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Tuesday 19 April 2022

Top of the morning

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Good morning!

Monday wasn’t a good day at the markets. Investors dumped shares of Infosys and HDFC Bank after the companies reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings. Investors also appear jittery on India’s inflation trajectory—wholesale inflation accelerated to a four-month high of 14.5% in March amid a relentless rise in commodity prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Going ahead, the markets are expected to remain volatile with near-term challenges such as inflation not going away anytime soon.

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(Reuters)

The Ukraine war, meanwhile, has led to 6,901 sanctions on Russia. Scroll down to our chart of the day for a perspective. Also, don’t miss our reportage on EV-related fires, loan rates, covid surges in NCR, and the nightlife economy.

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Market Watch
What’s up?

BSE Sensex

☕ Are EV batteries safe? 9 57,166.74 (-2.01%)

NIFTY

☕ Are EV batteries safe? 9 17,173.65 (-1.73%)

Dollar/Rupee

☕ Are EV batteries safe? 11 ₹76.25 (+0.11%)

Gold

☕ Are EV batteries safe? 11 ₹53,482 (+0.92%)

Crude oil

☕ Are EV batteries safe? 11 ₹8,236 (+2.13%)

Bitcoin

☕ Are EV batteries safe? 9 ₹31,36,490.54 (-1.01%)

*As of 9.50 PM 18 April; MCX, CoinDCX

The main stuff

Banks hike retail, corporate loan rates as new cycle begins

State Bank of India (SBI) has raised loan rates for corporates and some retail borrowers by 10 basis points, setting the stage for a wave of rate hikes across the banking sector. The rate hike, the first from India’s largest lender in more than three years, indicates the turn in the interest rate cycle, as rising inflation prompts central banks to exit easy money policies. Shayan Ghosh has the details. Read more.

Playing with fire: are EV batteries safe? (Premium)

EV-related fires have been reported from across the country since last year, with more than half of those incidents taking place this year. So far, the fires have claimed four lives. The rash of fires, deaths and injuries has heightened concerns about the safety of electric two-wheelers being sold in the country. If the industry does not act and the government does not tighten regulations, many sub-standard vehicles could flood the market, threatening rider safety and public trust in EV technology, writes Alisha Sachdev. Read more.

AIIMS to hike private ward charges to levels in other hospitals

India’s premier teaching hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-Delhi, is planning to raise private ward charges to make them on par with those in private hospitals. Charges for its A-category room in private wards are set to double from ₹3,000 to ₹6,000 per day, whereas B-category rooms will see a jump of ₹1,000 from the existing rate of ₹2,000 per day. This was recommended during a standing finance committee meeting held last month to revise room charges. AIIMS is known for the high standard of treatment and care it offers to patients, who include some of India’s poorest people, writes Priyanka Sharma. Read more.

Why are covid-19 cases surging in Delhi-NCR again?

The recent surge in covid-19 infections in the National Capital Region (NCR) has set alarm bells ringing, with government agencies trying to ascertain if a new covid variant is at play. Is this the fourth wave of covid-19 infections? Simply put: Too early to say. As soon as the third wave ebbed in early February, the Delhi government lifted all covid restrictions. People dropped their guard and gave up covid-appropriate behaviour. This has led to the current surge, explains Priyanka Sharma. Read more.

As more diners step out, nightlife gets a boost

Bars, pubs and nightclubs are reporting a sharp rebound in footfall, with improving walk-ins and resumption of live events, according to a Mint survey. While a few establishments said sales and footfall have been the highest since the onset of the pandemic, for others, business transactions matched December 2021 levels, with a rise in the number of dinners visiting bars and pubs following a drop in covid-19 cases. Businesses said diners were back to celebrating birthdays and anniversaries as well as the occasional get-togethers during the week, report Suneera Tandon and Varuni Khosla. Read more.

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Elsewhere…

Global business news

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The annual cyber wargames, known as the Locked Shields exercise, will start today in Tallinn, Estonia. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence organizes the event, which includes fictional cyberattack exercises that test teams have to fend off under time pressure. This year’s competition is significant for the countries participating because their cyber defense units have been on high alert since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

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Beijing is trying to revive a long dormant stock-exchange link with Europe, after years of unsuccessful attempts to lure multinational companies to list their shares in China. The problem: No European company is comfortable with the idea. Why? Chinese regulators didn’t address a top concern of European companies.

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US utilities and startup firms are trying to convince lawmakers, regulators and customers that they can convert aging coal power plants to house small nuclear reactors, a so-far unproven way to deliver electricity. The burgeoning idea would place fleets of small, modular nuclear reactors at or near former coal-fired power plants.

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A new breed of cryptocurrencies is seeking to replicate the stability of the dollar. But critics say they are a disaster waiting to happen. So-called “algorithmic stablecoins” have surged in popularity in recent months, spurring debate over whether they are good for the crypto industry. They rely on financial engineering to maintain their link to the dollar.

e-paper
MINT SNAPVIEW

Air India’s new board: Maharaja with management wiz

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The first significant management change rolled out by the Tatas for Air India was when N. Chandrasekaran took over as the airline’s chairman earlier this year. Now, the Tata Group has effected the second, reconstituting its board as a nice mix of old Maharaja hands and brand-new expertise. The rejig is well thought-out. It’s a smart move to bring veterans from other Tata group companies to Air India’s reconstituted board, while retaining some employees on it, valuing their special expertise. Read more.

News in numbers
1.67 lakh

The number of new companies created in India in FY22, up from 1.55 lakh in FY21, led by business services and manufacturing, according to corporate affairs ministry data.

₹757.77 crore

The value of assets belonging to multi-level marketing company Amway India attached by the Enforcement Directorate under the anti-money laundering law.

$4,600 million
☕ Are EV batteries safe? 32

India’s sugar exports in FY22, up 65% from $2,790 million in 2020-21, despite higher freight rates and container shortages due to the pandemic.

7000 MW

The capacity of power plants in Pakistan that are currently not operating either due to fuel shortages or due to technical faults. They represent 20% of the country’s total generation capacity.

200,000

The number of employees of foreign companies in Moscow who could lose their jobs due to sanctions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the city’s mayor.

howindialives.com
Chart of the day
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Moscow has been facing harsh economic sanctions from the west. So far 6,901 sanctions have been imposed on Russia. However, as Europe continues to purchase its fuel from Russia, these sanctions have proved ineffective in stopping the war. They may even lead to an alternative trade and financial system between China and Russia, further deglobalising the world.

LOUNGE RECOMMENDS

Villainy

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On the jacket of the hardcover edition of Upamanyu Chatterjee’s new novel, his publisher describes the book as “a meticulously crafted literary thriller”. That sounds right if you go by the plot summary. But once you have read a couple of pages, this phrase begins to feel rather limited, barely conveying a whiff of the uproariously kinky energy with which Villainy bristles. Read more.

WHAT THE FACT

After the Sun

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The largest single use of liquid helium is to cool the superconducting magnets in modern MRI scanners. (KasugaHuang, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

What’s common to Georges Rayet, Captain C. T. Haig, Norman R. Pogson, Lieutenant John Herschel, and Jules Janssen? They are all associated with the discovery of helium, the element named after the Greek word for the Sun. The first evidence came in 1868. Helium is today used to purge fuel tanks in rockets before take-off; to pressurise the fuel in order to force it into the rocket engines. Liquid helium is also used to keep the superconducting magnets cold in MRI machines.

Contributed by katanaThebizdom

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