Business Live:

The benchmark stock indices opened the day on a  positive note with significant gains on the back of positive global cues.

Join us as we follow the top business news through the day.

10:30 AM

FDI policy in e-commerce sector should be enforced in letter and spirit: CAIT

Concerns prevail over the domination of big businesses in the e-commerce space.

PTI reports: “Domestic traders’ body CAIT on Wednesday said the foreign direct investment policy in the e-commerce sector should be enforced in letter and spirit so that global players do not violate the rules.

The issue was raised by Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal at a meeting called by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to discuss about FDI in e-commerce.

The present policy, that allows 100 per cent FDI in marketplace e-commerce platforms and prohibits FDI in inventory-based model of e-commerce, is absolutely correct and in line with government’s intent to protect the small merchants, he said.

“The policy should be enforced in letter and spirit,” he added.

According to him, due to creative interpretations about the relationship between marketplace and sellers, global companies are controlling either the sellers on their platform or their inventory.

“The control of foreign marketplace platform entities, over the sellers on their platform, enables them to do anti-competitive practices such as predatory pricing and deep discounting through capital dumping that has led to closure of a large number of small merchants/ kiranas leading to job loss for lakhs of people every month,” he said.

CAIT has time and again alleged that large multinational e-commerce companies have continued to indulge in prohibited inventory-based model of e-commerce by direct and indirect control over the seller’s/inventory.

He also said the government should have the right to seek information and audit the accounts of the entities involved in e-commerce.

“An independent regulatory body should be constituted to regulate the sector and take immediate action on violations such as deep discounting, preferential arrangements with sellers, discriminatory treatments,” he said.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of Retailers Association of India (RAI) and All India Consumer Products Distributions Federation. It was chaired by DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra.

In a statement, RAI said the FDI rules applicable to retail should be the same across channels and formats of retail to facilitate consumer experience and market balance.

“There is a need to support modernisation of retail in the country, especially since it means increased employment and higher contribution to the country’s GDP,” it said.

Indian-owned Indian-managed retail enterprises should be given better access to funds, local and international, to become globally competitive, RAI said, adding that there is a strong need to ensure better implementation of the FDI policy in letter and spirit.

Meanwhile, CAIT submitted its recommendations for the proposed national e-commerce policy in a representation to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

According to CAIT, the policy must include provision for setting up of an e-commerce regulator having enforcement/ adjudicatory powers.

“Past experiences suggest that complaints are made at a relevant stage against growing e-commerce platforms, however, inaction on the part of the regulators lead to such players growing so big that their anti-competitive business models become the norm of the market. Hence, the framework to be laid down must comprise a timely dispute redressal mechanism,” it added.

Further, CAIT said there is a pressing need to maintain and ensure non-discriminatory nature of e-commerce marketplace platforms.

There is also a necessity for enacting a data protection law to ensure that data collected by e-commerce operators is processed and maintained in India and is not used to the detriment of customers, it noted.”

10:00 AM

Sensex surges over 400 points in early trade; Nifty tops 14,850

A good start to the day for stocks.

PTI reports: “Equity benchmark Sensex rallied over 400 points in early trade on Thursday, led by gains in ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries amid positive cues from global markets and foreign fund inflows.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 436.79 points or 0.88 per cent higher at 50,238.41, and the broader NSE Nifty was up 131.55 points or 0.89 per cent at 14,852.85.

Bajaj Finance was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising around 3 per cent, followed by ONGC, M&M, Maruti, ICICI Bank, SBI, HFC twins and Reliance Industries.

On the other hand, Infosys and Dr Reddy’s were the laggards.

In the previous session, Sensex ended 562.34 points or 1.12 per cent lower at 49,801.62, while Nifty slumped 189.15 points or 1.27 per cent to finish at 14,721.30.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net buyers in the capital market on Wednesday as they bought shares worth Rs 2,625.82 crore, as per exchange data.

According to V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, the outcome of the US Federal Reserve’s policy meet is very positive for equity markets.

“Fed’s accommodative monetary stance is appropriate and will continue through 2023 mean the ample liquidity condition and the low-interest rate will sustain for an extended period of time.

“The better than expected news is the Fed raising US GDP growth to 6.5 per cent and signal at inflation above 2 per cent will be tolerated for some time – Very good news for the bulls,” he noted.

After its two-day policy meeting, the US Fed reassured investors that it expects to keep its key interest rate near zero through 2023.

Stock exchanges on Wall Street ended with gains in the overnight session.

A concern in India, however, is the second wave of COVID-19 attack in parts of the country, particularly in Maharashtra. But, going by experiences this is unlikely to impact the market much, he said, adding that the second wave in the US and Europe (much less in intensity) didn’t impact markets.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading on a positive note in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.76 per cent lower at USD 67.48 per barrel.”

9:30 AM

India readies Saudi oil import cut as stand-off escalates

State-owned refiners are planning to cut oil imports from Saudi Arabia by about a quarter in May, in an escalating stand-off with Riyadh following OPEC’s decision to ignore calls from New Delhi to help the global economy with higher supply.

Two sources familiar with the discussions said the move was part of the government’s drive to cut dependence on crude from the Middle East.

Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd are preparing to lift about 10.8 million barrels in May, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

State refiners, which control about 60% of 5 million barrels per day (bpd) refining capacity, together import an average 14.7-14.8 million barrels of Saudi oil in a month, the sources said.


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