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, Jan 31, 2017: Merger on the airwaves

Rs 78,000 crore

What is it? The estimated combined revenue of a proposed merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

Why is it important? The all-share merger will create India’s largest telecom company, larger than the Rs-50,008-crore-earning Bharti Airtel. Debt on both the companies’ books and likely losses incurred from the tariff-reduction race started by Reliance Jio are being seen as triggers for the move. It looks like a much needed consolidation boost in the 22-circle Indian telecom market, as seen from the stock gains of Indian telecom operators yesterday ranging 8-10% with Idea gaining a record 26%.

Tell me more: The merged entry would still have to address, in many markets, the telecom regulator’s anti-monopoly restrictions of owning no more than 50% of spectrum in a band and 25% of available spectrum in a circle (or geographic market).

 

1 day

What is it? Number of days to go before the RBI-mandated daily ATM withdrawal limit of Rs 10,000 is removed, from February 1.

Why is it important? The first sign of reverting to pre-demonetisation days of cash management was made with RBI’s circular removing the ATM limit. Two weeks ago, RBI signalled its ease in handling cash by expanding the limit to Rs 10,000 from Rs 4,500. The Rs 24,000-weekly limit on savings-bank withdrawal, however, stays put, but restrictions on  current account, cash credit and overdraft accounts will be removed.

Tell me more: RBI mentions the savings-bank limit is under consideration for withdrawal in the “near future”. Banks can use their discretion to set their own operating limits at ATMs as was the practice before old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were withdrawn.

 

42

What is it? The number of cases the Income Tax (IT) departmentregistered nationwide under the recently-enforced Benami Transactions Act.

Why is it important? Warnings in public advertisements by the IT department against depositing unaccounted old currency in someone else’s bank account anonymously are materialising now. The BenamiAct’s section 24 has been invoked for 87 notices, for attaching bank accounts with crores of rupees of such dubious deposits and an immovable property.

Tell me more: These cases, if proven true, would attract a heavy penalty and a rigorous jail-term of a maximum of seven years.

 

4

What is it? The number of new administrators appointed by the Supreme Court to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Why is it important? The neutral committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), and the current Chairman of Banks Board Bureau, Vinod Rai, will pave the path to reform the embattled BCCI, richest sporting body in India and the most profitable cricket board in the world. The team, with a mix of financial acumen, social perspective and cricketing enthusiasm, is tasked with bringing in accounting rigour and good governance to a body mired in controversies, the latest being its earlier president and secretary sacked on January 3. It would also finalise the Indian Premier League’s 10th edition besides reporting on the Lodha panel recommendations to the court.

Tell me more: The other members are Vikram Limaye, managing director and CEO of IDBI Bank; former Indian women’s cricket captain Diana Edulji; and historian and writer Ramchandra Guha. Limaye will represent BCCI in an ICC meeting in February. The committee has no term limit.

 

650

What is it? The number of branches of the India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) to be set up by September, 2017.

Why is it important? The IPPB will locate these branches in postal district headquarters which would enable all the post office branches under those head offices to be served by the payments bank. With India Post’s envious branch network of no less than 155,000 post offices, expanding its reach should be one of IPPB’s easiest tasks.  It would let enabled post offices accept limited deposits at a maximum interest of 5.5% and offer payment services but not offer loans, unlike commercial banks.

Tell me more: The IPPB joins Airtel Payments Bank, offering 7.25% on savings, in a new financial services category, with more players to come.

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News in Numbers, Jan 24, 2017: WTO sugars the pill

2/3rd

What is it? Members of the 164-country-strong World Trade Organization’s (WTO) that agreed to permanently waive restrictions on poor countries accessing generic medicines.

Why is it important? It permanently removes hurdles (such as a mandate to primarily supply local markets) for poor WTO members who cannot afford to produce generic medicines. They can now import more affordable version of medicines for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. WTO’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement had to be amended for a permanent waiver. Despite their low cost, the demand volume for generics worldwide makes it worth 36% of the global pharma market.

Tell me more: The waiver was in place since 2003, but in a temporary mode, being renewed every two years. The permanent status agreement took 12 years in the making.

 

Rs 3,000 crore

What is it? The MoU investment amount signed by Vodafone with the West Bengal government for capacity increase and other business initiatives in the state for the next three years.

Why is it important? The amount constitutes 1.3% of the Rs 2.35 lakh-crore-investment proposals received by the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government in its Bengal Global Business Summit over the weekend. With over 20 million subscribers in West Bengal and Kolkata, Vodafone would look to consolidate over 10% of its total customer base.

Tell me more: Vodafone has previously invested over Rs 8,400 crorein West Bengal to upgrade its network.

 

35.5%

What is it? The rate of growth of gross premium income of private general (or non-life) insurers in December, 2016 over 2015.

Why is it important? Private general insurers grew faster than public general insurers, underwriting Rs 4,775.35 crore in gross premium income, compared with the latter’s Rs 3524.13 crore, that grew at 17%.

Tell me more: Private non-life insurers are growing faster on a smaller base as they command the smaller half or 42% of the market.

 

9

What is it? The number of people arrested in Kingfisher Airlines loan case on Monday. Those arrested included former managing director of IDBI Bank and former CFO of Kingfisher Airlines.

Why is it important? The loan default by Kingfisher promoter Vijay Mallya and his companies has turned political and the Indian government is under increasing pressure to show that it’s making progress. The public pressure to show visible results has intensified since demonetisation, as the government was seen as being too soft on big businesses and too hard on the common man.

Tell me more: Former IDBI Bank Chairman Yogesh Agarwal, former Kingfisher Airlines CFO A Raghunathan and seven of their colleagues were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

 

-0.2%

What is it? The day’s fall on Monday for two of Wall Street’s indices:S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite.

Why is it important? The markets were reacting to President Trump’s protectionist trade moves and Qualcomm’s shares stricken by Apple’s lawsuit. Trump abandoned the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and is on the verge of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. The anticipated protectionist measures combined with the embattled Qualcomm’s lawsuit from Apple to bring down indices.

Tell me more: The Dow Jones Industrial Average also inched downby 0.1% on Monday.

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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.

 

3

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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