Newsletter: 5th March – 11th March, 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

Karnataka may build new city to decongest Bengaluru 

Call it an over-ambitious or non-implementable project, the Karnataka government is thinking of developing a new city in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) to decongest Bengaluru. The plan is to relocate at least 20 lakh of the state capital’s population to the new city. Urban development minister R Roshan Baig that the city will be developed on 11,000 acres of abandoned mining land in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), around 100 km from Bengaluru.

IIP bounces back in January, expands by 2.7% 

Industrial production bounced back in January expanding by 2.7 per cent year-on-year mainly due to better performance by the capital goods segment, a barometer of investment activities. The factory output, measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP), had contracted by 0.1 per cent in December on account of cash crunch following demonetisation of high value currency notes. 

India’s current account deficit to touch $30 billion in 2018 

India’s current account deficit is expected to increase by $10 billion to $30 billion in the 2017-18 fiscal due to higher oil and gold imports, credit rating agency ICRA said. However, the pressure related to the financing of a larger current account deficit would abate with the resumption of Non-Resident Indian (NRI) deposits in 2018. The ICRA expects a rise in the prices and import volumes of crude oil and gold to enlarge the Indian current account deficit to around $30 billion in 2018 from around $20 billion in 2017.

Notes in circulation drop to Rs 11.73 lakh crore, post ban 

The total value of currency notes in circulation has come down by a quarter to Rs 11.73 lakh crore post demonetisation, Parliament was informed. The value had steadily risen to March 31, 2016 since March-end 2014. There were Rs 16.41 lakh crore worth currency notes in circulation as on March 31 last year, which has come down to Rs 11.73 lakh crore as on March 3, 2017, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

BUSINESS

Standard Life, Aberdeen agree merger, seek 200 million pound savings 

Investment managers Standard Life and Aberdeen agreed an 11 billion pound ($13.5 billion) merger that should save 200 million pounds a year in costs, pressuring rivals to follow suit as industry margins sag. The deal comes as asset managers which charge a higher fee to make active investment decisions face growing competition from low-cost index-tracking rivals and rising regulatory costs.

RBI opposes Tata move to pay Docomo 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opposed a pact between the Tata Group and NTT Docomo aimed at resolving a two-year-old dispute between the two over the enforcement of a $1.17-billion arbitral award. RBI opposed payment to Docomo that would have followed enforcement of the award, arguing it amounted to transfer of shares and was hence illegal, dealing a setback to the efforts of the two companies to resolve the dispute which has clouded Indo-Japanese ties.

Music Broadcast IPO over-subscribed 39 times on last day 

Music Broadcast initial public offer was subscribed 40 times on the last day of the offer. According to the stock exchange data, Music Broadcast the operator of FM channel Radio City issue received bids for 41.23 crore shares compared with the issue size of 1.04 crores shares attracting over Rs 13,600 crores of subscription and nearly 8.5 lakh applications. Retail portion was subscribed 9.39 times. The quota of shares reserved for institutional buyers was subscribed 40.1 times. The portion set aside for non-institutional investors, such as corporate houses and wealthy individuals, was subscribed 112 times.

Avenue Supermarts IPO subscribed over 100 times 

The initial public offer (IPO) of Avenue Supermarts, which owns supermarket chain of DMart, got over 100 times subscription on Day 3 of the bidding process. Data available with stock exchanges showed that the issue had received 460 crore bids by 3.45 pm, which was higher than 4.4 crore shares on the block. The company had on Tuesday raised Rs 561 crore by allotting them 18.76 million shares to 35 anchor investors.

RBI launches app for android, iOS platforms 

The Reserve Bank of India today formally launched a mobile application version of its website on Android and iOS platforms. The application can be downloaded from the Play Store/App Store, using the keyword ‘Reserve Bank of India’. To start with, the most accessed sections of the website — press releases, IFSC/ MICR codes, bank holidays and current rates including policy rates and reference rate of four major currencies – have been made available on the app.

BSNL, MTNL merger plan back on discussion table 

After a hiatus of few years, the proposal to merge BSNL and MTNL is back on the discussion table with top officials at the telecom department once again ‘brainstorming’ on various options before the two loss-making, state-owned entities. According to a highly-placed source in the Department of Telecom, a top-level meeting recently discussed possibility of merging both the entities that are facing financial stress due to increasing competition in the sector.

Fiat Chrysler’s merger options dwindle as Volkswagen rejects overtures 

Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne’s attempts to find a partner were frustrated for a second time in as many days on Wednesday, as Volkswagen joined General Motors in dismissing any interest in talks with their smaller rival. Marchionne said  that European market leader VW would be hardest hit by PSA Group’s purchase of Opel, which will create a stronger European No. 2, and the pressure could prompt VW to sit down with FCA.

IndusInd Bank confirms deal talks with MFI Bharat Financial 

Mid-sized private lender IndusInd Bank today said it is in talks with multiple entities for business expansion, including the widely speculated merger of Bharat Financial Inclusion (BFI). “…the management has been exploring strategic alternatives, and engaging in discussions from time to time with various parties, including Bharat Financial, as and when required,” the bank said.

IDFC launches Aadhaar Pay, becomes the first to launch biometric based payment system 

IDFC Bank has become the first bank to launch the biometric-based payment system Aadhaar Pay through its network. The bank aims to onboard anywhere between 50,000-75,000 merchant to the Aadhaar pay module in the next two years with a total target of touching 1,00,000 merchants over the next 36 months or three years. Rajiv Lall, founder MD and CEO, of IDFC Bank said Aadhaar Pay makes cashless transactions possible even for those who do not have mobile phones, and only requires the merchant to have a mobile phone.

PepsiCo expands nutrition portfolio, launching Quaker Nutri Foods & Tropicana Essentials 

PepsiCo India is introducing a set of new healthy products as part of its nutrition portfolio furthering it’s global commitment to reduce its alliance on sugar, salt and saturated fat and boost nutritional content in its products. As part of their flagship brands Quaker Oats and Tropicana, PepsiCo is launching Quaker Nutri Foods and Tropicana Essentials, respectively in the breakfast space.

Coca-Cola to go the ‘healthy’ way, may launch coconut water 

Coca-Cola is preparing to launch packaged coconut water in India, as increasing consumer preference towards non-sugary drinks take the fizz out of cola sales. In India, Coke is test marketing Zico, a US coconut water brand it acquired in late 2013. Packaged coconut water is one of the fastest growing beverage categories in the world and the 2013 deal has given the company the top position in the segment. Positioned as a ‘natural replenishment’, brand Zico has been gaining traction in world markets.

WORLD

Theresa May suffers second Brexit bill defeat 

British Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered a second Brexit bill defeat in the House of Lords as peers backed, by 366 votes to 268, calls for a “meaningful” parliamentary vote on the final terms of withdrawal. After a three-hour debate, for the second time in a week, Lords amended the legislation that will authorise May to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave and pave the way for official Brexit talks to begin.

Brazil’s recession worst in country’s history 

Brazil is suffering the worst recession of its history, official figures showed, but Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles insisted that Latin America’s biggest economy will soon bounce back. The government statistics office said the economy shrank 0.9 percent in the last three months of 2016, the eighth consecutive quarterly dip. That meant an overall fall of 3.6 percent in 2016, following a 3.8 percent fall in 2015.

Republicans unveil plan to repeal, replace Obamacare 

Long-awaited legislation to dismantle Obamacare was unwrapped on Monday by US Republicans, who called for ending health insurance mandates and rolling back extra healthcare funding for the poor in a package that drew immediate fire from Democrats. In a battle waged since the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, Republicans including President Donald Trump have long vowed to repeal and replace the law.

WikiLeaks publishes thousands of documents that it says came from the CIA’s Centre for Cyber Intelligence 

WikiLeaks published thousands of documents purportedly taken from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, a dramatic release that appears to provide an eye-opening look at the intimate details of America’s cyberespionage toolkit. The dump could not immediately be authenticated by The Associated Press and the CIA declined comment, but WikiLeaks has a long track record of releasing top secret government documents.

China signals change of course on its currency policy 

China has hinted at changing its long-standing yuan policy to liberalise its currency against the dollar, signalling willingness to alter course on exchange rates amid US President Donald Trump’s threats of a trade war. For the first time in an annual government report, China included the requirement to ensure the stable global status of yuan as one of its major tasks, dropping the line “keeping a stable yuan at a reasonable and balanced level” which was included in the previous three reports.

South Korean court throws President Park Geun-hye out of office over scandal 

South Korea’s Constitutional Court removed President Park Geun-hye from office over a graft scandal involving South Korea’s conglomerates at a time of rising tensions with North Korea and China. Park becomes South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office, capping months of paralysis and turmoil as hundreds of thousands crammed the streets to protest a corruption scandal that has also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in a jail cell.

Hawaii becomes 1st state to sue over Donald Trump’s new travel ban 

Hawaii has become the first state to sue to stop President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Attorneys for the state filed the lawsuit yesterday in federal court in Honolulu. The state had previously sued over Trump’s initial travel ban, but that lawsuit was put on hold while other cases played out across the country.

China posts first monthly trade deficit in 3 years as imports soar 

China posted its first monthly trade deficit in three years in February as imports surged at their fastest pace since early 2012, driven by its strong demand for commodities from iron ore to crude oil and coal. China’s February exports unexpectedly fell 1.3 percent from a year earlier, but imports expanded 38.1 percent, well above economists’ forecasts, customs data showed.

Japan’s economy grows revised 0.3% in Q4 

Japan’s economy expanded by a revised 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2016, government data showed, as company investment and a weaker yen propped up growth. The latest GDP figure was marginally higher than an initial estimate of 0.2% growth in the October-December period, but lower than market expectations for a 0.4 percent expansion. It marked the fourth straight quarter of expansion in the world’s third-largest economy.

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