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Bitcoin Jumps More Than 20%, Crosses $5,000 Mark, Skymet Predicts Below Normal Monsoon in India, WhatsApp Announces New Privacy Setting, et al.

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Apr 3, 2019 2:02 PM 4 min read
Editorial

Asian Development Bank cuts India’s growth rate forecast to 7.2%. Skymet predicts below normal monsoon in India. Bitcoin jumps more than 20%, crosses $5,000 mark. WhatsApp announces new privacy setting. LBB raises $5m in funding.

 

Moving on to the top Business stories of the day. 

 

ECONOMY 

Asian Development Bank cuts India’s growth rate forecast to 7.2%. Skymet predicts below normal monsoon in India. 

Reduced Hopes: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lowered its forecast for India’s growth rate by 40 basis points to 7.2% for FY 2019-20. Despite the mark down, the Indian economy will still be the fastest growing in the world with forecast for FY2020-21 estimated at 7.3%.

ADB also noted that the recent policy measures by the government to boost investment and private consumption is likely to drive economic growth in the next two fiscal.

However: Areas of concern highlighted by the agency include a higher-than-expected moderation in global demand and a potential escalation of trade tensions. Lower-than-targeted tax revenues or a delay in strengthening bank and corporate balance sheets are also potential deterrents.

General Consensus: There is a widespread consensus that the Monetary Policy Committee will cut rates in its meeting tomorrow. Find out what you can expect here.

Less Rains: Private weather agency Skymet has predicted that India will receive below normal rains this year on back of the developing El Nino phenomenon.

Skymet expects monsoon to be 93% of the long-term average (LPA). Monsoon is considered normal when the LPA is between 96% and 104%.

Bad Blood: The development of El Nino is significant as 13 of the last 20 droughts in India occurred during an El Nino.

 

CRYPTOCURRENCY 

Bitcoin jumps more than 20%, crosses $5,000 mark.

Surprise Gain: Bitcoin rose more than c. 20% on Tuesday morning crossing $5,000 - its best since November, 2017.

Mystery Buyer: Traders struggled to pinpoint reasons for the rally, however analyst at cryptocurrency firm BCB predict that the surge was probably triggered by an order worth about $100m spread across US-based exchanges Coinbase and Kraken and Luxembourg’s Bitstamp.

Collateral Benefits: Bitcoin’s surge sent smaller cryptocurrencies, known as “Altcoins” trading higher. Ethereum’s Ether and Ripple’s XRP, respectively the second- and third-largest coins, both jumped by more than 10%. But have no fear of missing out: Whatever the explanation, there’s no good reason to turn bullish on crypto.

 

FUNDING 

Sequoia India to raise separate fund for Surge program. Mahindra in talks to invest $500m in Zoomcar. Brand Aggregator Little Black Book raises $5m in funding.
 

Surge Protection: Sequoia Capital India is in talks to raise a separate fund of $150-200m for its Surge program. The news comes a day after Rajan Anandan, the former Head of Google India joined Sequoia as the Head of the Surge Program.

First Innings: This is Sequoia's first attempt at starting a seed fund in India. Its entry is expected to intensify the already competitive domestic market for early-stage deals.

Startup School: Sequoia had launched its Surge program earlier in the year with the aim of picking up 10-20 companies twice a year. The fund counts Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal, Oyo's Ritesh Agarwal and Cred's Kunal Shah amongst its list of mentors for the program.


Zoom Away: Self-drive car rental platform Zoomcar is in talks to raise c. $500m in a fresh funding round led by automaker Mahindra and Mahindra. The company has raised $103.8m so far.
 

Returning Customer: Last year, M&M had pumped in up to INR176cr in Zoomcar India and Zoomcar Inc, its US incorporated holding parent company.
 

Fresh Capital: Local brand platform Little Black Book (LBB) has raised $5m through its parent company Iluminar Media in its Series A funding round. The funding round was led by investment firms Inventus India and IAN Fund. Japanese investors Dream Incubator and Akatsuki Entertainment Technology (AET) Fund, and existing investors Blume Ventures, and Chiratae Ventures also participated in the round.
 

Refocusing: LBB will utilize the capital to bring more businesses to its platform along with strengthening its personalization interface and products with an enhanced focus on machine learning.

 

NPA 

Companies sigh in relief as SC strikes down RBI circular. The war against bad loans continues.
 

Big Relief: SC’s decision to strike down the RBI’s February 12 circular on stressed asset management, will bring relief to several large companies, including Jet Airways, Lalitpur Power Generation, KSK Mahanadi Power, Jaiprakash Power Venture, amongst others, which were otherwise staring at insolvency proceedings.

Time is Money: While the court’s order will have no impact on the classification of a stressed account as a non-performing asset, it will give more time and discretion to banks on finalizing a resolution plan.

Spanner in The Works: With the SC’s ruling to strike down its Feb 12 circular, the RBI has received a big blow in its fight against bad loans. But it’s a temporary setback, as the resolution process of these cases will get delayed and those banks that had already provided more than what they were expecting to get following resolution of cases will be disappointed as they won’t be able to write back some money and add to their profits. 

A deep dive into the matter here.

 

CONSUMER 
 
WhatsApp announces new privacy setting. Facebook reveals how its News Feed algorithm works. 

Requesting Access: WhatsApp has introduced a new privacy setting, giving users the ability to decide who can add them to groups. Previously, any user could be added to a WhatsApp group without their consent. 

With these new features, WhatsApp aims to provide its users with more control over the group messages they receive

Coming Soon: The new privacy settings will start rolling out today and will be available worldwide in the coming weeks.

Behind the Scenes: Facebook has revealed a new feature that allows users to find out, how its algorithms decide what content is to be displayed in the News Feed. 

Strange Button: The feature can be accessed by a button called "Why am I seeing this post?" in the Facebook app. This will show users what factors went into displaying specific posts on their News Feed.

The feature has already launched in the US, with an expected May release for the rest.

 

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