31.01.2007

  • Standard & Poor upgrades India rating
    • The sovereign rating now stands at BBB- from BB+.
    • What this means is that:
      • Indian corporates and banks can bargain for cheaper overseas loans
      • More M&A and LBO (Leveraged Buy Out) opportunities for India Inc.
      • Higher inflows could partly offset a rate hike impact
      • Pension and other global funds with low risk appetite can now invest in India
      • India exposure limits for foreign banks can rise
      • Increased FDI inflow
    • Compare this with the situation in 1999, when S&P downgraded India to below investment grade following the BoP (Balance of Payment) crisis.
    • Even with this upgrade, India is still not on par with other East Asian economies. Countries like China, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand and others like South Africa and Mexico have higher ratings than India.
    • The combined fiscal deficit of the centre and the states put together is likely to fall below 7% of GDP.
    • FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Acts have been passed by 23 out of 29 state governments in India.
  • Bank of International Settlements
    • Managing Director is Malcolm Knight
  • Governor of Bank of England
    • Mervyn King
  • Interest rates of top central banks across the world

Fed (USA)

ECB (Europe)

BoJ (Bank of Japan)

RBI (reverse repo)

Jan 2006

4.5

2.25

0

5.50

Jan 2007

5.25

3.50

0.25

6

  • New Indian Air Force Chief
    • Air Marshal Fali H. Major, the present Chief of Shillong headquartered Eastern Air Command, is named the new Air Chief.
    • He is the first non-combat pilot to head the Air Force. He is a helicopter pilot.
  • Queen Mary 2, the queen of all luxury liners set to touch Kerala
    • This 13 floor high ship of unparalleled opulence will be the largest cruise liner to hit Indian shores sometime in March at Kochi.
  • TRAI may allow MVNOs
    • Mobile Virtual Network Operators, who don’t own either infrastructure (switches, base stations etc.) or spectrum; but buy airtime in bulk from existing players, may be allowed by TRAI to operate in India.
    • Richard Branson owned Virgin Mobile is a prominent MVNO in the UK.
  • Doctrine of lapse to be adopted in mineral policy
    • At present companies wanting to obtain mineral licensing have to apply to the state governments. They would in turn forward the applications to the central government. But as there is no time limit at present on their being forwarded with the state government’s recommendation, it is causing inordinate delays.
    • Hence the centre is considering a policy on the following lines:
      • States would have to give reconnaissance permit within 4 months from date of receipt of an application.
      • Prospecting license should be given within a period of 10 months and mining lease within a period of 13 months.
      • Once the time-frame for licence lapses, the applicant may approach the centre for clearance.
      • The centre would then have the right to grant lease and other licenses within a period of 90 days.
  • N. Rangachari committee on plantation sector
    • It has submitted its recommendations recently. The main recommendations are:
      • Banks should be allowed to trade in the futures segment to increase money flow in plantation sector.
      • Small farmers should be allowed to utlize derivative contracts and options via NGOs
      • Change in RBI guidelines that prevent deposit-taking institutions from participating in the futures market.
      • Parallel insurance programme for farmers.
  • Fertilizer subsidy burden
    • The bill is likely to be about Rs. 28,000 crores.
    • 65% of the urea produced in the country uses natural gas as feedstock.
  • Something about South Africa
    • Democracy heralded in 1994
    • The last apartheid Prime Minister was F.W. de Klerk
    • Nelson Mandela was released from jail in February 1990.
    • Thabo Mbeki is the current President.
    • Some excellent words from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the South African winner of Nobel Peace Prize:
      • “Rememberance and forgiveness have allowed our remembered nightmares to be consigned to the past.”
  • A few minute details about PF funds and SA funds
    • The Provident Funds (regulated by EPFO) are mandatory in nature. The SA (Superannuation) Funds are not compulsory. In SA funds, the maximum contribution from the employer is 15% of the basic salary.
    • Gratuity is a compulsory benefit; but the formation of gratuity trust is voluntary.
    • The total size of the gratuity and superannuation funds would be about 10 to 15% of the 1.5 lakh crore PF sector.
  • New findings on breast cancer
    • Scientists have uncovered the role played by a gene associated with the spread of breast cancer. The gene PIP1b is known for its role in diabetes and obesity.
  • Economists keep talking of a virtuous cycle of growth. What is that about?
    • When GDP growth accelerates, consumption rises slower than GDP. People are cautious about accelerating their consumption. Hence the savings rate rises sharply. This depresses interest rates and encourages fresh investment, which in turn facilitates fast growth, in a virtuous cycle.
    • China entered such a cycle in 1980s. India did so in 2004.

4 comments:

siva kk said...

hi
thanks 4 ur endless support. i want to know what is LEO SATTELITES.

ramkyc said...

Hi Siva,
A very good question. There are three types of satellites: GEO, MEO and LEO. Geostationary Earth Orbit, Medium Earth Orbit and Low Earth Orbit. LEO satellites are placed usually between 300 to 1500 km above the earth. MEO at 5000 to 15000 km and GEO at about 36,000 km. Usually the LEO term is used generically to the LEO and MEO that I just described. What are the satellites placed between 15000 and 36000 km called? Let's ask Madhavan Nair. lol. Just kidding. The answer is -- I don't know. :) Interested in reading more? Try this: http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/SSC/CSER/UOSAT/IJSSE/issue1/seumahu/seumahu.html

ramkyc said...

Bhabhani asked me:

i did not get how ..."faster growth of GDP than consumption increases the saving" happens...? plz can you make it clear

My reply:
Economists say that usually when GDP is growing at a faster pace, people tend to be cautious in their spending habits. So they are left with more of their earned money. Because they spend less, the savings have to be invested somewhere; isn't it? Ultimately these will find their way into the system either through bank deposits, investment in mutual funds, PPF etc. Because more money is flowing into savings, the interest rates offered on savings will come down. This makes availability of money cheap for the entrepreneurs. That is how more money is available to the system for productive purposes. This in turn fuels growth of the economy. So... a faster GDP --> greater savings --> lesser interest rates --> hihger GDP. This is the virtuous cycle that every economy would like to find itself in. Hope I am able to clarify. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the clarification sir...
Bhabani