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In the latest coronavirus developments Maharashtra, the state in which Mumbai resides, said the Indian produced vaccine can only be procured after May 20, news that will slow the vaccination programme in India's industrial powerhouse. After a record surge in new cases and deaths, PM Modi relaxed rules to allow states to directly buy the vaccines from manufacturers and inoculate residents above 18 years from May 1. Until then, states are allotted doses by the federal government. Meanwhile, Merck has licenced its COVID-19 drug molnupiravir to generic Indian drug makers. The treatment is currently being studied in a Phase 3 trial for the treatment of non-hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19.
- US President Biden announced the US would send vaccines as the country grapples with the pandemic, he stopped short of specifying timing. Biden did say in the meantime the US would send drugs to treat symptoms and machinery for producing the vaccine. Meanwhile the Asian Development Bank said it has provided $1.5 billion to India to deal with the pandemic.
- The Philippines is the latest country to an all travelers from India as coronavirus cases continue to cause concern, also banned will be those with history of travel to the country in the last 14 days. The ban will be in effect from April 29 to May 14.
- Market participants will scrutinize today's INR 360bn bill sale for indications of market demand for government securities, and to see if the RBI attempts to influence the sale, which could be a portent for the bond sales on Friday.
- The rupee managed to squeeze out some gains yesterday as equities rose. According to Bloomberg data foreign funds have sold INR 109.1b of Indian shares in April so far vs. net purchase of INR 104.8b in March. Earnings today from Axis Bank and Bajaj Finance beat estimates, while profits narrowed at automaker Maruti.
- Elsewhere, S&P said that the second wave of the pandemic raises risks to GDP and credit, indicating revisions to its growth forecasts could be on the cards. Growth forecasts for India are currently at 11% for this fiscal year.