Food inflation slips to 16.22%

Even though prices of certain items like pulses and vegetables continue to rise, food inflation has eased a bit

Food inflation eased marginally to 16.22% for the week ended 13th March from 16.30% in the preceding week even though prices of certain items such as pulses and vegetables continued to rise, reports PTI.

While moong and pork became dearer by 5% each, urad prices shot up by 4%, vegetables by 2.63% and coffee by 2% during the week.

However, masoor prices slipped 4% and there was a fall of 1% each in the prices for eggs, bajra, maize, condiments and spices.

While food inflation is at a four-month low, overall inflation has been relentlessly rising and was at 9.89% in February, up from 8.56% in January.

The rise in overall inflation has been mainly attributed to high food inflation and the recent hike in fuel inflation after the increase in excise and customs duty on petrol and diesel.

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    Gold drops on weak global cues

    Heavy selling in global markets has resulted in gold prices crashing to a seven-week low

    Gold prices tumbled by Rs170 to a seven-week low of Rs16,450 per 10 grams in the bullion market here today on hectic selling triggered by negative global cues, reports PTI.

    Standard gold and ornaments plunged by Rs170 each to Rs16,450 and Rs 16,300 per 10 grams, respectively. The metal has lost Rs 320 in the last three trading sessions.

    Sovereign also weakened, shedding Rs50 to trade at Rs13,950 per eight-gram piece.

    Selling pressure gathered momentum as gold fell the most since 12th February in New York last evening, losing $15.30 to close at $1,087.50 an ounce.

    Traders refraining from purchasing gold on hopes of a further fall in prices, which also dampened the sentiment, market analysts said.

    In line with the general weak trend, silver ready dropped by Rs275 to Rs26,550 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs220 to Rs26,250 per kg.

    Silver coins lost Rs100 to Rs33,100 for buying and Rs33,200 for selling of 100 pieces.

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    Bharti clinches Zain's African assets for $10.70 billion

    India’s largest telecom player has finalised the deal with the Kuwaiti firm; funds for financing the acquisition have been arranged

    Telecom major Bharti has clinched a $10.70- billion deal to acquire the African operations of Kuwaiti firm Zain, which today announced that "definitive agreements" would be signed soon, reports PTI.

    "The Board is pleased to report that due diligence process has been completed and the parties are finalising definitive agreements, which are expected to be signed in the coming days," Zain said in a statement a day after its Board meeting.

    Bharti, which had announced on Sunday the tying up of $8.30 billion for upfront payment, did not comment immediately, though sources said that top officials have flown to Kuwait to work out the details.

    The money for funding the buy has been arranged from a clutch of foreign banks and the State Bank of India with Standard Chartered Bank committing the highest amount of $1.30 billion followed by $0.9 billion from Barclays.

    In all, $7.5 billion debt would be dollar-denominated and the remaining $1 billion will be in a rupee loan from SBI.

    Having failed twice to acquire another South African giant MTN in the past two years, Bharti had been continuously looking for global acquisitions. Zain's Board reviewed the "latest developments and negotiations" on 24th March, the last day of the exclusive agreement for negotiations.

    "Upon signing (the agreements), the parties will move towards getting any required approval," the statement said, while taking cognisance of the reports that Bharti has already secured the entire financing requirement of $8.3 billion for the transaction.

    The sale of Zain Africa BV would not include Zain's operations in Sudan and Zain's investment in Morocco, the statement said.

    Bharti would have to pay another $700 million after a year besides taking the loan liability of $1.70 billion of the acquired company after it signs the deal.

    With the acquisition, Bharti Airtel will enter the world's fastest growing market in Africa. The two businesses combined will have more than 165 million subscribers with total revenue of $13 billion.

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