1. India-US Trade Negotiations Going in Full Speed: Sitharaman
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said negotiations between India and the United States on a trade deal are going on in “full speed” and expressed hope that it will conclude soon.
The ongoing trade deal negotiations briefly came up for discussion during a pull aside between Sitharaman and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the IMF headquarters. Mnuchin is scheduled to visit India early next month.
“In fact, I broadly mentioned it to Secretary Mnuchin, but that is something on which the Commerce minister and Mr (Robert) Lighthizer (US Trade Representatives) are working. My inputs are that the negotiations are going in full speed and there’s a great intensity with which both sides are engaging and hopefully the deal will be structured soon,” Sitharaman said.
(Source: The Indian Express)
2. Global Energy Giants Line up for BPCL Sale
Saudi Aramco, Rosneft, Kuwait Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total SA and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co are among companies that have had conversations with the government on asset sales and are likely to bid for the government’s stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, two people aware of the matter said.
“While a formal interest from the potential bidders is expected in due course, all the above names are part of the list that the government will reach out to," said one of the two people cited above, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The privatisation of BPCL is expected to attract global energy majors given that India is the world’s fastest-growing major oil market.
3. Two-Wheeler Exports Rise 4% in April-September
Two-wheeler exports rose by over 4 percent in the April-September period of the current fiscal, with Bajaj Auto leading the segment by shipping over 9 lakh units to various markets, including Africa and Latin America, as per latest data by industry body SIAM.
Two-wheeler dispatches, including motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, stood at 17,93,957 units in the first half of the current fiscal, as compared to 17,23,280 units in the same period of 2018-19.
Scooter exports during the period under review stood at 2,01,277 units, down 10.87 percent from 2,25,821 units in the April-September period of 2018-19.
(Source: Hindu BusinessLine)
4. Pre-Diwali Sales See an Uptick Compared to Last Year: Retailers
Consumer electronics and cellphone retailers said sales in the last weekend before Diwali -- when business is supposed to peak -- has improved this year as compared to same period of last year, though the usual high peaks of Diwali are missing this year due to the economic situation.
This weekend electronics and mobile phone retailers sold more of premium products such as premium refrigerators, washing machines and smartphones like the latest Apple iPhone indicating consumers are fulfilling the pent up demand of postponing purchases in the last quarter.
(Source: Economic Times)
5. Despite Startup Funding Boom, First Cracks of Slowdown Appear
The economic slowdown in India and global macroeconomic uncertainty seem to have prompted venture capital (VC) investors to take a cautious approach after pumping in record amounts of capital so far this year, investors, entrepreneurs and lawyers said.
While capital is still flowing into startups, the number of such companies getting funded is little changed, if not falling, indicating investors have become more guarded in their approach. For the few deals that are being closed, venture investors are now taking longer to scrutinise investments, a partner at a venture capital fund said, requesting anonymity.
6. FPIs Pour in Rs 5,072 Crore into Indian Capital Markets in October so Far
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have infused a net sum of Rs 5,072 crore into the Indian capital markets in October so far amid the government's efforts to revive domestic demand.
In the preceding month, FPIs had invested a net Rs 6,557.8 crore in the domestic capital markets (both equity and debt).
This came following net outflows in July and August.
As per the latest depositories data, foreign investors put in a net sum of Rs 4,970 crore in equities and a net Rs 102 crore in the debt market during 1-18 October, taking the cumulative net investment to Rs 5,072 crore.
7. Debt-Laden DHFL Loaned to Firms Tied to Its Promoters: ED Probe
Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) loaned a total Rs 2,186 crore to firms allegedly linked to its own promoters, including Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has found. Investigators suspect the loaned money was subsequently diverted to firms directly or indirectly controlled by the promoters of DHFL.
Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan, popularly known as Baba Dewan, are the promoters of DHFL, a housing finance company that has a debt of Rs 1 lakh crore. One of the directors of Sunblink, Sunny Bathija, is the brother-in law of Dheeraj Wadhawan, sources familiar with the ED case said.
(Source: The Indian Express)
8. FY20 Gross Tax Revenue Likely to Fall Short by Around Rs 2 Trillion
An internal assessment by the central government suggests that gross tax revenue for 2019-20 (FY20) may fall short by around Rs 2 trillion from the budgeted estimate of Rs 24.6 trillion, an official in the know told Business Standard.
This assessment is learnt to have been informally shared with the Fifteenth Finance Commission (15th FC), which had asked the finance ministry to give it a revised memorandum in the light of the current economic slowdown, tax trends, and fiscal situation. For 2018-19 (FY19), the gross tax revenue estimate was Rs 22.7 trillion.
(Source: Business Standard)
9. Govt Should Make Indian Aviation Sector Globally Competitive: SpiceJet CMD
As India has emerged as the one of the fastest growing civil aviation markets of the world, it is time that the government take steps to make the aviation sector globally competitive beginning with reduction on its tax structure, the head of a low-cost airline has said.
Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet, in an interview to PTI rued that the civil aviation sector in India is highly taxed and identified it as one of the major stumbling blocks in making it globally competitive.
"I think lowering of taxes and looking at aviation in a holistic sense as a job creator, as something that connects India to itself and to the world. It's important that we take a more holistic approach to aviation," he said Singh was in Washington DC last week as part of a business delegation that accompanied Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who was here to attend the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
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