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Crude price worsens on Covid-19 concerns, reaches closer to $20 per barrel

Brent crude oil is at $22.84 a barrel, falling 8.4 per cent from its previous closing level after earlier dropping to $22.58, the lowest since November 2002.

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New Delhi, March 30 : Crude oil prices continued their freefall on Monday with the WTI crude of US falling below the $20 per barrel mark briefly and benchmark Brent crude price touching its 18-year-low on fears that coronavirus-related shutdowns may continue for few more months, resulting in further decline in fuel demand.

Currently, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is trading at $20.40 per barrel, lower by nearly 5.2 per cent from its previous close. Earlier in the session, WTI fell as low as $19.92.

Brent crude oil is at $22.84 a barrel, falling 8.4 per cent from its previous closing level after earlier dropping to $22.58, the lowest since November 2002.

The persistent fall can be attributed to both rise in supplies and declining demand. The coronavirus pandemic has almost brought the global travel industry to a halt, limiting demand for the commodity. Analysts now expect demand to slump considerably during the coming months which could put crude prices closer to $15 mark soon as the pandemic is expected to continue for a longer period.

Further, the surge in supply by Saudi Arabia, after the OPEC’s talks on deeper production cut with Russia failed, has added to the pressure on oil prices. The current market is oversupplied on shrinking demand, creating a situation of free fall for crude.

Soon after the talks failed earlier this month, crude had fallen by more than 25 per cent, the largest fall since the 1991 Gulf War, to $34 per barrel on March 9. During the week, crude again lost about 10 per cent to touch a new low of $30 a barrel.

The price of oil has now reached a point that it is increasingly becoming difficult for higher cost producers to remain in operation and are rather looking at declaring bankruptcy. A lot of US shale producers are in deep trouble and analysts expect that low oil price for few more months will result in a spate of bankruptcies in US.

With world demand now forecast to plunge 15 million or 20 million barrels per day, a 20 per cent drop from last year, analysts say massive production cuts will be needed beyond just the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). So if Russia and other producers in South America and Africa do not sit together and decide on production cuts, the oil market is headed for a further blood bath.

Global markets have been on a bear run, including the financial markets for the past few weeks owing to the concerns of a significant impairing of the world economy due to the coronavirus crisis.

Business

FDI inflows rise 18% to $73 bn in FY20: Minister

The total FDI inflows in India have progressively increased in the last couple of years.

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New Delhi, May 28 : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that total FDI into India grew at 18 per cent in 2019-20 to reach $73 billion.

Last year, India had received FDI worth around $62 billion.

“In another strong vote of confidence in Make in India, total FDI into India grew at 18% in 2019-20 to reach $73 Bn. Total FDI has doubled from 13-14 when it was only $36 Bn. This long term investment will spur job creation,” Goyal said in a tweet.

The total FDI inflows in India have progressively increased in the last couple of years.

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Centre lifts restriction on export of paracetamol APIs

On April 17, the government lifted the restrictions on shipments of formulations made from paracetamol.

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New Delhi, May 28 : The Union government on Thursday lifted the restriction on the export of paracetamol APIs.

In March, the Centre had imposed curbs on the export of several active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and formulations made from these APIs including paracetamol, and tinidazole, on concerns of shortage of drugs in the country.

On April 17, the government lifted the restrictions on shipments of formulations made from paracetamol.

“The notification dated 03.03.2020 is further amended to remove restriction on export of Paracetamol APIs, making its export ‘free’ with immediate effect,” said a statement from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Thursday.

India is a major exporter of paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine, which have witnessed a surge in demand amid the coronavirus crisis.

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Google selects 5,300 local news organisations for funding

“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.

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New Delhi, May 28 : India’s East Mojo and Minnambalam are among 5,300 small and medium local newsrooms around the world that will receive emergency funding from Google ranging from $5,000-$30,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 lakh-Rs 22.7 lakh), the search engine giant said on Thursday.

East Mojo, a digital-only news organisation, said it plans to use the fund to allow journalists to go to remote parts of Northern India to shed light on the impact of Covid-19 once the country’s lockdown is lifted.

Minnambalam (India), a Tamil language publication from Chennai, said the funding gave them the confidence and financial support needed to carry on with their work.

Covid-19 has upended the news industry, hitting local news particularly hard with job losses, furloughs, cutbacks and even closure.

To provide some help, the Google News Initiative last month launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

“Applications covering a number of publications under one organization will be capped at $85,000,” Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, wrote in a blog post.

“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.

Google said in just two weeks it received more than 12,000 applications from 140 eligible countries, with 90 per cent of those applications from newsrooms of less than 26 journalists.

“We reviewed each application against a set of criteria: publications operating locally, serving a specific geographic community and using the money to continue doing so,” Blecher said.

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