Indian Economy : News,Discussions & Updates

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India beats China in fintech deals for the first time ever

2 min read . Updated: 15 Aug 2019, 08:17 AM IST M. Sriram
  • Over the next few quarters, fintech deal-making is expected to continue at a strong pace in India
  • However, broader deal-making across the globe has been relatively flat this year

India saw 23 fintech deals in the start-up space during the second quarter of 2019: Report (Photo: Mint)

Mumbai: The number of fintech deals in Indian start-ups surpassed those in China for the previous quarter, despite a slowdown in lending in India, according to a report. India saw 23 fintech deals during the second quarter of 2019, compared to 15 investments in China during the same period, according to The Global Fintech report from CB Insights, a global intelligence platform.

However, China had marginally higher investments at $375 million during the period, compared to the $350 million in India. China also saw deals drop to a new 5-quarter low of 15 deals, down 81% from Q2 of 2018.

Some large Indian fintech deals during the period include payments firm RazorPay, which raised $75 million in June led by Sequoia and Ribbit Capital, and digital insurance startup Acko, which raised $65 million from investors such as Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, SAIF Partners and others.

During the period, the US saw funding top a new quarterly high of $5.1 billion in Q2 of 2019. However, deals slipped to 143, the lowest point since Q4 of 2016. In Europe, the United Kingdom (UK) continued to lead as the top fintech market in Europe in 2019. Funding set a new quarterly record of $892 million, but deals dropped to 33 from 42 earlier.

The areas that fintech covers globally includes payments, insurance, lending, personal finance, wealth management, and blockchain/ cryptocurrency.

Over the next few quarters, fintech dealmaking is expected to continue at a strong pace in India, with at least 3-4 large deals underway, including at Cred, Lendingkart and Policybazaar.

However, broader deal-making has been relatively flat this year. Mint reported on July 22 that venture capital funding in start-ups globally decreased 2% compared to the previous quarter, with Asia slowing even as the US continues to see large-scale deal-making, according to a report from CB Insights along with consultancy firm PwC.

The slowdown in Asia also seems to be driven by a slowdown in China, where funding has slowed down after a record-breaking decade of funds raised, investments and valuations.

Bloomberg reported on 8 January that Chinese technology start-ups saw the slowest quarter in nearly three years, with 713 VC deals in the three months ended December, down 25% from a year earlier, citing data from market research firm Preqin. The amount invested in the quarter shrank 12% to $18.3 billion.

Further, TechCrunch reported last month that China’s deal-making activity for startups in the six months ended June halved from a year ago, as the amount invested in domestic start-ups during the first half of 2019 plummeted 54% to $23.2 billion.

India beats China in fintech deals for the first time ever
 
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63% banks report decline in NPA in infra sector in six months: FICCI-IBA

57 per cent of banks surveyed said engineering goods has seen a reduction in NPA levels

Mumbai
Last Updated at August 14, 2019 02:07 IST







More banks are seeing a reduction in bad assets, especially in the sectors they had earlier quoted as high non-performing asset (NPA) sector, a recent survey by Ficci and IBA revealed.

The ninth Ficci-IBA survey in their report said the proportion of respondent banks citing a reduction in NPAs stood at 52 per cent as against 43 per cent in the previous round. About 55 per cent of reporting public sector banks (PSBs) have cited a reduction in NPA levels.

According to the survey, sectors such as engineering, infrastructure and iron ore and steel, which were more prone to become dud assets, banks are now seeing NPA levels reduce in the last six months in these sectors.

About 63 per cent of banks have reported a decline in NPA in the infrastructure sector during the last six months. Likewise, 57 per cent of banks surveyed said engineering goods has seen a reduction in NPA levels.

Moreover, banks have also seen about 92 per cent reduction in the level of NPAs in metals, iron and steel over the last six months.

Till June, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had cut its policy rate by 75 basis points (bps), however, the banks had passed on only 29 bps to the customers. The survey revealed that from February to June 2019, while the RBI had cut rates thrice by 25 bps each, 48 per cent of the responding banks reduced their MCLR by up to 20 bps.

In case of term deposits above one year, 39 per cent of responding banks have decreased interest rates by up to 50 bps while 30 per cent have not changed the rates. For term deposits below one year, 57 per cent respondents did not change their interest rates, while 22 per cent have reduced it by up to 50 bps.

63% banks report decline in NPA in infra sector in six months: Ficci-IBA
 
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India To Outperform Emerging Market Peers, Says EPFR’s Cameron Brandt

By Mahima Kapoor @mahimakapoor12
August 14 2019, 12:47 PM
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Photo : Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Navi Mumbai. India is still less exposed to international trade than many of the peers in emerging Asia, says EPFR’s Cameron Brandt.(Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)


Emerging markets, including India, will not see any positive foreign investment for the rest of the year as the “virus” of trade barriers spreads globally. But India will perform relatively better than its Asian peers.

That’s according to Cameron Brandt, director of research at EPFR Informa Financial Intelligence, who believes India still has a reform story to fall back on.

“Longer term, India continues to check many of the boxes that are likely to—at least on relative terms—keep the money going,” Brandt told BloombergQuint in an interview. “Moreover, it remains a defensive trade play and still, as a country, less exposed to international trade than many of the peers in emerging Asia.”

Emerging markets and India have seen foreign capital outflows, especially after the People’s Bank of China—the country’s central bank—set its daily currency reference rate marginally stronger at seven yuan a dollar. Outflows from emerging market equity funds have jumped from an average of around $700 million a week to $5 billion last week, Brandt said, adding he expects at least $4 billion going out this week.

At the same time, India has also been witnessing heavy outflows, due to global headwinds and partially due to a “super-rich tax" that affects foreign investors’ money. Foreigners have net sold nearly $3 billion of local stocks so far in the quarter through Aug. 12, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Just in July, they pulled out Rs 14,818 crore—the highest level since October 2018.

Brandt also doesn’t expect the U.S.-China trade war to be resolved this year. “My sense is that having let this particular genie out of the bottle, it’s going to be very hard to put it back. The process of erecting trade barriers gives politicians a lot of favors to hand out but once the barriers go up, there’s usually a domestic lobby that tries to keep them in place.” Europe, too, is heading for a “perfect storm” with a worsening situation in U.K., Germany and Italy, he said.

Key Highlights from the interview :

  • We’re moving deeper into the election cycle leading up to the 2020 presidential and legislative elections in U.S.
  • Don’t see Trump backing down on U.S.-China trade war.
  • There was a lot of optimism early in the year that this would work its way out in the second quarter, but it has swung in the other direction and the general sentiment is pretty pessimistic.
  • We’re going to have more dispiriting news in Europe for the rest of the year.
  • No huge positive flows into India or emerging markets for the rest of the year.
India To Outperform Emerging Market Peers, Says EPFR’s Cameron Brandt
 

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Forex reserves at new life-time high of $430.57 billion

PTI Mumbai | Published on August 16, 2019
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India’s foreign exchange reserves surged by USD 1.620 billion to USD 430.572 billion in the week to August 9 on rise in foreign currency assets, according to the latest RBI data released on Friday. In the previous reporting week ended on August 2, the reserves had declined by USD 697.2 million to USD 428.952 billion.

In the reporting week, foreign currency assets, a major component of the overall reserves, increased by USD 15.2 million to USD 398.739 billion, the apex bank said on Friday. Expressed in dollar terms, foreign currency assets include the effect of appreciation/depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.

The country’s gold reserves surged by USD 1.591 billion to USD 26.754 billion, according to data. Special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund were up by USD 6.7 million to USD 1.441 billion. The country’s reserve position with the fund rose by USD 7 million to USD 3.636 billion.

Forex reserves at new life-time high of $430.57 billion
 

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Could you please explain how this helps/hurts us ? I am quite illiterate on the economics.
Treasury holding is one part of foreign reserves. So for July 20, 2019, India's total foreign reserves stood at US$426.42 billion. And the US treasury is part of it at $162.7 billion. India holds few other currencies as well as Gold. That total is 426

Holding foreign currency serves India's needs for the trade imbalance when the Import bill is higher than the export bill.
 

Gautam

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Treasury holding is one part of foreign reserves. So for July 20, 2019, India's total foreign reserves stood at US$426.42 billion. And the US treasury is part of it at $162.7 billion. India holds few other currencies as well as Gold. That total is 426

Holding foreign currency serves India's needs for the trade imbalance when the Import bill is higher than the export bill.
I was wondering how the Japanese holding max US treasury and not China is helpful on the security front. There was some articles a few years back on how the Chinese have the max hold of US treasury and they could dump US currency and cause problems for the US economy. That was before the trade war began. Didn't understand what "dump US dollar" meant, and how it helps the Chinese.
 

Golden_Rule

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I was wondering how the Japanese holding max US treasury and not China is helpful on the security front. There was some articles a few years back on how the Chinese have the max hold of US treasury and they could dump US currency and cause problems for the US economy. That was before the trade war began. Didn't understand what "dump US dollar" meant, and how it helps the Chinese.
Treasury is a bond.

Like you invest in NHAI for 5 years. It cannot be encashed before the maturity date. As well it cannot be traded.

Whereas the bonds are traded and paid coupon rate.

View this short 5 minute video


This guy Paddy Hirsch is a guru. And after you watch most of his videos, you too will become one, at least at SF :)
 
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Ikea vs Pepperfy: India the Venue for a David and Goliath Furniture Fight

Ivy Buche and Amit Joshi
13/Aug/2019

India's furniture industry is worth $32billion and is projected to double by 2023.

Ikea’s Hyderabad store has not been as busy as the Swedish giants had hoped. Photo: fotosunny/Shutterstock.com

Ikea is celebrating its first anniversary of operating in India. Even though the company secured regulatory approval to enter the country in 2013, it took five years of effort and significant investment before the first Ikea megastore opened its doors to Indian consumers in Hyderabad in 2018.

The response was overwhelming – 40,000 shoppers turned up on day one, resulting in two-hour long queues just to get inside, while traffic built up outside the store. Ikea has since purchased land parcels in Mumbai, Bangalore and Gurugram (near Delhi), announced a ten-fold increase in its employee strength to 15,000 and set a target to reach 200m customers in three years.

Despite Ikea’s big ambitions to increase its presence in India and capitalise on a growing middle class market, as well as its experience in doing so around the world, it faces stiff local competition from Pepperfry, India’s existing, largest online furniture retailer.

On the surface, there is no comparison between Ikea and Pepperfry. One is a global player with deep pockets, more than US$40 billion in revenues and decades of experience. The other is a six-year-old venture capital backed start-up that is yet to turn in profits. But a closer look at Pepperfry’s business fundamentals reveals that there is more to it than meets the eye.

Strategic choices

When Pepperfry’s co-founders, Ambareesh Murty and Ashish Shah, both formerly of eBay, made their first investment pitch to a venture capital firm in mid-2011, the concept of an online furniture marketplace was unheard of. Furniture was not a natural fit for e-commerce because of its high value and non standard nature (compared to books, music or electronic goods). Indian consumers preferred local retailers or trusted carpenters over an online supplier. Plus, the supporting infrastructure in terms of logistics was lacking.

Undoubtedly, Pepperfry had decided to follow a riskier path in building a business model around an online platform. But its co-founders made some strategic choices to make a success of the business.

One of the trickiest elements of the furniture business is offering the right combination of variety, quality and price. Murty and Shah changed the game by building a well-curated offering from specialist merchants, small and medium enterprises and artisanal woodworkers in furniture manufacturing hubs in north India. They built personal relationships with their suppliers, digitised their catalogue and constantly improved their operations. After carefully selecting and listing products, they then use data analytics to track which ones are the most popular and scale up or remove them accordingly. Based on consumer choices, they continually give feedback on designs and trends to their manufacturers.

Success so far has also been built by ensuring that Pepperfry offers customers the same service in multiple ways – whether that’s online via their computer or mobile, or offline. This omnichannel approach is increasingly important for the success of any retail business.

The company launched Studio Pepperfry, an offline store, in Mumbai in 2014 – an industry first for an online platform in India. It now has 65 across 28 Indian cities. These studios act as experiential centres and are staffed by interior designers to help people choose what they want. Nothing is for sale; instead, the studios act in service of the online offering.


A Pepperfry studio in Mumbai. Photo: Pepperfry

The third and perhaps most important element of Pepperfry’s success has come from building its own logistics arm – including first-mile pickup and last-mile delivery of all the company’s furniture. Consider transporting a 300kg four-door wardrobe 1,500km from the manufacturing site in north India to the largest demand centre in south India. This involves going through multiple hubs before the wardrobe reaches the end consumer, resulting in skyrocketing costs as well as very high chances of breakage.

After a poor initial experience with third-party logistics providers and the lack of alternatives in the Indian market, Pepperfry decided to build its logistics infrastructure from the ground up and learn on the go. An in-house logistics arm is another industry first in India, particularly for an online platform provider. According to some estimates, Pepperfry’s logistics arm is the largest business-to-customer big-box delivery service in India.

Competitive advantage

Given Pepperfry’s competitive advantage, Ikea may struggle to beat this local start-up. If anything, its strategy appears to mirror that of Pepperfry. Ikea recently announced it was reversing plans to launch its second store in Mumbai. Instead of opening the offline store, it is starting online sales instead. It will then introduce smaller outlets across the country, in sharp contrast to the signature Ikea shopping experience of large out-of-town megastores.

Ikea’s Hyderabad store manager, John Achillea told the Economic Times that footfall in the Hyderabad store was 2 million below the projected 7 million in the first year and its sales numbers are not public. The store now runs a free shuttle bus service for customers from a few points around the city.

India is a large and growing market. The furniture industry there is worth $32 billion and projected to double to $61 billion by 2023. Ikea will be hoping to capitalise on this. But, in the meantime, Indian players have effectively held their ground by leveraging local knowledge and addressing the country’s infrastructure challenges.

Ikea vs Pepperfy: India the Venue for a David and Goliath Furniture Fight
 

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Indians are buying more Khadi than Hindustan Unilever products

By Prabhjote Gill
Aug 16, 2019, 10:53 IST
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Khadi sales jump by 25% this year(BCCL)

  • The Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) saw a 25% jump in sales to ₹75,000 crore.
  • KVIC’s sales are twice that of the largest consumer goods company in India, Hindustan Unilever (HUL).
  • The growth in KVIC sales volume can be attributed to the increase in demand for khadi products.
The Indian government’s retail division that boasts exclusively of ‘Made in India’ consumer products — Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) — saw a 25% jump in sales in the year ending on 31 March, 2019.

In comparison to India’s largest fast moving consumer goods company, Hindustan Unilever (HUL), KVIC’s sales stood at ₹75,000 crore — twice that of HUL’s at ₹38,000 crore.

A large part of this explosive growth has come from khadi or handmade products, which grew at their fastest rate ever in the last four years.

Khadi in vogue

KVIC’s growth in sales is largely due to a rise in demand for khadi products — like papad, honey and cosmetics. Together they accounted for 4.3% of all sales.

And, then there’s khadi itself. KVIC is not only selling it in stores but also supplying to bigwig fabric companies like Raymond, Arvind Mills and Aditya Birla Fashion.

They’re also tying up with state-owned companies — like ONGC, Oil India and even the Indian Post Office — to give out gift coupons to employees, and use khadi for uniforms.

Not to mention that khadi is reportedly ‘chic’ fashion in the current era in part due to its comfort. Indian millennials look at khadi as an icon of sustainable fashion. Actress Kangana Ranaut is one of the many Indian celebrities who promotes homespun fashion at global film festivals.

Make in India and Buy Indian

Khadi, a hand spun and hand woven cloth, was one of the weapons of Mahatma Gandhi’s fight for freedom from the British. As a part of the Swadeshi movement, he inspired his countrymen to buy products made by Indians to support the local economy, than allowing Britain to market its own.

Today, KVIC is the statutory body responsible for the planning, promotion and organisation of the programmes that aid the use of khadi across. Their growth is also fueled by the current government’s push for local manufacturers with the ‘Make in India’ programme.

Indians are buying more Khadi than Hindustan Unilever products