Economy Round Up – February 10 to 14, 2014

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai |

The topsy-turvy trend continued this week as well, with the key indices declining by ~0.5%. Most of the data points, barring a drop in inflation, were disappointing.

Top Stories

Govt pegs FY14 GDP at 5%

The government has tabled the mid-year economic review in the Rajya Sabha. The government has pegged FY14 GDP growth at 5%, expecting economic recovery to pick up in coming quarters. Report said that the finance ministry believes the demand side impetus to growth is gradually gaining momentum. The government is expecting a return over 8% growth will take some time. "It is possible to reduce CAD to USD 50-55 bn in FY14," the report said. The government will release the Economic Survey Report before presentation of State Budget 2014-15 on February 14, according to a media report. The overall projected growth in 2012-13 was 5.9%. Service sector, the biggest contributor to State Gross Domestic Product (GSDP), had taken a hit with 8.9% growth. While the agriculture sector was projected to grow at 1.8%, the industry’s growth rate was estimated at 2.4%, the report further added.

GDP: Fragile recovery from a deep trough

January WPI inflation at 5.05%

The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 5.05% (provisional) for the month of January, 2014 (over January, 2013) as compared to 6.16% (provisional) for the previous month and 7.31% during the corresponding month of the previous year. Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 5.17% compared to a build up rate of 5.78% in the corresponding period of the previous year.

PRIMARY ARTICLES (Weight 20.12%)

The index for this major group declined by 1.9 percent to 238.9 (provisional) from 243.6 (provisional) for the previous month. The groups and items which showed variations during the month are as follows:-

The index for 'Food Articles' group declined by 2.7 percent to 233.6 (provisional) from 240.1 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of fruits & vegetables (11%), maize (3%), ragi (2%) and gram, coffee, arhar and tea (1% each). However, the price of poultry chicken (5%), pork (3%), urad and egg (2% each) and moong, bajra, condiments & spices, masur, fish-inland, beef & buffalo meat and fish-marine (1% each) moved up...Read More

Inflation cheers, industry still in tears: CRISIL

IIP shrinks 0.6%

The Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month of December 2013 stands at 178.3, which is 0.6% lower as compared to the level in the month of December 2012. The cumulative growth for the period April-December 2013-14 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at (-) 0.1%. The Indices of Industrial Production for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for the month of December 2013 stand at 133.0, 188.0 and 169.4 respectively, with the corresponding growth rates of 0.4%, (-) 1.6% and 7.5% as compared to December 2012 (Statement I). The cumulative growth in the three sectors during April-December 2013-14 over the corresponding period of 2012-13 has been (-) 1.8%, (-) 0.6% and 5.6% respectively. In terms of industries, eight (8) out of the twenty two (22) industry groups (as per 2-digit NIC-2004) in the manufacturing sec tor have shown negative growth during the month of December 2013 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year (St atement II). The industry group ‘Radio, TV and communication equipment & apparatus’ has shown the highest negative growth of (-) 35.7%, followed by (-) 26.1% in ‘Furniture; manufacturing n.e.c.’ and (-) 22.1% in ‘Office, accounting & computing machinery’. On the other hand, the industry group ‘Wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of fur’ has shown a positive growth of 19.7% followed by 13.5% in ‘Chemicals and chemical products’ and 12.9% in ‘Electrical machinery & apparatus n.e.c.’...Read More

India’s trade deficit narrows in January

India’s trade deficit stood at US$9.92bn in January 2014 narrowing from US$10.14bn in December of 2013. This was on account of a 77% drop in imports of gold and silver yoy and boosted by a rise in exports. Merchandise exports rose 3.79% yoy to US$26.75bn. This is against 3.5% annual growth in December.

Imports fell 18.07%yoy to $36.57bn.

Exports (including re-exports)

Exports during January, 2014 were valued at US$26752.36mn (Rs.166067.93 crore) which was 3.79% higher in Dollar terms (18.62% higher in Rupee terms) than the level of US$25775.19mn (Rs. 140002.59 crore) during January, 2013. Cumulative value of exports for the period April-January 2013 -14 was US$257088.08mn (Rs 1552564.25 crore) as against US$243190.48mn (Rs 1324751.53 crore) registering a growth of 5.71% in Dollar terms and growth of 17.20% in Rupee terms over the same period last year...Read More

Narrowing trade deficit to help CAD, rupee: PHD Chamber

Trade deficit narrows as imports fall steeply: CRISIL

Speech of Mallikarjun Kharge introducing Railway Budget 2014-15

Madam Speaker, I rise to present before this august House the Revised Estimates for 2013-14 and the Estimated Receipts and Expenditure for 2014-15.

The Estimates for 2014-15 are for the whole year, but, at present I seek from the august House a ‘vote-on-account’, sufficient to cover the estimated expenditure for the first four months of the fiscal. The Hon’ble Members are aware that requirements for the remaining part of the year would be voted later, separately. This is my maiden Budget under the inspiring guidance of the Hon’ble Prime Minister and Chairperson UPA, to whom I am grateful for the responsibility entrusted to me.

I also wish to profusely thank the Finance Minister for his continued support and encouragement to the Railways, underlined further by his recent gesture of providing additional budgetary support for meeting pressing requirements of a few national projects during the current fiscal. Madam Speaker, the name of Indian Railways evokes fond childhood memories amongst all of us who have grown with this beautiful system. Railways influence all aspects of our lives and untiringly carry people and materials to every nook and corner of the country.

Its role in national integration by providing low cost connectivity from Kashmir to Kanyakumari on one hand and Arunachal, Mizoram and Tripura to Gujarat on the other, is unparalleled. As an organization, Railwaymen take pride in serving the nation, braving snow, torrential rains, floods and desert storms on the one hand and misdirected public or terrorist wrath on the other. Madam, I have hardly spent eight months with Railways but I confess that I have an inner feeling of a lifelong association. It is my firm view that this pan Indian organization needs careful nurturing to help it better serve the people and play its role in building the nation...Read More

Highlights of the Railway Budget – 2014-15

Interim Rail Budget for 2014-15: Expansion of railway network in 2013-14

Interim Rail Budget for 2014-15: Passenger friendly initiatives of railways

Interim rail budget: Modernisation and technology induction in railways

Interim rail budget: 72 new trains are being introduced

Interim rail budget: AP, Meghalaya on rail map by FY14

Interim Rail Budget for 2014-15: Freight earning target increased to Rs. 94000 crore

Interim Rail Budget for 2014-15: Steps taken to increase Freight Traffic

Interim Rail Budget for 2014-15: Green initiatives of the Railways

Interim Rail Budget for 2014-15: Rail tariff authority being set up

Interim Rail Budget for 2014-15: No Increase in passenger fares and freight

Arvind Kejriwal introduces Jan Lokpal Bill in Delhi assembly

Arvind Kejriwal introduced Jan Lokpal Bill in Delhi Assembly amidst the uproar. Report said that the Delhi Assembly was adjourned as soon as Delhi CM introduced the bill. BJP and Congress MLAs disrupted proceedings in the Delhi Assembly demanding tabling of the Lt Governor's communication to the Speaker against the introduction of Jan Lokpal Bill in the House without Centre's clearance. Congress and BJP questioned Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led Delhi Government's "hasty" move to push for passage of Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly. Report said that both the parties said the legislation needs to be brought through proper procedure. "We are not against Jan Lokpal Bill. If they want to make Jan Lokpal as law then they should bring in the Bill as per laid down procedure. ," Delhi Pradesh. Congress Committee (DPCC) chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said.

Hiring witnesses 13% increase in Jan’14 over Dec’13: Naukri

The Naukri Job Speak Index for the month of January 2014 was at 1466 showing a 13% increase in hiring activity when compared to December 2013. Yearly comparison shows 15% increase in hiring activity when compared to January’13. Industry wise hiring sentiment was positive with sectors like Insurance showing an increase of 26% M-O-M. Among the top metros, hiring momentum was most marked in Kolkata and Hyderabad with the Naukri Job Speak Index moving up by 29% and 20% M-O-M respectively.

Industry Sector Analysis:

An in depth analysis reveals that amongst industries, IT Software and BPO continue to witness a growth with the index moving up by 18% and 13% M-O-M respectively. Oil& Gas, Pharma and Banking & Financial sector have also seen a growth albeit at a more modest pace with the index moving up by 1% M-O-M. In terms of decline, Telecom witnessed a dip with the index moving down sharply by 23% and Auto sector which saw a marginal decline of 3% M-O-M respectively...Read More

Interim Union Budget: One can't expect substantive policy initiatives

In the context of the Interim Union budget being announced on 17 February, 2014, Srinivasan HR, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, TAKE Solutions, said, "One cannot expect substantive policy initiatives. From an industry standpoint, the life sciences R&D outsourcing can be a big growth story similar to what IT was in the late 90s. India with a large population can play a significant role in Clinical trials and drug development. Initiatives to spur investment and "intellectual property (IP)" similar to what has been created by "A Star" in Singapore would be welcome. This is at the cusp of IT and Pharma – both industries where India has established significant global presence. This can create millions of jobs. Both foreign and domestic investment needs to be harnessed – one would expect to budget to spell something in this direction."

News Infocus

Good Software can go bad

Kaspersky Lab’s security research team published a report confirming -- and demonstrating -- that the weak implementation of anti-theft software marketed by Absolute Software can turn a useful defensive utility into a powerful utility for cyberattackers. In a stealthy way, this poor implementation gives attackers full access to millions of users' computers. The focus of the research was the Absolute Computrace agent that resides in the firmware, or PC ROM BIOS, of modern laptops and desktops. The major reason for this research project was the discovery of the Computrace agent running on several private computers of Kaspersky Lab’s researchers and corporate computers without prior authorization. While Computrace is a legitimate product developed by Absolute Software, some owners of the systems claimed that they had never installed, activated or had ever known about this software on their machines. Most traditional pre-installed software packages can be permanently removed or disabled by the user; However Computrace is designed to survive professional system cleanup and even hard disk replacement...Read More

20% Indians are victims of Phishing attacks: Microsoft

In support of international Safer Internet Day (SID) on February 11, Microsoft has released the results of the third annual Microsoft Computing Safer Index (MCSI) that reveals impact of poor online safety behaviour. Microsoft is asking consumers to visit the new, interactive website (http://www.microsoft.com/saferonline) to "Do 1 Thing" today and make it part of their daily digital routine because education and guidance about how to avoid online risks remain key. According to the MCSI survey, the annual worldwide impact of phishing and various forms of identity theft could be as high as US$5bn, with the cost of repairing damage to peoples’ online reputation higher yet at nearly US$6bn, or an estimated average of US$ $632 per loss...Read More

Stress in working women emerges as key risk factor behind heart diseases

Stress, which is blamed for a spurt in several lifestyle diseases, is now emerging as the major risk factor behind cardiovascular diseases, particularly in working urban women who are juggling multiple responsibilities at home and workplace, say leading cardiologists. The deliberations pinpointing the growing role of stress in fuelling heart ailments were held today during the two-day International Conference on ‘Revolutionary Cardiac Therapies: Setting Benchmarks for the Future’, being organized by Fortis Escorts Heart Institute to mark 25 years of its journey in providing cardiac care. Around 1200 delegates, specialized in the field of heart care, from across the globe have converged to discuss new trends and the future of cardiac care...Read More

Currency dilemma: What risk to Asian inflation?

Asian currencies have been among the hardest hit since Fed Chairman Bernanke uttered that fateful word "tapering" during a press conference in May of last year, HSBC Global Research said. If history were a reliable guide, it would be logical to think that FX weakness in Asia would have sharply raised price pressures. And, indeed, this time was no exception; in many markets, inflation momentum picked up in recent months. However, we remain fairly relaxed about the tick-up in CPI readings.  Even if in some cases the full effect of FX weakness has not yet filtered fully through to inflation, weak growth and persistent output gaps should limit the impact on core readings over the course of this year...Read More

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