ECONOMY - 2018 MAY

May 1

In a first, GST revenue collection for a month exceeds Rs 1 lakh crore.
The revenue collection from Goods and Services Tax (GST) exceeded Rs 1 lakh crore in April 2018. This is the first occasion that the monthly revenue has breached the Rs 1 trillion milestone.
The gross GST revenue collected in April 2018 came at Rs 1,03,458 crore of which Central GST (CGST) is Rs 18,652 crore and State GST (SGST) is Rs 25,704 crore. The Integrated GST (IGST) came at Rs 50,548 crore while cess accounted for Rs 8,554 crore.
The buoyancy in the tax revenue of GST reflects the upswing in the economy and better compliance. Out of 87.12 lakh taxpayers, 60.47 lakh filed GSTR-3B, resulting in 69.5 per cent compliance.
April was also the month for filing of quarterly return for composition dealers.Out of 19.31 lakh composition dealers,11.47 lakh filed their quarterly return(GSTR 4), a 59.40 per cent compliance and paid Rs 579 crores as GST.

Core industries’ output grows at 4.1 per cent in this year.
Reflecting the buoyancy in industrial output in the last few months of fiscal 2017-18, the eight core industries’ output grew 4.1 per cent in this year.
This is however lower than the 5.2 per cent print in March 2017 and 5.4 per cent in February 2018.
For 2017-18, the cumulative growth in core industries’ output - which account for about 40 per cent weightage in IIP-came in at 4.2 per cent, lower than 4.8 per cent in previous fiscal.
For March 2018, five of the eight core sectors recorded a sequential moderation in growth, which was partly related to the base effect . Only crude oil recorded a contraction in production in that month.

EXL Service to acquire SCIO Inspire for $240M.
EXL announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SCIO Inspire Holdings, a West Hartford Connecticut-based leading healthcare analytics solution and services company.
The acquisition will strengthen EXL's capability in the high growth cost optimization and care optimization markets. SCIO's analytical tools and expertise in healthcare claims payment and care optimization expands EXL's market-leading advanced analytics and healthcare capabilities.
The aggregate merger consideration is $240M, subject to adjustment based on, among other things, SCIO's cash, debt, working capital position and other adjustments set forth in the Merger Agreement.

May 2

Apple reports higher profits, announces $100 billion buyback.
Apple reported a jump in second-quarter earnings and announced a new US$100 billion share buyback plan, although sales of iPhone smartphones narrowly missed expectations.
Apple reported a 25.3 per cent rise in earnings to US $13.8 billion following 15.6 per cent increase in revenues to US $61.1 billion. The company exceeded analyst expectations in per-share earnings and revenues, lifting shares in after-hours trading.
But iPhone sales for the quarter ending came in at 52.2 million, a bit below consensus estimates of 53 million.
The company, flush with a huge cash pile on strong earnings enhanced by the US tax cut plan of 2017, announced US$100 billion in new share buybacks plus a 16 per cent boost to its quarterly dividend.

Flipkart's $400 million kitty, India connects in Jan Koum's exit & more.
Flipkart has set aside $400 million to buy back shares from small investors as it seeks to regain its private limited company status in Singapore ahead of an investment from Walmart.
Flipkart, which is registered as a public company in Singapore, needs to drop its number of shareholders to below 50 to be recognised as a private limited company in the Southeast Asian country. Flipkart has about 145 entities as shareholders, as per its filings with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.

Despite financial burden on telcos, policy envisages $100 billion investment.
Even as telecom operators are struggling to deal with declining profitability and climbing debt levels, the new telecom policy has envisaged an investment of $100 billion by 2022 in the communications industry.
Telecom operators pay nearly 30 per cent of their annual income to the government in the form of taxes, spectrum usage charge and licence fees.
Market experts pointed out that the Centre will have to do a number of things to offer relief to the telecom industry if these investments have to be made in the near future.
Industry had suggested for allowing tax-free bonds for telecom sector. The industry had also recommended that the telecom/telecom infrastructure industry should also be made eligible for access to long-term and low-cost debt to be provided by infrastructure debt funds and also establishment of Telecom Finance Corporation (TFC)/ infrastructure bank to provide loans at preferred rates to telecom companies.

May 3

Cognizant buys Belgian analytics and advisory firm Hedera Consulting.
Cognizant acquired Belgian analytics and advisory firm Hedera Consulting, for an undisclosed amount, to boost its consulting capabilities in Europe.
Hedera’s consultants and data scientists help clients with growth strategy, innovation, marketing, sales and customer service. The company will become part of Cognizant’s consulting division.
The company was founded in 2009 and it has offices in Belgium and the Netherlands and clients across Europe, the UK and the Middle East.
In the Belgian and Dutch markets, companies are re-designing their business and IT operating models for the digital era. Hedera Consulting expands our ability to help these European clients create agile and digitally transformed enterprises that can act and react to the oceans of data for deeper customer insight, new product development, and to innovate and exploit new business opportunities.

Private sector subscribers of NPS can now opt for 75% equity investment.
Pension regulator PFRDA has increased the cap on equity investment in active choice by private sector subscribers of the National Pension System (NPS) to 75 per cent from 50 per cent.
Hemant Contractor, Chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), the tapering would be to the extent of 2.5 percentage points every year, for 10 years. This was a decision taken by the board of PFRDA, and would not require government approval.
Asked about the possibility of an increase in equity cap for government sector subscribers of NPS, Contractor expressed confidence that developments (fresh proposals) on this front will come shortly.
At present, the NPS’ total private sector scheme assets under management (AUM) stands at Rs. 27,900 crore.

May 4

GST Network will soon become a 100% govt-owned company.
The Goods and Services Tax Network - Special Purpose Vehicle (GSTN-SPV) will cease to be a private company and morph into a 100 per cent government owned entity.
The GST Council, headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, approved a proposal for the conversion at its 27th meeting.
GSTN is the IT backbone of the unified indirect tax system. Currently, the Centre and State Governments hold 24.5 per cent stake each in GSTN; non-governmental institutions hold the other 51 per cent.
These institutions include HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.

SEBI allows stock exchanges to extend trading timing for derivatives segment.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has allowed stock exchanges to extend the trading timing for the derivatives segment.
The capital market regulator has permitted exchanges to allow derivative trading from 9 a.m. till 11:55 p.m. currently, the timing for the derivative segment is the same as that for the cash segment, which is open between 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
With a view to enabling integration of trading of various segments of securities market at the level of exchanges, it has been decided to permit stock exchanges to set their trading hours in the equity derivatives segment between 9am and 11:55 p.m., similar to the trading hours for commodity derivatives segment which are presently fixed between 10 a.m. and 11:55 p.m.

Flipkart undertakes $350 million buyback ahead of Walmart deal.
Moving closer to its deal with Walmart, e-commerce major Flipkart has bought back over 1.8 million shares worth more than $350 million from minority investors, as per information filed by Flipkart with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.
The filing, which was sourced by data platform Paper.vc, claimed that the move will also help Flipkart convert itself into a private company under Singapore law and values the Bengaluru-based firm at a whopping $17.69 billion.
The development assumes significance as US retail giant Walmart is close to sealing its deal to acquire majority stake in Flipkart. If completed, this would be one of the largest deals in the Indian retail sector and by far, the biggest in the country’s booming e-commerce market.
Walmart is expected to pump in as much as $12 billion for primary and secondary shares, valuing Flipkart at about $20 billion - far higher than the $17.6 billion valuation of the current buyback.

27th GST council meeting discusses change in GST rate for digital transactions and imposition of Sugar Cess
Incentive to promote Digital Transactions:
Keeping in view the need to move towards a less cash economy, the Council has discussed in detail the proposal of a concession of 2% in GST rate [where the GST rate is 3% or more, 1% each from applicable CGST and SGST rates] on B2C supplies, for which payment is made through cheque or digital mode, subject to a ceiling of Rs. 100 per transaction, so as to incentivise promotion of digital payment.
The council has recommended for setting up of a Group of Ministers from State Governments to look into the proposal and make recommendations, before the next Council meeting, keeping in mind the views expressed in GST Council.
Imposition of Sugar Cess over and above 5% GST and reduction in GST rate on ethanol:
Keeping in view the record production of sugar in the current sugar season, and consequent depressed sugar prices and build-up of sugarcane arrears, the Council discussed the issue of imposition of sugar cess and reduction in GST rate on ethanol in great detail.
The council has recommended for setting up of a Group of Ministers from State Governments to look into the proposal and make recommendations, keeping in mind the views expressed in GST Council in this regard.

May 5

India will be world’s fastest growing economy in coming decade as per the Harvard University report
India tops the list of the fastest growing economies in the world for the coming decade and is projected to grow at 7.9 per cent annually, ahead of China and the US.
The Centre for International Development at Harvard University (CID) in new growth projections that countries that have diversified their economies into more complex sectors, such as India and Vietnam, are those that will grow the fastest in the coming decade.
The researchers also find India ranks the best on the criteria termed the Complexity Opportunity Index (COI), which measures how easy it is to redeploy existing knowhow to enter new complex products.

ADB projects India’s growth at 7.3% in 2018.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao India’s growth in 2018 would pick up to 7.3%. Addressing the opening session of the board of governors at the 51st ADB annual meeting.
China is expected to grow by 6.6% in 2018, even as its growth continues to gradually moderate. In India, growth should pick up to 7.3%. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations region, with a large population of 650 million, is continuing to grow at 5.2%. The recent rebound in oil prices has helped relieve fiscal pressures in oil-producing economies in Central Asia.
On the growth perspective for the region, active trade and foreign direct investment were the foundation of Asia’s economic success, and essential for continuing solid growth.

May 6

Walmart set to buy majority stake in Flipkart.
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer by revenue, has almost completed the process to buy a majority stake of up to 75% in India’s largest online retailer, Flipkart, to rival Amazon.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company, might also partner with Google in the deal that values Flipkart at about $20 billion. The whole process, including getting various approvals, is expected to take more than two months.
The Walmart-Flipkart deal will be a disrupter in online retail industry in India. Walmart’s partnership and investment in Chinese online store, JD.com, is the model that they will probably be replicating in India as well.
India’s e-commerce sales are expected to grow at a 30% compound annual growth rate through FY 2027 and touch $200 billion of gross merchandise value, according to financial services firm Morgan Stanley.

NFL to invest Rs. 1,250 crore in 2 years on new plant, energy-saving projects.
State-owned fertilizer firm NFL will invest Rs. 1,250 crore over the next two years on energy-saving projects in its five existing plants and setting up a new factory in Madhya Pradesh to produce di-nitrogen tetroxide.
National Fertilizers (NFL) is reviving a closed urea plant at Ramagundam, Telangana, in a joint venture with EIL, FCIL and the State government at an estimated cost of more than Rs. 5,300 crore.

May 7

Reliance Infra bags EPC for Rs. 6993.99 crore Versova-Bandra Sea Link Project in Mumbai.
Anil Ambani led Reliance Infrastructure along with world’s third largest construction player in building bridges, Astaldi S.p.A (Italy) have bagged the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the 17.17 kilometers (km) Versova-Bandra Sea Link Project in Mumbai for Rs. 6993.99 crore.
The letter of award (LoA) for the project has been issued by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). Reliance Infrastructure Limited-Astaldi S.p.A JV had emerged the most competitive bidder with their bid of Rs. 6,993.99 crore. The other bidders in fray were L&T-Samsung JV and Hyundai Development Company-ITD JV.
The largest order executed by Astaldi S.p.A is Izmit Bay Bridge (Gebze-Orhangazi-Izmir Motorway Project) in Turkey with $7 billion (Rs. 45,500 crore) investment for the entire project.
Besides, the JV partner of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. for Versova-Bandra Sea Link, has also executed the Western High Speed Diameter Motorway in Saint Petersburg in Russia with Euro 2.2 billion (Rs. 17,600 crore) contract value.

Infibeam to buy arm of Snapdeal.
Ahmadabad-based Infibeam will acquire Snapdeal’s subsidiary Unicommerce, which offers e-commerce enablement software, in a deal worth up to Rs. 120 crore.
Under the agreement, Infibeam will issue optionally convertible debentures on preferential basis to Jasper InfoTech valued up to Rs. 120 crore, subject to shareholders’ approval.
The e-commerce firm board had approved the acquisition of the entire share capital of Unicommerce from existing shareholders - Jasper InfoTech (which operates Snapdeal) for a consideration ''other than cash''.

CBDT approves amendment of India-Kuwait tax agreement.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) notified the protocol amending the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kuwait.
The protocol updates the provisions in the DTAA for the exchange of information as per international standards, and also enables sharing of information received from Kuwait for tax purposes with other law enforcement agencies, subject to an authorisation of the competent authority of Kuwait and vice versa.
As per the CBDT, the protocol to amend the existing agreement between India and Kuwait was signed in June, 2006 for the avoidance of double taxation. Following this, another protocol was signed in January last year for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

India signs 200 million US Dollar Loan Deal with World Bank for National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan) for 315 districts across all states/ Uts.
The Government of India signed a loan deal worth $ 200 million with the World Bank for the National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan).
The loan would help the Government of India in achieving its goal of reducing stunting in children 0-6 years of age from 38.4% to 25% by the year 2022.
The POSHAN (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) Abhiyaan was launched by the Prime Minister at Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
A large component of POSHAN Abhiyaan involves gradual scaling-up of the interventions supported by the ongoing World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country over a 3-year period.
The loan approved today will support the first phase scale up to 315 districts across all states and union territories (UTs).

May 8

Amazon pumps in Rs. 2,600 crore in India unit.
At a time when Walmart is reportedly set to buy a majority stake in Flipkart, the U.S. retail giant’s rival Amazon is pumping capital into its India operations.
The Seattle-based company has invested Rs. 2,600 crore in Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd. (Amazon.in), which runs a marketplace that assists sellers to sell their products online in India and globally.
Amazon India issued equity shares worth Rs. 2,600 crore to existing shareholders under ‘rights basis’.
The resolution for this capital infusion was passed by the board of directors of Amazon Seller Services. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has committed $5 billion to India, where e-commerce sales are expected to grow at a 30% compounded annual growth rate through FY 2027 and touch $200 billion of gross merchandise value.

April inflows in MFs at Rs. 1.4 lakh crore.
Investors have pumped Rs. 1.4 lakh crore into mutual funds in April, driving the industry asset base to a staggering Rs. 23.25 lakh crore, a surge of 9% from the preceding month.
In comparison, assets under management (AUM) of the MF industry were at Rs. 21.36 lakh crore in March-end, the Association of Mutual Funds in India.
Experts attributed the surge to ‘aggressive’ investor awareness campaign at the individual and industry level. In addition, investors are moving towards financial asset classes for investment instead of buying real estate and gold.

May 9

Despite demonetisation and GST, India becomes fastest growing economy in 2018: IMF.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reaffirmed that India will be the fastest growing major economy in 2018, with a growth rate of 7.4 per cent that rises to 7.8 per cent in 2019 with medium-term prospects remaining positive.
The IMF's Asia and Pacific Regional Economic Outlook report is India was recovering from the effects of demonetisation and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax.
Medium-term consumer price index inflation is forecast to remain within but closer to the upper bound of the Reserve Bank of India's inflation-targeting banda of four per cent with a plus or minus two per cent change.
In India, given increased inflation pressure, monetary policy should maintain a tightening bias.

Flying cars a step closer as Uber, NASA team up.
Uber Technologies announced a partnership to study urban manned aircraft in conjunction with the US space agency NASA, following a partnership last year that focused on unmanned drones.
As part of the deal, Uber will share its data with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to move the world closer to developing air traffic management systems for a world with flying cars.
Uber made the announcement as it kicked off its second Uber Elevate conference in Los Angeles. Uber has set a goal of testing these electric flying vehicles by 2020 and a commercial launch in 2023.

World’s largest company buys India’s most valuable start-up in biggest global e-commerce deal.
American retail giant Walmart Inc is picking up a 77% stake in domestic online retailer Flipkart for $16 billion (Rs 1.12 lakh crore) in the largest e-commerce deal ever struck anywhere in the world. The deal values the 11-year-old Flipkart at approximately $21 billion (Rs 1.47 lakh crore).
Which was officially announced after months of extensive media coverage, has been in the works since 2016. It entails Walmart ploughing $2 billion into the company as primary capital.

Committee constituted to advise 15th Finance Commission on ToR-related matters.
The Fifteenth Finance Commission constituted an advisory council to advise and assist them on any issue or subject related to the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Commission.
This comes more than a month after objections were raised by several state finance ministers to the ToR prescribed by the Commission for allocation of funds to states, and usage of 2011 census data.
The Council will be led by Arvind Virmani, President of the Forum for Strategic Initiatives, and will include Surjit S. Bhalla, part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (PMEAC) and Chairman of Oxus Research and Investments, Sanjeev Gupta.
the finance ministers of around 11 Indian states in subsequent meetings had highlighted loopholes in the ToR prescribed by the Commission for allocation of funds to states.

May 10

Govt. mulls 100% FDI in insurance intermediaries.
The government is considering allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance intermediaries with a view to give a boost to the sector and attracting more funds.
The FDI policy, at present, allows 49 per cent foreign investment in the insurance sector, which includes insurance intermediaries.
Insurance penetration in the country was over 3.4 per cent against the world average of 6.2 per cent.

AAI, Harris ink Rs. 945 crore deal for futuristic telecom infrastructure.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed an Rs. 945 crore deal with the Harris Corporation of the US for development of its futuristic telecommunications infrastructure (FTI) programme.
The 15-year contract was signed at the sixth edition of the US-India aviation summit.
The implementation of FTI network in the long run would result in enhanced air traffic safety, increase in airspace capacity and accommodating the aircraft to more economical and environment friendly flight levels.
Under this, all Telecommunication links and each network Equipment across the AAI airports will be centrally monitored 24/7 for immediate response to fix any outages.

CPCL lines up Rs. 1,000 crore capex in FY19.
Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL), a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, will incur a capital expenditure of Rs. 1,000 crore for 2018-19 to support various ongoing projects.
CPCL is implementing a number of projects to improve reliability, profitability and meet BS VI product quality specification. The total cost of those projects that are under implementation is estimated at Rs. 2,540 crore.
The new crude oil pipeline project is expected to be mechanically completed by July, the BS-VI project during 2019-20 and the RLNG (re-gasified liquefied natural gas) project will be completed in phases from November 2018 onwards.
The CPCL board has given its in-principle approval for the proposed 9 million tones refinery at Cauvery Basin, Nagapattinam, in Tamil Nadu, at a cost of Rs. 27,450 crore Preparation of Detailed Feasibility Report is on and is expected to be completed by March 2019.

May 11

DP World proposal to pick 65% in Hindustan Infraloggets FinMin approval.
The Ministry of Finance has approved the foreign investment proposal of DP World Global Investment BV, Netherlands to acquire 65 per cent stake in Hindustan Infralog Pvt Ltd. An approval to invest up to Rs. 3,250 crore has been given for the same.
A proposal from Alcon Laboratories (India) to undertake financial lease of ophthalmic surgical equipment in India, in addition to the existing business of wholesale trading in India, also got the Ministry’s nod.
An amendment application relating to imposition of minimum capital norms on CVC Asia Pacific (Singapore) was approved.

May 12

India's growth will accelerate to 7.3 per cent as per Fitch.
Credit rating agency Fitch India's economic growth will accelerate to 7.3 per cent in the current financial year and 7.5 per cent in the next fiscal year.
In its second-quarter Sovereign Credit Overview for Asia Pacific region, Fitch growth rate will accelerate as money supply has recovered to its pre-demonetisation level and disruptions related to the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) have diminished.
The agency India's ratings balance a strong medium-term growth outlook and favourable external balances against a weak fiscal position and difficult business environment.
But the country's business environment is likely to improve gradually with the implementation and continued broadening of the government's structural-reform agenda.

India Inc Invests over $4 billion in South Africa.
As many as 140 Indian companies with operations in South Africa have invested more than USD 4 billion and created 18,000 direct jobs.
The CII-PwC report showcased the contribution of Indian companies beyond foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa, including key CSR and skill development initiatives.
Exports from India to South Africa include vehicle parts, transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, footwear, chemicals, textiles and rice.
That value of bilateral trade has increased from USD 2.5 billion in 2003-04 to USD 11.79 billion in 2014-15, a growth of more than 400 in ten years. Trade between the two countries declined slightly to USD 9.5 billion in 2015-2016.


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