Newsletter: 11th – 17th December, 2016

INDIAN ECONOMY

Current account deficit narrows to 0.6% of GDP in September quarter 

India’s current account deficit, which is the excess of imports of goods and services over exports, narrowed to $3.4 billion or 0.6% of the gross domestic product from a year earlier as merchandise imports contracted during the September quarter, data from the central bank shows.

Demonetisation: MGNREGA hires plummet by 23% in November

The Modi government’s demonetisation move seems to have taken the wind out of the sails of an already faltering job guarantee scheme. The number of households getting work in November dropped by 23% compared to the previous month and those being turned back empty-handed jumped to a staggering 23.4 lakh, almost twice the number in October.

Cash to GDP ratio now on par with US 

The government and the Reserve Bank of India may not have revealed what their target of cash to gross domestic product is, but the withdrawal of high-value currency notes has taken the number to 7.3% of the GDP, lower than even that of US’ 7.8%, shows data from the RBI.

India’s exports up 2.2% in November, gold imports rise 23% 

India’s merchandise exports grew for the third consecutive month in November with 20 of the 30 export sectors registering a growth in outward shipments, but higher imports due to spike in gold purchases led to sharp increase in trade deficit.

Cabinet approves Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016 

The Cabinet has cleared a bill proposing a significant overhaul of the functioning of 12 major ports in the country, giving a nod to the Major Port Trust Authorities bill, 2016. The bill once passed by Parliament will give port boards more autonomy and flexibility.

GST Council meet inconclusive; April 1 target seems undoable 

The GST Council, the representative body of the states and the Centre empowered to vet all decisions relating to the tax, was unable to clear the draft GST law in its meeting on Sunday and will now meet on December 22-23 to consider all remaining issues. The winter session of parliament ends on December 16.

Government announces new income declaration scheme ‘PM Garib Kalyan Yojana’

Offering one last chance to black money holders, the government today said they have time until March-end to come clean by paying 50 per cent tax on bank deposits of junk currencies made post demonetisation.

BUSINESS

Wall Street hovers near record high after Fed rate hike 

US stocks were off their highs but continued to hover near record levels on Thursday as investors viewed the Federal Reserve’s interest rate outlook as a sign of confidence in the economy.

Nomura cuts India’s growth estimates to 7.1% 

India’s growth will be lower than earlier anticipated because of the adverse impact of demonetisation. The economy will, however, bounce back in 2018 mainly as the government will have more money to spend due to a wider tax base and higher taxes, Nomura Holdings said.

Goldman taps Solomon, Schwartz in big shakeup 

Goldman Sachs Group promoted Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz and investment bank co-head David Solomon to copresidents and said Martin Chavez will succeed Schwartz as CFO in the Wall Street firm’s biggest management shakeup in a decade.

Janet Yellen delivers 25 bps rate hike 

The US Federal Reserve on expected lines raised key interest rates by 25 basis points to between 0.50 per cent and 0.75 per cent on Wednesday, its second such hike since last December.

Axis Bank raises Rs 3,500 crore via perpetual bonds in largest deal 

Private sector lender Axis Bank has raised Rs 3,500 crore by selling perpetual bonds in what could be the largest ever deal in this category, a move that will help augment the bank’s capital base amid the country’s slowing down economy.

Canara Bank raises Rs 1,000 crore via Basel-III bonds 

Public sector Canara Ban said it has raised Rs 1,000 crore by issuing Basel-III compliant bonds. The bank has raised an amount of Rs 1,000 crore as tranche-I on December 13, 2016 with a coupon of 8.60 per cent per annum.

Parsvnath Developers raises Rs 200 crore via debentures; gives exit to JP Morgan 

Realty firm Parsvnath Developers has raised about Rs 200 crore through debentures for giving exit to global investment firm JP Morgan and its affiliates from its housing project in the national capital.

BSE to delist 64 suspended companies on Tuesday 

As many as 64 companies will be delisted from BSE platform on Tuesday as they have remained suspended for more than 13 years, Asia’s oldest bourse on Monday said.

MTNL Q2 net loss at Rs 768.32 crore 

State-run telecom firm MTNLBSE -0.54 % today reported a standalone net loss of Rs 768.32 crore for the quarter ended on September 30, 2016, against that of Rs 730.35 crore in the same period a year ago.

BSE-promoted CDSL plans to file papers for IPO soon 

Central Depository Services (India) (CDSL), promoted by BSE, is likely to soon file draft papers with market regulator Sebi for its initial public offering.

Nusli Wadia files defamation case, seeks Rs 3,000 crore in damages from Tatas 

Nusli Wadia, longtime associate of Rata Tata and independent director on the boards Tata group companies like Tata Chemicals, Tata Motors and Tata Steel, has filed a Rs 3,000-crore defamation suit against Ratan Tata and Tata Sons.

Telenor looks to sell its India unit to Idea Cellular 

Telenor is said to have held talks with Idea Cellular for a cash-less sale of its India unit, which would entail the country’s No. 3 mobile phone company taking over all the liabilities of the Norwegian telecom operator’s local business.

States may set minimum fare for Ola, Uber 

The government will push states to set a minimum fare for app-based cabs to check predatory pricing by cash rich taxi aggregators such as Ola and Uber, in a relief to traditional taxi operators struggling to compete with the new players.

Tata, DoComo may be headed for truce 

The bitter battle between the Tata Group and NTT DoComo may be headed for a truce, with sources saying the two sides are likely to submit a new proposal to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the centre in the next 20-25 days for the Japanese company to repatriate a part of its India investment.

Verizon said to explore lower price or exit from Yahoo deal 

Verizon Communications Inc. is exploring a price cut or possible exit from its $4.83 billion pending acquisition of Yahoo! Inc., after the company reported a second major e-mail hack affecting as many as 1 billion users.

Hindustan Unilever exits leather business 

Hindustan Unilever’s subsidiary Pond’s Exports (PEL) that manufactures leather products, has entered into an agreement with Hindustan Foods for sale of certain movable assets and inventory as part of the company’s strategy to exit non-core businesses.

Apple, Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM may have to pay ‘Google Tax’ in India 

The ‘Google tax’ could soon ensnare the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Apple and Netflix, which provide online services in India as cloud computing companies and content providers may be needed to pay equalisation levy on their revenue from the next financial year.

Volkswagen agrees to pay $200 million to offset US emissions 

Volkswagen AG has agreed to pay just over $200 million to offset emissions from about 80,000 3.0 liter diesel U.S. vehicles. This is in addition to $2.7 billion that VW previously agreed to pay to offset emissions from about 475,000 2.0 liter diesel vehicles.

WORLD

Oil prices edge up as Kuwait cuts supplies by more than expected 

Oil prices edged up on Friday after market sources said Kuwait had told customers it was cutting supplies by more than initially expected from January as part of a coordinated effort by oil producers to drain a global glut.

Opec signals larger 2017 oil surplus, unless cuts implemented 

Opec on Wednesday signalled a growing oil supply surplus next year unless members implement their deal to curb output from record levels and outside producers also deliver on cutback pledges made at the weekend.

India remains fastest-growing large economy, beating China: EIU 

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research and analysis division of The Economist Group in its global economic outlook in December said that India continues to be the fastest-growing large economy beating China.

India tops Asia in innovation chart 

India has emerged as the most preferred destination for innovation in Asia and third biggest globally, with ‘Silicon Valley’ of East Bengaluru leading the charge, says a research by global consulting major Capgemini.

India’s demonetisation drive drags down Nepal’s economy 

BMI Research, a group company of the Fitch rating agency, has revised down its forecast for land-locked Nepal’s economy, saying that India’s demonetisation could shave Nepal’s growth down to 2.2 per cent for this fiscal year to July 2017, from an earlier estimate of 2.5 per cent.

Donald Trump selects Exxon Mobil CEO as Secretary of State 

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department, dismissing concerns about the businessman’s close ties with Russia.

IMF Chief Lagarde on trial in France over tycoon case 

IMF chief Christine Lagarde goes on trial in France over a massive state payout to a flamboyant tycoon when she was finance minister in a case that risks tarnishing her stellar career.

Trump says US not necessarily bound by Beijing’s ‘One China’ policy 

US President-elect Donald Trump said the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of “one China,” questioning nearly four decades of policy in a move likely to antagonize Beijing.

Bill English chosen as New Zealand’s prime minister 

New Zealand’s ruling National Party appointed the experienced Bill English as the country’s new prime minister on Monday following last week’s shock resignation of his popular predecessor John Key.

Turkish economy shrinks for first time since 2009 

The Turkish economy shrank by nearly two percent in the third quarter as consumer spending and exports plunged, data showed Monday, the first year-on-year contraction in 27 quarters since 2009.

Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro orders 100-unit banknotes out of circulation 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed an emergency decree ordering the country’s largest banknote, the 100 bolivar bill, taken out of circulation to thwart “mafias” he accused of hoarding cash in Colombia.

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