IMF slashes India's GDP growth forecast to 9.5% for FY22
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed India's growth forecast to 9.5 per cent for the fiscal year 2021-22, a report released on Tuesday showed. Previously in April, IMF had projected India's gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 12.5 per cent.
IndiGo sees highest ever quarterly loss of Rs 3,174cr in Q1
The pandemic has sent what was once India’s only profitable airline, IndiGo, in deep red. The low cost carrier (LCC) on Tuesday reported a loss of Rs 3,174.2 crore in April-June, 2021, as against a loss of Rs 2842.6 crore in same period last year.
Walmart's Flipkart goes to Supreme Court in antitrust case: Report
Walmart's Flipkart has appealed to India's Supreme Court against a state court's decision that allowed an antitrust probe into the e-commerce firm and its rival Amazon.com Inc to continue, three sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
Global economy will stick to 6% growth this year, says IMF in new outlook
Banking|: Dubai: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) retained its global growth forecast at 6 per cent for 2021 in its latest Global Economic Outlook update. The Washington-based organisation said prospects have diverged further across countries since its April’s forecasts. Vaccine access is emerging as the principal fault-line along which global recovery splits into two blocs: those that can look forward to further normalization of activity later this year (almost all advanced economies) and those that will still face resurgent infections and rising COVID-19 death tolls. Universal recovery not assured The institution has warned that recovery is not assured even in countries where infections are currently very low so long as the virus circulates elsewhere. “While more widespread vaccine access could improve the outlook, risks on balance are tilted to the downside,” said Gita Gopinath, Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at IMF. “The emergence of highly infectious virus variants could derail the recovery and wipe out $4.5 trillion cumulatively from global GDP by 2025.” While the latest 2021 global forecast is unchanged from the April 2021 estimates, there have been some offsetting revisions. Prospects for emerging market and developing economies have been marked down for 2021, especially for Emerging Asia. By contrast, the forecast for advanced economies is revised upwards. These reflect pandemic developments and changes in policy support. The 0.5 percentage point upgrade for 2022 derives largely from the forecast upgrade for advanced economies, particularly the US, reflecting the anticipated legislation of additional fiscal support in the second-half of 2021 and improved health metrics more broadly across the group. Regional prospects The Middle East and North Africa region growth is forecast at 4.1 per cent for 2021 and 3.7 per cent for 2022, respectively. Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the region, is projected to grow 2.4 per cent in 2021 and 4.8 per cent in 2022. The April REO had forecast the UAE and Saudi Arabia to grow 3.1 per cent and 2.9 per cent in 2021, respectively. Revised projections for the UAE’s growth outlook was not available in the IMF report. Higher oil prices and early vaccine rollouts support the outlook for many GCC economies. The recent increase in oil prices will boost confidence, supporting non-oil GDP, which is projected to expand by 3.3 per cent in 2021. With improved oil prices, fiscal conditions of GCC countries are projected to improve this year and the next. The overall fiscal deficits of MENA region are projected to shrink from 9.7 per cent in 2020 to 5.7 per cent in 2021. In Saudi Arabia, the fiscal deficits are projected to decline from 11.3 per cent of GDP last year to 3.5 per cent this year. Inflation outlook The IMF said recent price pressures for the most part reflect unusual pandemic-related developments and transitory supply-demand mismatches. Inflation is expected to return to its pre-pandemic range in most countries in 2022 once these disturbances work their way through prices - and yet uncertainty remains high. Commodity prices are expected to increase at a significantly faster pace than assumed in the April 2021 WEO. Amid the strengthening global recovery, oil prices could rise close to 60 per cent above their low base in 2020. Non-oil commodity prices are set to rise close to 30 per cent above 2020 levels, reflecting particularly strong increases in the price of metals and food. Elevated inflation is also expected in some emerging market and developing economies, related in part to high food prices. Central banks should generally look through transitory inflation pressures and avoid tightening until there is more clarity on underlying price dynamics, the IMF said. Clear communication from central banks on the outlook for monetary policy will be key to shaping inflation expectations and safeguarding against premature tightening of financial conditions. “Central banks should avoid prematurely tightening policies when faced with transitory inflation pressures, but should be prepared to move quickly if inflation expectations show signs of de-anchoring,” said Gopinath. Policy easing must continue The IMF said fiscal policy should continue to prioritise health spending, including on vaccine production and distribution infrastructure, personnel, and public health campaigns to boost take-up. Fiscal policy space to accomplish this varies across countries. On monetary policy, the IMF called on central banks to generally look through transitory inflation pressures and avoid tightening until there is more clarity on underlying price dynamics. There is a risk that transitory pressures could become persistent and central banks may have to take pre-emptive action. Financial sector policies, the IMF said, have to execute a difficult balancing act to avoid a sudden increase in bankruptcies by unwinding support too soon. But these should refrain from extending the life of low productivity “zombie” firms if support is maintained for too long. The extraordinary measures from 2020 (including credit guarantees, debt moratoriums, relaxed classification and provisioning guidelines on delinquent loans) should increasingly become more targeted.
Covid-19: Reliance inoculates 98% of workers as India’s wider rollout lags
Reliance Industries Ltd, the conglomerate helmed by Asia’s richest man, is among large Indian companies that have given at least one Covid-19 shot to almost all of its employees, a sign the country’s corporate sector is proving more efficient at procuring shots than the government, which has struggled with shortages and logistics.
Dubai’s Emirates ranks among world’s Top 5 airlines for 2021
Aviation|: Dubai: Emirates airline has been named among the world’s Top 5 airlines in terms of air safety, according to AirlineRatings. The website has announced its 20 top airlines in the world for 2021, with Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Emirate making the Top 5. The others were Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, EVA Air, British Airways, Lufthansa, ANA, Finnair, Japan AirLines, KLM, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Virgin Australia, Delta Air Lines, and Etihad Airways. Emirates, which climbed to fifth spot, recently introduced a premium economy class, which is being hailed as one of the best in the industry, noted AirlineRatings. Qatar Airways was ranked number 1 because of its cabin innovation, passenger service, and its dedication and commitment to continue to operate throughout the pandemic. Emirates, which was the first airline to offer free COVID-19 medical cover, expanded its multi-risk travel insurance coverage last year. The travel insurance package - in tandem with AIG - was the first of its kind in the airline industry, and is “designed to provide all Emirates passengers a truly unique offer for stress-free and hassle-free travel,” according to the airline.
UAE's RAKBank has its best quarter since COVID-19 struck, with net profit of Dh192m for Q2-21
Banking|: Dubai: In line with other leading UAE banks, RAKBank delivered a strong run in the second quarter, with net profit at Dh192.1 million and a 25.4 per cent increase on last year. For the first six months, the Ras Al Khaimah headquartered bank had total income at Dh1.6 billion. “This is a crucial turning point for us as we see growth in our loan book and customer deposit, and that is a very positive sign,” said Peter England, CEO. “Additionally, our provisions for this quarter are the lowest they have been for many years as we see the re-balancing of our portfolio, which we have undertaken over the years, bear very positive results. “It also demonstrates the significant rebound in the UAE economy and a strong return of consumer confidence that we have witnessed during the first half of this year.” As of June 30, total assets were Dh54.3 billion, up by 2.9 per cent year-to-date and an increase of 2 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2021. The numbers show the bank putting some distance between the disruptions of 2020, when the outbreak of the pandemic injected multiple uncertainties for the sector and the wider economy. “We have seen total income commence growth again after a number of quarters of decline since the beginning of the pandemic,” the CEO added. A decline Total income for the first-half of 2021 dropped by 14.2 per cent to Dh1.632 billion. “This is mainly due to a decrease in net interest income and net income from Islamic products by Dh287.9 million, that was partially offset by an increase of Dh16.7 million in non-interest income,” the bank said in a statement. “Non-interest income increased 3.1 per cent to Dh557.9 million because of the year-on-year increase of Dh20.0 million in net fees and commission income and Dh28million in investment income.” But the forex and derivative income declined Dh23.1 million as well as a Dh10 million drop in gross insurance underwriting profit.
Glenmark Life Sciences IPO opens for subscription
Active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer Glenmark Life Sciences' Rs 1,514 crore ($203.65 million) initial public offering is now open for subscription. The issue, with a price band of Rs 695-720 a share, will conclude on July 29.
Amazon eyes potential stake in India's Inox Leisure: Report
Amazon.com Inc's India arm is in talks with several domestic players in film and media distribution including cinema chain Inox Leisure Ltd for a potential stake, the Indian Express newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing sources.
Those black-and-white QR codes are becoming part of consumer experience – but at a cost
Middle East construction trade show Big 5 makes in-person return to Dubai
Business|: Dubai: The region’s most prominent construction industry event, the Big 5, is all set to return to the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from the September 12 to 15. It will be the only live in-person event to connect the global construction industry this year and will play a crucial role in driving economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era. The event has so far confirmed more than 1,000 exhibitors from 45 countries and with 20 national pavilions. There will also be online networking and meeting facilitations as add-ons, which will help organisations kick-start their businesses irrespective of their location. In a recent report released by MEED Projects, there were a $163 billion worth of contracts awarded in 2020 in the Middle East and Africa despite COVID-19. And $1.9 billion worth of projects are currently in execution stages in the region. “With $5.06 trillion worth of projects planned across all sectors in the Middle East and Africa construction market, it is more important than ever to offer a safe environment for the regional and international community to come together where they can boost business activities and discuss vital lessons learnt all in one place,” said Josine Heijmans, Vice-President at dmg events, the event organizer. The Big 5 will welcome exhibitors across nine specialised events this year. High-level events this year include the Global Construction Leaders’ Summit, the Future of Facades Summit, and the FutureTech Construction Summit, all designed to shed light on crucial developments in the construction sector. The popular free and CPD-certified talks series will continue at the event, with 70 sessions set to cover vital industry topics.
Dubai Free Zones all set to speed up startup accelerator initiatives
Markets|: Dubai: The Dubai Free Zones Council (DFZ Council) aims to put its collective weight behind fast-tracking startup development. The ‘business accelerator initiative’ will coordinate meetings with relevant entities, companies and investors, to evaluate challenges and propose solutions that can support a diversified economy. The ‘promising startups platform initiative’ aims to attract newly formed business to Dubai, especially those developing sustainable economy concepts. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Free Zones Council, lauded the role of Dubai’s free zones in creating a new trade corridor with global markets and attracting foreign direct investments during uncertain times. DFZ registered Dh135 billion in foreign trade in Q1-2021, which is around 38 per cent of Dubai’s total foreign trade. Positive list The UAE Cabinet recently allowed 100 per cent ownership for foreign owned businesses across sector, and that too will accelerate the turnaround for the economy. “The decision coincides with Dubai’s preparations to host Expo 2020, as it will have a strong positive impact on attracting foreign direct investment,” said Sheikh Ahmed. “Our economy presents a real example in boosting the global business community’s confidence to invest due to its flexible and secure environment, the advanced and world-class infrastructure, and high quality of life that allows global talents and investors to consider it home.” Unified records During the meeting, DFZ council members also reviewed the development of a unified record to integrate open data in offering government services. They also reviewed an initiative to link free zone employees with the unified registry of Dubai government employees, which was recently created to be the sole official source of such information.