Top business news of the day: Ford to shut down both manufacturing plants in India; FinMin says V-shaped recovery testimony to strong macroeconomic fundamentals, and more

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), in Mumbai. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The V-shaped recovery in the first quarter of 2021-22, despite the brutal second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, is a testimony to India's strong macroeconomic fundamentals, according to the Finance Ministry. Ford said it will shut down both its manufacturing plants in India.

In another development, Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday announced a 100-day plan for the country's civil aviation sector, including policy measures and development of airports as well as heliports.

4:22 P.M.

Bangladesh tightens grip on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms

The Bangladeshi government is turning its focus to Facebook, Twitter and other global social media platforms as it broadens efforts to quell critical reports.

The government says its intentions are to "make social media platforms accountable," Zunaid Ahmed Palak, junior minister for Information and Communication Technology Division, told Nikkei Asia.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina   | Photo Credit: Reuters

 

4:15 P.M.

India eyes turning 3-wheelers into EVs

After four- and two-wheelers, India is eyeing to turn a significant part of 6 million three-wheelers on roads into electric vehicles as it chases the ambitious target of converting 30% of all wheels on roads into electric by 2030.

From freight loaders to garbage disposal vans, going electric helps three-wheelers save on the running cost of the vehicles. Also unlike four-wheelers, three-wheelers offer easy options of replacing discharged batteries with charged ones, helping save on the time taken to charge, PTI reported.

4:13 P.M.

Google under new EU antitrust investigation

Alphabet Inc's Google is facing a renewed EU antitrust investigation into whether it may have forced device manufacturers to use Google Assistant as the default voice assistant on Android devices, an MLex reporter tweeted on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The latest investigation comes amid concerns of potential anti-competitive practices in the race for market dominance among Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Google Assistant.

4:11 P.M.

Rupee snaps 3-day losing streak, settles 10 paise higher at 73.50 against USD

The rupee snapped its three-day losing streak and closed 10 paise higher at 73.50 (provisional) against the U.S. dollar on Thursday following recovery in the domestic equities.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened on a weak note at 73.77 against the greenback. During the session, the domestic unit witnessed an intra-day high of 73.48 and a low of 73.85, PTI reported.

4:09 P.M.

Sensex, Nifty end marginally higher after range-bound trade

Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty ended marginally higher on Thursday led by gains in Bharti Airtel, Nestle India and TCS despite negative cues from global markets.

After trading in a range through the day, the 30-share Sensex ended 54.81 points or 0.09% higher at 58,305.07 -- its all-time closing high.

The NSE Nifty rose 15.75 points or 0.09% to settle at 17,369.25, PTI reported.

3:58 P.M.

U.K. regulators tell trade finance firms to increase crime prevention checks

Britain's financial regulators said that trade finance firms were not doing enough to identify the risk of crime in their activities and must undertake additional assessments, Reuters reported.

"Our recent assessments of individual firms have highlighted several significant issues relating to both credit risk analysis and financial crime controls," the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority said in a letter to CEOs of trade finance firms.

3:55 P.M.

Govt unveils 100-day plan for civil aviation sector

Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday announced a 100-day plan for the country's civil aviation sector, including policy measures and development of airports as well as heliports.

The civil aviation minister said the plan would focus on 16 areas.

Addressing a press conference here, Scindia said the plan has been prepared after "combined consultations".

Jyotiraditya Scindia

Jyotiraditya Scindia   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

3:43 P.M.

NTPC to raise ₹3,000 crore via bonds on Sept 13

State-run power giant NTPC on Thursday said the company has decided to raise ₹3,000 crore through issuance of bonds on a private placement basis on September 13.

"NTPC has decided to issue unsecured non-convertible bonds in the nature of debentures of ₹3,000 crore on 13th September 2021, through private placement at a coupon of 6.69% per annum with a door to door maturity of 10 years," PTI reported citing a BSE filing.

3:41 P.M.

Ford to shut down both its manufacturing plants in India, to sell only imported vehicles

U.S. auto major Ford Motor Co will shut its two manufacturing plants in India and will sell only imported vehicles in the country as part of a restructuring exercise.

The company, which invested about $2.5 billion at its Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and Sanand (Gujarat) plants, will stop selling vehicles such as the EcoSport, Figo and Aspire which are produced from these plants.

Going ahead, it would only sell imported vehicles like Mustang in the country.

3:38 P.M.

FinMin releases ₹9,871 crore to 17 states as revenue deficit grant

The Finance Ministry said it has released the sixth monthly instalment of revenue deficit grant of ₹9,871 crore to 17 states.

Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant is provided to the states under Article 275 of the Constitution, PTI reported.

The grants are released as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission in monthly instalments to meet the gap in revenue accounts of the states post-devolution. The commission has recommended this grant to the 17 states during 2021-22.

3:35 P.M.

China new refiner Shenghong wins state approval for imported crude oil quota

Jiangsu Eastern Shenghong Co Ltd said its newly built refining and chemical unit has won state approval to use 2 million tonnes of imported crude oil for 2021.

The approval paves the way for Shenghong Petrochemical to start trial production at its 320,000 barrels per day refinery in Lianyungang in east China, Reuters reported.

The company said the approval will allow the refinery to use 15.89 million tonnes of imported crude oil in 2022 and 16 million tonnes from 2023.

3:28 P.M.

Google brings accelerator programme for digital news startups in India

Google on Thursday announced an accelerator programme 'GNI Startups Lab India' for independent local or single-subject journalism organisations in the country, PTI reported.

Under its Google News Initiative (GNI), the tech giant will offer a four-month programme that "seeks to help independent local or single-subject journalism organisations find a pathway to financial and operational sustainability through intensive coaching, skills training and other support".

3:26 P.M.

Microsoft, OYO in strategic alliance to co-develop travel, hospitality products, technologies

Microsoft and hospitality firm OYO have entered a multi-year strategic alliance to co-develop next-gen travel and hospitality products and technologies, the companies said on Thursday.

"OYO will adopt Microsoft Azure as a key enabler to drive cloud-based innovations and reimagine the hospitality and travel tech industry. The solutions will be geared to benefit patrons who operate the small and medium hotel and home storefronts," PTI reported citing a joint statement.

3:20 P.M.

Kotak Mahindra Bank cuts home loan interest rate by 15 bps to 6.5%

Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd (KMBL) on Thursday said it has cut home loan interest rate by 0.15% to 6.50%.

The bank has kick-started the festive season by announcing reduction in home loan interest rate yet again by a further 15 basis points (bps) from 6.65% to 6.50% per annum, it said in a release, PTI reported.

3:18 P.M.

Crude oil futures dip on weak spot demand

Crude oil prices on Thursday fell ₹4 to ₹5,091 per barrel after participants cut their positions.

On the Multi Commodity Exchange, crude oil for the September delivery dropped by ₹4, or 0.08%, to ₹5,091 per barrel with a business volume of 5,142 lots.

Analysts said the fall in crude oil futures was mostly due to trimming of positions by traders amid a weak spot demand, PTI reported.

3:03 P.M.

Shifting to T+1 cycle may reduce margin requirement, boost investment: Experts

Sebi's decision to introduce an optional T+1 (Trade plus 1 day) settlement system for the markets could help reduce margin requirement for clients and boost retail investment in equity markets, experts said on Thursday.

T+1 means that settlements will need to be cleared within one day of the actual transactions taking place. Currently, trades on the Indian stock exchanges are settled in two working days after the transaction is done (T+2), PTI reported.

2:52 P.M.

U.S. and EU to seek harmony on big tech regulation

Top officials from the EU and U.S. later will this month try to attune their strategies on regulating big tech and defend democratic values on the internet, AFP reported.

The creation of an EU-U.S. tech council was agreed at a summit in June and its work begins as both sides are drawing up laws that could profoundly change the ways giants such as Google, Facebook or Apple do business.

The U.S. will almost certainly press Europe to help curb the ambitions of emerging superpower China.

2:49 P.M.

V-shaped recovery in Q1 testimony to strong macroeconomic fundamentals: FinMin report

The V-shaped recovery in the first quarter of 2021-22, despite the brutal second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, is a testimony to India's strong macroeconomic fundamentals, according to the Finance Ministry.

In its latest Monthly Economic Review, the Finance Ministry also expressed concern over high incidence of COVID-19 cases in Kerala and Maharashtra and underlined the need for strengthening pandemic control and management in these two states, PTI report.

2:28 P.M.

Shanghai plans data exchange to help boost efficiency in manufacturing

China's business hub Shanghai city is planning to set up a data exchange to help boost efficiency in the manufacturing industry as the city seeks to promote the digitalisation of supply chains, vice mayor Wu Qing said on Thursday.

Shanghai would encourage companies to share some data and also improve data regulations, Wu told a press conference, according to Reuters.

2:20 P.M.

KPMG's U.K. arm among first to set targets for working class staff

Accountants KPMG said on Thursday it had become one of Britain's first companies to set a target for staff from working class backgrounds to help close a pay gap and diversify its workforce.

Companies are already taking steps to diversify by increasing the number of women and ethnic minority employees, particularly in senior roles, Reuters reported.

Targets for socio-economic background have featured less in corporate diversity efforts.

1:56 P.M.

Paytm Money launches wealth, investment advisory marketplace on its platform

Digital payments and financial firm Paytm on Thursday announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Paytm Money, is launching a wealth and investment advisory marketplace on its platform to offer curated advisory services and products to retail investors.

Paytm Money has partnered with start-up WealthDesk to offer investment portfolios called 'WealthBaskets' as the first step to build up the advisory ecosystem, PTI reported.

1:51 P.M.

Future-Reliance deal: SC stays all proceedings in Delhi HC

The Supreme Court Thursday stayed all the proceedings before the Delhi High Court for four weeks related to implementation of an award by Singapore's Emergency Arbitrator (EA) restraining Future Retail Ltd (FRL) from going ahead its ₹24,731 crore merger deal with Reliance Retail.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N. V. Ramana, in a consent order, also directed the statutory authorities like National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Competition Commission of India (CCI) and market regulator Sebi not to pass any final order related to the merger deal for next four weeks, PTI reported.

1:49 P.M.

Cuemath appoints former Swiggy executive as CEO

Cuemath, an online math learning platform, on Thursday said it has appointed former Swiggy executive Vivek Sunder as its Chief Executive Officer.

The appointment follows a planned succession strategy, and Cuemath founder Manan Khurma will now become the chairman, a statement said."Adding more depth to its senior team will reassure that the company, which grew 2x over the previous fiscal year, is well on its way to reaching 50 countries and becoming a global math leader," it added, according to PTI.

1:47 P.M.

China suspends new online video game approvals amid regulatory crackdown

China has temporarily suspended all approvals for new online games in the country as Beijing steps up measures to tackle video game addiction among youngsters, South China Morning Post reported.

The decision was revealed during a meeting on Wednesday called by Chinese authorities, led by the publicity department of the Chinese Communist Party and gaming watchdog the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA).

1:17 P.M.

Jio-BP partners with BluSmart to set up EV charging infrastructure

Jio-BP, the fuels and mobility joint venture between Reliance Industries Ltd and U.K.'s BP, on Thursday announced a partnership with BluSmart - India's first and largest all-electric ride-hailing platform - to set up a network of commercial large-scale EV charging stations.

As part of the partnership, Jio-BP will set up these stations for passenger electric vehicles and fleets across the country, the company said in a statement, PTI reported.

 

Indian benchmark indices were trading flat today after opening in the red amid weak global cues. Asian shares were set for their worst day in two weeks, while oil prices were steady as production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico gradually came back on line.

Separately, India’s fuel demand rose 10.9% last month. And the country’s retail inflation held steady in August, staying within the central bank’s comfort zone for a second month, according to a economists’ poll

The prices of Aluminium, which is used in construction, cars and aeroplanes, rose to their highest in over 13 years.

12:18 P.M.

Maruti Suzuki brings advanced telematics tech in mass segment vehicles

The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) on Thursday said it has introduced its advanced telematics technology, ‘Suzuki Connect’ in its mass segment vehicles sold through ARENA retail channel.

The Suzuki Connect uses internet and wireless connectivity to enhance user’s on-road driving experience through features like security alerts, geo-fence, vehicle status and ‘navigate to car’, among others, a PTI report noted.

MSIL said its ‘Suzuki Connect’ is available at a price of ₹11,900 (inclusive of taxes) with three-year data subscription. Existing customers can renew the subscription at ₹2,299 for 3 years or ₹999 for 1 year.

12:06 P.M.

Oil gains for second session as lower U.S. output supports

Oil prices rose for a second session today, recovering from earlier losses as a decline in U.S. Gulf of Mexico output following damages from Hurricane Ida underpinned the market, Reuters reported.

Brent crude surged 0.32% to $72.83 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.22%, to $69.45 a barrel.

11:56 A.M.

Global non-life premiums to rise 10% above pre-pandemic levels this year: Swiss Re

The global non-life insurance premiums are expected to rise 10% above pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021 and increase further the following year, driven in part by a growing need for protection against the impact of climate change, reinsurance firm Swiss Re said.

The non-life insurance premiums are expected to hit $6.9 trillion worldwide this year, and pass the $7 trillion barrier in 2022 for the first time, a Reuters report noted and added that natural catastrophes like wildfires and floods combined with increased urbanisation were creating greater risks.

11:40 A.M.

India’s fuel demand rose 10.9% in August

India’s fuel demand rose 10.9% to 16.00 million tonnes in August compared with the same month last year, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell of the oil ministry showed.

Sales of gasoline, or petrol, were 13% higher from a year earlier at 2.69 million tonnes. Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales increased 2.4% to 2.33 million tonnes, while naphtha sales fell 5.1% to 1.02 million tonnes, a Reuters report noted.

10:59 A.M.

Aluminium at more than 13-year high on supply concerns

Aluminium prices rose to their highest in more than 13 years on supply worries in top consumer China and fears of disruptions from major bauxite producer Guinea, Reuters reported.

Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange advanced as much as 1.6% to $2,837.50 a tonne, the highest since August 2008. The most-traded October aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange jumped as much as 2.7% to 22,425 yuan ($3,471.25) a tonne, a level unseen since March 2008.

10:40 A.M.

Rupee plunges 25 paise against U.S. dollar in early trade

The Indian rupee plunged 25 paise to 73.85 against the U.S. dollar in opening trade on Thursday, weighed down by the uptrend in the dollar index and importer hedging, PTI reported.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened at 73.77 against the dollar, then fell to 73.85, registering a decline of 25 paise from the last close.

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

10:32 A.M.

India’s inflation likely remained steady at 5.60% in August: Reuters poll

India’s retail inflation held steady in August, staying within the central bank’s comfort zone for a second month as a moderation in food price rises was offset by continued supply-chain disruptions, according to a Reuters poll.

The poll of 41 economists put consumer price inflation at 5.60% in August from a year earlier, little changed from a three-month low of 5.59% in July.

10:13 A.M.

Ola Electric postpones S1 electric scooter sale by a week

Ola Electric has postponed the sale process of its electric scooter S1 by a week to September 15 as it faced “technical difficulties” in making the website for purchases live for customers on Wednesday, PTI reported.

It had announced that the scooter would be available for purchase from September 8 and the actual deliveries would start in October.

9:59 A.M.

India’s passenger car market has seen V-shaped recovery: Martin Schwenk

India’s passenger car market has seen a V-shaped recovery and Mercedes-Benz has witnessed a strong come back since mid-June, said MD & CEO Martin Schwenk.

“Mercedes-Benz was witnessing a V-shaped recovery with a double-digit sales growth in the January to August period,” he said.

9:46 A.M.

Cement consumption expected to rise on infrastructure spending: Srinivasan

Cement consumption in the country is expected to go up with the Centre raising investments in infrastructure and State governments also spending on housing, irrigation and roads, among other projects, said N. Srinivasan, vice-chairman and MD, The India Cements Ltd.

9:33 A.M.

IPO-bound LIC saw drop in first-year premium in August

Life insurers first year premium (FYP) rose 2.89% to ₹27,820.74 crore for August on the back of another good show by the private players.

Market leader and State-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) saw a 3.82% decline in FYP to ₹18,960.77 crore, according to the new business statement of life insurers released by IRDAI. On a sequential basis, it fared better. In July, the FYP stood at ₹12,030.93 crore.

9:20 A.M.

Indian benchmark indices open in red amid weak global cues

Indian indices opened in the red today amid weak global cues. BSE Sensex opened at 58,172.98, down 77.28 points, while Nifty opened at 17,312.85, down 40.65 points.

On Wednesday, the 30-share Sensex ended 29.22 points or 0.05% lower at 58,250.26, while the NSE Nifty slipped 8.60 points or 0.05% to 17,353.50.

9:09 A.M.

Asian shares fall on growth, tapering fears

Asian shares dropped today in line with a cautious global mood as investors worried about the combination of slowing global growth and the potential tapering of central bank stimulus, Reuters reported.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 1.04% while Japan’s Nikkei dropped 0.38%. There were losses in Australia down 1.01%, Korea off 0.74%, and in Hong Kong which shed 1.17%. Chinese blue chips were also down 0.41% just after the bell.

9:00 A.M.

Wall Street ends lower on Delta worries, weighed down by Big Tech

Wall Street ended lower on Wednesday, spooked by worries that the Delta coronavirus variant could blunt the economy’s recovery and on uncertainty about when the Federal Reserve may pull back its accommodative policies, a Reuters report noted.

The dips in Apple and Facebook shares contributed more than any other companies to the S&P 500’s decline for the session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% to end at 35,031.07 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.13% to 4,514.07. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.57% to 15,286.64.

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