Trump winds up two-day India visit, no major trade announcement made. Adani Group to submit Expression of Interest (EoI) for Air India. Tata Group refuses ?13,823cr ($1,921m) AGR demand, says ?2,197cr ($305m) paid. Venmo prototyping a debit card exclusively for teenagers.
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Good Night, Indiamerica
Donald Trump's first visit to India as US President has ended...without any major announcements. Besides a $3bn defence deal, no other major agreements were signed. [Hindu BusinessLine]
The visit began yesterday when Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally in Ahmedabad's Motera stadium. Later, the US delegation left for Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and today talks were held in New Delhi.
Hopes for the long-awaited trade deal between the two countries were quashed even before the visit, when Trump hinted that the deal was still being negotiated. During his visit, he added that the deal might not be signed before the US Presidential election in November. [Business Today]
Want to read up on the history of India-US ties? It's come a long way from Cold War-era distrust to today's "natural allies" claims. Read this article for a deep-dive.
Pick Up the Pace
According to a Reuters poll, India’s economic growth likely accelerated slightly in the October-December period. 90% of economists surveyed pointed at growth at 5% or below, which is marginally better than the 4.5% of the previous quarter, which was the weakest expansion in six decades. Overall, of course, the economy remains well below its potential, and retail inflation could play spoiler and further spoil growth rates. [ET Indicators]
Cash is King
India continues to have a strong bias for cash payments, the RBI has noted in a report. While demonetisation in 2016 brought down the cash in circulation to 8.7% in 2016-17, in the next two years this number increased to 10.7% and 11.2%. The pre-demonetisation level was 12.1%.
The Central Bank, however, noted a discernible shift towards digital payments. The report said that India, “like in many parts of the world, cash is the well-established and widely used payment instrument. It is, however, reassuring that non-cash payments, especially those using electronic or digital modes, are rapidly increasing.” [BS]
The Floor is Now Open for Questions
The Government has extended the time for bidders to pose queries on Air India sale till March 6th from the originally set February 11th.
The Government has issued the first set of clarification on Air India disinvestment answering queries of interested bidders on the 'confidentiality undertaking' listed out in the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) issued on January 27th. [ET Airlines]
Swiping Right For Air India
The Adani Group will join the race to acquire Air India and plans to submit an expression of interest (EoI) by next month, said a source close to the development.
The final decision of Adani will, however, depend on the outcome of the due diligence after submission of the EoI. After the EoI process, prospective bidders will get access to data of the airline.
Apart from the Adani Group, the Tata roup, the Hinduja Group, Indigo and a New York-based fund, Interups, are expected to submit EoIs. [BS]
No Means No
Tata Group has told the government that its share in the AGR dues is ?2,197cr ($305m) only and not the ?13,823cr ($1,921m) that has been demanded by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Sources said that top Tata executives have made their position clear and said that they “do not have to pay anything more towards AGR based on self-assessed calculations". [Firstpost]
First Signs of the Storm
A preliminary investigation by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has found several related-party transactions (RPTs) between InterGlobe Enterprises and IndiGo, which is operated by Interglobe Aviation that were not disclosed as per required procedure.
The probe comes in the wake of the complaint filed by co-promoter Rakesh Gangwal, who had alleged corporate misgovernance by Co-Founder Rahul Bhatia at the company that operates IndiGo, India's largest airline by market share. [Livemint]
A Debit Card for All
PayPal-owned money sending app Venmo is reportedly prototyping a new feature that would allow adult users to create for their teenage children a debit card connected to their account.
The prototype card called “Delegate” could potentially let parents set spending notifications and limits while giving kids more flexibility in urgent situations than a few dollars stuffed in a pocket. [TechCrunch]
Warren Buffett recently featured on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, sharing his thoughts on Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg, sub-zero interest rates, Bank of America vs. Wells Fargo, cryptocurrencies, and his new smart phone.
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