India's manufacturing PMI hits eight-year high of 55.3 in January. Preparations for Government's disinvestment in LIC underway, could be completed in a year. WeWork names Sandeep Mathrani as new CEO. Forever 21 unveils $81m deal to be sold to mall owners.
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Scaling New Heights
Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for India hit an eight-year high of 55.3 in January from 52.7 in December on the back of sharp rise in new business orders amid a rebound in demand conditions that led to rise in production and hiring activity.
This is the 30th consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI has remained above the 50-point mark, signalling expansion. Business Today
View India manufacturing PMI chart here.
Less is More?
As per sources, interest rates on small savings schemes like Public Provident Fund (PPF), National Savings Certificate (NSC), Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) may come down in the next quarter, in line with market rate. This is expected to lead to speedier transmission of monetary policy rate.
For the current quarter, the Government had kept interest rates steady on small savings schemes, including PPF, despite moderating bank deposit rates. [Financial Express]
You Owe Us An Explanation
Ecommerce platforms Amazon and Flipkart are likely to approach the Government for clarifications on the new proposed levy of 1% TDS on e-commerce transactions, which is likely to increase the burden on sellers on such platforms.
The documents said the e-commerce operator will have to deduct 1% TDS on the gross amount of sales or services or both. This provision will however not apply in cases where the seller's gross amount of sales during the previous year through e-commerce operator is less than ?5L and the seller has furnished his PAN or Aadhaar number. [ET]
Yes to Divest
In Saturday's Budget Speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman propesed to divest a part of the government's stake in Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) through an IPO. Preparations for the share sale of the state-owned entity, which has $434bn in total assets, are already underway and it is expected to be completed in a year's time.
Let's Get This Started
To oversee the stake sale in the country's largest insurer, an inter-ministerial committee will be set up comprising officials from the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), Department of Financial Services and Law Ministry.
“It will take at least a year," Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar told reporters. “There are too many processes such as finding out the valuation, (looking at) SEBI regulations, changes in the LIC Act. We will start work with DIPAM on this." Livemint
The Government's plan to sell part of its stake in LIC may take investors' focus away from insurers already listed in the stock market. Read this article to know more.
New CEO in the Block
Beginning February 18th, WeWork will have a new chief executive. The SoftBank-backed office-sharing firm has announced that real estate industry veteran Sandeep Mathrani will join the company as CEO. He is the former chief executive of Brookfield Properties' retail group, and prior to that he was an executive at real estate firms including Vornado Realty Trust. NDTV Profit
Here's the Deal
Retail chain Forever 21 has reportedly reached an agreement to be sold to a group that includes mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners and brand management company Authentic Brands Group. The price would be $81m.
California-based Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy protection in September and has closed 100 stores since then. Simon and Brookfield are two of its largest unsecured creditors. WSJ
The coronavirus outbreak's drastic effects on the Chinese economy were on display today. Stocks in mainland China plummeted more than 7%, with the Shanghai composite falling 7.72% and the Shenzen composite declining 8.414%. During early trade, the indices nose-dived by around 9%.
Monday's numbers are relevant because they mark the first full day of trading following the Lunar New Year holiday, which this year was extended as Beijing sought to keep citizens and businesses at home to expand quarantine measures and fight the virus. CNBC
The Chinese government's response to the coronavirus outbreak has been immense in scale. Entire cities have been put on lock-down, borders have been closed, industries shut, transportation halted, and the movement of people restricted.
But life goes on. Even as China's bustling cities turn into ghost towns, working from home, which is often viewed as a privilege, is becoming a necessity. Companies are trying to coordinate between employees via video conferences and internet messaging to keep business afloat. This is a new experience for many establishments, but the alternative being no business done whatsoever, work-from-home is being widely adopted across China, mainly in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Here's an account of the world's largest work-from-home experiment.
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