News in Numbers, Mar 27, 2017: The Art of No Deal 📉

Rs 1000 crore

What is it? The amount Indian telecom companies might have to spend to verify all mobile phone connections with Aadhaar.

Why is it important? Last month, Supreme court directed the central government to link all mobile phone connections with Aadhaar within a year. The onus on verification is on the telecom companies and it comes at a challenging time when they are fighting a tough battle for market share.

Tell me more: Linking Aadhaar number to phones might strengthen national security and ease mobile payments and banking, but it also raises questions about privacy.

 

2.77 lakh

What is it? The number of State Bank of India employees post merger with six associate banks

Why is it important? State Bank expects the headcount to come down to 2.6 lakh by March 2019, as it turns its attention towards efficiency. The state owned bank said there won’t be layoffs, and the reduction in workforce will happen through a voluntary retirement scheme it cleared last December, and by hiring less. The associate banks employ around 70,000 people.

Tell me more: State Bank chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said last month that the merger will be completed by financial year 2018.

 

35 million

What is it? The number of jobs that India’s textile policy aims to create in the sector by 2025.

Why is it important? It comes at a time when the industry across the world is adopting automation at an increasing rate. Indian government has now said it would look at handicrafts sector – especially premium products –  to achieve this. The policy is aiming at exports of $300 billion by 2025.

Tell me more: The growth of brands such as Fabindia suggest that there could be a growing market for handloom and handicrafts. To tap that the country needs right policies, some experts have argued.

 

56

What is it? The number of people Egypt jailed over a capsized boat carrying migrants last year.

Why is it important? Last september a boat heading to Italy with migrants from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia capsized on the coast of Egypt, killing 200 people. It was one of the deadliest disasters in the Mediterranean, which hundreds of thousands crossed to escape violence and to reach Europe at great risk. Over 5000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean last year alone.

 

Tell me more: The jail terms ranged from two to thirteen years on charges of manslaughter and fraud.

 

$1,257.97

What is it? The price of gold per ounce.

Why is it important? This is the highest in the last one month, and is attributed to market reaction to US President Donald Trump’s failure in pushing through his healthcare reform. Trump, who wrote a best selling book called The Art of the Deal, campaigned for presidency saying that the country will benefit from his skill at making good deals. However, his legislation to reform US healthcare system failed even though his party controls both houses of Congress.

Tell me more: US dollar rates came down against other currencies following the news. US dollar index was down to 99.263 on early trades in Asia from 100 on Friday.

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News in Numbers, Mar 16, 2017: Snapped 👓

$2.3 billion

What is it? The amount State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank, plans to raise from capital market in the coming fiscal.

Why is it important? It will help the bank to increase its capital adequacy ratio from  13.73% at present. It will also help in providing for bad loans. State Bank’s gross NPAs (non performing assets, or bad loans) stands at 7.23% of its total loans. Its chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya recently said that resolution of NPAs is one of the key near term challenges for the bank.

Tell me more: Bad loans is a broader problem in the country, and Indian banks need $90 billion to meet Basel III standards, according to rating agency Fitch.

 

Rs 200

What is it? The maximum a cinema theatre can charge per ticket in Karnataka.

Why is it important? In the neighbouring Tamil Nadu, movie ticket price is capped at Rs 120. It was not the only populist measure that Karnataka, which presented its budget on Wednesday, took from Tamil Nadu. The state will open 198 “Namma Canteens” in the Bengaluru to provide breakfast for Rs 5, and lunch and dinner for Rs 10, similar to the hugely popular Amma Unavagam, state subsidized canteens, in Tamil Nadu.

Tell me more:  The budget – which had a number of announcements aimed at improving infrastructure, access to finance and healthcare – also removed value-added tax on liquor.

 

$24.49 billion

What is it? India’s exports in February 2017.

Why is it important? It’s up 17.49% from same period last year. Imports went up 21.76% to $33.39 billion. The increase in trade comes at a time when there is widespread fear that the world is turning more protectionist, led by United States and Europe.

Tell me more: Trade deficit came down to $8.9 billion in February from a provisional $9.84 billion in January 2017. For the eleven months ending February trade deficit stood at $95.3 billion.

 

14%

What is it? India’s logistics cost as a percentage of GDP.

Why is it important? High logistics cost is an indicator of inefficiency, and erodes competitiveness of a country. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, said the government wants to address it and has unveiled a plan that includes aviation as a part of multi-modal logistics hubs in India. The 400 regional airports that the government is setting up across the country will have cold storage and other logistics solutions to make the sector more efficient, he said.

Tell me more: The government expects 15 logistics parks to be set up in the next five years, as a part of the larger Make in India initiative.

 

$20.77

What is it? Share price of Snap, the company that runs Snapchat, at the close of Wednesday

Why is it important? Snap made its debut in the public market on March 2 at $24, and hit an intra-day high of $29.44 the next day. Its IPO was priced at $17, and its grand debut was seen as a reflection of the high valuation that the companies at the intersection of social, mobile and hardware commanded. However, many analysts believe that it’s over-priced, and see the decline that Snap saw in the four out of last five sessions as a necessary correction.

Tell me more: Snap’s market cap is at $24.06 billion. Unlike Facebook, which has users from across age groups, Snap appeals mainly to an younger audience. It had 161 million daily active users end of December.

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News in Numbers, Feb 16, 2017: 💸 Investment bankers get an idea

$9,840.91 million

What is it? The trade deficit in January, 2017.

Why is it important? The trade deficit, or the difference in value of exports and imports, shrank to its lowest in four months. It was brought about by growth in exports for the fifth straight month, buoyed by petroleum products and engineering goods. The shrinking trade deficit also showed the impact of decreasing gold imports which shrank by 30%.

Tell me more: Demand in US, Europe and Japan led to the 4.32% increase in exports.

 

3

What is it? The number of Taiwanese parliamentarians in the delegation that visited India this week

Why is it important? It drew a diplomatic protest from China which objected to India hosting anyone from self-ruled Taiwan. China blocks Taiwan’s right to diplomatic relations with others as it considers it to be one of its own provinces. It also resists attempts of other countries with ties to it from acknowledging official institutions of Taiwan, encouraging, instead, the ‘one China’ principle. The complaint marks another entry in the uneasy Indo-China relations, plagued by border disputes and conflicting stands on the fight against terrorism.

Tell me more: India has termed the visit as informal and nothing unusual, for purposes of business, religion and tourism.

 

$40 million

What is it? The estimated fee for investment banks advising on the Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merger.

Why is it important? A deal that would create India’s largest telecom operator with around Rs 78,000 crore ($12 billion) sales would generate almost 10% of last year’s total investment fees earned by investment banks in India. Hence, quite a few banks are vying for a slice of the pie.

Tell me more: Banks in the fray reportedly include BofA Merrill Lynch, UBS, Standard Chartered and Rothschild, while Morgan Stanley has already been appointed.

 

Rs 37 trillion

What is it? Asset base of State Bank of India (SBI) post merger with five of its subsidiaries.

Why is it important? The cabinet approved the merger on Wednesday. State Bank of India is already the largest bank in the country, and the merger will push the bank into the top global 50 list in terms of assets (It’s at number 52 now). The merger is also expected to create operational efficiency, saving the bank Rs 10 billion in the first year.

Tell me more: The banks to be merged with SBI are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore , State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore. All put together, SBI will have 22,500 branches, 58,000 ATMs and over 50 crore customers.

 

$300 million

What is it? The amount Yahoo and Verizon have reportedly decided to lop off from the $4.8 billion acquisition deal

Why is it important? The reduction in the value comes after Yahoo disclosed two security breaches in the second half of 2016. The hack had compromised millions of Yahoo Users, and occurred in 2013 and 2014. The disclosure came after Verizon agreed to acquire Yahoo for $4.8 billion in July 2016 – and raised concerns about digital security, and the responsibility of tech firms that handle user data when a breach happens to various stakeholders including users and investors.

Tell me more: The first breach, in August 2013, affected over a billion accounts, and the second, in late 2014, affected over 500 million accounts.

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News in Numbers, Nov 17, 2016: Silent killer…

199 million

What is it? The estimated number of Indians who suffer from high blood pressure, according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet.

Why is it important? This is 17.6% of the total number of people suffering from high blood pressure globally (1.13 billion in 2015), which has doubled from 594 million in 1975. Raised blood pressure or hypertension is the leading global risk factor for kidney disease and cardiovascular disease (leads to strokes and heart attacks and causes an estimated 7.5 million deaths globally). The highest worldwide blood pressure levels have shifted from high-income countries to the poorer ones (mainly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa) in the last four decades.

Tell me more: The analysis is based on 1,479 studies that measured blood pressure in 19.1 million individuals aged 18 years and above. Over 2 out of every 10 people with hypertension are in South or East Asia.

 

36

What is it? The number of hours within which search engines run by firms including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have to bring down information or advertisements related to pre-natal sex determination once they are brought to their attention, according to an order by the Supreme Court.

Why is it important? The apex court directed the government to set up a nodal agency to monitor and act on public information received on ads promoting sex determination techniques or kits on the Internet. Pre-natal sex determination is illegal in India though this direction could raise questions such as the role of search engines and if it is possible to screen and remove all information related to a particular topic. However, this is an interim arrangement and would continue until the top court takes a final decision on the issue.

Tell me more: As per the Census 2011 data, India’s population ratio was 943 females for every 1,000 males, up from 933 females per 1,000 males in 2001. However, the decline in child sex ratio (number of girls per 1,000 boys) to 918 in 2011 from 927 in 2001 is a cause for concern. This is the lowest since 1961.

 

Rs 7,016 crore

What is it? The amount of loans written off by the State Bank of India owed to it by 63 wilful defaulters.

Why is it important? This includes the amount owed by the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, whose founder Vijay Mallya slipped away to London in March even as lenders and investigating authorities are chasing him for non-repayment of his companies’ dues and alleged financial irregularities. Some of the opposition parties including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and CPI (Marxist) used this point to attack the government, which has been facing flak from them over its demonetisation move. SBI and the government clarified that these loans had only been written off and not waived off, and that efforts are on for their recovery.

Tell me more: The opposition has been attacking the government for the withdrawal of the old currency notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations terming it ‘anti-poor’ and alleged that it has inconvenienced the common man.

 

8-10%

What is it? The expected growth of India’s IT services industry in 2016-17, according to industry body Nasscom.

Why is it important? This is lower than the 10-12% (in constant currency terms) growth rate it had projected in February. This is the second time that Nasscom has predicted a single-digit growth for the industry in the last 10 years after it reported its lowest growth of 5% in 2009-10 due to the 2008 global financial crisis. The growth rates have been revised downwards following Donald Trump’s win in the US elections (he was quite vocal about his anti-immigration stance and putting restrictions on foreign companies that took away US jobs) and UK’s exit from the European Union.

Tell me more: Indian IT firms have been struggling to grow in the last few quarters with some of their results falling below the market expectations and a couple of them downgrading their own guidance. Indian IT exports are expected to be in the range of $116-118 billion, down from the earlier projection of $119-121 billion.

 

1.7

What is it? The total compensation in basis points (as a percentage of company net sales) paid to top executives (managing directors and chief executive officers) at the most indebted firms among 313 BSE-500 companies. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Why is it important? This is much lower than the 5.06 basis points paid to the top executives of the overall sample of 313 firms in the same year. Also, the growth in compensation to the people at the helm of the most indebted companies has been slower than that recorded for the total sample in the last four years. Interestingly, the salaries of the promoters leading the most indebted firms grew at a faster rate than those headed by non-promoter professionals while the growth of the overall top executive compensation at the most indebted firms was higher than the overall employee compensation in these firms.

Tell me more: The analysis, which excluded banks and other financial firms, divided the 313 companies into four quartiles based on their level of indebtedness. The total compensation includes salary, sitting fee, commission and any other payment, excluding earnings from exercise of stock options.

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