Newsletter: 1st – 7th January, 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

PM Narendra Modi launches UPI based mobile payment app called BHIM 

Urging people to make digital payments a “habit” to make the country a cashless economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched a mobile app for the Unified Payment Interface (UPI). The application, which will be common across all banks and financial institutions, is called BHIM (Bharat Interface for Mobile).

Takeaways from PM Modi’s speech on New Year’s Eve 

Prime Minister Modi tried to strike the right notes on the last day of the calendar year 2016 with the people of India who have gone through hardship in the last 50 days by giving Sops to farmers, small & medium enterprises, NBFCs as well as realty sector.

Fiscal impact of PM Modi’s schemes to be Rs 3.5K crore 

The fiscal impact of the recent measures announced by prime minister Narendra Modi aimed at helping the economically-weaker sections including interest rate sops for housing for the poor and farm loans, besides financial incentives for pregnant women, could be around Rs 3,500 crore, states a report by the State Bank of India’s research team.

MoUs worth 30 lakh crore may be signed in Vibrant Gujarat 2017 edition 

As the countdown begins to Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit-2017, the state government may sign MoUs worth Rs 30 lakh crore, surpassing the investment pledged during the previous edition in 2015. Already, 21,910 MoUs with investment promises of over Rs 25 lakh crore have been lined up.

Prickly issues may delay GST rollout 

The Centre is not yet giving up on an April 1 rollout of the Goods and Services Tax, although there is growing realisation that with a number of ‘knotty’ issues still remaining, it may be difficult.

Union Budget 2017-18 to be presented on February 1 

The government will present the Union Budget 2017-18 on February 1 for the financial year starting on April 1. The first part of the budget session of parliament will start on January 31 when the government is expected to present the Economic Survey, which sets the scene for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s fourth annual budget.

NRIs can deposit old banknotes till June 30 

Indian citizens who are not resident of India will be able to exchange old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at RBI offices till June 30, the External Affairs Ministry announced. The Ministry said the provision would be subject to the regulations of the notification – Foreign Exchange Management (Export and Import of Currency) Regulations, 2015 which put the limit of bringing back currency into the country at Rs.25,000 per person.

Trai to form joint panel with telcos to review tariff rules, numbering plan 

Telecom regulator Trai will soon form a joint committee with telecom operators to review tariff rules, telephone numbering plan and work towards making its monitoring more transparent. Trai has put forward five subjects before telecom operators that need to be reviewed.

7.1 per cent GDP estimate erroneous, says Icra 

The advance estimate of 7.1 per cent GDP released by Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), will have major errors as it does not include the data for the months after demonetisation, domestic rating agency Icra has said. The agency on Friday pegged the expected growth for 2016-17 lower at 6.8 per cent.

IRCTC to launch new App for faster booking of tickets 

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Limited will soon launch a new ticketing App which will have several features added on the existing one for faster booking of tickets.  Equipped with latest technology, existing IRCTC Connect will now become IRCTC Rail Connect to facilitate booking of train tickets in a faster and easier way.

BUSINESS

FMCG firms to see 5-6% drop in bottomline in Q3 on note ban 

Fast moving consumer goods companies are likely to report a 5-6 per cent drop in net profit during the third quarter due to the hit on sales that they witnessed post-demonetisation drive, says a brokerage report in the run-up to the earnings season beginning this week.

Regulator Sebi issues guidelines to evaluate company boards 

SEBI issued guidance on how companies should evaluate the performance of their directors to ensure objectivity and improve corporate governance. Among the guidelines, companies should consider whether discussions among board members are healthy and free-flowing, critical and whether conflicts of interest are monitored and dealt with.

SBI to launch branchless banking called SBI Digi Bank 

The country’s largest lender SBI will take the lead among state-run lenders to launch branch less banking. The latest launch from the lender – SBI Digi Bank will have a financial superstore, a market place and end to end digitisation for all products and services.

Airtel in advanced talks with Telenor to buy its India business 

Bharti Airtel is said to be in advanced talks to buy Telenor’s India business in a deal that will involve taking on debt of Rs 1,500 crore while allowing India’s biggest telecom company to add to its 4G spectrum and be better placed to take on Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Sebi seeks explanation from Tata group companies 

India’s capital market regulator Sebi has sought an explanation from some of the flagship companies of Tata group on corporate governance and insider trading issues raised by the former chairman Cyrus Mistry and independent director Nusli Wadia.

After several exits, Tata Sons now seeks to oust Cyrus Mistry from board 

Tata Sons has served a notice to remove former chairman Cyrus Mistry from its board as the battle between the two camps threatens to sever the Mistry family’s direct involvement in the board decisions of the Tata Group’s holding company.

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s pay slumps along with iPhone sales 

Apple penalised CEO Tim Cook for the iPhone maker’s first sales slump in 15 years with a 15 per cent pay cut. Cook still did extremely well, with a compensation package valued at $8.7 million for Apple’s fiscal year that ended on September 24. But the amount was down from nearly $10.3 million in the prior year.

Samsung’s profit up 50% despite Note 7 fiasco 

Samsung Electronics reported its best operating profit in three years, weathering the death of its fireprone Galaxy Note 7 with the help of its workmanlike chip and display divisions and cheaper smartphones. It posted a 50% surge in quarterly operating profit after demand from Chinese smartphone brands pushed up memory chip prices and buoyed the unit that makes organic light-emitting diode screens.

LG Electronics estimates first quarterly operating loss in 6 years 

South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc estimated it fell to its first quarterly operating loss in six years in October-December, a drop that analysts pinned on continued mobile losses and seasonally weaker appliances sales.

Maersk, Alibaba team up to offer online booking service for ship space 

The world’s largest container shipping line Maersk has teamed up with Alibaba to allow shippers of goods to reserve space on its vessels through the Chinese e-commerce giant, in a move that bypasses traditional middleman freight forwarders.

Deutsche Bank agrees to pay $95 million to settle US tax fraud case 

Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, has agreed to pay $95 million to settle a tax fraud case brought by the US Justice Department, the federal prosecutor in charge has announced. The case dates back to 2000 with Deutsche Bank’s acquisition of a US holding company, Charter, which had stock in Bristol-Myers Squibb, the pharmaceutical company.

Tata Motors, Castrol ink three-year global pact 

Tata Motors and Castrol inked a three-year agreement under which the lubricants maker would supply commercial vehicle oils to the homegrown auto major in over 50 markets including SAARC and ASEAN region, Middle East, Africa, Russia and Latin America.

AirAsia comes under CBI lens 

A month after Enforcement Directorate registered a case of foreign exchange violations against AirAsia India, the Central Bureau of Investigation claimed that it is also examining the matter in which there are allegations of fraudulent transactions of Rs 22 crore involving non-existent entities in India and Singapore.

L&T set to convert Pune into smart city, gets LoI 

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) said it has been chosen as the implementation partner to convert Pune into a smart city.  The letter of intent (LoI) was handed over to representatives of L&T Construction’s Smart World and Communication business unit, which will be executing the project, by Municipal Commissioner of Pune Kunal Kumar.

Demonetisation to derail cement sector growth: India-Ratings and Research 

Demonetisation is expected to derail the growth of the cement sector says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Cement production is likely to grow by around 4 per cen in FY17; as against  earlier estimation of 4 to 6 per cent. The credit profile of pan India cement players and strong regional players will remain stable; however the credit profile of small and medium cement companies, with high debt levels will come under stress in the next two quarters.

Axis Bank to open 300-400 branches in FY18 despite digital push 

Private sector Axis Bank looks to open 300 to 400 branches next fiscal even as 88% of its transactions happen through digital channels such as netbanking and mobile banking. The number of new branches planned is akin to what it did this fiscal. It has already opened 300 branches in the first nine months since April.

WORLD

China to plough $360 billion into renewable fuel by 2020 

China will plough 2.5 trillion yuan ($361 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020, the country’s energy agency said, as the world’s largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power towards cleaner fuels.

U.S. intel report – Putin directed cyber campaign to help Trump

Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to help Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign, U.S. intelligence agencies said in an assessment. Russia’s objectives were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate former Secretary of State Clinton, make it harder for her to win and harm her presidency if she did, the report said.

Trump says Mexico would repay U.S. funds spent on border wall

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said  Mexico would repay the United States for his planned border wall. Trump told the New York Times he would most likely seek repayment through renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which groups the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Israel cuts $6 million in U.N. funding over settlements resolution

Israel said it would cut $6 million in funding to the United Nations in 2017 in protest against a U.N. Security Council resolution that demanded an end to Israeli settlement building on land Palestinians want for an independent state. The United States abstained from the Dec. 23 vote, allowing the 15-member Security Council to adopt the resolution with 14 votes in favour.

Malaysia says search for missing MH370 to end in two weeks

Malaysia said the hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will end in two weeks after the search is completed of a 120,000 square kilometre (9,650 sq mile) area where experts thought it went down. Investigators recommended that the search be extended by 25,000 sq km to an area further north in the Indian Ocean, after conceding for the first time they were probably looking in the wrong place.

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