Top Business News Today: Indian Economy Gears Up For Budget 2019, Christine Lagarde To Head European Central Bank

Fake News on cancer treament floods Facebook and YouTube. Meet the new Finance Minister of India ahead of Budget 2019. India’s services sector activity contracts for first time in over a year. How have income tax slabs changed in India in the last 10 years? RBI to hold reverse repo auction of INR2,500cr of 63-day duration. Government mulls shifting regulation of housing finance companies (HFCs) from the National Housing Board (NHB) to RBI. EU ends days of partisan bickering to put forth nominations for key posts, half of them women. IMF head Christine Lagarde tapped to be next chief of EU’s central bank. Apple without Jony Ive won’t be the same, but there’s no need to write obituaries and hit-pieces.

 
Moving on to the top Business news of the day.

 

 SERVICES 

India’s services sector activity contracts for first time in over a year.

 

The What: India’s services sector activity contracted for first time in June since May 2018, on back of feeble output fettered by weak sales, competitive pressures and unfavourable taxation. 

 

India’s Services PMI fell to 49.6 in June vs 50.2 in May, stirring concerns over the sustainability of the relatively robust growth rates recorded at the beginning of the year and the creation of new jobs in the Indian economy. 

 

View historical India Services PMI data here

 

Rather interesting to note is the fact that the slump in Services PMI comes shortly after the recent slip in the Manufacturing PMI to 52.1

 

 BUDGET 

How have income tax slabs changed in India in the last 10 years? Meet the first female Finance Minister ahead of Budget 2019.

 

Budget 2019: Amidst rising expectations of lower taxation, especially those belonging to the middle-income group and increase in tax breaks, here’s a look at how your taxes have changed in the last 10 years.

 

Meet the FM: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to announce the Budget 2019 on Friday, July 5.

 

An unusual pick by the re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sitharaman remains relatively unknown to the financial world, even as she has donned multiple roles with merit, including her last stint as the Defence Minister of the country.

 

Here’s a sneak peek into the life of this lesser known veteran politician.

 
 RBI 

RBI to hold reverse repo auction of INR2,500cr of 63-day duration. Government mulls shifting regulation of housing finance companies (HFCs) from the National Housing Board (NHB) to RBI.

 

Agenda for the Day: The Reserve Bank is set to conduct a variable rate reverse repo auction of INR25,000cr for 63-day tenor today.

 

What You Need to Know: The move comes as an attempt by the Central Bank to absorb a part of the surplus liquidity for longer duration, amidst increasing surplus in the economy. 

 

Previously: The RBI had bought a record INR3L cr of debt in the year ended March, helping cool bond yields. It has since spent an additional INR50,000cr on such purchases. It also introduced a forex swap tool to inject rupee liquidity as an alternative to debt buys.

 

In Other News...: The government is considering shifting the regulation of housing finance companies (HFCs) from the National Housing Board (NHB) to the RBI

 

It is also planning to amend the Banking Regulation (BR) Act to give the RBI more teeth. If there are conflicting regulations on the same issue, the BR Act will supersede the others. 

 

The NHB will meanwhile, continue to supervise the HFCs.

 

The development comes as the NBFC and HFC sectors are facing severe liquidity crunch on back of the recent IL&FS and DHFL crisis. 

 

 LEADERSHIP 

EU ends days of partisan bickering to put forth nominations for key posts, half of them women. IMF head Christine Lagarde tapped to be next chief of EU’s central bank.

 

After days of hectic backdoor deal-making and horse-trading that exposed the deep faultines in the European Union, a consensus was finally reached over who should be nominated for the top four posts of the multinational body.

 

“Europe is a Woman”: Two of the four who are nominated are women. IMF head Christine Lagarde is tapped for the eight-year term as head of the European Central Bank and former German defence minister Ursula Von Der Leyen will head to the European Parliament (the EU’s legislature) to be confirmed as President of the European Commission (which functions as the EU’s executive).

 

Additionally, the Belgian Prime Minister was elected as President of the European Council (which consists of leaders of each member-state) while the Spanish Foreign Minister was chosen to be the foreign affairs chief.

 

There was relentless bickering over the initial favourites due to inter-member differences. Today’s events are reportedly the result of an agreement between the bloc’s two leaders – France and Germany: Lagarde is a former French Finance Minister and Von Der Leyen is a Merkel loyalist.

 

More Troubles Ahead?: Though a consensus was reached over nominations despite partisan differences, EU leaders will continue to have sweaty brows in the coming days. Von Der Leyen will have the be confirmed by the newly-elected European Parliament, where traditional centre-left and centre-right parties suffered historic losses.

 

And Lagarde’s years of experience as an internationally renowned economist notwithstanding, her lack of experience in monetary policy is already eliciting grumblings. (Meanwhile, Largarde will relinquish her responsibilities as Managing Director of the IMFduring the nomination period.)

 

Some still find reasons to be optimistic, though. Outgoing Council President Donald Tusk expressed satisfaction over the perfect gender balance in the four nominations, with the two top posts going to women for the first time. "I am really happy about it, after all Europe is a woman," he said, in a reference to Greek mythology.

 

 TECH 

Apple without Jony Ive won’t be the same, but there’s no need to write obituaries and hit-pieces. Bogus cancer treatment claims are flooding Facebook and YouTube.

 

Too Much Tall Talk: Jony Ive’s departure as Apple’s creative head was undoubtedly a historic event for the company and a histrionic one for anyone who follows tech news.

 

But some of the commentary following Ive’s departure has been far-fetched or incongrous to say the least. Many opine Ive left because of grudges against Tim Cook and differences with the post-Jobs Apple team. Others predict that sans Ive Apple will plummet to sure mediocrity and never be able to get back on its iFeet ever again.  

 

The conspiracies do disservice to Ive’s long run at Apple and his inerasable legacy. Also, Ive will continue to advice Apple on many issues and Apple’s design team is not a group of robots who would go motionless without Ive turning their screws.

 

Social Media Medics: Can baking soda cure cancer? Scientists don’t think so but one supplement salesman does and now, thanks to a viral video on Facebook and Youtube, so do many, many others.

 

Just as there is a plethora of vaccine misinformation on the internet, bogus “treatments” and “cures” for cancer are flooding Facebook and YouTube, potentially risking lives and spreading lies.

 

To their credit, Facebook and YouTube are trying to fight back. While the former tweaked its News Feed algorithm to reduce prevalence of these posts, YouTube has been cutting off advertising for channels that promote alternative cancer treatments.

 

Will this work? While we can hope for the best, if the results of Facebook’s crackdown on vaccine misinformation is any indication, this wildfire of lies will continue to spread.

 

(Don't want to miss out on these End Of Day Wrap Ups?  Subscribe Now to our WhatsApp Feed and get the day's Top Business stories straight on your favourite messaging app.)