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Thursday,09-July-2020

Business

Petrol set to catch up with diesel in Delhi

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Petrol and diesel prices continued their cat and mouse chase in the Capital to become the most expensive auto fuel. Petrol is now just a whisker away to returning to its numero uno spot.

Oil marketing companies including IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum on Saturday increased the price of petrol and diesel by 25 and 21 paisa, respectively, completing three weeks of everyday rise.

This has led the price of petrol to Rs 80.38 a litre and diesel to Rs 80.40 a litre in Delhi, keeping the diesel still ahead in the pricing game, a feat it achieved on Wednesday for the first time ever in the country.

What has made the catching up game interesting again is the quantum of increase in retail price of the auto fuels where balance seems to be shifting again towards Petrol.

The amount of increase in petrol price in Delhi has been higher than diesel for last two days — on Friday petrol increased by 21 paisa against 17 paisa increase in diesel prices, and on Saturday as well petrol increased by 25 paisa a litre while diesel by 21 paisa a litre.

Before this for many days diesel price increase was higher than petrol.

Officials in OMC said that it is hard to predict which of the two fuels will be priced higher in the Capital as the gap between the two is almost negligible. But petrol prices have shown more volatility in international markets that may take it ahead once again in coming days.

Apart from Delhi, the retail prices of petrol and diesel have followed the traditional path in other metros with petrol being priced at a premium of between Rs 5 and 8 per litre. The difference between the auto fuel prices in Delhi and other metros is because of the taxation structure.

While both petrol and diesel are at similar level of taxes (state and centre) in Delhi, it is higher for petrol in many other Indian cities.

Globally diesel is priced a tad higher than petrol. In India too, the base price of diesel is slightly higher than petrol but taxation at central and state levels changed the complexion of retail prices.

While auto fuel prices are now increasing for 21 days, the good news is that the quantum of fuel price increase has fallen.

If price of petroleum products and crude hold their positions in global markets, then petrol and diesel prices rise can stop and we may even see marginal fall in prices.

Fuel prices have been increasing since June 7 when oil companies began the daily price revision mechanism after a hiatus of 82 days during the lockdown.

Prices of transportation fuel were last revised under the dynamic pricing policy on March 16 and there were few instances of price hike later only when the respective state governments hiked VAT or cess.

Business

WhatsApp Business hits 50 million users globally, 15mn in India

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WhatsApp Business app.

With the Covid-19 disruptions bringing more businesses online, WhatsApp Business has reached a new milestone of 50 million monthly users globally with almost a third of them being in India, the Facebook-owned platform said on Thursday.

In India, there are more than 15 million monthly WhatsApp Business app users.

The platform on Thursday also introduced new features to start a chat with a business on WhatsApp like starting a chat with a business using QR codes.

Scanning a QR code will open a chat with an optional pre-populated message created by the business to start the conversation, WhatsApp Business said in a blog post.

With the app’s messaging tools, businesses can quickly send information such as their catalog to get the conversation going.

QR codes are available for businesses around the world using the WhatsApp Business app or WhatsApp Business API starting Thursday, the company said.

WhatsApp Business said that more than 40 million people view a business catalog on the platform each month, while more than three million users in India do so each month.

“To make it easier for people to discover products, we’re making catalogs and individual items available to be shared as links on websites, Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere,” said the blog post.

“If people want to share a catalog or item they find with friends or family, they can simply copy the link and send it on WhatsApp or other places as well,” it added.

Additionally, WhatsApp also launched new “Open for Business” sticker packs to help people and businesses stay connected, say thanks and get business done.

WhatsApp which has over 400 million users in India said these sticker packs will be available to all of its more than two billion users worldwide as well as the 50 million users of the WhatsApp Business app.

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Business

Oil and Gas: OMCs set to start FY21 with a bang in Q1

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Petrol. (File Photo: IANS)

The Covid-19 demand suppression in early part of the year is likely to abate for oil marketing companies, now with state-run companies — IOC, HPCL and BPCL making a strong beginning to FY21 returning high levels of earnings per share between 37 and 266 per cent in three months, ICICI Securities has said in a report.

The report on refining and marketing has said that the companies shares would be flying on stock exchanges on the back of record auto fuel marketing margin, inventory gain and in case of BPCL and HPCL, surge in GRM (gross refining margin) on a low base.

Net auto fuel marketing margin (on sale of petrol and diesel) is estimated at Rs 6.1 per litre in Q1FY21 and Rs 2 per litre in Q2FY21. The higher margin is on account of upwards revision of fuel prices that started on June 7 and continued for 22 continuous days raising petrol and diesel prices by about Rs 9.17 and 11.39 per litre respectively.

According to the brokerage report, in FY21 margin may be higher than earlier estimate of Rs 2.5 litre. This would provide higher earnings for the companies as auto fuel sales is a major component of revenue for OMCs.

The main earning driver for OMCs is not only higher margins but also inventory gain that they will make this year. In Q1 the inventory gains for companies are estimated at Rs 550-850 crore against loss or smaller gain in Q1FY20. BPCL and HPCL’s GRM is estimated to be up between two and nine times YoY at $5.9-6.9 per barrel boosted by discounts on crude ($3.4-3.6/bbl) but that of IOC at $4.3/bbl to be down 9 per cent YoY.

OMCs’ Q1 GRM is estimated at $4.3-6.9/bbl including gain from crude at discount to Dubai of $3.4-3.6/bbl. However, GRM in Q2 is weak at $3.0-3.8/bbl (including inventory gain of $0.7-0.8/bbl) due to shrinking of crude discounts. Core GRM may be weak in Q2 and FY21, but that including inventory gain would be higher, the ICICI Securities said.

OMCs’ FY21 product inventory gain is estimated at Rs 1100-2300 crore.

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Business

Flipkart Group invests Rs 260 crore in Arvind Fashions’ arm

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Rupees

The Flipkart Group on Thursday announced it has invested Rs 260 crore to purchase a significant minority stake in Arvind Youth Brands, a subsidiary of Arvind Fashions (AFL).

Arvind Youth Brands owns the popular Flying Machine denim brand that has been retailing on Flipkart and Myntra for more than six years.

With this investment, the Flipkart Group and Arvind Fashions will work collaboratively to identify opportunities and synergies to innovate and develop products with strong value propositions at attractive price points, the ecommerce platform said in a statement.

“We look forward to partnering with the team at Arvind Youth Brands to continue to grow the market for its portfolio of products and enhance the strong brand equity that has been built over the last few decades,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer, Flipkart Group.

Arvind Fashions Ltd has a portfolio of renowned brands, both international and indigenous, like US Polo Assn., Arrow, GAP, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Flying Machine, Aeropostale, The Children’s Place and Ed Hardy.

It is also India’s leading beauty retailer in partnership with Sephora and owns and runs the value fashion retail chain, Unlimited.

“Given the strong existing relationship with the Flipkart Group, and their presence in online fashion, it was an obvious choice for us to enter into this engagement through which Flipkart and Myntra will be our preferred online partner for the Flying Machine brand,” said J. Suresh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Arvind Fashions.

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