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Note ban will hit property sales by 20-30% this year: Fitch

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Mumbai, January 25: Disruptions caused by demonetisation and the general caution on the part of buyers will hit property sales in India by at least 20-30 percent in 2017, Fitch Ratings said in its latest report.

“We expect home prices also to decline this year because demand for residential property has weakened significantly in the fourth quarter of 2016, following the demonetisation of large denomination notes in November last year,” said the ratings agency.

The worst downturn in home sales is likely to occur in the first half of 2017.

“The worst downturn in home sales is likely to occur in the first half of 2017. Demand is likely to recover moderately in the second half as festive season approaches, and because banks have cut interest rates on home loans by 50-60 basis points over the last 12 months to multi-year lows,” it said.

“Demonetisation has made it harder for home buyers to use undeclared wealth for property buys. The number of residential units sold in the fourth quarter of 2016 fell 44 per cent year-on-year, dragging down overall units sold in 2016 by 9 per cent, based on data compiled by Knight Frank Research.”

The volume of new units launched fell by 61 per cent.

Fitch expected the largest cuts to selling prices in the National Capital Region where unsold inventory is the highest over 16 quarters of sales, followed by Mumbai, where it is 10 quarters, based on market estimates.

The NCR, it said, is known to have the largest cash-based economy in the country, and therefore demand is likely to suffer more from the currency demonetisation than other regions. It expected demand for homes in Chennai and Pune to be less affected by the downturn.

At the same time, Fitch said, even as property construction was hampered for a few weeks after demonetisation, most homebuilders were able to work around practical issues related to making payments to suppliers and contractors, and construction has since resumed.

“Smaller and second-tier homebuilders across the country have also started offering discounts of around 25-30 percent to attract buyers.”

IANS

Business

LinkedIn partners with Oracle to help HR teams attract right talent

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New Delhi, Oct 17: Cloud major Oracle on Wednesday said it entered into a partnership with professional networking platform LinkedIn to help HR teams attract, engage and retain employees.

A series of new integrations between Oracle’s Human Capital Management Cloud (Oracle HCM Cloud) and Taleo Enterprise Edition, and LinkedIn, will help HR teams to grow their talent pool and increase career development opportunities, Oracle said.

“The world of work is rapidly changing, and this is creating new opportunities and challenges for talent leaders,” Scott Roberts, Vice President of Business Development, LinkedIn, said in a statement.

“We are excited to be working with Oracle to create better solutions to make hiring and developing talent as seamless and effective as possible,” Roberts added.

The new integrations enable HR teams to take a holistic view of their talent’s experience, skills and career aspirations in order to achieve a meaningful alignment between each employee’s job responsibilities and an organisation’s overall business objectives.

They improve the candidate experience by enabling them to apply for a job via Oracle Recruiting Cloud or Taleo Enterprise Edition and identify and contact (via InMail) their LinkedIn connections who can best refer them for that job.

“The rapidly changing global talent market is forcing organisations across industries to rethink how they attract, engage and retain employees,” said Nagaraj Nadendla, Group Vice President, Product Development, Oracle.

IANS

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Hyundai’s Kona EV ready to hit the road

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hyundai Kona Electric Kona EV

Seoul, Oct 15: Carmaker Hyundai is developing a crossover sports utility vehicle (SUV) named Kona and the electric vehicle (EV) is reportedly ready to hit the road.

hyundai Kona Electric Kona EV

While industry stalwarts like Ford and startups like Tesla dominate the conversation around the future of the EV market, Hyundai is out here quietly developing the crossover SUV that can travel farther on a single charge — 258 miles, to be precise — than any other electric vehicle on the market, Engadget reported on Monday.

The Kona Electric has a 64KWH lithium-ion polymer battery pack delivering 258 miles per charge.

hyundai Kona Electric Kona EV

Notably, this make it the longest-range non-luxury EV, beating the likes of the Chevrolet Bolt EV (238 miles) and Nissan Leaf (151 miles) — and even Hyundai’s own Ioniq Electric (124 miles).

The Kona Electric or Kona EV is, unsurprisingly, based on the existing Hyundai Kona gas-powered platform.

“The exterior stylings are virtually identical, with the EV just 0.6-inches longer and 0.2 inches taller. The two models also share the same trio of trim packages. You’ve got the base SEL, then Limited and Ultimate,” the report added.

The SUV would be available in six colours, two of which are exclusive to the electric model.

IANS

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Sugar mills worry over surplus, talk of ‘industry collapse’

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New Delhi, Oct 14 : With the availability of sugar set to reach an unprecedented level of 44 million tonnes thanks to huge unconsumed stock from last year and expected higher production this year, an imminent threat of “industry collapse” is being talked about. This has pushed mills to consider producing globally-accepted high-quality refined sugar as the most promising way to dispose off the surplus.

The decision of Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer, to lower production this year has given Indian industry an opportunity to fill the space. However, it will have to live up to global expectations, the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) has said.

It said the mills are planning to boost their exports by improving quality of sugar to 45 ICUMSA grade, a high quality refined grade and considered one of the highest purity levels globally.

“Currently, we produce sugar whose grade is between 100-150 ICUMSA. Till now, the domestic consumption offset the domestic output. So Indian sugar mills never bothered about producing high refined quality sugar as per the global standards,” NFCSF Managing Director Prakash Naiknavare told IANS.

ICUMSA is a global body and its rating is an international unit for expressing the purity of the sugar, which is directly related to the colour of the sweetener.

Brazil has decided to cut down sugar production by earmarking more cane for manufacturing ethanol, so India finds a space where the domestic surplus can be accommodated.

“To achieve it, we will have to produce sugar of 45 ICUMSA grade. It will take minimal efforts and capital to upgrade the existing machinery,” Naiknavare said.

India has a surplus (opening stock) of 10.5 million tonnes from the last season and it is expected to produce around 33.5 million tonnes of the sweetener in 2018-19 starting October.

So the total availability of sugar this year will be around 44 million tonnes against the expected domestic consumption of 26 million tonnes, thus putting a “burden” on the mills to clear huge sugar stocks in the backdrop of depressed retail prices — around Rs 37 per kg in the national capital compared to around Rs 40-43 a year ago.

As the sugar output in Brazil is to go down by almost 10 million tonnes, India is set to become the largest sugar producer in the world this year.

Naiknavare said it was “a god-sent” gift, which had provided India “with an opportunity to make perception that India can be a great destination” for high-quality refined sugar.

As per the initial estimates of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), which represents private sugar mills in the country, India is set to produce around 35 million tonnes in the 2018-19 season starting October against 32.25 million tonnes in the previous year.

The NFCSF, however, said that the 2018-19 production figures would be around 33.5 million tonnes owing to the infection of white grub in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which damages roots leading to the death of cane.

The government can store three million tonnes. It will also help mills to export five million tonnes under the Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ) by compensating expenses towards internal transport, freight handling and other charges.

“The government’s assistance and incentives have been helpful to the industry. Even if we take all these into account, including 26 million tonnes of domestic consumption, there will be surplus of 10 million tonnes. If it is not disposed, the industry will collapse,” said Naiknavare, adding all stakeholders, including the ISMA, had started brainstorming on how to dispose the surplus.

The government, while announcing a bail-out package for the industry in June this year, had fixed minimum selling price (MSP) at the mill gate of Rs 2,900 per tonnes to ensure that retail prices do not fall further.

The average price sugar received at global market in last 15 days is roughly Rs 2,200- 2,400 per tonne.

However, the prices have been on the increase from last few days — 10.97 cents per pound on September 28 to 13.11 cents per pound on October 9 according to the International Sugar Organisation — a trend the Indian sugar industry finds positive.

Acting on the industry’s request, the central government had given a subsidy of Rs 55 per tonne of sugarcane to help mills to clear cane farmers’ arrears.

(Saurabh Katkurwar can be contacted at [email protected])

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