BQuick On July 1: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.
1. Covid-19: Amid Rising Cases, Section 144 Imposed In Mumbai
Covid-19 cases in India continue to mount by the day as the country struggles to prevent new infections while reopening the economy.
India added over 18,000 new cases of the novel virus, taking the total tally to more than 5.85 lakh, according to the Health Ministry’s update as of 8 a.m.
Mumbai police on Wednesday issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in the city, restricting movement of people in public places, and said the measure was taken to check rising Covid-19 cases.
The order puts curbs on movement for non-essential work and shall remain so till July 15, unless withdrawn earlier.
Track news and developments around the Covid-19 outbreak in India here.
Globally, cases crossed 1.05 crore with deaths crossing 5.11 lakh.
Tokyo confirmed 67 cases of coronavirus Wednesday, the highest since the state of emergency order was lifted.
Mexico reported 5,432 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, bringing the total 2.26 lakh.
Follow the global spread of the virus here.
2. RBI Kicks Off Liquidity Window For NBFCs
The Reserve Bank of India issued guidelines for a special liquidity facility to support the country’s non-bank lenders.
According to a notification issued by the central bank on Wednesday:
SBI Capital Markets has set up a special purpose vehicle to manage the scheme.
The special purpose vehicle will purchase the short-term papers from eligible NBFCs/HFCs.
The special purpose vehicle will buy investment-grade commercial papers and non-convertible debentures with a residual maturity of not more than three months. This can be a primary issuance or secondary market purchases.
NBFCs/HFCs can utilise the proceeds under this scheme solely for the purpose of extinguishing existing liabilities. Purchases will be made only till September 2020.
However, RBI has laid down strict criteria for NBFCs and HFCs tapping the facility.
3. GST Collection Fell To Record Lows, Then Recovered
The government’s goods and services tax collections improved for the second straight month after dropping to a record low in March as sales fell during the nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The mop-up for May, collected in June, stood at Rs 90,917 crore, according to a statement by the Ministry of Finance.
That’s a 46.6% jump from April and 9% drop from the year-ago period.
The revenue for March had plunged 72% year-on-year to Rs 32,294 crore.
Find out the breakup of the tax collection and what the data indicates.
4. India, U.S. Stocks Rally
Indian stocks rose as investors looked beyond rising coronavirus infections to pick out stocks seen benefiting from government steps to contain the deepening downturn in Asia’s third-biggest economy.
The S&P BSE Sensex advanced 1.4%, after capping its best quarter since 2009.
The NSE Nifty 50 Index added 1.2%.
Financial stocks contributed the most to Wednesday’s gain on the benchmark index.
Seven of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rose, led by a gauge of financial stocks.
Follow the day’s trading action here.
Indian equities, along with their global peers, recovered most of their losses from the worst plunge in over a decade as central banks across the world pumped in trillions to revive economies after the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, it worries Andrew Holland that an event can "prick or burst that bubble” in a liquidity-driven market.
Find out why Holland using the barbell strategy in the market right now.
U.S. stocks climbed after positive coronavirus vaccine developments, better-than-expected manufacturing data and a surprise profit from economic bellwether FedEx Corp.
The S&P 500 extended gains into a third day as an early trial of an experimental shot from Pfizer Inc. and BioNtech SE showed it’s safe and prompted patients to produce antibodies.
The New York-based drugmaker led gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. FedEx had its biggest-ever surge on a closing basis.
A closely watched measure of U.S. manufacturing jumped in June to the highest in more than a year, signaling the resumption of growth as pandemic-related lockdowns ended.
Treasuries and the dollar fell.
Get your daily fix of global markets here.
5. DHFL's Life Insurance Unit Sale Plan
Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd., which is under insolvency resolution proceedings, is looking to sell its 51% stake in unit Pramerica Life Insurance for Rs 2,500 crore, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The sale will take place outside Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code resolution process which is currently underway, the people told BloombergQuint on the condition of anonymity.
Since the stake in Pramerica Life Insurance is owned via DHFL Investments Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of DHFL, lenders to the housing finance company can attempt a sale outside the bankruptcy process.
According to the people quoted above, the sale process will be initiated in a few weeks and the sale proceeds will add to the housing finance company’s cash holdings, making it a more attractive proposition for bidders.
This is not the first time that DHFL’s stake in Pramerica Life Insurance is being considered for sale.
6. Patanjali Can Sell Coronil, But Not As Covid-19 Cure
The Ministry of Ayush has allowed Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. to make and sell its new drug as an immunity booster without claiming that it can cure Covid-19.
The Divya Coronil tablet is registered by the Uttarakhand licensing authority against respiratory tract ailments and all types of fever, but not as a cure for Covid-19, the ministry said in a letter to Patanjali.
BloombergQuint has reviewed a copy.
It, however, allowed the company to continue clinical trials.
The letter also said the ministry “observed that Divya Pharmacy, Patanjali Research Foundation Trust, Haridwar has "initiated necessary activities for the management of Covid-19 appropriately which is duly noted”.
But what is Covid management?
7. June Auto Sales: More Of The Same
Indian automakers are reporting their sales data for June today, amid supply-chain constraints emerging out of the recent India-China border conflict and lingering effects of a lockdown.
Sales of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. fell 54% year-on-year to 57,428 units in June.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. saw sales decline 55% year-on-year to 19,358 units. However, tractor sales increased 10% to 36,544 units.
Hero MotoCorp Ltd. said sales quadrupled over last month and that sales have now reached 90% of pre-pandemic levels.
TVS Motor Co. sales fell 33.2% to 1,98,387 units.
Find out how Indian automakers fared in June.
8. UPI, Aadhaar-Enabled Payments Hit Record High
Digital payments platforms saw a continued rebound in June as economic activity picked up from the lows of March and April and more consumers took to online payments.
Data released by the National Payments Corporation of India on Wednesday showed a pick-up across all key digital payments platforms.
Transactions via the Unified Payment Interface and the Aadhaar-Enabled Payment Systems hit record highs.
There were 134 crore transactions conducted via UPI in June compared to 123 in the month before, according to NPCI data.
While transactions on the Bharat Bill Payments System fell 70% between March and April this year, the platform continues to on-board new customer and bill payment companies.
Read more to see how India's digital payments ecosystem fared in June.
9. India To Shun Chinese Telecom Gear?
India may advise local telecom operators to shun equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp., people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News, as relations between the neighbors deteriorated amid a border dispute.
The government is also planning to review existing contracts of state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. with Chinese companies, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is under discussion.
The telecom ministry has approached private companies including Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., and Vodafone Idea Ltd. on their use of Chinese network equipment, they said.
Equipment makers from China, including Huawei, have been eyeing a dominant role in securing contracts for 5G rollout in India.
10. Masks, The True Measure Of Covid-Era Patriotism
Forget the pointless distractions of equating loyalty to the nation with #BoycottChina and follow this better way to display your patriotism, writes Priya Ramani.
Wear a mask, save your fellow citizens.
Be patriotic, it costs nothing.
The marketing possibilities are endless.
Since it’s only a scrap of cloth, every citizen can participate.