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India on course for a double digit growth in FY22




India’s GDP growth rate for FY22 is likely to be in double digits on the back of robust performance of country’s tradables sector and a much smaller-than-expected decline in services activity due to pandemic disruptions this year, according to report by Barclays.

The report authored by Barclays chief India economist Rahul Bajoria has projected upside risks to its FY 2021- 22 GDP projection of 9.2 per cent and says that if all its forecast is realized, GDP growth could be close to double digits for the current fiscal year.

The banker’s projection on India’s FY22 GDP is close to RBI’s which had retained GDP forecast for the year at 9.5 per cent.

“India’s second COVID-19 wave acted as a stumbling block to the robust recovery that was underway. Still, the economic damage appears to be less than previously expected. With the second outbreak brought under control, a rapid recovery appears underway,” Bajoria wrote in his report.

Based on this assessment, Barclays has forecast India’s economy expanded 21.2 per cent y/y in Q2 21 (April-June, or Q1 of fiscal year 2021-22), as a low base and a much smaller loss of activity due to the second COVID wave pushed growth to an all-time high for a single quarter.

The country’s April-June GDP data, scheduled to be released on August 31, will show a clash of two contrasting themes, Barclays said adding that although sequential momentum slowed due to COVID outbreak, the robust performance of India’s tradables sector and a much smaller-than-expected decline in services activity should support much faster GDP growth than previously expected.

“Looking at the details, we believe y/y growth in the rural sector is likely to slow modestly in Q2, as the second wave spread deep into the rural countryside. As such, rural consumption showed clear signs of slowing during the quarter, with weaker sales of fertilizer and two wheelers, and an increase in the rural unemployment rate during the quarter. On the other hand, we expect output in the mining sector to improve modestly,” the report said.

“The manufacturing and construction sectors are likely to lead the recovery, as consumption of steel and cement remained robust, driven by both higher government spending and export demand. The easing of curbs on movement, especially for businesses, has boosted exports to record highs, while weak domestic demand has stunted imports.”

Bajoria said that Government expenditures fell short of total revenue collections, but this will not weigh too much on activity. Moreover, within services, the low year-earlier base is likely to offset a sequential loss of momentum, as public transport services, fuel demand and financial services likely experienced some loss of activity erosion during the short but intense second COVID outbreak. Still, these sectors are rebounding quickly and should add more meaningfully to growth in Q3 GDP, Barclays said.

Despite continued expansive government expenditures, we expect output in the public administration sector to contract y/y, as a large of share of the spending is transfer payments, which will not contribute to GDP, the report said.


Premium segment at highest spot, 5G phones at 32% market share in India




 Premium segment (Rs 30,000 and above) contributed 11 per cent to India’s smartphone shipments and 35 per cent to overall market revenue in 2022, the highest ever.

Samsung led the market in 2022 in terms of shipment value share with a 22 per cent share, followed by Apple, in the country, according to Counterpoint Research.

However, in terms of shipment volume, Xiaomi led the market in 2022 with a 20 per cent share, closely followed by Samsung.

Xiaomi slipped to third position in Q4 2022 with Samsung and vivo capturing first and second spots respectively.

5G smartphones captured a 32 per cent share in 2022. Samsung became the top-selling 5G brand in 2022 with a 21 per cent share.

Apple continued to lead the premium smartphone segment, with the iPhone 13 emerging as the top-selling model. Apple also led the market in Q4 2022 in terms of shipment value.

“Consumer demand started declining from the second quarter when the global economy was crippled by multiple macroeconomic issues like all-time high inflation, rising unemployment and geopolitical conflicts, affecting India’s economy as well,” said senior research analyst Prachir Singh.

Inventory build-up across channels after the second quarter led to lower-than-expected shipments throughout the second half of the year.

“We believe that the inventory and demand situation will continue to affect the market in the first half of 2023 before improving in the latter half driven by the festive season and upgrades to 5G devices,” Singh added.

India’s smartphone shipments declined 9 per cent YoY to reach over 152 million units in 2022, according to the report.

The decline, which is the second ever in India’s smartphone market, can be attributed to the decline in entry-level and budget segments which faced supply constraints at the beginning of the year and then witnessed lower demand throughout the year.

“While entry-tier and budget segments were most affected, the premium segment remained immune and showed double-digit growth. OEMs’ increased focus, consumers upgrading for premium features and, most importantly, availability of various financing schemes,” said research analyst Shilpi Jain.

Overall, India smartphone market revenue remained flat despite a 9 per cent YoY decline in shipments.

OnePlus grew 50 per cent YoY in 2022 driven by the OnePlus Nord CE 2 series.

It focused on diversifying and expanding its product portfolio across different price points and increasing its offline presence to drive sales, the report mentioned.

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WhatsApp working on new software that uses Apple Mac Catalyst




 Meta-owned WhatsApp is working on a new Mac app that uses the Apple Mac Catalyst development environment to make better use of system resources.

According to AppleInsider, WhatsApp currently provides a web-based Electron app for Mac users in addition to its web app via browsers.

Electron and Catalyst are software development frameworks that help developers create desktop apps.

The new app has been in a closed beta for a few months, but now anyone can download the file on macOS Big Sur or later on the WhatsApp website, according to the report.

Following installation, it will display a QR code that users can scan with their iPhone to link their accounts using the WhatsApp iOS app.

The Mac app’s three-panel interface provides access to archived chats, starred messages, phone calls, and settings.

The Catalyst app includes features not available in the Electron version, such as file drag-and-drop and a spell-checker, the report mentioned.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp has reportedly rolled out some new shortcuts for group admins to quickly and easily perform actions for a certain group participant, on iOS.

The new shortcuts simplify interactions with group members as now the platform supports large groups of up to 1,024 participants, reports WABetainfo.

The new update will help group admins quickly manage and communicate with such a large number of participants in private.

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Mumbai: No jumbo block on Western Railway on Sunday




There will be no jumbo block on Sunday, January 29 over Western Railway’s (WR) Mumbai suburban section, the WR announced today.

Major block to dismantle Gokhale bridge

Earlier last week, the Western Railway had enforced a major 4.5 hour block on the down slow lines from 12.15am to 4.45am on the intervening nights of Jan 19-20 and Jan 20-21 to carry out dismantling work of the Gokhale road overbridge at Andheri.

As a result, a number of local train services were affected.

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