Top Business News of The Day: Sensex ends in red after late sell-off; GDP to expand by deceptively high 20% in Q1; China rebukes 43 apps including Tencent's WeChat for breaking data transfer rules and more.

A view of the BSE building in Mumbai. File

A view of the BSE building in Mumbai. File

4:11 P.M.

Rupee gains 11 paise to close at 74.24 against US dollar

The rupee appreciated by 11 paise to close at 74.24 (provisional) against the US dollar on Wednesday, tracking weaker American currency against key rivals overseas, PTI reported.

4:06 P.M.

Sensex ends in red after late sell-off; scales lifetime high in intra-day

Equity benchmark Sensex dropped 163 points in a volatile session on Wednesday, tracking losses in index majors ICICI Bank, HDFC and Kotak Bank amid mixed cues from global markets.

After scaling a lifetime high of 56,118.57 during the session, the 30-share index turned negative to end 162.78 points or 0.29% lower at 55,629.49. NSE Nifty declined 45.75 points or 0.28% to 16,568.85.

Kotak Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack followed by ICICI Bank, PowerGrid, HDFC, IndusInd Bank and Axis Bank. On the other hand, UltraTech Cement, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Nestle India and Bajaj Auto were among the gainers, PTI reported.

4:01 P.M.

Gold declines Rs 152; silver tumbles Rs 286

Gold in the national capital on Wednesday declined Rs 152 to Rs 46,328 per 10 gram amid muted global trends and rupee appreciation, according to HDFC Securities.

Silver also dipped Rs 286 to Rs 62,131 per kilogram from Rs 62,417 per kilogram in the previous trade, PTI reported.

3:46 P.M.

GDP to expand by deceptively high 20% in Q1, to be lower than pre-COVID levels: Icra

The GDP growth is estimated to come at the "deceptively high" level of 20% for the April-June 2021 quarter but is far below the same in the pre-COVID times, rating agency Icra said on Wednesday.

The RBI expects the GDP to expand by 21.4% in the quarter as per its revised estimates released earlier this month, PTI reported.

3:39 P.M.

Congress slams govt over hike in prices of LPG cylinders

The Congress on Wednesday hit out at the government over the hike in prices of LPG cylinders, accusing it of being insensitive and distorting the budget of every household, PTI reported.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate urged the government to bring down prices of LPG cylinders to provide relief to the common people in the country.

3:31 P.M.

Centre aims to make air travel affordable for common man: Scindia

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Wednesday said the central government aimed to provide an affordable air travel facility, which even a person "wearing slippers" could avail.

As part of the domestic civil aviation sector's expansion in the past four years, new airports have been opened in many smaller cities and air services started on new routes, connecting these places with big cities, Scindia said. The government is trying to further expand air services with a view to provide air travel facilities to more and more common people in the coming decade, PTI reported.

3:26 P.M.

India to lead live streaming in the next 5 years

India is very well placed in live streaming and will dominate the industry in the next 5 years, some industry leaders believe.

"There is a rising demand for Indian streamers as they can have a good connect with the Indians living in the middle east and western countries," said Varun Saxena, founder and chief executive officer, Bolo Live.

Bolo Live expects made in India live streaming apps to go global and register India’s presence globally. Faster adoption, deeper penetration and much larger earnings for live streamers is expected.


3:05 P.M.

China to cap how much ride-hailing platforms can take from drivers, official says

An official from China's Ministry of Transport said on Wednesday during a State Council briefing that a cap will be placed on the percentage that ride-hailing platforms can take from drivers' fees, Reuters reported.

3:02 P.M.

'Berserk' UK house prices rise at fastest rate since 2004

British house prices rose in June at the fastest annual rate since 2004 as the market surged ahead of a phasing out of a tax break on property purchases, official data showed on Wednesday.

House prices were 13.2% higher than in June 2020, the Office for National Statistics said, following a 9.8% annual increase in May, Reuters reported.

2:44 P.M.

Top earning bankers shifted from Britain to EU ahead of Brexit

Britain lost nearly a hundred highly paid bankers ahead of its departure from the European Union, the bloc's banking watchdog said on Wednesday, the latest confirmation of how Brexit has reshaped Europe's financial sector and tax base.

The European Banking Authority (EBA) said in its annual survey of bankers paid a million euros ($1.17 million) or more a year that Britain saw a drop of 95 high earners in 2019. Britain, however, still accounted for 71% or 3,519 of the 4,963 bankers in the top pay category across the EU in a sign of how London still remained by far the biggest financial centre in Europe, Reuters reported.

2:40 P.M.

Huawei will return to smartphone 'throne' despite crippling sanctions, chairman says

Huawei Technologies' chairman said while U.S. sanctions have choked its smartphone business, it will not give up and plans to eventually return to the industry's "throne".

In 2019 former U.S. President Donald Trump accused Huawei of being a threat to national security, put it on an export blacklist and barred it from accessing critical technology of U.S. origin, affecting its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors, Reuters reported.

2:37 P.M.

China rebukes 43 apps including Tencent's WeChat for breaking data transfer rules

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Wednesday that 43 apps, including Tencent Holdings Ltd's WeChat, were found to have illegally transferred user data, and ordered their parent companies to make rectifications.

MIIT stated that the apps will have until Aug. 25 to make rectifications, or else they will be punished in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. The move comes as Chinese authorities tighten regulatory oversight on a range of industry, with a particular emphasis on privacy and data, Reuters reported.

2:32 P.M.

Cooking gas LPG price hiked by Rs 25 per cylinder

Domestic cooking gas LPG price on Wednesday was increased by Rs 25 per cylinder - the second straight month of increase in rates. Subsidised LPG now costs Rs 859 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi, according to a price notification of oil companies.

The price of domestic cooking gas has more than doubled in the last seven years. The retail selling price of domestic gas was Rs 410.5 per 14.2-kg cylinder on March 1, 2014, PTI reported.

2:28 P.M.

MG Motor India unveils upcoming mid-sized SUV Astor

MG Motor India on Wednesday unveiled its upcoming mid-sized SUV, Astor equipped with personal artificial intelligence (AI) assistant and level 2 autonomous driving technology.

The company is betting on new auto-tech features and its concept of car-as-a-platform (CAAP) of 'possibilities and services' to differentiate the Astor, which will take on the likes of Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Skoda Kushaq and the VW Taigun, when launched around Diwali, PTI reported.

2:25 P.M.

Tencent second-quarter profit rises 29%, misses estimates

Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent Holdings' profit rose 29% in the second-quarter,this year, a slower pace of growth after the coronavirus pandemic led to a boom in online gaming last year.

Net profit for the three months through June came in at 33.1 billion yuan, below an average Refinitiv estimate drawn from 13 analysts of 34.4 billion yuan.

2:21 P.M.

World’s No. 1 Wealth Fund Makes $110 Billion as Stocks Soar

Norway’s $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, generated a 9.4% return in the first half of the year after its investments in energy, finance and technology companies helped drive double-digit gains in its stock portfolio, Bloomberg reported.

The Oslo-based fund returned almost 14% on stocks, with energy investments up nearly 20%, it said on Wednesday. Investments in bonds and renewable energy infrastructure slipped, while real-estate holdings added 4.6%. Overall, its total return was marginally higher than that of the benchmark against which it measures itself.

2:17 P.M.

Satisfied at recovery being broad-based, Crisil ups India Inc's credit outlook to 'positive'

Crisil Ratings on Wednesday said a broad-based recovery is on for India Inc currently, and upgraded its credit quality outlook to 'positive' from the earlier 'cautiously optimistic', PTI reported.

The rating agency said the credit ratio, which illustrates the number of upgrades to downgrades, rose to over 2.5 times in the first four months of the fiscal, as compared to 1.33 times in the second half of FY21. Twenty-eight sectors are set to witness a recovery in demand back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the fiscal, while for the remaining ones, it will be upwards of 85%, Crisil said.

2:10 P.M.

English Premier League club partners with an Indian live-streaming platform

Bolo LIVE, India’s home-grown social live-streaming platform today announced the partnership with Watford FC, English professional football club based in London to promote and drive engagement amongst the Indian football fanatics on the Bolo LIVE platform across regional languages.

The partnership aims at promoting and driving engagement around Watford FC’s content, highlighting the team’s performance at the ongoing English Premier League through match snippets and exclusive bytes. The content is localised for the Indian football lovers on Bolo LIVE platform in Hindi. Also, there will be an exclusive LIVE streaming sessions on the Bolo LIVE app by sports experts from Watford FC, according to the Bolo Indya release.

1:59 P.M.

Tega Industries files IPO papers with Sebi

Tega Industries, a manufacturer of consumables for the mining industry, has filed draft papers with capital markets regulator Sebi to mop up funds through an initial share sale, PTI reported.

The initial public offering (IPO) is purely an offer of sale for 1,36,69,478 equity shares by promoters and an existing shareholder, according to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP). Axis Capital and JM Financial have been appointed as merchant bankers to advise the company on the public issue. The shares of the company will be listed on BSE and NSE.

1:52 P.M.

Tata Motors unveils Tigor EV; sales to begin from Aug 31

Tata Motors on Wednesday unveiled Tigor EV, its second electric model in the personal mobility space after Nexon EV.

Tata Motors has commenced the bookings for the new Tigor EV at select dealerships at Rs 21,000 with deliveries expected to begin from August 31. The auto major has tasted success with Nexon EV, which currently commands about 70 per cent market share in the domestic electric vehicle segment.


1:50 PM.

Sugar rally could help India to export 6 million tonnes without subsidy

India could export 6 million tonnes of sugar in the new season starting in October even without government subsidies, with global prices making overseas sales more lucrative after rising to their highest in about 4 years, Reuters reported. New Delhi is expected to withdraw sugar export subsidies from the new season as a sharp rise in prices makes it easier for Indian mills to sell on the world market.

Exports from the world's second-biggest sugar producer could cap the rally in global prices and help to boost supplies in Asia and Africa while Brazil, the world's biggest exporter, expects to harvest a smaller crop than last year owing to drought and frosts.

1:45 PM.

Afghanistan’s Central Bank Chief Explains Why Capital Controls Are Coming

Afghanistan’s international reserves can’t be accessed by the Taliban after the U.S. froze the country’s central bank assets, Ajmal Ahmady, the acting head of the authority, said in a series of tweets Wednesday. The Taliban are now facing a cash crunch and will have to implement capital controls, limiting access to the dollar, Bloomberg reported.

1:41 P.M.

Tesla Wins Volkswagen’s Support in Push for India EV Tax Cut

Volkswagen AG’s Indian unit has thrown its support behind Tesla Inc.’s push for a tax cut on electric-vehicle imports, saying a reduction in tariffs would help the entire industry.

Tesla last month urged India to cut tariffs on EVs, with Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk later tweeting he’d be “quite likely” to build a factory in the country if the carmaker can first begin selling imported vehicles. However, the government has poured cold water on the proposal.

India’s high-tax regime has long been a sticking point for foreign automakers. Toyota Motor Corp. last year said it won’t expand further in India due to high tariffs, while Harley-Davidson Inc. exited the nation. General Motors Co. pulled out of the country in 2017, Bloomberg reported.

1:36 P.M.

Shopping Delivery Service Raises $85 Million, a Record for Startups in Pakistan

Airlift Technologies Pvt. has scored the largest single private funding round in Pakistan’s history ahead of plans to enter overseas markets, as the country begins to join a regional startup financing boom, Bloomberg reported.

The Lahore-based online shopping delivery firm raised $85 million in Series B financing co-led by Harry Stebbings from 20VC and Josh Buckley from Buckley Ventures Ltd.

1:33 P.M.

Excise officials seize over 250 bottles of liquor smuggled on Air India charter flight

Excise officers have seized over 250 bottles of liquor that were allegedly smuggled into Leh from Delhi on an Air India charter flight and arrested three people, including a contractual employee of the national carrier, PTI reported.

"There were eight cartons carrying around 170 bottles of liquor and about 100 beer bottles. The cartons had Air India charter flight's tag on them," an official said.

1:28 P.M.

China sifts opportunity from ashes of US Afghan project

China's overtures to the Taliban indicate a bid to extract maximum benefit from the dramatic collapse of the US project in Afghanistan.

Just one day after the Taliban entered Kabul, China said it was ready to deepen "friendly and cooperative" relations with Afghanistan. While Beijing says it has no desire to direct any future political settlement in Kabul, it appears to have scented opportunity to press its Belt and Road interests as the US pulls out, AFP reported.

1:24 P.M.

Air India moves HC challenging order quashing decision to terminate pilots

Air India Wednesday approached the Delhi High Court challenging a single judge’s order quashing the national carrier’s decision to terminate services of pilots, both permanent and on contract, and directing their reinstatement.

On August 13, 2020, Air India issued termination letters to several pilots including those who had wanted to withdraw their resignations. Subsequently, the pilots moved the high court against the August 13, 2020, decision of Air India. Some pilots had initially tendered their resignations over delay by Air India in disbursing pay and allowances, PTI reported.


1:00 P.M.

Centre to ask states for up to 25% road tax rebate under scrappage policy

Under the new proposed scrappage policy, the Centre will ask state governments to provide up to 25% rebate on road tax for vehicles that are purchased after scrapping old vehicles, PTI reported.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday asserted that giving rebate is not a political but a public interest issue. He had told the parliament in March that state governments may be advised to offer a road tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles.

"As far as road tax(rebate) is concerned, it is not an advisory, we are going to make changes in the rules (to provide road tax rebate of up to 25% for personal vehicles and up to 15% for commercial vehicles on buying new cars on scrapping old vehicles)," Amit Varadan, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said at a press conference.

12:30 P.M.

India, Mexico markets helped Walmart international business grow 13% in Q2

US retail giant Walmart's operations in India, China and Mexico pushed its international business growth by 13% in the second quarter ended July 31, PTI reported. .

The total revenue of the company rose 2.4% to $141.0 billion in the second quarter ended July 31, 2021. The net sales stood at $139.8 billion, of which Walmart US accounted for $98.1 billion.

Walmart International includes operations in India, China, Japan, Africa, Canada, UK, Mexico, Canada and Chile. It's revenue stood at $23 billion in the second quarter.

12:10 P.M.

MedPlus Health Services files draft papers with Sebi for ₹1,639 cr IPO

Pharmacy retail chain MedPlus Health Services has filed preliminary papers with capital markets regulator Sebi for its ₹1,639 crore initial public offering (IPO), PTI reported.

According to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP), the (IPO) comprises of fresh issuance of equity shares worth ₹600 crore, and an offer for sale (OFS) of up to ₹1,038.71 crore by promoter and existing shareholders. It will include a reservation of shares for employees of the company.

The funds raised through the fresh issue will be used for funding working capital requirements of the company's subsidiary, Optival.

11:40 A.M.

Indian government begins selling oil from strategic reserves after policy shift

The Indian government has started selling oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to state-run refiners after it imposed a new policy to commercialise its federal storage by leasing out space, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

India changed its policy to lease 30% of its overall 37 million barrels capacity to Indian and foreign companies. Last year, Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL), federal oil inventories manager, had accumulated reserves of oil which now need to be sold to make space for leasing.

As of yet, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) has leased one of the two equal size chambers at the 11-million-barrel Mangalore SPR.

11:20 A.M.

RBI says inflation is on track to meet projections

The Reserve Bank of India said on Tuesday that Inflation is expected to remain within the projected levels for the rest of the year, Reuters reported. However, it noted that inflation containment comes at the cost of economic growth.

In its MPC meeting earlier this month, the central bank raised its inflation forecast for 2021-22 to 5.7% from 5.1% and maintained an accommodative stance.

"The MPC demonstrated its commitment and ability to anchor inflation expectations around the target of 4% during 2016-2020. The once-in-a-century pandemic ratcheted up inflation all over the world and India was not immune," RBI said.

11:00 A.M.

RBI article says 2021 could be India's year of IPO

The year 2021 could turn out to be India's year of IPO as public issues of the domestic unicorns have taken domestic stock markets by storm and attracted global investors, PTI reported citing an RBI article.

According to the RBI article, the success of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) by new age companies in the recent months are a reflection of bullishness about Indian technology.

"...growth impulse is igniting financial markets. 2021 could well turn out to be India's year of the IPO. Debut offerings by Indian unicorns – unlisted start-ups – kicked off by a food delivery app's stellar IPO that was oversubscribed 38 times, have set domestic stock markets on fire and global investors in a frenzy," the central bank said in an article on the 'State of Economy'.

10:40 A.M.

UK plans to start trade talks with India this year

The United Kingdom said on Tuesday it aims to start negotiations for a trade agreement with India by the end of the year, a key target for Britain post-Brexit as it looks to secure trade deals with fast-growing economies, Reuters reported.

"With bilateral trade valued at 23 billion pounds ($31.60 billion) in 2019, a trade deal with India will help boost British exports through lower tariffs and increased investment opportunities," a spokesperson for Britain's Department for International Trade told Reuters.

Britain's City AM newspaper reported earlier that the UK government was looking to finalise a quick "interim" trade deal with India that would allow free trade between the two countries under the terms of a World Trade Organisation charter.

10:20 A.M.

Indian arbitrator orders Renault-Nissan to pay workers $9.53 million in additional wages

An Indian arbitrator ordered Renault-Nissan to pay its 3,542 factory workers an average of over ₹7,100 a month in additional wages as interim relief, Reuters reported.

The ruling comes despite warnings from the automaker that a higher payout could make its business "unviable in the long run". Locked in an industrial arbitration with its union over multiple issues including wages, the payment would cost Renault-Nissan about $9.53 million in total.

In a statement to Reuters on Tuesday, Nissan said it was committed to offering a competitive package to its workers, and was open to a retrospective payment at its southern India plant.

10:00 A.M.

RBI allows HDFC Bank to issue new credit cards

The Reserve Bank of India has relaxed the restrictions placed on HDFC Bank to issue new cards, lifting the 8-month ban imposed as a penalty for technical glitches, PTI reported.

The central bank had issued orders in December and February to HDFC Bank regarding outages in the internet banking, mobile banking, and payment utilities of the bank over the past two years.

"As a further update to the above intimations, we wish to inform you that the RBI vide its letter dated August 17, 2021, has relaxed the restriction placed on sourcing of new credit cards," HDFC said in a regulatory filing.

9:30 A.M.

Sensex touches 56,000 for first time, Nifty teases 16,700

Indian benchmark indices opened at record highs on Wednesday. Sensex opened 0.50% higher at 56,073.31 while Nifty was up 0.47% at 16,691.95.

Gains were driven by banks and HDFC Bank shares rose 3% after Reserve Bank of India relaxed the restriction on sourcing of new credit cards.

9:15 A.M.

Oil falls as Delta variant restricts travel, clouds demand prospects

Oil prices fell on Wednesday as the rising COVID-19 cases worldwide restricted travel and investors became wary about prospects for stronger fuel demand, Reuters reported.

Brent crude fell 0.1% to $68.98 a barrel and U.S. oil was down 0.1% to $66.53 a barrel. Brent had fallen 0.7% the previous day while U.S. oil lost 1% in the last session.

"July oil demand looks pretty weak because of China's industrial and retail slowdown, the floods there, as well as severe port congestion and a government clamp-down on the import quote of private refiners," Henning Gloystein, energy director at Eurasia Group said in a note seen by Reuters .

9:00 A.M.

Asian shares at lows as Wall Street falls on rising Delta variant concern

Asian shares on Wednesday were pinned near year-to-date lows as Wall Street plunge raised concerns about the economic impact of Delta variant of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.19% after falling for five consecutive sessions. Chinese blue chips surged 0.21% while Japan's Nikkei was up 0.35%. However, Taiwan shares fell 1.09%.

"Investors are trying to balance the reopening of economies as vaccination rates go up, but also seeing the effects of the spreading Delta variant and that's being reflected in the slowing economic data which has been surprising on the downside in the last two weeks," Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management told Reuters .

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