India’s manufacturing sector growth remained flat-to-positive in February, as improving business environment pushed order flow.
Accordingly, the headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 57.5 (index reading) in February easing a bit from 57.7 in January.
However, the index remained above its long-run average of 53.6.
The PMI ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading above 50 indicating an overall increase compared to the previous month.
“Better demand conditions and successful marketing campaigns reportedly underpinned a further increase in new orders during February,” said IHS Markit in the February PMI report.
“Although easing from January, the pace of growth remained sharp in the context of historical data.”
Besides, new export orders rose halfway through the final quarter of fiscal year 2020-21, albeit at a modest rate that was softer than in January.
According to panel members, the Covid-19 pandemic restricted international demand for Indian goods.
“In response to another robust increase in total new orders, production was raised again in February. The pace of expansion eased from January, but was nevertheless sharp and among the quickest seen over the past nine years.”
“February data pointed to the strongest increase in input inventories in the survey history as firms reacted to rising production needs by lifting purchasing activity. The expansion in input buying was the fastest in almost a decade.”
Furthermore, survey members noted greater prices for a number of items such as chemicals, metals, plastics and textiles.
As per the report, the overall rate of cost inflation hit a 32-month high.
Although factory gate charges also increased in February, the rate of inflation was modest and eased from January’s 13-month high.
“Indian goods producers reported a healthy inflow of new orders in February, a situation that underpinned a further upturn in output and quantity of purchases. Still, the data indicated that production growth could have been stronger should firms have appropriate resources to handle their workloads,” said Pollyanna De Lima, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit.
“This was evident from a quicker rise in outstanding business and another decline in inventories of finished goods. Some companies indicated that capacity expansion through hiring was not currently possible due to existing restrictions on labour working hours.”
Intel-owned Mobileye, Udelv to build 35K autonomous vehicles
Intel-owned Mobileye and Udelv, a Silicon Valley venture-backed company, have announced to produce more than 35,000 autonomous vehicles by 2028, with commercial operations beginning in 2023.
Mobileye’s self-driving system — Mobileye Drive — will “drive” the next-generation Udelv autonomous delivery vehicles (ADV), called “Transporters.”
“Our deal with Udelv is significant for its size, scope and rapid deployment timeline, demonstrating our ability to deliver Mobileye Drive for commercial use now and in volume,” said Professor Amnon Shashua, Mobileye president and CEO.
“COVID-19 has accelerated demand for autonomous goods delivery, and we are delighted to partner with Udelv to address this demand in the near term,” he said in statement on Monday.
Donlen, one of America’s largest commercial fleet management companies at the forefront of fleet management innovation and technology, has placed the first pre-order for 1,000 ‘Transporters’ — believed to be the largest to date for an autonomous delivery vehicle.
“The readiness of Mobileye Drive, along with its vast map coverage of North America, Europe and Asia, will allow us to ramp up the production and deployment of Udelv Transporters and rapidly offer the service at scale to our expanding list of customers,” said Daniel Laury, CEO and co-founder of Udelv.
Mobileye-driven Transporters will be capable of L4 self-driving, point-to-point operation.
Udelv’s proprietary tele-operations system will allow for the maneuvering of the vehicles at the edges of the mission, in parking lots, loading zones, apartment complexes and private roads.
Equity indices in green, auto, banking stocks rise
A day after recording the biggest single-day fall of 2021, the key Indian equity indices traded in the green on Tuesday.
Healthy buying activity was witnessed in banking and auto stocks.
The indices have, however, declined from the intra-day highs.
At around 11.25 a.m, Sensex was trading at 48,030.96, higher by 147.58 points or 0.31 per cent from its previous close of 47,883.38.
It opened at 47,991.53 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 48,315.09 and a low of 47,775.32 points.
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,349.85, higher by 39.05 points or 0.27 per cent from its previous close.
The top gainers on the Sensex were Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Finserv and ONGC, while the major losers were TCS, Tech Mahindra and Infosys.
OMCs to explore fuel price revision post elections
Fuel prices in the country remained unchanged on Tuesday with oil marketing companies continuing on the pause mode and keeping petrol and diesel prices static for a fortnight now.
Accordingly, pump prices of petrol and diesel remained at previous day’s level of Rs 90.56 and Rs 80.87 a litre respectively in the national capital.
However, the two petroleum products may see revision again post conclusion of ongoing state elections. With crude remaining below $65 a barrel, any softening on global oil in wake of fresh wave of the pandemic and rising oil stocks in US could actually mean lower petrol and diesel prices for consumers in India.
Before the long drawn pause, petrol and diesel fell by 22 paisa and 23 paisa per litre respectively on March 30. The OMCs have decided to pause price revision since then as they want to watch the crude price movement that has now fallen to around $63.5 a barrel.
Across the country as well the petrol and diesel prices remain static on Tuesday but its retail levels varied depending on the level of local levies on respective states.
In Mumbai, petrol continues to be priced at Rs 96.98 a litre and diesel at Rs 87.96 a litre. Premium petrol, however, continues to remain over Rs 100 a litre in the city as is the case with several cities across the country.
The OMCs went on price cut for the first time this year on two consecutive days – March 24 and 25 after keeping oil prices steady for past 24 days. It again reduced the price on March 30. Thereafter, fuel prices have remained unchanged.
Earlier, petrol and diesel prices increased 26 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.46 and Rs 7.60 per litre respectively so far this year.
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