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Economists Expect RBI to Maintain Status Quo in February MPC Meet and Other Top Business News Today

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Feb 4, 2020 1:49 PM 5 min read

Economists expect RBI to maintain status quo in February MPC meet. PNB reports loss of ₹492cr ($68m) for Q3. Bharti Airtel reports consolidated loss of ₹1,035cr ($144.25m) for Q3. Alphabet's earnings beat profit expectations, miss on revenue; Google Cloud revenue reaches $2.6bn.




Economists expect RBI to maintain status quo in February MPC meet.

To Cut or Not to Cut

The RBI will begin its bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee meet on February 4th and will announce its decision to hold, increase or cut interest rates on February 6th. 


Most economists expect the Central Bank to maintain a status quo. They, however, remain divided on whether the RBI will continue to retain the 'accommodative' stance. 


The RBI had cut rates by 135 basis points over five straight meetings last year, before taking the markets by surprise in December when it held the repo rate steady at 5.15% due to growing concerns over inflation. [BS]


Here are five things to know about the six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and the policy meet to be held today onwards.



Will the battle to revive India’s statistical prowess be a success story?

Reviving the Golden Bird

India's statistical system was once upon a time a matter of great pride for the country - "a statistical powerhouse, setting standards for the rest of the world."


However, over the past couple of years, its credibility and integrity has constantly come under the scanner. Today, every other data release (or suppression) is accompanied by controversy. This has prompted the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to revive a long-pending proposal to provide statutory backing and greater autonomy to the National Statistical Commission (NSC). 


The NSC Bill 2019 has raised hopes about the government’s intent to clean up the statistical mess. However, it has also raised concerns about whether the Bill in its current form will allow NSC to achieve its goals. Will the battle to save India’s statistical system be a success story. Here's a deep dive.


Extra Crunch

India is becoming a development hub for games. Currently, close to 23,000 gaming-based job openings are available, with salary packages ranging from ₹3L to a little over ₹40L, according to specialist staffing firm Xpheno. 


“The increasing consumption of gaming by consumers and enterprises has increased the gaming talent demand by over 50% in a year’s time and doesn't seem like slowing down,” said Kamal Karanth, Co-Founder of Xpheno. [ET Tech]



PNB reports loss of ₹492cr ($68m) for Q3.

State lender Punjab National Bank today reported loss of ₹492cr ($68m) for Q3 on the back of higher provisioning for non-performing assets (NPAs). 


The bank had posted a net profit of 247cr ($34m) for the same period a year ago.


Total income during the quarter under review stood at 15,967cr ($2,236m) vs 14,854cr ($2080m) last year.


Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of the bank stood at 16.30% of gross advances as at December-end 2019, down from 16.33% by the year-ago same period. ET Markets


Bharti Airtel reports consolidated loss of ₹1,035cr ($144.25m) for Q3.

Telecom giant Bharti Airtel has reported a consolidated loss of ₹1,035cr ($144.25m) for Q3. For the same period last year, it had reported a profit of ₹86cr ($11.98m). Meanwhile, average revenue per user (ARPU) improved to ₹135 from ₹128. More details here.



Alphabet's earnings beat profit expectations, miss on revenue; Google Cloud revenue reaches $2.6bn.

Hit and Miss

Alphabet's Q4 and full-year financial results saw it beating analyst estimates on profit but miss on revenue. Google's parent company's revenue grew from $39.3bn in 2018 to $46.1bn in 2019. In the same period, the firm’s net income expanded from $8.9bn to $10.7bn.


A Cloud Hangs Over Google

Google also announced that its cloud revenue had reached $2.6bn, which includes G Suite, the enterprise version of GMail/Docs/Drive/Hangouts and Google’s cloud infrastructure revenue. The run rate (the financial performance of a company based on using current financial information as a predictor of future performance) would be over $10bn. The company's cloud revenue in the year-ago Q4 was $1.71bn, a run rate of $6.84bn. TechCrunch


Dropbox CEO joins Facebook's Board of Directors.

All A-Board

Facebook's Board of Directors has an eight addition. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston is joining the social media giant's Board.


“Drew brings valuable perspective to our board as a leader of a technology company with services used by millions of people and businesses,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “He thinks deeply about where technology is going and how to build a culture that delivers services that always work well.” CNBC



The coronavirus outbreak could hurt companies depending on Chinese exports.

The Clock is Ticking

The economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on China's economy have been drastic, with forecasts slashed and markets plummeting. But its international ramifications have been rather muted thanks to a stroke of timing: the outbreak hit just when Chinese factories and businesses were closed anyway for the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.


But now that the holiday is over and the lockdown continues, effects are beginning to be felt across borders. Western retailers, auto companies and manufacturers that depend on Chinese imports are staring at the very real possibility of running out of goods they depend on.


Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, is a centre of automotive production. It has been entirely sealed off from the rest of the world, and the squeeze could hit manufacturers in a matter of weeks.


Quarantine measures have already harmed the production of TV display panels and raised prices, according to a report by research group IHS Markit. Going forward, smartphones, laptop monitors and televisions could be negatively affected too. AP


Extra Crunch

In a measure to combat the virus, China reportedly built a 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan in just 10 days. Here's a timelapse video of the hospital's construction.


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