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OECD unemployment rate stable at 6.2% in December 2016
Feb 14,2017

The OECD unemployment rate was stable, at 6.2%, for the second consecutive month in December 2016. Across the OECD area, 38.5 million people were unemployed, 5.9 million more than in April 2008, before the crisis.

The unemployment rate in the euro area declined in December by 0.1 percentage point, to 9.6%, its lowest level since May 2009, with the largest falls recorded in Portugal (down 0.3 percentage point, to 10.2%), Spain (down 0.3 percentage point, to 18.4%), the Slovak Republic (down 0.2 percentage point, to 8.8%) and the Netherlands (down 0.2 percentage point, to 5.4%). On the other hand, the unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage point in Latvia (to 9.8%) and by 0.1 percentage point in France (to 9.6%) and Luxembourg (to 6.3%).

Outside Europe, the unemployment rate increased in December by 0.1 percentage point in Canada (to 6.9%), Mexico (to 3.8%) and the United States (to 4.7%), while it was stable in Japan (at 3.1%) and fell by 0.2 percentage point in Korea (to 3.4%). For the United States, more recent data for January 2017 point to a further increase of 0.1 percentage point, to 4.8%.

Over the last year, the unemployment rate in the euro area (down 0.9 percentage point) fell at a faster pace than in the OECD as a whole (down 0.3 percentage point). The largest year-on-year declines within the euro area occurred in Spain (down 2.3 percentage points), Portugal (down 2.0 percentage points), the Slovak Republic (down 1.9 percentage point), Ireland (down 1.7 percentage point) and Greece (down 1.5 percentage point between October 2015 and October 2016, the latest month available). By contrast, the unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage point over the year in Italy.

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In India, the CLI points to easing growth momentum
Feb 14,2017

Growth is anticipated to pick-up in the United States, Canada, Japan as well as Germany and France, says Composite leading indicators (CLIs) by OECD. In the United Kingdom, there are tentative signs of growth gaining momentum, although the CLI remains below trend and uncertainty persists about the nature of the agreement the UK will eventually conclude with the EU.

In the OECD area as a whole, as well as the in the euro area and in Italy, the CLIs indicate stable growth momentum.

Amongst major emerging economies, growth is expected to gain momentum in China, Brazil and Russia. In India, the CLI points to easing growth momentum.

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Mobile broadband penetration at 95% in OECD area
Feb 14,2017

High-speed Internet use continues to grow in OECD countries with mobile broadband penetration reaching 95 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in June 2016, up from 86 per 100 a year earlier, according to data released by the OECD.

The addition of 123 million new mobile broadband subscriptions in the 35-country OECD area made a year-on-year rise of 11.3%, driven by continued growth in the use of smartphone and tablets, and lifted the OECD total to 1.214 billion subscriptions in a population of 1.27 billion people.

Twelve countries - Japan, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the US, Estonia, Australia, Korea, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and Switzerland, in descending order of mobile subscriptions per capita - now lie above the 100% penetration threshold, up from nine countries a year ago.

Fixed-line broadband subscriptions in the 35-country OECD area reached 380 million as of June 2016, up from 363 million a year earlier and making an average penetration of 29.8%, up from 28.6%. Switzerland leads the pack with a penetration rate of 51 subscriptions per 100, followed by Denmark (43%), the Netherlands (42%), France (41%) and Korea (40%).

DSL remains the prevalent technology, making up 44.7% of fixed broadband subscriptions, but it continues to be gradually replaced by fibre, now accounting for 20.1% of subscriptions thanks to a 16% jump in fibre subscriptions since June 2015. Cable (32.2%) made up most of the rest.

Data on machine-to-machine communications, such as for Internet-connected vehicles, show that Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands remain the leaders in the number of M2M SIM cards in use, with the caveat that data is not yet fully comparable for all countries. Sweden counts 77 M2M SIM cards per 100 inhabitants - a much higher level than for most other OECD countries that provided data. Overall, M2M/embedded mobile cellular subscriptions grew by almost 20% in the last year in countries were the data was available

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WPI inflation jumps to 30-month high of 5.25% in January 2017
Feb 14,2017

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation accelerated further to 30-month high of 5.3% in January 2017 from 3.4% in December 2016. An increase in WPI inflation was mainly driven by higher inflation for fuel and power group, while inflation for primary articles and manufactured products group also moved up in January 2017.

Inflation of primary articles rose to 1.3% in January 2017 from 0.3% in December 2016. The inflation for manufactured products moved up to 4.0% in January 2017. The inflation for fuel items zoomed to 18.1% in January 2017 from 8.7% in December 2016.

As per major commodity group-wise, inflation rose for fruits, vegetables, milk, fish, poultry chicken, spices, fibres, oilseeds, flowers, metallic minerals, crude petroleum, coal, mineral oils, electricity, grain mill products, edible oils, textiles, chemical products and basic metals in January 2017. On the other hand, inflation of foodgrains, sugarcane, sugar, oilcakes, wood products, leather products, non-metallic mineral products, and transport equipment declined in January 2017.

Inflation of food items (food articles and food products) was flat at 2.8% in January 2017 from December 2016 level. Meanwhile, inflation of non-food items (all commodities excluding food items) moved up to 6.4% in January 2017 from 3.7% in December 2016.

Core inflation (manufactured products excluding foods products) accelerated to 2.7% in January 2017 from 2.1% in December 2016.

The contribution of primary articles to the overall inflation, at 5.25%, was 37 basis points (bps) in January 2017 compared with 08 bps in December 2016. The contribution of manufactured products was 226 bps compared with 206 bps, while that of fuel product group was 263 bps against 129 bps in December 2016.

The contribution of food items (food articles and food products) to inflation fell to 89 bps in 5.25% in January 2017 compared with 91 bps to 3.43% in December 2016. Meanwhile, the contribution of non-food items (all commodities excluding food items) was 436 bps in January 2017 compared with 250 bps in December 2016.

As per the revised data, the inflation figure for November 2016 was revised up to 3.4% compared with 3.2% reported provisionally.

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Moodys: Continued robust demand for aircraft will support aircraft financing in 2017
Feb 14,2017

New commercial aircraft funding requirements will continue to grow at a steady pace in 2017 on the back of robust expansion in the global aircraft fleet, Moodys Investors Service says in a new report. Growth in the availability and trading of mid-life and older aircraft will further sustain the need for financing, and funding sources will remain abundant.

More than 1,300 aircraft are scheduled for delivery this year, and that figure will be even higher in 2018. Boeing Capital Corp. forecasts the value of deliveries at $126 billion in 2017 and $141 billion in 2018, with the majority financed by debt.

The need for aircraft financing will rise along with growth in passenger and, therefore, aircraft demand, says Moodys Senior Credit Officer, Jonathan Root. We expect aircraft finance markets to remain strong in the year ahead, providing airlines and lessors with ample liquidity and a wide variety of funding sources.

The three main sources of aircraft financing -- cash, commercial banks and capital markets -- will all either maintain or grow in overall volume in 2017, according to Boeing Capital. Bank appetite for aircraft lending could decline if proposed modifications to Basel III rules are adopted, however. The changes would restrict banks use of internal risk models to determine capital levels for specialized lending, and would likely raise the cost of financing.

Regulatory pressures on banks and the limited availability of export credit agency financing are leading to capital market innovation for financing aircraft, with some structures designed to replace bank funding and others to appeal to investors new to aviation finance. Still others combine elements of traditional asset-backed securities (ABS) and managed funds to segment risk in new ways.

Issuance of aircraft ABS, the majority collateralized by mid-life and older assets, will strengthen in 2017, says Moodys Senior Credit Officer, Tracy Rice. Larger aircraft lessors will issue ABS on an opportunistic basis, including to sell aircraft portfolios, while mid-tier leasing companies will use ABS for permanent financing.

Favorable industry conditions will support the credit performance of aircraft ABS transactions and EETCs in the year ahead, Moodys says. And steady demand for aircraft will help ease the rate of decline in the value of older aircraft in outstanding rated deals.

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Strong Payment Mechanism Partly Contributes to Solar Tariff Free Fall; Solar Projects Funding To Ease
Feb 14,2017

The strong payment security mechanism from the counterparty in the recently concluded auctions for 750 MW of solar projects in Rewa Solar Park, Madhya Pradesh, will enable fund raising at competitive rates, says India Ratings and Research (India Ratings). The agency believes that the reduced risk from the counterparty because of payment security mechanisms is one of the levers for the steep fall in tariffs quoted by the bidders.

The new payment security mechanism includes the state government payment guarantee, payment security fund (about 35-40% of revenue at plant load factor of 22%) and a deemed generation compensation for the grid unavailability, in addition to the regular letter of credit. Low tariff will also incentivise the offtakers to pay on-time. Notwithstanding the new payment structure, in the event of the tariffs not being commensurate with the capital cost - reminiscent to the aggressive bids seen in the road sector - will stress the coverage ratios of these projects. Thus the cost of funding and lower solar panel prices (fallen by ~28% yoy) are critical factors for the sharp fall in solar bids.

While the state guarantee and payment security fund (PSF) provides a cushion, however it is imperative to know the terms for invocation of the guarantee and the replenishment of PSF. In the event of guarantee invocation or tapping of PSF after a substantial delay in payments - beyond 60 days - the players could be forced to avail working capital facilities and bear the related financial costs.

In another development, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) is now included as a beneficiary in the tripartite agreement with the Reserve Bank of India, Government of India and the states. This development will allow withholding of central assistance to states in case of a default to SECI. As a result, SECIs future bids are likely to fall to lower tariffs than earlier. The reduced counterparty risk will aid in curtailing the borrowing costs for these projects.

Evolving Security Mechanism A Positive

Though solar projects relatively enjoy stable receivable days from most counterparties, the underlying risk from the weak financial profile of most distribution utilities remain. Certain distributionutilities however exhibit different payment days for different generation assets (thermal and wind) and this pattern among discoms provides limited comfort in assessing the reliability of the offtakers. Thus the inclusion of SECI as a beneficiary in the tripartite agreement gains significance in providing reliability of collections.

Threat of Grid Uncertainty Partially Addressed

In light of grid curtailment faced by wind projects in few states and also by solar projects in Tamil Nadu, the development of providing deemed generation benefits for grid non-availability is a positive development. India Ratings had highlighted this in the report Market Wire: Grid Curtailment Contagion Puts Pressure on Credit Profiles of Renewable Energy Projects.

However, Ind-Ra believes that it may be unsustainable for the off-takers to carry this risk as the distribution utilities do not operate the grid. The responsibility of grid operation lies with the loaddespatch centres within the constraints posed by the transmission infrastructure and load-generation balancing. Thus, the onus of enabling evacuation also lies with the open access provider and network operator. Clarity in responsibilities and contractual incentives and penalties will ensure that all the stakeholders (including off-takers, open access providers and network operators) are aligned towards the goal of uninterrupted evacuation for renewable power.

Bids Reach New Lows

Auction for implementing 750MW in Rewa Solar Park was concluded at INR2.970-/kWh, INR2.979 and INR2.974 for three units of 250MW each, with 5 paise per year escalation for first 15 years. Offtakers are Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and Madhya Pradesh Power Management Corporation Ltd. The previous low in terms of tariffs of INR4.34/kWh was offered by Fortum of Finland was exactly a year ago in January 2016. Rewa Ultra Mega Solar, which is developing the Rewa solar park, is a joint venture of SECI and Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Limited. Land acquisition and evacuation are the responsibility of the solar park, thus mitigating significant risks for the project developers. The low tariffs discovered makes the solar projects highly competitive in merit order, as the variable charges of marginal power for most states lie above INR3.5/kWh.

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Operation Clean Money by IT Dept gets overwhelming response
Feb 13,2017

The Income Tax Department (ITD) had initiated Operation Clean Money on 31st January, 2017 for the e-verification of large cash deposits made during the period from 9th November to 30th December, 2016. Email and SMS were sent to 18 lakh taxpayers for submitting online response on the e-filing portal.

The operation has seen an overwhelming response and till 12th February, 2017 more than 5.27 Lakh taxpayers have already submitted their response. Out of the 7.41 Lakh accounts confirmed by the 5.27 Lakh taxpayers, the cash deposit amount has been confirmed in more than 99.5 per cent accounts. The Department is encouraged to note that taxpayers have increased the cash deposit amount in nearly 90,000 accounts and provided details of additional 25,000 bank accounts in which cash was deposited. The explanation of cash deposit submitted by the taxpayer is being analysed in the context of nature of business and business profile in the earlier returns of the taxpayer.

This exercise has identified around 4.84 lakh taxpayers not yet registered with the e-filing portal. SMS have been sent on the mobile number of these unregistered persons. Income Tax Department is keeping a vigil on the PAN holders who have still not registered on the e-filing portal or who have not yet submitted their online response.

In order to facilitate online responses, the last date for their submission has been extended up to 15th February, 2017 and a detailed Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) has also been issued to assist the taxpayers in submitting their response. The taxpayers should submit their response within this further extended period with a view to avoid enforcement actions under the Income-tax Act and other applicable laws.

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Expeditious issue of Refunds is a High Priority for the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
Feb 13,2017

The Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) of the Income Tax Department (ITD) at Bengluru has already processed over 4.19 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) and issued over 1.62 crore refunds during the current financial year up to 10th February, 2017. The amount of refunds issued at Rs.1.42 Lakh Crore is 41.5% higher than the corresponding period last year.

As a result of emphasis on expeditious issue of refunds, 92% of all Income Tax returns were processed within 60 days demonstrating CBDTs commitment to faster and more efficient taxpayer service. Of the refunds issued, 92% are below Rs.50,000 due to the high priority given to expeditious issue of refunds to small taxpayers. Only 2% of refunds less than Rs. 50,000 are remaining to be issued. Majority of these cases relate to recently filed ITRs or where the taxpayers response to the Department is awaited.

Taxpayers reposed faith in CBDTs e-governance initiatives by filing electronically a whopping 4.01 Cr ITRs till 10th February 2017 representing an increase of 20% over the previous year. Also, more than 60 lakh other online forms were filed with an increase of nearly 41% compared to the previous year.

Taxpayers are advised to verify and update their email address and mobile number on the e-filing website to receive electronic communication. CBDT is committed to ensuring best possible taxpayer services through its e-governance programs and increasing the coverage and scope of electronic filing and processing of various forms and applications.

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CPI inflation dips to 3.2% in January 2017
Feb 13,2017

The all-India general CPI inflation dipped to 3.17% in January 2017 (new base 2012=100), compared with 3.41% in December 2016. The CPI inflation in January 2017 has touched a lowest level for CPI inflation data with base 2012 available since January 2014.

The corresponding provisional inflation rate for rural area was 3.36% and urban area 2.90% in January 2017 as against 3.83% and 2.90% in December 2016. The core CPI inflation rose to 5.00% in January 2017 from 4.83% in December 2016. The cumulative CPI inflation was slightly up at 4.85% in April-January FY2017 compared with 4.79% in April- January FY2016.

Among the CPI components, inflation of food and beverages declined to 1.29% in January 2017 from 1.98% in December 2016 contributing to the fall in CPI inflation. Within the food items, the inflation eased for pulses and products to (-) 6.62%, meat and fish 2.98%, vegetables (-) 15.62%, spices 5.04% and sugar and confectionery 18.69%. The inflation also eased for egg 2.64%, milk and products to 4.23% and non-alcoholic beverages 3.10%. On the other hand, inflation moved up for oils and fats 3.12% and fruits 5.81% in January 2017.

The inflation for housing was nearly flat at 5.02%, while that for miscellaneous items moved up to 5.06% in January 2017. Within the miscellaneous items, the inflation for Transport and communication jumped to 5.40%, and Education 5.62%, while inflation declined for personal care and effects to 6.29%, household goods and services 4.19% and health 4.18% in January 2017.

The inflation for clothing and footwear eased to 4.71% in January 2017, while the CPI inflation of fuel and light also declined to 3.42% in January 2017.

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New National Urban and Habitat Policy, National Rental Housing Policy and Model Tenancy Act in the works
Feb 13,2017

The Government is drafting a National Urban and Habitat Policy, National Rental Housing Policy and Model Tenancy Act for efficient functioning of the real estate sector and imparting transparency in its working. This was stated by Mr. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.

Mr. Mishra said that budget was critical to the real estate sector as it addressed many of the industrys issues by way of policy and legislative interventions. He said that the government has extended the benefits of affordable housing schemes to middle income groups as well and was now encouraging developers to enter the affordable housing segment by way of granting infrastructure status to it. He added that the government welcomes feedback from the industry to make better and effective policies.

Mr. Suraj Malik, Director - Mergers & Acquisitions, PwC India, said that the key policy announcements made in the Budget 207-18 such as grant of infrastructure status to affordable housing segment; refinancing of individual housing loans by the National Housing Bank and permission to monetize Airport Authority of India owned land, the proceeds of which will received be used for airport upgradation.

He said that the other modifications in the budget such as reduction of the period of holding for immovable property for long term characterization from 36 months to 24 months would have an impact on the sector. Mr. Malik delved on several other amendments and provisions of the budget that would influence the real estate sector both in the short and long term and sought industrys views on them.

Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said that the government has taken many constructive steps towards making the system transparent and easier to comply with which has resulted in efficient governance. The Budget has implications on various sectors and it was another step towards the reforms agenda of the government. He assured that FICCI would continue to support the initiatives of the government.

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Tax Collection at Source within the ambit of Model GST Law presents an existential challenge for the e-commerce marketplaces
Feb 13,2017

E-Commerce is one of the flourishing sectors of the country and has remained as a core part of the Governments Start up India, Make in India, Digital India and Skilled India programs. The sector needs to be nurtured with right policy framework and guidelines in order to make it more productive.

FICCI appreciates the Government for the passing of the much awaited Goods and Services Tax Bill and is certain that the implementation of GST will help in increasing the productivity and transparency in the country by increasing the tax-GDP ratio. Moreover, the much awaited One-Country-One-Tax policy will be implemented in the greater interest of the national economy.

However, the draft Model GST law that is due to be finalized soon has proposed a clause called Tax Collection at Source (TCS - Section 56). The Tax Collection at Source (TCS - Section 56) clause under the GST draft model law, mandates e-commerce marketplaces, to deduct 2% of the transaction value and submit it to the government. As an estimate, this clause would lead to locking up about Rs. 400 crores of capital per annum for the e-commerce sector. In addition, it would result in a loss of an estimated 1.8 lakh jobs, putting a halt to the growth and investments in the sector.

TCS would have a direct impact on the sellers of the marketplace, who are generally small in nature with a turnover in the range of INR 50 lakhs to INR 10 crores per annum. The ecommerce marketplace model facilitates sellers in maximising their capital efficiency by rotating it frequently, which helps to provide the volumes required to generate profit for the sellers. Blocking capital, would disrupt the cash flow, thus making it difficult for sellers to generate profits. Additionally, TCS is bound to increase the working capital requirements for the sellers, who might resort to increasing margins or internalising the costs, to cover the additional burden. There is a need to find out alternatives which could be employed to ensure that regular information on tax, is made available to the government, without jeopardising the business model and future growth prospects of the nascent e-commerce sector.

Dr Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI appreciated the moves of the Government towards digitization and formalization of the economy further, and quoted the recent example of demonetization in this perspective. He added that passing of the much awaited GST Bill would bring further uniformity in the market and boost the national economy. However, he stressed that there is a need to have a conducive tax environment for the sector as also reflected in the agenda of World Trade Organization (WTO) globally. The Tax Collection at Source (TCS) clause within the Model GST Law mandates the e-commerce marketplaces to deduct a portion of the amount payable to the supplier of goods / services and remit it to the government. At the moment, the e-commerce sector in India is at less than 2% of the entire retail segment and moreover, at a very nascent stage, with a promise of high growth in the future. Subjecting the sector to a major compliance at such an early stage will not only result in slowing it down but also deter the benefits that e commerce fosters in terms of employment creation and giving a boost to both the manufacturing and services space by providing an apt platform. Moreover, this clause is discriminatory towards online sellers as it does not exist in the offline retail segment.

Dr. Singh backed that the Government should find out alternative ways to replace the clause, may be the information related to the sellers declared to the Government would be the best feasible option available. He also stressed that the sector is one of the core pillars of the Governments Digital India campaign and is needed to be nurtured with right set of policy frameworks and guidelines.

Mr. Kunal Bahl, Co-founder and CEO, Snapdeal said that GST is a key tax reform, which will simplify the tax compliance burden for the entire economy. However, the proposal of tax collection at source, directed only at e-commerce marketplaces, in the Draft Model GST Law, will hurt lakhs of small sellers by making online sales expensive and cumbersome for them. The proposal, while adding needless complexity for the sellers, provides no benefit to the tax authorities and will lead to duplication of information followed by the need for its reconciliation. It is a measure, which goes against the spirit of making India digital and improving the ease of doing business in the country. We are positive that the government will address this crucial concern.n++

Mr. Amit Agarwal, Country Head, Amazon India mentioned that n++we welcome the introduction of the new GST Bill. E-commerce has opened up immense growth opportunities for Small & Medium Businesses by enabling easy and convenient access to not only a nationwide consumer base but also to global markets. We believe GST is good for the ecommerce industry as it would eliminate hurdles in inter-state delivery and subsume the entry tax introduced on e-commerce shipments by some states. However, we remain concerned about the Tax Collection at Source provision which we believe will negatively impact the growth of marketplaces at a stage when the industry is still in its infancy. There is an urgent need to re-evaluate such an onerous requirement/ we are working with the government on this and hope for a favourable resolution.n++

Mr. Sachin Bansal, Co-founder & Executive Chairman, Flipkart said n++the Indian e-commerce growth story is marvellous. Flipkart alone has on boarded around ten thousand sellers and has contributed a lot towards the growth of first generation entrepreneurs, Im sure that the other companies have the similar numbers. GST is in fact one of the most forward looking moves being made by the Government and would bring the one country - One Tax policy. However, the Tax Collection at Source (TCS) clause would lead to blockage approx. Rs. 400 crore of working capital into the system, and will discourage sellers to come online. Also, the Government needs to set a level playing field as the clauses is not pertinent to the off-line retail segment. Central and the state Governments needs to find out alternative ways to address the situation and the e commerce platforms may give a self-declaration about the taxes being reimbursed by the sellers. Some of the states namely Kerala, Rajasthan and Delhi are already doing the same. Im sure that the clause would be removed in the greater benefit of the Indian digital space as a whole.

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CEA Advisory Could Lift Profitability of Domestic BTG Manufacturers
Feb 13,2017

The recently issued Central Electricity Authority (CEA) advisory with regard to indigenous manufacturing of supercritical equipment and doing away of the deed of joint undertaking (DJU) in case certain conditions are met is positive for the domestic Boiler-Turbine- Generator (BTG) manufacturers, says India Ratings and Research (India Ratings). India Ratings believes the effect of this advisory will have a trickle down benefit on the profitability of the BTG manufacturers with a lag of around 1.5-2.5 years, as the order execution cycle for Bharat Heavy Electricals Limiteds (BHEL; IND AA+/Negative) is 36-48 months.

The advisory is positive for BTG manufacturers in two respects. Firstly, CEA has extended the advisory dated 2nd February 2010 for a further period of three years to October 2018 from October 2015. The earlier advisory had asked the BTG procurers (central and state power generating entities) to incorporate the condition of setting up of phased indigenous manufacturing facilities in the bids to be invited for supercritical projects by them. It is interesting to note that, the advisory is only applicable to the central and state utilities and is only an advisory which cannot be enforced upon the procurers. However, India Ratings notes that most central and state utilities tend to fall in line with the CEA advisory. The private sector is free to choose from the BTG supplier. India Ratings believes that the private sector participation will remain muted since they have been hit the most on account of muted demand and lack of power purchase agreements, thus leading to the declining PLFs of 56.3% from 83.9% over 9mFY17- FY10 (Figure 1). Therefore at a time when bulk of the fresh capacity orders will come from the central and state utilities, such an extension in the timelines is positive for BTG manufacturers.

Secondly, CEA has also advised that in the event a BTG manufacturer meets three conditions then there will be no need to furnish a DJU. India Ratings believes that these conditions will be fulfilled by BHEL and hence in its future orders, it will not need to furnish DJU which is likely to increase its gross margins. The three conditions that need to be fulfilled are i) eight supercritical boilers manufactured/supplied in India by the company have achieved commercial operation ii) four such boilers should have achieved commercial operation for a duration of at-least one year and iii) performance guarantee tests have been successfully completed by any two boilers. Under the DJU clause, the domestic manufacturer has to furnish a guarantee from one of the collaborators, a large international technology company such as Siemens AG/Alstom. In order to provide guarantees, collaborators have been taking a higher share of the orders, thus impacting the gross margins of BTG manufacturers. As of October 2016, BHEL commissioned 12 sets of supercritical boilers and 10 sets of supercritical turbine generators. BHELs gross margins which have been historically stable or rising, due to BHELs indigenization efforts had declined in 9MFY16 to 37.7% and further to 36.6% during 9MFY17 (Figure 2), on account of the higher share of contracts executed under DJU clause, as the order book shifted towards supercritical projects. The order book of BHEL now has supercritical set contracts with DJU clauses, thus the gross margin expansion in India Ratings opinion is some time away. The execution of the new projects without DJU clause, will begin to reflect in the gross margins only once BHEL wins new projects.

India Ratings notes, that through this advisory, BHELs gross margins in future projects can expand, however, the overhang of slow moving order book, high employee cost, lower ordering activity given the subdued PLFs, limited participation from the private sector and stretched working capital cycle will continue to weigh on the overall financial profile of the company.

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Gartner Says IT Spending in the Banking and Securities Industry in India to Reach $8.9 Billion in 2017
Feb 13,2017

IT spending by banking and securities firms in India will reach $8.9 billion dollars in 2017, an increase of 9.7 percent from 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. This forecast provides total enterprise IT spending for internal spending and spending data on data center systems, devices, software, IT services and telecom services.

IT services will grow the fastest at 13.8 percent in 2017, as firms in the banking and securities industry invest more in business processes, specifically in business process outsourcing. The focus is on outsourcing the activities to achieve operational efficiency and reduce costs in the banking and securities industry in India.

The banking and securities industry in India saw a sea of change from earlier years in 2016 due to the sudden demonetization announcement, said Moutusi Sau, principal research analyst at Gartner. Banks are increasingly working to enhance their customer facing platforms and investing in payment tools.

Further information on the banking and securities industry IT spending is available in the Gartner report: Forecast: Enterprise IT Spending for the Banking and Securities Market, Worldwide, 2014-2020, 4Q16 Update. The banking and securities industry forecast provides total enterprise IT spending, including internal spending and multiple lines of detail surrounding spending on data center, devices, software, IT services and telecom services for 43 countries within 11 regions.

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Bring in Land & Real Estate within GST Purview & Keep Consumer Durables at Lower Rates Post GST: Manish Sisodia
Feb 13,2017

Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, Government of NCT of Delhi, Manish Sisodia on Thursday demanded that land and real estate ought to be brought in within the ambit of GST and its taxation slab for vast majority of consumer durables be kept at lower ceilings to make GST a mass friendly taxation.

The Minister assured India Inc. that he would still take up the aforesaid issues in the forthcoming GST Council meetings as he felt that land and real estate being outside purview of GST and that higher taxation slab for consumer durables would kill its basic purpose.

Addressing a n++National GST Conclave : One Nation One Tax-Pivotal Tax Reformsn++ organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Sisodia also declared that dual control of GST also defeated its intended objectives and sought more intense consultations on the issue in future course of GST Council, arguing that the objective of the GST should be consumer and traders oriented and it should not entirely aim at raising taxation with higher rates.

n++I fought tooth and nail for inclusion of land and real estate within the ambit of GST but somehow there couldnt be an absolute consensus on the issue at number of GST Council Meetings of all the States Finance Ministers because of obvious reasons. I will still try for its inclusion in GST as land and real estate has received huge investments both outside and inside the countryn++, the Minister pointed out making a prophecy that the future generations will suffer its pain in the long run if land and real estate remain outside purview of GST.

n++Consumer durables such as TV, Mobiles, electric appliances and host of similar such articles should not be taxed luxuriously. That is our view and we will continue to articulate them whenever necessary in the interest of Aam Aadmi though the GST tax rates have yet to be finalizedn++, said Mr. Sisodia.

Chairman, CBEC, Mr. Najib Shah in his remarks, emphasized asking industry not to keep seeking exemptions under the GST regime as most of such exemptions would go away after it is put in place after July 1st although the deciding authority on doing away with exemptions post GST and fixing its rates would be the prerogative of the GST Council.

The Chairman also clarified that the anti-profiteering clause in GST Law is there as an enabler and industry should not read too much on it, promising that post GST host of indirect taxes would subsume in it making the new law user friendly.

President, PHD Chamber, Mr. Gopal Jiwarajka in his welcome remarks, demanded to know the justification of anti-profiteering clause in GST regime though he felt that post GST, indirect taxation would be by and large compliant by all sections of society and pave the way for higher revenue generation for the government.

In his opening remarks, Chairman, Indirect Taxes Committee, PHD Chamber, Mr. Bimal Jain said that for implementation of GST Law by July 1, find GST Law with Rules made public for impact and IT preparedness as also 4-tier rates classification of goods list be provided. Training and awareness programme should be conducted for both government officials and trade for better implementation of GST so that it becomes seamless and easier for its timely implementation.

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Fitch: The Trump Administration Poses Risks to Global Sovereigns
Feb 13,2017

The Trump Administration represents a risk to international economic conditions and global sovereign credit fundamentals, Fitch Ratings says. US policy predictability has diminished, with established international communication channels and relationship norms being set aside and raising the prospect of sudden, unanticipated changes in US policies with potential global implications.

The primary risks to sovereign credits include the possibility of disruptive changes to trade relations, diminished international capital flows, limits on migration that affect remittances and confrontational exchanges between policymakers that contribute to heightened or prolonged currency and other financial market volatility. The materialisation of these risks would provide an unfavourable backdrop for economic growth, putting pressure on public finances that may have rating implications for some sovereigns. Increases in the cost or reductions in the availability of external financing, particularly if accompanied by currency depreciation, could also affect ratings.

In assessing the global sovereign credit implications of policies enacted by the new US Administration, Fitch will focus on changes in growth trajectories, public finance positions and balance of payments performances, with particular emphasis on medium-term export prospects and possible pressures on external liquidity and sustainable funding. US positions on some countries may change quickly, at least initially, but any potential rating adjustments will depend on consequent changes to sovereign credit fundamentals, which will almost certainly be slower to materialise.

Elements of President Trumps economic agenda would be positive for growth, including the long-overdue boost to US infrastructure investment, the focus on reducing the regulatory burden and the possibility of tax cuts and reforms, assuming cuts dont lead to proportionate increases in the government deficit and debt. One interpretation of current events is that, after an early flurry of disruptive change to establish a fundamental reorientation of policy direction and intent, the Administration will settle in, embracing a consistent business- and trade-friendly framework that leverages these aspects of its economic programme, with favourable international spill-overs.

In Fitchs view, the present balance of risks points toward a less benign global outcome. The Administration has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, confirmed a pending renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, rebuked US companies that invest abroad, while threatening financial penalties for companies that do so, and accused a number of countries of manipulating exchange rates to the USs disadvantage. The full impact of these initiatives will not be known for some time, and will depend on iterative exchanges among multiple parties and unforeseen additional developments. In short, a lot can change, but the aggressive tone of some Administration rhetoric does not portend an easy period of negotiation ahead, nor does it suggest there is much scope for compromise.

Sovereigns most at risk from adverse changes to their credit fundamentals are those with close economic and financial ties with the US that come under scrutiny due to either existing financial imbalances or perceptions of unfair frameworks or practices that govern their bilateral relations. Canada, China, Germany, Japan and Mexico have been identified explicitly by the Administration as having trade arrangements or exchange rate policies that warrant attention, but the list is unlikely to end there. Our revision of the Outlook on Mexicos BBB+ sovereign rating to Negative in December partly reflected increased economic uncertainty and asset price volatility following the US election.

The integrative aspects of global supply chains, particularly in manufactured goods, means actions taken by the US that limit trade flows with one country will have cascading effects on others. Regional value chains are especially well developed in East Asia, focused on China, and Central Europe, focused on Germany.

Tighter immigration controls and possible deportations could have meaningful effects on remittance flows, as the US has the worlds largest immigrant population. World Bank data confirm that the US and Mexico share the worlds top migration corridor and have the largest bilateral remittance flows. Relative to GDP, remittances are even larger for Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, all of which receive most inflows from the US.

Countries hosting US direct investment, at least part of which has financed export industries focused back on the US, are at risk of being singled out for punitive trade measures. The list of these countries is potentially long, since US-based entities account for nearly one-quarter of the stock of global foreign direct investment. Countries with the highest stock of US investment in manufacturing are Canada, the UK, Netherlands, Mexico, Germany, China and Brazil.

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