News in Numbers, Feb 01, 2017: Notes-ban drag down GDP

0.25-0.5%

What is it? The effect of the notes-ban on GDP growth in FY17, as estimated in the Economic Survey presented to the Parliament on Tuesday.

Why is it important? The first official acknowledgement of demonetisation’s impact on the economy revises a baseline growth of 7% down to 6.5-6.75%. The Central Statistics Office had not figured in the cash-crunch when giving out its estimate of 7.1% earlier this month. The government took potshots at and challenged unofficial estimates, as most have factored in a larger impact of demonetisation on GDP. It included the IMF, which forecast the withdrawal of 86% of the currency value in November would result in a growth of 6.6%, down a full percentage from its October estimate.

Tell me more: GDP growth in FY18 is expected to be between 6.75 and 7.5%, still lower than FY16’s 7.6%. The government also admitted the GDP estimate would not capture the effect of the cash shortage on the informal sector, the largest employer in the country.

 

>$130,000

What is it? The salary level an H1B visa-dependent employer will have to meet if the High-Skilled Integrity and Fairness Act of 2017 in the US House of Representatives goes through.

Why is it important? It has sent shivers down stocks of Indian IT companies, who send employees for onsite work using the visa. By removing the H1B minimum wage of $60,000, constant since 1989, and more than doubling it for the employer to be exempt from non-displacement and recruitment assessment requirements, the act could strain the coffers of US-based IT clients. It would lead to not just a rethinking of how many local employees to replace with onsite Indian staff, but also see IT companies mull more expensive US hires or digital delivery from India. Major IT stocks including the big four, fell by 2-4.5% while the Sensex dropped 2.96%.

Tell me more: The act would also reserve 20% of the annual H1B visas for small and start-up employers, while removing the ‘per country’ limit for employment-based immigrant visas.

 

5%

What is it? Rise in the share price of US’ Iconix Brand Group, on news of its plans to sell majority stake in the beloved franchise Peanuts Worldwide, which includes cartoon strip characters such as Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

Why is it important? Even though the iconic characters generate around $30 million, licensed in over 100 countries, Iconix’s decision to sell could be the result of a large customer — US insurance company Metlife —  dropping them after 30 years of use as mascots. This could be a major opening into the over-$-144-billion US licenced merchandise market (the biggest in the world) for keen investors. Peanuts, created by Charles Schulz, still counts Nestle, Zara and Hallmark as its licensees.

Tell me more: The deal could ease the debt burden on Iconix which bought its 80% stake in Peanuts in 2010, while the remaining 20% is owned by Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, controlled by the creator’s family.

 

18 lakhs

What is it? The number of people whose cash deposits after demonetization do not match their taxpayer profiles as identified by the Income Tax department

Why is it important? Indian government hopes that the exercise, a follow up on large scale currency reform in November, will result in a higher tax collection rate. Economic Survey pointed out that India is among the countries that perform poorly on this metric – just seven direct tax payers for every 100 voters. The Income Tax department has identified over 10 million accounts with deposits exceeding Rs 2 lakh, and would start by scrutinizing those who have deposited over Rs 5 lakh.

Tell me more:  The queries by income tax department can be answered via its online portal.

 

78.3 million

What is it? The number of iPhones sold by Apple in the last quarter.

Why is it important? This is the largest number of phones sold by Apple in a quarter since the launch of iPhone in 2007, and comes after three consecutive quarters of decline in sales, defying industry expectations. The sales helped push Apple’s total revenue by 3% to $78.4 billion. It will also restore some faith in its CEO Tim Cook, who has been losing sheen following the decline of iPhone sales and the absence of any other product in its stable to match iPhone’s success.

Tell me more: iPhones accounts for two-thirds of Apple’s sales. The boost comes after the launch of iPhone 7 / 7 Plus in September 2016. While the lower priced iPhone 7 is the best selling model, the bigger ‘Plus’ version performed better than the previous larger sized models launched by the company.

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News in numbers, Nov 19, 2015: Ola’s raises $500 mn, Kashmiri migrants’ rehabilitation…

 

92.3%

What is it? Share of its total external funding ($1.3 billion) that cab aggregator Ola has raised in the last one year ($1.2 billion).

Why is it important? Ola took three years to reach the $1 billion valuation mark, but just about a year to hit $5 billion. This assumes importance given the concerns in some quarters about the sustainability and profitability of India’s unicorns such as Ola, Flipkart and Zomato.

Tell me more: On Wednesday, Ola raised $500 million in fresh funds from investment management firm Baillie Gifford, China’s largest taxi hailing service Didi Kuaidi and existing investors Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group and DST Global.

 

$28.8 billion

What is it? The amount by which the turnover of Apple in Greater China exceeds its turnover in India, according to company filings.

Why is it important? In 2014-15, the maker of iPhones and iPads reportedly crossed $1 billion in revenues in India, with a doubling of revenues in two years. Despite this scorching growth, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has, in the past, expressed impediments to business caused by a multi-layer distribution channel.

Tell me more: In 2014, Apple recorded $29.8 billion in revenues from Greater China, $14.9 billion from Japan, $10.3 billion from the rest of Asia-Pacific. Its revenues in the US stood at $65.2 billion and in Europe at $40.9 billion.

 

Rs 20,000 crore

What is it? The amount the government is seeking to raise from a 10% stake sale in state-run Coal India, which the Cabinet approved on Wednesday

Why is it important? If the government is able to raise this, it would reach at least about 47% of its disinvestment target of Rs 69,500 crore for 2015-16. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has admitted it is difficult to achieve the disinvestment target this year with low commodity prices impacting share valuations. Coal prices have tumbled to new lows in recent times due to slowing demand.

Tell me more: So far, the government has raised Rs 12,701 crore (18.3% of its target) by selling stakes in Power Finance Corporation, IOC, Rural Electrification Corporation and Dredging Corporation. If the disinvestment target is missed, it would be the sixth year in a row.

 

19%

What is it? The increase in value of assets held by investors in mutual funds between September 2014 and September 2015, to Rs 12,93,633 crore, according to data from Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi).

Why is it important? It is in this backdrop that the mutual fund is seeing its second change of ownership in 2015. On Wednesday, Invesco bought out the 51% stake of its local partner, Religare, in Religare Invesco Asset Management Company. Earlier this year, Reliance Mutual Fund bought Goldman Sachs Mutual Fund.

Tell me more: The growth in the mutual fund industry, in general, has failed to make a satisfactory business case for many mutual fund hopefuls, including prominent foreign names like Deutsche Bank, PineBridge and ING in recent years.

 

Rs 2,000 crore

What is it? Amount to be used for rehabilitating Kashmiri migrants, a proposal approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Why is it important? An estimated 450,000 Kashmiri migrants, along with some Sikh and Muslim families, fled the Kashmir Valley when militancy reared its ugly head more than a couple of decades ago. But only one Kashmiri Pandit family has returned to the Valley in 25 years. Also, of the 3,000 state government jobs to be provided, only 1,963 posts have been filled. This shows the previous rehabilitation package of Rs 1,618 crore sanctioned in 2008 has not worked, raising questions if additional funding would do anything to improve the situation.

Tell me more: The new package is aimed at providing an additional 3,000 state government jobs with financial assistance and transit accommodation to Kashmiri migrants.

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