Wholesale inflation in India rises to 2.59% in December. CCI orders probe into deep-discounting by e-retailers Amazon and Flipkart. Michael Patra appointed as the Deputy Governor of the RBI. ICICI Bank files civil suit against Chanda Kochhar to recover bonuses worth ?12cr.
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Flaring Up: Wholesale prices-based inflation in India rose to 2.59% in December vs 0.58% in November on the back of increasing prices of food articles.
Food inflation rate rose to 13.24% during December vs 11% in the previous month. Within this category, onions saw an inflation rate of 455.8% compared to 172.3% in November.
The news comes a day after rise in retail inflation was reported at 7.35% in December - reaching a five-year high. NDTV Profit
Red Arrow Pointing Up: The yield on India's 10-year government bond surged 10bps to hit a five-week high today following a spike in India's retail inflation, deepening worries of a prolonged pause in rate cuts by the RBI.
FYI: Bond yield and prices move in opposite direction. Livemint
Paying the Price for Discounting: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation into alleged anti-trust law violation by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart.
The move comes on the heels of a complaint by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, which alleged that the e-commerce companies gave preferential treatment to certain sellers. It is alleged that there were exclusive arrangements between mobile phone brands and the platforms that provided deep discounts to select preferred sellers. Hindu BusinessLine
Earnings Call: Indian IT giant Wipro today posted largely in-line Q3 results. It reported 3.2% YoY drop in net profit to ?2,460cr ($346m) for Q3. Meanwhile revenue rose 2.73% to ?15,470cr ($2,188m) YoY.
While a weakening Rupee helped drive an uptick in margins, continued softness in capital markets pressured overall growth. Business Today
New Boss in Town: The Government today appointed Michael Debaprata Patra as the Deputy Governor of the RBI for a duration of three years, nearly six months after former Deputy Governor Viral Acharya’s pre-mature resignation.
Patra currently serves as an Executive Director at the RBI.
The Central Bank currently has three Deputy Governors - NS Vishwanathan, BP Kanungo and MK Jain. Financial Express
Give Me My Money Back: ICICI Bank has filed a civil suit against former Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chanda Kochhar for the recovery of ?12cr ($1.6m) that she had received as bonus and other benefits during April 2006 to March 2018.
Kochhar had entered into an agreement with the lender that allowed them to seek return of the variable pay in case of integrity breach.
Kochhar has been accused of playing a role in granting out-of-turn loans worth ?3,250cr ($460m) to Videocon Group, benefitting her husband Deepak Kochhar. Business Today
Phewww!: India Inc heaves a sigh of relief as The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) allowed companies two more years up to April 2020 to split the role of Chairman and Managing Director (MD), and ensure that the Chairman is not related to the CEO or MD.
Of the top 500 companies, 162 have the same person as Chairperson, MD and CEO, according to data compiled by NSE Infobase, run by Prime Database. In 52 other companies, the Chairperson and MD/CEO are related. Indian Express
Tomorrow, Today: Weather forecasting is notoriously difficult, but Google says it has found a way to enable “nearly instantaneous” weather forecasts.
Google's weather forecasting project, which uses AI and machine learning, is still in its early stages and yet to be applied commercially. But Google’s researchers were reportedly able to generate accurate rainfall predictions up to six hours ahead of time from just “minutes” of calculation.
Speedy predictions, say the researchers, will be “an essential tool needed for effective adaptation to climate change, particularly for extreme weather.” In a world increasingly dominated by unpredictable weather patterns, they say, short-term forecasts will be crucial for “crisis management, and the reduction of losses to life and property.” The Verge
Startup Shopping: Visa has announced that it is buying Plaid, a financial services API startup, for $5.3bn. Plaid's private valuation was estimated at $2.65bn - roughly half the final selling price. More details here.
Making Nice: Reversing a decision it took last August, the US said it was rescinding the "currency manipulator" label it placed on China. Washington said Beijing had agreed to refrain from devaluing its currency - the Yuan - in order to make its goods cheaper for foreign buyers.
"China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "In this context, Treasury has determined that China should no longer be designated as a currency manipulator at this time."
This development comes as the two countries are expected to sign "Phase 1" of a comprehensive deal this week to decrease tensions in a trade war that has been raging since 2018. BBC
When Titans Collide: The trade war is not yet over - only the first part of an accord could be signed this week, and the sequel to this truce might not even materialize before this year's US election, as President Donald Trump recently said. But the fact that the world's two largest economies, relations between whom have become enveloped in increasing hostility and distrust, came to terms to sign on to at least a part of a trade deal is an accomplishment in itself (even if it's a deal neither side is reportedly enthusiastic about). How did the US and China settle on a trade deal neither side wanted? Here's a deep-dive.
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