India agri-futures indices at new high

Written by Reuters | Mumbai, February 29: | Updated: Feb 29 2008, 15:45pm hrs
Farm commodity futures in India's two national exchanges edged higher on Friday, helping both indices scale new peaks on hopes the federal budget would be positive for agri-trading, analysts said.

The MCXCOMDEX (futures) index on the Multi Commodity Exchange of India <.MCICOMD> hit a record high of 2,766.46 points while on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange the FUTEXAGRI index <.NCDFUTAG> hit an all-time high of 1,762.81 points.

"It's moving higher in line with other commodities overseas and the positive announcement expected from the budget on Friday," Si Kannan, associate vice president at Kotak Commodity Services said.

"With strength in commodities, people are now shifting from paper to tangible assets," Shailendra Kumar, head of research at Sharekhan Commodities, said.

Globally, oil closed up on Thursday after hitting record highs of $102 a barrel and gold settled at new peaks as the dollar weakened and speculators poured more money into commodities.

The finance minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram is expected to present an agri-focussed budget with greater stress on investments. Investors are hoping that some commodities that were banned last year from futures trading would be relisted.

The federal government had banned trading in wheat, rice, tur and urad on inflationary concerns, which had caused a broad-based sell-off in the commodities market on fears of more such aggressive steps.