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Past policy actions’ transmission to help ease conditions, RBI Guv in MPC meet

“As supply chains adapt to the new conditions, recovery is expected to be stronger and sustained. To achieve this outcome, an accommodative monetary policy is needed at this juncture.”

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Shaktikanta Das

New Delhi, Oct 23 : The ongoing transmission of past monetary policy actions would help ease financial conditions, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das had said during the Monetary Policy Committee meet earlier this month, according to its minutes released on Friday.

The statement assumes significance as past rate cut transmission will provide lower interest rates which, in effect, is expected to trigger consumption and economic revival.

Besides, the Governor said that there exists space for future rate cuts if the inflation evolves in line with the expectations.

“This space needs to be used judiciously to support recovery in growth,” he said.

Das said that monetary policy at this stage has to provide adequate support to ensure a robust revival of the economy from the devastating effects of Covid-19, while at the same time, ensuring that any persistence of elevated inflation does not lead to unanchoring of inflation expectations.

“With the supply side disruptions that are seen to drive the current inflationary pressures likely to be transient and wane out in months ahead as economy normalises, there is merit in looking through the current high levels of inflation and persevere with the accommodative stance for monetary policy as long as necessary to revive growth on a durable basis,” he said.

“Moreover, taking into account the projected moderation in inflation and the large output loss, I vote to keep the policy rate unchanged at present and continue with the accommodative stance, during the current financial year and into the next financial year, at the least. This would help to reduce uncertainty and market volatility. This would also enhance confidence in the monetary policy resolve to support the growth recovery process while ensuring that inflation remains within the target,” he added.

The penultimate meet of the MPC in 2020 was conducted from October 7 to 9.

The MPC decided to maintain the repo — or short-term lending — rate for commercial banks at 4 per cent on the back of persistently high inflation, fanned in part due to supply side disruptions along with seasonal factors.

The meeting was attended by all the members, including Shashanka Bhide, Ashima Goyal, Jayanth R. Varma, Mridul K. Saggar, and Michael Debabrata Patra.

Besides, other members cited the need support the economic recovery.

In the meeting, RBI Deputy Governor Patra said that under these conditions, it is essential for monetary policy to remain accommodative and opportunistically exploit the headroom that opens up when inflation recedes, as it is projected in the second half of 2020-21.

“Three aspects need to be emphasised. First, it is important to separate false starts from durable growth drivers. In this context, all efforts need to be trained on the revival of investment. Second, in the evolving situation in which monetary policy is committed to an accommodative stance, it is necessary to monitor inflation dynamics closely for signs of generalization and persistence,” he said.

“For this purpose, all indicators of aggregate demand, including monetary and credit aggregates, warrant continuous examination for inflation impulses. Third, with unprecedented contractions in economic activity and elevated inflation posing a razor’s edge trade-off fraught with uncertainty, forward guidance has to be clear and decisive.”

Regarding inflation, Saggar said that inflation is currently above the upper tolerance band, it is not monetary in nature.

He pointed out supply disruption in food, increase in taxes on fuel and liquor, and surge in gold prices “catalysed by risk-off” has lifted inflation.

“In my view, headline inflation should start softening from October. Apart from favourable base effects, the unlocking has picked speed and would significantly reduce supply chain bottlenecks causing both agriculture and non-agricultural prices to correct,” he said.

“Monsoon risks to inflation have dissipated. Cumulative rainfall has been 9 per cent above long period average with its temporal and spatial distribution satisfactory. Area sown under Kharif has expanded by 4.8 per cent. With resumption of businesses by small poultry, high prices in protein items should witness some correction.”

On his part, Bhide said that there are clearly uncertainties facing the growth and inflation projections.

There is also uncertainty over the speed with which the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control, which also affects growth and inflation scenarios in the next 2-3 quarters, he said.

“Towards the end of Q2, there are indications of revival of the economy after the relaxation of restrictions on transportation and businesses across the country,” Bhide said.

“As supply chains adapt to the new conditions, recovery is expected to be stronger and sustained. To achieve this outcome, an accommodative monetary policy is needed at this juncture.”

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Manufacturing GVA growth in Q2 ‘surprising’: SBI Report

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Manufacturing

New Delhi, Nov 28 : The manufacturing sector played a major role in narrowing down the India’s GDP contraction in Q2 of FY21. An SBI Ecowrap report, however, dubbed the growth in manufacturing GVA as “astonishing” as the IIP manufacturing for the same period declined by 6.7 per cent.

India’s GDP in the July-September period contracted 7.5 per cent, compared with 23.9 per cent in the preceding quarter.

The GVA in Q2 2020-21 from the manufacturing sector grew 0.6 per cent, as compared with a degrowth of 0.6 per cent in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal.

The report by Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, State Bank of India, said: “Though the whole press release is full of surprising numbers, the most astonishing number is the positive growth in manufacturing in Q2.”

He noted that despite being the worst affected sector in Q1 (due to lockdown), it is quite puzzling how manufacturing turned itself around.

The IIP manufacturing and manufacturing GVA growth are highly correlated (almost more than 0.90) and this correlation collapsed in Q2 when IIP manufacturing declined by 6.7 per cent (average of July/August/September) while manufacturing GVA grew by 0.6 per cent.

He said that one possible reason for this could be stellar corporate GVA numbers in Q2 on the back of massive purge in costs.

Further, he said that small companies, with turnover of up to Rs 500 crore, are more aggressive in cutting cost, displaying reduction in employee cost by 10-12 per cent.

“This could turn a potential headwind in future in terms of a drag on consumption. Additionally, there is evidence of inventory build-up that could act as a drag on future manufacturing growth,” said the report.

“Interestingly, government consumption expenditure has also nosedived in Q2, that is difficult to explain, as such expenditures are typically pro cyclical.”

During the July-September period, agriculture sector continued to perform well with its growth pegged at 3.4 per cent. Services remained in the negative territory, although the decline was contained as trade, hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting showed recovery.

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Apple patents new MacBook Touch Bar with Force Touch technology

It was also made available on iPhones and it was known as 3D Touch. Later with iPhone XR, Apple decided to replace 3D Touch with Haptic Touch for a better experience.

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San Francisco: Apple is reportedly planning to add Force Touch sensors to the OLED Touch Bar on a future MacBook Pro.

A new patent published by the US Patent And Trademark Office, suggests Force Touch could have an expanded role in the future on the Mac, with the development of a new pressure-sensitive Touch Bar, reports MacRumors.

The patent offers visual examples of how force-sensing technology would be implemented in a MacBook Touch Bar, with Force Touch circuitry surrounding the touch-sensitive OLED strip.

“The secondary display and force-sensing circuitry may be encapsulated between two glass layers that are bonded to one another by a frit. In some embodiments, the force-sensing circuitry is formed from or constitutes part of, the frit,” reads the abstract of the patent application

Force Touch sensors were introduced for the first time with the first-generation Apple Watch and they allow the screen to identify the touch pressure in order to perform different actions based on touch intensity.

This technology was then introduced to the MacBook trackpad in 2015.

It was also made available on iPhones and it was known as 3D Touch. Later with iPhone XR, Apple decided to replace 3D Touch with Haptic Touch for a better experience.

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Business

Black Friday in-store shopping drops amid pandemic

Black Friday, one of the most anticipated days by consumers, shifted its consumption patterns due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year. More shoppers have opted for online sales, and in-store shoppers tend to buy things much faster than before.

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Retail Store Sales Down

New York: Christina, a 74-year-old woman, only spent about five minutes buying a toaster oven at Macy’s flagship store in New York city on Black Friday morning.

“It was quick, it was a short line. It is not very busy now,” the shopper, who did not give her surname, told Xinhua.

There were a few dozen in-store shoppers at Macy’s flagship store, Saks Fifth Avenue and other retailers’ stores in New York City on Black Friday, a sharp contrast to the crowded scenes in the same time any other year.

Black Friday, one of the most anticipated days by consumers, shifted its consumption patterns due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year. More shoppers have opted for online sales, and in-store shoppers tend to buy things much faster than before.

“This year is scary. You want to get out of the store quicker to protect yourself even though we have masks. We have to prevent socializing and gathering with large crowds. We have to keep a distance,” the 74-year old shopper said.

In the meantime, U.S. consumers’ online spending made a new record high of $5.1 billion on Thanksgiving Day with a year-on-year growth of 21.5 per cent, according to the data issued by Adobe Analytics.

As of Thursday afternoon, coronavirus deaths have added up to 24,241 and confirmed cases to 302,522 in New York City, according to The City, a project that tracks the spread of confirmed COVID-19 infections and fatalities in New York City.

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