A 1.29 carat yellow diamond from Duttson Diamonds is displayed in London, U.K., (Photographer: Suzanne Plunkett/Bloomberg News)  

BQuick On August 30: Top 10 News Stories In Under 10 Minutes  

This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.

1. Auto Sales May Hit A Bump In August

Passenger vehicle sales growth is expected to slow down in August because of a delayed festival season and Kerala floods, according to BloombergQuint’s survey of 30 dealers across the country.

  • Sales of cars and utility vehicles are likely to remain flat after falling for the first time in nine months in July as automakers increased prices to offset higher commodity costs and a weaker rupee.
  • Sales of trucks are expected to continue growing in August.
BQuick On August 30: Top 10 News Stories In Under 10 Minutes  

Read more takeaways from the survey.

2. General Insurers Brace For Rs 1,300-Crore Claim Payout

Kerala’s worst floods in a century could cost general insurers at least Rs 1,295 crore—due to motor and property damages.

  • General insurers across India received 10,928 claims as on Aug. 24., according to the first round of claims data compiled by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India.
  • Of the total claims, nearly half were for motor damages amounting to Rs 100 crore.
  • About 1,200 were related to commercial and residential property damages worth Rs 750 crore.
The number of claims is expected to rise by the next week.
PJ Joseph, Member (Non-life), IRDAI

And then there is crop damage to cover as well.

3. Indian Markets Fall For Second Straight Day; U.S. Equities Slump

Indian equity benchmarks fell for second straight day dragged by private sector lenders as derivative contracts for the month of August expired.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex Index fell 0.08 percent or 33 points to 38,690.
  • The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 0.13 percent or 15 points to 11,677.
  • Nine out of 19 sector gauges compiled by BSE declined, led by the S&P BSE Energy Index's 1 percent drop.
  • The S&P BSE Utilities index was the top gainer, up 1.4 percent.

Follow the day's trading action here.

U.S. equities slipped with European shares as trade and geopolitical issues weighed on sentiment.

  • Dollar rallied as consumer-spending data and inflation figures signaled U.S. policy makers can keep gradually raising interest rates.
  • The S&P 500 Index edged lower a day after closing at a record high.
  • Almost every sector fell on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Get your fix of global markets action here.

4. Get Ready For Longer Trading Hours

Stock investors should get ready for longer trading hours in India. BSE Ltd. has now applied for an extension in trading hours for the equity market as well, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Ashish Chauhan told BloombergQuint in an interview.

  • SEBI had earlier this year allowed stock exchanges to extend trading in equity derivatives by more than eight-and-a-half hours to bring the timings in line with the commodity markets.
I am sure investors will slowly adjust (to the extended trading hours) like we did in 1994-95.
Ashish Chauhan, MD & CEO, BSE

Watch the full conversation with Chauhan here.

5. Rupee Fall: Tightrope Walk Between Policy Options And Consequences

For now, the government and the RBI have not communicated any discomfort with the pace of the rupee depreciation. But should the country need to stem the fall, what are the options?

  • Should we allow more flows through capital market?
  • Or, just like in 2013, should we look at a one-time measures to attract fund flows?
  • Or, should linking of domestic bonds to global bond indices be pursued as a structural solution?

The choice is between one-off policy measures or automatic stabilisers, writes Soumyajit Niyogi.

6. FedEx’d Diamonds Fueled India’s Biggest Bank Fraud

The price of a three-carat yellow diamond alternately shrank and spiked by about a million dollars as it moved across the globe between shadowy companies allegedly controlled by Nirav Modi over about five weeks in 2011, according to a report by a U.S. bankruptcy examiner.

  • The practice of round-tripping--trading a good repeatedly to give the appearance of distinct transactions--was central to the largest bank fraud in Indian history and ensuing criminal charges against Modi, according to the report filed on Aug. 25.
  • Round-tripping, which ultimately totaled $213.8 million between 2011 and 2017, the alleged duration of the fraud, generated shipping invoices that were given to state-owned Punjab National Bank to obtain short-term loans using letters of undertaking.
  • The proceeds were then used to fund Modi’s lifestyle and business entities as well as using the funds from new loans to repay the old ones as they came due.

Read more on how Nirav Modi pulled off the PNB fraud.

7. Rising Prices Of Iron Ore Pellets Are Helping Indian Steelmakers

Prices of iron ore pellets jumped to their highest in three years in August, benefiting exporters of the key steelmaking raw material.

  • Indian steelmakers too stand to gain as they remain insulated from the hike since they produce their own pellets.
  • Prices of pellets rose 29 percent over the last one month to Rs 8,100 a tonne, according to Edelweiss. This has also pushed up prices of finished goods.
  • Such rates are likely to persist over the next few months, benefiting steelmakers, the brokerage said.

Find out the three reasons driving up pellet prices.

8. Electric Cablemakers Cut Prices As Copper Turns Cheaper

Electric cables have become cheaper as global copper prices fell, according to a BloombergQuint survey of dealers.

  • Prices were cut in the range of 5-12 percent across brands, according to the survey of eight dealers across Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Bengaluru.
  • Copper comprises over two-thirds of raw material costs for cablemakers.
  • “There’s been a benefit in lower raw material costs, which the organized players have passed on to consumers in the form of price reduction,” Harshit Kapadia, research analyst at Elara Capital, said.

Here’s how copper’s lacklustre run is leading to cheaper cables.

9. What The Faulty Hip Implant Saga Tells Us

The faulty hip implant problem that could hurt an estimated several thousand Indian patients is the story of not just a faulty device and potentially criminal lapses by the manufacturer, but also government apathy, and the lack of appropriate legal remedies, writes Murali Neelakantan.

  • The drug inspector knew of the recall in 2010 and a criminal complaint was lodged in 2011, but CDSCO waited until December 2013 to issue the recall notice.
  • Had the government diligently prosecuted J&J, the distributor, hospitals and doctors involved for criminal negligence, it could have claimed compensation for all the victims in that proceeding.
  • Patients have 6 options now: civil suit, criminal proceeding, class action, seek government legislation, approach a consumer forum, join the U.S. mass tort.

To know which of these would work best, read this.

10. The World’s Richest Aren’t Giving Away Fast Enough

Warren Buffett gave himself a challenge when outlining his philanthropic vision at the start of this decade. He wanted to give away the proceeds from all his Berkshire shares for charitable causes.

  • That task -- the wholesale gifting of one of the largest fortunes ever -- has only gotten harder.
  • Buffett has since given away more shares worth over $30 billion but his wealth continues to soar over $87 billion.
  • He's not the only one. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg had made similar pledges.

Yet billions of dollars of donations later, their fortunes are higher than ever.