Two-way trade between the UAE and India climbed to a record high of about 118 billion dirhams last year, nearly 15% of the UAE's commercial activity
India became the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) largest trading partner in 2009, ousting China from the top position and accounting for nearly 15% of the country’s total commercial exchanges, reports PTI.
"India was the top trading partner of the UAE last year after overtaking China for the first time, accounting for nearly 15% of the country's total commercial exchange," an Emirates Industrial Bank (EIB) study has said.
The UAE's non-oil trade hit a new peak of more than 692 billion dirhams, indicating there was growth in the country's non-hydrocarbon sectors, the study said.
The report showed that two-way trade between the UAE and India climbed to a record high of about 118 billion dirhams, nearly 15% of the UAE's commercial activity.
It was followed by China, the US, Germany and Japan, the report said.
Indian figures also showed the UAE was the second-largest exporter to the sub-continent last year, with shipments totalling about $17 billion (62.44 billion dirhams).
Figures released by the Indian Department of Commerce showed that the surge in the UAE's exports to India turned it into the second largest exporter to the country after Saudi Arabia.
The increase in the UAE's imports from India also boosted the UAE's share of imports from India to a record 10.8% of the South Asian country's total exports of nearly $153 billion.
"There has been a noticeable shift in the trade of the UAE and other members of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) with the West, as the balance is gradually tilting towards Asia," the report said.
"This shift is extremely imports for the Gulf's future economy, including the monetary and fiscal policy, as well as the exchange rates and the Gulf single currency," it added.
"As for 2010, the UAE's trade is expected to maintain its growth, particularly after most of the effects of the global crisis have been tackled. This will have a positive impact on the overall economy this year," the report said.
The EIB study showed the UAE's non-oil trade swelled by about 10.6% to a new peak of nearly 692.9 billion dirhams in 2009 from about 626.1 billion dirhams in 2008.
Most of the big retail brands are struggling to survive in India, as they are still figuring out which revenue models will work in the country
Remember when organised retail made its entry into the country, it was touted as the best thing that had ever happened to the industry? Now, the dust is settling and a number of large players in this segment are taking a serious re-look at their plans and are re-examining their revenue models as push has finally come to shove.
The Indian organised retail industry is in turmoil, as most big retailers are still trying to figure out which revenue model will work in India. Indiabulls, one of the largest real-estate players, has shut down one of its largest lifestyle stores—‘Centre One’ at Pune and is now evaluating whether this format of retail merchandising will work in the country. Retailers like Aditya Birla Retail, Future Group, Reliance Retail and Spencer’s Retail have either closed down or shifted hundreds of their stores in the recent past to stem losses.
In recent months, several retail firms have either gone bust or have been closing down some stores, scaling back expansion plans and even laying off employees in an attempt to cut costs and to beat the continuing acute downturn in the business, which began with the slowdown in the economy.
“In our view, the only thing that works is a price advantage; rentals can be absorbed if they are not exorbitant. The lifestyle format does hinge on price advantage, and hence is not successful. In the long run, we believe that the wholesale format is the one that will be able to achieve some scale,” said Gagan Banga, chief executive officer, Indiabulls Financial Services.
Indiabulls took over the retail business from Piramyd Stores and re-branded it as Indiabulls Megastore (lifestyle) and Indiabulls Mart (supermarkets).
In March 2010, Indiabulls’ retail arm—Store One Retail had forayed into wholesale trading. “We have already exited our small format model (and we have converted it into a cash-and-carry model). We have now come to realise that only the cash-and-carry model will really work in the long term (in India),” added Mr Banga.
Consulting firm KPMG had predicted in March that the slowdown in the retail business is expected to last for another 12-18 months.
Spencer’s Retail Ltd also shut down its retail store in Shivaji Nagar at Pune. According to the company, rentals were not the issue for shutting down the store. “The catchment (the number of footfalls) was unviable in that area. The rental was not a major issue for shutting down the store,” said Shakuntala Sarkar, head, corporate communications, Spencer’s Retail.
In the past one year, Aditya Birla Retail has closed 39 stores (which include supermarkets and hypermarkets). The company wants to discontinue unprofitable stores.
Thomas Varghese, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail had earlier told Moneylife, “This decision of shutting down stores was a part of the company’s policy to close down unviable retail stores.”
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) was also very aggressive on expansion when it entered the retail sector in 2006. It opened around 1,000 stores in 86 cities over three years. But its retail arm faced political turmoil in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The company is again back with a new plan of hypermarkets, which will have a floor space of minimum 80,000 sq ft. Reliance Retail currently has stores in many formats, including small neighbourhood stores (Reliance Fresh), consumer goods (Reliance Digital) and clothing (Reliance Trends). It will use the Reliance Mart brand for its hypermarkets.
ICICI Prudential collected Rs303 crore as first-year premium in the first month of the current fiscal while SBI Life earned a first-year premium worth Rs185 crore
ICICI Prudential has pipped SBI Life to regain the top position among private insurance players, garnering new business worth Rs303 crore as first-year premium in April this year, reports PTI.
ICICI Prudential collected Rs303 crore as first-year premium in the first month of the current fiscal, compared to Rs135 crore in the corresponding month last year, according to monthly data released by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).
On the other hand, SBI Life, promoted by the country's largest lender, State Bank of India SBI), earned a first-year premium worth Rs185 crore compared to Rs460 crore a year ago.
In 2009-10, SBI Life emerged as the biggest player. The insurer collected Rs7,041 crore as first-year premium, while ICICI Prudential managed to mop up a Rs6,334 crore premium in the last fiscal.
Overall, in April this year, the life insurance industry registered a growth of 60% in new business compared to the corresponding month last year.
The 23 life insurers collectively mopped up a first-year premium of Rs5,746 crore in April against Rs3,601 crore in the same month of the previous year.
The growth is significant, as there is turf war between market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and insurance watchdog IRDA over regulation of Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) products, which account for more than half of the total business of life insurance companies.
The difference between SEBI and IRDA arose when the former banned 14 life insurers from raising money from ULIPs in April, following which the latter asked the companies to ignore the order.
Subsequently, the finance ministry intervened and the two regulators agreed to jointly seek a legally binding mandate from the court as to who has jurisdiction over ULIPs.
Till then, status quo ante was restored by the finance ministry.
After the agreement, SEBI amended its order and banned only new ULIPs launched after 9th April, when the first order of SEBI was issued.
In April this year, the largest insurer Life Insurance Corporation of India’s (LIC) first year premium stood at Rs4,173 crore, compared to Rs2,113 crore in the corresponding month last year, translating into a growth of around 100%.
The market share of LIC has also increased to over 72% during the month, compared to around 58% in the same period of the previous year.
In the first month of the current fiscal, the 22 private insurers together could mop up first-year premium of just Rs1,572 crore, compared to Rs1,488 crore in the year-ago, period, translating into a growth of over 5%.