News in Numbers, Nov 11, 2016: Flush with funds…

$7.1 billion

What is it? The amount of dry powder (cash reserves or liquid assets) available with India-based private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) funds, according to private deal tracker Preqin.

Why is it important? This is close to a six-year high, which indicates positive sentiment around the Indian economy even though startups and small and medium enterprises have been facing a slowdown in funding. VC deals recorded a dip of 39% in terms of number of deals and 58% in terms of deal value for the nine months ended September 30. The increased availability of funds could be good news for startups but the recent crunch faced by them was not on account of non-availability of funds but to do more with investors’ cautiousness about their valuations and unclear business models.

Tell me more: Nearly 80% of the dry powder are with established funds and close to 40% of this is with the top five funds.

 

280,677

What is it? Passenger vehicle sales in October, up 4.48% on a year-on-year basis.

Why is it important? This comes after passenger vehicles sales increased by 21% year-on-year in September, the highest monthly sales to be recorded in over four years. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has termed the October sales a “one-off dip” due to the attempt to clear stocks built up ahead of the festival season. The industry body said it is confident that passenger vehicle sales would touch the 3 million mark in 2016-17, a record for India.

Tell me more: Domestic car sales showed a marginal increase to 195,036 units in October from 194,158 a year ago in the same period.

 

$6

What is it? The premium gold dealers reportedly charged per ounce (28.35 gm) over official domestic prices on Thursday.

Why is it important? This compares with a discount of $3 per ounce they gave last week. India’s announcement of scrapping old notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations on Tuesday is likely to result in a dip in gold smuggling. This is because smugglers offer huge discounts undercutting banks and refiners to increase their market share. They offered discounts up to $100 per ounce in July, which led to a decline of 84% in imports of doré (a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver) to 11.1 tonnes in the July-September quarter from a year ago.

Tell me more: This could, however, result in a dip in overall gold imports by 100-150 tonnes in 2017 from a yearly average of 800 tonnes, according to Surendra Mehta, secretary of the India Bullion and Jewellers Association. The World Gold Council said earlier this week that India’s gold demand could dip as much as 24% in 2016, the lowest in seven years, due to higher prices and increase in smuggling.

 

3

What is it? India’s ranking among 205 countries with the largest pictorial warnings on the packs of tobacco products, according to a report.

Why is it important? India has made a huge leap from the 136th position in 2014 and 123rd in 2012. Such pictorial warnings are believed to be the most cost-effective tool in creating awareness among smokers about the health risks of tobacco use and pictorial warnings are said to be superior over text-only messages, according to the World Health Organization. Such warnings are also considered to be an important means of conveying health information among populations with low literacy rates and low- and middle-income countries.

Tell me more: Nepal, which has pictorial warnings covering 90% of the front and back of tobacco packs, is ranked first followed by Vanuatu, which will implement 90% pictorial warnings on the packs in 2017.

 

$5 billion

What is it? E-commerce firm Alibaba’s sales in the first hour on China’s Singles Day, the world’s largest online shopping event.

Why is it important? Though this included pre-orders by customers, the firm hit this figure in 90 minutes during this event in 2015 when the day’s total sales was $14.3 billion. The day, which traditionally celebrated the country’s single people has been transformed into an online shopping festival by Alibaba and is kind of considered to be an indication of consumer sentiment.

Tell me more: Though analysts have predicted that the e-commerce giant would exceed its last year’s sales, growth in the value of goods sold on the company’s platforms has been slackening. The trend is similar in the number of Internet users in the country and the number of individuals and companies opening stores on Alibaba’s sales platforms.

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News in Numbers – June 15, 2015

 

40,000 tonnes

This number denotes the quantity of foodgrains damaged at the godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in the last two years. In 2014-15, Odisha saw the highest quantity of foodgrains destroyed (mainly due to cyclone Phailin), followed by Jammu and Kashmir (because of the floods in September 2014). Under the National Security Food Act, 2013, each beneficiary of the public distribution system is entitled to 5 kg of cereals per month. Going by that, the quantity of foodgrains wasted in two years could have benefited around 80 lakh people in one month (4,00,00,000 / 5).

5%

India has received 5% more rainfall than the normal level so far from June 1 but this is not exactly good news because this is mainly because eastern and north-eastern parts of the country received an excess of 22% rainfall. The other regions- northwest, central and southern India received less than normal rainfall – a deficit of 10%, 6% and 4% respectively. This is significant because over 60% of agricultural land in India are dependent on the rains for irrigation. The All-India Daily Mean Rainfall forecast made on June 14, 2015 for the following week shows the rainfall received would be around 23% lower than the observed normal except on June 21, 2015, when it is expected to cross it by a margin.

Rs 75,000 crore

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), owned by the richest Indian Mukesh Ambani, has big-bang plans of launching 4G telecom services, expand its network of retail stores to 900 cities this year and build an e-commerce platform. This involves an investment of about Rs 80,000 crore in the next 15 months. It would be interesting to see how it manages its financials when it already has a debt of Rs 75,000 crore (as on March 31, 2015) – quite an increase if you consider its previously debt-free status.

Rs 17.77 lakh crore

That’s how much the Indian government is likely to spend in the current financial year. The Finance Ministry has asked the ministries to start spending, the only condition being that the focus should be on capital expenditure in areas including roads, shipping, rural development and agriculture. A pickup in indirect tax revenue has given the finance ministry better room for spending. The government has already spent 8.7% of FY15 budget allocation in April (the highest in two decades). The corresponding figures for the previous two financial years were 6.8% (first year of NDA government) and 6.1% (last year of UPA-II government).

4,400

That is the number of gold smuggling cases registered in India in 2014-15 – about 4,480 kg of gold worth Rs 1,120 crore were seized in these cases and over 250 people arrested. This is about 1.6 times the number of gold smuggling cases registered in 2013-14 (2,700 cases where 2,760 kg of gold worth Rs 690 crore was seized). In 2012-13, there were 870 such cases, about five times lesser than those registered last year. The World Gold Council estimates the annual smuggling volumes to be around 175 tonnes in 2014, which is about 39 times the gold seized by the Indian authorities in 2014-15.

 

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