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Friday,17-September-2021

Business

Fuel price rise paused, retail rates unchanged on Saturday

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The oil marketing companies kept the retail price of petrol and diesel unchanged on Saturday to analyse the global oil price movement before making further revisions.

Accordingly, petrol continues to be priced at Rs 99.16 a litre and diesel 89.18 a litre in the national capital on Saturday.

Across the country as well the fuel prices remained unchanged on Saturday. Fuel prices were last revised upwards on Friday.

The price rise pause has come not before the fuel rates have reached new highs across the country through numerous increases in last two months.

Starting from a price line of Rs 90.40 a litre on May 1, petrol is now priced at Rs 99.16 a litre in the national capital, rising by a sharp Rs 8.76 per litre in last 60 days. Similarly, diesel price in the capital also rose by Rs 8.45 per litre in past two months to reach Rs 89.18 a litre in the capital city.

Though, oil companies gave respite to consumers on Saturday, keeping fuel prices unchanged, the price pause has come after rates have been revised upwards in 32 out of 61 days between May and June to take retail rates touch new highs across the country.

Officials in oil companies put the consistent increase in fuel prices to development in global oil markets where both product and crude price have been firming up for past couple of months on demand rise amidst slowing of pandemic. However, closer look at fuel retail prices in India gives a picture that it is high level of taxes that is keeping fuel rate higher even in times when global oil prices are firm.

Global crude oil price is now hovering around $75 a barrel. It was over $80 a barrel in October 2018 but even then the petrol prices hovered around Rs 80 a litre across the county. So, even with lower oil prices now, petrol prices have hit century and crossed it by a wider margin now in several parts of the country.

Officials said that fuel prices might again rise in coming days and only way retail prices could be brought down in this period is by way of tax cuts by both Centre and States.

Fuel prices are already touching new highs everyday. Petrol is most expensive in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar where it is now retailing at Rs 110.40 Even diesel in the city is priced at a high of Rs 102.42 a litre.

In the city of Mumbai, where petrol prices crossed Rs 100 mark for the first time on May 29, the fuel prices reached new high of Rs 105.24 per litre on Friday. It remained at the same level on Saturday. Diesel prices also increased in the city to reach Rs 96.72 a litre, the highest among metros.

With global crude prices also rising on a pick up demand and depleting inventories of world’s largest fuel guzzler – the US, retail prices of fuel in India are expected to firm up further in coming days. The benchmark Brent crude reached multi year high level of over $75 on ICE or Intercontinental Exchange.

Business

Nifty, Sensex at record highs: Covid relief measures sustain gains

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National-Stock-Exchange

 India’s key stock indices rose during per-noon trade session on Friday to reach new intra-day record high levels.

Accordingly, both key indices — S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 — made new record highs.

The Sensex crossed the 59,700 mark, while Nifty breached the 17,790 level.

As per market observers, the up moves comes on the back of GST Council’s meet to discuss further Covid relief measures and inclusion of fuel in the indirect tax system.

Initially, both key indices had a gap-up opening.

Even stable global cues supported these gains as Asian markets were largely firm.

Sector-wise, Banks, Auto and Consumer Durables indices were amongst the gainers whereas Power, Metals and Utilities were among the losers.

At 11.30 a.m., S&P BSE Sensex traded at 59,566.80 points, higher by 425.64 points or 0.72 per cent from its previous close.

Similarly, NSE Nifty50 traded higher. It rose to 17,746.95 points, higher by 117.45 points or 0.67 per cent from its previous close.

“The Indian benchmark indices started with a gap up after the positivity in global sentiments. Indian shares scaled record highs today as banking stocks extended gain from the previous session after the country’s Finance Minister laid out details for the establishment of a bad bank,” said Likhita Chepa, Senior Research Analyst, CapitalVia Global Research.

“Traders may get support as the Reserve bank of India said the inflation trajectory is coming down faster than anticipated.”

According to Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities: “Nifty opened gap up on September 17 and rose making fresh record highs helped by Banking stocks post the bad bank sovereign guarantee announcement on Thursday evening. Volumes are in line with recent average.”

“Advance decline ratio is in the negative suggesting pressure on broader markets. Asian shares were mixed on Friday after a mixed economic data led Wall Street to close mostly lower.”

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Business

Ola Electric continues record run, sells scooters worth Rs 1,100 cr in 2 days

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Ola Electric on Friday announced that it has sold e-scooters worth Rs 1,100 core in two days since Wednesday, when the purchase window was opened.

“In total over 2 days, we have done over Rs 1,100 crore in sales! This is unprecedented not just in the automotive industry but it is one of the highest sales in a day (by value) for a single product in Indian e-commerce history! We truly are living in a digital India,” the company claimed in a statement tweeted on Friday.

The firm announced in July that its electric scooter had received a record-breaking 100,000 reservations within the first 24 hours, making it the most pre-booked scooter in the world.

“While the purchase window is now closed, our reservations remain open on olaelectric.com and I want to let all of you know that we will be re-opening the purchase window on November 1, 2021, just in time for Diwali,” a company spokesperson said.

Ola Electric opened the reservation for its electric scooter on the evening of July 15. The Ola S1 and S1 Pro were launched a month later, on August 15. The purchase process includes selecting a colour and variant, opting for a loan or paying in advance, and getting a delivery date.

Deliveries will start from next month. Buyers will be notified about the estimated delivery dates within 72 hours of purchase.

The Ola S1 is priced at Rs 99,999; for the S1 Pro, customers will have to pay Rs 1,29,999 (ex-showroom). These prices include the FAME II subsidy, but exclude state subsidies.

The company said the e-scooters will be priced aggressively to make them widely accessible. They will roll out from the company’s state-of-the-art Futurefactory in Tamil Nadu.

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GST Council meet today: Covid relief, bringing oil and gas indirect tax regime on agenda

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Finance Minister

 The GST Council will meet in Lucknow on Friday to take decisions on issues related to duty revision that were put on the back burner in earlier meetings to focus on the Covid relief measures amid rising cases during the second wave of the pandemic.

The meeting, however, is expected to announce a few more Covid relief measures particularly on compliance matters.

It will also announce a few measures to correct the inverted duty while discussing the compensation cess dues arising in 2021-22.

Two other important items, including lowering of GST rates for two-wheelers and bringing natural gas into the indirect tax fold may also be included in the agenda for discussion.

“Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman will chair the 45th GST Council meeting at 11 AM in Lucknow today. The meeting will be attended by MOS Shri @mppchaudhary besides Finance Ministers of States & UTs and Senior officers from Union Government & States,” the Ministry of Finance said in a tweet.

The GST Council has already met twice this year when the panel of finance ministers discussed GST compensation and the borrowing formula offered by the Centre towards compensating states for GST shortfall while also announcing a series of duty relief and easing of compliance measures towards Covid relief.

The 45th meeting of the council is expected to again discuss the compensation issue for the current year, but sources said it may also take a few steps to correct inverted duty structure without pursuing any increase in the GST rates or move towards converging GST to three rate structure.

Sources also said that the council at the meeting may also take up two other important items, including lowering of GST rates for two-wheelers and bringing natural gas into the indirect tax fold.

A top source in the finance ministry said that inverted duty correction, GST cut on two-wheelers and inclusion of natural gas into GST fold are on the agenda and hopefully the council will offer some solution that is in the best interest of all stakeholders.

Correction of inverted duty structure, especially in sectors such as fertilizer, steel utelsils, solar modules, tractors, tyres, electrical transformers, pharma, textile, fabric, railway locomotives among other goods is required.

Inverted duty refers to tax rates on inputs being higher than those levied on finished products. This results in higher input credit claims by goods besides several administrative and compliance issues.

Currently, while duty on imported tyres is 10 per cent, its inputs i.e. rubber attracts 20 per cent duty. Similarly, solar modules do not attract any duty while its components attract 5-10 per cent duty.

Similarly, the council may also consider lowering the GST rate of 28 per cent on two-wheelers to give a boost to its sales affected during the pandemic.

The Council has in principle agreed to include five petroleum products under GST, but has so far deferred its actual inclusion into the indirect as states fear a big loss of revenue. But now, the government is considering bringing natural gas under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to begin with as it would be difficult to bring the entire oil and gas sector immediately under it.

Sources said that natural gas may be included under a three-tier GST structure where rates would vary depending on the usage. So, while piped natural gas (PNG) for homes may be kept at a lower rate of 5 per cent, commercial piped gas may attract the median 18 per cent GST rate and automobile fuel CNG may be kept in the highest bracket of 28 per cent.

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