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Duty on China imports, GST slow down India’s solar additions: UN report

The 86-page report — Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 — released by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance blames Indian policies for slowing down the speed to tap solar power.

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UN Environment head Erik Solheim

New Delhi, April 5 : India’s imposition of duty on Chinese solar cells and modules shipped and levy of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on panels have significantly slowed down solar capacity additions last year, a UN report said on Thursday.

It says developing economies, comprising India, China and Brazil, committed $177 billion to renewables last year, up 20 per cent, compared to $103 billion for developed countries, down 19 per cent.

This was the largest tilt in favour of developing countries yet seen. It was only in 2015 that the developing world first invested more in green energy than developed economies.

A record 157 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power, excluding large hydro, were commissioned across the globe in 2017, up from 143GW in 2016 and far out-stripping the 70GW of net fossil fuel generating capacity added last year.

The 86-page report — Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 — released by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance blames Indian policies for slowing down the speed to tap solar power.

It says the solar activity was held back by an unexpected rise in PV module prices in local currency terms, due to a sudden reduction in the oversupply of imported Chinese units, exacerbated by the imposition of a 7.5 per cent import duty on modules and a local GST on panels.

There was also a slowing in the pace of solar auctions around India.

In the medium term, PV installations look set to increase sharply, as India seeks to hit its ambitious target of 100GW of solar by 2022.

However, that acceleration did not materialise in 2017.

The report says the ‘big three’ of China, India and Brazil accounted for just over half of global investment in renewables, excluding large hydro, last year, with China alone representing 45 per cent, up from 35 per cent a year earlier.

However, the report says India’s investment oscillating in the $6-14 billion range since 2010 but still not reaching the sort of levels that would be required for that country to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious goals for 2022.

India came fourth in the world rankings by country for renewable energy investment last year, at $10.9 billion, down 20 per cent.

Solar took the biggest share, at $6.7 billion, with wind at $4 billion. These lead sectors were up three per cent and down 41 per cent in dollar terms respectively.

Venture capital and private equity investment in renewable energy fell by exactly a third in the world in 2017 to $1.8 billion, just a sixth of its 2008 peak of more than $10 billion.

However, India beat Europe into second place for the second time in three years.

India’s venture capital and private equity investment rose 27 per cent to $457 million, or 26 per cent of the total, while Europe’s fell 26 per cent to $287 million, a 16 per cent share.

India’s investment grew strongly because it secured three of the five largest deals.

Two of those were wind companies raising funds to expand in India, a fiercely competitive market with huge growth potential that is attracting many foreign investors.

The largest deal was secured by Greenko Energy, an independent power producer based in Hyderabad, which raised $155 million in PE expansion capital from GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

The pair had already invested $230 million in the company in 2016.

Another Indian independent power producer, Hero Future Energies, raised $125 million in PE expansion capital from the International Finance Corporation and the IFC Global Infrastructure Fund.

The third large Indian deal was secured by Clean Max Enviro Energy Solutions, which claims to be India’s biggest rooftop solar developer, having installed 100MW since the company was founded in 2011.

“The extraordinary surge in solar investment, around the world, shows how much can be achieved when we commit to growth without harming the environment,” UN Environment head Erik Solheim said in a statement.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected])

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INR vs USD Rupee slips 111 paise against US dollar

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened to 72.24 against the US dollar from its previous close of 71.34.

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Mumbai, Dec 11 : The key equity indices — S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 — remained subdued during Tuesday’s morning trade session as the Congress party started to take the lead in the Assembly elections in three key states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The key indices — the S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 – had a gap-down opening and
subsequently shed over 500 points and 140 points respectively as investors were spooked on the surprise resignation of RBI Governor Urjit Patel on Monday evening.

According to market observers, heavy selling pressure in banking, oil and gas and automobile stocks.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened to 72.24 against the US dollar from its previous close of 71.34.

At 10.30 a.m., the Sensex traded at 34,666.06 points, lower by 293.66 points or 0.84 per cent from the previous close.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 10,414.20 points, lower by 74.25 points or 0.71 per cent from the previous close.

“Indian markets opened lower in line with expectations following RBI governor’s abrupt exit on Monday evening,” HDFC Securities’ Retail Research Head Deepak Jasani told IANS.

“A recovery in the first few minutes of trade was based on initial trends from MP where BJP was faring better than Congress. However this proved to be short-lived as the lead of BJP narrowed soon,” he said.

He further noted: “Markets would swing till around noon based on leads positions in MP, as the other four states are showing clear winners.”

On Monday – the previous trade session – a global sell-off along with a rise in crude oil prices suppressed the key Indian equity indices deep into the red.

Consequently, the NSE Nifty50 had ended lower by 205.25 points or 1.92 per cent to 10,488.45 points, whereas the Sensex closed at 34,959.72 points — lower by 713.53 points or two per cent — from its previous session’s close of 35,673.25 points.

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Sensex at 34,458.86, down by over 500 points

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SENSEX NIFTY MARKET

Mumbai, Dec 11 : The key stock exchanges had a gap-down opening on Tuesday, with the S&P BSE Sensex losing over 450 points as investors were spooked on the surprise resignation of RBI Governor Urjit Patel on Monday.

Further, early trends of the Assembly election results in five states which showed a neck and neck fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress in at least three also weighed on the sentiments.

At 9.16 a.m., the Sensex traded at 34,502.62 points, lower by 457.10 points or 1.31 per cent from the previous close.

It had opened at 34,584.13 against the previous close of 34,959.72 points on Monday.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 10,346.90 points, lower by 141.55 points or 1.35 per cent from the previous close.

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CFO arrest row: China denies Huawei poses security threat after EU warning

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Beijing, Dec 10: China on Monday strongly defended Huawei after a warning from the EU that the tech giant posed a security risk, amid an ongoing row over the arrest of its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in Canada at the behest of the US.

In response to accusations by European Commission Vice President Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said the government had never forced Huawei to install a covert access route on mobile phone units to control them.

“I want to emphasize that Chinese laws and regulations don’t allow any institution to force any enterprise to install a ‘backdoor’. The Chinese government always encourages its companies to abide by local laws and regulations,” Lu was quoted as saying by Efe news.

He reiterated Beijing’s demand of an immediate release of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou who was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 after the US accused the tech giant of selling equipment in Iran in violation of American sanctions.

Meng, who is also the daughter of the group’s founder and CEO, had a bail request rejected on Friday by a Canadian court.

EU’s Ansip said on Friday that the bloc should be “worried” about Huawei and other Chinese companies over the security risks they pose.

Ansip claimed that China was developing mandatory “backdoors” — malicious software that allows any phone unit to be accessed and controlled without the user’s knowledge.

In response, Lu said it was “ridiculous” to undermine the company based on “speculations”.

“We have noticed some people from certain countries keep saying that Huawei may threaten their national security. But they did not provide a single evidence,” the spokesperson said.

He stressed that the company had “won the trust of its partners” and signed agreements to build 5G networks with more than 20 countries, including Portugal, France and Germany.

The spokesperson also commented on Japan withdrawing Huawei and Chinese telecom giant ZTE from the government procurement list, due to alleged security breaches by the two firms.

“The Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary (Yoshihide Suga) said the relevant regulations don’t aim to exclude the relevant enterprises or equipment. I want to stress that Chinese enterprises and cooperation in Japan is for mutual benefit,” Lu said.

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