February 3: News Clicks of the day
February 3: News Clicks of the day
Labourers work inside a coal ball factory in Kolkata
India's need for coal imports could jump nearly 70% in next fiscal year to 142 mn tonnes from 2010-11 forecast purchases, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said in a speech, as domestic output growth faces regulatory hurdles.
The figure marks a big jump from an estimated 104 mn tonnes shortfall for 2011-12 made just 2 months ago by the minister.
Imports for the current fiscal year to end-March are expected to be nearly 84 mn tonnes, the minister had said in September.
Coal accounts for more than half of power generation by India, Asia's third-largest economy, which is growing at close to 9% this fiscal year.
Domestic production, which continues to provide the majority of coal consumed, faces hurdles such as environmental clearances, land acquisition problems and low investment. Coal producers have been seeking assets abroad to help meet the shortfall.
A waiter serves coffee to college students surfing the internet at a cafe in Bangalore
Business activity in India's services sector grew at a faster clip in Jan than in Dec, boosted by new orders and expectations of solid growth, but costs also soared, a survey showed on Thursday.
The HSBC Markit Business Activity Index, based on a survey of around 400 firms, rose to 58.1 in Jan after falling to 57.7 in Dec from Nov's 4-month high.
It was the 21st consecutive month the key index of the service sector in Asia's third largest economy has been above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction.
The PMI's employment index and the business expectations index climbed to their highest in 7 months, indicating Indian firms were more optimistic about the year ahead.
Army soldiers atop an Armoured Personel Carrier (APC) guard the area near the Pyramids in Cairo
The on-going political turmoil in Egypt has forced many Indian consumer companies to temporarily suspend operations, giving rise to fears that earnings might be affected in case of a protracted crisis.
Firms such as Marico, Dabur, Asian Paints have shut down their Egyptian units and are watching the situation closely, officials said.
For more than a week now, the African nation has been convulsed by street protests, demanding an immediate end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-rule.
"If the unrest in Egypt is resolved over the next few weeks, we would see a minor impact on business on the supply side. However, if it continues for a longer period of time then the slowdown in Egypt and the neighbouring economies could impact FMCG demand," said an analyst with Edelweiss Capital.
A worker carries a sack of sugar at a food warehouse in Mumbai
Raw sugar futures shot up to close at the highest level in more than three decades on Wednesday, as a massive cyclone hit Australia, one of world's top sugar exporters, deepening concerns about tight global supplies.
Cyclone Yasi may have destroyed half the sugar cane crop in Australia's key sugar cane growing districts in Queensland, representing about 15% of the country's crop, a key industry body said on Thursday.
"While it is too early to assess the full damage bill, initial indications show that damage could be in the order of 50% of the productive potential of the region," said Steve Greenwood, chief executive of Queensland's Canegrowers organisation.
He was referring to the Innisfail, Tully and Ingham areas were about 30% Australia's sugar cane is grown.
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