BQuick On Sept. 14: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes
Salt lake workers carry salt in basins collected at the salt pans in Saphale, 100 kilometers north of Mumbai, India (Photographer: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg)  

BQuick On Sept. 14: Top 10 Stories In Under 10 Minutes

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

1. Inflation Remains Well Above Comfort Zone

Retail inflation remained above the Monetary Policy Committee’s target for the fifth consecutive month in August, even though it eased marginally compared to a month ago.

  • CPI inflation was at 6.69% in August compared to a revised estimate of 6.73% in July, according to government data.

  • Inflation in the food and beverages category rose to 8.29% in August, led by higher prices of pulses, meat and fish.

  • At 6.7%, inflation remained well above the MPC’s target of 4 (+/-2)%, limiting the room for interest rate cuts.

Here are the inflation internals.

Wholesale inflation in India inched up for the first time since March as prices of primary articles and manufactured products increased.

  • Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index rose to 0.16% in August compared with a contraction of 0.58% in July.

  • Core WPI, too, is now back in inflationary territory after 13 straight months of deflation, according to Rahul Bajoria, chief India economist at Barclays.

Still, a large gap between WPI and CPI is expected to persist over the medium term.

2. With Few Takers, Air India Sale Conditions May Be Relaxed

India is proposing to drop a condition that the winning bidder for Air India Ltd. will have to take on $3.3 billion of aircraft debt, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is being advised to drop the rule on concern it will deter buyers, the people said, asking not to be identified as the proposal isn’t public.

  • A group of bureaucrats has vetted the plan, and under the new proposition, potential buyers will be allowed to bid on the enterprise value and not on the entity value, the people said.

  • A renewed attempt to sell Air India, which hasn’t made money since 2007, has been hurt by the pandemic, forcing the government to keep extending a deadline to bid.

More details on Air India’s potential sale here.

3. Ambani Tells Carlyle, SoftBank To Wait In Line

Investor demand for Reliance Industries Ltd.’s retail business is so strong that Carlyle Group Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp. are among those that have been put onto a waiting list, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

  • Carlyle and SoftBank have recently expressed interest in investing in Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd., said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

  • RIL has asked the two companies to wait on the sidelines since the Indian conglomerate is already in advanced talks with other financial investors, the people said.

  • The largest allocation is reserved for Amazon.com Inc., Bloomberg News reported last week.

Potential investors could still get their hands on Reliance Retail shares should others cut their commitments.

4. Nifty Surrenders Gains; U.S. Stocks Rally

Indian equity markets gave up gains to end lower, after a sell-off in banking stocks offset the gains made by technology majors.

  • The S&P BSE Sensex ended 0.25% or 97 points lower at 38,756 while the NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.2% to 11,440, at the close of trade.

  • The Nifty Bank ended 1.8% or 400 points lower, dragged mainly by State Bank of India, HDFC Bank Ltd., Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and Axis Bank Ltd.

  • Broader markets outperformed in today's session.

Follow the day’s trading action here.

Global coronavirus cases surpassed 2.9 crore leaving over 9.24 lakh dead.

  • Israel’s cabinet backed a second national lockdown, while gatherings in the U.K. will be restricted as new cases climb at a pace not seen since May.

  • Iran recorded its biggest jump in daily coronavirus figures since mid-August.

  • Pfizer Inc.’s chief executive officer said it’s likely the U.S. will deploy a Covid-19 shot before the end of the year, while AstraZeneca Plc restarted testing after its vaccine trial was halted last week.

Follow the global spread of the virus here.

10. Dream11 Gets Fresh Funds Ahead Of IPL

Dream11 raised $225 million in a fresh round of funding, nearly a month after India's biggest fantasy sports platform bagged the Indian Premier League sponsorship and days before the T20 cricketing event kicks off.

  • The Mumbai-based fantasy sports platform, which allows users to play multiple virtual sports, raised fresh financing from Tiger Global Management, TPG Tech Adjacencies, ChrysCapital and Footpath Ventures through primary and secondary investments, it said in a statement on Monday.

  • While the company didn't reveal valuations, two people in the know told BloombergQuint on the condition of anonymity that the new round values the 12-year-old firm at around $2.5 billion. The firm was last valued at $1.5 billion after a secondary stake purchase by Steadview Capital.

Find out more about the funding round and the company here.

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