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.



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.



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.



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, Jan 12, 2016: India’s spend to curb road accidents, CAT 2015’s toppers…




What is it? The maximum a mutual funds can allot from its net assets to debt issued by a single company, according to new rules introduced by the market regulator. It was 15% earlier.


Why is it important? Mutual funds will have to expand the pool of companies to invest in. The new rule was introduced when investment by an Indian unit of JP Morgan in debt by Amtek Auto turned bad after credit rating agencies downgraded the auto parts maker. A JP Morgan fund held 20% in Amtek Auto’s debt. These restrictions would force mutual funds to invest in companies, which they would not have previously considered and this could prove to be riskier, according to Murthy Nagarajan, head of fixed income at Quantum Asset Management.


Tell me more: Mutual funds can now hold up to 20% of their net assets in companies belonging to the same corporate group while exposure to a single sector is now limited to 25% of their net assets.


Rs 11,000 crore


What is it? The amount Indian government plans to spend over the next five years to curb road accidents in the country, mainly by fixing 700 odd accident prone locations.


Why is it important? This is part of the national plan to reduce number of deaths due to road accidents by half in the next five years. On an average, 51 people road accidents took place every one hour in 2014 wherein 16 were killed, as per data from the National Crime Records Bureau. A total of 4.5 lakh road accidents were recorded in 2014, leaving 4.8 lakh people injured and causing the deaths of 1.41 lakh people. And, according to Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road, Transport and Highways, road accidents cause an annual loss of Rs 55,000-60,000 crore, about 3% of India’s GDP.


Tell me more: The government has already started working on 10 black spots, or accident prone areas (such as Sarai Kale Khan and Shahdara Flyover) in Delhi.




What is it? The number of cars sold in December in India.


Why is it important? The highest number of cars sold in a December season. December is considered a slow month for car sales as buyers tend to postpone purchase during the new year – for sentimental and resale price reasons. However this December, discounts and  lower loan rates – average loan rates of nationalised banks are down to 10.2% from 11.1% in December 2014 – seem to have worked.


Tell me more: However, two-wheeler sales declined by 3.1% in December, reflecting poor demand, according to Vishnu Mathur, director general of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). The overall industry sales including passenger vehicles, three-wheelers, buses, trucks and two-wheelers fell by 0.17%.




What is it? The number of students in the 100th percentile in the Common Admission Test (CAT), the entrance examination for business schools including the prestigious IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) in 2015.


Why is it important? All the 17 toppers have an engineering degree, underscoring the importance of quantitative skills in MBA entrance exam. Around 75-90% of students at the IIMs are from engineering backgrounds. Recently the test format was changed to include descriptive questions to appeal to students with non-engineering backgrounds, besides conducting tests in more centres/cities to attract a broader set of candidates. The impact of these changes are yet to be known.


Tell me more: Of the top 17 students, one is a woman. A total of 1.8 lakh students took the test, of which nearly a third were women.




What is it? Likely increase in consumer prices in December from a year ago period, according to a Reuters poll of economists.


Why is it important? This is higher than November’s consumer inflation at 5.41%, which was the highest in 14 months. If this happens, this would be the fifth consecutive increase on a monthly basis. A deficient rainfall in 2015 and poor crop output has led to the increase in food prices, especially those of pulses, which increased 46% in November compared to a year ago. This is likely to prevent the Reserve Bank of India from effecting any downward revision of interest rates. It also increases the central bank’s challenges of keeping retail inflation under 6% this month and 5% by March 2017.


Tell me more: India has revised its economic growth target to 7% from 7.5% due to low farm production and declining exports.

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News in numbers, Dec 11, 2015: Recall by Honda Cars India, Twitter’s India revenue…





What is it? Number of cars Honda Cars India will recall to replace the fuel return pipe, which leads unspent fuel back to the fuel tank.


Why is it important? Faulty return pipes could potentially result in fuel leakage and stop the engine. This is the fourth recall for the Japanese carmaker this year adding up to 3.3 lakh units in 2015. It’s about a fifth of the total number of cars that have been recalled in India since the Society of Indian Automobiles introduced a voluntary code on vehicle recall in July 2012.


Tell me more: The recall includes 64,428 units of diesel variants of Honda City (manufactured between December 2013 and July 2015) and 25,782 units of diesel variants of Honda Mobilio (manufactured between June 2014 and July 2015).


$140 billion


What is it? The capital Indian banks would need to ensure full implementation of Basel III norms by 2019, according to a report by ratings agency Fitch. Basel III norms require banks to have enough capital and liquid assets in its coffers.


Why is it important? It means banks will have to raise more capital. In case of public sector banks, that would mean government injecting capital to maintain its stake in the banks. The Indian government’s July announcement of providing $11 billion to state lenders over the next four years will not cover the requirement.


Tell me more: Bad loans account for 4.2% of the total lending in Indian banks, and more than a tenth of its loans are stressed (bad loans plus restructured loans)


Rs 13.26 crore


What is it? Revenue of the Indian unit of Twitter (TwitterCommunications India) in 2014-15.


Why is it important? It’s 0.12% of its global revenue ($1.59 billion), even though Twitter is estimated to have about 22.2 million users in India, or 7% of its global monthly users. It has a much bigger mindshare, and is being used extensively in the relief efforts around Chennai floods.


Tell me more: TwitterCommunications India’s revenue is up 3 times from Rs 4.17 crore last year. Its net profit also increased threefold to Rs 1.07 crore in 2014-15 from Rs 35.7 lakh the previous year. Globally, the company has been struggling to increase its user base.


Rs 21,457 crore


What is it? Total debt in ‘default’ category (It is considered ‘default’ if repayment is delayed by a day) as of December 8 this year, according to India Ratings and Research.


Why is it important? This is more than double of what was recorded in the entire year of 2014 – Rs 9,035 crore. It’s yet another indicator that the economy is not performing as well as the GDP numbers suggest.


Tell me more: Data from another rating agency, Credit Rating Information Services of India (CRISIL), shows that debt in the default category was at Rs 25,895 crore as of September this year compared to Rs 28,323 crore for the full year in 2014.


$3 billion


What is it? Extent of economic loss caused by severe rainfall and flooding in November and December in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, according to reinsurance broker Aon Benfield.


Why is it important? One of the early estimates of the loss. Expect updates in the coming days, after on ground assessments and extrapolation of insurance data (Insurance penetration is low in India – about 3.9%). As it is, this is about a third of the annual economic losses India is estimated to incur per year, as per a report by the United Nations. The annual economic losses due to disasters is estimated to be about $9.8 billion per year, of which floods account for nearly three-fourth or 71% ($7 billion).


Tell me more: Claims by India’s sole domestic reinsurer, General Insurance Corporation, is likely to reach up to $300 million.

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