30 December 2023 : Important Financial News in India


Source: Economic Times, “Today’s ePaper”

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Table of Contents

A Bumper Year for Equities, and the Promise of More 

In 2023, Indian equity markets experienced significant growth for the 8th consecutive year. The Nifty index increased by 20%, indicating a strong performance of major companies. Additionally, investors in mid-cap and small-cap stocks saw their investments grow even faster. This trend suggests a robust economic environment and investor confidence in the Indian market. For example, someone who invested in these markets likely saw a notable increase in their portfolio’s value.

LSR Tops DU as Undergrad Lands Record ₹49L Offer 

A student from Lady Shri Ram College, affiliated with Delhi University, received a job offer with an impressive annual salary of ₹48.9 lakh from a global bank. This record-setting salary for an undergraduate student highlights the increasing value of higher education and the competitive job market. It shows how sought-after graduates from prestigious institutions can be, especially in high-paying industries like banking.

Core Sector Growth Eases to Six-month Low of 7.8% in Nov 

India’s core sector growth slowed down to 7.8% in November, the lowest in six months, from a previous high of 12%. This decrease indicates a cooling period in sectors like coal, electricity, and steel. The ‘high base effect’ refers to the phenomenon where growth appears smaller when compared to a period of unusually high growth in the past. This could imply a normalization of growth rates after a period of rapid expansion.

Chinese Co BabyBus Taking Kids for Ride 

Despite India’s ban on several Chinese apps, including TikTok, BabyBus, a Chinese company, remains active in India. This situation reflects the complex dynamics of international digital content and app markets. While some apps are banned for various reasons, others continue to operate, showing the challenges in regulating the digital space.

Offshore Crackdown may Bring Crypto Party Home 

The Financial Intelligence Unit’s action against nine foreign digital asset service providers might level the playing field for Indian crypto exchanges. This move, aimed at ensuring compliance with regulatory norms, might encourage cryptocurrency activities to shift more towards domestic platforms, affecting the global and local crypto market dynamics.

More Indians Going Nuts over Dry Fruits 

In 2023, there was a 25% increase in dry fruit consumption in India, the highest in five years. Post-pandemic health awareness is a likely factor, as people turn to nutritious foods like dry fruits, which are rich in minerals and vitamins and boost immunity. This trend not only indicates a shift in dietary preferences but also impacts the dry fruit market, potentially leading to increased demand and prices.

Room on the Vroom: Hotel Rates Hit Stratosphere for Dec 31 

Hotel rates in India soared to record highs for December 31, indicating a booming hospitality sector. This surge in room rates, especially in branded hotels, suggests a strong recovery and high demand in the industry, likely driven by tourism and year-end celebrations. It signifies a positive economic indicator, as high hotel rates often reflect overall consumer spending and economic health.

Gems, Jewellery Exports Dip by 4.5% in Nov to ₹19,018cr 

November witnessed a 4.52% decrease in India’s gems and jewellery exports compared to the previous year, totaling ₹19,018.180 crore. This decline, as reported by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), contrasts with the ₹19,917.73 crore exports in November 2022. This decrease could affect the overall revenue of the sector and potentially impact employment and trade balances.

Trust Investment-led Investors Put ₹975 cr in GI Hydro Bonds 

GI Hydro, previously known as Gati Infrastructure, successfully raised ₹975 crore through bond issuance. Key investors include Trust Investment Advisors and Allianz Global Investors. This funding boost is significant for the hydro power sector, possibly leading to expanded operations or new projects, impacting energy supply and sustainability initiatives.

Court Extends ED Custody of Three Vivo India Execs by One Day 

A Delhi court extended the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody of three Vivo India executives by one day in a money laundering case. This development indicates ongoing legal scrutiny of corporate practices, possibly affecting the company’s reputation and operations in India.

Regulator Flags Audit Lapses by Walker Chandiok 

The National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) identified lapses in Walker Chandiok & Co LLP’s (WCCL) auditing processes, including issues with integrating electronic and paper files. Such regulatory scrutiny can impact the firm’s credibility and highlights the importance of stringent audit practices in maintaining financial transparency.

Wipro Demands ₹25cr+ in Damages from Ex-CFO for Contract Breach 

Wipro is suing its former CFO, Jatin Dalal, for breaching a non-compete clause, demanding ₹25.15 crore in damages and 18% annual interest from September 29. This case exemplifies the challenges and legal implications of enforcing non-compete clauses in employment contracts, especially in high-profile positions.

Amazon’s Pay Arm and ATS Unit’s FY23 Nos Signal Slump 

Amazon India’s Pay Arm and ATS Unit reported a slowdown in their FY23 financials, indicating a dip in the Seattle-based company’s overall business in India. This slowdown could have broader implications for the e-commerce industry and job market in India.

Are Non-compete Clauses Legally Sound? 

The article discusses the legality and commonality of non-compete clauses in India, noting that lawsuits for contract violations are rare. This suggests a potential area of legal uncertainty in the corporate world, affecting employee mobility and company strategies.

India, HK Bust Money Laundering Racket Via Diamond Trade 

Indian and Hong Kong customs authorities have uncovered a money laundering network using synthetic diamond imports. This joint operation reflects the international effort to combat financial crimes and could have significant implications for the global diamond trade.

Meesho FY23 Revenue Grows 77% to ₹5,735 cr, Narrows Loss by Nearly Half 

E-commerce platform Meesho reported a 77% increase in revenue to ₹5,735 crore for FY23, while its losses decreased by 48% to ₹1,675 crore. This growth signals a strong market presence and could influence the competitive landscape of the e-commerce sector in India.

NPCI Set to Launch UPI for Secondary Market from Jan 1 

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced the launch of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for secondary market trading starting January 1. This development is significant for the financial sector, potentially making trading more accessible and efficient.

Pine Labs Nears ₹1,600 crore in Revenue, Up 56% from Last Yr 

Pine Labs, a merchant payments company, reported a 56% increase in revenue to ₹1,588 crore for FY23. Its overall losses decreased slightly, indicating robust growth and financial health in the digital payments sector.

PhysicsWallah Sees 3-Fold Revenue Growth in FY23, Net Falls to ₹16 crore 

Edtech unicorn PhysicsWallah reported a threefold increase in revenue to ₹772 crore for FY23, primarily due to its expansion into offline spaces. However, its net profit decreased to ₹16 crore, reflecting the challenges and dynamics of scaling up in the education technology industry.

Samsung to Finally Get Its FY21 Incentives Under PLI Scheme 

Samsung is set to receive over ₹500 crore from the Indian government under the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for smartphones for the fiscal year 2021. This decision will likely incentivize Samsung to increase its smartphone production in India. This move can create job opportunities and enhance India’s position in the global smartphone manufacturing market.

MG Motor Lines Up New Models to Boost India Play 

MG Motor India, owned by SAIC, plans to introduce seven new car models in India in the next couple of years. This expansion strategy, following a joint venture with JSW Group, indicates MG Motor’s commitment to the Indian market. It’s likely to intensify competition in India’s automotive sector and offer a wider range of options for consumers.

Covid Variant Spreading, But No Rise in Hospitalisations Seen Yet 

India is experiencing a spread of the coronavirus subvariant JN.1 with 162 confirmed cases. Despite the increase in cases, there has been no corresponding rise in hospitalizations. This situation highlights the need for continuous monitoring and readiness in the healthcare sector to respond to potential escalations.

Certification Must for Real Estate Agents: MahaRERA 

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has mandated certification for all real estate agents effective from January 1. This requirement is aimed at enhancing the professionalism and transparency of the real estate sector, potentially leading to better service quality and consumer trust.

Healthtech Co to Hit Fund Trail, a Mumbai-based healthtech firm specializing in AI-powered medical imaging diagnostics, is planning a significant fundraising effort for business expansion, including acquisitions. This move indicates the growing relevance and potential of AI in healthcare, particularly in enhancing diagnostic precision and patient care.

Swan Energy Gets Board Nod for Raising ₹4k crore 

Swan Energy received board approval to raise ₹4,000 crore through equity shares or other securities. This capital raise is intended to fuel the company’s growth and expansion plans, potentially impacting the energy sector with new projects or enhancements to existing operations.

Waaree Energies Files Draft Papers for ₹3k-crore IPO 

Waaree Energies, a solar panel manufacturer, is preparing for a ₹3,000 crore Initial Public Offering (IPO), reflecting the increasing investor interest in renewable energy. This move could facilitate expansion and further development in the solar energy sector in India.

2023, a Blockbuster Year for Film Industry 

The Indian film industry, particularly Bollywood, is expected to have a record-breaking year in 2023. With significant box office earnings anticipated, including four Hindi films crossing ₹500 crore each, this trend suggests a strong post-pandemic recovery and growing consumer interest in cinema.

Amitabh Bachchan Leases 4 Office Spaces in Mumbai to Warner Music 

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan leased four office spaces in Mumbai to Warner Music India for a five-year term. This real estate move indicates active engagement in commercial property leasing within the entertainment sector and could enhance Warner Music’s operational capabilities in India.

Net Demand for Office Space up 10% in Top Cities 

Demand for office space in India’s major cities increased by 10% to approximately 42 million square feet, driven by high leasing activities by corporates. This trend, despite global economic uncertainties, suggests a resilient real estate market and a recovering economic environment.

Distributors Oppose HUL’s Margin Rejig 

Distributors are opposing Hindustan Unilever Limited’s (HUL) restructuring of their margin scheme. They claim that HUL’s new margin structure is aimed at increasing its own profitability at their expense. This conflict could impact the distribution and profitability strategies within the FMCG sector.

Tinplate to Invest in Jamshedpur Facility 

The Tinplate Company of India, a Tata Steel subsidiary, announced an investment of ₹1,787 crore to set up a new manufacturing facility in Jamshedpur. This investment is a significant development in the region, likely leading to job creation and economic growth.

Boeing Wants Airlines to Inspect 737 MAX Planes 

Boeing has issued a recommendation for airlines to inspect their B737 Max airplanes. This advisory follows the discovery of a maintenance issue involving a missing bolt in one of the aircraft. This measure reflects Boeing’s continued focus on safety and maintenance standards in the aviation industry.

Indian Cos Dazzle on Global Top Lists Amid Bumper Stock Rally 

In 2023, Indian companies stood out globally, with impressive stock returns. Tata Motors DVR led the Bloomberg World Auto Manufacturers index with a 146% return, surpassing global giants like Tesla. This highlights the strong performance of Indian companies in the global market and reflects growing investor confidence in India’s corporate sector.

‘We Must Avoid Mkt Bubbles Through Policy & Regulation’ 

Uday Kotak, the founder of Kotak Mahindra Bank, emphasized the need to prevent market bubbles as more Indians shift from saving to investing. He suggested this can be achieved through effective policy, regulation, and education, along with offering high-quality securities. This approach aims to maintain market stability and protect investors.

At Rs1,74,663 cr, D-Street Records Highest Foreign Inflows in 2023 

Foreign investment in Indian equities reached a record high in 2023, driven by optimism about India’s economic prospects, signals of rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve, and political stability expectations. This influx reflects global investor confidence in the Indian economy and its stock market.

Indian Banks Shrug off Multiple Headwinds 

Despite challenges like global monetary tightening, domestic rate hikes, and volatile commodity prices, Indian banks have shown resilience. They successfully navigated potential threats that affected some US banks, indicating strong risk management and the robust health of India’s banking sector.

EMs Poised to End Year With Best Gains in Years 

Emerging markets (EMs) are concluding the year with their best performance since 2017, buoyed by the prospect of lower US interest rates sparking renewed investor interest. This trend demonstrates the attractiveness of EMs to investors seeking higher returns and diversification.

Forex Reserves Surge by $4.47 b to $620.4 b 

India’s foreign exchange reserves saw a significant increase, adding $4.47 billion, reaching $620.4 billion. This increase strengthens India’s economic position, providing a buffer against external shocks and enhancing its ability to manage currency volatility.

More Time for Charges Levied on Loan Accounts 

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) extended the deadline for implementing new charges on loan accounts by three months. The new rules, now effective from April 1, 2024, aim to provide more time for banks and customers to adapt to these changes, ensuring a smoother transition.

Rupee Gains 4 Paise Against US Dollar 

The Indian rupee strengthened slightly against the US dollar, benefiting from a weaker dollar globally and renewed foreign investment inflows. This appreciation, though modest, is a positive sign for the Indian economy, indicating investor confidence and potentially impacting imports, exports, and foreign debt.

FinMin Confident of 6.5%+ Growth in FY24 

The Finance Ministry of India expects the economy to grow by more than 6.5% in the financial year 2024 (FY24). This optimism is based on strong economic activities observed in the third quarter of FY24, which are anticipated to continue into the March quarter. This growth projection reflects the government’s confidence in the country’s economic resilience and ongoing recovery.

Fiscal Deficit Until November Touches 50.7% of FY24 Target 

India’s fiscal deficit from April to November 2023 reached 50.7% of the target set for FY24. This is a reduction compared to 58.9% in the same period last year, attributed to controlled government spending and improved tax collections. This data suggests effective fiscal management, indicating a healthier economic state.

Duty Rebate on Scotch Whisky, EVs Likely to be Taken up with UK in Jan 

India and the UK are set to discuss duty concessions on Scotch whisky and electric vehicles (EVs), along with skilled worker mobility, in their upcoming trade talks in January. These discussions are part of ongoing negotiations for a trade agreement, highlighting key areas of mutual economic interest.

India, Oz may Ink Full Trade Deal After 2024 LS Polls 

A comprehensive trade deal between India and Australia is expected to be finalized after the 2024 general elections in India. Australia’s interest in India’s agriculture market is a significant aspect of these negotiations, reflecting the potential for expanded trade relations between the two countries.

Align Norms with Centre’s Labour Codes: Govt to States 

The Indian government is urging states to align their labor regulations with the four central Labour Codes. This alignment aims to minimize legal issues and divergence, ensuring a more uniform and efficient labor regulatory framework across the country.

Small Savings Rates Unchanged for Most Schemes for March Quarter 

The Indian government has decided to maintain the interest rates for most small savings schemes for the March quarter, with an increase only for three-year term deposits and Sukanya Samriddhi accounts. This stability in rates indicates a cautious approach to managing public savings in the current economic climate.

Cognizant gets HC Relief 

Cognizant Technology Solutions received a reprieve from the Madras High Court, which stayed a ₹9,403.09 crore tax demand by the Income Tax Department related to the company’s share buyback in 2017-18. This legal development provides temporary relief to Cognizant, highlighting the complexities of tax disputes involving large corporations.

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