Tag: Analysis

No new Rs 1,000 notes are being printed: Shaktikanta Das

After reports surfaced of new Rs 1,000 and higher denomination notes coming into circulation, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das has refuted it.

Earlier on Wednesday, Das took to Twitter to issue a clarification on the aforementioned matter. “We have no plans of introducing new Rs 1,000 notes,” stated Das.

“The focus will be on increasing production and supply of Rs 500 and other notes of lower denomination,” Das further clarified. In a tweet that followed, Das assured India Economy News that the request to monitor the withdrawal of cash is being assessed.

“I request everyone to withdraw only the amount that is required, since excessive withdrawal of cash deprives cash for others,” Das urged. In December 2016, new Rs 500 notes were released for circulation, aiming to ease the situation post demonetisation, the initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in order to curb circulation of black money in the economy.

After circulation of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes came to a standstill, rumours surfaced regarding a possibility of the introduction of completely new notes.


Trump plans to deport Mexico immigrants, regardless of nationality

Buried deep in the Trump administration’s plans to round up undocumented immigrants is a provision certain to enrage Mexico – new authority for federal agents to deport anyone caught crossing the southern border to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.

If present immigration trends continue, that could mean the United States would push hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Brazilians, Ecuadorans, even Haitians into Mexico. Currently, such people are detained in the U.S. and allowed to request asylum.

President Trump wants them to do so from Mexico, communicating via video conference calls with U.S. immigration officials from facilities that Mexico would presumably be forced to build.

“This would say if you want to make a claim for asylum or whatever we’ll hear your case but you are going to wait in Mexico,” a DHS official said. “Those are details that are being worked out both within the department and between the US government and the government of Mexico … there are elements that still need to be worked out in detail.

Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Mexico later this week to meet with representatives of the Mexican government. It remains unclear if they will discuss this issue.

The new authority for immigration agents is among the dramatic, some would say untenable, tactics the Trump administration is preparing to deploy as it upends President Obama’s policies on illegal immigration.

A pair of memos signed by John Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, and publicly released on Tuesday outline the plans for what present and former government officials say will be a massive roundup of undocumented immigrants. Near final drafts of the memos had leaked over the weekend and had been first reported by McClatchy.

Officials disclosed that two former Senate aides to Attorney General Jeff Sessions drafted the plan without input from career DHS policy staffers. The ideas aren’t new. Many of the approaches described in the memos come from a 1996 law that policy makers and law enforcement agents had disregarded as either unenforceable or absurd.

“Most of these provisions of law have been there for decades,” the DHS official said. “We are simply trying to execute what Congress has asked us to do.”

Among them was the Mexico part of the plan, for example, which calls for returning undocumented immigrants “to the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived.” The memo goes on to point out how foisting the immigrants onto Mexico would benefit DHS’s budget, saying that it would, “save the Department’s detention and adjudication resources for other priority aliens.”

However, former senior Mexican and American immigration officials said it could very well create new security problems along the border, as authorities in each country push unwanted migrants back and forth.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association said that the proposal would violate U.S. law and international treaty obligations. Mexico is as likely to embrace the plan as it did the notion of paying for a wall. “I would expect Mexico to respond with an emphatic ‘No,'” said Gustavo Mohar, a former senior Mexican immigration and national security policy official.

Whether viable or not, the Trump administration’s deportation plans mark a dramatic departure from decades of policy and practice. Current and former immigration policy officials say that while the details of how the administration intends to carry out the plans remain unclear – if not insurmountable – the administration’s overall message to enforcement agents across the country is clear: the limits have been lifted.

President Obama attempted to focus enforcement efforts on immigrants who had been convicted of serious crimes, and on those who were caught while or shortly after illegally entering the country. Still, his administration deported record numbers of immigrants, most of whom had only been accused of minor crimes and immigration violations.

The Trump administration says it, too, is focused on deporting criminals, but it has redefined crimes to include any activity that might bring a conviction, including entering the U.S. without permission. Effectively, that makes virtually everyone in the U.S. without a proper visa subject to roundup at their workplace or home.

“If you are present in the U.S. without being admitted or paroled or having overstayed your visa, the immigration laws of the U.S. subject you to removal,” the DHS official said. “Everyone who is in violation of the laws is theoretically subject to enforcement. The Department has limited resources and we will, to the extent that we can, focus on folks who have committed serious crimes.”

The only clear exception, according to the enforcement plan and the DHS briefing, is for immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers.

“Anyone who complained about Obama as the deporter-in-chief,” said David Martin, formerly DHS’s principal deputy general counsel, “is unfortunately going to get a taste of what it’s like when someone is really gung-ho.”

Greg Chen, the policy director at AILA, said the Trump plan would “effectively unleash a massive deportation force with extremely broad authority to use detention as the default mechanism for anyone suspected of violating immigration law.”

The question looming over the proposals is how many of them, with all their legal and logistical obstacles, will the president actually be able to carry out.

The memos, for example, authorize the Border Patrol to hire 5,000 new agents, even though the force has never been able to fill the slots it has already been allotted. Some 60 percent of applicants to the Border H-1B visas Patrol fail the required polygraph, and those who pass take 18 months to get sent out into the field.

The Trump plan calls for the expansion of a George W. Bush-era program, known as 287g, which allows DHS to deputize state and local police as immigration agents. It was touted after 9/11 as a critical “force-multiplier.” But by 2010, some of the country’s largest police departments were refusing to participate because they believed it would shatter the trust between their officers and the communities they were sworn to protect. Meanwhile, participating agencies, which foot the bill for the program, were suddenly saddled with new debts and hounded by accusations of racial profiling and other abuse, forcing the Obama administration to suspend expansion of the program.

Until now, the enforcement of summary deportation laws, known as “expedited removal,” have been limited to those apprehended within 14 days of illegally entering the country and within 100 miles of Canada or Mexico. The memos signed by Kelly would allow use of those laws anywhere in the country against anyone who entered illegally within the past two years.

Lucas Guttentag, a former DHS adviser and Stanford law professor, said this would “unleash chaos,” violate due process, and meet challenges in court, similar to those that scuttled the administration’s travel ban.

There would also be aggressive challenges, lawyers said, to plans that would allow immigration agents to deport unaccompanied minor children who crossed the border illegally, rather than uniting them with parents or other relatives in the U.S.

The reason for discussing unaccompanied minors is ” that they have been abandoned by their parents or legal guardians,” the DHS official said. If it is “determined that there is a parent or guardian in the U.S. that they can be handed over to, then DHS needs to take a hard look over whether that person is actually” an unaccompanied minor.

“There will be a renewed focus on ensuring that folks don’t abuse the system,” the DHS official added.

They also expect legal opposition to a proposal that would strip undocumented immigrants of existing privacy protections, allowing personal information such as asylum cases or immigration violations to be publicly disclosed.

“We want to ensure that our privacy policies are consistent with the law,” the DHS official said. “The Privacy Act applies by statute to citizens” and green card holders. “The President has asked us to align our laws with what congress has directed.”

“The Trump people have clearly bought into the model of harsh enforcement. They apparently think, ‘we’ll be tough, and a lot of people will leave on their own,'” said Martin, an immigration law professor at the University of Virginia. “They believe they’ll win in the court of public opinion. I’m not sure about that. A lot of Americans know hard-working undocumented immigrants. The kind of enforcement Trump’s people are talking about will visibly create many more sympathetic cases than unsympathetic ones.”

Some of the provisions explicitly acknowledge that it could take years before DHS has the manpower and money to pull off what the president has ordered. Immigration enforcement agents, however, have already begun filling the policy void by launching raids and deportations, including some that advocates worry are meant to test the limits. Meanwhile panic has taken hold in many immigrant communities.

“The level of fear is more than anything we’ve ever seen,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. She said the plan’s sweep, “sent a chill to my bones,” because it threatens to do irreparable harm to millions of families. She added, “This all seems aimed at changing who we are as a nation.”

Reliance Industries hits over 7-year high as Jio promises to end freebies

Reliance Industries (RIL) hit an over seven-year high of Rs 1,172, up 8% on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), recording its sharpest rally in intra-day trade in past 21 months.

The stock hit its highest level since June 2009. Earlier, on May 16, 2014, it rallied 8.7% during intra-day trade. On the BSE, the stock hit high of Rs 1,187 on November 1, 2010, during intra-day trade.

In past two trading sessions, the stock surged 9% from Rs 1,075 on February 20, 2017 after Reliance Jio Infocomm (“Jio”), a subsidiary of RIL, announced that its tariff plans will become applicable from April 1, 2017.

The new offerings will no longer be free but Jio has priced its services attractively to retain its 100 million customers, who have signed up since September 5, when the services were first offered. Jio is seeking to retain them through special prime memberships at a one-time fee of Rs 99 and Rs 303 a month for unlimited voice, data and content. CLICK HERE TO READ FULL REPORT.

“Consolidation within incumbents effectively improves their financial position and allows them to match JIO on pricing for longer, and this would be negative for JIO as it would India Company News bring down the industry ARPUs (average revenue per users) and lower margins. However, if JIO sticks to its stated or ARPUs where the actual base pack starts at Rs 499, it would be positive for JIO in the long term,” analysts at JP Morgan said in report dated January 31, 2017.

In brokerage view, JIO’s investment case depends on higher paying ARPU subs. 50 million subscribers paying Rs 400 APRU would likely be far more profitable than 100 million subs paying Rs 200 per month. RJio needs the higher paying ARPU subs as only they would be able to pay for more of the services that RJio plans to offer eventually.

At 10:13 am; the stock was up 7% at Rs 1,165, the top gainer from Nifty 50 and S&P BSE Sensex. The trading volumes on the counter jumped more than five-fold with a combined 10.23 million shares changed hands on the BSE and NSE.

Meanwhile, RIL is back into number two position in overall market capitalization (m-cap) ranking with m-cap of Rs 377,423 crore. The market valuation of RIL increased by Rs 24,410 crore from Rs 353,013 crore on Monday, the BSE data shows.

Modi urges US to keep an open mind on H-1B visas for skilled Indians

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the United States on Tuesday to keep an open mind on admitting skilled Indian workers, in comments that pushed back against Republican President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric on jobs.

Modi’s comments reflected concern that India’s $150 billion IT services industry would suffer if the United States curbs the visas, known as H-1B, it relies on to send its software experts to the United States on project work.

“The prime minister referred to the role of skilled Indian talent in enriching the American economy and society,” Modi’s office said in a statement after he met a bipartisan delegation of 26 members of the U.S. Congress.

“He urged developing a reflective, balanced and far-sighted perspective on movement of skilled professionals.”

Indian nationals are by far the largest group of recipients of the 65,000 H-1B visas issued each year to new applicants under a cap mandated by Congress. Exemptions on the H-1B cap are available to up to 20,000 further applicants who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree.

The actual number of Indian nationals working in the United States under the H-1B programme is significantly higher, however, because many visas are rolled over.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, India Business News who was born in India, also met Modi on Tuesday. He told the Economic Times earlier that his own career had been made possible by “an enlightened immigration policy”.

Initial confidence that Asia’s third-largest economy would benefit from Trump’s election victory has given way to concern that his isolationist rhetoric and hostility to free trade would hurt India’s hi-tech and outsourcing industry.

The sector, led by Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd, employs 3.5 million people and is lobbying against proposed U.S. visa curbs – including increases on salaries that H-1B visa holders must earn.

Part of the delegation led by Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, met Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s minister in charge of electronics and IT.

Goodlatte, speaking at the meeting with Prasad, declined to answer a question on visa restrictions, saying it was up to the president to reassess his policies on immigration.

A senior Indian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said India hoped to resolve the visa issue with the United States but declined to be drawn on the details.

The government supported a move by NASSCOM, India’s high-tech industry association, to lobby U.S. lawmakers and companies to urge the administration not to crack down on allowing its skilled workers into the United States, the source said.

Petrochemical majors step on expansion gas pedal

India’s manufacturing sector may not be seeing an investment pick-up but major petrochemical companies are in the process of mega investment plans for capacity enhancement.

Reliance Industries (RIL) commissioned the first phase of a paraxylene (PX) plant at Jamnagar, Gujarat, last month; it says it hopes to become the world’s second-largest PX producer on full commissioning. Government-owned GAIL (India) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) plan a Rs 30,000-crore petrochem unit in Andhra.

IndianOil Corporation (IOC) plans to invest Rs 34,000 crore in a petrochem complex at Paradip in Odisha by 2021. The first unit, to produce polypropylene, is scheduled to be completed at a cost of Rs 3,150 crore by December this year. Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPC) is planning a propylene derivative petrochem project at its Kochi refinery, at a cost of Rs 4,600 crore.

GAIL’s plant at Andhra is part of a plan to expand its presence in petrochemicals. The unit will have three feeds – naphtha, ethane and propane. Naphtha will be supplied from the Visakhapatnam refinery of HPCL, through a 150-kilometre pipeline. The ethane and propane feeds will be imported, via the Kakinada port. The complex will produce a million tonnes of ethylene with derivatives, to go into manufacturing of detergents, paints and coatings, cosmetics and textiles. A detailed feasibility report (DFR) is under work. “It will take probably six months for the DFR, financial appraisal and approval process to complete,” B C Tripathi, chairman and managing director of GAIL, told this newspaper.

GAIL and HPCL joined hands after HPCL’s plans to team with France’s Total, the Lakshmi N Mittal Group and Oil India for a 15-million tonne a year unit at Visakhapatnam was put on the back burner, citing viability issues. The two partners are now in talks to bring in a third. There are also plans to import ethane from the US for the plant.

GAIL has interest in three petrochem plants, including its own complex at Pata in Uttar Pradesh that has been expanded to a capacity of 81,000 tonnes annually. It has 70 per cent equity in a joint venture company, Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer (BCP), at Dibrugarh, Assam. GAIL also has stake in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Petro additions’ (OPaL) new petrochem project at Dahej, to produce high and low density polyethylene, or PE, (HDPE and LLDPE) and polypropylene.

“We are also working on stabilisation of our plant at Pata, where we have reached capacity utilisation of 70 per cent. We will try to scale up Pata and BCP to 100 per cent utilisation over the next five-six months,” said Tripathi. BCP, at Lepetkata in Assam, has a capacity of 280,000 tonnes per annum.

Though India imports certain categories of petrochem, it is also an exporter of some. GAIL exports HDPE and LLDPE to Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam and China. HDPE and LLDPE account for 88 per cent of India’s total PE consumption.

According to a recent HDFC Securities report, PE consumption in India grew at a compounded annual rate (CAGR) of seven per cent in the five years ended 2015. However, production India company news grew only a five per cent yearly. “This has made India a net importer of PE. The import share in total consumption has increased from 14 per cent in FY08 to 42 per cent in FY15.” However, over the next two to three years, the demand-supply scenario will reverse. Indian players are almost doubling total PE capacity, which remained 2.9 million tonnes a year over those five years.

“RIL, GAIL, IOC and Haldia Petrochemicals (HPL) are key PE players in India. HPL was operating at lower utilisation due to working capital funding issues,” the report said.

It cited studies by Assocham and GAIL to suggest demand for PE in India will rise at a CAGR of eight per cent over the next few years. “Indian will again become a net importer of PE in two years, even if all planned capacities come online,” said the report.

Refinery plans of all petroleum refiners are linked to their petrochem plans. BPC, for instance is investing Rs 4,600 crore, out of its Rs 1.65-lakh crore expansion plan for its Kochi refinery, in a propylene derivative petrochemical project. The company expects to complete the refinery expansion by the end of FY17 and to start operations in 2017.

RIL’s investment in the PX project referred to at the outset is part of its refinery and petrochem expansion. “Commissioning of the new PX plant marks the beginning of the culmination of a series of projects, including the refinery off-gas cracker, ethane import project and petcoke gasification. These projects are part of the largest contemporary investment, in excess of Rs 1 lakh crore, in refining and petrochem anywhere in the world,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman, after commissioning of the first PX unit last month. After full commissioning, RIL’s capacity in PX will more than double to 4.2 million tonnes.

Republic Day parade: India displays military might, cultural diversity

India’s military might, its cultural diversity and achievements in various areas were showcased at a grand parade here on Thursday as the nation celebrated its 68th Republic Day with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the Chief Guest.

The country’s main celebration took place at Rajpath here where India’s Who’s Who assembled to watch a 90-minute parade that also focussed on the government’s Make in India initiative to boost manufacturing.

Amid fears of possible terror attacks, a tight security blanket was thrown around the national capital including the venue. Nearly 60,000 police and paramilitary personnel were deployed across Delhi.

Despite rain-bearing clouds and a drizzle, thousands turned up on both sides of Rajpath to watch the grand march that wound its way over eight kilometres from Raisina Hill, with the imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan in the backdrop, to the 17th century Red Fort.

The day began with President Pranab Mukherjee unfurling the Indian flag at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tributes to the fallen soldiers at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.

Modi welcomed the President and the Chief Guest, Sheikh Mohammed, the son of the UAE’s founding president.

President Mukherjee, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, took salute as the parade began with a 149-member UAE military contingent marching down the boulevard. Led by Lt Col Abood Musabeh Abood Musabeh Alghfeli, it comprised of the UAE Presidential Guard, the Air Force, the Navy, the Army and 35 musicians.

It was followed by military and paramilitary contingents, including mounted troops from the 61st Cavalry and mechanised columns. Martial music belted out by military bands filled the air as soldiers drawn from some of the finest military units marched with clockwork precision.

Paramilitary personnel and Delhi Police also walked, step to step.

Making their debut on the occasion India business news were India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C), both developed indigenously. Despite overcast conditions, three of the fighter jets flew at a height of 300 metres from the ground at a speed of 780 km per hour in ‘VIC’ formation, leaving the spectators in awe.

Developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Tejas, as a fourth generation aircraft, can fly at 1,350 km per hour and is comparable to the world’s best fighters, including French Mirage 2000, American F-16 and Swedish Gripen.

The elite counter-terrorism force, National Security Guard (NSG), also made its maiden appearance with a contingent of 60 commandos in black overalls and armed gear giving the ceremonial salute to President Mukherjee. The other commandos were on seven vehicles.

After the armed forces came state tableaux, displaying India’s oneness amid a rich diversity.

Haryana’s tableau, dedicated to the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, came first. The Jammu and Kashmir tableau was clad in white, depicting the popular winter sports destination of Gulmarg.

A Delhi tableau made its appearance at the parade after many years.

The parade ended with a spectacular fly past by the Air Force, with aircraft and helicopters setting the skies ablaze. Mi-17 V5 helicopters flew with the Indian flag and showered flower petals.

The President presented a posthumous Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award, to the wife of Havildar Hangpan Dada of Assam Regiment who killed four terrorists before dying in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir.

The military parade was commanded by Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area.

Dow opens above 20,000 for second straight day

The Dow Jones Industrial Average continued with its record run on Thursday, after breaching the 20,000 milestone a day earlier.

The S&P and Nasdaq also hit record levels immediately after open, before easing off their highs.

Earnings are expected to show growth of 6.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, their biggest increase in two years.

Of the 104 S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far, nearly 70 per cent have topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters.

“Today is about earnings and part of the Dow reaching the 20,000 milestone is because of strong earnings,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

“Sure, Trump’s initiatives have been an element in the rise but the fundamentals of the market remain strong.”

The post-election rally roared back to life this week following optimism over US President Donald Trump’s pro-growth initiatives and solid earnings.

Trump’s business-friendly decisions since taking office on Friday include signing executive orders to reduce regulatory burden on domestic manufacturers and clearing the way for the construction of two oil pipelines.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes also closed at record highs for the second consecutive session on Wednesday.

At 9:39 am ET (1439 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 23.98 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 20,092.49.

The S&P 500 was up 0.42 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 2,298.79.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 10.57 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 5,666.91.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were International News higher, with the energy index’s 0.36 per cent rise leading the advancers.

Tech giants Intel, Alphabet, Microsoft and Starbucks are scheduled to report after market close.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 22,000 to 259,000 for the week ended Jan. 21, the Labor Department said on Thursday. However, the underlying trend remained consistent with tightening labor market conditions.

The Commerce Department will release numbers for US single-family home sales in December. The report, which is expected to show a slight dip in sales from the previous month, is due at 10 am ET.

Biogen was up 3.4 per cent at $282.51 after the drugmaker reported results.

EBay jumped 7.3 per cent to $32.46, a day after the e-commerce company reported a rise in revenue for the fourth-quarter holiday period.

Whirlpool fell 4.6 per cent to $181.50 after the world’s largest maker of home appliances posted a quarterly profit that came in below expectations.

Verizon Communications fell 1.5 per cent to $49.09 after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is exploring a combination with cable company Charter Communications. Charter was up 6.6 per cent at $330.27.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,532 to 1,069. On the Nasdaq, 1,227 issues rose and 1,001 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 40 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 75 new highs and four new lows.