BQuick On Oct. 23: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
A gantry crane stands in the DP World Ltd. terminal at Port Metro Vancouver in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On Oct. 23: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

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

1. Banks Pull Out All The Stops To Lure Buyers

The festive season will not be the same this year. Covid-19 infections are still high. Mobility is restricted. Many consumers are grappling with the loss of jobs and income. Against this backdrop, lenders are going the extra mile to make home and auto loans seem attractive.

  • State Bank of India has brought home loan rates to the lowest they have been in years. Punjab National Bank, too, is offering similar rates.

  • Private banks liked HDFC Ltd., Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and Axis Bank Ltd. are matching some of these offers by public lenders.

  • A similar story is unfolding for auto loans, too.

Can these sops help improve credit offtake for lenders?

2. MPC 2.0 Widens The Debate

India’s reconstituted Monetary Policy Committee widened the economic debate beyond the committee’s mandate of controlling retail inflation using a single benchmark policy rate, showed minutes of the October meeting released on Friday.

  • In doing so, the committee chose to stay focused on growth with some members suggesting that room for further rate cuts may open up as inflation falls in the second half of the year.

  • In contrast to the August meet, the MPC this time struck a sanguine note on inflation.

Most members of the inflation targeting-MPC gave primacy to growth.

3. Earnings: JSW Steel, Nestle India, Tech Mahindra

JSW Steel Ltd.’s quarterly profit plunged but India’s most valuable steelmaker was confident it had turned a corner.

  • Net profit fell 38% over last year to Rs 1,590 crore.

  • Revenue rose 9.6% to Rs 19,260 crore.

Rural demand and exports spearheaded a revival in consumption.

Nestle India Ltd.’s net sales rose on improving demand in the first full quarter of operations after India eased lockdown curbs and factories limped back to normal capacities.

  • Revenue increased 10% over the year ago period to Rs 3,541.7 crore.

  • Profit, however, declined 1% to Rs 587 crore.

Maggi noodles maker's margin expanded.

Tech Mahindra Ltd.’s quarterly profit rose as the pandemic’s impact on information technology firms started to fade.

  • Net profit rose 11% sequentially to Rs 1,063 crore.

  • Revenue in U.S. dollar terms rose 4.8% to $1,265.4 million.

  • Margin expanded 390 basis points to 18.2%.

Get more details here.

Also read: Yes Bank Q2 Results: Net Profit Up Sequentially Even As Provisions Rise

4. Nifty Inches Higher; U.S. Stocks Trade Mixed

Indian equity markets ended a rangebound session with modest gains, registering a weekly advance in the process.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 0.3%, or 127 points, higher at 40,685.

  • The NSE Nifty 50 index too ended 0.3% higher at 11,930.

  • Auto stocks were the top performers today.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

8. Surprise Boost For Truck Parts Suppliers

As the pandemic decimated demand at home, Indian suppliers of truck components such as Bharat Forge Ltd. and Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd. have something to cheer about: rising demand for heavy trucks in the U.S.

  • Sales of Class 8 trucks—gross vehicle weight rating of more than 16.5 tonnes—rose to a 12-month high of 32,000 units in September in the U.S., according to data from FTR, a transport intelligence provider.

  • The U.S. accounts for 24% of India’s $8.8-billion auto-component exports, most of which are for the Class 8 truck market.

Read more to see how Indian firms can tap this spike.

Also read: Coronavirus India Updates: Active Cases Drop Below 7 Lakh As Fresh Infections Slow

9. Storm In A Teacup?

Raw tea prices have fallen off their peak seen earlier this year. Yet, margins of producers in the world’s second-biggest market for the commodity may remain under pressure.

  • Prices of raw tea rose between June and September after a decline in output as there weren’t enough pickers to pluck tea leaves as India announced one of the world’s strictest Covid-19 lockdowns.

  • While tea has since turned cheaper, it’s still costlier than a year ago.

  • And producers are also saddled with inventory purchased when prices were high.

Here’s what India’s biggest tea producers are saying.

10. A Cure For Banks, Worse Than The Disease Itself?

When India went into a clean-up of bank balance sheets, it was anticipated that the impact would play out over an extended time period, in many ways. But one assumption has worsened its impact.

  • It was thought that as a truer picture of bank balance sheets emerges, these lenders will be able to at least partially raise capital from the markets.

  • On that assumption, the recapitalisation of government-owned lenders was staggered over a period of three years.

  • The lack of upfront and adequate recapitalisation led to a significant fall in credit flow, a surprising increase in lending to zombie firms, and eventually, lower economic growth, said a paper co-authored by Yakshup Chopra, Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Prasanna L. Tantri and published in the Review of Financial Studies.

“The cure can possibly be worse than the disease itself,” the paper said.

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