Top business news of the day | India’s Nov services activity expands at second-fastest pace; Star Health cuts IPO size; Aadhaar aims at going global, and more

People walk past the BSE building in Mumbai   | Photo Credit: AP

4:45 P.M.

Rupee falls 14 paise to 75.16 against USD

The rupee on Friday slipped 14 paise to close at 75.16 (provisional) against the U.S. dollar, tracking massive sell-offs in domestic equities amid growing worries over the new COVID variant.

At the interbank foreign exchange market, the local currency opened at 74.98 and witnessed an intra-day high of 74.95 and a low of 75.18 against the U.S. dollar in a highly volatile trading session.

Meanwhile, gold prices dipped ₹196 to ₹46,581 per 10 gram in line with fall in international precious metal prices.

4:35 P.M.

Sensex, Nifty tank as Omicron enters India

Equity benchmark Sensex plunged 765 points on Friday, dragged by losses in index-heavyweights Reliance Industries, HDFC twins and Kotak Bank, after India reported its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Centre on Thursday said two cases of Omicron have been detected in Karnataka. Both the patients are men, aged 66 and 46 years, with mild symptoms. Severe symptoms have not been noted, an official said.

The 30-share BSE index ended 764.83 points or 1.31% lower at 57,696.46. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty tanked 204.95 points or 1.18% to 17,196.70.

4:15 P.M.

FDI in food processing sector down 54%

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in food processing sector declined 54% to ₹2,934.12 crore in 2020-21 as compared to the previous year, the government said on Friday.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Prahlad Singh Patel informed that the FDI in the food processing sector stood at ₹4,430.44 crore in 2018-19, ₹,414.67 crore during 2019-20 and ₹2,934.12 crore during the 2020-21 financial year.

3:42 P.M.

RBI new norms to increase NBFCs bad loans by a third: Study

The recent clarification by the Reserve Bank of India on non-performing advances (NPA) may increase non-banking financial companies' (NBFC) bad loans by one-third, says a report.

Last month, the RBI had provided clarification on income recognition asset classification and provisioning (IRAC) norms for banks, NBFCs and All-India Financial Institutions.

3:30 P.M.

Star Health cuts IPO size

Star Health will cut the offer for sale portion of its IPO after the offering received a tepid response in its subscription period ending yesterday, a source told Reuters.

The IPO of the country's largest private health insurance firm was not fully subscribed by the close of bidding on Thursday, signalling that demand for IPOs in India could be waning.

3:15 P.M.

China promotes short-selling by letting insurers lend securities

China on Friday authorised its insurers to take part in securities lending, potentially boosting short-selling activities in the country's stock and bond markets.

Chinese banks, brokerages and mutual fund houses can already conduct the business, lending securities holdings to other market players, such as short-sellers, for interest income.

3:03 P.M.

Believe in bright future of India, passion of its young entrepreneurs: Masayoshi Son

Masayoshi Son

Masayoshi Son   | Photo Credit: Reuters


Billionaire investor Masayoshi Son on Friday said he believes in the bright future of India and the passion of its young entrepreneurs and noted that SoftBank Group has infused USD 3 billion into the country this year alone, underlining commitment to the market.

Speaking at the InFinity Forum, Son, the chief executive of Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank, said the group is the biggest foreign investor in India.

2:40 P.M.

IREDA, THDCIL sign pact for green energy collaborations

The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (IREDA) has entered into a pact with THDC India Ltd (THDCIL), under which it will provide techno-financial expertise in developing renewable energy projects.

Both the entities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect. Under the MoU, IREDA will undertake techno-financial due diligence of renewable energy and energy efficiency and conservation projects for THDCIL.

2:03 P.M.

India looking forward to leverage digital payments stack: NPCI

India is looking forward to leveraging the stack it has built in the digital payments space and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is reaching out to many countries to help them build their own payment systems, its MD & CEO Dilip Asbe said on Friday.

Different countries need to build their local stacks as every country has its own local diversity, plans and complexities, he said while speaking at the InFinity Forum 2021 being organised by IFSCA and Bloomberg virtually.

1:48 P.M.

Need collective global action for effective regulation of technology: FM

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday called for a "collective global action" for effective regulation of ever-changing technology and tech-driven payment systems.

So far, regulators are only "catching-up" in regulating ever-evolving technology and hence there is no one point formula with which it can be regulated, she said.

Her comments also come against the backdrop of the government preparing to come out with legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies.

1:41 P.M.

Aadhaar looking to go global

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is looking to collaborate with foreign countries and international organisations to build digital identity systems across the world, a top official said on Friday.

UIDAI CEO Saurabh Garg during a panel discussion with Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma at the Infinity Forum said the authority is also exploring emerging technology to enhance security and increase the number of transactions that can be done by using Aadhaar.

1:25 P.M.

Jet Airways in 'advanced discussions' with Boeing, Airbus for buying aircraft

Jet Airways, which is preparing to relaunch operations next year, on Friday said it is in "advanced discussions" with Boeing and Airbus for buying and leasing planes.

The grounded airline has been acquired by Murarilal Jalan-Kalrock Capital consortium under the insolvency resolution process.

12:42 P.M.

Hero MotoCorp expands operations in Argentina

Hero MotoCorp said that it is expanding operations in Argentina with the opening of its flagship dealership in Buenos Aires in partnership with Gilera Motors Argentina (GMA), one of the leading motor vehicle firms in the country.

GMA will make new investments to rapidly expand all business operations for Hero’s products. It has also expanded its plant in Buenos Aires to completely renovate its infrastructure and adapt the latest automotive technologies that are incorporated in Hero products, the company said.

12:20 P.M.

India’s November services activity expands at second-fastest pace in over a decade

Indian service sector activity expanded at the second-fastest pace in over a decade during November, driven by sustained increases in new work and ongoing improvements in market conditions, according to a private survey.

Posting 58.1 in November, down only fractionally from 58.4 in October, the seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index pointed to the second-fastest rise in output since July 2011.

11:48 A.M.

Japan to prepare new laws to boost supply chain, core infrastructure: PM

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that his government will submit new laws intended for boosting supply chains and core infrastructure during next year’s parliament session.

The world’s third-largest economy will strive to achieve economic growth led by the private sector, while strengthening international orders based on common basic values and rules, Kishida noted.

11:18 A.M.

Oil prices rise

Oil prices rose, extending gains after OPEC+ stuck to its plans to boost output slowly but also said it would review supply additions ahead of its next scheduled meeting if the Omicron variant hits demand.

Brent crude futures gained 1.7%, to $70.86 a barrel, while U.S. WTI crude futures surged $1.19, or 1.8%, to $67.69 per barrel. Both benchmarks were down over 1% in the previous session.

Global oil prices have lost more than $10 a barrel since last Thursday.

11:00 A.M.

Rupee trades in narrow range against U.S. dollar

The Indian rupee was trading in a narrow range in early trade against the U.S. dollar. The domestic unit opened at 74.98 against the greenback, then touched an high of 74.96 and a low of 75.01 in early deals.

Investor concerns over the impact of the Omicron variant continues to weigh on the Indian currency. Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, was trading at 96.16.

10:26 A.M.

Gita Gopinath to become IMF’s second-ranking official

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s Chief Economist, is proposed to be the Fund’s new First Deputy Managing Director, as Geoffrey Okamoto, who is holding the position currently, will leave the Fund early next year.

Gopinath will become the Fund’s second-ranking official after Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s Managing Director. Gopinath had been scheduled to return to her academic position at Harvard University in January 2022, but decided to stay and accept the new responsibility, Georgieva said.

10:08 A.M.

China’s Kaisa risks default

Chinese property developer Kaisa Group said it failed to secure the minimum approval it needed from offshore bondholders to extend the maturity of a note due next week, increasing the risk of a default.

The debt-ridden property developer now faces the possibility of defaulting on its $400 million 6.5% offshore bonds due December 7. Kaisa Group has the most offshore debt of any Chinese developer after China Evergrande Group.

Shares of the firm plunged 9.8% to a record low of HK$0.92, taking the stock’s drop so far this year to about 75%.

9:46 A.M.

Musk sells Tesla shares worth $1.01 billion

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has sold another 9,34,091 shares of the company worth $1.01 billion to meet his tax obligations related to the exercise of options to buy 2.1 million shares, according to regulatory filings.

Since November 8, Musk has exercised options to buy 10.7 million shares and sold 10.1 million shares for $10.9 billion. He still has an option to buy about 10 million more shares at $6.24 each, which expires in August 2022.

9:22 A.M.

Indian indices rise in early trade

Indian indices opened flat amid mixed global cues and advanced in early trade. At 9:21 A.M., the Sensex was up 272.43 or 0.47% to 58,733.72, while Nifty rose to 17,468.30, up 66.65 or 0.38%.

On Thursday, the 30-share Sensex rose 776.50 points or 1.35% to 58,461.29. Similarly, the Nifty gained 234.75 points or 1.37% to close at 17,401.65.

9:12 A.M.

Didi plans to delist from New York

Ride-hailing giant Didi Global said it will immediately start delisting on the New York stock exchange and start preparations for listing in Hong Kong, succumbing to pressure from Chinese regulators.

“The company will organise a shareholders meeting to vote on the above matter at an appropriate time in the future, following necessary procedures,” it said.

Didi had pushed ahead with its $4.4 billion U.S. IPO in July despite being asked to put it on hold while a review of its data practices was conducted.

9:00 A.M.

Asian shares mixed

Asian stock indices were mixed as investors assessed the impact of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi said it would delist in New York, renewing concern about U.S.-China tensions and tech regulation.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.04%, dragged by big tech names. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.7%. In Japan, Nikkei fell 0.22% while Topix gained 0.55%. South Korea’s Kospi was trading 0.25% higher.

In U.S., of the three main benchmarks, the Dow gained the most, notching its highest one-day percentage gain since March 5. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.82% to 34,639.79, the S&P 500 gained 1.42% to 4,577.1 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.83% to 15,381.32.


----  Edited by John Xavier


(With inputs from Reuters, PTI and other news agencies.)

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 11:23:22 AM |

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