4:54 P.M.

RBI should continue with accommodative rate stance to push growth: Assocham

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should continue with an accommodative interest rate stance as long as necessary to sustain and further push economic growth in the country, industry body Assocham said on Wednesday.

RBI should continue with low interest rates, the body said in a statement.

It said that while concerns over inflation need to be addressed, measures other than reversal of the accommodative stance should be encouraged.

4:49 P.M.

Rupee settles 2 paise up at 74.40 against US Dollar

The rupee settled 2 paisa up at 74.40 against the US dollar on Wednesday, ahead of the release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened at 74.53 against the greenback and witnessed an intra-day high of 74.31 and a low of 74.54.

The rupee closed at 74.42 in the previous trading session.

4:47 P.M.

Crypto industry urges govt to take nuanced approach in regulating cryptocurrency

The cryptocurrency industry on Wednesday urged the government to take a nuanced approach towards regulating crypto assets in India and asked investors to remain calm and not arrive at a hurried conclusion, after the government planned to introduce a Bill to ban most private cryptocurrencies in the country.

‘The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021’, to be introduced in the winter session of Parliament beginning November 29, seeks to “create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The Bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India.”

4:40 P.M.

Sensex plunges 323 pts, Infosys and RIL top drags

Sensex plunged over 323 points on Wednesday, triggered by losses mainly in Infosys, Reliance and HDFC. The BSE gauge settled 323.34 points or 0.55% lower at 58,340.99, marking its fifth decline in the last six days.

The NSE Nifty fell 88.30 points or 0.5% to end at 17,415.05.

On the Sensex chart, Maruti, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, ITC, Reliance, L&T, UltraTech Cement and HDFC were the major laggards. On the other hand, ICICI Bank, NTPC, Kotak Bank, Bajaj Finance, and PowerGrid closed with gains.

3:57 P.M.

India’s GDP to grow 7.8% in Q2, 9.4% in FY22, report says

India’s GDP will grow 7.8% in the September 2021 quarter and 9.4% in FY22, according to a report by HDFC bank.

Some part of the expected growth in the second quarter will be due to a low base from a year when the economy contracted by 7.4%. This also shows a revival in economic activity after being hit by the pandemic.

3:42 P.M.

Digital payments in the festive season surge 200% for holiday packages and 450% on movies on PayU platform

Digital payments on PayU’s platform during the festive season this year saw a surge of 200% for holiday packages and 450% on movies, according to a report by the digital payment solution provider.

Strong sales on retail and e-commerce channels and massive pent-up demand resulted in consumer appetite rebounding, PayU said in the report.

Travel and hospitality saw an increase of 105% more users on PayU platform transacting in festive season 2021, compared to last year. This could be attributed to relaxation of travel norms and positive impact of mass vaccination.  India showed healthy appetite for travel as total spends grew 61% compared to Festive Season 2020, according to data from PayU.

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and West Bengal showed highest spending through digital payments.

The report compares digital payment transaction trends of Festive Season 2020 from October 10 to November 10 with Festive Season 2021 from October 1 to October 31.

3:02 P.M.

World of phygital banking will be way forward: Bankers

Physical branches will continue to be relevant despite a surge in adoption of digital banking, as a large percentage of customers are more comfortable doing transactions at branches, according to bankers.

“I think branches, as a mode or a channel, will not be totally discounted. There is still a significant population who will be more comfortable in one-to-one dealings rather than only digital. Therefore, this world of physical plus digital or phygital will be the way forward,” said Ashwini K Tiwari, Managing Director, State Bank of India.

2:27 P.M.

India’s plan to ban cryptocurrencies leads to heavy selling

India’s plan for a new bill to ban most private cryptocurrencies has triggered heavy selling in the country’s digital currency markets, as investors look to exit positions despite the losses. The bill, if passed, would ban citizens in India from transacting in most cryptocurrencies.

The government will allow only certain cryptocurrencies, according to a legislative agenda released late on Tuesday.The dollar-linked stable coin tether (USDT) slumped 25% to nearly ₹60 on Wednesday after news of the bill.

2:13 P.M.

JP Morgan expects oil demand to surpass 2019 levels by March 2022

Global oil demand is set to surpass 2019 levels by March 2022 as countries reopen and economic activity rebounds, JP Morgan said in a research note on Wednesday.

The bank expects global oil demand to grow 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2022 to reach 99.8 million bpd —280 kilo bpd above 2019 levels.

The bank also expects Brent oil prices to average $88 per barrel in 2022 and $82 per barrel in 2023.

2:03 P.M.

Apple supplier IQE flags lower revenue on sluggish demand from smartphone markets

Apple supplier, IQE Plc forecast lower annual profit margin and revenue as demand from the smartphone market softened amid slow 5G technology rollout.

British technology firm IQE, which makes semiconductor wafers for chips used in Apple products, said it expected an 8% fall in 2021 revenue and a 2 percentage point decline in profit margin at about 15%.

1:21 P.M.

Govt steps up measure to restrict sale of counterfeit 2-wheeler helmets, pressure cooker, cooking gas cylinder

Consumer protection regulator CCPA said it has stepped up crackdown on counterfeit household products like pressure cooker, two-wheeler helmet and cooking gas cylinder faking ‘IS mark’.

The Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has issued notices to five e-commerce entities, including Amazon, Flipkart and PaytmMall, as well as various sellers for offering pressure cookers that are non-compliant with Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) norms.

1:16 P.M.

UIDAI working to make smartphones as “universal authenticator”: CEO

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is looking at using smartphones as “universal authenticator” to establish a resident’s identity.

At present, finger prints, iris and one-time password (OTP) are used for authentication and efforts are on to increase the scope of the same, said Saurabh Garg, CEO of UIDAI. Of the overall 120 crore mobile connections, 80 crore are smartphones which could be used for the authentication, he added.

12:15 P.M.

L&T signs pact with Tamil Nadu govt to build data centre

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has entered into a pact with the Tamil Nadu government to establish a data centre in the state and employ 1100 people in the project.

The company will establish 90 MW capacity data centres and associated units in a phased manner in Kanchipuram over the next five years.

The Government of Tamil Nadu will provide uninterrupted power supply and other infrastructure support to bring tangible economic and social benefits to the people of state.

11:45 P.M.

Park+ raises $25 million from Sequoia Capital India, others

Park+, a super app for car users has raised around $25 million (about ₹186 crore) in funding, co-led by Sequoia Capital India, Matrix Partners India and Epiq Capital.

The company said it plans to utilise the funds to strengthen its core technology and build innovative solutions for cars and car owners that can solve all their pain points on a single platform.

Park+ had previously raised $11 million in series A funding co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Matrix Partners India. The funding round saw participation from Angel investors like Ashish Hemrajani (BookMyShow), Deep Kalra (MakeMyTrip), Kunal Shah (Cred), Ashneer Grover (BharatPe) and Kunal Bahl (Snapdeal).

11:15 P.M.

Japan PM confirms oil reserve release

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his government would release some oil reserves after a U.S. request in a way that does not breach a Japanese law that only allows stock releases if there is a risk of supply disruption.

“We have been working with the United States to stabilise the international oil market and we have decided to join the United States in selling part of our national oil reserves in a way that does not contravene existing (Japanese) oil reserve law,” Kishida told reporters.

Kishida said Industry Minister will announce details such as the amount to be sold later on Wednesday.

10:45 A.M.

Rupee slips to 74.54 against US dollar

The Indian rupee fell by 12 paise to 74.54 against the US dollar in opening trade on stronger American currency in the overseas market.

The rupee opened on a weak note at 74.53, and fell further to 74.54 against the American dollar in early trading. On Tuesday, the rupee had closed at 74.42 against the US dollar.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose by 0.06% to 96.55.

10:00 A.M.

Star Health IPO to open on November 30

Star Health and Allied Insurance Company has fixed a price band of ₹870-900 a share for its ₹7,249-crore initial public offering, set to open on November 30.

The IPO comprises fresh issue of equity shares worth ₹2,000 crore and an offer-for-sale of up to 58,324,225 equity shares by promoters and existing shareholders. The public offer includes a reservation of shares worth ₹100 crore for employees.

About 75% of the issue size has been reserved for qualified institutional buyers (QIBs), 15% for non-institutional investors and the remaining 10% for retail investors.

9:30 A.M.

Markets update| Sensex, Nifty rise in early trade

The Indian benchmark equity indices Sensex and Nifty opened on a positive note. AT 9:23 IST, the Sensex was up 82.75 points or 0.14% at 58,747.08 and the Nifty was up 24.80 points or 0.14% at 17,528.15.

Share markets were jittery in Asia as trading was hit by a step-up in U.S. Treasury yields and volatile oil prices after a coordinated move by the United States and other nations to cool down prices.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.24%, and Japan’s benchmark Nikkei stock price index fell 1.13%. Chinese blue chips were last flat 0.1% and are up about 0.5% so far this week. Hong Kong shares also lost 0.1%.

9:15 A.M.

Oil falls after coordinated reserve release 

Oil prices fell after the U.S.-led coordinated release of stocks from strategic reserves eased concerns over tightness in global supply.  

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 0.2% to $78.38 a barrel and Brent crude futures slid 0.4% to $81.99 a barrel. 

The United States had announced it would release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with China, India, South Korea, Japan and Britain, in a bid to cool prices after OPEC+ producers repeatedly ignored calls for more crude.

The government of India said it is looking to bar most private cryptocurrencies when it introduces a new bill to regulate virtual currencies in the winter session of Parliament. India will release 5 million barrels of oil from its strategic reserves in coordination with other buyers including the United States, China, Japan and South Korea to cool down prices after OPEC+ decided against increasing crude oil supply. Shares of Latent View Analytics more than doubled in their market debut on Tuesday, signalling strong investor demand for the profit-making Indian startup days after the Paytm fiasco.

—-  Edited by John Xavier

(With inputs from Reuters, PTI and other news agencies.)