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.



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, Sep 23, 2016: Kharif harvest likely to be highest, economic impact of digital finance…

Rs 47,700 crore

What is it? The equity infusion by Vodafone Group Plc into its Indian unit in the first half of the current fiscal year.

Why is it important? This is said to be the largest-ever infusion by the company in India and comes about a week ahead of the country’s biggest-ever spectrum auction. The already aggressive telecom industry is witnessing increased competition with the entrance of Reliance Jio this month where the company said it’s offering ‘free calls’ and 4G services at low rates.

Tell me more: Vodafone India is the second-largest telecom service provider in the country by revenue and customers. With a 22.5% market share in terms of revenue, the company also announced it has 200 million customers in India.


135 million tonnes

What is it? India’s estimated kharif foodgrain production in 2016-17, 9% higher than the previous year’s production.

Why is it important? If the estimates are correct, then it would be the highest-ever kharif harvest in the country’s history. This would be 3.7% more than the record production of 131.3 million tonnes in 2011-12. The favourable monsoon helped push this year’s estimates up, boosted by kharif pulses and rice (the latter is likely to be the highest ever). This is likely to cool down retail inflation and may prompt the central bank to cut interest rates.

Tell me more: Sugarcane was the only kharif crop that suffered: its estimated production is likely to be 13% less than the previous year’s.


$700 billion

What is it? The addition to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) due to digital finance by 2025, which has the potential to create 21 million new jobs across sectors, according to a report.

Why is it important? This is the first time a report has tried to quantify the economic impact of digital finance. Around two-thirds of India’s GDP growth would be due to increased productivity of businesses and governments on the back of digital payments and a third from additional investment brought in due to financial inclusion of people and micro, small and medium-sized businesses. The rest would be due to time saved by individuals, which they can spend on work.

Tell me more: The report by McKinsey Global Institute says Indians lose over $2 billion in foregone income due to the time taken for travelling to and from a bank. Overall, digital finance is expected to boost the GDP of emerging economies by $3.7 trillion and create 95 million new jobs.



What is it? The number of outside experts that the government has named as members of Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee(MPC).

Why is it important? The MPC, with three outside members and three RBI officials, will replace a system in which RBI governor and his internal team had complete control over the monetary policy. The new system follows global standards and is one of the legacies of Raghuram Rajan, the previous governor. The committee will have its first monetary policy review meeting on 4th October.

Tell me more: The outside experts are Chetan Ghate from Indian Statistical Institute, Pami Dua from Delhi School of Economics and Ravindra Dholakia from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.


500 million

What is it? The number of Yahoo accounts that were hacked in 2014.

Why is it important? It’s one of the largest security breaches. This comes at a time when Yahoo is finalizing its $4.8 billion sale to Verizon – and could jeopardize the deal. Yahoo’s statement was not entirely out of blue as there were reports in August about the breach. The security breach will have a bigger impact beyond Yahoo accounts since many people use same password across services – mails, social media, banks, etc.

Tell me more: Yahoo has said that the hack was carried out by a “state sponsored actor,” without revealing other details. The stolen account information names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.

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