|Ø The United States has threatened to prohibit Indian carriers from conducting ground handling in that country in retaliation to India not allowing foreign airlines similar operations here.
The US has sought the detailed filing of all ground operations from Indian carriers by July 1. It is reported that the two sides are negotiating the issue, which was communicated to New Delhi around 10 days ago. If the US implements the ban, then it would impact operations of national carrier Air India, the only Indian carrier that operates direct flights to Washington, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
Ø PepsiCo Inc. said yesterday it will withdraw its lawsuit against four Indian potato farmers accused of infringing its patent. PepsiCo in April sued four Indian farmers for cultivating a potato variety — FC5 — grown exclusively for its popular Lay’s potato chips. New York-based company had said the four farmers had to either sell their potatoes to PepsiCo or stop cultivating the FC5 potato variety. In return, PepsiCo said it would withdraw the suit filed against the farmers. The FC5 variety has a lower moisture content required to make snacks such as potato chips.
Ø US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will visit India next week to participate in the Trade Winds Business Forum. He will meet up with Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu. It is expected that both leaders would talk about the withdrawal of GSP to India and other trade and investment issues.
Ø The rupee appreciated by 19 paise to 69.37 against the US dollar Thursday, registering its third consecutive session of gain amid easing crude oil prices and weakening of the greenback against other major currencies overseas.
Ø Oil prices fell today, pulled down by record US crude production that led to a surge in inventories. Brent is set for a weekly loss, which would break its longest string of weekly gains for a year.
Ø Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net buyers in the capital markets, putting in Rs.114 crore Tuesday, according to provisional exchange data. Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve held key interest rates steady amid lack of inflationary pressures
|Ø India’s economy appears to have slowed down slightly in 2018-19, a finance ministry report has said, while listing some challenges that need to be addressed to get the momentum going. The monthly economic report of the department of economic affairs listed the factors behind the slowdown. It is a widely acknowledged fact that growth momentum in the fourth quarter of 2018-19 had slowed down due to a string of factors. The report also comes against the backdrop of data pointing to slowdown in some sectors such as automobiles and overall manufacturing. GDP growth in the October-December quarter of 2018-19 slowed to 6.6%, while the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has estimated growth for 2018-19 at 7%, marginally down from the previous estimate of 7.2%.
Ø Boosted by fall in prices, strengthening of the rupee and festive season, demand for gold in India went up by 5 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 at 159 tonnes, as compared to 151.5 tonnes during the corresponding quarter in 2018. In value terms, Q1 2019 gold demand was worth Rs.47,010 crore, a rise of 13 per cent in comparison with Q1 2018 figures of Rs.41,680 crore.
Ø Homegrown automakers Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on Thursday reported a decline in sales for April, hit by subdued demand in the market. Similarly, Toyota Kirloskar Motor also reported a decline of 22.43 percent in its domestic sales last month. Tata Motors said its passenger vehicle sales in the domestic market declined by 26 percent to 12,694 units last month, compared to 17,235 units in April 2018. Meanwhile, M&M saw its passenger vehicle sales drop 8.94 percent to 19,966 units in April as against 21,927 units in the year-ago period.
Ø India’s unemployment rate in April accelerated to 7.6 percent, the highest since October 2016, and up from 6.71 percent in March 2019, according to data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) that was released late on Wednesday.
Ø Equity benchmarks Sensex and Nifty ended on a negative note after a volatile session yesterday as weakness in banking, IT and auto stocks weighed on investor sentiment amid mixed global cues. The BSE Sensex settled 50.12 points, or 0.13 percent, lower at 38,981.43. In similar movement, the broader NSE Nifty slipped 23.40 points, or 0.20 percent, to close at 11,724.75.
|Ø US Stocks fell on Thursday as interest rates continued to rise following comments on Wednesday by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Dow Jones fell 122.35 points or 0.46% to 26307.79 with most of the losses coming as the yield on the 10-year Treasury yield hit an intraday high. The 30-stock benchmark dropped as much as 249 points at its intraday low. The S&P 500 slipped 0.21% to 2917.52, while the Nasdaq fell 0.16% despite a jump in Tesla shares.
Ø Facebook has been in talks with dozens of financial firms and e-commerce companies to support a cryptocurrency payment service that it is currently developing, according to a media report. The effort is known internally as Project Libra. One idea under consideration is rewarding Facebook users with fractions of the digital currency in exchange for looking at advertisements.
Ø The Trump administration moved Thursday to give oil and gas companies more flexibility in meeting safety requirements imposed after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed nearly a dozen people and was the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history. The revised rules, which govern safety standards at offshore wells, come as the administration pushes to expand drilling off the U.S. coast, although court challenges and opposition from many coastal states have slowed its efforts. The new safety changes were sought by the industry but fiercely challenged by environmentalists.
Ø The Democratic-controlled House approved a bill Thursday that would prevent President Donald Trump from fulfilling his pledge to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement and ensure the U.S. honors its commitments under the global accord.
Ø 16. U.S. productivity grew at a solid 3.6% rate in the first three months of this year, the strongest quarterly gain in more than four years and a hopeful sign that a long stretch of weak productivity gains may be coming to an end. The first quarter increase in productivity was more than double the 1.3% rate of gain in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Labor costs actually fell in the first quarter, dropping at an annual rate of 0.9%, indicating that tight labor markets are not creating unwanted wage and inflation pressures.
Ø Stephen Moore, a conservative commentator whom President Donald Trump had tapped for the Federal Reserve board, withdrew from consideration Thursday after losing Republican support in the Senate, largely over his past inflammatory writings about women. Trump tweeted the news of Moore’s withdrawal, only hours after Moore had told two news organizations that he was still seeking the board seat and still had the White House’s support.