News in numbers: India’s trade deficit in November stood at $13 billion

Though exports rose for the third straight month in Nov on a year-on-year basis, it was lower than that in October — a likely impact of demonetisation and US Fed’s imminent decision to hike interest rates (it did so on Wed).

Rs5 lakh crore

What is it? The amount that has been supplied to the market in new currency notes since 8 November (the date when the demonetisation move was announced).

Why is it important? This is about 32.5% of the Rs15.4 lakh crore that was taken out of circulation when high denomination currency notes (Rs500 and Rs1,000) were withdrawn. The government says that by the end of this month, this number would reach at least 50% of the demonetised amount — in new and existing denominations. However, according to a calculation based on India’s printing capacity of currency notes and the need for notes in smaller denominations, it would take up to April 2017 to introduce Rs9 lakh crore (58.4% of the demonetised amount) — the main problem being the inability of the presses to print Rs500 notes.

Tell me more: The Reserve Bank of India had said that Rs12.44 lakh crore has been deposited in banks as of December 10 but the government has expressed doubts about this figure and has asked it to countercheck to weed out discrepancies that might have creeped in due to double counting.

Rs3,000 crore

What is it? The amount sought by Nusli Wadia, an independent director on the boards of three Tata group companies, in damages. He filed a defamation suit in the Bombay high court on Thursday against chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and Tata Sons.

Why is it important? Suggests that the Tata Sons-Cyrus Mistry corporate battle is getting uglier and is showing no signs of abatement. His defamation suit comes after Tata Sons had said that he was working in concert Mistry, the ousted chairman of Tata Sons, and against the interests of the Tata companies and shareholders, and moved a resolution seeking to remove him from the boards of Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals. Wadia asked the company to prove the charges levelled against him and served three legal notices to Tata Sons in November asking them to withdraw the allegations but the group failed to do so. This has been followed by the Rs3,000-crore defamation suit.

Tell me more: The high court is expected to take up the matter on 19 December and Wadia faces a shareholders’ vote on 23 December after the group’s holding company moved the resolution to remove him as an independent director.

$13 billion

What is it? India’s trade deficit (excess of imports over exports) in November.

Why is it important? This was the highest in the last 16 months and sharply wider than the $10.41 billion recorded the previous month. Though exports rose for the third straight month in November on a year-on-year basis, it was lower than that in October — a likely impact of demonetisation and US Fed Reserve’s imminent decision to hike interest rates (it did so on Wednesday). The currency reset could have also resulted in a spike in gold imports (a 25.7% increase month-on-month and 23% from a year ago), which in turn, pushed up the trade deficit.

Tell me more: Of the 30 major product groups, 20 registered positive growth in November.

Rs 340 crore

What is it? The estimated cost at which Niti Aayog, the government think-tank body, is implementing two schemes (Lucky Grahak Yojana for consumers and Digi-dhan Vyapar Yojana for merchants).

Why is it important? These schemes, probably the first of their kinds announced by the government, are aimed encouraging customers to go for digital payments by incentivising them. Under the first scheme, lucky draws would enable 15,000 winners to get cashback prizes of Rs1,000 each day for a 100-day period starting 25 December besides weekly awards worth Rs5,000, Rs10,000 and Rs1 lakh. The second scheme would offer weekly prizes worth Rs2,500, Rs5,000 and Rs50,000 for merchants. Currently, an estimated 5% of Indians use digital payment modes and point-of-sale transactions saw an increase of 95% since 8 November.

Tell me more: The National Payment Corporation of India will implement these schemes, which will cover transactions between Rs50 and Rs3,000 done through UPI, USSD, Aadhaar Enabled Payment System and RuPay Cards. These would not be applicable for transactions done through private credit cards and e-wallets of private companies.

$14.6 billion

What is it? The amount media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has agreed to pay to gain full control over London-based Sky Plc.

Why is it important? This is Murdoch’s second attempt at gaining control after his previous bid was thwarted in 2011 over a phone-hacking scandal at his UK newspapers. However, this takeover attempt may not be a smooth one as minority shareholders have expressed concern at how the pay-TV company’s independent directors accepted the offer at seemingly low share price levels. Besides, there are also fears that this acquisition would threaten media plurality in the UK.

Tell me more: The deal values Sky at $23.4 billion and Fox, which is the founding shareholder of Sky currently owns 39.1% of the company’s shares.

[Source:-Livemint]