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Data recap: Lanka crisis, population record, Musk vs Twitter

Demonstrators at an anti-government protest outside the office of Sri Lanka’s prime minister in Colombo on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)Premium
Demonstrators at an anti-government protest outside the office of Sri Lanka’s prime minister in Colombo on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)

Data released by the United Nations this week show that India is set to overtake China in population next year. The central bank has a new plan to support the rupee in international trade. Covid-19 cases are still running high

Every week, Plain Facts publishes a compilation of data-based insights—complete with easy-to-read visual charts—to help you delve deeper into the stories reported by Mint. Data released by the United Nations this week show that India is set to overtake China in population next year. The central bank has a new plan to support the rupee in international trade. Covid-19 cases are still running high.

Lankan misery

Sri Lankan politics entered a state of chaos in the past week as unrelenting protesters attacked the homes of the president and prime minister. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the president, has fled the country, and Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister and now also the acting president, has declared a state of emergency. The uncertainty over who is in charge could keep the economic chaos on for now. Headline inflation has risen to nearly 55% and has fuelled months of angry protests.

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Rupee support

The Reserve Bank of India on Monday announced a system for all exports and imports to be settled in Indian rupees. This could help India conduct trade with countries such as Russia, which are facing sanctions from western nations. By saving dollars, this could also help the RBI protect its foreign exchange reserves at a time the rupee’s foreign exchange rate has been on a free fall, veering close to 80 against the dollar on Thursday. Forex reserves have declined in recent months.

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Population race

27%: That’s the excess in population India will have over China by 2050, according to recent United Nations projections. India is projected to have 1.67 billion people by that year and China 1.32 billion. In 1990, China was 33% ahead of India. But, its population may have peaked, unlike that of India, which is on the verge of becoming the world’s most populous nation by next year. Meanwhile, global population is set to reach 8 billion by the end of this year.

Covid report

India reported more than 20,000 new covid-19 cases on Wednesday. The current wave of infections has a relatively low positivity rate.

Nationally, 4.2% of tests have turned positive in the past week. Among large states, West Bengal has the worst test positivity rate of 17.8%, followed by Kerala at 15.5%. Meanwhile, India has decided to make booster shots free to encourage people to take them with cases on the rise again.

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Credit uptick

Bank credit is one key metric of a reviving economy in current times. In the three years to March 2022, loan sanctions across India have grown by an average 7.3% per year. Recently released RBI data shows the state-wise break-up. The good news is that eight of the 12 largest state economies have grown faster than the national average, a Mint analysis of the data showed. Maharashtra, India’s wealthiest state, and Gujarat, were major exceptions to this trend.

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Musk’s gamble

$1 billion: That’s the amount Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, could have to pay if he fails to prove his grounds for pulling out of his deal to buy Twitter. The break-up fee could come into effect as Twitter has sued Musk for violating the $44-billion deal, which he had signed in April. The bone of contention is the true number of fake or spam accounts on Twitter, which Musk claims the company has not provided to him. This, he says, violates the agreement.

Inflation challenge

Retail inflation in India cooled marginally to 7.01% in June. This is the sixth straight month that inflation has remained above the RBI’s 6% upper limit. Food prices remained particularly high, growing 7.56% year-on-year. An analysis of item-level data showed that tomato had the highest inflation rate of nearly 160%, followed by potato, with 23.9% inflation. The monsoon will determine where food inflation heads from here, even as global commodity prices have begun to decline.

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Chart of the Week: Churn angst

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Information technology firms are on their toes as they continue to face high attrition. Tata Consultancy Services reported attrition of 15.3%, 17.4% and 19.7% in the last three quarters. At Infosys, attrition is now repeatedly crossing 20%.

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