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The UN report finds that 227 million people in the world have moved out of ‘slum conditions’ since 2000. At the same time, the study also stresses that 55 million new slum-dwellers have been added to the global urban population since 2000
India and China have together lifted at least 125 million people out of slums between 1990 and 2010, and improved the lives of slum-dwellers more than any other countries, a new report released by the United Nations said, reports PTI.
India has lifted 59.7 million people out of ‘slum conditions’ since 2000. Slum prevalence fell from 41.5% in 1990 to 28.1% in 2010. This is a relative decrease of 32%, the study found, according to the report called ‘State of the World’s Cities 2010/2011’.
"Lessening poverty and improving conditions in slums are part of India's urban development policy," the report said, pointing out four main reasons for it.
These reasons are: building the skills of the urban poor in their chosen businesses, and by providing them micro-credit; providing basic services and development within slum settlements, thus improving living conditions; providing security of tenure to poor families living in unauthorised settlements, improving their access to serviced low-cost housing and subsidised housing finance and encouraging the poor to take part in decision-making and community development efforts.
China has made the greatest progress on this front with improvements in the daily conditions of 65.3 million urban residents, the report said.
Proportionally, China's urban population living in slums fell from 37.3% in 2000 to some 28% in 2010, a relative decrease of 25%.
"Despite growing inequality due to the country's rapid economic advance, China has improved living conditions by embracing economic reforms and implementing modernisation policies that have used urbanisation to drive national growth," the report said.
Overall, the report finds that 227 million people in the world have moved out of ‘slum conditions’ since 2000. At the same time, the study also stresses that 55 million new slum-dwellers have been added to the global urban population since 2000.
"However, this achievement is not uniformly distributed across regions," said Anna Tibaijuka, head of the UN Human Settlements Programme.
"Success is highly skewed towards the more advanced emerging economies, while poorer countries have not done as well," she said.
Overall, the UN report finds that the number of people living in slums has risen from 777 million in 2000 to 830 million in 2010, and warns that unless urgent steps are taken, the number could rise to 900 million in 2020.
While cement prices have been on the upside over the past few months, analysts suggest that they will start falling from next month with the recently added capacities by various players boosting utilisation levels
Cement prices have skyrocketed over the past few months. However, analysts predict a fall in prices in April-May due to more capacity addition. Though the fall is likely to be gradual, the long-term movement of prices will depend on the decisions taken by the major players in the cement sector.
The recent increase in cement prices over the last couple of months with improved off-take due to a pick-up in infrastructure activity is a positive phenomenon for the domestic cement industry. "On the volume front, we expect a sequential improvement due to a pick-up in urban construction and real-estate activity. However, with the stabilisation of the new capacities, the supply is expected to surpass the incremental demand, which will create pressure on utilisation and consequently on cement prices," said Sharekhan Ltd in a research note.
During February, the Indian cement industry posted a moderate 4.3% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in despatches, riding on healthy demand from the central and western regions. The cement despatches were up by an impressive 13.9% and 8.5% in the central and western regions, respectively.
However, during the same month, all-India capacity utilisation declined to 83% from 92% in the same period a year ago. The decline was highest in the southern region, which recorded utilisation of 69% from 88% last year. The central region however, registered an increase of about 10% to 107% in capacity utilisation buoyed by strong demand arising from the infrastructure and real-estate segments.
According to an analyst with a leading brokerage, who preferred anonymity, companies that have commissioned their capacities in January will witness an increase in capacity utilisation which will in turn impact the volumes in April-May. Till January 2010, 10 million tonnes (MT) of new capacity has been added at an all-India level, he said.
Any planned capacity in cement takes around three to four months time to start operating at higher capacity utilisation levels. Dalmia Cements, India Cements, JP Cement and Grasim Cement are some of the companies that have commissioned their capacities in the past few months.
"Capacity utilisation will increase to 50%-60% in a matter of six months. Also, as we enter the April-May 2010 period, the cement demand that is growing at double-digit growth of around 11%-12%, will also be subdued," said Amit Srivastava, research analyst, Karvy Stock Broking Ltd. He further stated that region-wise, demand in the northern region will start decreasing, as demand from the Commonwealth Games construction activities will end by June-July 2010.
On a long term, basic cement demand is likely to grow at 9.5% to 10% in FY2011. While cement prices are likely to fall owing to capacity additions, the fall is expected to be a gradual one.
"The fall in cement prices would be gradual. Also, companies will start planning their capacity utilisation levels depending on the demand. In the long term, if they are able to achieve this demand-supply equation, cement prices will stabilise. However, companies will be able to reduce their utilisation levels only up to the point that their fixed costs allow them to do so," added Mr Srivastava.
Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd, in a note said, "Though we remain bullish on cement demand (factoring in 10% y-o-y demand growth over FY2010-12E), we expect the bunching up of capacities in Q2FY11-Q3FY11 to put pressure on cement prices. We expect close to 48MT per annum of new capacities to be added over H2FY10 and H1FY11. The steady ramp-up in utilisation of new capacities coupled with the onset of the monsoon is expected to see a reversal of the sector’s recent pricing power by Q2FY11. Overall, we expect the cement surplus in FY2011 to jump three-fold to about 22MT per annum as compared to 6MT per annum in FY2010. Hence, we believe that cement prices are unlikely to cross the previous highs of Rs257 (reached) in mid-July 2009."
Considering the extra cost incurred on electric engines, the company said that the E-Spark's price may be a little higher than the Spark
Automobile major General Motors on Friday said that it would launch the electric version of its small car 'Spark' in the Indian market this year-end.
"We are set to launch our electric car, E-Spark, by the end of this year in India," GM Motors' marketing director, Gaurav Gupta, told PTI in Mumbai.
"It will be an electric version of our small car Spark and will be the first four-door passenger car in the world in this segment," he said.
Considering the extra cost incurred on electric engines, Mr Gupta said that the E-Spark's price may be a little higher than the Spark. "The acquisition price may be slightly higher. But the operating costs will be very low," he said.
The company is entering the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment as well this year, he said.
The vehicles would be produced by the joint venture formed with a Chinese company, SAIC.
When asked if there was any plan to export engines to China, Mr Gupta said that the company would look at all business opportunities allowed by the laws of both countries.
"As a global company, we will not miss any opportunity. If the norms prevailing in both countries permit, we will look at export of engines," he said.
GM is expecting to sell one lakh units in India this year, Mr Gupta said.
"We are on the growth path. Last year, we sold around 70,000 units. We hope, this year, we can improve this figure to one lakh, with a growth rate of about 50%. We are upbeat on our 'Beat' from which we see more than 40% sales emanating," he said.
The company is strongly focusing on localisation with a view to drive down costs, he said. The company is planning to phase out its model, ‘Aveo’, gradually. "Our aim is to capture a double-digit market-share in India in a few years," Mr Gupta said.