News in numbers, Jan 27, 2016: Lower forecasts for commodities, hotlines at Indian airports…



What is it? The number of commodities of 46 monitored by the World Bank are whose prices are projected to fall in 2016.

Why is it important? This is good news for major commodity importers like India, as it could boost economic growth. India consumed 3,846 thousand barrels a day of crude oil in 2014, but domestic production was only 895.

Tell me more: Crude oil prices are projected to recover from current lows (below $ 30 a barrel) to $ 37 a barrel.



What is it? The percentage of tenders floated in the construction sector in the last 12 months that are yet to be awarded, according to State Bank of India. The composite index compiled by the bank fell to its lowest level in last one year to 47.3.

Why is it important? India’s largest bank has identified three sectors – construction, steel, and textile – that are facing headwinds, and need help. Higher non-award of tenders indicate implementation delays are still continuing.

Tell me more: Rs 509,478 crore worth of tenders were floated in 2015, but only Rs 293,073 crore were awarded.


1.5 acres

What is it? Proposed change in land required to set up engineering college in mega and metro cities, as compared to current norm of 2.5 acres. In rural areas, the All India Council for Technical Education recommended 7.5 acres as against 10 acres.  Other proposals include meeting 20% of faculty requirement as adjunct teachers or industry veterans.

Why is it important? The proposal, if implemented, will reduce cost of setting-up colleges in urban areas as land cost have spiralled in the last 16 years. Allowing a fifth of faculty from industry will help tide over shortages.

Tell me more: There are 3,384 engineering colleges with an annual capacity of 1.63 million students as on March 2014.



What is it? The number of airports that will have hotlines – two dedicated lines with video conferencing facilities – installed to improve security.

Why is it important? These hotlines are expected to help in hijack situations by making communication more efficient. The lines will connect crisis management room in aviation ministry and the office of cabinet secretary. Six planes have been hijacked in India since 1947.

Tell me more: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Trivandrum, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow and Guwahati are the airports that will have this facility.


74.77 million

What is it? The number of iPhones sold by Apple in quarter ended December 26, 2015

Why is it important? This is essentially flat from 74.5 million iPhones it sold during the same period last year, underlining concerns that iPhone sales might have plateaued. iPhones account for 68% of revenues for the company. It’s important for Apple because it hasn’t yet launched a product that’s as successful as iPhone. While iWatch and Apple TV saw record sales last quarter, they come nowhere close to iPhones. Apple car, whose launch could be years away, is facing roadblocks.

Tell me more: Apple has projected a revenue of $50 billion to $53 billion in the current quarter ending March 2016, from $58 billion a year ago. This will be the first time its revenue declined in the last 13 years.


Read More

News in numbers, Oct 2, 2015: Worst monsoon season in six years, Apple’s India plans…


14% deficit

What it is? The deficit rainfall this monsoon season in India.

Why is it important? It’s the worst in six years. 80% of annual rainfall happens during the four-month window between June and September, and a deficit will directly impact agricultural production and rural income.

Tell me more: States that have higher irrigation coverage will be able to mitigate the deficit to an extent, and the others will not be. Production of cotton, pulses and oilseed crops will be impacted.



What it is? The increase in bank credit to industry in August 2015 compared to same month year-ago.

Why it is important? Bank credit to industry account for 43% of total loans and is considered a good indicator of growth prospects of industrial sector. Except for four sectors like basic metal, engineering, chemical and chemical products, and gems and jewellery, the credit growth has slowed down. Low inflation can also result in reduced credit demand, as companies would need less working capital.  .

Tell me more: Reserve Bank of India reduced its lending rate to banks by 50 basis points on Tuesday. Industry lobby groups have been arguing for lower interest rate to boost the economy.


50 paise

What it is? The increase in Diesel prices per litre.

Why it is important? The last scheduled revision of price on September 16 was put off, raising question mark whether government is putting pressure on state-run oil retailers from raising prices because of Bihar assembly elections. Petrol prices were left untouched.

Tell me more: Globally, there is a glut in diesel supply as refiners from China are boosting exports because of low domestic demand. This in turn is putting downward pressure on crude oil prices.


$2.6 billion

What it is? The value of Indian shares that foreign institutional investors sold in september quarter

Why it is important? That’s the highest in the last five years. Indicates the tepid interest in Indian stock markets by FIIs – but it’s really an emerging market phenomenon. Chinese stock market turmoil has made several investors worried, and there is a chance that interest rates in US might rise.

Tell me more: While investors are worried about the delays in economic reforms – from labour to land – India is likely to be viewed favorably by FIIs in a longer term.


12 lakhs

What it is? The number of iPhones Apple wants to sell in India in the next three months

Why it is important? It sold just as many in the whole of last year, and shows Apple’s increasing interest in and growing ambitions for India. It has upped it ad budget more than proportionally. It’s launching the latest version of its iPhones – 6S and 6S Plus – on October 16th in India.

Tell me more: Apple sold 13 million phones globally over the weekend, driven by a huge demand in China. Apple has its own retail outlets in China, opening the first one as early as 2008. China has 20 of them now – a fraction of USA’s 266 – but not too far from other leading markets for Apple products. India has none yet.


Read More