The Mint Report for 8 September 2009

The Mint Report for 8 September 2009

Jet Airways was literally grounded on Tuesday when over 400 of its pilots went on sick leave. Some 186 Jet flights were grounded and about 13,000 passengers at airports across the country were left stranded. The pilots are protesting the sacking of two of their colleagues who had founded a trade union called the National Aviator’s Guild.

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India’s car industry has reason to celebrate. While car and two-wheeler makers continue to post large increases in sales in August, sales of large trucks have also increased over the same period last year. That’s good news for the industry because analysts see the sale of trucks as a sign of economic activity. Numbers from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers shows truck sales increased by 4% to 17,345 units, while sales of light units went up 9.1% to 20,534 units.

The mutual fund industry says Sebi’s ban on entry loads has affected their business. Figures from the Association of Mutual Funds of India show transaction volumes have fallen by 40% in August. Members of the industry say volumes are lower because smaller distributors of mutual funds have been driven away by the ban on entry loads. Despite the fall in numbers of transactions, the overall assets under management increased in August by at least 4% to about Rs750,000 crore.

An empowered group of ministers has approved a decision by the Telecom Commission to increase spectrum usage charges. Last November, the commission had decided that new telecom companies who get 3G spectrum, but don’t have any 2G spectrum would pay 3% of their adjusted gross revenue as spectrum charges. Companies that already have 2G spectrum pay only 1%.

Finance secretary Ashok Chawla says lower government spending this fiscal year could reduce the number of bonds it sells. Earlier the finance ministry announced a 10% cut in non-plan expenditure this year, which totals Rs690,000 crore.

At least one maker of business jets thinks it will make big business in Asia. Bombardier says it expects to deliver 550 planes to India and China by 2018. India already has 106 bombardier jet in operation.

Lanco Infratech is finalizing plans to add 750MWof power generation capacity at it Kondapalli facility in Andhra. The company is expecting more natural gas supplies from Reliance Industries Krishna-Godavari basin. Lanco currently has a 368MW power plant in Kondapalli that’s running at nearly full capacity.

Gold prices continue to shoot up. On Tuesday, they went over $1000 per ounce, with technical momentum and a weak dollar driving the price upwards. Some analysts fear the higher price indicates uncertainty about the strength of the dollar and inflation.

Markets continued to rise on Tuesday after the previous day’s surge. The Sensex shot up 107 points to close at 16,124 and the Nifty rose 22 points to close at 4,805.