QBiz: PM to Meet Economists, Sectoral Experts; Bitcoin Slides

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet leading economists and sectoral experts at Niti Aayog on 10 January.

1. PM to Meet Economists, Sectoral Experts on 10 January

With about three weeks left for Union Budget 2018-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet leading economists and sectoral experts at Niti Aayog on Wednesday, 10 January, to deliberate on steps which could be taken to boost growth and generate employment.

The meeting, according to a senior government official, will be attended by vice chairman and members of Niti Aayog, members of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), economists and sectoral experts.

The meeting comes in the backdrop of latest estimates of national income by Central Statistics Office (CSO) which showed that India's growth is expected to slow down to four- year low of 6.5 percent this fiscal, the lowest under the Modi-led government.

(Source: PTI)

2. Govt to Seek Expressions of Interest for Air India After Budget

The government will invite expressions of interest from those interested in buying state-owned Air India Ltd, after the budget presentation on 1 February, a top government official said.

The move is intended to demonstrate that the National Democratic Alliance is going ahead with the privatisation of Air India despite a parliamentary panel suggesting a five-year pause.

“We will be seeking expressions of interest certainly in February,” civil aviation secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said in an interview on Monday.

(Source: Livemint)

3. Banks May Sell Loans in RBI's Second List to ARCs in Absence of Bidders

In the absence of suitable bidders, banks may choose to sell to asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) many of the 28 stressed loan accounts the central bank asked them to resolve by 13 December or send to bankruptcy courts for launch of insolvency proceedings.

These are the accounts in the second list of stressed assets issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in August. The first list with 12 accounts was issued in June.

ARCs are likely to cherry-pick the loans, keeping in mind the scope for resolution and complexities involved in resolving the accounts through the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) route.

(Source: Livemint)

4. Rural Indicators Point to Worsening Farm Distress

New data released by the government on rural wages, crop prices and sowing of winter crops reveals that rural distress is worsening.

Planting of wheat, the main winter crop, between October and early January was 5 percent lower than a year ago due to lower sowing in Madhya Pradesh by close to a million hectares; area under oilseeds was lower by over 5 percent.

Rajasthan accounted for most of the decline in oilseed cultivation because of 0.7 million hectares lower sowing of mustard. Similarly, data on nominal rural wages, a bellwether for rural demand, is showing sluggish growth. According to the labour bureau, in October 2017, nominal rural wages for ploughing (men) rose 6.6 percent year-on-year. At the same time, crop prices continue to be a point of concern for farmers.

(Source: Livemint)

5. Affordable Home-Loans Next Threat to Banks: Moody's-Icra Report

Even as a lot of thrust is being given to the affordable housing segment, a report has flagged concerns about the growing delinquencies in this segment, which are expected to continue in 2018.

Competitive pressures and larger exposure to the self-employed are the prime reasons for the build-up of stress in the segment, a joint report by Moody's and its domestic affiliate Icra said, on Monday.

"While asset quality is expected to remain stable in the traditional housing segment, delinquencies could further build up in the affordable segment in the calendar year of 2018," Icra's structured finances head Vibhor Mittal said.

In a note on asset backed securities (ABS) co-written with its parent Moody's, the report said gross-nonperforming assets in the affordable housing segment have inched up to 1.8 percent as of September 2017.

(Source: PTI)

6. Adani Group Among Top 15 Global Utility Solar Power Developers

Adani Group has been named in the top 15 global utility solar power developers that includes likes of First Solar, Total, SunEdison and Engie. Adani, ranked 12th, is the only Indian company on the list put out by Greentech Media, a Wood Mackenzie business.

"We have only included companies that are active in developing projects in more than one country," it said in a report. "There are a number of developers active in single markets (predominantly China, India and the US) that have developed more capacity than some of the companies covered in this report."

Top of the list is First Solar with an operational capacity of 4,619 MW and in-development capacity of 4,802 MW. Adani has 788 MW of operational capacity and another 1,270 MW under development.

(Source: PTI)

7. Liberalised FDI Makes India Hot Business Spot for NRI Investors, Says LuLu Group Chairman Yusuff Ali MA

India’s liberalised foreign direct investment policy, especially regarding the participation of Non-Resident Indians in its economy as domestic investors, has made the country a hot destination among NRIs, according to a leading Indian businessman in the UAE.

“The liberalised FDI has opened many sectors in the country and given a boost to the inflow of investments,” Yusuff Ali MA, the chairman and managing director of the Abu Dhabi-based LuLu Group International, said on Sunday.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the ASEAN-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2018 held in Singapore on 6 and 7 January.

(Source: PTI)

8. Government Likely to Raise Rs 750 Crore Through NMDC Disinvestment

The Narendra Modi government is hoping to raise Rs 750 crore from the disinvestment of state-controlled mineral producer NMDC, media reports said. The government has proposed to disinvest 1.5 percent stake in the National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd through Offer For Sale (OFS) at Rs 153.50 per share.

Earlier in July, NMDC said that the process for strategic divestment of the Nagarnar Steel plant in Chhattisgarh had kicked-off. “Very preliminary activities viz. appointment of Transaction Advisor, Legal Advisor and Asset Valuer for NMDC’s Steel Plant (NISP), Nagarnar, Chhattisgarh, has been completed and they have started collecting details,” the company had said in a filing to BSE.

(Source: Financial Express)

9. Bitcoin Slides as Website Drops South Korea Prices From Virtual Currency Rates

Bitcoin sank on Monday after website CoinMarketCap removed prices from South Korean exchanges from its calculations of digital currency rates without any warning, resulting in a steep drop in all virtual coins they track. CoinMarketCap shows real-time prices and market capitalizations for more than 1,300 cryptocurrencies and is widely followed by market participants. The exclusion of data from South Korean exchanges, where virtual currencies trade at a wide premium, sowed confusion and triggered a broad selloff.

“Every crypto is priced at a 30 percent premium in South Korea,” said Greg Dwyer, head of business development at cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMex. “By removing that, it looks like the market cap fell by 30 percent and so people rushed to sell because they’re not sure what’s happening. As of midday in New York, Bitcoin was last down 7.1 percent, at $14,980 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange. It fell to a one-week low below $14,000.

(Source: Reuters)

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