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Finance Ministry Eyes RBI Surplus Reserves, Paytm leads UPI Race, Qatar Pushes for Inclusion of Natural gas in GST et al.

Professor of Financial Economics and Part-time Value Investor, Transfin.
Feb 11, 2019 2:37 PM 3 min read
Editorial

Finance Ministry seeks INR27,380cr of "surplus" reserves from RBI. Paytm leads UPI race with 221 million transactions in January. Qatar pushes for inclusion of natural gas in GST. Threat of another government shutdown looms as US Border talks stall. 
 

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

 

RBI

Finance Ministry seeks INR27,380cr of "surplus" reserves from RBI.
 

Need More: The Finance Ministry has sought transfer of INR27,380cr of interim "surplus" retained as risks and reserves over the last two fiscals by the RBI. 
 

RBI Stalls Transfer: The RBI has however, decided to not immediately transfer the surplus capital
 

Meanwhile: The Central Bank audit committee has cleared an interim dividend of INR28,000cr based on a limited audit for the current year and the same is likely to be declared after its board meeting on February 18. 

The Central Bank has already transferred INR40,000 crore in the current fiscal.

What You Need to Know: The development comes in the backdrop of the ongoing tussle between the two, with the government arguing that the Central Bank has more reserves than many of its peers.

 

PAYMENTS

Paytm leads UPI race.
 

Well Ahead: Paytm marched ahead in the UPI transaction race, closely followed by Google Pay and PhonePe having clocked more than 221 million transactions in January. Google Pay and PhonePe were at about 220 million transactions each. 

BHIM Loses Steam: Government-promoted Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) has been losing steam over the past few months as more transactions are flowing through private non-banking applications. BHIM reported merely 14 million transactions in January, down from 17 million in December 2018.
 

Above Average: Paytm's average ticket size climbed to around INR1,907 against UPI average of INR1,600. PhonePe and Google Pay however fell way behind with INR1,300 and INR1,200. You can read more about it here.

 

ENERGY

Qatar pushes for inclusion of natural gas in GST. Indian investors seek to join InvIT. 

Big Demand: Qatar, India’s largest natural gas supplier urged the government to include natural gas in GST. 

Qatar supplies 8.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas to India and is the country's single largest source of imported gas.

Not the First: In October last year, Russian oil firm Rosneft, the biggest foreign investor in India's energy sector, had criticized the country's taxation policy. Read more about it here.

Some Background Reading: Read this article to know how Qatar’s exit from OPEC is somewhat tied to a heightened focus on natural gas development.  

A Joint Venture: Investors including ICICI Prudential Asset Management Company, Serum Institute and Uday Kotak are keen to join the Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) led by Brookfield Asset Management to buy East West Pipeline (EWPL) for an enterprise value of $1.83bn. 

EWPL, earlier known as Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure, is a unit of Reliance Utilities. It transports gas from Kakinada in south-eastern India to Bharuch in the west. Read more on it here.

 

GLOBAL

Threat of another government shutdown looms as US Border talks stall. UK GDP growth expected to halve in Q4. 
 

At it Again: US congressional talks over a border security deal have stalled once again raising concerns of another government shutdown.

The negotiators remain divided on how many undocumented immigrants can be detained and funding for President Trump's promised border wall.

Earlier: Last month, President Trump agreed to a three-week spending deal to end the shutdown and allow Congress to reach an agreement which ends on Friday. 

The previous shutdown was the longest in US history lasting 35 days and costing the economy c. $11bn.

Meanwhile: UK economic growth expected to halve to just 0.3% in the final quarter of 2018 vs 0.6% in Q3 fueled by Brexit fears.  

UK Slumps: Analysts lowered their forecasts for growth in 2019 to 1.2% from a previous estimate of 1.7%. Similarly, the forecast for 2020 was revised down to 1.5% from 1.7%. Read more on it here.

 

DRAMA

Jeff Bezos scandal exposes the vulnerabilities of the rich.
 

Watch Out: Amazon Founder and Chairman, Jeff Bezos recently accused the National Enquirer of blackmailing him with personal pictures and pre-empting the threat to publish them, evident that even the richest man in the world is not out of the reach of hackers. Read more on what experts have to say on the matter here.

 
The Saudi Angle: Bezos hints at Saudi involvement in his leaked conversation with actress Lauren Sanchez. Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs however denied all accusations. 


The Price of Fame: Read Jeff Bezos’ journey from private family man to tabloid sensation here.

 

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