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Home / Economy / The week ahead, in charts: Meta’s retail venture, inflation figures

The week ahead, in charts: Meta’s retail venture, inflation figures

A sharp rise in food prices pushed headline retail inflation well above the RBI’s upper limit of 6% for the third straight month in March (Photo: HT)Premium
A sharp rise in food prices pushed headline retail inflation well above the RBI’s upper limit of 6% for the third straight month in March (Photo: HT)

India’s retail inflation data for April is scheduled to be released amid upward price pressures. Logistics firm Delhivery is set to launch its IPO. Geopolitical experts expect a major announcement from Russia on its national day. A monthly report of the Opec is also due this week

Every Monday, Mint’s Plain Facts section features key data releases and events to look for in the coming week. India’s retail inflation data for April is scheduled to be released amid upward price pressures. Logistics firm Delhivery is set to launch its initial public offering. Geopolitical experts expect a major announcement from Russia on its national day. A monthly report of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) is also due this week.

1. India inflation

A sharp rise in food prices pushed headline retail inflation well above the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) upper limit of 6% for the third straight month in March. The persistent supply-chain disruptions and rising cost pressures amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis are likely to have fuelled inflation in April as well, with core inflation expected to remain sticky and elevated. Inflation is proving increasingly tenacious and manufacturers will be forced to pass the rising input costs to end consumers, which could impede the nascent demand recovery.

The inflation data for April will be released on Thursday. After being blamed for staying behind the curve, the central bank surprisingly raised the repo rate by 40 bps to 4.40% and cash reserve ratio by 50 bps to 4.5% last week. Given the hawkish rhetoric and high likelihood of an elevated inflation print for April, the RBI will front-load further hikes, Rahul Bajoria, chief India economist at Barclays, said in a note.

2. Delhivery IPO

New-age logistics startup Delhivery is all set to tap the capital market on Wednesday. The issue will close on Friday. Delhivery derived around two-thirds of its revenue from express parcel service segment in 9MFY22, primarily driven by the e-commerce industry, which is estimated to grow by 30-33% over FY20-26. The company’s revenues have grown at an annualized rate of 59% over the last six years. Delhivery has operating losses on its books but net losses have not widened over the period.

The wide range of services of the company, which also offers value-added services, has reduced its dependency on any single business line, thus minimising the effects of cyclicality in customers’ businesses on its operations. This also leads to a higher share of wallet and customer retention. The company operates with an asset-light business model but may require substantial capital expenditures to fund its expansions.

3. Russia’s Victory Day

The ninth of May is celebrated as Victory Day in Russia, commemorating the 1945 surrender of Nazi Germany to Soviet forces in World War II. This year, the parade may see more outpouring of Russian nationalism and bold declarations on the Ukraine war by President Vladimir Putin. Even the spin of “de-Nazification" of Ukraine could find mention in his speech for further mobilization of the home crowd.

Beyond geopolitical reasons, the war was supposed to display Russia’s military and warfare dominance, but things have not exactly gone Russia’s way. Moscow has made significant gains in eastern Ukraine, but had to retreat from the northern front, including Kyiv. Putin may not have a full-fledged victory to show-off on Victory Day, but a promise of symbolic war on the West is expected.

4. Opec report

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) will on Thursday release its monthly report, which covers issues affecting the world oil market and outlook for crude oil. As oil prices have crossed $100 a barrel since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, many Opec members fear demand will fall in key markets reeling from high inflation. Also, China, the biggest oil importer, is under covid lockdowns.

Besides, the proposed European embargo on Russia means reduced supplies in the coming months. Russia’s output has already fallen. The US has repeatedly called on Opec to further raise output to tame prices. But Opec says the shortfall from Russia cannot be made up from elsewhere, and is sticking to its plan of gradual increase in output. High oil prices have boosted economies of member countries, with Saudi Arabia witnessing the fastest growth in the decade.

5. Meta retail store

Meta is set to inaugurate its first brick and mortar retail store today in Burlingame, California. The outlet, located at the main campus for Meta’s Reality Labs unit, will showcase some of the company’s flagship hardware devices. They include Meta Portal, a video calling device, Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses with camera, audio and social media capabilities, and the Quest 2 virtual reality device. Customers will be able to experience all the products but will be able to purchase only the Portal and Quest 2. All the devices will be available for buying at the online store of Meta.

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Tech analysts feel the store opening is in line with the company’s goal to build the “metaverse", a concept of immersive and shared virtual spaces. It has made heavy investments in virtual and augmented reality (AR). However, chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg said a fully developed metaverse is still a few years into the future. The company is working on other gadgets such as smartwatches and high-tech AR glasses.

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