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January inflation eases to 5.07%, December IIP lower at 7.1%

The higher target came in place of the 3.2 per cent — or Rs 5.46 lakh crore — for the current fiscal announced earlier.

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A slight easing of food prices helped lower India’s retail inflation in January to 5.07 per cent even as factory production growth slowed somewhat in December to 7.1 per cent, according to official data on Monday.

India Inc lauded the continuing high single-digit recovery in industry as well as the slight fall in inflation.

While retail inflation was 5.21 per cent in December 2017, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown at an impressive 8.8 per cent in November.

On a year-on-year basis, the consumer price index (CPI) last month was at a much higher level than the 3.17 per cent in January 2017.

The consumer food price index (CFPI) in January stood at 4.58 per cent compared with the 4.85 per cent of December 2017.

As per the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the sequential slowdown in factory output was mainly on account of lower production in the manufacturing sector.

However, on a year-on-year basis, the manufacturing sector expanded by a healthy 8.4 per cent, while the mining sector’s output inched up by 1.2 per cent and the sub-index of electricity generation increased by 4.4 per cent.

“In terms of industries, 16 out of the 23 industry groups in manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during December 2017 compared with corresponding month of the previous year,” the CSO said.

According to the data, the industry group ‘manufacture of other transport equipment’ has shown the highest growth of 38.3 per cent followed by 33.6 per cent in ‘manufacture of pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemicals and botanical products’ and 29.8 per cent in ‘manufacture of computers, elecronic and optical products’.

Last week, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its key interest rate unchanged at 6 per cent for the third time in succession at its final bi-monthly monetary policy review of the fiscal, citing upside risks for inflation from rising global crude oil prices and other domestic factors.

The RBI said its decision to keep its repo rate, or short-term lending rate for commercial banks, unchanged is consistent with the neutral stance of the central bank aimed at achieving its median inflation target of 4 per cent.

“We expect headline inflation to be at 5.1 per cent in the fourth quarter (January-March), including the impact of HRA (house rent allowance) to central employees, up from the 4.6 per cent in Q3,” RBI Governor Urjit Patel told reporters in Mumbai after the release of the monetary policy review.

However, the fact that the central bank did not raise the repo rate in the face of hardening inflation as recommended by one of the six monetary policy committee (MPC) members is being considered as an attempt to aid in economic recovery.

Industry chamber Assocham termed the IIP data “a positive sign towards growth cycle of industrial activity in India”.

“However, risks to the Indian economy continues to prevail in the forms of continued uncertainties in the global environment due to geo-political situations, including rising global protectionism could further delay a meaningful recovery of external demand,” said Assocham President Sandeep Jajodia.

“Besides, private investment continues to face several impediments in the form of corporate debt overhang, stress in the financial sector, where (banks’) NPAs (non-performing assets) continue to increase, excess capacity and regulatory and policy challenges,” he added.

“This is the second consecutive month in which IIP has shown high single-digit growth, which is encouraging,” India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) Principal Economist Sunil Kumar Sinha said in a statement.

“However, Ind-Ra believes it still early to read much from these numbers as these have been calculated on a low base when industrial output had collapsed due to the impact of demonetisation,” he said.

“Retail inflation came down to 5.07 per cent in January 2018, lower than 5.21 per cent recorded last month, but remained higher than the RBI’s base target value of 4 per cent,” he added.

Rating agency Crisil said that inflation, however, continued to firm up in large parts of the services sectors such as housing, driven by the revision in house rent allowance payments, education and in recreation, amusement and personal care and effects.

“Yet, core inflation, stayed broadly unchanged from the previous month, at around 5.1 per cent in January,” a Crisil release said.

“The industry seems to be shedding away the weight of GST-related glitches behind and trying to get back lost momentum, as both domestic and global growth surge.”

Business

Flipkart, Amazon claim record online festive sales

World’s retail giant Walmart on August 18 completed acquiring 77 per cent equity stake in Flipkart for a whopping $16 billion (Rs 107,662 crore).

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Bengaluru, Oct 18 : India’s leading e-tailer Flipkart and its American rival Amazon on Thursday claimed record online sales ahead of Dusshera and Diwali festivals.

“We made a record-breaking business during the five-day sales festival on October 10-14 in diverse categories, including smartphones, electronic gadgets, home appliances, furniture and fashion,” Flipkart said in a statement on Thursday.

The Indian arm of Amazon also said it had record sales across categories during its great Indian festival celebration from October 10-15, with a 12-hour prime early access to its prime members.

“We had an overwhelming response to the fifth edition of the fest, with sales in the first 36 hours surpassing the first wave of last year and exceeded our plans,” said the city-based Amazon.

Both have, however, admitted that maximum sales were in the smart phones category, followed by televisions, laptops, home appliances and fashion in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV).

“We accounted for half of the e-tailer industry’s GMV, driven by higher sales in mobiles and fashion verticals, which grew 70 per cent and 78 per cent,” said Flipkart.

“Smart-phones had their biggest season, with Xiaomi selling over 1 million devices in a day followed by OnePlus with sales of Rs 400 crore in a day and premium phones sales exceeding a month of all India online sales,” said Amazon India head Amit Agarwal.

On the second day of sales, Flipkart began its offers on mobiles and sold one million in the first hour, ending the day with 3 million units.

“Three-in-four mobiles bought during the fest was on Flipkart,” said the Walmart-owned company.

World’s retail giant Walmart on August 18 completed acquiring 77 per cent equity stake in Flipkart for a whopping $16 billion (Rs 107,662 crore).

“We recorded 70 per cent share of the e-tail market in the country to match the scale of marquee retail events and demonstrated our position as market leader,” said Flipkart Chief Executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy.

Flipkart also claimed 85 per cent share of online market in fashion and 75 per cent in large appliances.

Amazon customers from 99 per cent pin codes placed an order in 4 days, with 80 per cent new customers from small towns.

“Large appliances sales in a single day for Amazon exceeded that of first wave for last festive sale; with 50 per cent sales from tier-2 and below towns,” said Agarwal.

One out of 2 Flipkart shoppers used payment options like EMIs and bank offers, driving 60 per cent of its overall sales and enabling customers to upgrade products in categories like mobiles, TVs and laptops.

“Fashion has brought in 40 per cent new customers and enabled us to maintained leadership with 85 per cent share,” added Krishnamurthy.

For Amazon too, fashion was the biggest category in units sold and new customers acquired, with 63 per cent orders from tier-2 and 3 cities.

“Two out of three of our customers benefited from exchange, EMIs and bank offers. New sellers who took part in the fest for the first time saw 300 per cent jump in sales, with 7,000 of them crossing the millionaire mark,” noted Agarwal.

IANS

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Reliance Jio posts Rs 681 crore profit in Q2

The subscriber base of Jio as on September 30, 2018 was 252.3 million, with an average revenue per user (ARPU) during the quarter at Rs 131.7 per month.

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Jio puts Mukesh Ambani on top of Forbes' Global Game Changers

Mumbai, Oct 17 : Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, on Wednesday said it posted a standalone net profit of Rs 681 crore in the quarter through September on the back of (as yet) highest quarterly subscriber addition of 37 million.

It had posted a net loss of Rs 271 crore in the same quarter a year ago.

The company had recorded a net profit of Rs 612 crore in the first quarter of this fiscal year.

The standalone revenue from operations in the second quarter of this fiscal year ending March 2019 stood at Rs 9,240 crore, a massive on-year jump of 50.3 per cent, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd said in a statement.

The subscriber base of Jio as on September 30, 2018 was 252.3 million, with an average revenue per user (ARPU) during the quarter at Rs 131.7 per month.

The total wireless data traffic during the quarter was at a record 771 crore GB with per user average data consumption of 11 GB per month. The total voice traffic was 53,379 crore minutes in the quarter.

“Jio was conceived with a mission to connect everyone and everything, everywhere – always at the highest quality and the most affordable price… We have enabled our customers to adopt the digital life, with record consumption of data and use of digital services,” said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries.

“We are making rapid progress on the growth of our digital platforms, across new commerce, media and entertainment, agriculture, education, healthcare and financial services, which will further enhance the quality of life and productivity of the people of India,” he added.

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Honda Activa breaches 2 cr sales mark in India

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New Delhi, Oct 17 : Hondas Activa scooter has breached the 2-crore sales mark in India, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India said on Wednesday.

According to the company, while it took 15 years to achieve the first one crore sales, the recent addition has come in just three years.

“Over 18 years and 5 generations, Honda 2Wheelers India continuously added value to exceed customers’ expectations and making Activa the most preferred choice of Indian 2 wheeler buyers,” said Minoru Kato, President and CEO, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India.

“We are delighted that Activa partnered over 2 crore Indian families on the move in realising their dreams.”

Honda Activa was launched in 2001.

IANS

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