Newsletter: 20th-26th November, 2016

INDIAN ECONOMY

Rupee hits record low as emerging market rout intensifies

The rupee fell to a record low of 68.86 on 24th November, pressured by a rallying U.S. dollar, capital outflows from emerging markets, and worries about the country’s demonetisation drive, despite repeated interventions by the central bank to slow the slide.

Rail crash toll hits 146, survivor search called off

Rescuers called off a search of the mangled carriages of a derailed train after pulling out at least 146 bodies from the wreckage. The Pukhrayan derailment was India’s deadliest train tragedy since 2010 and has renewed concern about poor safety on the state-run network

Government allows farmers to buy seeds with old Rs 500 notes 

Further easing norms for cash-strapped farmers, the Finance Ministry has permitted them to use old Rs 500 notes for purchasing seeds from any state or central government outlets and agri universities.

Jan Dhan accounts: FIU gathers country-wide data from banks 

With reports of sudden escalation in ‘Jan Dhan’ bank account deposits, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has started to gather country-wide details of all suspicious transactions done exclusively in these accounts in the wake of demonetisation.

Demonetisation beneficial, but its implementation may weaken GDP growth: Moody’s 

Ratings agency Moody’s has said demonetisation is beneficial for the Indian government and banks but implementation challenges will disrupt economic activity and weigh on GDP growth for a few quarters.

Centre to compensate states every quarter for GST revenue loss

States will receive compensation from Centre for loss of revenue from implementation of GST every quarter but the final annual number would be decided after an audit carried out by CAG and met through levy of a cess called ‘GST Compensation Cess’ on luxury items and sin goods for the first five years.

RBI takes surprise action to soak up liquidity

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 27th November unexpectedly ordered banks to deposit their extra cash with it, in a bid to absorb excess liquidity generated by a government ban on larger banknotes.

Demonetisation: Currency recall could cost India a massive Rs 1.28 lakh crore

The cost of withdrawing high-denomination currency notes to wipe out black money from the country will be about Rs 1.28 lakh crore during the 50-day window till December 30, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said.

Government saved Rs 36,000 cr through direct cash transfer 

The BJP-led NDA government has saved Rs 36,000 crore by digitising economic activities in one year through payment of subsidies and MGNREGA wages through direct cash benefit facilities into the accounts of intended beneficiaries through Aadhaar.

BUSINESS

Zee to buy TV channels, radio stake from Anil Ambani’s Reliance

Zee media group has agreed to buy television channels and a stake in a radio broadcasting business from Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group in a move that would help the latter cut its debt by about 19 billion rupees ($277 million).

SEBI eases norms for angel investors

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) raised the total number of angel investors allowed to invest in a scheme and reduced the minimum investment amount. Angel investors will be allowed to invest up to 25 percent of their funds in overseas start-ups.

Citi and JPMorgan top list of globally systemic banks

Citi has joined JPMorgan at the top of global regulators’ list of systemically important banks, replacing HSBC and meaning the U.S. bank will have to hold extra capital from 2019 to help preserve financial stability.

NBCUniversal invests $200 million more in BuzzFeed

Online media company BuzzFeed, said Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal had invested an additional $200 million in the company. NBCUniversal last year invested roughly the same amount in BuzzFeed.

Ola adds entertainment features as ride-hailing competition rages

Ola unveiled a new car entertainment platform, Ola Play, that allows passengers to listen to the music of their choice, as it seeks to woo riders with gizmos in a bid to outmanoeuvre global giant Uber.

Infrastructure group JSW plans to make electric cars, sources say

Sajjan Jindal’s steel-to-power JSW Group plans to diversify into electric car manufacturing, as government boosts support for non-polluting vehicles. Mahindra and Mahindra is the only Indian firm that makes electric cars, but sales have been softer than expected.

Facebook builds censorship tool to attain China re-entry

Facebook Inc has quietly developed a censorship tool that could persuade China to allow it to re-enter China after a seven-year ban. It developed the software, which suppresses posts from appearing in people’s news feeds in specific geographies.

Axis Bank to raise up to Rs 1,800 crore via debentures 

Private sector lender Axis BankBSE -2.59 % on Monday said it proposes to raise up to Rs 1,800 crore from debentures to fund business expansion. These debentures would be Basel III compliant, it said.

Tata Motors to hold EGM next month to remove Cyrus Mistry, Nusli Wadia from board 

The board of directors of Tata Motors informed BSE on Wednesday that the company had decided to convene an extraordinary general meeting, or EGM, on December 22 to pass a resolution to remove Cyrus Mistry and Nusli Wadia as directors of the company.

Microsoft set to win EU approval for $26-billion LinkedIn acquisition 

Microsoft is set to gain EU approval for its $26 billion buy of LinkedIn with tweaks to concessions aimed at addressing competition concerns, allowing rivals access to its software such as its Outlook programme and give hardware makers the option of installing competing professional social networks on computers after the acquisition.

Credit Suisse moves towards Swiss bank spin-off 

Credit Suisse has moved more than 1 million customers into a new Swiss bank which goes live on Sunday, a step towards what could be Switzerland’s biggest stock market listing in more than a decade.

In one of India’s biggest-ever layoffs, L&T sheds 14,000 employees from its workforce 

Larsen & Toubro, India’s biggest engineering firm, has shed 14,000 employees, or 11.2% of its total workforce, in one of the biggest corporate retrenchment exercises in recent times. The $16-billion diversified conglomerate said the step was an attempt to “right size” its strength in the face of business slowdown.

BNP Paribas completes acquisition of Sharekhan 

BNP Paribas said it has completed the acquisition of retail brokerage firm Sharekhan after receiving approvals from all relevant regulatory authorities. With this, the Mumbai-based brokerage Sharekhan has become a subsidiary of BNP Paribas and will join Personal Investors-BNP Paribas’ business line dedicated to digital banking and investment services.

Harish Manwani in fray to lead Tata Group: Sky News 

Former Unilever chief operating officer Harish Manwani’s name has surfaced as a possible candidate to helm the $108-billion Tata Group as its new chairman.

Hong Kong-Shenzhen stockmarket link to launch December 5 

A long-delayed trading link between the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock markets will open December 5, regulators said Friday, opening up the mainland’s tech shares to foreign investors for the first time.

Videocon may exit insurance JV with US’ Liberty Mutual 

The $9-billion VideoconBSE -0.10 % group has begun talks to exit the insurance JV it has with US-based Liberty Mutual. The group is looking to focus on oil & gas, consumer electronics and power sector.”

SpiceJet’s net profit doubles in September quarter to Rs 58.9 crore

SpiceJet reported a doubling in net profit in the September quarter to Rs 58.9 crore from the year earlier on the back of lower fuel prices, higher fares, increased capacity and reduced operational costs.

Oracle India drags Tata International Wolverine Brands to court over dues 

Oracle Retail India has dragged Tata International Wolverine Brands to the Bombay High Court seeking dues from the defunct company, and made Noel Tata, former Union home secretary GK Pillai and more than a dozen board members of Tata International and its erstwhile joint venture parties to the case.

Tata Steel removes Cyrus Mistry as chairman

Tata Steel said it removed Cyrus Mistry as chairman at a special board meeting, the third Tata group company to depose him since his ouster as head of the conglomerate’s holding company.

WORLD

Dollar jumps to highest in almost 14 years on Fed hike stance

The dollar surged to its highest since March 2003 on 23rd November, bolstered by upbeat U.S. economic reports that showed the economy on track for steady growth as they reinforced expectations of rate increases by the Federal Reserve next month and in 2017.

Trump says will quit Pacific trade deal on day one of presidency

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump released a video on stating that he would withdraw the United States from a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, issue a rule cutting government regulations, direct the Labor Department to investigate abuses of visa programs, and cancel some restrictions on energy production, including shale oil and gas and coal.

Tsunami hits Japan after strong quake near Fukushima disaster site

A powerful earthquake of 7.4 magnitude rocked northern Japan early on Tuesday, briefly disrupting cooling functions at a nuclear plant and generating a small tsunami that hit the same Fukushima region devastated by a 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Merkel says wants to run for 4th term as German Chancellor

Angela Merkel confirmed that she will seek a fourth term as German Chancellor in next year’s election, ending months of speculation. She is widely seen as a stabilising force in Europe amid uncertainty after Brexit and as a bastion of Western liberal values after the election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president.

Earthquake of magnitude 6.3 hits New Zealand’s North Island

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck central New Zealand on 22nd November, little more than a week after a powerful tremor centered in the upper South Island rocked the country and killed two people.

Bolivia declares state of emergency due to drought, water shortage

Bolivia’s government declared a state of emergency due to water shortages in large swaths of the country amid the worst drought in 25 years, making funds available to alleviate a crisis that has affected families and the agricultural sector.

Trump names Haley, a foreign policy novice, as envoy to U.N.

Donald Trump named South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a former critic with little foreign policy experience, as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Haley is one of two women chosen so far for a job in Trump’s Cabinet.

BRICS bank grants $350 million loan for MP road project 

The BRICS-created New Development Bank (NDB) approved $350 million loan for India for Madhya Pradesh Major District Roads Project and a $290 million loan for an offshore wind project in China.

China banking regulator wrestles with $2.9 trillion off-balance sheet WMPs 

China’s banking regulator may be getting serious about how lenders provision for the more than $2.9 trillion of wealth management products (WMPs) that have been issued as non-guaranteed off-balance sheet liabilities.

South Korean prosecutors raid Samsung headquarters 

South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday raided offices of the Samsung Group as the electronics giant is dragged further into a snowballing influence-peddling scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-Hye.

Barack Obama honours 21 with Medal of Freedom 

US President Barack Obama has honoured Bill and Melinda Gates along with 20 other luminaries with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom. Other prominent recipients were Margaret H Hamilton, who led the team that created the on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo command modules and lunar modules; Ellen DeGeneres; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

6.4-magnitude earthquake jolts Argentina, Chile

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake has jolted western Argentina and parts of Chile, with no immediate reports of damage, authorities said.

Revolutionary Cuban leader Fidel Castro passes away at 90

Former President Fidel Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 US presidents during his half century rule, has died at age 90.

EU lawmakers urge halt to Turkey EU membership talks

European Union lawmakers called on for a temporary halt to EU membership talks with Turkey because of Ankara’s “disproportionate” reaction to July’s failed coup, although EU governments are unlikely to take heed.

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