added that immediate implementation and continued measures are needed to bring economy back to growth path.

"Monetary policy needs to be cautious in the interim, focusing on inflation while using the available space to support growth to the degree it can," RBI said in its macroeconomic and monetary development review for July- September quarter.

Earlier on Monday, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had unveiled a five-year roadmap for fiscal consolidation wherein he projected to bring down fiscal deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2016-17 from 5.3 percent estimated in the current fiscal.

Economic growth fell to a nine-year low of 6.5 percent in 2011-12. The growth rate in the April-June quarter of 2012-13 fiscal was 5.5 percent.

RBI said the global growth prospects, both in advanced and emerging economies, have weakened and the eurozone troubles have affected business confidence and caused deceleration in global trade.



Superstorm Sandy hits US, over 10 dead

New York:  At least 10 people were killed as megastorm Sandy battered the US East Coast today with fierce winds and heavy rain, uprooting trees, power lines and plunging several areas in darkness.

Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the US, battered the coastline of New Jersey, where a large number of Indian families reside, with 80 mph winds, pushing seawater up by an unprecedented 13-feet in New York City.

Floods inundated large number of areas, leaving nearly 5.5 million people without electricity in New York and New Jersey.

The storm left a trail of death, and the toll is expected to mount. Two people perished in Mendham, New Jersey, when a tree struck their car, officials said.

In New York state, at least six persons were killed, including a 30-year-old man who died when a tree fell on his house. Two people died in other incidents.

It also flooded ground-zero, the site of the 9/11 terror attacks here. There was also report of damage to facade of a building in Manhattan.

Authorities evacuated patients and staff of a New York city hospital after superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast.




Heavy rains, cyclone alert in TN, Andhra

Chennai: A deep depression over the Bay of Bengal, which would further intensify into a cyclonic storm, today brought heavy rains in many parts of Tamil Nadu, especially in coastal areas, prompting the government to declare a holiday for schools.

Chennai, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore and Villupuram received heavy rains in the morning, inconveniencing office-goers. The cyclonic storm would cross between Nagapattinam and Nellore tomorrow, Met Department said.

"The deep depression over southwest Bay of Bengal moved westwards, and lay centred at 1800 UTC of yesterday over southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 9.00N and longitude 82.00E, about 500 km south-southeast of Chennai and 100 km east-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka)." "The system would intensify further into a cyclonic storm and move westwards for some more time and come very close to Sri Lanka coast and then move northwestwards and cross north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coast between Nagapattinam and Nellore by tomorrow afternoon," the Met Department said.

It forecast "heavy to extremely heavy rainfall" upto 25 cm or more besides squally winds reaching upto 45-55 kmph of speed and gusting upto 65 kmph off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during next 12 hours", it said.




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