Home / Economy / The big stories of the coming week – in charts

Every Monday, Mint’s Plain Facts section features data related to key events that will make the news in the coming week. The government will release quarterly economic growth data this week, though the headline number will be bumped up by the low base effect. Caps on airfares will go away, a mission to the Moon will be on its way, and the US Open is set to begin with Serena Williams’ swansong in focus.

1. India Q1 GDP

India's domestic product (GDP) growth data for the April-June quarter will be released on Wednesday. Growth in the previous quarter is expected to have picked up owing to robust recovery in contact-intensive sectors and a low base as many Indian states had imposed partial lockdowns to mitigate the effect of the second wave of covid-19 at the same time last year. A Mint poll of 21 economists showed that GDP growth for the April-June quarter will likely be in double digits at 15.2% compared with the year-ago quarter. This will be an improvement over the previous year’s figures, but sequentially the economy is expected to have seen a contraction of 8.3%. Several economists warn that high global commodity prices and the severe heatwave would have weighed on growth in the June quarter. According to Barclays’ economists, the resilient growth backdrop will help the Reserve Bank of India maintain its focus on containing inflation and stay on a path of front-loaded hikes.

2. Airfare caps removed

The government is set to remove on Wednesday all upper and lower limits on domestic airfares imposed following the coronavirus outbreak. Airlines will now be free to decide what to charge passengers. The aviation ministry had, in May 2020, imposed price bands based on duration of flights right after the first lockdown was lifted with the aim of curtailing price swings. The government had said the upper limits were placed to protect passengers and lower limits to protect weaker airlines amid the stress caused by the pandemic. Airlines, for instance, could not charge a passenger less than 2,900 and more than 8,800 (both excluding goods and services tax) for domestic flights shorter than 40 minutes. The lifting of the tariff bands could unleash a fare war as the industry recoups losses following the coronavirus outbreak. High-demand routes such as those between metro cities could see fares rise, while airlines may reduce prices on low-demand routes.

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3. Manufacturing PMI

India's manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data for August is due on Thursday. The data for July indicated the fastest pace of expansion in manufacturing sector activity in eight months, led by new business orders and output. The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 56.4 in July from 53.9 in June. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. New orders saw healthy improvement in July, recovering the growth momentum lost in June. Manufacturers also registered a softer increase in their expenses during July. However, new export orders rose at a moderate pace, pointing to the impact of global growth shocks, as the country’s key export nations grappled with high inflation and slowing economic growth. Against this backdrop, overall business sentiment continues to remain muted despite the recovery from June.

4. Artemis I

Nasa's Artemis I mission will take off on Monday for a 42-day return voyage beyond the far side of the Moon. The uncrewed mission will see the debut of Nasa’s next-generation megarocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion capsule, from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. In addition to carrying Orion for its journey around the Moon, the SLS will also carry 10 small satellites. SLS is being touted as the most powerful rocket ever built.

The Artemis programme aims to return astronauts to the Moon as early as 2025 and to eventually establish a long-term lunar colony that would pave the way for sending humans to Mars. Future Artemis missions with crew aboard the Orion will dock with Gateway, a concept of an orbital outpost planned in the vicinity of the Moon. Nasa also aims to develop the trinity of SLS, Orion, and Gateway to achieve the challenging task of sending crew and cargo missions in deep space.

Artemis I mission
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Artemis I mission

5. US Open

The main draw of the US Open will start today, with the final to be played on 12 September. Defending champions Russia’s Danii Medvedev and the UK’s Emma Raducanu will hope to retain their singles titles, but have their task cut out. Raducanu will come face-to-face with several upcoming players such as Czech Linda Nosková and 16-year-old Liv Hovde from the US. Rafael Nadal, who has already won the French and Australian Opens this year, is aiming for a record 23rd Grand Slam title. Novak Djokovic, a key opponent for Nadal and Medvedev, has opted out of the tournament owing to covid vaccination rules.

US Open
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US Open

The big highlight of the tournament will be Serena Williams, who plans to bring down the curtains on her 27-year-long illustrious tennis career, which saw her winning a record 23 Grand Slams. The 40-year-old legend is ranked 407 and last won the US Open title in 2014.

Elsewhere in Mint

In Opinion, Manu Joseph reveals three reasons why a superstar exists in a capitalist system. Nitin Pai argues why India needs a Nitipath for its civil services. Rajrishi Singhal writes double-speak can undermine India's crusade at WTO. Long Story tells you which sectors in India are most amenable to reshoring.


Nandita Venkatesan

Nandita Venkatesan is a data journalist at Mint, and has a keen interest in understanding the usefulness of data in driving sound public discourse and informing policymaking. She has over four years of experience across journalism and health research. She previously worked with the Economic Times, Mumbai, and the Vaccine Confidence Project in the UK. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Nandita also pursued a masters’ in public policy from University of Oxford as Chevening-Weidenfeld Hoffmann scholar.
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