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US Federal raises interest rates by 25bps, first in nine years

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The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced to increase the key interest rates by a quarter point, ending an extraordinary seven-year-long period of easy money and near-zero rates in the world’s biggest economy.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen made the much-awaited announcement, lifting its key rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, the first hike in nearly a decade, signalling the US economy has finally recovered sufficiently from the severe recession that started with 2008 economic crisis.
In a statement, the Federal Reserve said economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace and should accelerate by 2016.

“Given the economic outlook, and recognising the time it takes for policy actions to affect future economic outcomes, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/4 to 1/2 per cent,” the Federal Reserve said.

The move, which was widely expected, marks the end of near decade-long era of easy money when the Federal Reserve pumped billions of dollars in the US economy to fend off another Great Depression like situation in the country.

In a statement, the Federal Reserve said economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace and should accelerate by 2016.

Household spending and business fixed investment have been increasing at solid rates in recent months, and the housing sector has improved further; however, net exports have been soft, it added.

“The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative after this increase, thereby supporting further improvement in labour market conditions and a return to 2 per cent inflation,” the statement said.

“With gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will continue to expand at a moderate pace and labour market indicators will continue to strengthen,” the Fed said in its official statement.

The statement also suggested that further rate hikes would be “gradual” and follow the pace of the US economic recovery, indicating the Central bank is planning to maintain historically low interest rates well into 2016 as well. The 0.25 per cent hike in its federal funds rate will be followed only by “gradual adjustments” and can be slowed if economic activity doesn’t expand at an expected pace, Yellen said.

Admitting, there still remain some risks to a full-throttled recovery of the US economy, Yellen said “these risks appear to have lessened since last summer”. The announcement also pushed US stocks a bit higher.

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Sensex over 50K mark as Biden, Budget fuel fast recovery hopes

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Sensex equity Nifty
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Positive global cues and expectations of healthy quarterly results, along with that of a supportive Union Budget FY22, powered the ascent of India’s barometer index — the S&P BSE Sensex — to cross the 50,000 mark on Thursday.

However, the barometer index dipped below the psychologically important mark due to profit booking at the end of the day’s trade.

The Sensex closed at 49,624.76, lower by 167.36 points, or 0.34 per cent, from its previous close of 49,792.12.

It opened at 50,162.05 and touched a fresh all-time high of 50,184.01 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also touched a new record high of 14,753.55 points. It ended the day’s trade at 14,590.35, lower by 54.35 points, or 0.37 per cent, from its previous close.

Earlier in the day, Sensex crossed the 50,000-mark.

Coming a day after Joe Biden’s inauguration as US President, the BSE Sensex mirrored its Asian counterparts in having a gap-up opening.

In fact, the positivity sentiment led it to open above the 50,000-mark. The gains of the last 5,000 points in Sensex has come in just 32 trading sessions.

Moreover, expectations of an even faster economic recovery on the back of the vaccination programme have been cited as other factors for the up-move.

Besides, easy liquidity conditions across the global have been funnelling into India’s market, as FIIs shore up their stakes and pump-up this rally.

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Mi India’s Republic Day Sale: List of TVs, Smart Bands, and Smartphones available at Huge discounts

Flipkart VIP, Amazon Prime, and Mi VIP Club members will be able to take advantage of this sale from January 19, a day before.

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Amazon Flipkart

Mi India has announced the Republic Day offer. The sale offers huge discount offers on a variety of products including smartphones, smart TVs, and Smart Bands.

Mi India’s Republic Days offer sale will start from 12 noon on January 20, 2021, which will continue till 11.59 PM on the night of January 24, 2021.

This offer can be enjoyed on the e-commerce sites Amazon, Flipkart, and Mi.com. Flipkart VIP, Amazon Prime, and Mi VIP Club members will be able to take advantage of this sale from January 19, a day before.

Mi Smart Band 4

Selling Price – 2,299

Sale price – 1,899

Mi TV Stick

Selling Price – 2,799

Sale price -2,299

Mi Box 4K

Selling Price – 3,499

Sale price – 3,299

Mi LED TV 4A PRO 108 cm (43)

Selling Price – 24,999

Sale Price – 23,999

Mi LED TV 4X 50

Selling Price – 34,999

Sale Price – 33,999

Mi Watch Revolve Midnight Black & Silver

Selling Price – 10,999

Sale price – 8,999

Earphones (TWS) – Mi True Wireless Earphones 2C

Selling Price – 2,499

Sale Price – 1,999

Earphones (TWS) – Mi True Wireless Earphones 2

Selling Price – 3,999

Sale price – 2,499

Mi Beard Trimmer 1C

Selling Price – 999

Sale Price – 799

Mi Smart Water Purifier (RO+UV)

Selling Price – 12,999

Sale price – 9,999

Redmi Earbuds S

Selling Price – 1,799

Sale price – 1,499

Redmi Smart Band

Selling Price – 1,599

Sale price – 1,299

Redmi 9i (4+ 64GB)

Selling Price – 8,299

Sale price – 7,999

Redmi 9 Prime (4+64GB)

Selling Price – 9,999

Sale price – 9,499

Redmi Note 9 (6+128GB)

Selling Price – 14,999

Sale price – 13,999

Redmi Note 9 Pro (4+128GB)

Selling Price – 15,999

Sale price – 13,999

Redmi Note 9 Pro Max (6+64GB)

Selling Price – 16,999

Sale Price – 14,999

Mi LED TV 4A PRO 80 cm (32)

Selling Price – 14,999

Sale Price – 14,499

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Dogfight: Airlines unleash deep discounts to dominate the sky

IndiGo’s Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer Sanjay Kumar said: “Low fares always helps stimulate the demand for the travel period far out and works as a part of airline strategy.”

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Preparing for Landing

New Delhi, Jan 19 : Fare wars induced deep discounting has reappeared in India’s aviation sector, as airlines seek to augment cash reserves, consolidate market share and bring back more capacity.

The first shot in this war of extremely low prices was fired recently with most airlines commencing their sales offers.

The development comes around a year since Covid-19 lockdown devastated the sector.

Industry insiders, however, now believe that the roll-out of anti-Covid-19 vaccination programme will give a boost to air travel.

Besides, some of the travel period offered under these schemes are beyond the current expiry of the fare cap imposed by the Centre.

IndiGo’s Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer Sanjay Kumar said: “Low fares always helps stimulate the demand for the travel period far out and works as a part of airline strategy.”

“These sales stimulate traffic among extremely price sensitive customers and helps airlines meet overall objectives.”

The latest passenger traffic data from the sector regulator DGCA indicate that the growth in passenger volumes is not yet adequate enough for a revival in the airline sector.

The aggregate passenger traffic in December 2020 at 73.27 lakh was still 43.7 per cent lower on a year-on-year basis.

“Lack of adequate demand in the post festive season along with higher available capacity has therefore, led a drop in passenger load factor for some of the airlines in December 2020 on a sequential basis vis-a-vis Nov 2020,” said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer at Acuite Ratings & Research.

“Such a scenario is possibly leading to a deep discounting strategy from airline companies. This involves sale of seats over the next few months through an attractive discount or add ons to ensure higher PLF over the next 1-2 quarters.”

Nevertheless, deep discounts are expected to hurt the already fragile financial condition of the sector.

“It will have an impact on the profitability of airline operations which has already been under losses in the last few quarters. In our opinion, however, passenger demand will witness a significant improvement in the next few months with the tapering of the Covid infection rate as well as the progress on the vaccination,” Chowdhury said.

Apart from ensuring a minimum PLF in the coming months, experts contend that deep discounts will trigger liquidity enhancement for airlines.

“Low airfares this month indicate the expected dip in travel post holiday season in December. Airfares in Jan across key routes have decreased 15-20 per cent MoM,” said Rajnish Kumar, Co-founder & CTO, ixigo.

“Heavy discounts being rolled out by major domestic and international airlines will definitely woo travellers who are planning vacations this year. With government caps ending on March 31, the discounts will attract flyers to plan their trips in advance and accelerate recovery in bookings to pre-Covid levels this year.”

On the other hand, the government has till now permitted the industry players to operate at 80 per cent of their pre-Covid capacity.

The operational capacity deployment level is expected to reach pre-Covid mark by the end of calendar year’s first quarter.

“In the current scenario of impact on demand due to the pandemic, while some aircraft continue to be grounded, the passenger load factors (PLFs) of airlines have also been impacted despite the lower capacity,” said Kinjal Shah, Vice President, ICRA.

“Thus, airlines have to take a calculated call on fares and its impact on demand.”

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])

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