Top economy and business news of the day| Govt invites applications for CEA post; Sensex rallies 383 pts and more

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai. File   | Photo Credit: PTI
Moving to renewables in India to get dearer after the Union government raised GST on critical components used in solar technology, including photovoltaic cells. The government has hiked GST to 12% from the existing 5% with effect from the beginning of this month. The hike in taxes could increase solar power tariffs to ₹2.6-2.7 per unit from an all-time low of ₹2 per unit, next fiscal, according to a report by Crisil.
Facebook’s profit rise amid revelations from leaked documents. The embattled social media giant’s net income grew 17% in the September ending quarter to $9.19 billion, buoyed by strong advertising revenue. The company’s shares rose 2.5% in after-hours trading after closing up 1% for the day.
In another corporate development within the country, Bharti Airtel has informed the government that it will opt for the four-year moratorium on payment of AGR and spectrum dues.
In the EU, ahead of energy talks, 9 countries in the bloc, including Germany, said they wouldn’t support an overhaul of the electricity market. According to the group of countries, setting up a common response within the bloc’s 27 member states to weather energy prices’ impact on consumers will prove problematic. – John Xavier
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Sensex surged 383 points on Tuesday, helped by Reliance Industries, Kotak Bank and Bajaj Finance amid a positive trend in global markets. 
The 30-share index ended 0.63% higher at 61,350.26. Similarly, the NSE Nifty surged 143 points or 0.79% to 18,268.40. 
Tata Steel was the top gainer in the Sensex pack followed by Titan, Bajaj Finance, Nestle India and Tech Mahindra. On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, PowerGrid, HUL, Dr Reddy’s and TCS were among the laggards. 
The rupee settled 12 paise higher at 74.96 against the US dollar on Tuesday, tracking a positive trend in domestic equities. 
At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 75.05 against the greenback and witnessed an intra-day high of 74.95 and a low of 75.17 during the day trade. 
On Monday, the rupee had declined by 18 paise to close at 75.08 against the US currency. 
The government has invited applications for the post of chief economic adviser (CEA) to replace K V Subramanian, who will complete his three-year tenure next month. 
The candidate should have six years’ experience in economic research or providing economic advice or evaluation of economic reforms including administrative experience of one year in the central government or state government. 
The last date for submission of applications is 20 days from the date of publication of advertisement. The maximum age to apply is 56 years. However, the exact tenure for the appointment is not provided. 
HDFC and India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has entered into a strategic alliance to offer home loans to around 4.7 crore customers. 
The partnership aims to facilitate home loans to customers, especially in unbanked and underserved areas with many of them having little or no access to finance, to fulfill their dream of owning a home.
Dearness Allowance for central government employees has been increased to 31% of the basic pay from 28% effective from July 1, 2021, the Finance Ministry said. The decision will benefit about 47.14 lakh central government employees and 68.62 lakh pensioners. 
The hike will also apply to civilian employees paid from the Defence Services, while in respect of Armed Forces personnel and Railway employees, separate orders will be issued by the Defence and Railways Ministry.
South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor missed  profit estimates as the global chip crisis pulled down vehicle shipments.
Hyundai’s net profit rose to 1.3 trillion won ($1.10 billion) in the September-ended quarter from a loss of 336 billion won during the same period in the previous year, when it was hit by a one-time expense related to engine quality issues and recalls.
Facebook’s net income grew 17% in the July-September quarter on strong advertising revenue, beating analysts’ estimates.
The social media giant’s net income rose to $9.19 billion as compared with $7.85 billion a year earlier. The company’s revenue grew 35% to $29.01 billion. 
The results come at a time when Facebook is facing scrutiny for documents supporting claims that the social network has valued financial success over user safety. 
The Indian rupee rose 5 paise to 75.03 against the US dollar in opening trade amid a positive trend in domestic equities. 
The rupee opened at 75.05 against the dollar, then rose to 75.03,  a 5 paise increase over its previous close. Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.10% to 93.90.
The Indian economy is likely to register a 9.5%  growth this fiscal as compared with a 7.3% contraction last year on account of the fast and more credible ongoing recovery, according to Swiss brokerage UBS Securities.
The country’s economy could gain momentum in the second half of the current fiscal on cyclical tailwinds, including pent-up demand and favourable external demand.
Online searches for renting and buying of residential properties touched an all-time high in September, according to realty portal  
The firm launched the Indian residential index for online search (IRIS) to track potential buyers activity on its platform on a monthly basis across 42 cities.
The rise in online searches during September 2021 was primarily due to low home loan interest rates, flexible payment plans being offered by realtors and fall in COVID-19 infections.
The online property search volume in September 2021 surpassed the historical peak that was witnessed in September 2020.
While Delhi-NCR topped the IRIS index, Kolkata registered the highest decline in online search volume. Besides, Surat, Patna, and Coimbatore emerged as gainers in the top-20 cities witnessing maximum online property search volume.
The government has signed the share purchase agreement with Tata Sons after it accepted an offer by Talace Pvt Ltd, a unit of the holding company, to pay Rs 2,700 crore cash and take over Rs 15,300 crore of the airline’s debt.
On October 11 a Letter of Intenet (LoI) was issued to the Tata Group confirming the government’s willingness to sell its 100% stake in the airline.
Air India Director – Finance Vinod Hejmadi, Civil Aviation Ministry Joint Secretary Satyendra Mishra and Supraprakash Mukhopadhyay from the Tata Group signed the share purchase agreement (SPA).
Before the actual handover, Tata Sons requires various regulatory clearances, including from the Competition Commission of India (CCI). 
The government is divesting its 100% ownership of Air India and Air India Express along with its 50 per cent stake in ground-handling company AISATS.
As of August 31, Air India had a total debt of Rs 61,562 crore. As part of the deal, 75% of this debt or Rs 46,262 crore will be transferred to a special purpose vehicle AIAHL before handing over the loss-making airline to the Tata Group.
Oil prices fell after a sustained rally due to strong demand in the United States.
Brent crude fell 0.2% to $85.79 a barrel and U.S. oil was down 0.3% at $83.55 a barrel. 
Gasoline and distillate consumption is back in line with five-year averages in the United States, the world’s biggest consumer of oil and its products, after more than a year of depressed demand.
Indian benchmark equity indices opened on a positive note. At 9:15, the Sensex was up 0.26% at 61123.56 and the Nifty was up 0.22% at 18164.80.
Asian stocks rose after upbeat Wall Street earnings lifted the broader economic outlook. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet have their earnings report due this week. The firms have been the drivers of the market rally this year. Facebook announced its quarterly earnings report with a higher profit.
Concerns over China’s property sector hit Hong Kong and mainland markets. China said it will roll out a pilot real estate tax in some regions. 
MSCI’s index of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.23% while Hang Seng Index and China’s benchmark CSI300 Index opened fell into negative territory, weighed by property stocks. An index of Hong Kong-listed mainland property firms dropped 4%.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average rose 1.14% on Tuesday, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2%.
—-  Edited by John Xavier
(With inputs from Reuters, PTI and other news agencies.)
Printable version | Dec 27, 2021 1:24:00 PM |
Rise in prices of tomatoes was induced by a drastic fall in supply and when demand surged, traders and retailers increased their mark-ups


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