Data recap: Silver rally, travel index, Q4 earnings and more

The price of silver has risen 26% from  ₹73,501 a kg to a record  ₹92,475 a kg so far this year, according to MCX’s spot price index.
The price of silver has risen 26% from 73,501 a kg to a record 92,475 a kg so far this year, according to MCX’s spot price index.


News and developments from the week gone by, through numbers and charts.

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. Silver is trading past the 90,000-mark, fuelled by a parallel rise in gold and copper prices, but market watchers warn of a pullback. India Inc's corporate results have been a mixed bag so far with banking and financial services firms dominating much of the topline growth and profits.

Silver sparkle

The price of silver on India's commodity exchange, MCX, has surged past 90,000 per kg. The rally has led to speculations among market stakeholders that any increase toward the psychological 1-lakh level could result in a profit-booking spree, Mint reported. The white metal has risen 26% from 73,501 a kg to a record 92,475 in the year so far, MCX’s spot price index shows. India relies on imports of silver to meet domestic demand. For most years since 2018, supply has been higher than demand, indicating that India has consistently maintained a net import position for the white metal.

Divergent exports

Despite a slowdown in India's exports in 2023-24, some sectors emerged as bright spots. Engineering goods, with a 25% share in the export basket, saw a modest 2.1% increase in value terms, commerce ministry data showed. With a combined share of 14% in exports, electronic goods and pharmaceuticals saw annual growth of 23.5% and 9.7%, respectively, in the previous fiscal. Meanwhile, exports of petroleum products (18.6% share) and gems and jewellery (7.6% share) declined by 11.8% and 13.8%, respectively.

Clean-up effort

2 trillion: That's the value of stressed or non-performing assets (NPAs) that India's ‘bad bank’ aims to take over by the end of September, a Mint report said. The National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) acquired 18 accounts with outstanding loans of 92,500 crore as of March 2024. This target was set by the government when NARCL was launched in 2021, aiming to clean up bank finances by offering cash (around 15%) and government-backed securities (roughly 85%).

Travel score

India has dropped 10 places to the 39th spot in the World Economic Forum's latest Travel and Tourism Development Index, as compared to 2019. Despite an impressive comeback in travel after the pandemic, India's travel industry faces challenges. While the richer nations, like the US, dominated the list, India's score was lower than not just the leading economies but also among the emerging economies. The index ranks countries on various factors and policies that enable sustainable and resilient development of travel and tourism.

Corporate report

The combined revenue of 1,109 BSE-listed companies that had declared their March-quarter financial results by last week has increased 10.6% year-on-year, a Mint analysis showed. The aggregate net profit for these firms also surged 10.1%. However, the performance was mainly driven by the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector. Excluding the 189 BFSI companies, the overall revenue grew 4.5%, while profits were down 11.8%.

Relief for telcos

3,000 crore: That's the sum telcos such as Bharti Airtel will save, with the Supreme Court’s order to waive interest on taxes levied on annual licence fees. While the tax due remains, experts say the waived interest could have surpassed actual tax, as the calculations date back to 1999, when the new telecom policy came into effect. The interest due had arisen from an apex court ruling last October that telecom licence fee must be treated as capital expenditure, which is not tax-deductible.

Luxury boom

India's housing market is experiencing an unusual trend. While the overall sector is booming, affordable housing has taken a hit. Sales of homes priced below 40 lakh have been falling for the past five years in major cities, a Mint Primer explains. The share of affordable housing sales has shrunk sharply, from 38% in 2019 to a meagre 19% in 2023. Meanwhile, the share of luxury home sales has skyrocketed, jumping from 7% to 25%. The segment has witnessed a surge in both supply and sales since the pandemic.

Chart of the week: Booth Strain

India has seen a steady rise in the number of polling booths over the years, but some states are still feeling the burden of managing a high number of registered electors. A Mint analysis reveals that Kerala, Bihar, and Rajasthan had the highest number of voters per polling station in the 2019 polls. The 1,137 polling stations in Deoria in Uttar Pradesh were the most burdened with an average of 1,543 electors registered to vote in each.

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