Top business news of the day: ICRA says India's festival season could help pick up demand; CARS24 raises $450 million in funding from DST Global, others, and more

The BSE benchmark Sensex.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Used-cars platform CARS24 announced a fundraise of $450 million, led by DST Global, Falcon Edge, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and others. Ratings agency ICRA said India's upcoming festive season raises hopes for consumer demand picking up, while noting the "unconvincing" performance of high frequency indicators so far this month.

Separately, Facebook India said it has appointed ex-IAS officer and former Uber executive Rajiv Aggarwal as the Director of Public Policy.

4:59 P.M.

Will focus on new products, markets for diversification of exports basket: FIEO

Apex exporters' body Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) on Monday said it will focus on new products and markets for diversification with a view to boost the country's outbound shipments.

FIEO President A Sakthivel also said that the order booking position is encouraging till October, but many exporters are not in a position to take further contracts due to erosion of liquidity and uncertainties on the policy front, PTI reported.

4:56 P.M.

Central bank group BIS warns of green asset bubble risk

The central bank to the world's central banks, the Bank for International Settlements, has warned of the growing risk of a price bubble in environmentally friendly-focused asset markets.

Increasing urgency to limit global warming and tackle other issues such as racial and social inequality has seen Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing explode in popularity in recent years, Reuters reported.

Traffic flows past in front of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel December 5, 2013.

Traffic flows past in front of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel December 5, 2013.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

 

4:53 P.M.

PNB earns ₹170 cr in FY21 by levying charges on non-maintenance of minimum balance

State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) collected nearly ₹170 crore by levying charges on customers for not maintaining the required minimum balance in their accounts during 2020-21, according to RTI information, PTI reported.

The lender’s revenue earned from such charges stood at ₹286.24 crore in 2019-20, PTI reported.Banks levy such charges on a quarterly basis during a fiscal year

4:35 P.M.

India to resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines next month: Mandaviya

India will resume export of surplus COVID-19 vaccines next month under the 'Vaccine Maitri' programme and to meet its commitment to the COVAX global pool, but vaccinating its own citizens remains the topmost priority of the government, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday.

Addressing the media, the minister said the government will receive over 30 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines in October and over 100 crore doses in the next three months, according to a PTI report.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

4:32 P.M.

FDI key to India's aspiration to be a $5 trillion economy: Deloitte CEO

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is critically important for India to become a $5 trillion economy, Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen said while noting that over two-fifths of the 1,200 business leaders surveyed in the U.S., UK, Japan and Singapore are planning additional or first-time investments in India.

Referring to the survey, he said India continues to be "one of the most attractive" FDI destinations, according to a PTI report.

Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen

Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen   | Photo Credit: Photo by special arrangement

 

4:26 P.M.

Rupee slumps 26 paise to close at 73.74 against U.S. dollar

The Indian rupee fell by 26 paise to close at 73.74 (provisional) against the U.S. dollar on Monday, tracking a strong American currency in the overseas market and muted trend in domestic equities.

At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local currency opened at 73.82 and finally settled for the day at 73.74 a dollar, down 26 paise over its previous close, PTI reported. In the previous session on Friday, the rupee had settled at 73.48 against the U.S. dollar.

4:24 P.M.

Sensex tanks 525 pts on global selloff; Nifty drops below 17,400

Equity benchmark Sensex plunged 525 points on Monday, led by losses in index majors HDFC twins, Tata Steel and ICICI Bank amid a selloff in global markets.

The 30-share BSE index ended 524.96 points or 0.89% lower at 58,490.93. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty tumbled 188.25 points or 1.07% to 17,396.90, PTI reported.

3:41 P.M.

Govt clears sugar export subsidy worth ₹1,800 crore so far this season

The Centre has so far cleared ₹1,800 crore in subsidy to sugar mills for undertaking a mandated export of 6 million tonnes of the sweetener in the 2020-21 season-ending this month, according to a senior food ministry official, PTI reported.

The government had to offer export subsidies during the last three seasons to reduce surplus stocks and help cash-starved sugar mills clear cane payments to growers on time. It offered subsidies for the export of a fixed quota of sugar.

3:30 P.M.

Adani Green Energy board appoints Romesh Sobti as an additional director

Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) on Monday said its board has appointed Romesh Sobti as an additional director.

"Board of directors of company has, on recommendation of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee, appointed Romesh Sobti as an additional director (Non-Executive, Independent) of company to hold office up to date of ensuing annual general meeting", the company stated in a BSE filing, according to PTI.

3:12 P.M.

FinMin to kick-start budgetary exercise from Oct 12

The finance ministry will kick-start the exercise to prepare the annual Budget for 2022-23 from October 12 amidst signs of revival of the Indian economy hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget for the next year will have to address critical issues of demand generation, job creation and putting the economy on a sustained 8% plus growth path, according to PTI.

It will be the fourth budget of the Modi 2.0 government and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

3:10 P.M.

Deep Vision raises $35 mn from Tiger Global, others

Tech firm Deep Vision, Inc on Monday said it has raised $35 million (about ₹257.8 crore) in funding, led by Tiger Global.

The series B round - which was oversubscribed - also saw participation from series A investors, Exfinity Venture Partners, SiliconMotion, and Western Digital, a statement said. The company has raised about $54 million in funding till date, PTI reported.

3:08 P.M.

India's festival season could bring pick up in demand: ICRA

India's upcoming festive season raises hopes for consumer demand picking up, rating agency ICRA said in a note on Monday, while noting the "unconvincing" performance of high frequency indicators so far this month.

"It appears that the temporary boost, provided by the easing of state-wise restrictions after the second wave of COVID-19 ebbed, petered out," said Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ICRA, the Indian unit of Moody's Investors Service, Reuters reported.

India's festival season

India's festival season   | Photo Credit: Reuters

 

2:44 P.M.

ICICI Home Finance to hire 600 people by December

ICICI Home Finance Company on Monday said it will hire over 600 people by the end of this calendar year to cater to increasing demand for home loans.

This recruitment drive across the country’s branch network in sales and credit will enable the company to cater to the increasing demand in the affordable housing segment, it said in a release, according to PTI.

2:31 P.M.

We take allegations of improper actions seriously, investigate them fully: Amazon

Amid reports of Amazon probing bribery-related charges against some of its legal representatives in India, the U.S. e-commerce giant on Monday said it takes allegations of improper actions seriously and investigates them fully to take appropriate action.

Without confirming or denying allegations, Amazon said it has "zero tolerance for corruption", PTI reported.

According to a report by The Morning Context, Amazon has initiated an investigation against some of its legal representatives for allegedly bribing Indian government officials. Its senior corporate counsel has reportedly been sent on leave in this matter.

Amazon

Amazon   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

1:56 P.M.

Hiring activity witnesses marginal growth sequentially in August

Hiring activity witnessed a marginal growth of 1% in August sequentially due to decline in job postings in sectors including engineering, logistic, agro-based industries among others, which has shown a slight improvement in the previous month, a report said on Monday, PTI reported.

Overall job postings witnessed a slight uptick in job posting activity in August, with a 1% increase compared to the previous month, according to data from Monster Employment Index by Monster.com, a Quess Corp company.

1:50 P.M.

Investment consultants advising $10 trln in assets launch climate initiative

Twelve investment consulting firms, together responsible for advising pension funds and insurers on $10 trillion in assets, launched the Net Zero Investment Consultants' initiative, the consultants said on Monday.

The consultants are making commitments, endorsed by the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, towards the goal of global net zero emissions by 2050, they said in a statement, Reuters reported.

1:44 P.M.

HDFC Bank inks pact with Paytm to ramp up credit card issuance

Looking to regain lost ground in the credit cards segment, HDFC Bank on Monday announced a tie-up with leading payments company Paytm to start selling co-branded plastics before the onset of the festive season.

The credit cards will be powered by Visa and will include offerings targeted at millennials, business owners and merchants, an official statement said, according to PTI.

Representational image

Representational image   | Photo Credit: Shutterstock

 

1:42 P.M.

WheelsEMI forays into used two-wheeler market

Two-wheeler financing firm WheelsEMI on Monday announced its entry in the used two-wheeler marketplace to tap emerging opportunities in this space, PTI reported.

The company plans to open over 100 franchisees and onboard one-million customers by 2023, as part of its next phase of journey under a unified brand, 'Bike Bazaar'.

1:15 P.M.

India Inc expected to hand out 8.6% average increment in 2022

Corporate India handed over an average increment of 8% in 2021, and early estimates reveal that average increment for 2022 is expected to increase to 8.6% in line with a healing economy and improving confidence, according to a Deloitte survey, PTI reported.

As per the second phase of Deloitte's Workforce and Increment Trends survey 2021, 92% companies gave an increment in 2021 at an average of 8%, compared with only 4.4% in 2020, where just 60% companies had extended a pay hike.

1:12 P.M.

Kotak Mahindra to invest in ₹310 crore in KFin Technologies

Kotak Mahindra Bank said it will invest ₹310 crore for a 9.99% stake in General Atlantic-backed KFin Technologies.

The bank's joint managing director Dipak Gupta said the investment is in line with the private sector lender's stated strategy of making minority investments in businesses which are professionally managed and have deep client entrenchment, PTI reported.

 

Indian shares struggled for direction today as metal stocks negated gains in consumer goods names, while investors waited for tapering cues from a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.

Investors were also keeping an eye on a dozen other central bank meetings in Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, the U.K., Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey and Hungary.

Meanwhile, Asian shares skidded to one-month low, while the stronger dollar kept gold and oil subdued. Crude prices also took a hit from energy companies in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico resuming production after back-to-back hurricanes in the region shut output.

12:31 P.M.

Copper falls on stronger dollar ahead of Fed meet

Copper prices in London fell today as a stronger dollar made the greenback-priced metal more expensive, while investors were in wait-and-watch mode with a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting taking the spotlight in a week full of central bank events, Reuters reported.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 1.7% to $9,154.50 a tonne.

11:38 A.M.

Oil giant Shell sets sights on sustainable aviation fuel take-off

Royal Dutch Shell plans to start producing low-carbon jet fuel at scale by 2025, in an attempt to encourage the world’s airlines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters reported.

Shell, one of the world’s largest oil traders, said it aims to produce 2 million tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2025, a ten-fold increase from today’s total global output.

Produced from waste cooking oil, plants and animal fats, SAF could cut up to 80% of aviation emissions, Shell said, adding it wants green jet fuel, which can be blended with regular aviation fuel with little need to change plane engines, to make up 10% of its global aviation fuel sales by 2030.

11:13 A.M.

CARS24 raises $450 million in funding

CARS24 on Monday said it has raised $450 million (about ₹3,321.3 crore) in funding from DST Global, Falcon Edge, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and others, helping the pre-owned vehicles’ e-commerce platform nearly double its valuation to $1.84 billion, according to a PTI report.

The series F round of funding was a mix of equity ($340 million) and debt ($110 million), a statement said. The debt funding came from diversified financial institutions.

With the latest investment, CARS24 will expand its global presence as well as further build its cars, bikes and financing business in India, while continuing to invest in technology, the statement said.

10:59 A.M.

U.S. trade official called India’s Mastercard ban ‘draconian’

A senior U.S. trade official privately criticised India’s July decision to ban Mastercard Inc from issuing new cards, calling it a “draconian” move that caused “panic”, according to U.S. government emails seen by Reuters.

“We’ve started hearing from stakeholders about some pretty draconian measures that the RBI has taken over the past couple days,” Brendan A. Lynch, the deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for South and Central Asia, wrote on July 16, two days after the Mastercard announcement, the news agency reported.

The ban on Mastercard triggered a flurry of emails between U.S. officials in Washington and India as they discussed next steps with Mastercard, including approaching the RBI, the government emails show.

10:42 A.M.

Facebook India appoints Rajiv Aggarwal as Head of Public Policy

Facebook India on Monday said it has appointed ex-IAS officer and former Uber executive Rajiv Aggarwal as the Director of Public Policy.

He succeeds Ankhi Das, who quit in October last year. She was embroiled in a controversy for opposing enforcement of hate-speech rules against right-wing leaders in the country.

10:37 A.M.

Rupee falls 34 paise against U.S. dollar in early trade

The Indian rupee depreciated 34 paise to 73.82 against the U.S. dollar in opening trade on Monday, tracking a strong greenback in the overseas market, PTI reported.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened at 73.82 against the dollar, registering a decline of 34 paise from the last close.

Forex traders said a muted trend in domestic equities also dragged the local unit down.

10:25 A.M.

U.K. PM Johnson to challenge Amazon founder Bezos over company’s tax record

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a face-to-face meeting will challenge Amazon founder Jeff Bezos over his company’s tax record, the Financial Times reported.

Concerns surrounding international corporate tax rates for tech giants will be high on the agenda during Johnson’s meeting with Bezos, the newspaper said, citing British officials.

10:13 A.M.

Oil down on stronger greenback, rising U.S. rig count

Oil prices fell today, extending losses from Friday after the U.S. dollar jumped to a three-week high and the U.S. rig count rose, although nearly a quarter of U.S. Gulf of Mexico output remained offline in the wake of two hurricanes, a Reuters report noted.

Brent crude futures fell 0.6%, to $74.86 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 0.8%, to $71.42 a barrel.

9:50 A.M.

FDI key to India’s aspiration to be a $5 trillion economy, says Deloitte CEO

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is critically important for India to become a $5 trillion economy, Deloitte CEO Punit Renjen said while noting that over two-fifths of the 1,200 business leaders surveyed in the U.S., U.K., Japan and Singapore are planning additional or first-time investments in India, according to a PTI report.

Also, it is still believed that India is a challenging place to do business. This perception is due to low awareness about government programmes, incentives and reforms, particularly those that have just been announced by the government, he said.

9:36 A.M.

PE major Advent snaps up Eureka Forbes for ₹4,400 crore

The Shapoorji Pallonji Group has closed the sale process of its consumer durables business under the Eureka Forbes label by picking the American private equity fund Advent International’s ₹4,400-crore offer for a 72% stake, PTI reported.

The sale process, which began in November 2019, will help the over 156-year-old SP Group pare the debt pile of over ₹20,000 crore of which around ₹12,000 crore are under the moratorium till 2023, and sharpen the focus on the flagship construction and engineering business under Afcons, the report noted.

9:19 A.M.

Indian benchmark indices open lower on weak global cues

Indian indices opened lower today on weak global cues. Sensex opened at 58,634.69, down 381.20 points, while Nifty opened at 17,443.85, down 141.30 points.

On Friday, the 30-share BSE Sensex settled 125.27 points or 0.21% lower at 59,015.89, while the broader NSE Nifty slipped 44.35 points or 0.25% to close at 17,585.15.

9:09 A.M.

Global trends to influence trading in domestic equity market this week

With no major domestic macroeconomic data announcement this week, equity markets would keenly track the U.S. Fed interest rate decision and other global trends to decide its further movement, PTI reported, citing analysts.

Other than the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan will also come out with its monetary policy on September 22, the report noted, and added that the movement of the dollar index and U.S. bond yield will play a key role in the behaviour of emerging markets like India.

During the last week, the BSE benchmark jumped 710 points or 1.21%. Market benchmark Sensex scaled the 59,000-mark for the first time on Thursday.

9:00 A.M.

Asia stocks slide, Hong Kong hits 11-month low

Asian shares slid on Monday ahead of a week packed with no less than a dozen central bank meetings, highlighted by the Federal Reserve which is likely to take another step toward tapering, Reuters reported.

Concerns about the health of China’s economy and Beijing’s crackdown on tech firms continues to haunt the region, with stocks in Hong Kong skidding more than 3% to their lowest in almost 11 months, the report noted.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid another 1.4%, after shedding 2.5% last week, with Australia down 1.5%. Japan’s Nikkei was shut, but futures were 400 points below the Friday cash close

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