News in numbers, Apr 14, 2016: $250 mn to beat cancer, e-platform for farm produce trading…

1.20 million barrels per day (bpd)

What is it? The expected increase in global demand for oil in 2016, according to 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Why is it important? This is 500,000 bpd lesser than the previous estimate, raising concerns of crude prices going down again. Oil prices hit a 12-year low of $27 in January this year. A producers’ meet to freeze output at January levels to support prices, which is scheduled for this Sunday in Doha, is keenly awaited though Iran has refused to participate in it.

Tell me more: On February 16, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Qatar said they would freeze oil production at January levels, if other producers agreed to join in on the plan. This resulted in increase in oil prices by 30% in the subsequent weeks.

$250 million

What is it? Internet billionaire Sean Parker’s funding to set up a non-profit institute to beat cancer.

Why is it important? It brings together over 300 scientists at 40 labs in six institutions to work on a new area of cancer research – immunotherapy – which uses one’s immune system to fight cancer. This seeks to draw in on the advantages of scientists and researchers working together rather than in silos, though this also has the risks of suppressing diverse opinions to think alike.

Tell me more: The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy would pursue immune therapy patents on behalf of the six institutions and license them, taking a 10-15% cut of the revenue generated by the patents to be put back into the institute. There were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths and around 14 million new cases in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.

21

What is it? The number of local markets to be connected on an e-platform called National Agriculture Market launching today.

Why is it important? The e-platform aims to provide farmers with wider choices of selling their produce at better prices, a move that is likely to help the government fulfill its promise of doubling farm incomes by 2022. Currently, farmers sell their produce to traders at the nearest market. This comes at a time when farmers are reeling under two successive droughts.

Tell me more: The 21 markets are spread across 8 states. The Indian government plans to bring 585 such markets on to the platform by March 2018. However, the government may need to tackle some state laws/rules that may be a hindrance to this national e-marketing platform.

64 lakh litres

What is it? The quantity of water the Bombay High Court has asked the BCCI to supply to drought-hit villages in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? This direction comes along with the order to BCCI to shift all 13 IPL matches, including the finals, to be played in the state after April 30. BCCI had promised it would use treated sewage water for the IPL matches in Mumbai and Pune and the teams from these cities would contribute Rs 5 crore each towards drought relief measures in the state.

Tell me more: The BCCI said though it respects the court’s orders, it is difficult to re-organise the tournament mid-way. The BCCI Secretary said it was unfair to target the league and questioned if the swimming pools in five-star hotels have been shut or if people in the state have stopped watering their gardens.

30

What is it? The number of new fund offers (NFOs) for which mutual fund houses have filed draft papers with the market regulator so far this year.

Why is it important? Indicates that the mutual fund industry would retain or outpace last year’s growth (which saw 191 draft papers of NFOs). In 2015-16, 43 lakh new equity accounts were opened taking the total to 3.6 crore, the fastest addition since the 2008 global financial crisis. However, it is still less than the total of 4.1 crore accounts at the time of the crisis.

Tell me more: Reflecting the increasing demand for mutual fund products from retail investors in what is perceived to be a largely risk-averse market, the investors’ base hit a record high of 4.76 crore at the end of March.

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