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Global smartphone sales declines 14% in February: Report

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New Delhi, March 30 : Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, market demand is fragile but global smartphone sales in February declined only 14 per cent compared to last year, thus showing some resilience, a new report has said.

From the supply-side, global smartphone shipments (sell-in) fell a slightly more, down 18 per cent compared to last year but again a lower than expected drop, according to Counterpoint Research.

As coronavirus spreads like wildfire around the globe, its impact on the technology industry is unprecedented.

The global smartphone market is largely a replacement market, meaning that smartphones are a discretionary purchase.

“While people may delay purchasing due to the coronavirus pandemic, especially in the early part of the crisis when the disruption and uncertainty are both high, they will still replace their smartphone at some point. This means that sales will not be entirely lost – just delayed,” Peter Richardson, VP and Research Director, Counterpoint Research, said in a statement.

Sell-in shipments, which represents the supply of smartphones, were relatively weaker, but February is a traditional low period for production, especially if it coincides with the Chinese New Year as was the case this year.

However China, the initial epicenter of the epidemic, did show a huge 38 per cent decline. But it is showing signs of a rebound already.

Overall, global smartphone sales in February showed weakness in many markets as consumers became cautious.

But with the growth of online channels, we saw sales shifting from offline to online. Offline sales in China fell more than 50 per cent during February.

But this fall was partially offset with stronger online sales, so the overall drop at 38 per cent, was not so severe.

“While China and South Korea are gradually recovering, the worst is far from over for many other parts of the world,” said Jene Park, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint.

In terms of the competitive landscape, the demand for Samsung smartphones remained stable due to the minimum exposure to the Chinese supply chain and China market demand, thus, capturing 22 per cent global smartphone market share in terms of sales volumes.

Apple felt some impact from the supply-side during the month both in China in early February and outside of China in the latter half of the month, which affected its sales performance.

However, Huawei which has maximum exposure to China from both supply and demand perspectives, actually performed well above expectations, selling more than 12 million smartphones during February, seeing just a 1 per cent drop in global market share.

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Excise duty collection surges 48% in FY21 on high fuel levies

The total excise duty in the last financial year was over Rs 2.39 lakh crore.

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New Delhi, Jan 17 : As the government has kept excise duty on petrol and diesel elevated amid the pandemic with a view to increase revenue, the total excise duty collection during April-November FY21 has surged nearly 48 per cent as compared to the year ago period.

The excise duty collection during the first eight months of the current financial year was over Rs 1.96 lakh crore, compared to over Rs 1.32 lakh crore collected during April-November FY20, official data showed.

The collection in November 2020 was highest so far in the financial year 2020-21 at Rs 35,703 crore. In November 2019, excise duty collection stood at Rs 18,948 crore.

The total excise duty in the last financial year was over Rs 2.39 lakh crore.

As fuel prices are at record high despite low crude oil prices, demand has been raised from several quarters to reduce the excise duty on petrol and diesel to provide relief to the common man.

In the national capital, petrol is sold at a record high level of Rs 84.70 a litre while diesel is priced at Rs 74.88 per litre.

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Bill Gates is America’s biggest farmland owner

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates owns the largest chunk of private farmland in the US across 18 states, a new report has revealed.

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San Francisco: Bill and Melinda Gates amassed 242,000 acres of land in the US, with the largest holdings in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres), according to The Land report.

Bill Gates also owns a stake in more than 24,800 acres of transitional land outside of Phoenix.

Research indicated that the lands across the US is held by Cascade Investment LLC, Gates’ private investment vehicle.

“Gates also backs online used-car seller Vroom through Cascade as well as the Canadian National Railway Company,” Geek Wire reported.

According to the Tri-City Herald, a 14,500-acre swath of choice Eastern Washington farmland in the Horse Heaven Hills in Benton County has just traded hands for almost $171 million – part of Gates’ holdings.

It is unclear why Gates has invested so heavily in farmland, but it could be connected to climate change.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a new nonprofit group a year ago, focused on helping small-scale farmers in developing countries with the tools and innovations they’ll need to deal with the effects of climate change.

Bill Gates is currently at the third spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $132 billion.

But even with his big new agricultural holdings, Gates still doesn’t rank in the Top 100 private landowners overall in the US, considering owners of land of all types.

The list is topped by Liberty Media’s John Malone, with 2.2 million acres of ranches and forests. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes that list at No. 25 with 420,000 acres.

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HDFC Bank’s Q3 standalone net profit rises 18%

The rise in net interest income was driven by advance growth of 15.6 per cent and a core net interest margin for the quarter of 4.2 per cent.

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Mumbai, Jan 16 : Lending major HDFC Bank on Saturday reported an 18.1 per cent increase in standalone net profit for the quarter ended December 31 of FY21 on a year-on-year basis.

The bank’s net profit for the third quarter of FY21 rose to Rs 8,758.3 crore on a YoY basis.

“After providing Rs 3,013.6 crore for taxation, the bank earned a net profit of Rs 8,758.3 crore, an increase of 18.1 per cent over the quarter ended December 31, 2019,” the bank said in a statement.

The bank’s net revenues (net interest income plus other income) grew to Rs 23,760.8 crore during the period under review from Rs 20,842.2 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

Besides, net interest income (interest earned less interest expended) for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 grew by 15.1 per cent to Rs 16,317.6 crore from Rs 14,172.9 crore during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

The rise in net interest income was driven by advance growth of 15.6 per cent and a core net interest margin for the quarter of 4.2 per cent.

“The bank’s persistent focus on deposits helped in the maintenance of a healthy liquidity coverage ratio at 146 per cent, well above the regulatory requirement.”

Furthermore, the bank made provision and contingencies worth Rs 3,414.1 crore as against Rs 3,043.6 crore during the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

“Total provisions for the current quarter include contingent provisions of nearly Rs 2,400 crore for proforma NPA as described in the asset quality section.”

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