Rupee Expected to Fall to 73, India Emerges as Top Buyer of Venezuelan Oil, Facebook Intentionally and Knowingly Violated Data Privacy et al.

RBI to transfer INR28,000cr as interim dividend to govt. Rupee expected to fall to 73; pushed back to being the worst performer in Asia. India emerges as the top buyer of Venezuelan oil. Facebook "intentionally and knowingly" violated data privacy and anti-competition laws, as per a UK report on fake news.

 

Now to Today's Top Business News Stories in Our End Of Day Wrap Up:

 

DEALS

Ola in talks to invest in carpooling app sRide. Blackstone may invest in Manipal Group to back the latter's acquisition of Medanta. Vodafone Idea likely to sell tower assets worth INR20,000cr. DoT meets to speed up the 5G spectrum allocation policy. 

 
sRide: Ola is likely to buy at least 26% stake in Pune-based carpooling app sRide for INR30cr.
 

Medanta: American Private Equity firm Blackstone may invest c. INR3,200cr in Ranjan Pai-owned Manipal Education & Medical Group.

The injection is largely expected to aid Ranjan Pai’s worth INR6,000cr pursuit of Naresh Trehan’s Medanta Hospital. Read more on the potential deal here.
 

Vodafone Idea: Vodafone Idea is likely to raise c. INR20,000cr from its stake sale in mobile tower firm Indus Tower and monetisation of its optical fibre assets.

 
It is also planning to raise INR25,000cr through a rights issue.
 

The proceeds will be used to lower the telecom operator's outstanding debt at INR1,23,660cr.
 

5GThe Department of Telecommunications met today to discuss ways to speed up the stalling 5G spectrum allocation policy.

The agenda included clarification of the bands to be available for 5G commercial deployment and the budgetary support required by telcos rolling out the broadband networks.

 

ENERGY

India emerges as the top buyer of Venezuelan oil. 
 

India to the Rescue: India emerged as the top buyer of Venezuelan oil in the first half of February, with imports jumping 66% to 620,000 barrels a day after US imposed a de-facto ban on Venezuelan crude imports. 
 

More on This: India has asked a buyer of Venezuelan oil to avoid the US financial system while paying Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA.
 

Backstory: In a tussle against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, US last week imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil giant which would prevent the proceeds of crude sales to the US from reaching Venezuela. 

What Does This Mean?: In light of the sanctions imposed, any payment through the US banking system could be seized by the US authorities.
 

US Keeps Calm: Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Friday notes that their concerns regarding India continuing to buy oil from Venezuela have been resolved.

 

RBI

RBI to transfer INR28,000cr as interim dividend to govt. India needs fewer and mega banks, says Arun Jaitley.
 

The What: The Central Board of RBI today announced transfer of INR28,000cr as interim dividend to the government. The total surplus transfer to the government for 2018-19 now stands at INR68,000cr.

 

The transfer is likely to help the government meet its revised fiscal deficit target of 3.4% of GDP for 2018-19.

Less is More: India needs fewer and mega banks which are strong because in every sense from borrowing rates to optimum utilisation the economies of scale as far as the banking sector is concerned are of great help, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his customary post-budget meeting of the Central Board of the RBI.

 

TECH

Facebook "intentionally and knowingly" violated data privacy and anti-competition laws, as per a UK report on fake news. US parliament divided over Federal Data-Privacy Law. 

Digital Gangster: As per a report published by UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Facebook "intentionally and knowingly" violated UK data privacy and anti-competition laws. 
 

The report comes following an 18-month long investigation into Facebook and other social media companies for their role in spreading "fake news" and disinformation.
 

Also this: On back of the findings of the report, UK lawmakers also called for the creation of an independent regulator for social media sites and a mandatory code of conduct that, if breached, could result in "large fines."

Stateside: As per a WSJ report, Silicon Valley and its Republican allies are pushing for a national standard that would override state regulations.  
 

Backlash: The proposal is facing severe push back from the Democrats, especially because the new regulations would also override California’s landmark 2018 law, which broadened the definition of personal information and gives consumers the right to prevent their data from being sold.

 

FX

Rupee expected to fall to 73; pushed back to being the worst performer in Asia.
 

Downfall: Rupee has gone from being the best-performing Asian currency last quarter to the worst this year on back of rising tensions over Kashmir and increasing crude oil prices. 
 

It slid to 71.5 per dollar Monday, from a rather strong 69.2 in early January.
 

Other Factors: The fall is also credited to the widening trade deficit. The trade deficit widened to $14.7bn in January vs $13bn in the previous month due to rise in gold imports.

 

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