10th Vibrant Gujarat Summit Sees Major Manufacturing Announcements

rime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday wooed global investors to Gujarat and India at the annual Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit that kicked off on Wednesday

11 Jan 2024 12:00 PM GMT
On today’s episode, financial journalist Govindraj Ethiraj talks to Manish Raj Singhania, President at FADA (Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations of India) as well as pilot and aviation safety advocate Captain Amit Singh.

Our Top Reports For Today

  • (00:00) Stories Of The Day
  • (01:00) Japanese markets hit 34 year high, Indian markets recover
  • (03:16) 10th Vibrant Gujarat summit sees major manufacturing announcements
  • (09:44) IT hirings in US hit speed breaker, will India follow?
  • (21:11) Boeing CEO says they made a mistake
  • (22:30) Global air traffic is now at 99.1% of pre-pandemic peaks

NOTE: This transcript contains only the host's monologue and does not include any interviews or discussions that might be within the podcast. Please refer to the episode audio if you wish to quote the people interviewed. Email [email protected] for any queries.


Indian Markets Recover

Indian investors are presently watching out for the 3rd quarter and inflation numbers as fresh trends or triggers to look for.

The stock markets see-sawed again on Wednesday with the BSE Sensex closed 272 points higher at 71,656, as it recovered from the day's low of 71,111. The NSE Nifty 50 climbed 74 points to end at 21,619.

The broader indices also rebounded into the positive zone - both - BSE MidCap and SmallCap ended 0.2 and 0.3 per cent, respectively.

Japanese stocks powered ahead toward a fresh three-decade high with the Topix index touching a 34-year peak as a weaker yen supported exporter stocks.

The Nikkei 225 index jumped over 2% after the benchmark hit its highest since 1990 on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.

Japan’s performance was not reflective or reflected upon markets elsewhere with stocks on Wall Street and the rest of Asia steady to weak, on the heels of some heavy tech stock selling last week.

“With the market’s expectation of an early Fed rate cut receding after the start of the new year, Japanese stocks remained firm on the back of expectations that the yen’s depreciation against the dollar will support corporate earnings,” JPMorgan chief Japan equity strategist Rie Nishihara wrote in a note quoted by Bloomberg.

Back home, the rupee ended higher for a sixth consecutive session on likely foreign inflows.

The rupee settled at 83.03 against the U.S. dollar, its highest closing level since Dec. 15, against its close of 83.11 in the previous session.

Earlier in the day, it hit a high of Rs 82.98.

The jump on Wednesday due to dollar selling by a large UK-based bank, traders told Reuters with one HDFC Securities analyst adding that dollar inflows have kept the rupee the top performer among Asian currencies.

Vibrant Gujraat Sees Major Manufacturing Promises

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday wooed global investors to Gujarat and India at the annual Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit that kicked off on Wednesday.

Modi said the world looks at India as a "powerhouse for talented youth, a technology hub for finding solutions and a democracy that delivers", and the country is on its way to becoming the third largest economy in a few years.

A slew of announcements followed subsequently.

ArcelorMittal founder Lakshmi Mittal said they would build the world's single biggest steel manufacturing factory at Hazira in Gujarat by 2029.

The factory will have a capacity of 24 million tonnes per annum, he said speaking at the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

As is often the case in investment summits, many business houses club ongoing and past announcements and add some, ArcelorMittal being a good example, though other companies seem to have announced fresh investments.

Arcelor has a roughly 7 million tonne steel making capacity, apart from power and a captive port, all of which it acquired from Essar Steel via a bankruptcy proceeding in 2019.

In September 2022, the company made a presentation to visiting investors where it said that debottlenecking and ongoing investments would take up capacity to 8.6 million tonnes by the end of 2024.

It then said it was targeting 15 Mtpa crude steel capacity by 1Q 2026, or two years from now and revealed the option of increasing capacity further to 20Mtpa.

Back to Wednesday, Mittal said ArcelorMittal had signed MoUs with the Gujarat government for phase two of the Hazira plant in the summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done the 'bhumi puja' for the first phase of the plant in 2021 and the construction is going on as per schedule for commissioning in 2026, Mittal said.

So it would appear there is an extra 4 million tonnes added to the 20 million tonnes listed as an option in the 2022 presentation to investors.

This of course is a rough scope from what I could see and is not meant to suggest that companies are not investing as they promise but it is just that it can be tough to sync fresh announcements with investment summits.

Though others did so.

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said negotiations for a semiconductor fab in Dholera are in the final stages.

Anticipating the project's initiation in 2024, he underlined the company's commitment to venture into cutting-edge technology and manufacturing, positioning Tata Sons at the forefront of technological innovation.

Speaking on Gujarat, Chandrasekaran said, for the benefit of those who came in late that the Tata Group, Gujarat holds a distinctive significance, dating back to 1939 when Tata Chemicals marked the beginning of its presence in the state. He also highlighted the pivotal role of Sanand, near Ahmedabad, in Tata’s electric vehicle (EV) technology endeavours, emphasising that it has evolved into a central hub for its EV initiatives.

He also revealed plans to commence the construction of a massive 20-gigawatt battery storage factory in Gujarat within the next couple of months.

Auto giant Maruti Suzuki India said it will invest Rs 35,000 crore to set up its second manufacturing facility in Gujarat, Suzuki Motor Corporation President Toshihiro Suzuki said at the Summit (VGGS), Toshihiro said the plant would have an installed production capacity of 10 lakh units per annum.

As a result, the annual production capacity in Gujarat will be two million units -- 1 million units at Suzuki Motor Gujarat and one million units at the second new plant," Suzuki said.

Currently, the auto major has a cumulative production capacity of around 22 lakh units per annum across its two manufacturing plants in Haryana and Gujarat.

Both the Adanis and Ambanis who have most of their manufacturing investments in Gujarat for several decades announced large investments.

Gautam Adani on Wednesday announced a Rs 2 trillion investment in Gujarat over the next five years, largely in setting up the world's largest clean energy project that will be visible even from space.

Adani said the group is building three giga factories for manufacturing solar modules, wind turbines and hydrogen electrolyzers.

It is building the world's largest green energy park, covering 725 square kilometres. It will produce 30 gigawatt of electricity from solar energy as well as set up an integrated renewable energy manufacturing ecosystem for solar and wind. This is an ongoing project.

Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani, in a speech heavily laced with praise for the Prime Minister announced they had begun building the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex over 5,000 acres in Jamnagar which would be ready to commission this in the second half of 2024 itself.

Interestingly, Reliance Industries' stock hit all-time high of Rs 2,658 on the BSE after Goldman Sachs reiterated its Buy rating on the stock, while downgrading rating on other oil stocks.

Meanwhile, just as expected, despite some frenzied and speculative reporting otherwise, Elon Musk has not turned up for the Vibrant Gujarat Summit and announced a Tesla investment and plant.

A senior government official on Wednesday told The Economic Times that the billionaire-founder of Tesla is not coming for the ongoing Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

Of course neither Gujarat nor India is giving up on Elon.

“But they are welcome to invest in the state. The state is very keen to get Tesla if it comes to India, Managing Director of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation Rahul Gupta said.

Gupta said Gujarat is already home to a slew of electric vehicle manufacturers, which we of course knew.

"You will appreciate that it is the prerogative of any particular company on where to invest and what to invest. So as far as Tesla is concerned, the government of Gujarat will be more than happy to facilitate them in case they decide to come to the state," Gupta said.

IT Jobs Slow Down In The US

The information-technology sector grew by only 700 jobs over 2023, a drastic slowdown from the 267,000 jobs added in 2022, even as artificial intelligence and ChatGPT spawned huge interest from businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Of course, the Covid era saw massive hiring by most technology companies who subsequently started back pedalling and downsizing as they realised life was actually not going to be that different from before.

Cybersecurity, AI and data science were among the segments responsible for IT job creation in 2022 and 2023, the WSJ quoted experts saying, while roles managing corporate applications like payroll and human resource systems are being replaced by cloud software.

What does this mean for Indian IT companies who are expected to announce muted to weaker third quarter results and more importantly for the larger universe of jobs and business prospects for Indian IT.

I reached out to Siddharth Pai, a commentator on IT industry trends, columnist and co-founder of Siana Capital, a VC focussed on deep tech and began by asking him whether he was seeing correlations between international and domestic Indian markets and how Indian companies were gearing up ?

Boeing Acknowledges Mistake

Boeing CEO David Calhoun said the company needs to acknowledge its mistake arising out of door-plug failure that has resulted in roughly 170 of its planes being grounded and generate fresh waves of anxiety about flying world over.

From what I could see, the move to acknowledge Boeing’s role in the mishap has been welcomed as a positive step and a constructive and responsible response by many, including from a communications point of view.

In his first remarks since the accident, Calhoun indicated a misstep by the aircraft maker played a role. “We are gonna approach this—No. 1—acknowledging our mistake,” Calhoun said Tuesday in an address to employees just days after the incident on an Alaska Airlines flight, the WSJ reported.

“We’re gonna approach it with 100% and complete transparency every step of the way,” he said. “We are going to work with the [National Transportation Safety Board] who is investigating the accident itself to find out what the cause is,” he said at an all hands meeting.

Regulators have grounded about 170 Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes since Saturday after a door plug detached from a MAX 9 jet at 16,000 feet, leaving the plane flying with a gaping hole. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines said they have found

Aviation Picks Up

Meanwhile, more people are returning to catching flights as and when they can afford I guess and we are quite close to where we left off in 2019.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for November 2023 air travel performance indicating that air travel demand topped 99% of 2019 levels. This is mostly driven by domestic traffic growth.

International traffic rose 26.4% versus November 2022 while domestic traffic for November 2023 was up 34.8% compared to November 2022.

China has seen among the highest growth numbers also because shut downs there were much more severe.

IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said economic headwinds are not deterring people from taking to the skies. International travel remains 5.5% below pre-pandemic levels but that gap is rapidly closing. And domestic markets have been above their pre-pandemic levels continuously since April”

Updated On: 11 Jan 2024 6:00 AM GMT
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