News in Numbers, Jan 13, 2017: Lucky seven for Tata?

30

What is it? The number of years Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has worked in the company (his entire career).

Why is it important? Popularly known as ‘Chandra’, he was appointed as Tata Sons’ chairman on Thursday – the seventh chief of the holding company of the group.  The move is likely to end the uncertainty that gripped the $116-billion coffee-to-cars group present in around 100 businesses. Less than three months ago, the previous chairman Cyrus Mistry, whose tenure was the shortest in Tata Sons’ history, was ousted unceremoniously – this spiralled into one of the ugliest corporate spats in Indian history. Chandrasekaran was the unanimous choice of a five-member search committee set up in October, which was tasked to find the next head within four months.

Tell me more: Under Chandrasekaran’s leadership, the profits of TCS was up more than threefold to Rs 24,375 crore in 2015-16 from Rs 7,093 crore in 2009-2010. TCS accounts for 60% of the group’s market capitalization and contributes to around 70% of its revenue.

 

5.7%

What is it? The percentage by which Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which measures growth in mining, manufacturing and electricity, grew in November 2016.

Why is it important? This is the fastest pace in 13 months (likely aided by the positive base effect) and compares with a contraction of 1.3% in the previous month and a contraction of 3.4% in November 2015. Also, this is the first set of industrial activity figures released after the government’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes in November. However, its impact was felt on consumer prices inflation, which grew by 3.41% in December compared to 3.63% in the previous month, recording the slowest pace since November 2014.

Tell me more: Manufacturing grew at 5.5% in November 2016 compared to a contraction of 4.6% in the same period a year ago while electricity and mining grew at 8.9% and 3.9% in November as against 0.7% and 1.7% respectively in the corresponding period the previous year.

 

34,500

What is it? The increase in India’s annual haj quota by Saudi Arabia to 170,520.

Why is it important? This is the highest increase in nearly three decades and has renewed the debate on Haj subsidy. The government has set up a six-member committee to examine the viability of the subsidy and to explore ways to make it economical even without the subsidy. The Supreme Court in 2012 had asked the government to see how this can be phased out in 10 years. The setting up of the committee comes at a time when Uttar Pradesh elections are round the corner – a state where Muslim voters have about 20% share in its population.

Tell me more: In 2016, about 99,903 people from 21 embarkation points across India went to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) for haj through the Haj Committee of India while 36,000 went for their annual pilgrimage through private tour operators.

 

1.5%

What is it? The drop in the annual world food price index in 2016.

Why is it important? The world food price index, mapped since 1996, averaged 161.6 for the whole of 2016, falling for the fifth year in a row. Published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the index eased as promising harvests in staple cereals offset price rise in sugar and palm oil. Food price inflation softened despite the impact of adverse weather conditions such as El Niño (the occasional warming of waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean) on some crops like sugar.

Tell me more: Meat and dairy products also fell, and along with cereals fell by nearly 40% below their 2011 peak. But Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at FAO, warns, “Economic uncertainties, including movements in exchange rates, are likely to influence food markets even more so this year (2017).”

 

7.7%

What is it? China’s annual fall in exports in 2016.

Why is it important? China’s exports affect a large number of countries as it is the world’s largest trading nation. Its December exports fell by 6.1%, owing to slowing global demand. Declines were seen in electro-mechanical and labour-intensive goods. Later this year, China could see heavy tariffs on its goods levied by the US under its new administration, led by Donald Trump if he follows through his campaign promise.

Tell me more: China’s trade surplus stood at $40.82 billion as imports grew by 3.1% on demand for coal and iron ore, while its 2016 trade surplus was at $509.96 billion.

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