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Maharashtra: FDA cancels Johnson & Johnson’s licence to make baby powder

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The Maharashtra FDA has cancelled the baby talcum powder manufacturing licence of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), from its sole plant in the state at Mulund, officials said.

The FDA said that the licence was cancelled after samples of the fast-moving Johnson’s Baby Powder collected from Nashik and Pune have failed quality checks, and has ordered the company to recall all its stocks from the markets.

These samples were declared by the FDA as ‘Not Of Standard Quality’ after it failed to comply with IS5339:2009 (Second Revision Amendment No. 3) Specification for Skin Powder for infants in the test pH.

The powder samples were collected in November 2019, followed by a show-cause notice issued to the company after the FDA report.

However, J&J challenged the FDA’s notice in the court even as the report of the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL), Kolkata, was awaited.

The CDL Kolkata confirmed the government analyst’s earlier report and issued its final conclusion in the matter after which the FDA swung into action and revoked J&J’s licence.

In a statement on its Sepember 15 order, the FDA said: “The product Johnsons Baby Powder is popularly used in new born babies. The sample declared Not of Standard in pH and the use of the product may affect the health of the skin of the new born babies.”

Experts, activists and pediatricians have expressed concern over the delay in the FDA licence cancellation order after its first notice to J&J as millions of infants may have used the Johnsons Baby Powder in the intervening period.

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Growth of bank deposits slowed down in FY2022

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The growth of bank deposits across the market have slowed down to 10 per cent year-on-year (YoY) as per the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) data, said Kotak Securities Ltd in a report.

According to the report, there is a perceptible slowdown in the bank deposit growth in metropolitan, semi-urban and rural India with household savings being relatively weak.

Further the bank branch expansion has slowed down mainly by the public sector banks.

The report said private banks continue to gain market share but their dominance is much more in urban markets as compared to rural and semi-urban markets.

The current account, savings account (CASA) deposits has slowed although the ratio has moved up higher to approximately 45 per cent led by higher savings ratio in recent years.

The private banks have increased their market share in current account and in the corporate segment while public banks have been losing share steadily in the household and government sectors, Kotak Securities said.

As per the report, the duration of term deposits continues to fall, especially post Covid and the share of non-individuals is quite high at 45 per cent of the overall term deposits.

Given the nature of deposits where non-individuals have a higher share in term deposits, the duration of these deposits has declined but it raises concern as it is likely to be sensitive as interest rate reverses, Kotak Securities said.

The growth of CASA deposits is at a much faster pace than term deposits partly driven by slower demand for deposits as loan growth has been slow or probably due to excess savings during the Covid period.

“As loan growth recovers, we are likely to see a greater push towards mobilising deposits, which implies that the competition would shift from CASA deposits to term,” Kotak Securities said.

The trend to save through CASA deposits is much higher post demonetization and has accelerated during Covid as well. Trends are showing a sign of reversal as the growth rate has started to slow across regions and banks.

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5G-ready car sales cross 500K first time ever globally

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The connected car penetration surpassed that of non-connected cars for the first time ever globally, capturing almost 50.5 per cent share in the second quarter (Q2) this year.

5G-ready car sales surpassed half a million, though 4G accounted for 90 per cent of connected car sales.

According to Counterpoint Research, the US overtook China to lead the global connected car market and the top five automakers were Volkswagen, Toyota, GM, Stellantis and Hyundai.

The US, China and Europe accounted for nearly 80 per cent of connected car sales in the quarter.

“The US market trailed China in terms of connected car sales in the first quarter of this year. However, with the resurgence of Covid-19 and plant shutdowns in China from March onwards, the US overtook China,” said senior analyst Soumen Mandal.

According to the report, automakers are focusing on using powerful on-board computers for next-generation connected mobility.

“4G cars still dominate the global connected car market, capturing 90 per cent of shipments in Q2 2022, whereas 5G cars accounted for around 7 per cent. Although 5G’s share will continue to increase, 4G will see increased sales on a yearly basis until 2027,” said Research Vice-President Peter Richardson.

Non-connected cars have been steadily declining as automakers prefer to upgrade their portfolio with factory-fitted embedded connectivity even in base model variants.

Luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes and Audi were the first to introduce connected cars with inbuilt Wi-Fi, even before the initial push towards connected vehicles came from government mandates like eCall.

According to the report, there are several factors hindering the proliferation of 5G for cars, such as high prices of 5G NAD/TCU, and patchy network coverage even where 5G has been launched which, in turn, means limited availability of 5G capable cars.

Furthermore, there is only nascent adoption of ADAS/AD levels. Currently, there are few Level 3 capable models and all use 4G.

“We expect that mass adoption of 5G connectivity will only occur after 2025, when most of these issues will have been resolved,a said Richardson.

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Rupee slips down against dollar on oil price increase

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Rising international oil prices saw the Indian rupee depreciating to Rs 81.94 against the US dollar.

The rupee opened at Rs 81.52 on Thursday at the interbank forex market and then went down to Rs 81.94.

Experts said demand for dollars from oil importers resulted in a fall in rupee.

The oil prices are expected to climb up as the producing nations have announced their plans to cut production.

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