South India drives power consumption growth

Electricity usage in the region’s five states and the Union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep grew 8.8% in April-November 2016


Graphic by Subrata Jana/Mint
Graphic by Subrata Jana/Mint

Southern India is leading electricity consumption growth in the country. Electricity usage in the region’s five states and the Union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep grew 8.8% in April-November 2016, shows data compiled by Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd.

Comparatively the country as a whole has seen a growth of 5.1% during the period.

Consumption is high in states where rainfall is low. Tamil Nadu, which has been declared drought-hit by the state government, saw a 12% rise in electricity usage.

Karnataka, which also saw scanty rains, has seen a 10% rise in power usage, points out Motilal Oswal, citing data from Central Electricity Authority.

CSR adoption by Indian companies on the rise

The spending of listed Indian companies on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is rising and the proportion of firms spending closer to 2% of profits is going up, according to a report by Crisil Foundation. Spending on CSR was up by 22% in fiscal year 2016 over a year ago.

Larger companies reported improved compliance, with 53% of those with sales of over Rs10,000 crore spending 2% or more of profit on CSR during FY16, compared to 31% in the year earlier.

Among smaller firms, 57% with sales of Rs100-500 crore and 56% with sales of Rs500-10,000 crore reported spending 2% or more. Of course, this can also be seen as a cup half empty, as there is a long way to go before a majority of companies become compliant with the 2% spending rule.

Three sectors most responsible for the underperformance are information technology, telecom and financial services, which together contribute one-third of the net profit of listed firms.

EM commodity exporters surprise on the trade front

Whatever good news there is in emerging markets (EMs) trade data is largely a story about commodity exporters, Citi Research said in a report last week.

The chart shows that the balance of export surprises versus overall economic surprises is considerably greater for commodity exporters than it has been for manufacturing exporters.

Citi does caution about data limitations, as it generates data from a small group of countries but says its conclusion fits with two other facts.

Firstly, there has been a highly visible recovery in commodity prices.

Secondly, while the overall growth in trade volumes remains pretty weak, the strength there seems to be largely located among commodity exporters.

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