Newsletter: 3rd – 9th July 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

Foreign exchange reserves go up $4 billion, reach a record high

India’s foreign exchange reserves rose $4billion to reach a record high of $386.5 billion for the week ended June 30, said the Reserve Bank of India on Friday. This comes on the back of a continuing rise in forex reserves as the RBI is reported to be mopping up dollar reserves, utilising the suitable market conditions.

Government likely to pump more money into PSU banks

The government is likely to infuse more money in state-run banks amid crackdown on bad loans and increasing capital needs under Basel III guidelines. The exact amount will be decided after the first quarter results of banks are available, a senior finance ministry official said.

Net income tax collection rises 14.8 per cent to Rs 1.42 lakh crore in Q1

Net direct tax collection grew by 14.8 per cent to Rs 1.42 lakh crore at the end of first quarter on account of surge in advance tax payments. During April-June, the revenue department also issued refunds to the tune of Rs 55,520 crore. This was, however, 5.2 per cent lower than the refunds issued during the corresponding period last fiscal.

June services PMI soars to eight-month high on new orders

Activity in India’s services sector expanded at its fastest pace in eight months in June, as new business orders surged and demand improved, a private survey showed. The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 53.1 in June from 52.2 in May. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Indian ‘shadow economy’ to shrink to 13.6 per cent of GDP by 2025: ACCA

The “shadow economy” in India will shrink to 13.6 per cent of the GDP by 2025, a study by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said. Shadow economy refers to the production of and trade in goods and services that are deliberately and often illegally concealed from public authorities. The shadow economy in India currently represents 17.22 per cent of GDP, totalling about Rs 26,15,800 crore in 2016.

BUSINESS

IDFC, Shriram Group enter 90-day exclusive talks for $10 billion mega merger

Even as IDFC and Shriram Group readied for a mega merger to create a large finance behemoth, the two groups received verbal clearance from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to go ahead with the deal, Cogencies reported. IDFC and Shriram Group announced brief contours of the merger to create a $10 billion conglomerate.

Cash-strapped Venezuela offers India’s ONGC oil stake

Cash-hungry Venezuela has offered Indian oil firm ONGC Videsh an increased stake in an oil field, as the country seeks to shore up its bruised energy industry and strengthen ties with New Delhi. State oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has proposed selling a 9 percent stake in the San Cristobal field to ONGC Videsh (OVL), a subsidiary of India’s state-owned top explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp.

LIC picks over 3% additional stake in Bank of India for Rs 451 crore

Insurance behemoth LIC has bought an additional stake of over 3 per cent in public sector Bank of India for about Rs 450.88 crore. The Bank of India sold 33,500,000 shares equivalent to over 3.12 per cent equity to LIC through an open market purchase on a preference shares allotment on June 28, 2017, as per bank’s regulatory filing.

Interested only in international biz of Air India: IndiGo

Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, founders of IndiGo, clarified Thursday that their primary interest in Air India is in the carrier’s international operations that include the lowcost Air India Express, and that they are not keen to partner the state in a joint venture for the flagship airline. Gangwal cited the example of United Airlines buying PanAm’s international operations and, later, its London routes.

NMCE, ICEX to merge creating 3rd biggest commodity exchange

National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE) will merge with Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX) creating the country’s third biggest commodity exchange, they said in a statement. The ICEX will hold a 62.8 per cent stake in the merged entity, while NMCE shareholders will own the rest, the companies said.

Tatas, Bharti on a call to explore joint front in telecom and DTH

The Tata Group and Bharti Enterprises have held exploratory talks to evaluate a mega alliance involving their telecom, overseas cable and enterprise services, and direct-to-home TV businesses. Discussions between both sides have revolved around a possible merger between unlisted Tata Teleservices and Tata Sky and the listed Tata Communications with the Sunil Mittal-owned Bharti Airtel, which includes its wholly owned DTH arm.

Reliance Jio may disrupt the market again with a Rs 500 4G VoLTE handset

Reliance Jio is likely to launch its much-awaited 4G VoLTE feature phone within this month, with brokerage HSBC putting the price at as low as Rs 500, a move which could bring in another wave of disruption in the telecom market. The launch could be announced at parent Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting on July 21— would follow Jio’s likely announcement of a new tariff plan with aggressive price-points over the next couple of days with its 84-day Dhan Dhan offer- announced on April 11- drawing to a close.

Microsoft CIO Jim DuBois quits amid layoffs

With Microsoft announcing job cuts as part of reorganising its global sales staff, the company’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jim DuBois has decided to move on, the media reported. Named CIO in 2013, DuBois had been with Microsoft since 1993 where he worked in several roles mostly focused to information technology. Senior Microsoft employee Kurt DelBene will replace DuBois as Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

Chairman of struggling Ericsson Leif Johansson to stand down

Leif Johansson, chairman of Sweden’s Ericsson, plans to quit before the company’s annual meeting in 2018 as the struggling mobile equipment firm tries to restore profitability. Cheaper Chinese rivals have ousted Ericsson as the biggest player in the mobile equipment market while its attempt to boost revenues by broadening its client base to include utilities, transport firms and media companies has been an expensive failure.

Axis Bank emerges the frontrunner to acquire FreeCharge

Axis Bank, India’s third-largest private sector lender, has emerged the frontrunner to acquire FreeCharge, the digital payments platform owned by troubled ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal. The payments unit has been seeking a buyer for several months now, even as its parent negotiates the terms for its own sale. Axis Bank is currently conducting due diligence on FreeCharge and could deliver a payout of up to $100 million to cash-starved Snapdeal.

Lenskart to launch IPO in 3 years, eyes Rs 600 crore business in 2017-18

Online eyewear firm Lenskart plans to launch its initial public offer within next three years to create value and provide an exit option to existing shareholders.

WORLD

Federal Reserve sees steady economy, only ‘moderate’ financial vulnerabilities

The U.S. economy continues to churn out jobs and grow at a steady pace, with investment and consumer confidence both healthy and only moderate signs of risk in financial markets, the U.S. Federal Reserve said in its semiannual report to Congress. The report gave detailed attention to whether the financial system and bond markets posed any particular threat to the country’s eight-year economic expansion.

Rupee devaluation in Pakistan? Currency drops most in 9 years

Pakistan’s rupee plunged the most in nine years, after the central bank was said to have devalued the currency as South Asia’s second largest economy showed signs of stress ahead of elections next year. The rupee fell 3.1 per cent to 108.1 against the dollar at 2:29 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the lowest level since December 2013.

Big banks fail to clear climate test

The world’s biggest banks are continuing to fuel climate change through the financing of “extreme” fossil fuels at a rate that will push the planet beyond the climate change limit agreed upon at the Paris Climate Change Conference in 2015. In the three years ending December 31, 2016, as many as 37 international banks financed 158 companies $290 billion for their “extreme” fossil fuel activities, said the Banking on Climate Change: Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2017.

Donald Trump pledges $639 mn in aid to four countries at G20 summit

U.S. President Donald Trump promised $639 million in aid to feed people left starving because of drought and conflict in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen. Trump’s pledge came during a working session of the G20 summit of world leaders in Hamburg, providing a “godsend” to the United Nations’ World Food Programme, the group’s executive director, David Beasley, told Reuters.

Donald Trump wins key climate, trade concessions at stormy G20

Trump won key concessions on climate and trade from world leaders at the most fractious G20 summit to date, in exchange for preserving the unity of the club of major industrialised and emerging economies. In a final statement agreed by all 20 economies, they acknowledged Trump’s decision to go his own way on taking the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Qatar bans residents, citizens from leaving the country as Saudi deadline nears

After Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar for its support to terror networks, the Qatari government is struggling to tackle the blockade on the country which threatens to disrupt its economy. It has banned its citizens and residents from leaving the country. The ban is part of several drastic measures taken by the government to save its economy.

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