Will oil go on the boil again?


What is it? The increase in the past month in Brent Oil Futures for July 2018. In early morning trade on Wednesday, they were up 0.3%.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, the United States broke ranks with European allies and said it was exiting the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposing sanctions on Iran, the fifth-largest producer of oil in the world and the third-largest among the grouping known as OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). The general reading is that it would check oil supply at a time when it was already tight, keeping oil prices firm.

Tell me more: According to the US treasury department, the sanctions will take up to six months to take full effect.



What is it?The number of services such as railways and telecom that India will include to come up with a producer price index (PPI) on a trial basis next month.

Why is it important? This will help track inflation in the services sector, which accounts for 60% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product). The new index would measure the average change in price a producer receives for its goods or services in domestic and foreign markets over time. Further, it would not include taxes, unlike the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI), where the incidence of taxes is accounted for.

Tell me more:Many economies such as Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany have adopted PPI, which helps in developing better policy measures.



What is it? The number of Indian banks that had filed a lawsuit in the UK High Court seeking to collect over $1.55 billion from business tycoon Vijay Mallya, who lost the case.

Why is it important? The court upheld an Indian ruling that relates to allegations that Mallya wilfully defaulted on loans worth about $1.4 billion taken for his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, in what is being seen as a legal victory for the consortium of lenders. The judge also refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing his assets. The banks’ attorneys say this would help enforce the underlying judgment given by the Indian debt recovery tribunal with immediate effect.

Tell me more: This sets a precedent for those seeking worldwide freezing orders of assets with respect to enforcing judgments against wilful defaulters, according to the firm that represented the 13 Indian banks.


Rs 12,409 crore

What is it? The net inflows (purchases minus redemptions) in equity mutual funds in April 2018.

Why is it important? This is against Rs 6,657 crore in March 2018 and Rs 9,529 crore in April 2017. Although the surge in April is partly being attributed to portfolio adjustments related to the beginning of a new financial year, the numbers suggest a continuance in the flow of retail money into equity funds through systematic investment plans (SIPs) and a growing acceptance of equity funds as an investment vehicle.

Tell me more: As of March 2018, there were 71.3 million investor accounts, a 29% growth over the 55.4 million accounts in March 2017.



What is it? The number of clubs in the English Premier League that are batting against becoming the third club to be relegated, with one or two matches left to be played.

Why is it important? The three clubs are Southampton, Huddersfield and Swansea. On Tuesday, Southampton beat Swansea 1-0 and gave themselves some breathing room. Swansea, on the other hand, are flailing with their fourth straight loss, the worst record in the last five matches among the bottom rung.

Tell me more: West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City have already been relegated in the league that ends this Sunday.

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News in Numbers – September 8, 2015

News In Numbers: September 8, 2015


Rs 9,625 crore

The investments in equity mutual funds in August, a 63% increase from July and the 16th consecutive month of inflows, according to the Association of Mutual Funds in India. This is despite Indian share markets having their worst August in four years. Also, Indian equity markets have seen the third-largest outflows in Asia since China devalued its currency last month, with foreign institutional investors pulling out pulling out $3.3 billion. Household ownership in equities , both direct and indirect, has halved in the past 15 years. Just about 2% of Indian households’ total financial assets are invested in stocks, against 35% in the US. A research report by Morgan Stanley estimates that Indian households are likely to invest $300 billion in equities over the next 10 years.


Rs 16,000 crore

The likely cost of implementation of the one rank, one pension programme (OROP) for ex-servicemen in 2015-16, according to an HSBC report, which adds this would “have a significant impact on the fiscal bill”. Japanese brokerage Nomura’s estimates of Rs 10,000 crore for 2015-16 are closer to the government’s calculation (Rs 8,000-10,000 crore). Both HSBC and Nomura say OROP would add to the fiscal burden, though the latter does not expect it to derail the 2015-16 fiscal deficit target of 3.9% of GDP. HSBC says the key determinant will be tax revenue growth. The government maintains it has the “fiscal space” to absorb the OROP expenses without affecting its fiscal deficit target.


$1 billion

The estimated valuation of Zomato Media in April 2015, which yesterday said it had raised $60 million in fresh capital. The restaurant search and review website is planning to deploy half of the funds raised to grow its India business, with the rest for services business in other countries, besides venturing into two new undisclosed markets. The Indian food services industry is expected to reach $78 billion by 2018, while the overall food ordering business was estimated to be around Rs 5,000-6,000 crore in 2014, according to India Brand Equity Foundation. Several food start-ups in India have entered the online ordering space in the last few years, including FoodPanda, JustEat, Tiny Owl and Swiggy.



British scientists have discovered a blood test that determines the “biological age” of a person, rather than the one calculated using the date of birth, to predict the rate of ageing in a person. This test, discovered by a team from King’s College London, compares the behaviour of 150 different genes. Instead of looking at genes associated with diseases or extreme longevity, the researchers found out that the ‘activation’ of 150 genes in blood, brain and muscle tissue signalled good health at 65 years of age. For instance, one might be 50 years old but have a body of a 30-year-old due to a good lifestyle. This research also found that people with lower “healthy age gene scores” had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.


Rs 1.7 lakh

The price per sq ft of the built-up area of the property that Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla is close to purchasing in Malabar Hill in Mumbai. At a reported price of Rs 425 crore, this will be one of the most expensive residential property deals in the city. Yet, the price per sq ft of the built-up area for this property is slightly lower than the bungalow (Rs 1.9 lakh) purchased by the managing director of an apparel manufacturing company in Central Delhi for Rs 173 crore. On a total area basis, though, the Mumbai house is priced at Rs 1.3 lakh per sq ft, against the Delhi house of Rs 60,637. The iconic Mumbai property, Jatia House, is currently owned by Chem Mach, a company promoted by industrialist Yashvardhan Jatia.



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News In Numbers – August 7

News In Numbers: August 7



Revenue share of data services (essentially, revenues earned from providing Internet access to subscribers) in the Indian operations of telecom company Bharti Airtel for the April to June quarter. This number is set to increase with Bharti Airtel’s decision to launch 4G services, which promises Internet speeds that are up to five times faster than the current 3G, in 296 cities and towns. It will compete against Reliance Jio, which is expected to launch its 4G services later this year. As on 30 June, Bharti had 49 million of its 230 million mobile subscribers using data services, of which 21 million were on 3G services. For the June quarter, average data usage per customer was 706 MB, an increase of 42% over June 2014.


Average returns from large-cap equity mutual funds—the closest actively-managed proxy to the stock market—in the past 10 years. On Thursday, the government-run Employee Provident Fund Office (EPFO), the biggest manager of provident fund contributions of salaried employees in India, said it would start investing 5% of its annual inflows into two equity funds that mirror the two bellwether stock indices in India. The current annual rate of assured return that the EPFO provides to its subscribers is 8.75%, though it earns less than that. It is looking at equity to bridge that deficit, but the quantum of current investment is likely to be too small to make a sizeable difference.


Number of startups in which Ratan Tata, the previous chairman of the Tata Group, has invested in personally since March 2014. On Thursday, the group, which had revenues of $110 billion in 2014-15, announced e-commerceas one of its growth drivers in the years to come. The first manifestation of this vision, which was outlined by current chairman Cyrus Mistry in his Vision 2025 address to employees on 25 July, will be three ventures, with an estimated initial investment of Rs.1,000 crore.


When the maximum number of planes went missing (eight in all) and which remain unaccounted for, in the last 50 years. In 2014, that number was two, one of them being the Malaysian Airlines plane with 239 people on board. Earlier today, the Malaysian government said that more aircraft pieces—including windows, seat cushions and aluminum foil—have washed up on the same Indian Ocean island where the wing part was found last week and is believed to be from MH370.

34.8 million

Nearly three out of every 100 Indians have reported acute respiratory infections in 2014. This works out to 95,000 cases each day. The environment ministry estimates that air pollution resulted in 35,000 deaths between 2006 and 2014. Indian cities are recording the worst air quality in the world, with 13 of the world’s most 20 polluted cities located here.



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