BQuick On Oct. 16: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
This is a roundup of the day’s stories in brief.
1. An Icon Of The 80s Returns In Modern Avatar
Bajaj Auto Ltd. re-entered the scooter market after a decade with an electric version of the iconic Chetak.
- The company unveiled the battery-powered scooter under the Hamara Kal tagline, a throwback to ‘Hamara Bajaj’—the advertising slogan for the Chetak, a household name in the 1980s.
- The price won’t be more than Rs 1 lakh, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director at the company, said at the event.
- The automaker will start retailing the scooter from January in Pune, followed by Bengaluru.
- It’s a keyless vehicle with an auto fall detect, and can be tracked through an app.
- The new Chetak has a range of up to 100-kilometres on a single charge.
The scooter segment will be like a startup, said Rajiv Bajaj.
2. Wanted: Partner To Turn Around JLR
Tata Motors Ltd., that owns Jaguar Land Rover, said it is open to finding partners for the automaker but isn’t planning on selling the embattled unit.
- “We’re not going to sell,” said Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons Ltd..
- “Auto is a core business for us. From revenue terms, auto is our largest company,” he said.
- Tata Motors bought the maker of the Jaguar XE sedan and Land Rover Discovery sport utility vehicle from Ford Motor Co. in 2008.
- After turning it into a cash cow with booming sales in countries like Russia and China, JLR waned to such an extent that it’s had to launch a 2.5 billion-pound ($3.2 billion) savings program and slash thousands of jobs worldwide.
Some problems with JLR were self-inflicted, Chandrasekaran admitted.
3. Sensex Rises, U.S. Stocks Drop
Sensex gained for the fourth day in a row— its longest winning streak since Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden budget speech in July.
- The benchmark rose 0.24 percent or 92.9 points to close at 38,598.99.
- The NSE Nifty 50 rose 0.31 percent or 35.7 points to 11,464.
- The broader markets represented by the NSE Nifty 500 Index rose 0.30 percent.
- “The setup is positive and it suggests that an up move could be in the offing in the Nifty Index,” said Chandan Taparia, Associate Vice President, Motilal Oswal Securities.
- Seven out of 11 sectoral gauges compiled by NSE traded higher.
Follow the day’s trading action here.
U.S. stocks fell, led by a drop in technology shares, as earnings season rolled on.
- Bank of America jumped after deal fees surged, continuing a string of strong bank results. Regional banks including Bank of New York Mellon and PNC Financial advanced after delivering solid quarterly numbers.
- Netflix is slated to deliver after the market closes.
- A dollar gauge edged lower and Treasuries rose after a report showed retail sales unexpectedly declined.
- Gold strengthened 0.4 percent to $1,486.58 an ounce.
Get your daily global markets fix here.
4. Top Mutual Funds’ September Shopping Cart
Inflows into equity mutual funds snapped a four-month rising streak even as the benchmark indices reported their best September in six years after India cut corporate tax rates.
- HDFC Mutual Fund, India’s largest asset manager, has equity assets worth more than Rs 1.46 lakh crore invested in 336 securities. Its largest exposure is in the financial sector at 31.3 percent, followed by industrials at 13.8 percent, according to Bloomberg data.
- ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund’s largest exposure is in financials at 27.4 percent, followed by materials at 9.5 percent.
- SBI Mutual Fund’s highest exposure is in the financial sectors at 39.8 percent, followed by technology at 9.6 percent.
Here’s what India’s largest asset managers bought and sold last month.
5. India’s Fuel Demand At Over Two-Year Low
India's fuel demand slipped to its lowest in over two years in September after a fall in diesel and industrial fuel consumption negated the rise in petrol and LPG consumption.
- Consumption of petroleum products in September dropped to 16.01 million tonnes, its lowest since July 2017, from 16.06 million tonnes in the same month last year, according to data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell.
- Diesel, the most used fuel in the country, saw demand drop by 3.2 percent to 5.8 million tonnes, while naphtha sales were down by a quarter to 844,000 tonnes.
- Fitch Solutions revised downward its India oil demand forecast, reflecting a deteriorating macroeconomic backdrop and rising risks to growth.
These downward trends negated the rise in cooking gas and petrol demand.
6. Anil Agarwal Wants ‘Khichdi’ Auction Model Replaced
India needs to adopt revenue sharing model in the mining of natural resources, Vedanta Ltd.’s Chairman Anil Agarwal said.
- The government needs to respect explorers and introduce a revenue sharing model and provide facilities that encourage private firms to mine resources they have found, he told BloombergQuint in an interview.
- That would mean moving away from the current “khichdi system” of auctioning, he said.
- The global standard, Agarwal said, is companies discovering resources mine them for the government in exchange for 25 percent revenue.
7. China Unexpectedly Injects $28 Billion Of Cash
China caught traders off-guard with a surprise injection into the financial system via loans to banks, ahead of data on Friday which is expected to show a further slowdown in the domestic economy.
- The People’s Bank of China added 200 billion yuan ($28 billion) of one-year cash through the medium-term lending facility on Wednesday.
- It kept the interest rate steady.
- The move took traders by surprise as the authorities usually inject liquidity when previously offered loans come due, and the next batch won’t mature until Nov. 5.
- More than 400 billion yuan of medium-term lending facility will come due early next month
That will provide a window for the PBOC to lower interest rates and inject more liquidity.
8. Ayodhya Case: Hearing Done, Verdict Awaited
India’s top court Wednesday concluded hearing 40 days of arguments over the ownership of land in the northern city of Ayodhya that is at the heart of a long-drawn and polarising religious dispute over the construction of a temple on the site of a demolished mosque.
- The dispute over ownership of the 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya has been India’s most politically divisive and emotive row for decades.
- The promise of building a grand temple to the Hindu god Ram at the Ayodhya site is a key part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Hindu nationalist agenda.
- It was one of the campaign promises that propelled him to re-election this year.
The court did not give a date for the verdict.
9. Kashmir Divides Palm Oil Giants
India, the world’s top palm oil buyer, is shunning purchases from Malaysia after the Southeast Asian nation’s prime minister criticised its policy in Kashmir, sparking the latest trade spat in the region.
- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last month told the United Nations that India “invaded and occupied” Kashmir.
- Since then, many Indian buyers of palm oil have started shifting to Indonesian supplies amid concern that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will curb purchases of the vegetable oil from Malaysia.
- “India will replace Malaysian palm oil imports by buying more from Indonesia and increasing edible oil supplies from Ukraine,” said Bipul Chatterjee, who heads the CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics and Environment in Jaipur, India.
- “It’s the first time ever that India has used its heft as a trade partner to express unhappiness about a political statement,” he said.
The spat is the latest regional diplomatic dispute to impact trade flows.
10. India's Hunger Problem
India slipped to the 102nd position in the Global Hunger Index 2019 of 117 countries, slipping from its 2018 position of 95 and behind neighbours Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Seventeen countries, including Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Cuba and Kuwait, shared the top rank with GHI scores of less than five, the website of the Global Hunger Index that tracks hunger and malnutrition said on Wednesday.
- The report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe termed the level of hunger in India "serious".
- The share of wasting among children in India rose from 16.5 percent in the 2008-2012 period to 20.8 percent in 2014-2018, according to the report.
- Just 9.6 percent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a "minimum acceptable diet", it said.
Even conflict ridden countries like Yemen or Djibouti fared better than India on that front.