Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The Indian Economy as on Nov 6th 2008

*The PM has requested the industry to ensure that there are no lay off’s. With the elections round the corner that is understandable. There is also talk of enhanced investments in infrastructure to expedite projects (read : improve liquidity in the system). Expenditure is social sectors would be enhanced. This will ostensibly be not done through the “smart cards” that have been used in some States and proved extremely effective in welfare projects but through the “traditional” health and educational projects. (grass root level politicians should be happy!).

*As if on cue, the LIC has pumped 15000 crores into non convertible debentures of private companies with AA ratings.

*While Mulri Deora will celebrate his son’s wedding to Manmohan Shetty’s daughter in an austere fashion, with due respects to the economic situation in the country, he might treat the country to a reduction of at least Rs 2 per litre on petrol given that crude has come down to the figure of 69$ per barrel.

*The calm on the surface however, belies the undercurrents.

* Kingfisher defaulted on lease payments for 4 jets. Given what happened to Jet, he may not risk slashing jobs, but salaries are likely to be cut .The “sons of the soil” argument is now being extended to “desi vs videsi” pilots. Cutting the salary of expats is now the clarion call. This has been heard at Jet and is likely to be the scenario at KF. “King of hard times” seems to be the best way to describe Vijay Mallya nowadays J

*The fall in crude and ATF has not seen a cut in prices from the premium airlines, but the budget airlines are expected to reduce prices. Some of them have introduced full service “value class” options. I guess now it is a case of “anything that flies”!!! There should be some downward migration of customers from the Mallya- Goyal Alliance.

* In the travel and tourism sector, it is learnt that web sites and agents are not likely to be given commissions as of yore and travelers may soon be getting better deals by dealing directly with airlines. Hotels may remain the bread n butter of these sites

*From 150 proposals every week for realty projects in BMC(Mumbai Muncipality), it has come to 15. According to the TOI Mumbai ( a couple of days ago)there is a list of real estate projects in Mumbai which are on hold. Real estate prices are likely to move down significantly in the next quarter.

* There is a reported freeze on new recruitments in most companies in all sectors. Spice Group has gone in for salary cuts and probably there are others too.

* News channels seem to have been the worst hit. Most financial services, realty companies which form the bulk of advertisers in these channels are “flighting “ their schedules and the channels in turn seem to be “grounding” variable costs and that now seems to include staff costs. There is no blood bath as yet but the chiseling has started according to news reports.

*PWC mentions that in the Rs 51,300 crores ,Entertainment and Media sector, the growth rates would come down from 17% to single digits. Sale of movie tickets and rights in India was estimated at Rs 9,600 crores for 2007(annual growth rate of 14%). This is not likely to be repeated in the next year though the closing figures for 2008 may not be alarming. The Rs 22,600 crore TV industry too, which had a 17% growth will see a slide.

*The sports industry too will show a decline with sponsors backing off and in case of the EPL , the precarious situation of a lot of Clubs were exposed with the crisis of the Iceland Bank. Australia and New Zealand , which are popular cricketing nations also have huge financial problems. The Australian Bank has cut interest rates and in new Zealand there are reports of financial companies going bankrupt. (The tourism industry in Kerala , which saw a spurt in inbound from Australia is likely to be hurt , more so given the overall dip in inbound from W.Europe and UK that it relies on)

*The only saving grace is the 6th Pay Commission report which was disbursed to the Govt employees this Diwali (40%) .The next instalment (60%) is scheduled for next year.

*FMCG too, should hold fort. People will continue to eat and have a bath and brush their teeth J never mind the meltdown and the roll backs!!

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