Our Top Reports For Today
- (00:00) Stories Of The Day
- (02:38) More ships divert to avoid Red Sea tensions, crude oil prices rise.
- (05:16) Spicejet Makes A Go For GoAir.
- (06:20) Resilient remittances into India hit fresh high of $125 billion.
- (13:01) IPL 2024 fever is on, auctions see new record prices for players
- (20:57) Diamonds are forever again, for now, as they return to markets.
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.
Markets & Oil
After a slow Monday, the Indian stock markets picked up, though later in the afternoon with the BSE Sensex rising 122 points higher at 71,437 levels, while the Nifty50 ended at 21,453, up 34 points.
The rupee fell by 9 paise to settle at 83.19 (provisional) against the US dollar on Tuesday and dealers appeared to feel that the rupee might have ended weaker were it not for positive dollar flows into the stock market and steady crude oil prices.
Friday was a very good day for the rupee versus the dollar when it jumped 27 paise on a single day and crossed Rs 83 to touch Rs 82.90.
Elsewhere, in macroeconomic news, the Government informed the lower house of parliament that the share of agriculture in India's GDP declined to 15 per cent last fiscal year from 35 per cent in 1990-91, or over 32 years.
The fall is not surprising in itself and over three decades but the Agriculture Minister did say that the decline was not because of agricultural output, rather an increase in industrial and services sectors.
Tension On The Red Sea
Shipping major A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S has said it will redirect its vessels to sail south of Africa via the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the Red Sea conflict area where Houthi militants have attacked several ships with drones and anti-ship ballistic missiles.
About 20 Maersk vessels, waiting on both sides of the Suez Canal, will now change course and sail the long way around the continent, the Copenhagen-based company said in a statement on Tuesday, reported Bloomberg.
A shipping industry veteran The Core spoke to yesterday said a diversion around the southern tip of Africa could add 7-8 days to sailing time and the additional costs with the extra fuel and overall cost of running the ships.
And of course delays.
Maersk transports about 15% of the world’s containers at sea.
On Monday, the US said it has agreed with allies, including the UK, Canada, France, to create a naval task force to counter attacks on ships in the region.
On Monday afternoon, the US Secretary of Defense said America and its allies including the UK, Canada, France and others agreed to create a naval task force to counter attacks on ships in the region.
“This is an international challenge that demands collective action,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said in a statement.
Coming up is our energy segment supported by IndiaEnergyWeek.
European natural gas prices surged by as much as 13% amid the most concrete sign yet of disruption to energy flows since the start of the war in Gaza. Brent oil futures traded higher on Tuesday after rising as much as 3.9% in the previous session.
Another Steel Giant Takes Shape
Nippon Steel Corp. will buy United States Steel Corp. for $14.1 billion to create the world’s second-largest steel company — and the biggest outside of China — with a key role in supplying American manufacturers and automakers, Bloomberg reported.
The deal ends months of uncertainty over the future of US Steel, an icon of American industry which is a key supplier to the automotive industry.
For Nippon Steel, Japan’s biggest steel producer, the transaction provides a large foothold in the American steel industry when US demand is poised to benefit from rising infrastructure spending. ArcelorMittal SA was also reported as a potential buyer..
Spicejet Goes For GoAir
Some aviation news. India's SpiceJet is considering an offer for bankrupt carrier Go First, the cash-strapped airline said on Tuesday, a few days after it raised around Rs 2,200 crore to get its grounded planes back in the sky.
SpiceJet said it would make the offer - the details of which were not disclosed - after conducting due diligence on Go First's resolution professional, the official involved in conducting the airline's insolvency process, Reuters reported.
GoFirst stopped flying in May this year.
But the stock price of Spicejet was flying with the price rising about 7% to hit more than a year high.
Analysts were surprised with SpiceJet’s late in the day bid given its old problems and continued problems with maintaining schedules in recent months
Remittances Are Rising
The remittance economy is still growing despite slowing down a bit as compared to the previous two years.
India still leads the pack by far with 2023 remittances touching $125 billion with Mexico next at $67 billion, followed by China at $50 billion and Philippines at $40 billion.
Remittances grow at an estimated 4%, said the World Bank, which was slower than the previous two years but the projection is that growth will slow down next year as global growth slows down, according to the World Bank’s migration and development brief released over the weekend.
Based on the trajectory of weaker global economic activity, growth of remittances to low and middle income countries is expected to soften further to 3.1% in 2024.
The United States continued to be the largest source of remittances.
An interesting insight is the cost of remittances.
The World Bank says remittance costs remain persistently high, costing 6.2% on average to send $200 as of the second quarter of 2023.
Compared to a year ago, sending money to all regions was more expensive, with the Middle East and North Africa being the exception.
Banks continue to be the costliest channel for sending remittances (with an average cost of 12.1%), followed by post offices (7%), money transfer operators (5.3%), and mobile operators (4.1%).
I reached out to S. Irudaya Rajan, Chair of the International Institute for Migration and Development, India and also chair of the KNOMAD (The Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development) World Bank working group on internal migration and urbanisation and began by asking him how he was seeing the $125 billion figure and trends in migration.
IPL 2024 Auctions
IPL 2024 will kick off on March 23, 2024 for an eight week schedule.
The mini auction of some 333 players meanwhile started off in Dubai on Tuesday as the 10 franchisees aimed to jig and rejig their teams as they kitted up for the country’s greatest cricketing tournament and spectacle.
In a sure sign that the bets and stakes are bigger next season, Kolkata Knight Riders bagged Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc at a record price of Rs 24.75 crore.
Earlier, Australia's World Cup winning captain Pat Cummins became the costliest buy in Indian Premier League history after fetching a whopping Rs 20.50 crore bid from Sunrisers Hyderabad.
There were many more deals, all of which pointed to a tournament fuelled by plenty of big money and deals next year.
I reached out to well known cricket columnist Ayaz Memon and began by asking him how he was reading the record bids for players.
Google To Pay $700 Million
Alphabet's (GOOGL.O) Google has agreed to pay $700 million and to allow for greater competition in its Play app store, according to the terms of an antitrust settlement with U.S. states and consumers disclosed on Monday in a San Francisco federal court, Reuters reported.
Google will pay $630 million into a settlement fund for consumers and $70 million into a fund that will be used by states, according to the settlement, which still requires a judge's final approval.
The settlement said eligible consumers will receive at least $2 and may get additional payments based on their spending on Google Play between Aug. 16, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2023.
Google was accused of overcharging consumers through unlawful restrictions on the distribution of apps on Android devices and unnecessary fees for in-app transactions. It did not admit wrongdoing.
As part of the settlement, Google said it would simplify users' ability to download apps directly from developers.
Diamonds Are Forever, For Now
The world’s two biggest diamond miners are selling stones again after the industry all but halted supplies in a desperate attempt to stop a collapse in prices, Bloomberg is reporting.
India’s diamond industry via its main associations had said two weeks ago that it would lift a voluntary ban on imports on expectation that demand will recover and prices of polished items stabilize.
De Beers allowed its customers to refuse all gems they’re contracted to buy.
Alrosa began selling rough diamonds again at the end of November, offloading more than $100 million, sources told Bloomberg.
De Beers, which held its last sale of the year at the start of December, sold a similar amount.
Demand for diamonds see-sawed from doing very well during the pandemic to practically disappearing as the pandemic ended.
The other counter force has been lab-grown diamonds which have caught the fancy of customers in many countries.
Alrosa’s recent sale saw it sell to just a handful of mostly India buyers, the people said.
And while De Beers has resumed sales, it still allowed buyers to reject goods they’re contracted to buy, the people said.