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Wednesday,12-May-2021

Business

Finance Minister’s comment on crypto brings relief to industry

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Nirmala-Sitharaman

With Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying that all windows on cryptocurrencies will not be closed down, industry stakeholders on Monday said that a positive move at this point can unleash a host of opportunities for the country.

Her comments at an India Today conclave last week came amid speculation that the government may ban cryptocurrencies in the country.

“The very fact that the FM has mentioned willingness to experiment, shows the government’s resolve in bringing digital revolution. Collaborative efforts between stakeholders like us and the government is a must,” Sumit Gupta, CEO and Co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange CoinDCX, said in a statement.

The Finance Minister made it clear that the government intends to allow certain windows for people to do experiments on blockchain, bitcoins or cryptocurrency.

Reacting to her comment, Gupta said that research and development will provide scope for a robust fintech ecosystem to be developed within India.

“The focus will be to build and explore new indigenous products and financial technologies, while strengthening our monetary policies and accelerating technological development,” he said.

India’s leading cryptocurrency players, represented by IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) last week appealed to the government of India not to ban cryptocurrency, while saying that a robust mechanism to regulate the ecosystem is needed.

Good governance and regulation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem in India will give impetus to the government’s Digital India vision, IAMAI said.

“The (FM’s) statement comes as a huge encouragement for the entire industry and we are eagerly waiting for the government to give more clarity on the regulatory framework around crypto assets,” Shivam Thakral, CEO, BuyUcoin, said in reaction to the Finance Minister’s comment.

“We strongly believe that time has come for India to embrace digital assets and benefit from the growth offered crypto assets.”

The government has listed the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 for introduction, consideration and passing in the current session of Parliament.

Reports indicate that India probably aims to launch its own digital currency i.e. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

This measure will be in line with many central banks which have begun planning to issue their own digital currencies.

Business

Samsung, Sony, Hitachi invest in UK healthtech firm Huma

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Dollar

Samsung, Sony and Hitachi have invested in UK heathtech company Huma Therapeutics Limited in its latest Series C funding round with financing of approximately $130 million, the company said on Wednesday.

Leaps by Bayer and Hitachi Ventures led the Series C funding round, which also saw strategic and financial investors like Samsung Next, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, Unilever Ventures and HAT Technology & Innovation Fund by HAT, as well as individuals Nikesh Arora (former president of SoftBank) and Michael Diekmann (Chairman of Allianz).

The investment will scale Huma’s modular platform which can power digital ‘hospitals at home’ nationally, and support the pharmaceutical and research industries to run the largest ever decentralised clinical trials, the company said in a statement.

The company said an additional $70 million can be raised at a later date as part of the Series C funding, taking the total financing to more than $200 million.

“We’re already demonstrating how ‘hospital at home’ can transform healthcare, and how decentralized clinical trials can advance research in ways that weren’t imaginable even one year ago. Now we want to accelerate the pace of change and continue to innovate for better care and research worldwide.,” said Dan Vahdat, Founder and CEO of Huma.

The new investment will be used to expand Huma’s digital platform in the US, Asia and the Middle East.

Its digital ‘hospital at home’ was co-created with clinicians and has been independently shown to almost double clinical capacity, reduce hospital readmissions by over a third and has patient adherence levels of over 90 per cent.

“The service is supporting governments’ pandemic responses on a not-for-profit basis and is now used for a range of patients,” the company said.

Huma works with leading life science companies including AstraZeneca, Bayer and Janssen and academic institutions such as Stanford Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Cambridge.

“We are excited to explore how the Huma platform and its digital biomarkers portfolio could work with the Samsung ecosystem for lasting impact in proactive care across hospitals, life sciences and population health initiatives,” said Jonathan Machado, Senior Investment Director of Samsung Next.

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Business

Sensex down 400 points; banking, oil & gas stocks fall

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Bombay-Stock-Exchange

The key Indian equity indices declined on Wednesday morning with the BSE Sensex losing over 400 points.

Heavy selling pressure was witnessed in banking, finance and oil and gas stocks.

Around 10.25 a.m., Sensex was trading at 48,717.15, lower by 444.66 points or 0.90 per cent from its previous close of 49,161.81.

It opened at 49,171.28 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 49,171.28 and a low of 48,712.42 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,722.10, lower by 128.65 points or 0.87 per cent from its previous close.

Manish Hathiramani, technical analyst with Deen Dayal Investments said: “The Nifty is keeping above the 14,700 level. We will threaten the current uptrend if we close below 14,700.”

“The situation would need to be reviewed then. Until then the trend continues to remain up and traders can strategically find ways to enter the market on dips. The markets can scale higher to 15,200-15,250,” he said.

The top gainers on the Sensex so far were Power Grid, Larsen & Toubro and NTPC, while HDFC, Hindustan Unilever and IndusInd Bank were the major losers.

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Business

Fuel prices rise for third day, closing on Rs 100/lt in Mumbai

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Petrol

Maintaining its rising trend, fuel prices increased for the third day in a row on Wednesday as state-owned fuel retailers hiked rates of petrol and diesel by 25 paise per litre each in the national capital.

In Delhi, petrol now costs Rs 92.05 per litre and diesel is priced at Rs 82.61 up from yesterday’s level of Rs 91.80 and Rs 82.36 a litre respectively.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel prices increased on Wednesday but its quantum varied depending on the level of local levies in respective states.

In Mumbai, petrol now comes for Rs 98.36 a litre and diesel for Rs 89.75, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies.

Petrol prices in some states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and in some places in Maharastra have breached the Rs 100 per litre mark while premium petrol has been hovering above that level for some time now.

Fuel prices have now increased on each of the day this week. Prior to holding back auto fuel prices on Saturday and Sunday, its pump rates had increased sharply on previous four days as well.

Petrol prices have risen by Rs 1.50 a litre in Delhi in May in seven hikes so far. Similarly, diesel prices have risen by Rs 1.88 per litre in capital this month.

IANS had written earlier that OMCs may begin increasing the retail price of petrol and diesel post state elections as they were incurring losses to the tune of Rs 2-3 per litre by holding the price line despite higher global crude and product prices. The oil companies had already increased the ATF prices by 6.7 per cent effective this month.

OMCs benchmark retail fuel prices to a 15-day rolling average of global refined products’ prices and dollar exchange rate. In the last fortnight global oil prices have hovered in $66-67 a barrel range higher than the levels when petrol and diesel prices were last revised. Crude prices have jumped around $69 a barrel now.

With global crude prices at around $69 a barrel mark, OMCs may have to revise fuel prices upwards again if there is any further firming up.

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