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Sun, 25th June 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “February 3, 2017” Day

Toyota near tie-up with Suzuki on development, procurement

Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda, left, stands with Suzuki Motor Chairman Osamu Suzuki.

Japan — Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor are near an agreement on a comprehensive partnership covering areas such as development and procurement, it was learned Friday.

The two Japanese automakers could announce a deal as soon as Monday, setting specific points of cooperation later. On the development side, these are expected to include self-driving technology and applications for information technology, as well as advancements needed to keep up with increasingly strong global environmental standards. Partnering on procurement could involve sharing sources for parts in Japan and abroad.

 Toyota has deemed it necessary to bolster cooperation with other automakers in order to maintain its influence as nontraditional players such as tech companies stoke competition in the auto sector. Suzuki has sought a powerful partner since dissolving a capital and business tie-up with Germany’s Volkswagen in 2015. Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki last year approached Shoichiro Toyoda, Toyota’s honorary chairman, regarding collaboration.

Suzuki and Toyota unit Daihatsu Motor, which together control more than 60% of Japan’s market for minivehicles known as kei cars, will continue to sell automobiles under their separate brands to avoid falling foul of antitrust laws. But the two will collaborate in ways that steer clear of that risk, starting with a loose partnership on matters such as technological development.

A capital tie-up, including cross-shareholdings, will be discussed in the future to deepen ties between the groups.

Useful friends

US announces new sanctions following Iran missile launch

The US Treasury Department said on Friday it was launching a new round of sanctions against Iran entities and individuals with connections to that country’s ballistic missile progamme as well as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

It comes after the Trump administration’s declarations earlier this week that Iran was being put “on notice” after a weekend missile launch by the Islamic republic.

The announcement Friday targets 25 individuals and entities that have been involved in “destablising activity”, and specifically producing technology or materials to support Iran’s missile programme, as well as acting on behalf of, or providing support for, the Qods unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp, according to a statement from the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Controls.

Corporate Inequality is evident in U.S. stock returns

Inequality has been a fixture for U.S. stock investors over the decades, if research by Arizona State University Professor Hendrik Bessembinder is any guide. Twenty percent of the wealth that equities generated between July 1926 and December 2015 came from only 14 of about 26,000 shares, according to his calculations. Bessembinder provided the data in a study published last month on the Social Science Research Network, an online repository.

Corporate Inequality 

The Future of Globalization

The cross-border movement of goods, services, and capital increased markedly for the thirty years up to the Great Financial Crisis.  Although the recovery has given way to a new economic expansion in the major economies, global trade and capital flows remain well below pre-crisis levels.  It gives a sense globalization is ending. 

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th US President has underscored these fears.   His first few weeks in office clearly mark a new era not just for America, but given its central role in late-20th-century globalization, for the world as well.   Trump is a bit of a Rorschach test.  He did not win a plurality, let alone a majority of the popular vote, but that does not stop pundits from claiming that Trump won because of this or that issue. 

There are some campaign promises which Trump has backed away such as citing China as a currency manipulator on his first day as President or pursuing legal charges against Hillary Clinton.  His priorities have been repealing the national health insurance, formally withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and signaled an intention to re-open the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump and his closest advisers seem intent to unwind not just his predecessor’s initiatives, but the general thrust of America’s grand strategy since the end of WWII.  His rhetoric of America First harkens back to Warren Harding, who succeeded Woodrow Wilson after the US Senate rejected the League of Nations.  Some historians refer to that period as ‘isolationism, ’ but in practice it was unilateralist.

MTNL borrowing money to meet day-to-day expenses: Manoj Sinha

Loss-making telecom PSU Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) has been hit hard by debt and it is borrowing money to meet its day-to-day requirements, Union Minister Manoj Sinha said on Friday.

“Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is borrowing money to meet its day-to-day requirement,” Sinha said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Total debt on MTNL reached Rs 19,418.23 crore at the end of December 31, 2016, from Rs 11,542.3 crore in 2012-13, according to the data shared by the minister. The debt is over six times MTNL’s annual revenue registered in 2015-16.

“Due to debt burden and fund crunch, MTNL has gone slow in upgradation of equipment during last 4-5 years. One of the reasons for service quality is due to non-investment in access network of fixed lines,” Sinha said.

In 2015-16, MTNL reported total annual revenue of Rs 3,197.41 crore and net loss of Rs 2,005.72 crore.

Donald Trump Plans to Undo Dodd-Frank Law, Fiduciary Rule

President Donald Trump on Friday plans to sign an executive action to scale back the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, in a sweeping plan to dismantle much of the regulatory system put in place after the financial crisis.

Mr. Trump also plans another executive action aimed at rolling back a controversial regulation scheduled to take effect in April that critics have said would upend the retirement-account advisory business.

 “Americans are going to have better choices and Americans are going to have better products because we’re not going to burden the banks with literally hundreds of billions of dollars of regulatory costs every year,” White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “The banks are going to be able to price product more efficiently and more effectively to consumers.”

Mr. Trump will use a memorandum to ask the labor secretary to consider rescinding a rule set to go into effect in April that orders retirement advisers, overseeing about $3 trillion in assets, to act in the best interest of their clients, Mr. Cohn said in the White House interview. He said the rule limits consumer choice.

Mr. Trump also will sign an executive order that directs the Treasury secretary and financial regulators to come up with a plan to revise rules the Dodd-Frank law put in place.

Mr. Cohn said the actions are intended to pave the way for additional orders that would affect the postcrisis Financial Stability Oversight Council, the mechanism for winding down a giant faltering financial company, and the way the government supervises big financial firms that aren’t traditional banks, often referred to as systemically important financial institutions.

“This is a table setter for a bunch of stuff that is coming,” he said.