Let’s begin. The government may target some “non-essential imports” through duty hikes, as part of its efforts to contain the elevated current account deficit if the fall in the rupee against the greenback continues unabated. The authorities have already enhanced the monitoring of imports of select products, including electronics, that have witnessed a sharp spike in recent months. Elevated CAD has proved to be a double whammy for the rupee at a time when the US Federal Reserve has resorted to aggressive policy tightening to control inflation. However, a final decision on whether to raise import tariffs on any such product is yet to be made, official sources told FE. One of the sources said the government is keeping a close eye on the import situation. Targetting non-essential imports may happen if the trade deficit continues to remain at very high levels in the coming months and exerts further pressure on the rupee. On to a major Industrial update. US-based fund house Blackstone and its partners – Pune-based Panchshil Realty and Bengaluru-based Salarpuria Sattva – are looking to float a mega real estate investment trust and list it in the country. While Blackstone and its partners did not respond to emails on the subject, sources familiar with the developments said they plan to bring around 45 million sq ft in the real estate investment trust. Sources have said that It will be the largest in Asia in terms of square footage, adding the real estate investment trust could raise Rs 7,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore through a public issue, the draft papers for which will be filed with the capital markets regulator next year. Sources said the plan is to bring the assets owned by Blackstone’s office arm Nucleus Office Parks, including those bought from Prestige Estates Projects last year. They also plan to bring assets of Blackstone-Salarpuria joint venture in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and other cities, and its JV with Panchshil in Pune and others. Meanwhile, India’s current account deficit came in at 2.8% of the gross domestic product in first quarter of FY23, a 15-quarter high, driven by an elevated merchandise deficit, but it was still lower than feared by many, as foreign exchange inflows from services exports and private remittances remained stronger than estimates. Despite net portfolio outflows of a considerable $14.6 billion, the forex reserves saw a modest rise of about $4.6 billion in the quarter on a balance of payments basis. This was because the capital account saw a good surplus of close to $28 billion helped by robust inflows as FDI, loans and banking capital. However, that doesn’t allay the worries on the BoP front much. Many analysts see the CAD having widened further in the September quarter – Icra, for instance, forecast the CAD to worsen to 4.2-4.8% of the GDP in Q2FY23. Moving on. The Securities and Exchange Board of India on Thursday allowed foreign investors to participate in Indian exchange-traded commodity derivatives through the FPI route, subject to conditions. FPIs will be allowed to participate in cash settled non-agricultural commodity derivative contracts and indices comprising such non-agricultural commodities, the regulator said on Thursday. The move is aimed at further increasing depth and liquidity in commodity derivative markets. The market regulator in its consultation paper earlier this year had said “Enhanced liquidity can gradually enable the Indian commodity derivative market to serve as a global benchmark for various commodities, thereby shifting India from the role of a price taker to a price setter.” FPIs wanting to participate in ETCDs shall be subject to risk management measures applicable, from time to time. In another update, the Centre’s extension of the free grains scheme for another three months will be funded through savings on revenues expenditures and will not lead to additional borrowings, a senior finance ministry official told FE. Despite the additional food subsidies and extra outgo expected on fertiliser and fuel subsidies, the official said, the fiscal deficit will likely be contained at the budgeted level of 6.4% of GDP. A day after announcing the free ration scheme for the poor, which will cost exchequer Rs 44,762 crore (without factoring in open market sales of grains), the government on Thursday cut its market borrowing target for the current fiscal by Rs 10,000 crore. Lastly, the stock market. Indian benchmark indices BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 are likely to open lower as investors are expected to remain cautious due to RBI MPC outcome. SGX Nifty was in red ahead of today’s session hinting at a negative start for the domestic share market. Global cues are weak as shares in Asia traded lower on Friday, following another sell-off on Wall Street overnight.