Good Evening Dhananjay Parkhe!
Technology is a strange beast. Whilst we chase it in the name of efficiency and productivity gains (Thesaurus Alert!), does it really reduce our workload?

Through one generation we’ve graduated from traditional Filing to Email, and now from Email to Messaging Integrations (what some kids call Slack).

One can’t help but notice that every technological upgrade brings with it a corresponding dilution in “weight”.

“So what if you missed one point, just hit Reply on the same Email thread and clarify!?”

“Oops, sorry for the typo. Re-sending another draft.”

Such casualness was perhaps not an option in the Filing era. We thought much more before putting our pen to…well…paper. We communicated less, but perhaps more meaningfully. Sigh.

Before you cry luddite, read this brief Editorial which came in The Indian Express this week.

Moving on to Today’s End Of Day Wrap Up:

SOUTHASIA
Sri Lanka struggles ahead of debt payment due on Monday. 

Sri Lanka deep in debt: As per a report by the Economic Times, the Sri Lankan government is struggling to raise $1.9bn to help service its first debt payment of $2.6bn, which is due on Monday.

Some background: Sri Lanka faces $5.9bn in foreign debt repayments in 2019. As per the same report, the island nation hopes to raise $1bn from the international debt market, another $500m from China and Japan, other than the $400m which it recently raised from the Reserve Bank of India.

What does Moody’s have to say?: Credit rating agency Moody’s said that Sri Lanka is among one of the four Asian countries most vulnerable to shifts in external financing conditionsIt last year cut Sri Lanka’s sovereign rating to B2 from B1 over the increased debt refinance risks caused by the political crisis, raising uncertainty over the country’s ability to carry out fiscal and other structural reforms.

HEALTHCARE
SC closes case against Johnson and Johnson, accepts compensation plan.

The What: The Supreme Court closed the faulty hip implants case against Johnson and Johnson on Friday after the Centre presented a compensation scheme of up to INR1.22cr each for the victims.

Perspective: J&J’s hip implant devices, manufactured by its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, were first cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) in 2005. Following red flags on the rising number of revision surgeries, the firm had recalled the devices on August 24, 2010.

PAYMENTS
Amazon injects INR300cr in its online payments processing service Amazon Pay.

Amazon Pay: As per an Economic Times report, digital payments company Amazon Pay has received INR300cr in fresh funding from its e-commerce parent entity Amazon.

The Big Picture: The injection comes in light of increased competition from the likes of Google Pay, Paytm and PhonePe and as the tech giant has begun testing its native Unified Payments Interface in India with a closed user group.

In other news: Amazon is the only American tech giant to have a PPI (prepaid payment instrument) license from the RBI and according to the Central Bank’s guidelines all PPI issuers should complete the full KYC of their user base within February 28. To this effect, Amazon Pay has now started rolling out doorstep know-your-customer (KYC) services for its mobile wallet users.

Moreover, the retail giant is also looking to extend Amazon Pay from online sales to brick-and-mortar transactions as per this Business News Daily report.

MARKETS

Slack to opt for direct listing.

Slack bypasses: As per a WSJ report, Slack Technologies, the workplace instant-messaging and collaboration app backed by Softbank is planning to go public through a direct listing in the second quarter, bypassing a traditional IPO.

Pros and cons: In a direct listing, a company bypasses the traditional underwriting process, which involves lining up investors ahead of time and selling shares at a set price. While this may involve some loss of capital, the benefits include sidestepping hefty underwriting fees and avoiding lockups that prevent insiders from selling shares for a set period.

Fun Fact: Slack could possibly to be the second biggest technology company to choose this route after Spotify debuting on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

Watch this video by Yahoo Finance to understand how this may work for Slack, but may not be a smart option for every startup.

ECONOMY

India’s industrial output slumps to 0.5% in November, slowest since June 2017.

Because data counts: Industrial output growth measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) dropped to a 17-month low of 0.5% in November, missing market expectations of 4.1%.

Drivers: The industrial output slumped against a growth of 10.4% in the previous year and a growth of 8.1% in October 2018 on back of contraction in the manufacturing sector, particularly consumer and capital goods.

View the IIP monthly evolution for CY2018 here.

How Well Do You Know Your ETFs?
Which is the first AI powered ETF launched in US that uses IBM Watson to pick and trade stocks ? 

(Answer at the end of newsletter.)

LAST WORD

What Differentiates a Successful Global Brand from an Unsuccessful One?

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