Let’s begin. India’s export outlook looks weak going forward amid global headwinds. Since exports were the key peg for strong real GDP growth in the first half of the current financial year, when domestic demand was in the early stages of its climb back to pre-covid levels, analysts at ICICI Securities have lowered their real GDP growth forecast for FY23 to 7.5%. As oil prices moderate, the fiscal and current account deficits are expected to moderate sharply in H2FY23. “Private investment should continue to accelerate in FY24, enabling real GDP growth of 8.3% despite the slowdown in export growth amid the US-led developed-economies’ recession in FY24,” analysts said.
Moving on. The Indian Rupee hit a lifetime low level of 80.43 on Thursday after US Fed’s decision to hike interest rate by 75 basis points yet again. The domestic currency opened at a record low of 80.2850 per US dollar, down from the previous close of 79.97. The Fed on Wednesday raised rates by 75 bps, in line with expectations. More importantly, it hinted that more hikes were coming and that rates would stay elevated until 2024. The 10-year bond yield rose sharply by 5 bps to 7.289% from its Wednesday’s close of 7.234%. Bond yield and currency prices move in opposite directions.
Meanwhile, the Centre has sanctioned about Rs 39,000 crore, or about 50% of the unconditional component of the interest-free 50-year capex loans, to 16 states so far in the current financial year. Of this, roughly Rs 2,000 crore have been disbursed and the balance will be transferred to the states very soon as states are in the verge of completing project specific preparatory works, sources told FE. “The sanctions were given early so as to give states time to complete all formalities for release of funds for both ongoing and new projects,” an official told FE. The beneficiary states so far include Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Goa, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh, among others. Most of the approvals were for ongoing projects and clearing pending capex bills, as well as some new projects. In some industry news, The illicit market across five Indian key industries, including mobile phones and alcoholic beverages, was valued at Rs 2.60 trillion in 2019-20, with the FMCG segment accounting for three-fourth of the total value, according to a FICCI report. The estimated tax loss to the government from these five sectors – others being FMCG-household and personal goods, FMCG-packaged foods and tobacco products – accounted for Rs 58,521 crore. The unlawful trade in these sectors resulted in an estimated legitimate employment loss of 15.96 lakh, the report by FICCI’s Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy’s said. The FMCG industry (household and personal goods, and packaged foods) accounted for legitimate job losses of 10.93 lakh, which is about 68.5% of total job loss across the five industries. This is because the sector is more labour-intensive, with a relatively higher illicit market size.
On to the automobile sector. Audi India has today launched the updated A4 luxury sedan in the country. The 2022 Audi A4 has been priced from Rs 43.12 lakh, ex-showroom, and it gets new colour schemes along with additional features. This luxury sedan is offered in three trim levels- Premium, Premium Plus, and Technology variants with prices ranging from Rs 43.12 lakh to Rs 50.99 lakh, ex-showroom. Talking about the updates, the A4 gets two new paint schemes, namely Tango Red and Manhattan Gray. Moreover, its top-spec Technology variant now features a B&O premium sound system and a flat-bottom steering wheel.
Now some good news for tech lovers, WhatsApp is said to be working on an update where it will let you share voice notes as Status. According to WaBetaInfo, the website that follows WhatsApp updates, the chat company gave a glimpse of the feature in its beta build for Android 188.8.131.52 update. The interface of the voice note feature is expected to be similar to the text status composer. The website has shared a screenshot of the feature that shows the ability to record voice notes has been added to the text status composer interface itself. In simpler words, you won’t have to follow any other steps or do anything extra here.
Lastly, the stock market. BSE Sensex was down 235 points or 0.4 per cent at 59221, while NSE Nifty was down 54 points or 0.3 per cent to 17664. ITC, Bajaj Finance, IndusInd Bank, NTPC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, Nestle India, and Tata Steel were top Sensex gainers. Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Tech Mahindra, Dr Reddy’s, HCL Tech, Sun Pharma were Sensex losers.