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April 5: News views
April 5: News views
A labourer cleans a Bharti Airtel advertisement billboard installed on a truck in Kolkata
Bharti Airtel, India's top mobile phone carrier, said on Tuesday it had reached 2 million customers on its third-generation (3G) mobile network.
Bharti, which launched its India 3G network in January, is expanding the premium services to cover more towns. The company had a total 159 million mobile customers in the end of February 2011.
A woman walks past a large logo of Vodafone displayed on a shop in Mumbai
Vodafone said on Tuesday it had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking protection against a notice from the India's tax authorities starting penalty proceedings on the company related to a tax bill over a 2007 acquisition.
'It is difficult to understand the rationale behind the tax authorities seeking to impose penalties on a matter which the tax authorities have, themselves, described as a 'test case,' Vodafone said in a statement.
Vodafone is contesting a $2.5 billion tax bill in India over its acquisition of a controlling stake in a mobile firm. It had earlier appealed to the Supreme Court challenging a lower court order that Indian tax office had jurisdiction over tax bills in cross-border deals. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on July 19.
A Kingfisher Airlines Airbus passenger aircraft prepares to take-off at Mumbai airport
Kingfisher Airlines has brought down its debt as part of a debt restructuring process and would prefer to wait for crude prices to stabilise before raising fresh funds for expansion, a top group official told Reuters on Tuesday.
'The fact of the matter is markets are a bit volatile. The West-Asian situation has caused an unexpected spurt in crude prices which is not structural in nature, but as long as it is there markets are a little spooked,' said Ravi Nedungadi, Chief Financial Officer of UB Group, which controls Kingfisher.
'It is unwise for us to go and raise capital when market conditions are like that, but we are all set to go and the moment there is a window of opportunity we will,' Nedungadi said.
The airline has restructured its debt by converting almost Rs 1,200 crore of loans into equity and its current debt stands at about Rs 6,000 crore,
Engineers attend to calls from abroad inside a call center in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi
Growth in India's service sector slowed in March from February's blistering seven-month high as new business growth moderated slightly, while price pressures, particularly wages, continued to rise, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted HSBC Markit Business Activity index, based on a survey of over 450 companies, slipped to 58.8 in March from February's 60.2, but remained above the 50 mark that denotes expansion for the 23rd consecutive month.
'Growth momentum in the services sector remains strong, although it eased a bit in March,' said Leif Eskesen, chief economist for India & Asean at HSBC.
The services sector contributes more than 55% of India's gross domestic product.
The new business index dropped to 58.4 in March, from February's 59.6, with business expectations easing a bit but still robust.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) logo is pictured outside its head office in Mumbai
High inflation in India, previously considered unacceptable, has become 'the new norm' and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cannot afford to drop its guard, a deputy governor said on Tuesday.
RBI has raised interest rates eight times since March 2010, with more rises expected, but headline inflation still topped expectations at 8.31% in February.
'Despite significant actions on policy rates and liquidity by the RBI, inflation remains high, giving rise to some very fundamental questions,' RBI Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn said.
'This higher rate of inflation previously believed to be unacceptable is now the new norm,' Gokarn said.
Gokarn said high growth, the economy is expected to have expanded by 8.6% in the year that ended in March, was contributing to high inflation.
'India's central bank cannot afford to be slack on inflation
A shopkeeper displays silver jewellery at a shop in Jammu
Silver jumped to its highest since early 1980 on Tuesday on inflation concerns, a rise in ETF holdings to another record and growing industrial demand, while gold hardly moved as the euro held below this week's five-month high versus the dollar.
In addition to rising investment demand for silver as a cheaper alternative to gold, an expected increase in physical buying from China was likely to support the metal, which gained 22% in the first quarter, its ninth consecutive quarterly increase.
Silver, widely used in electronics manufacturing, rose as high as $38.73 an ounce and was quoted at $38.64 an ounce, up 22 cents.
'We do see a lot of demand for silver from China, so we think silver used in solar panels have increased. We think China will have a lot of demand for silver in the medium to long term,' said Natalie Robertson, commodities strategist at ANZ in Melbourne.
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