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QBiz: India Halts Manufacturing; E-Commerce Services to Resume

1. Coronavirus Lockdown: Manufacturing Grinds to a Halt, Companies Shut Plants

Manufacturing in key sectors in the country has virtually stopped, with more and more companies announcing that they are shutting down their factories owing to a shortage of labour and raw materials, and a lack of logistical support amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown. The lockdown, aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, is also impacting their plants overseas.

Aditya Birla Group-owned Hindalco announced that it had temporarily shut down or scaled down operations at some of its aluminium and copper manufacturing facilities in line with the government’s directives. Operations are being managed with minimal staff as part of the effort to practise social distancing, it said.

(Source: Business Standard)

2. 21-Day Lockdown: E-Commerce Firms Set to Resume Work After Police Assurance

Walmart-owned Flipkart said on Wednesday it would resume services and Amazon said it was working with the government to enable its deliveries after state governments reached out to the firms, which had temporarily stopped accepting new orders amid reports of police high-handedness.

The Delhi police issued a statement saying they were proactively engaging with e-commerce portals and were issuing passes to ensure agents were able to commute seamlessly and deliver essential goods to residents during the 21-day lockdown. The Bengaluru police, too, came out with guidelines for issuing curfew passes.

(Source: Business Standard)

Also Read: Coronavirus: How Modi’s Lockdown Speech Created Panic Among Public

3. SEBI May Cut Commodity Derivatives Timings Till 5 pm Over Virus Lockdown

The securities and Exchange board of India (Sebi) is considering a proposal to cut down trading hours for commodities derivatives from 11.30 pm to 5 pm till the time lockdow over coronavirus is in place.

This follows the submission by brokers to the regulator requesting such measures following lockdown. Many brokers finding it difficult to call even bare minimum staff required in office.

Equity derivatives are functioning till 3.30 for derivatives and cash market. However, commodities traditionally remain open till late, especially for globally refrenciable commodities like bullion, metals and energy. International markets are open round the clock.

(Source: Business Standard)

4. Coronavirus: Banks Offer Fresh Lines of Credit to SME Firms Amid Lockdown

Despite State Bank of India, Bank of India, and Bank of Baroda announcing fresh credit lines for troubled companies, they are expecting a series of defaults by small and medium companies as the financial year draws to an end. Union Bank and Indian Bank also announced similar measures to increase working capital limits.

Banks are also asking the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to delay non-performing asset (NPA) classification by three months (from the end of 90 days of non-servicing of loan). If a loan is not serviced for 90 days, it becomes a bad debt for the bank and provision is made. To ease pressure due to the coronavirus lockdown, corporates had asked banks and the government for a six-month liquidity line, so that they can pay off their suppliers and employees.

(Source: Business Standard)

Also Read: FM Extends Deadlines, Promises COVID-19 Package: Key Highlights

5. No More Than 480p Content on Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar for Mobile Users Till 14 April

The COVID-19 outbreak has created unique situations in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown on Tuesday to curb the spread of coronavirus. This unprecedented situation has called for an unprecedented solution.

The lockdown has caused a sudden surge in consumption of media via mobile networks. Not only social media companies like Instagram and Facebook, but even dedicated video streaming applications are witnessing high demand. The Digital Industry giants like Disney India, Netflix India, Facebook, Google, Amazon Prime Video conducted a virtual meeting to look for solutions to the problem.

The industry heads decided to lower the default resolution of content from HD (High Definition) and ultra-HD to SD (Standard Definition), at bitrates no higher than 480p on cellular networks. These voluntary measures will be in effect until 14 April. All participants are immediately taking measures.

(Source: Livemint)

6. India Headed for Rare Quarterly Contraction on Lockdown

India’s economy is poised to shrink next quarter and full-year expansion set to suffer markedly, as a three-week nationwide lockdown starting Wednesday brings activity to a standstill, according to economists including from ING Groep NV and Deutsche Bank AG.

With two of the three-week shutdown falling in April, gross domestic product growth in the quarter to June could contract about 5 percent, Prakash Sakpal, an economist at ING in Singapore, wrote in a note. The economy, which expanded 4.7 percent in the quarter ended December, hasn’t seen a contraction in at least two decades. India’s economy had contracted 5.2 percent on an annual basis in 1980.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

7. Founders of Amazon Partner in India Breached Terms on Loans

The founding family of Amazon.com Inc.’s brick-and-mortar retail partner in India breached loan terms, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as market turmoil from the coronavirus pandemic adds to financial strains in the country.

At issue are the loans taken by the founding Biyani family of the Future Group, which comprises listed companies including Amazon partner Future Retail Ltd. The loans were backed by shares in the family’s listed units, but are in breach of terms including collateral cover requirements, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.

The development comes after another such case emerged this week, as founder of IndusInd Bank Ltd. repays debt backed by shares after a stock rout caused a breach in debt terms.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

8. Aviation Industry Stares at Loss of up to $3.6 Billion in Q1 Due to Travel Ban

Aviation consultancy CAPA on Wednesday projected initial losses of $3.3-3.6 billion for the Indian aviation industry in the first quarter of FY2021 in the eventuality of all air services including domestic remain shut until June due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the aviation industry due to the stringent border controls by a host of countries and imposition of the travel ban on the people of other nationalities to contain the virus infection.

The Indian government has also suspended all air services among the several measures to prevent if from getting a large part of the population infected.

(Source: NDTV)

Also Read: Coronavirus Pandemic: Goa Reports First Three Confirmed Cases

9. Some Ports Declare Force Majeure, Could Delay Oil Discharges: Report

Some ports in the country including those owned by Adani Ports & SEZ Ltd have declared force majeure after Asia's third-biggest economy announced a 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, documents seen by Reuters showed.

The shipping ministry has issued a letter allowing ports to use the COVID-19 pandemic as valid grounds to declare force majeure clause, according to a separate shipping ministry order also seen by Reuters.

"All our ports are operating. Force majeure is for ensuring that wherever APSEZ has commercial contracts, the time taken for handling and delivery of cargo doesn't apply," APSEZ said in a statement.

(Source: NDTV)

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