Ratings agency S&P has warned that the chances of India’s sovereign credit being downgraded to junk is more than one in three, as the economy battles with unsustainable current account and fiscal deficits.
But foreign institutional investors (FIIs) see reasons for cheer as growing inflows send Indian equity markets soaring. On Monday, India’s benchmark Nifty index surged 31 points to 6,229.45, its highest since November 2010. The Sensex too gained 163 points to 20,443.62, its highest since January 2011. Both indices have gained in every session in the past week. What’s going on? And will this rally last? Continue reading »
A company that launched on April Fool’s Day and takes its name from the Hindi word for chaos doesn’t sound like a winner.
But in its 14 years Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, the parent of Hungama.com, has grown to become the world’s largest aggregator and distributor of Bollywood entertainment.
It works with more than 400 content creators to distribute material in 47 countries through over 150 partners. With viewers in 127 countries, India’s Rs112.4bn film industry, which recently celebrated its centenary, is certainly not short of paying customers. Continue reading »
Bad news can be especially wearing when it comes as no surprise – when it is met with tired acceptance.
So while some reports expressed shock and surprise, there was, sadly, nothing very shocking about Thursday’s news that three Indian Premier League cricketers and seven bookies have been arrested by Delhi police on charges of spot-fixing, in the latest of many scandals to tarnish India’s most glamorous sporting competition. Continue reading »
There’s nowt as queer as folk – or in this case Mumbai investors.
Shares in United Breweries rallied a full 6.3 per cent on Wednesday, after an announcement that Heineken UK would acquire a 3.2 per cent stake in the Indian brewer controlled by cash-strapped entrepreneur Vijay Mallya.
So far so good. But the shares Heineken UK is buying were previously held by Scottish & Newcastle India – a fellow subsidiary of the Dutch brewer. So the deal shouldn’t make any difference. But it has, at least to the share price. Continue reading »
Just days after taking over at the Law Ministry, Kapil Sibal has said it would be legal for the Rs112bn tax dispute with Vodafone to be solved via conciliation, overturning the decision of his predecessor, Ashwani Kumar.
On the face of it, this sounds like we’re approaching a conclusion. But foreign investors, for whom this is a test case, shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief quite yet. Continue reading »
Salman Khurshid, India’s foreign minister, is back from a trip to China last week, happy to see the end of a tense stand-off over a long-running border dispute. Settling that issue will re-open the way for a planned visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India and allow the two countries to concentrate on the big topic on Khurshid’s agenda: trade.
But here, too, relations between the region’s big powers are not entirely friendly. Continue reading »
The US subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories, India’s biggest pharmaceuticals group, has pleaded guilty to felony charges related to drug safety and will pay $500m in what the US Department of Justice called the largest such settlement to date with a generic drug manufacturer.
It lifts a cloud hanging over Ranbaxy for the past eight years. But it is still not clear when the company will be able to resume exports to the US from its two factories at the centre of the scandal, which have been at a virtual standstill since 2008. Continue reading »
India’s annual wholesale price inflation rate dropped to 4.89 per cent in April, a 41-month low.
It was sharply down on the 5.96 per cent recorded in March and well below expectations, with an average forecast of 5.5 per cent in a Reuters poll of analysts. Continue reading »
Monday marked the Hindu festival of Akshaya Tritiya, considered as an auspicious day to buy precious metals. And with last month’s sharp drop in the price of gold, demand in India is higher than ever.
But what does this mean for an economy where the current account deficit is weighed down by mammoth gold imports? And what does it mean for Indian households, quick to act on a price drop, buying the commodity on religious rather than financial grounds? Continue reading »
Last year, the Indian government changed its policy to allow 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail, removing the 51 per cent cap. Since then a stream of companies – from H&M to TM Lewin – have kicked off plans to enter Asia’s third-largest economy.
But there’s been a bit of a hiccup this week as government ministries have fussed over the specifics – and how to deal with British retail stalwart M&S. Continue reading »
India’s industrial production grew 2.5 per cent year-on-year this March, against an average forecast of 2.4 per cent in a Bloomberg poll.
The data follows growth of 0.5 per cent in the month of February, a figure that was revised downwards from 0.6 per cent, and comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has slashed interest rates three times since the beginning of 2013. Continue reading »
The Indian government has for some time been clamping down on tax evasion by big multinationals, chasing up on everything from fictional factories to complicated accounting tricks as it tries to shore up the country’s troubled finances.
Now it’s BMW’s turn under the lens. The German car maker is under investigation after reports that it owes import duties of as much as $120m. Continue reading »
As India’s IT sector looks to new markets for growth, the country’s fourth largest IT company, Wipro, has announced that it will pay $30m for a minority stake in the privately held Opera Solutions, a US organisation that works in predictive and prescriptive data analytics.
That translates into helping companies use data to manage costs, risks and other areas of the business. It’s a high-value element of the IT sector that many Indian companies are trying to expand into as growth in other services has tailed off. Continue reading »