News in Numbers | Banks lower deposit rates by 5-100 basis points

In other news, Swiggy, food delivery start-up, posted Rs137.18 crore loses in 2015-16


The RBI introduced a new methodology for setting interest rates since the beginning of this financial year. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/MInt
The RBI introduced a new methodology for setting interest rates since the beginning of this financial year. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/MInt

789,000 barrels per day

What is it? India’s oil imports from Iran, according to a report by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts and ship tracking data.

Why is it important? This exceeded Saudi Arabia’s oil supply to India by 92,000 barrels per day (bpd) and Iran is now the top oil supplier to India. However, Saudi Arabia still retains the top slot over the January-October period. With the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting at the end of this month to take its final call on cutting down production to boost oil prices, it remains to be seen if Iran continues to enjoy the exemption to be excluded from these price cuts, given its recent dominant position in oil supply to India, the world’s third-largest oil importer.

Tell me more: Due to the western sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear development programme, the country had slipped to the seventh position in 2013-14 and 2014-15 among the 50 odd countries from which India imports oil.

15 million

What is it? The number of new Rs500 notes that have reportedly been printed by the Security Printing and Minting Corp. of India, the government agency that prints notes and coins.

Why is it important? There seems to be a delay in the printing of this denomination as the order is to print 400 million by the end of this month. The reason for the delay is because the presses at Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) and Nashik (Maharashtra) are running below capacity. The presses operated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which are to produce the new Rs2,000 notes, are now likely to take up the printing of the new Rs500 notes to meet the demand. Printing of currency notes in Rs100 denomination has been stalled, according to unnamed RBI officials, as the focus has now shifted to the new ones.

Tell me more: Before the demonetisation move, there were 16.5 billion Rs500 notes and 6.7 billion Rs1,000 notes in circulation.

25 million

What is it? The capacity of a vaccine facility (in terms of number of doses) set up in Gujarat by CPL Biologicals, a joint venture of Cadila Pharmaceuticals and US-based Novavax at an investment of Rs100 crore.

Why is it important? The company says it has become the first Indian company to have developed a vaccine to treat seasonal influenza (Cadiflu-S), which is also the world’s first influenza vaccine based on virus-like particle technology (VLP). The vaccine does not contain any viruses, which means it completely does away with the possibility of any infection to the vaccinated person from the vaccine (viruses present in vaccines can sometimes replicate in the human body, causing disease by itself).

Tell me more: CPL Biologicals says with the VLP technology, it can develop the new strain-specific vaccine in 12-14 weeks compared to 24-32 weeks it takes to develop a conventional vaccine. Cadiflu-S doesn’t contain egg proteins, antibiotics and preservatives, which would help those who are prone to allergies.

Rs137.18 crore

What is it? Losses posted by food delivery start-up Swiggy (owned and operated by Bundl Technologies) in 2015-16.

Why is it important? This is an increase of nearly 65 times of the loss it posted in 2014-15 (company started operations in August 2014). Swiggy’s revenue increased to Rs23.59 crore in FY16 (from Rs11.59 lakh a year ago), while its total expenses were Rs160.77 crore, indicating that it burnt cash in order to scale up (a trend observed in many other start-ups such as Flipkart and Ola). Food start-ups have been struggling to get their economics right with some of them such as Eatlo and Dazo shutting down, some being acquired (FoodPanda acquired TastyKhana) and others downsizing their operations.

Tell me more: Swiggy reportedly has started charging consumers delivery fees for orders from a few food outlets, which have refused to pay a commission to the start-up. Earlier, it was delivering for free from these outlets, which is unlikely to be feasible in the long term.

5-100 basis points

What is it? The cut in deposit rates offered by various Indian banks. A basis point (bps) is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Why is it important? This is a result of the government’s recent demonetisation move, which saw customers depositing old currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1,000, which have ceased to be legal tender since over a week ago. Lending rates are expected to come down as well. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has noted on several occasions that banks have not been passing on interest rate cuts to their customers. Between January 2015 and March 2016, the RBI has reduced its benchmark repo rate (the rate at which the apex banks lends to other banks) by 125 bps but public sector banks have lowered their base rate by an average of 55 bps, while the private ones have decreased it by 50 bps.

Tell me more: The RBI introduced a new methodology for setting interest rates since the beginning of this financial year after which public sector banks have reduced their base rates by 15 bps on an average, while the private banks have lowered it by 25 bps.

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