Data recap: Growth in PMI, layoffs at Amazon

The headwinds the US tech sector is facing amid a slowing economy have led to thousands of layoffs already.
The headwinds the US tech sector is facing amid a slowing economy have led to thousands of layoffs already.

Summary

  • Data showed the economy in a positive light; SC delivered its verdict on demonetization; Amazon laid off staff; and covid-19 is spreading in east Asia.

New Delhi: Every Friday, Plain Facts publishes a compilation of data-based insights, complete with easy-to-read charts, to help you delve deeper into the stories reported by Mint in the week gone by. The monthly purchasing managers’ index data and the quarterly capital expenditure data—both released this week—showed the economy in a positive light. The Supreme Court delivered its verdict on demonetization, Amazon was the latest to lay off staff, and covid-19 is spreading in east Asia.

Resilient Growth

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India’s manufacturing activity expanded in December at its highest pace in 26 months, with the S&P Global purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rising to 57.8, up from 55.7 in November. The growth was led by strong expansion in new orders and production, and easing of input prices. The services PMI also grew to a six-month high of 58.5. The PMI is based on a survey of businesses, and a figure over 50 denotes expansion. Among G20 nations, India had the best manufacturing PMI.

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Court Stamp

 

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The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the legality of the Centre’s 2016 decision to demonetize the erstwhile 500 and 1,000 notes. The 4-1 ruling said that the government was within its power to take the decision, and did not comment on the economic merits of the policy. Meanwhile, central bank data shows that the 2,000 notes that came into being after demonetization had a short stint: from 50% of the total value of all banknotes in 2016-17, they now command just 14%.

Firing Marathon

18,000+: That’s the number of employees that tech giant Amazon will lay off, largely from its e-commerce and human resources organizations, Reuters quoted chief executive officer Andy Jassy as saying. This is higher than the 10,000 likely job cuts that sources had told news agencies about in November. The headwinds the US tech sector is facing amid a slowing economy have led to thousands of layoffs already as companies try to cut costs.

Eye on Gaming

 

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The Centre on Monday released draft rules to regulate the growing online gaming sector. It has proposed to bring online real money gaming platforms under the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which also regulates social media. The draft rules have also defined an “online game"—as one that is “offered on the Internet and is accessible by a user through a computer resource if he makes a deposit with the expectation of earning winnings".

Capex Revival

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In some good news, Indian firms announced projects worth a combined 6.1 trillion in Q3, up 44% year-on-year, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. This was the highest in three quarters and the second highest since 2020. Capex announcements in the private space were even more robust, more than doubling in a year. However, the growth isn’t broad-based yet as it was dominated by a handful of states and primarily the manufacturing sector.

 

Windfall Tax

2,100 per tonne: That’s the new windfall tax rate on crude oil, up from 1,700/ltr earlier, the Centre said on Monday. The windfall levies on petroleum and aviation turbine fuel were also raised. The rates were first hiked in July 2022, and have been adjusted several times since then. The initial hike was meant to aid public expenditure at a time when oil producers were enjoying elevated profits due to the international price increases as a fallout of the Ukraine war.

Cyber Alert

 

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The server hack at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in November 2022 was a reminder that cybercrime is mushrooming in all sizes and shapes. Last year, cyberattacks targeting the government sector globally nearly doubled, with India having the highest share (13.7%), said a report released last week by CloudSEK. Overall, 52,974 cases of cybercrime were reported in 2021, and Telangana had the worst rate, Mint reported this week, citing official data.

Chart of the Week: Covid Curse

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There is growing concern about China’s reporting of covid-19 cases and deaths. Several countries have imposed restrictions on people travelling from China. East Asian countries are reporting a large spike in covid cases. So is China, but official data has stopped showing it.

Elsewhere in Mint

In Opinion, Jaspreet Bindra argues for tech to be rescued from the clutches of capitalism. Arjun Malhotra explains why government proposal for joint audits is a bad idea. Aresh Shirali writes on inequities in the age of ageism. Long Story delves into Xi Jinping's compulsions to end zero-covid policy.

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