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Government of India takes policy decisions to encourage cashless/electronic transactions
Dec 06,2016

In the recent years, advancements in banking technology, progress in mobile banking and innovative technologies to facilitate digital payments have enabled large number of small denomination transactions to be handled smoothly in electronic mode. The Government of India has taken policy decisions encouraging cashless/electronic transactions.

In its endeavour on moving towards the electronic payments, the Central Government Ministries/Departments have been crediting the salary and other payments for the majority of its employees electronically, direct into the designated bank accounts of the employees. Given the progress made in banking technology, it is assumed that each employee would be in possession of a Debit/ATM card linked to his/her bank account. Ensuring and encouraging Government Employees to maximise the usage of Debit cards for personal related transactions instead of cash would go a long way serving with the employees serving as ambassadors for the digital push and also motivate, encourage the general public in taking-up the cause.

All Ministries/Departments are requested to encourage their employees to make use of Debit Cards for personal related transactions instead of cash. Ministries/Departments should liaise with their accredited banks and set-up special camps to facilitate obtaining of and ensure that all its employees are in possession of Debit Cards. Ministries/Departments may also issue similar advisories to their attached/subordinate offices, PSUs, Autonomous Bodies etc.

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Nikkei India Services PMI dips in November 2016
Dec 05,2016

The performance of Indias service sector weakened in November as a result of cash shortages. New business declined for the first time since June 2015, leading to a solid reduction in activity. Correspondingly, backlogs of work rose, while employment increased only marginally. In spite of the falls in output and new orders, optimism regarding future activity improved. Input costs were broadly unchanged, whereas prices charged decreased slightly.

Dropping from 54.5 to 46.7 in November, the seasonally adjusted headline Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index registered in contraction territory for the first time since June 2015 and pointed to the sharpest reduction in output for almost three years. Anecdotal evidence highlighted a lack of cash in the economy. Activity decreased in three of the six monitored sub-sectors, namely Financial Intermediation, Hotels & Restaurants and Renting & Business Activities.

Factory production rose further during the month, but the rate of growth eased. Concurrently, the seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Composite PMI Output Index dipped from Octobers 45-month high of 55.4 to 49.1 in November, thereby pointing to a slight contraction in private sector activity overall.

As was the case for activity, new business inflows at services firms declined during November. The fall in new work was the first in 17 months and the steepest in over three years. Panellists indicated that cash shortages restricted client bookings. Although the scarcity of rupee notes also weighed on manufacturing performance, new order growth was sustained. The rise was, however, insufficient to offset the downturn in services and new business across the private sector as a whole decreased slightly.

Service providers recorded higher levels of outstanding business in November, which they commonly associated with delayed payments from clients. Backlogs rose for the sixth straight month, but at the slowest rate since July. Similarly, unfinished work at manufacturers increased at a softer pace.

Ongoing capacity pressures translated into job creation across the service sector in November. However, the pace of increase in staffing levels was only marginal. By comparison, manufacturing jobs were little-changed as indicated by the respective index posting only fractionally above 50.0.

Indian service providers expect activity to rise over the next 12 months, with the degree of optimism signalled in November being the highest since August. The anticipated replacement of high-value rupee notes, improved advertising campaigns, favourable government policies and the withdrawal of unregulated companies from the market all boosted sentiment during the latest survey period.

Input costs in the Indian service sector were broadly unchanged in November as falling prices for petrol and raw materials acted to offset higher staff salaries. The respective index dropped to a three-month low and was close to the crucial threshold of 50.0. Purchase prices in the manufacturing industry rose again, albeit the rate of inflation eased from Octobers 26-month high. Across the private sector as a whole, input cost inflation softened to the weakest since August.

Efforts to secure new work and relatively stable costs encouraged services companies to lower their selling prices in November. That said, output charges fell only slightly. Average selling prices across the private sector were broadly unchanged.

Commenting on the Indian Services PMI survey data, Pollyanna De Lima, economist at IHS Markit, and author of the report, said: The latest set of gloomy PMI figures for the Indian service sector shows that companies were heavily impacted by the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes ban. Cash shortages resulted in fewer new business intakes, which in turn caused a fall in activity and ended a 16-month sequence of expansion.

The disruption is expected to be short-lived, however, with many panellists anticipating a pick-up in activity as these high-value banknotes are replaced and black-market firms end their operations. In fact, business confidence improved to a three-month high.

On a positive note, the reduction in money supply curbed inflation in November. Input costs facing service providers were broadly unchanged, which encouraged firms to lower their selling prices. In light of these numbers, further cuts to the benchmark rate are expected.

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Sugar output up 17% to 27.41 lakh tonnes in Oct-Nov 2016
Dec 05,2016

Sugar production stood at 27.41 lakh tonnes till 30 November 2016 in the current 2016-17 sugar season (SS), which is 4.06 lakh tonnes more than the production in the last season upto the same corresponding period when 23.35 lakh tonnes of sugar was produced. As compared to 340 sugar factories which were crushing sugarcane last year on 30 November 2015, 365 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane on 30 November 2016 this year.

Most of the sugar mills in Maharashtra have started their crushing operation and 136 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane as on 30 November 2016 as compared to 161 last year. They have produced 9.50 lakh tonnes of sugar upto 30 November 2016 as compared to 12.90 lakh tonnes produced in the corresponding period last year. This is mainly because mills in Maharashtra started their crushing late this year.

In the case of Uttar Pradesh, 101 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane on 30 November 2016 who have produced 8.51 lakh tonnes. At the end of November 2015 last year, 61 sugar mills were crushing in Uttar Pradesh who had produced 1.74 lakh tonnes, which is about 6.77 lakh tons less than what they have already produced this year.

In the State of Karnataka, 58 sugar mills were crushing on 30 November 2016 and 7 lakh tonnes of sugar was produced. As compared to this, last year as on 30 November 2015, 60 sugar mills were crushing sugarcane who had produced 5.61 lakh tonnes of sugar.

In Gujarat, 18 sugar mills have started crushing on 30 November 2016 and they have produced 1.37 lakh tonnes of sugar. Last year on 30 November 2015, 18 mills were in operation and they produced 2.25 lakh tonnes of sugar.

Crushing operation in all the other States have also begun and slowly and slowly the pace of crushing is picking up. The other States have produced 1.03 lakh tonnes in this season upto 30 November 2016, which in the previous season upto 30 November 2015 was 0.85 lakh tonnes.

The sugar despatched from sugar mills in first month of current season i.e. October 2016, was 20.64 lakh tonnes, 2.35 lakh tonnes lower as compared to 22.99 lakh tonnes depatched in October 2015, last year. However, in the month of September 2016 the sugar despatched was 20.31 lakh tonnes, slightly higher than 19.19 lakh tonnes sugar despatched last year, in the month of September 2015. The lifting of sugar from mill has slowed down significantly, which has also resulted in a further fall in ex-mill sugar prices across the country.

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Debt Servicing Intact for 70% Toll Roads in Ind-Ras Portfolio, Despite Toll Suspension
Dec 02,2016

The suspension of tolling on all national highways in the country since 9 November 2016 is unlikely to impair the debt servicing of 70% of the operational toll projects in India Ratings and Researchs (Ind-Ras) portfolio. The anticipated shortfall for all these projects in interest servicing is likely to be INR854m, against which their cash debt service reserve account (DSRA) balance is INR3.88bn along with cash balance of INR884mn, which will provide a sufficient buffer.

Timely servicing of debt will be ensured by the surplus cash balances that some of these projects have. In certain cases where the sponsor has been supporting regular debt service, the agency assumes that such support will continue even for the period for which the road is not tolled. The management and the sponsors have also confirmed for majority of the projects, the support will continue. However, if the embargo on tolling continues beyond 2 December 2016, some projects debt serviceability can be impaired.

Ind-Ra believes that as per the provisions of the concession agreement, the non-collection of toll which is a directive of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways could be construed as a Force Majeure event. Ind-Ra believes that on account of suspension of tolling, the concession period could be extended for a period equal to the length of the period for which toll could not be collected. Further, according to the concession agreement, Force Majeure costs shall include interest on debt, operations and maintenance costs and all other costs directly attributable to the Force Majeure event but shall not include any debt repayments payable by the SPV. The details of quantum and timelines for the possible reimbursement from National Highways Authority of India (NHAI, IND AAA/Stable) are awaited.

Ind-Ra has analysed the toll road projects under its coverage and the agency believes that majority of the projects will be able to service their debt timely, thanks to the sponsors implicit commitments. In some cases the DSRA is unlikely to even be tapped and support from the sponsor / surplus cash balance are the most likely options. While some of the projects debt service is already depending on sponsors support, Ind-Ra will monitor the events and take necessary action in the event the sponsors fail to infuse funds to maintain the timely debt serviceability of the projects.

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No Curtailment of Funds for ICMR
Dec 02,2016

The allocation of funds to ICMR is as per approved budgetary provisions, against the demands projected by ICMR for various research activities. The allocation (BE) during last years is as follows: (Rs. in cr.)YearPlanNon Plan Total 2014-15531.00281.67812.672015-16568.17295.00863.172016-17610.00284.00894.00

There was no reduction in funding of ICMR for the last fiscal year, as compared to allocation for 2014-15. Allocation of Rs. 863.17 crore in 2015-16 was increased to Rs. 893.74 crore at RE stage.

The matter was taken up with Ministry of Finance and an additional allocation of Rs. 200.00 crore has been agreed for ICMR in 2016-17 for funding critical and important research projects, including extra-mural projects.  

The Government has constituted an Expert  Committee for Peer Review of functioning of ICMR, inter alia, to examine the intra-mural and extra-mural research programmes viz-a-viz availability of resources and their optimal utilisation, review of manpower component, scope of maximizing the internal resource generation, etc.

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Tractor Volumes to Rebound by 17% yoy in FY17
Dec 02,2016

India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) expects tractor volumes to grow by around 17% yoy in FY17 (FY16: negative 8.9% yoy), driven by the improved growth prospects of the agriculture sector as well as a low base effect. Ind-Ra expects agriculture gross value added (GVA) to grow 2.9% yoy in FY17 (FY16: 1.2%; FY15: negative 0.2%).

Ind-Ra expects overall volume growth to be lower in 2HFY17 (around 14%). The currency demonetisation would have a negative impact on the tractor sales in the next couple of months, post which demand is likely to normalize aided by the government focus to boost liquidity in the rural areas on a priority basis. However, Ind-Ra observes that the industry growth in 1HFY17 has not been uniform across the country, with southern and western India seeing high double-digit growth, while growth in the northern and central India was muted. Thus, a strong uptick in growth in the northern and central markets could lead to a higher growth rate for the year.

Ind-Ra observes that currency demonetisation has impacted farmers seeds and fertiliser purchases. If the cash crunch prevails for a longer time, it may lead to lower agriculture GVA and may have a more pronounced impact on tractor sales volumes in FY17.

Overall the Southwest monsoon situation in 2016 was much better than the previous two years and is likely to aid volume growth for the industry. The other indicators such as area sown under kharif crops as well as advance estimates of food grain production have also seen an improvement, indicating improved agricultural production this year.

The improved agricultural output should aid the loan asset quality in the tractor segment where delinquency levels have shot up. While the normalisation of asset quality is likely to be a prolonged affair, given the severity of the problem, the trends should be encouraging. The improved prospects should persuade larger participation from banks and non-banking finance companies, increasing the finance penetration and thereby aiding sales.

The long-term drivers of the sector demand such as gradual increase in farm mechanisation, increasing penetration of tractors, government impetus on increasing farm productivity and increasing usage of tractors for non-farm activities remain intact. Increasing affordability of small and marginal farmers for tractors through government initiatives as well as innovative approaches such as tractor on rentals could also significantly increase tractor demand.

Sector companies are likely to see a margin expansion of up to 300bp due to operating leverage benefits. Sector companies have around 20% of the costs fixed in their cost structure and thus volume growth could lead to a margin expansion. However, around 75% of the raw materials consumed are derived from steel and iron, and thus profitability could be impacted by volatility in these commodities.

Most sector companies have adequate capacities to grow over the next two to three years, resulting in low capex requirements primarily for new product launches as well as maintenance capex. Thus, the credit profile is likely to remain strong and further improve in FY17. Improvements in revenue and operating margins would result in higher cash flows for sector companies in FY17.

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Portal E-Box launched by WCD Ministry to register online complaints of child sexual abuse
Dec 02,2016

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is providing support for an outreach service under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) for children in distress including children requiring assistance for protection from abuse . This service is available through a dedicated toll free number, 1098 and can be accessed by children in crisis or by adults on their behalf. In addition, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has launched a portal E-BOX in August 2016 to register online, complaints of child sexual abuse.

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Expansion of Aircraft-Passenger Handling Capacity of IGI Airport
Dec 02,2016

The revised Master Plan, 2016 for IGI Airport Delhi has been finalized in May, 2016. The Master Plan 2016 proposes further development of landside, terminals and airside facilities to correspond to the projected traffic growth in next 20 years. It also proposes expansion of passenger handling capacity of IGI Airport from existing 62 MPPA to 109.3 MPPA in a phased manner.

As per Schedule 1 of Operation Management and Development Agreement signed between Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Delhi International Airport (DIAL), the airport operator have to follow IATA Airport Development Reference Manual with regard to design of airport facilities.

DIAL has recently engaged NATS, a UK firm which is a global provider of air traffic management consulting services. As part of their engagement, NATS will collaborate with the Airports Authority of India (AA), Air Navigation staff to identify procedures and air space enhancements to maximize the aircraft handling capacity of IGI Airport. This engagement has recently commenced and is a multi-phased project which will be completed over the next twelve months.

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No limit on holding of gold jewellery or ornaments by anybody provided it is acquired from explained sources of income including inheritance
Dec 02,2016

In order to remove any doubt about the current position of Income Tax Law with respect to gold jewellery and ornaments, the following points are hereby categorically clarified:

(a) There is no limit on holding of gold jewellery or ornaments by anybody provided it is acquired from explained sources of income including inheritance

(b) Vide circular dated 11 May 1994, instructions have been issued in the matter of search and seizure of gold jewellery.

(c) Jewellery and ornaments to the extent of 500 gms for married lady, 250 gms. for unmarried lady and 100 gm for male member will not be seized, even if prima facie, it does not seem to be matching with the income record of the assesse.

(e) Officer conducting search has discretion not to seize even higher quantity of gold jewellery based on factors including family customs and traditions.

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5791.54 MU Electricity generated by Cumulative Solar Installations till September 2016
Dec 01,2016

As per information received from Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 5791.54 MU electricity is produced by cumulative solar installations in the country from April 2016 to September 2016.

Quantum of electricity produced by cumulative solar installations in the country is given below

YearEnergy generation (MU)2015-167447.922016-17 *5791.54

* from April-2016 to September, 2016.

Also, comparative percentage of solar energy produced during the last three years and the current year of all renewable energy generation during the period is given below:-

YearSolar Energy generation (MU)Total Renewable Energy generation (MU)% of Solar energy produced2013-143353.8053224.506.3%2014-154599.0261784.937.4%2015-167447.9265780.8511.3%2016-17*5791.5447627.2912.2%

* from April-2016 to September, 2016. (Tentative data received from CEA)

The grid connected solar power  installation capacity during the last three years is given below:

YearSolar Capacity Installed in MW2013-14947.462014-151112.072015-163018.882016-171965

(as on 31.10.2016)

The infrastructure for power evacuation and transmission is taken by state and Centre Transmission Utilities. Government has taken up project for development of Green Energy Corridors in 8 States dedicated for Renewable Energy including Solar energy. The Indian solar market is growing in size, he added.

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With effect from midnight of 2 December 2016, old Rs 500 bank notes will not be accepted at petrol, diesel & gas outlets & for purchase of Air Tickets
Dec 01,2016

After the cancellation of legal tender character of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denomination bank notes, the Government had exempted certain categories of transactions wherein the old high denomination bank notes were accepted. The Government had extended the exemption period for these categories from time to time. At present, exemptions are allowed on certain types of transactions wherein payment of old Rs. 500 bank notes are permitted up to a specified date.

The processes of production, dispatch and distribution of currency notes have been continuing and more cash is flowing into the system steadily. The digital transactions have also made an impressive progress and are expected to significantly improve during the coming days. Now, therefore, as digital transaction options have been increasing across different sections of the economy, it has been observed that the outlets of the oil and gas marketing companies are better equipped to accept payments through digital means. Hence, it has been decided that with effect from the midnight of 2nd December, 2016, petrol, diesel and gas outlets of Public Sector oil and gas marketing companies will be removed from the exempted category for receipt of old Rs. 500 bank notes. It may be noted that supply of LPG continues to be in the exempted category for payment through old Rs. 500 bank notes.

Similarly, purchase of air tickets at the airports was included initially in the exempted category. It is observed that air ticketing counters have facilities to accept non cash/digital payments. Further, enough time has been allowed for travelers to be prepared with legal tender and/or non cash modes of payment. It has, therefore, been decided that with effect from midnight of 2nd December, 2016, the exemption allowed for purchase of air tickets at airports through old Rs. 500 notes will be removed from the exempted category.

The other exempted categories that have earlier been notified will continue to accept old Rs. 500 notes as per the said notifications.

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Government clarifies apprehension under the proposed Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016
Dec 01,2016

In the wake of Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 which has been passed by the Lok Sabha and is under consideration with Rajya Sabha, some rumours have been making rounds that all gold jewellery including ancestral jewellery shall be taxed @75% plus cess with a further penalty liability of 10% of tax payable.

It is hereby clarified that the above Bill has not introduced any new provision regarding chargeability of tax on jewellery. The Bill only seeks to enhance the applicable tax rate under section 115BBE of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (the Act) from existing 30% to 60% plus surcharge of 25% and cess thereon. This section only provides rate of tax to be charged in case of unexplained investment in assets. The chargeability of these assets as income is governed by the provisions of section 69, 69A & 69B which are part of the Act since 1960s. The Bill does not seek to amend the provisions of these sections. Tax rate under section 115BBE is proposed to be increased only for unexplained income as there were reports that the tax evaders are trying to include their undisclosed income in the return of income as business income or income from other sources. The provisions of section 115BBE apply mainly in those cases where assets or cash etc. are sought to be declared as unexplained cash or asset or where it is hidden as unsubstantiated business income, and the Assessing Officer detects it as such.

It is clarified that the jewellery/gold purchased out of disclosed income or out of exempted income like agricultural income or out of reasonable household savings or legally inherited which has been acquired out of explained sources is neither chargeable to tax under the existing provisions nor under the proposed amended provisions. In this connection, a reference to instruction No.1916 is also invited which provides that during the search operations, no seizure of gold jewellery and ornaments to the extent of 500 grams per married lady, 250 grams per unmarried lady and 100 grams per male member of the family shall be made. Further, legitimate holding of jewellery upto any extent is fully protected.

In view of the above, the apprehension sought to be created that the jewellery with the household which is acquired out of disclosed sources or exempted income shall become taxable under the proposed amendment is totally unfounded and baseless.

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Gartner Says Worldwide Server Revenue Declined 5.8 Percent in the Third Quarter of 2016; Shipments Were Down 2.6 Percent
Dec 01,2016

In the third quarter of 2016, worldwide server revenue declined 5.8 percent year over year, and shipments declined 2.6 percent from the third quarter of 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. Among the top five vendors, only Cisco increased revenue in the third quarter, while Huawei and Inspur Electronics saw growth in shipments. HPE, Dell and Lenovo all experienced declines in both server revenue and shipments.

The server market was impacted during the third quarter of 2016 by generally conservative spending plans globally. This was compounded by the ability of end users to leverage additional virtual machines on existing x86 servers (without new hardware) to meet their server application needs, said Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner. Server providers will need to reinvigorate and improve their value propositions to help end users justify server hardware replacements and growth, if they hope to drive the market back into a positive state.

All regions showed a decline in shipments except Eastern Europe, which posted growth of 0.9 percent. In terms of revenue, all regions except for Japan experienced a decline. Japan grew by 1.3 percent.

x86 servers declined 2.3 percent in shipments and 1.6 percent in revenue in the third quarter of 2016. All vendors in the top five except for Cisco experienced a decline in revenue. In x86 server shipments, only Huawei and Inspur Electronics experienced growth.

Despite a decline of 11.8 percent, HPE continued to lead in the worldwide server market, based on revenue, with 25.5 percent market share. Dell declined 7.9 percent, but maintained the second spot in the market with 17.5 percent market share. Lenovo secured the third spot with 7.8 percent of the market. IBM dropped to the fifth position and experienced the largest decline among the top five vendors.

Table 1
Worldwide: Server Vendor Revenue Estimates, 3Q16 (U.S. Dollars)

Company3Q16 Revenue3Q16 Market Share (%)3Q15 Revenue3Q15 Market Share (%)3Q15-3Q16 Growth (%)HPE3,247,087,04525.53,682,417,47727.3-11.8Dell2,227,185,68517.52,419,231,40317.9-7.9Lenovo994,447,2617.81,065,664,1197.9-6.7Cisco929,440,0007.3885,600,0006.65.0IBM889,723,5957.01,327,761,1979.8-33.0Others4,426,866,90934.84,120,053,34830.57.4Total12,714,750,495100.013,500,727,543100.0-5.8

Note: Beginning in the second quarter of 2016, HPEs server sales in China are reflected in H3C.

Source: Gartner (November 2016)

HPE secured the No 1 position in server shipments in the third quarter of 2016, with 18.3 percent of the market. Despite a decline of 9.8 percent, Dell secured the second spot with 16.8 percent market share.Huawei and Inspur were the only vendors in the top five to increase server shipments in the third quarter of 2016.

Table 2
Worldwide: Server Vendor Shipment Estimates, 3Q16 (Units)

Company3Q16 Shipments3Q16 Market Share (%)3Q15 Shipments3Q15 Market Share (%)3Q15-3Q16 Growth (%)HPE493,26818.3613,10122.2-19.5Dell452,38316.8501,26218.1-9.8Lenovo228,0978.5242,0058.8-5.7Huawei163,3556.1134,1634.921.8Inspur Electronics119,9434.599,4173.620.6Others1,234,56745.91,172,72542.45.3Total2,691,613100.02,762,672100.0-2.6

Note: Beginning in the second quarter of 2016, HPEs server sales in China are reflected in H3C.

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Gartner Survey Shows That Mobile Device Adoption in the Workplace Is Not Yet Mature
Dec 01,2016

Mobile device adoption in the workplace is not yet mature, found a recent survey from Gartner, Inc. Although 80 percent of workers surveyed received one or more corporate-issued devices, desktops are still the most popular corporate device among businesses, with more than half of workers receiving corporate-issued desktop PCs.

The survey findings are based on the 2016 Gartner Personal Technologies Study, which was conducted from June to August 2016 among 9,592 respondents in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

Thirty-six percent of workers received laptops, including convertible laptops. Adoption of convertible laptops as a corporate-issued device is still very low, but has been gradually increasing. Gartner analysts expect that more employees will receive convertible laptops in the next three years, driven by the Windows 10 refresh that can enhance the user experience with touch-based input. Adding desktops and laptops (including convertible laptops) together, 75 percent of workers will receive at least one PC-type device in mature countries.

In contrast to the high numbers of corporate-issued PCs in the workplace, relatively few workers receive mobile devices. The majority of smartphones used in the workplace are personally owned devices n++ only 23 percent of employees surveyed are given corporate-issued smartphones.

The low adoption of corporate-issued mobile devices underlines the fact that large numbers of personally owned mobile devices are used in the workplace, said Mikako Kitagawa, principal research analyst at Gartner. In fact, more than half of employees who used smartphones at work rely solely on their personally owned smartphones.

The usage rate of personally owned tablets lags behind that of personally owned smartphones. Only 21 percent of employees use tablets n++ regardless of whether they are corporate issued or personally owned.

In the era of mobility, it comes as something of a surprise that corporate usage of smartphones and tablets is not as high as PCs, even when the use of personally owned devices is taken into account, said Ms. Kitagawa. While its true that the cost of providing mobile devices can quickly escalate, proper usage of mobile devices can increase productivity, which can easily justify the extra costs.

When employees are provided with corporate-issued devices, they are generally happy with the devices that they receive. Less than 20 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their employer-provided devices. The satisfaction level is higher with tablets and smartphones compared with desktop and laptops.

Usage of personally owned devices in the workplace is nothing new, but the survey results confirm that this trend has become a new workplace standard. Two-thirds of survey respondents said that they use a personally owned device or devices for work, said Ms. Kitagawa. Smartphones and phablets are the most popular personally owned devices used for work, with 39 percent of employees using them, compared with just 10 percent who are only using corporate-issued smartphones and phablets.

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Moodys: Stable outlook for Asia Pacific power sector reflects consistent regulatory returns, manageable cost increases
Dec 01,2016

Moodys Investors Service says that the stable outlook for the power sector in Asia Pacific over the next 12-18 months is mainly underpinned by consistent regulatory returns and Moodys expectation of manageable increases in fuel costs over the same period, as well as the absence of significant changes to regulatory environments.

Transparent tariff-setting mechanisms will continue to benefit the regulated power utilities in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, says Mic Kang, a Moodys Vice President and Senior Analyst.

As for other power companies operating in weaker tariff systems n++ specifically those with a lower ability to recover increased costs n++ the low likelihood of a steep rise in fuel costs should generally result in continued stable business conditions over the next 12-18 months, adds Kang.

Moodys outlook reflects its expectations for fundamental business conditions in the power industry across Asia Pacific over the next 12-18 months.

Moodys report points out that stable industry conditions will in general support the credit metrics of most Moodys-rated power companies across Asia Pacific, despite increasing environmental compliance costs associated with government-led decarbonization initiatives, and growing competitive pressure stemming from new renewable and baseload power plant capacity.

In addition, Moodys believes that most power companies can fund cash shortfalls through debt market issuance, while state-controlled power utilities will continue to benefit from strong government support.

However, many thermal power generators will face medium- to long-term pressure, because of lower dispatch volumes n++ as low marginal cost renewable energy production ramps up n++ and/or increased investments to meet environmental regulations, which may not be fully compensated for through timely tariff adjustments in many countries.

Sector reforms in China (Aa3 negative), Japan (A1 stable) and Korea (Aa2 stable) will have a manageable effect on the operations of power companies during the outlook period. But these reforms will create increasingly challenging business conditions over time, by growing competition and/or potentially reducing the likelihood of extraordinary government support for state-controlled companies.

Thirty nine (74%) of Moodys-rated power companies in Asia Pacific demonstrate ratings with stable or positive outlooks, mainly reflecting broadly unchanged fundamental business conditions, financial profiles consistent with Moodys rating expectations, and/or the positive outlook on a parents rating.

The remaining 14 companies (26%) n++ a majority of which are Chinese power companies and, to a lesser extent, Japans power utilities n++ have ratings which carry negative outlooks or are on review for downgrade.

The negative outlooks or ratings which are on review for downgrade in relation to Chinas power companies are mainly due to the negative outlook on Chinas Aa3 sovereign rating, and the companies weakening credit fundamentals.

Moodys believes Chinas coal-oriented power companies will face greater challenges than those in other regions. Moodys assessment is based on the rapid pace of renewable development in the country n++ which will increase energy supply n++ and an increase in fuel costs, reflecting the recovery in thermal coal prices in the second half of 2016, amid potential delays in the companies ability to pass through such additional costs.

The negative outlooks on the ratings of some Japanese power utilities mainly reflect uncertainty over the timing of restarts of nuclear reactors, given that a sustained recovery in their credit metrics to a large degree depends on their resuming operations.

Meanwhile, Moodys has changed the outlook for Indias (Baa3 positive) power sector to stable from negative, because the increased domestic production of coal will ease constraints on fuel supply, and the Indian governments debt restructuring of the financially weak distribution utilities will likely improve their financial capacity to make timely payments to power generators.

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