Newsletter: 13th November-19th November , 2017

INDIAN ECONOMY

 

Moody’s has raised India`s credit rating from the lowest investment grade of Baa3 to Baa2, and changed the outlook from stable to positive

It`s the first upgrade of India`s rating in 14 years. Cost of borrowings for corporates and banks is set to come down following the upgradation. The timing of this upgradation is critical as the election is around the corner and opposition is criticising moves like GST and Demonetisation.
Centre approves Rs. 10,000 Crore for 107 irrigation projects in Maharashtra: Fadnavis

The amount will be received in next two years. The completion of the projects will ensure largescale irrigation facilities in the districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada, known for suicides by farmers, besides in North and Western Maharashtra.
India should consider bad banks to deal with stressed asset: Asian Bankers Association Chairman
India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is not the only way to deal with stressed borrowers and the government should look at other options, including the formation of a bad bank, Asian Bankers Association Chairman Daniel Wu said. “I understand that the government may want to inject more capital in these banks, but from my personal experience, that is going to be ineffective,” he said.

Confident to go past direct tax collection target of Rs 9.80 Lakh Crore: CBDT 
“The collections have been buoyant and very good. I am very happy to say that the net growth of collections is about 15.2 percent at the moment and I would say that the individual assesses under the advance tax category have responded very well. The advance tax of the individual assesses rose by 30 percent, which is quite heartening for the department,” CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra said. He added that the department had witnessed an overall increase of 20 percent in returns filed post demonetisation and hence, the “tax will be much more”.

Delhi to get BS-VI fuel two years early to tackle the pollution 
Bharat Stage VI fuel will now be available with effect from 1 April 2018 in Delhi, the petroleum ministry said, and added that it is examining the possibility of introducing BS-VI fuel across the national capital region by 1 April 2019. A 2016 report by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, showed that cars and jeeps emit less than 10% of particulate matter, while trucks are the bigger culprits. A big contributor to Delhi’s air pollution is road dust, which accounts for about 35% of tiny particles known as PM 2.5 in the air, followed by vehicles at 25%. Other contributors are domestic cooking, power plants and industries.

India increases import duties on edible oil as domestic price plunge below MSP
India has increased import duties on various edible oils ranging between 60% to even 100% on some oils like crude palm oil. The new rates are as under: Import duty on crude soyabean oil 30% (17.5), soyabean refined oil 30% (20%), palm crude oil 30% (15%).

 

India, EU hold discussions on proposed free trade agreement  

Senior officials of India and European Union (EU) held discussions on the long-stalled free trade pact and expressed willingness to address issues in a time-bound manner, the department of commerce said. Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposed BTIA have witnessed many hurdles with both sides having major differences on key issues like intellectual property rights, duty cut in automobile and spirits, and liberal visa regime.
Number of high risk PPP highway projects fall: CRISIL 
RBI gets ready to train its guns on 50 more stressed accounts .The proportion of under-construction, high-risk highway projects has reduced significantly from 53% two years back to 21%. Today, only 2,000 km of the 9,400 km of highway projects under construction awarded by the NHAI on a build operate-transfer (BOT) basis, are at high risk. Apart from reduced risk, policy measures by the NHAI also resulted in a doubling of highway construction from 12 km per day in fiscal 2015 to 23 km in fiscal 2017. The pace is expected to quicken to 40 Km in near-term.
The regulator may set a March 31 deadline for banks to find a resolution on these or commence bankruptcy proceedings against the borrowers. These accounts are in addition to the 41 that the central bank has already identified, including several against which banks have now started bankruptcy proceedings.
Power, oil companies to remain publicly owned: FM Jaitley 

The statement comes on the back of the government’s bullish efforts to meet the current financial year’s disinvestment target of over Rs 72,500 crore. This includes Rs 46,500 crore from a minority stake sale, Rs 15,000 crore from strategic disinvestment and Rs 11,000 crore from the listing of PSU insurance companies. Total disinvestment proceeds in the current financial year, as of November 1, were Rs 30,185.67 crore. The government is looking to raise close to Rs 9,000 crore by selling 10 per cent equity stake each in state-run companies BHEL and Oil India Ltd.
Indian army builds defence against outdated technology 

In a move that could unlock defence contracts of more than Rs 25,000 crore, the government is in the process of amending its defence procurement manual, which will enable the armed forces to procure the latest tech in a speedy manner.

BUSINESS

Moody’s withdraws RCom’s corporate family rating on “default” 

Moody’s Investors Service has withdrawn debt-laden Reliance Communications corporate family rating, citing a missed scheduled payment related to the company s dollar bond. “The semi-annual interest payment on its USD 300 million senior secured bond was due on November 6, 2017. According to the indenture, the company had a seven-day grace period, after which an event of default would occur,” Moody s said.

 

Airtel receives CCI nod for Tata Tele’s consumer business buy

After CCI’s nod, approvals are needed from the SEBI, National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), shareholders and depart of telecom (DOT). As part of the October agreement, Airtel will absorb Tata consumer mobile business operations across the country in nineteen circles — 17 under TTSL and 2 under TTML. These circles represent bulk of India’s population and customer base. Besides customers, the merger will also enable Bharti Airtel to further bolster its strong spectrum foot-print with the addition of 178.5 MHz spectrum (of which 71.3 MHz is liberalised) in the 850, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands.

 

Vodafone pegs $5 billion valuation for 42% stake in Indus towers

The country’s second-largest operator, which saw a 15.8% drop to Rs 19,002 crore in its service revenue and a 39.2% fall in its operating profit to Rs 4,075 crore in the first half of the financial year amid intense price competition, is seeing a “quicker-than-expected progress” on its equal merger with No. 3 telco Idea Cellular, which it expects to be closed by September 2018. Vodafone India’s ARPU fell to Rs 132 in the second quarter from Rs 141 in the first quarter.
Social spend of PSU’s down 10% in 2016-17

The total social spend of 49 PSUs went down to Rs 2,630 crore from Rs 2,935 crore spent by 46 PSUs in 2015-16, the data showed. As per CSR rules, which came into force in April 2014, companies subject to the provisions of the law have to mandatorily invest 2% of their net profit in CSR projects. Companies with net worth of Rs 500 crore and above or revenue of Rs 1,000 crore and above or net profit of Rs 5 crore and above have to spend 2% of average net profits of the past three year. Education saw the maximum spends, followed by healthcare.
Toshiba, Tech Mahindra partner to build smart factories
This partnership aims to leverage strengths of both sides and offer a one stop solution for manufacturer customers with the latest IoT technologies and system integration capabilities from both sides, a company statement said. Toshiba Digital Solutions developed Meister series, a suite of smart manufacturing solutions, by leveraging manufacturing expertise built up through experience in manufacturing businesses ranging from semiconductors to social infrastructure, it added.

Bain-Piramal, Aion among 4 in race to buy 58% stake in GTL Infrastructure 

The four bidders include Bain-Piramal joint venture asset reconstruction firm, Aion Capital, a foreign telecom company, and a lesser-known investment firm Beam Investments. There are 16 lenders to GTL Infra  including SBI, IDBI, United Bank of India and Dena Bank  and they are expecting Rs 10,000 crore from the stake sale. GTL Infra had gone for strategic debt reconstruction (SDR) in 2016. Under the scheme, the lenders had converted their debt of about Rs 8,500 crore into equity and have been looking to sell it.
Alibaba seeks CCI nod to buy stake in BigBasket 
“The proposed combination relates to the acquisition and purchase of shares of Supermarket Grocery Supplies by Alibaba Singapore,” as per a CCI notice. The notice, however, did not spell out the details of the proposed investment, including the quantum of stake and the financial value of the deal. The company has raised over USD 200 million from investors including Abraaj Group, Bessemer Venture Partners, Growthstory, Helion Venture Partners, IFC and Sands Capital. According to a report by Franchise India, the online grocery market is expected to be Rs 2.7 billion market by 2018-19.
Larsen & Toubro Infotech to acquire Syncordis SA

The transaction, which is expected to close within 6-8 weeks, will help LTI expand its core banking implementation capability. The enterprise value payable for the acquisition of 100 per cent share capital of Syncordis SA and Syncordis India is 14.65 million euros and 0.35 million euros, respectively on a cash-free, debt-free basis and is subject to customary working capital adjustments. It added that additionally, an amount of 13.50 million euros may be payable over a period of 4-5 years, contingent on the performance of the target entity.

 

WORLD

 

North Korea sentences Trump to death for insulting Kim Jong-un 
North Korea’s state media has criticised Donald trump for insulting leader Kim Jong-Un, saying the US president deserved the death penalty and calling him a coward for cancelling a visit to the inter-Korean border. The visit was part of a marathon five-nation Asia tour by the US president aimed largely at galvanising regional opposition to the North’s nuclear weapons ambitions. Since becoming president, Trump has engaged in an escalating war of words with Kim Jong-un, trading personal insults and threats of military strikes and raising concerns about an outbreak of hostilities.

Russia again vetoes bid to renew Syria gas attacks probe 

Russia cast a second veto in as many days at the UN Security Council on Friday to block the renewal of a UN-led investigation to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. A draft resolution put forward by Japan would have extended the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) for 30 days to allow time for negotiations on a wider compromise. But Russia used its veto power to prevent adoption after 12 council members voted in favour of the measure. China abstained. It was the 11th time that Russia has used its veto power to stop council action targeting its ally Syria.

Governments keep global climate deal on track despite US pullout 

Almost 200 nations kept a 2015 global agreement to tackle climate change on track. Delegates agreed to launch a process in 2018 to start reviewing existing plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions as part of a long-term effort to ratchet up ambition. The Paris pact aims to limit a rise in average world temperatures to “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, ideally 1.5 (5.4F) to limit more droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels. But existing policies are on track to cause a rise of about three degrees (5.4F) by 2100. The “Talanoa Dialogue” would be a step towards tighter policies.

Calls mount in Zimbabwe’s ruling party for Mugabe to resign 

Eight out of the ten provincial committees of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party called on President Robert Mugabe to step down, a media report said. The call came after the military takeover of the government earlier this week. The provinces accused Mugabe of allowing the formation of cabals and called for the renunciation of the G40 faction allegedly led by First Lady Grace Mugabe, Xinhua news agency quoted the state broadcaster as reporting on Friday.
 

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