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Special help desk at Hyderabad airport

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Hyderabad International Airport, in partnership with Telangana Overseas M a n p owe r C o m p a ny Limited (TOMCOM) on Wednesday launched a migrant help desk dedicated to vulnerable migrants travelling abroad, especially to Kuwait and Qatar on a trial basis. Committed to raising awareness about safe a n d l e g a l m i g r at i o n , the help desk will help and guide vulnerable migrants like domestic workers, housemaids and labourers about proper d o c u m e n t a t i o n a n d paperwork needed for emigration clearance, the airport operator said. The migrant help desk is available at the international departure terminal and will work round the clock. The migrant help desk was operationalised by Rani Kumudini, Special Chief Secretary in presence of Pradeep Panicker, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) and other senior officials from the airport community. Pradeep Panicker pointed out that in the last few years there has been a gradual rise of outbound migrant workforce travelling from Hyderabad to the MiddleEast. Quite often, most of these migrant workers are ignorant of the procedures and documentation needed for emigration clearance and other purposes.

 

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Tech

US govt agrees to provide USD 6.4B to Samsung for making computer chips

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The Biden administration has solidified a groundbreaking agreement, earmarking up to $6.4 billion in direct funding to catalyze Samsung Electronics’ establishment of a cutting-edge computer chip manufacturing and research hub in Texas. This financial injection, revealed by the Commerce Department on Monday, forms a pivotal component of an overarching investment in the cluster, projected to soar beyond $40 billion when supplemented by private capital.

This government backing emanates from the CHIPS and Science Act, a legislative cornerstone inked by President Joe Biden in 2022, aimed at reinvigorating the domestic production of sophisticated computer chips. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo hailed the proposed endeavor as a catalyst poised to elevate Texas into a preeminent semiconductor ecosystem. Speaking during a briefing with journalists, Raimondo underscored its pivotal role in aligning with the administration’s ambitious objective of domestically manufacturing 20% of the world’s foremost chips by the decade’s end. Anticipated job creation also looms large, with Raimondo forecasting a surge of at least 17,000 construction positions and over 4,500 manufacturing roles in the wake of the project’s realization.

Samsung’s envisaged cluster, nestled in Taylor, Texas, comprises two pivotal factories slated to churn out four- and two-nanometer chips, alongside a dedicated research and development facility and a component packaging plant. According to government timelines, the inaugural factory is slated to commence operations in 2026, with its successor following suit in 2027. The funding package also encompasses an expansion initiative targeting an extant Samsung establishment in Austin, Texas.

Lael Brainard, helming the White House National Economic Council, underscored a crucial strategic dividend stemming from Samsung’s foray into Austin: the ability to directly furnish chips to the Defense Department. In an era marked by escalating geopolitical tensions and a burgeoning rivalry between the United States and China, securing access to advanced chip technology assumes paramount significance, attested by Brainard.

In tandem with the $6.4 billion allocation, Samsung is poised to leverage an investment tax credit from the U.S. Treasury Department, further cementing the partnership’s financial underpinnings. Notably, this collaboration represents a broader trend, with the government previously delineating terms to buttress other chip behemoths such as Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. across multifarious projects dispersed across the nation.

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Ramkrishna Forgings gets Rs 270 cr order for Vande Bharat train-set

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Ramkrishna Forgings Limited, one of the leading suppliers of rolled, forged, and machined products has received a significant order for Vande Bharat train-set valued at INR 270 crore. The order will be supplied to the BHEL TRSL consortium, marking a pivotal moment in the company’s journey towards excellence in rail infrastructure development.

The scope of this project involves the development and validation of the bogie frame for the sleeper version of the Vande Bharat trainset. This order encompasses 32 train sets, each comprising 16 coaches. Consequently, RKFL will be producing a total of 1024 bogie frames, showcasing the company’s capacity to handle large-scale and intricate manufacturing requirements.

Says Lalit Kumar Khetan, Director & CFO, “Receiving this order underscores the company’s dedication to providing top-notch solutions for the railway industry. We are honoured to support the Government’s “Make in India” initiative and the advancement of rail transport in the country by leveraging our expertise in manufacturing high-quality bogie frames.”

Ramkrishna Forging has a proven track record in precision engineering and adherence to stringent quality standards and in ensuring timely delivery and exceeding customer expectations. The company was incorporated in 1981 with the objective to manufacture forged products. The annualized installed capacity after commissioning of hollow spindle line, a new 7000 ton press line, a 2000 ton warm/hot forming press and a fabrication facility is 187,100 MT.

Headquartered at Kolkata, the company has state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at Jamshedpur along with offices at Detroit in USA, Toluca and Monterrey in Mexico, Istanbul in Turkey having warehousing facilities at Hagerstown, Louisville, Detroit in USA, Toluca, Monterrey in Mexico and Westerloo in Belgium.

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India’s overall exports in FY24 at $ 776.68 bn passes FY23 nos, trade deficit improves 35.77 %

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Overall trade deficit significantly improved by 35.77 per cent to USD 78.12 billion in FY24 from USD 121.62 billion in FY23.

Despite persistent global challenges, India’s overall exports (merchandise + services) in financial year 2023-24 (FY24) reached USD 776.68 billion, surpassing the USD 776.40 billion of overall exports achieved in 2022- 23 (FY23) with a growth of 0.04 per cent year-on-year as electronic goods, drugs and pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, iron ore, cotton yarn/fabs./made-ups, handloom products etc. and ceramic products and glassware delivered strong numbers. Overall imports in FY24 (April-March) declined 4.81 per cent at USD 854.80 billion. Overall trade deficit significantly improved by 35.77 per cent to USD 78.12 billion in FY24 from USD 121.62 billion in FY23.

The country’s robust performance in external trade is underlined by the highest monthly merchandise exports in March 2024 at USD 41.68 billion as compared to USD 41.96 billion in March 2023 while imports were USD 57.28Billion, as compared to USD 60.92 billion in March 2023. Services maintained upward momentum with India exporting USD 339.62 billion of services in FY24 compared to USD 325.33 billion in FY23. The country achieved services trade surplus of USD 162.05 billion in FY24 with services imports coming at USD 177.56 billion in FY24 as compared to USD 182.05 billion in FY23.

Ashwani Kumar, President, FIEO points out that the achievement in overall export figures for the FY24 is impressive despite Russia Ukraine war, Red Sea crisis, tight monetary stance by the developed world and falling commodity prices posing challenges. Aditi Nayar Chief Economist ICRA notes that India’s merchandise trade deficit eased to an 11-month low of USD15.6 billion in March 2024, led by a larger yoy decline in merchandise imports vis-à-vis such exports, while also trailing the levels seen in the year-ago month. This comes amid a halving of gold imports and a fall in non-oil non-gold imports. “This is expected to augur well for the current account number in Q4 FY2024, which may witness a small, transient surplus of USD1-2 billion in the quarter,” says Nayar.

On a slight downside, in FY24, merchandise exports declined to USD 437.06 billion as against USD 451.07 billion during FY23 while imports came down to USD 677.24 billion as against USD 715.97 billion during FY 23. This however, lowered merchandise trade deficit for FY 24 at estimated at USD 240.17 billion as against USD 264.90 billion during FY 23. India’s exports of merchandise and services combined in March 2024 at USD 70.21 billion also dipped 3.01 per cent over March 2023 while overall imports in March 2024 at USD 73.12 billion, exhibited a negative growth of 6.11 per cent over March 2023. Overall trade deficit is estimated to significantly improve by 35.77% from USD 121.62 Billion in FY 2022-23 to USD 78.12 Billion in FY 2023-24; Merchandise trade deficit improves by 9.33% at USD 240.17 Billion in the current FY as compared to USD 264.90 Billion in FY 2022-23.

Among main drivers of merchandise export growth in FY 2023-24, non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery goods which comprises basket of gold, silver and precious metals, grew to USD 33.67 billion, compared to USD 30.87 billion in March 2023. The same basket of imports in March 2024 were USD 35.21 billion, compared to USD 36.51 billion in March 2023. In FY24, non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports increased by 1.45 per cent to USD 320.21 billion, as compared to USD 315.64 billion in FY23. The imports of this basket of goods were USD 422.80 billion in FY24 compared to USD 435.54 billion in FY23.

In a sectoral show of strength, electronic goods exports increased by 23.64 per cent from USD 23.55 billion in FY 2022-23 to USD 29.12 billion in FY 2023-24 while drugs and pharmaceuticals exports increase by 9.67 per cent from USD 25.39 billion in FY 2022-23 to USD 27.85 billion in FY 2023- 24. Engineering goods exports increased by 2.13 per cent from USD 107.04 billion in FY 2022-23 to USD 109.32 billion in FY 2023-24. Exports of agricultural commodities namely tobacco grew 19.46 per cent, fruits and vegetables grew 13.86 per cent, meat, dairy and poultry products grew 12.34 per cent, spices grew 12.30 per cent, cereal preparations and miscellaneous processed items grew 8.96 per cent, oil seeds grew 7.43 per cent and oil meals exhibited positive growth of 7.01 per cent.

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India’s Auto exports fall 5.5% in FY24 amid monetary crisis

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Automobile exports from India declined 5.5 per cent in FY24 due to the monetary crisis in various overseas markets.

In the fiscal year 2024, automobile exports from India saw a 5.5% decline, attributed to monetary crises in several international markets, as per recent data released by industry association SIAM. Total exports amounted to 4,500,492 units, down from 4,761,299 units in FY23. SIAM President Vinod Aggarwal remarked on the challenges, noting ongoing volatility in global markets.

“Some of the countries, where we are very strong with commercial vehicle and two-wheeler exports, have been facing foreign exchange-related issues,” he noted. The last fiscal saw a sizeable drop in commercial vehicle, two-wheeler, and three-wheeler shipments, although passenger vehicles grew marginally.

However, in the January-March quarter this year, we have seen good recovery, especially for two-wheelers, indicating better potential for the rest of the year, he said. “We are very hopeful that going forward, the situation will improve,” Aggarwal added. In the passenger vehicle segment, exports increased 1.4 per cent to 6,72,105 units in FY24 from 6,62,703 units in FY23.

Maruti Suzuki led the segment with the shipment of 2,80,712 units against 2,55,439 units in 2022-23. Hyundai Motor India exported 1,63,155 units last fiscal. It had shipped 1,53,019 units in FY23. Kia Motors exported 52,105 units, while Volkswagen India shipped out 44,180 units last fiscal. Nissan Motor India and Honda Cars chipped in with shipments of 42,989 and 37,589 units, respectively, in the 2023-24 fiscal.

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Business

UK Economy shows 0.1% growth in February, indicating recession rebound

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The Office for National Statistics, the U.K.’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.1% in February, indicating a continuation of sluggish economic growth for the year. This figure matches the forecast from a Reuter’s poll. However, on an annual basis, GDP was 0.2% lower. The U.K. experienced economic contraction in the third and fourth quarters of 2023, resulting in a technical recession. January saw modest growth, which was revised upward to 0.3% on Friday. In February, construction output declined by 1.9%, contrasting with a 1.1% increase in production output, which the primary contributor to GDP growth became.

Meanwhile, growth in the U.K.’s dominant services sector slowed to 0.1% from 0.3%. Paul Dales, chief U.K. economist at Capital Economics, remarked that these readings “all-but confirm the end of the recession” from the previous year. “But while we expect a better economic recovery than most, we doubt it will be strong enough to prevent inflation (and interest rates) from falling much further as appears to be happening in the U.S.,” Dales added. British inflation fell more than expected in March, to a nearly two-and-a-half year low of 3.4%.

In the U.S., however, price rises came in higher than forecast at 3.5% this week, pushing back market bets for the start of interest rate cuts from the summer to September. This has raised questions about whether central banks elsewhere will be influenced by a later start from the Federal Reserve than previously expected, particularly if the U.S. dollar strengthens. Goldman Sachs on Friday revised its forecast for Bank of England rate cuts this year from five to four, projecting the trims will start in June, before slowing to a quarterly pace.

Simon French, chief economist at Panmure Gordon, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday that while the BOE is independent, policymakers will nevertheless be conscious of an upcoming U.K. national election, which politicians have suggested will be held in the second half of the year. “Do you get [cuts] out of the way ahead of that general election? There is quite a lot of pressure from the governing party, not necessarily the prime minister but the chancellor has talked about expecting rate cuts.”

Overall, French said the figures strongly indicated the end of the recession but were “not a reason to hang out the bunting.” Growth remains below its pre-pandemic levels and trails behind the U.S., but is comparable to many European counterparts. French noted signs of improvement, particularly in sectors like manufacturing and automobile production.

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US Interest rate cut unlikely in June amid stubborn inflation: Moody’s

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Moody’s believes an interest rate cut during the US Federal Reserve ‘s June meeting is likely off the table given stubborn inflation in the country.

Moody’s suggests that the likelihood of an interest rate cut during the US Federal Reserve’s June meeting has diminished due to persistent inflation in the country. March’s inflation exceeded projections, with the headline CPI rising more than expected, pushing the annual rate to 3.5 percent, its highest level since September. This development, according to Moody’s, dampens hopes for an interest rate cut at the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

This assertion by the global rating agency comes soon after the US reported more than-expected inflation figures in March. On Wednesday, the latest data showed inflation in the US increased more than expected in March, putting cold water to hopes of an interest rate cut shortly. In the 12 months through March, the inflation increased 3.5 per cent year-on-year, the highest in about 6 months. This followed a 3.2 per cent rise in February. US Federal Reserve officials also expect it would not be appropriate to reduce the key interest rate until they gain “greater confidence” that inflation is moving sustainably toward a comfortable 2 per cent, minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting showed.

The minutes, released overnight Indian Standard Time, noted that the US central bank officials affirmed their strong commitment to returning inflation to the committee’s 2 per cent objective. Consumer price inflation in the US continued to trend down, though it remained above 2 per cent. The US Federal Reserve, in its March meeting, voted to leave the key interest rate unchanged at 5.25-5.50 per cent, keeping the policy rate unchanged for the fifth straight time on the trot. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the interest rates were near zero. Raising interest rates is a monetary policy instrument that typically helps suppress demand in the economy, thereby helping the inflation rate decline.

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