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Top business and economy news of the day | Govt to infuse capital in PSU banks; Oil prices dip; Tesla lobbies in India, and more – The Hindu

Evening wrap:

The Indian government is likely to provide capital to public sector banks in the fourth quarter to help meet regulatory requirements. 

Oil prices ticked down as investors booked profits. Strong demand in the U.S. and a switch to oil from coal and gas capped losses. India’s power secretary Alok Kumar said that the country is considering maintaining strategic reserves of natural gas and imported coal to tackle future supply challenges.

In other developments, Tesla has urged the Prime Minister’s Office to reduce import taxes on EVs before it enters the market. – John Xavier 

For more news on economy, markets and corporations, please read our blog 

4:46 P.M.

Sensex, Nifty tumble at market close

Equity indices Sensex and Nifty fell at market close today, with Asian Paints falling over 5% after posting a Q2 loss. BSE Sensex declined 0.5% to 60,923.50, while NSE Nifty dell 0.48% to 18,178.10. 

An analyst noted domestic headwinds like high valuations have become unsustainable and rising commodity inflation will impact the margins of firms.

The rupee settled just 1 paisa higher at 74.87 against the U.S. dollar amid a muted trend in domestic equities. Separately, gold gained marginally by ₹7 to ₹46,503 per 10 grams.

4:43 P.M.

Kuwait begins increasing oil production

Kuwait has begun to increase its crude production in accordance with an agreement reached by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, Oil Minister Mohammad al-Fares said.

The minister said Kuwait’s plans to increase output includes production from the shared zone with Saudi Arabia, according to state media reports.

4:40 P.M.

Govt hikes dearness allowance

Minister of Information & Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur
| Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena


The Union Cabinet on Thursday hiked dearness allowance and dearness relief by 3% to 31% to benefit 47.14 lakh central government employees and 68.62 lakh pensioners, Minister of Information & Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur announced.

This decision to hike the allowance will put an annual burden of ₹9,488 crore on the exchequer.

4:20 P.M.

Bank of Maharashtra Q2 net profit rises two-fold

The net profit of the Bank of Maharashtra rose two-fold to ₹264 crore in the September-ended quarter, led by an improvement in the lender’s asset quality.

Non-performing assets (NPA) fell to 5.56% of gross advances, against 8.81% in the year-ago period. Net NPAs also fell to 1.73% from 3.3%.

4:07 P.M.

Investments via participatory notes stand at ₹97,751 crore

Investments in participatory notes in the country stood at ₹97,951 crore till September end, and the inflow is expected to remain positive going forward, according to SEBI.

According to an analyst, September was a great month for P-note flows and hints at a positive sentiment for the Indian markets among foreign investors. The earning season for India Inc this quarter is looking very promising and the good earnings numbers should attract further foreign capital into India via P-notes.

4:02 P.M.

Income tax refunds worth ₹92,961 crore issued this fiscal

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said refunds amounting to more than ₹92,961 crore have been issued so far to tax payers during the current financial year.

This figure includes income tax refunds of ₹23,026 crore in over 61.5 lakh cases and corporate tax refunds of ₹69,934 crore in over 1.69 lakh cases.

3:56 P.M.

PSU banks to get capital support in Q4

The government is likely to provide capital to public sector banks in the fourth quarter to help meet regulatory requirements. The Budget 2021-22 has made an allocation of ₹20,000 crore for the capital infusion in state-owned banks.

Capital will be pumped in after a review of the position of the banks next quarter and depending on the requirement. So far, all 12 public sector banks have reported a profit, which is being ploughed back to bolster the balance sheet of the banks.

3:06 P.M.

IDBI Bank Q2 net profit rises 75%

IDBI Bank’s second-quarter net profit jumped 75% to ₹567 crore, led by an improvement in the lender’s stressed assets ratio.

Bad loans declined to 20.92% of gross loans, against 25.08% a year ago. The LIC-controlled bank’s provisions for bad loans also improved to ₹434.47 crore, from ₹389.44 crore in the year-ago period.

3:05 P.M.

Office leasing rises 34% in July-September

Leasing of office spaces rose 34% compared to last year to 10.3 million square feet during the July-September period in six major cities including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad. This indicates that companies are slowly transitioning out of remote working set up.

Hyderabad emerged as the market leader in terms of office sector demand, surpassing Bengaluru, according to data by real estate company Colliers.

3:02 P.M.

China’s bad loans rise

Bad loans or non-performing assets in China’s banking sector are witnessing a rise, to 1.87% in September from 1.86% three months earlier. This is due to the lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the banking regulator.

The expiration of loan payment relief policies put in place last year to help companies in the early days of the crisis also contributed to the increase.

China’s economy is already showing signs of slowing, with investors worried about a regulatory crackdown and a potential contagion from the Evergrande debt crisis.

2:41 P.M.

Asia green bonds | BIS develops fund to channel central bank reserves

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said it has developed an Asian Green Bond Fund to channel global central bank reserves to green projects in the Asia Pacific region.

The fund will provide a pipeline for central banks to invest in bonds issued by sovereigns and corporates that comply with strict international green standards, the BIS said in a statement.

2:34 P.M.

Digitising agri cooperative societies

The Union Cooperation Ministry is working on a new scheme to modernise and digitalise over 97,000 primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACs) across the country, with a budget outlay of up to ₹3,000 crore in the next five years.

PACs are village-level lending institutions that provide short and medium-term loans to rural people to meet their financial requirements.

1:30 P.M.

Oil prices dip

Oil prices dipped as investors collected profits. But strong demand in the U.S. and a switch to oil from coal and gas capped losses.

Brent crude futures dropped 0.6%, to $85.28 a barrel, while U.S. WTI crude futures for December slid 0.4%, to $83.09 a barrel. Brent rose to the highest since October 2018 earlier in the session.

In the U.S., strong demand was confirmed by the latest weekly data which showed the country’s crude stocks fell by 4,31,000 barrels in the week to October 15 to 426.5 million barrels.

1:05 P.M.

India considers strategic reserves for gas, imported coal

Union power secretary Alok Kumar said that the country is considering maintaining strategic reserves of natural gas and imported coal to tackle future supply challenges.

India is facing a severe coal shortage with most of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants having fuel stocks of less than three days. Over 70% of the country’s electricity is generated using coal and a rise in energy demand in combination with a fall in imports due to high global coal prices have resulted in supply disruptions and power cuts.

12:29 P.M.

Tesla posts record Q3 revenue

The world’s most valuable automaker, Tesla, posted record third-quarter revenue on the back of record deliveries. The EV maker managed to navigate through global supply chain and logistics challenges to produce about 2,38,000 vehicles and deliver over 2,40,000 vehicles in the July to September period.

Tesla’s revenue rose to $13.76 billion from $8.77 billion a year earlier. Its automotive gross margin, excluding environmental credits, increased to 28.8%, from 25.8% the previous quarter.

11:58 A.M.

Government to ask automakers to produce flex-fuel engines: Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari
| Photo Credit: PTI


Union minister Nitin Gadkari said that the government will ask all vehicle manufacturers to make flex-fuel engines under the Euro VI emission norms in the next six-eight months.

“We were planning to submit an affidavit in the Supreme Court to allow manufacturing of flex-fuel engines under the Euro IV emission norms…But now I feel that we will ask all vehicle manufacturers to make flex-fuel engines (that can run on more than one fuel) under the Euro VI emission norms in the next 6-8 months,” he said.

11:35 A.M.

Petrol, diesel prices hiked again

Petrol and diesel prices in the country were hiked again by 35 paise per litre each. The second consecutive hike comes amid surging international oil prices. In Delhi, Petrol is now sold at ₹106.54 per litre, and diesel at ₹103.26 a litre, both prices touching record high levels.

Since September last week, price of diesel and petrol have risen by ₹6.85 and ₹5.35 respectively, per litre.

11:12 A.M.

Tesla lobbies PMO to slash taxes

EV major Tesla has urged the Prime Minister’s Office to reduce import taxes on EVs before it enters the Indian market.

The company wants to start selling imported cars in the country first. India levies an import duty of 60% on EVs  that cost $40,000 or less, and 100% duty on those priced over $40,000.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter in July that “if Tesla is able to succeed with imported vehicles, then a factory in India is quite likely.”

Tesla has separately requested a meeting between Musk and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

10:59 A.M.

Rupee rises against U.S. dollar

The Indian rupee continued to rise against the U.S. dollar after surging yesterday to close at a nearly two-week high. The domestic unit opened at 74.86 against the U.S. dollar, then inched higher to 74.85, registering a rise of 3 paise over its previous close.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.01% to 93.56.

10:47 A.M.

Economic growth at ‘modest to moderate’ rate: U.S. Fed report

U..S. economic activity grew at a modest to moderate rate in September and early October, however, the pace of growth slowed, constrained by supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, and uncertainty around the Delta variant of COVID-19, a Federal Reserve report noted.

“Outlooks for near-term economic activity remained positive, overall, but some Districts noted increased uncertainty and more cautious optimism than in previous months,” it said.

According to the report, employment increased in recent weeks, as demand for workers was high, but labour growth was dampened by a low supply of workers. Most districts reported significantly elevated prices, fuelled by rising demand for goods and raw materials. Expectations for future price growth varied with some expecting prices to moderate over the next 12 months.

10:23 A.M.

Evergrande shares fall

China Evergrande Group’s shares fell as much as 14% after a deal with Hopson Development collapsed. The $2.6 billion stake sale in its property services unit could have helped the debt-laden property developer.

The shares of China Evergrande, its property services unit and Hopson all resumed trading in Hong Kong after a more than two-week suspension. Evergrande was down nearly 11% in early trade. Its property services unit dropped 5%, while its electric vehicle arm plunged as much as 10.3%. Shares of Hopson rose 5.6%.

9:17 A.M.

Asian markets update | Sensex opens

Indian indices opened higher amid mixed global cues after closing on a weak note yesterday. The Sensex opened at 61,557.94 up 297.98 points after plunging 0.74% in the previous session. Similarly, the Nifty opened at 18,382.70, up 116.1 points after dropping 0.83% yesterday.

Asian stocks were mixed in the morning trade on fresh worries over China’s property sector.

Investors are closely monitoring the shares of China Evergrande Group in Hong Kong, which fell nearly 11% after returning to trade. China’s second-largest property developer also confirmed that a deal to sell more than half of the stake in its  property services unit to Hopson Development collapsed.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged 0.3% higher to touch a one-month high. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.3%, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.15%.

In U.S., the S&P 500 rose 0.37% to 4,536.19, the Nasdaq Composite closed at 15,121.68, down 7.41 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.43% to 35,609.34, after hitting a record peak during trade.

Morning note:

India, world’s third-largest energy consumer, has told oil producers, including the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), that high crude prices will hasten the transition to alternate fuels and such rates will be counter-productive for the producers.

Global oil refiners are said to be ramping up output to meet the rising demand in Asia, Europe and the U.S. However, plant maintenance and high natural gas prices could constrain supply.

In other developments, China has raised $4 billion through a U.S. dollar sovereign bond issue. 

U.S. stocks rose on strong earnings report. Bitcoin hit a new high on Wednesday, powered by a wave of buying after the first U.S. exchange-traded fund linked to the cryptocurrency started trading. – John Xavier 

Our live blog will track developments in global economy, markets and corporations

—-  Edited by John Xavier

(With inputs from Reuters, PTI and other news agencies.)