What is it? The rate by which the Federal Reserve increased lending rates on Wednesday. The benchmark overnight lending rate was increased to 2%, from 1.75%.
Why is it important? This is the second time the US central bank has increased the rate, and has indicated to increase twice again in 2018. Apart from higher borrowing rates for mortgages and credit cards, the move will also impact Indian markets as more foreign portfolio investors will pull their money out of India because of higher returns in US.
Tell me more: Inflation registered at 2.2% and has passed the level that the Federal Reserve considers healthy. The policy statement did not mention the discussions surrounding the Trump administration’s trade policies on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico. Wednesday’s increase was the 2nd this year and only the 7th since the end of the Great Recession.
What is it? The number of Apache AH-64E helicopters the United States has approved to sell to India.
Why is it important? Apart from 6 Apaches, the Pentagon has agreed to sell Hellfire and Stinger missiles, control radars, night vision sensors and inertial navigation systems to India for $930 million. The announcement of the deal comes ahead of the first 2+2 dialogue between Indian external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their American counterparts.
Tell me more: Bilateral defence trade between the US and India has now reached $15 billion from near zero in 2008. In 2016, India was accorded the status of a US major defense partner which allowed India to receive license-free access to a wide range of military and dual-use technologies regulated by the Department of Commerce. The lead contractors are Lockheed Martin SA, General Electric Ltd and Raytheon.
What is it? The number of employees at mobile payments startup Chillr who will be joining Truecaller post the acquisition.
Why is it important? This is Truecaller’s first ever acquisition in India. Truecaller, which started as mobile directory, is now betting on mobile payments space via the Unified Payments Interface, a real-time payment system for inter-banks transactions in India. The value of the deal between the two companies – which had Sequoia as a common investor – was not announced.
Tell me more: With this deal, Chillr will have access to Truecaller’s 150 million Indian customers in its fight to capture the online payments market.
What is it? The number of days before the FIFA World Cup that Spain sacked its National team coach.
Why is it important? The move by the Spanish Football Federation (SPF) – two days before the first match against Portugal – comes after Julen Lopetegui was selected as manager of Real Madrid club. SPF claims it was a breach of trust, as the coach did not keep the association informed about this move to Real Madrid.
Tell me more: Lopetegui was appointed Spain’s coach in July 2016 and has never tasted defeat since, leading the team through 20 unbeaten games ahead of the World Cup. Also, for the first time since 2006, the Spanish national team has more players in the team in a major tournament from Real Madrid (6) than any other club.
What is it? The one-time fee that ISRO will charge to transfer its in-house technology of Lithium-ion cells non-exclusively to a qualified production agency
Why is it important? ISRO, through its rocket sciences node, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre has invited an RFQ (Request for quotation) for a contract that will allow Indian industry to manufacture indigenously made lithium ion batteries on a large scale. This will help realize India’s plan of shifting to electric vehicles and will help automotive companies reduce battery costs.
Tell me more: ISRO uses lithium-ion batteries to power satellites and launch vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries were used last week to power the launch of GSLV-Fo8. This lithium-ion technology can be used to produce cells of varying size, capacity, energy density and power density thereby catering to the entire spectrum of power storage requirements including electric vehicles.