BQuick On Oct. 6: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
This is a roundup of the day’s top stories in brief.
1. India’s New Look MPC To Meet This Week
India’s Monetary Policy Committee will meet next between Oct. 7 and 9, the Reserve Bank of India said in a release on Tuesday.
The earlier scheduled meeting of the committee had been deferred due to a delay in the reconstitution of the panel.
On Monday, the government said Ashima Goyal, Jayanth R Varma and Shashanka Bhide will join the six-member panel for a four-year period.
The first meeting of the new MPC will likely conclude in a status quo on interest rates.
The new MPC may see a more diverse mix of views, with the three external appointees coming from specialisations such as macroeconomics, macroeconomic modelling, agricultural economics and financial markets.
Of the three new members, the markets will be most familiar with Goyal and her views, which are often seen as ‘dovish’.
Varma is well known in financial market circles, having been formerly associated with India’s capital market regulator.
Bhide will be the relatively unknown entrant into the MPC. Much of his work has been in the area of agricultural economics and poverty.
Economists don’t see an immediate change in policy directions with the new MPC appointments.
2. ADIA To Invest Rs 5,513 Crore In Reliance Retail
A unit of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will invest Rs 5,513 crore ($750 million) in Reliance Industries Ltd.’s retail arm, as billionaire Mukesh Ambani continues to enlist marquee backers for the business and adding to the $4.4 billion he has mopped up in recent weeks.
ADIA will buy a 1.2% stake in Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd., according to an exchange filing Tuesday, valuing the business at Rs 4.29 lakh crore.
With the latest investment, RRVL has raised Rs 37,710 crore from global investors including Silver Lake, KKR, General Atlantic, Mubadala, GIC, TPG and ADIA in less than four weeks, the company said in the filing.
The latest round builds on the success of Jio Platforms Ltd.
3. Nifty At Highest Level Since February
Indian equity markets extended their rally, ending higher for the fourth straight day.
The S&P BSE Sensex closed 1.5% or 601 points higher at 39,574.
The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 1.4% or 159 points to close at 11,662.
Both benchmark indices ended at their highest level since February this year.
Follow the day’s trading action here.
5. Axis Bank Announces Pay Hikes
India’s third-largest private lender is joining its larger rivals in offering pay hikes to staff even as the economic fall out of the coronavirus pandemic threatens profit growth.
Axis Bank Ltd. will increase staff salaries between 4% and 12% from Oct. 1 based on performance, people with knowledge of the plans told Bloomberg News.
The Mumbai-based lender, which has about 76,000 employees, also paid bonuses to its staff, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.
The pay rises come as the coronavirus pandemic forced some local and global peers to cut jobs and pay.
6. Dixon, Foxconn, Samsung Among 16 PLI Proposals Approved
The Narendra Modi government has cleared 16 proposals from domestic and international companies entailing investment of Rs 11,000 crore under the production linked incentive scheme to manufacture mobile phones worth Rs 10.5 lakh crore over the next five years.
The companies include iPhone maker Apple's contract manufacturers Foxconn Hon Hai, Wistron and Pegatron, apart from Samsung and Rising Star, according to a Press Information Bureau release.
Domestic companies whose proposals have been approved include Lava, Bhagwati (Micromax), Padget Electronics (Dixon Technologies).
The proposals will generate more than 2 lakh direct jobs in the next five years.
7. India’s Services Activity Improves For Fifth Straight Month
A gauge of India’s services sector improved for the fifth straight month as economic activity picked up pace after the nation eased lockdown curbs. Still, it's just a tad below the expansion zone.
The India Services Business Activity Index, compiled by IHS Markit, stood at 49.8 in September compared with 41.8 in August, according to a media statement.
A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in business activity.
With manufacturing activity also improving, the Composite PMI Output Index rose to 54.6 in September from 46 in August.
Services employment dropped for the seventh month in a row and at a quicker rate than in August.
8. Amazon’s Month-Long Diwali Sale
Amazon.com Inc. is extending its Diwali sales event to an entire month this year, hoping to outdo rival Walmart Inc.‘s Flipkart in the race to unlock latent demand as India’s shoppers emerge from drawn-out pandemic lockdowns.
Amazon and Flipkart are pulling out all the stops for the country’s most important shopping season, which starts in mid-October.
But unlike Flipkart, which is sticking to a six-day event, Amazon plans to keep the discounts going right up to the mid-November Diwali celebration, having seen a 60% surge in new merchants on its platform.
Both platforms have also recruited thousands of local stores to serve customers.
9. Gig Workers And India’s New Labour Laws
Gig economy workers are now eligible for life and disability cover, health and other benefits. But they are worried that it may lead to deduction in their income.
Parliament last month passed the rules that include such freelance workers in the social security code.
But parity with formal employees on benefits could increase costs for India’s gig economy.
Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice president at staffing firm TeamLease Services, has cautioned that over-legislation could kill the gig economy itself.
New rules are also yet to clarify on the flexibility of doing multiple jobs by these gig workers.
10. India’s New Covid-19 Cases At 42-Day Low
Active coronavirus cases in India continued to fall with the country reporting it’s lowest daily infection rate since late August.
India added over 61,000 fresh cases in a day -- lowest in 42 days -- taking the total tally close to 67 lakh, according to health ministry data.
Active cases have continued to fall and they now form only 13.7% of India’s total confirmed cases.
Track the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic in India, here.
Globally, cases crossed 3.55 crore leaving over 10.4 lakh dead.
Germany’s new coronavirus cases jumped the most since mid-April, highlighting Europe’s struggles to keep the pandemic in check.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government is working to get the country “back to normal” by this time next year.
Malaysia marked another record single-day increase in cases as the northern state of Kedah emerged as a new hotspot.
Follow the global spread of the virus here.