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Digital payments surge during lockdown to benefit telcos



Dehradun: A tea stall owner display a sign accepting mobile payment in Dehradun on Nov. 19, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Digital payments in India are surging in the ongoing Covid-19-caused lockdowns which will accelerate mobile data/4G penetration and build an ecosystem of services.

According to a research report by CLSA, acceleration in data penetration will especially be positive for Bharti Airtel, as 50 per cent of its subscribers are still to upgrade to 4G, and in services, the latest catalyst will be Reliance Jio’s partnership with WhatApp for JioMart rampup.

CLSA said that digital payments in India are surging in the ongoing Covid-19-led lockdowns. Already these had jumped three-fold over the last two years to 3 billion transactions a month.

Within digital, mobile accounts for 50-75 per cent of transactions in volume and value. However, India’s mobile data penetration is still only 57 per cent even as mobile penetration is 87 per cent. Growing digital payments will accelerate mobile data/4G penetration and build an ecosystem of service, the report said.

Already, India’s retail digital payments were expanding with retail digital volumes expanding at 56 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from December 2015 to December 2019 and value expanding at 30 per cent CAGR.

RBI data reveals government’s demonetisation had brought down cash in circulation as a percentage of GDP to 8.7 per cent in FY17. Subsequently it increased to 11.2 per cent in FY19 but had still not reached pre-demonetisation levels, underlining rise in digital payments.

“Our talks with a leading mass market DTH operator reveals that the ongoing all-India lockdown has propelled digital DTH recharges from 60 per cent to 80 per cent within weeks,” the report said.

UPI, an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI), which allows instant money transfer between two bank accounts on a mobile platform, is being promoted aggressively by the government.

Launched in April 2016, UPI monthly transactions have risen to 1.3 billion with Rs 2.2 trillion transaction value implying 43 per cent of total digital payment volume and 32 per cent of total value.

UPI transactions now account for 41 per cent of total mobile banking transactions in value, up from 14 per cent in January 2018 and the government is now taking even more steps to aggressively promote digital payments via UPI in ongoing lockdowns.

The surge in digital payments will accelerate data and services penetration, CLSA said. The latest catalysts for digital services will be Reliance Jio partnership with Facebook’s WhatsApp which will accelerate JioMart (O2O offering of Reliance Retail) rampup.

Digital payments increase subscribers’ engagement with mobile, lower churn and most importantly, the need for digital payments will accelerate mobile data/4G penetration.

An acceleration in mobile data penetration will specially be a positive for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea with over 50 per cent of own mobile subscriber base yet to upgrade to 4G.

Further as mobile increasingly becomes the instrument of cashless/digital payment in the short and the long run it will build a growing ecosystem of useful services, CLSA said.


Equity indices trade lower; Sensex down by over 300 pts




India’s key equity indices – S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 – traded lower during Monday’s early-morning session.

At 10 a.m., the 30-scrip sensitive index traded at 60,504.75 points, down 316.87 points or 0.52 per cent.

The Sensex opened at 61,398.75 points from its previous close of 60,821.62 points.

Besides, the NSE Nifty50 traded at 17,989.40 points, lower by 125.50 points or 0.69 per cent.

It opened at 18,229.50 points from its previous close of 18,114.90 points.

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Nissan, Porsche face action over false emissions information




South Korea’s antitrust regulator has decided to order Nissan Motor, Porsche AG and their two Korean units to take corrective steps for falsified information over gas emissions of their diesel cars.

Nissan Motor, Nissan Korea, Porsche and Porsche Korea are alleged to have stated false information about gas emissions of their diesel vehicles imported for sale in South Korea, according to the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC).

The KFTC also decided to impose a fine of 173 million won ($146,700) only on Nissan Korea, reports Yonhap news agency.

Illegal software installed in their cars caused gas emission reduction devices to not fully operate during normal driving conditions.

The practice meant that the cars did not meet permissible emission levels, but the automakers falsified such facts in signs attached to their cars, according to the commission.

In September, the regulator fined Audi-Volkswagen Korea and Stellantis Korea a combined 1.06 billion won for similar allegations over gas emissions.

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Fuel price hike paused after 5 days of increase




The price hike of petrol and diesel paused on Monday after increasing for the last five days to reach their highest-ever levels across the country.

Accordingly, the pump price of petrol in Delhi remained at Rs 107.59 a litre, while diesel prices also stood at Sunday’s level of Rs 96.32 a litre, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

In the financial capital Mumbai, where petrol prices increased to Rs 113.47 per litre and diesel to Rs 104.47 a litre, the highest among all metros, there was no further hike in the retail rates on Monday.

The fuel prices remained static on October 18 and 19, but increased for a fourth straight day by 35 paise per litre previously before again rising for five consecutive days between October 20 to 24. There was no change in rates on October 12 and 13.

Diesel prices have now increased on 24 out of the last 31 days, taking up its retail price by Rs 7.80 per litre in Delhi.

Due to the sharp hike, the fuel is now available at over Rs 100 a litre in several parts of the country.

This dubious distinction was earlier available to petrol that had crossed Rs 100 a litre mark across the country a few months earlier.

Petrol prices had maintained stability since September 5 but oil companies finally raised its pump prices last week.

The rates increased on 21 of the previous 27 days taking up the pump price of petrol by Rs 6.40 per litre.

Crude price has been on a surge rising over a three-year high level of over $86 a barrel as global demand remains firm while OPEC+ continues to move s lowly on increasing production.

Since September 5, wthe price of petrol and diesel in the international market is higher by around $9-10 per barrel as compared to average prices during August.

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