Economy
Indian basket of crude oils diving towards $30 a barrel
New Delhi : The Indian basket of crude oils dived sharply to the $30 a barrel mark as sweet grade UK Brent prices fell on Thursday's trade to levels last seen in 2004, pulled down this time by a falling Chinese currency and a second emergency halt in China's stock trading this week that spooked Asian markets.
 
The Indian Basket, composed of 73 percent sour grade Dubai and Oman crudes and the rest by Brent, closed at $31.33 per barrel of 159 litres on Wednesday, falling from $32.51 on the previous trading day.
 
The US crude output increased unexpectedly last week to 9.219 million barrels a day according to the US Energy Information Agency. Adding to investors' worries was the lack of signs that US shale oil producers would start to cut production in face of the plunging prices.
 
The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery moved down $2 to settle at $33.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest close since December 2008.
 
Brent crude for February delivery decreased $2.19 to close at $34.23 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, the lowest close since June 2004.
 
China further depreciated the yuan on Thursday, leading to regional currencies and stock markets tumbling as investors feared China's moves could trigger competitive currency devaluations from trading partners.
 
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index declined by 7.32 percent, which led to a halt in trading, as the circuit breaker mechanism was triggered.
 
Commodity prices, too, plunged as the economy of the world's largest consumer struggled. 
 
China's service activity grew at a slower pace in December, fuelling worries about a slowdown in the world's second biggest oil consuming economy.
 
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met here on Tuesday with global oil and gas experts to discuss ways of boosting investments in the exploration and skill development at a time of low oil prices.
 
Among the foreign invitees to the meeting were British oil major BP's chief executive Bob Dudley, International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol, and Royal Dutch Shell's director (Projects) Harry Brekelmans.
 
The discussions focused, among other things, on subjects such as increasing the share of gas in India's energy mix, fresh investment in oil and gas exploration in India, regulatory frameworks, international acquisition of oil and gas assets, the Prime Minister's Office said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Bankmen's January 8 strike to hit banking operations
Chennai : Nearly 340,000 bank employees across the country will strike work on January 8 to protest the implementation of the new Career Progression Scheme (CPS), a leader of the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) said here on Thursday.
 
He said the strike will be in protest against the violation of the bilateral settlement by five associate banks of the State Bank of India (SBI), namely State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur and State Bank of Travancore.
 
He said the five associate banks were bent on implementing the new Career Progression Scheme (CPS) for their employees in violation of a bilateral agreement with their respective unions.
 
"It is the managements of the five banks that are on war path against the employees and not the other way round. At the last conciliation meeting, the chief labour commissioner (CLC) had advised the bank managements to put on hold the implementation of the new service conditions," AIBEA general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam told IANS.
 
The strike will have a great impact on the banking public since January 9 will be a weekly holiday for banks.
 
"The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) is regrettably silent on the matter. We have been forced to go on strike. The branch offices will not be closed but normal operations might be affected due to employees going on strike," Venkatachalam said.
 
According to Venkatachalam, the five banks also want to abolish permanent cadres like sweepers and outsource labour activity which, it contended, cannot be done unilaterally.
 
The AIBEA perceives uniform service conditions between the SBI and its five associate banks as a step towards merger.
 
Venkatachalam said there already was uniformity in technology, branding, work procedure and use of ATMs by account holders of the six banks.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Balu

1 year ago

Consolidation is the name of the game worldwide. Here we have an irresponsible & self centered union AIBEA, whose office bearers want to cling on to a dinosaurian ideology and market dynamics. Wake up guys and allow modern times to catch up with your cob-web induced garbled thinking.

China in 2016: Economic slowdown amid race to end ageing population
New Delhi : Indian experts forecast a slowing down of the giant Chinese economy during 2016 as Beijing has girded up to implement its decision to scrap the almost four-decade-old one-child norm in the face of an ageing population. China watchers also saw Beijing continuing to flex its muscles in the South China Sea where it has disputes with neighbours Japan and Vietnam while Sino-Indian relations were likely to see an upswing with cautious movements in the strategic and security domain.
 
One of the biggest milestones in China's history was the scrapping of the 37-year-old one-child diktat on October 29, 2015, and proposed implementation of a relaxed two-child principle later in 2016. The Communist Party of China (CPC) proposed this scheme in an attempt to balance population development and offset the burden of an aging population.
 
"This change was definitely important in the socio-political domain. The need to scrap the one child policy was absolutely necessary due to China's growing aged population. But the demographic dividend will be only seen after 25-30 years and not in the near future," noted strategic expert C. Uday Bhaskar, director, Society for Policy Studies (SPS), told IANS.
 
A final plan for the change will be ratified by China's top legislature in March after which it will come into affect officially. It has been estimated that it would raise the population from the current total of 1.37 billion to an estimated 1.45 billion by 2030.
 
"Data has shown that 64 percent of China's total population still prefer the one child policy. The country will need an absolute majority for this to become a total success," Professor Srikanth Kondapalli, Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said.
 
China's strength, its economy, took a beating when the yuan was devalued on August 11 by lowering its daily mid-point trading price to 1.87 percent weaker against the US dollar. The next day, it faced its second devaluation as it pushed down by another 1.62 percent against the US dollar. The devaluations resulted in Chinese exports getting cheaper and imports into China more expensive by that amount.
 
"China's economic slowdown will persist even in 2016. In 2010, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate was a 10.8 percent. I expect at least a 6.5 percent rate or possibly even lower in 2016 as market confidence is decreasing. The yuan is coming back to its actual position, and even if it may not get devalued this year, the actual value will decline," Kondapalli said.
 
According to Arvind Yelery, associate fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, the country's economic growth will also depend on how the country manages its excessive commitments that it has made to complete by this year in terms of trade, communications and science and technology. There is speculation that a lot of fluctuations will occur after the third quarter of 2016.
 
On December 1, the International Monetary Fund included the yuan in its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket that will make it the fifth reserve currency after the dollar, the euro, the pound sterling and the yen. However, the final inclusion will take another six to eight months.
 
China's campaign of island building in the South China Sea has caused concerns among other regional contenders.
 
"China's claim towards the South China Sea is a matter of muscular assertiveness. The complex geo-political situation here will remain," Bhaskar said.
 
China claims most of the South and East China seas. Other countries in South East Asia have competing claims for the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and Scarborough Shoal, which are thought to have resource-rich waters around them. 
 
According to Kondapalli, China will not agree to others asserting claim over the South China Sea. This tussle will continue and the issue will be clinched with military power.
 
China completed construction of two lighthouses in October and the government has reiterated that China's construction completely falls within its own sovereignty.
 
In 2015, China also moved closer in terms of bilateral relations with South Asian nations including India. A golden moment in cementing India-China relations was when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China in May and inked a record 24 bilateral agreements, held summit level talks and signed 26 deals worth $22 billion.
 
"China and India have moved very cautiously in terms of bilateral agreements. The two countries will definitely engage more in the trade and economy sectors but when it comes to strategic and and security domain, issue will definitely prevail for China's support towards Pakistan," Bhaskar said.
 
China-Pakistan relations took a new turn with President Xi Jinping's visit in April 2015 to Islamabad, where he envisaged investments worth $45 billion and signed 51 agreements. The investments were expected for the projects that constitute the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. 
 
"China-Pakistan relations will remain almost the same, but when Modi visited Islamabad on December 25, 2015, it did create a ripple effect. For China-India relations to flourish better, political investments are of the utmost importance," Yelery said, adding the economic front looks very optimistic as China will look to compete with the already existing and successful Japanese investments in India.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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