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Tue, 28th March 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Latest Posts

Moody’s: Weakening demand to pressure earnings of Chinese steelmakers

Moody’s latest report on steelmakers in China, “Softening Demand, Increased Inventory Will Weigh on Prices and Reduce 2017 Earnings”.

  • Earnings of Chinese steel companies will likely weaken in 2017
  • Primarily because of a slight weakening of domestic demand amid continued excess capacity and a build-up of steel inventory early in the year
  • “These factors will together depress steel prices, which have reached a four-year high, while elevated raw material prices and reduced exports will also weigh on the earnings of producers”
  • “Domestic steel consumption will decline as property investment, the largest driver of local steel demand, will likely slow this year following the government’s tightening of policy in an effort to curb property-price growth”
  • “Auto sales, and subsequently production, will also slow owing to a reduced tax break on small-vehicle sales. However, these pressures will be lessened by government-led infrastructure investment, which will remain robust”

ARBITRATION ON COMPENSATION DEMAND IN RIL-ONGC ROW

A three-member arbitration panel has started hearing validity of the Government’s demand of $1.55 billion as compensation from Reliance Industries for “unfairly” producing ONGC’s gas.     The panel, headed by Singapore-based arbitrator Prof Lawrence Boo, had its first hearing on March 3 where the timetable was drawn, sources privy to the development said.

RIL will first file its statement of claim, followed by a statement of defence by the Government. This will be followed by rejoinders, counter-rejoinders and oral hearing, sources said, adding that the panel plans to wind up the hearing in a year.

The Central Government has named former Supreme Court judge G S Singhvi as its nominee on the three-member arbitration panel while RIL and its partners BP Plc of the UK and Canada’s Niko Resources have named former UK High Court Judge Bernard Eder to the panel.

RIL-BP-Niko had slapped an arbitration notice on November 11 last year.

This was against the oil ministry’s November 3, 2016 notice to RIL, Niko and UK’s BP seeking $1.47 billion for producing about 338.332 million British thermal units of gas in the seven years ended March 31, 2016 that had seeped or migrated from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) blocks into their adjoining KG-D6 in the Bay of Bengal.

Audit cop lens on note ban

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) plans to audit the impact of note ban and the effect it has had on the government’s tax revenues, CAG Shashi Kant Sharma said.

Sharma said the auditor was gearing up to audit tax revenues under the new goods and services tax (GST) regime and has started capacity building and reorienting its audit methods and procedures.

The government had withdrawn old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 rupee notes from circulation on November 8 last year, and announced a new tax amnesty scheme for those holding unaccounted junked currency.

“We plan to audit certain issues related to the fiscal impact of demonetisation, largely its impact on tax revenues,” Sharma said.

The CAG audit may look into the expenditure on printing of notes, RBI dividend payout and banking transaction data.

The auditor has also conveyed to the government its stand on the recent move of the GST council to delete section 65 of the preliminary draft that authorised CAG to audit GST. “Our mandate covers GST just like the earlier taxation regimes were covered. We have already started work on restructuring our revenue audit arrangements to meet this likely challenge when GST is introduced,” Sharma said.

People’s Bank of China sets yuan reference rate at 6.8701 (vs. Friday at 6.8845)

PBOC open market operations today … well, the bank says none today. The Bank says bank liquidity is high.

By skipping OMOs in effect the bank has drained a net 80bn yen (maturing RRs)
CNY set at its highest against the USD for a month today.
RMB index: On Friday the CNY was set against its basket at 92.91, down 0.41 on the week

This Is The Nightmare Scenario For The GOP: A $2 Trillion Funding “Hole”

When one strips away the partisan rhetoric and posturing, the practical impact of Friday’s GOP failure to repeal Obamacare has a specific monetary impact: approximately $1 trillion.

Since the ObamaCare repeal bill would have eliminated most of the 2010 health law’s taxes, this would have lowered by a similar amount the revenue baseline for tax reform. Essentially, with the ObamaCare taxes gone, it would have been easier to pay for lowering tax rates. Now, if Republicans want to eliminate the ObamaCare taxes as part of tax reform and ensure the bill does not add to the deficit – which they need to do to assure Trump’s reform process continues under Reconciliation, avoiding the need for 60 votes in the Senate – they will have to raise almost $1 trillion in revenue.

In other words that – all else equal – is how much less tax cuts Trumps and the republicans will be able to pursue unless of course they somehow find a source of $1 trillion in tax revenue (or otherwise simply add to the budget deficit) to offset the Obamacare overhang.

Considering Paul Ryan’s statement on Friday, it appears that at least for the time being, Republicans would leave the ObamaCare taxes in place.  “That just means the ObamaCare taxes stay with ObamaCare,” he said. “We’re going to go fix the rest of the tax code.”

Ryan also pushed back on the idea that the setback on healthcare previews difficulties with other items on the legislative agenda  “I don’t think this is prologue to other future things, because members realize there are other parts of our agenda that people have even more agreement on what to achieve,” he said. “We have even more agreement on the need and the nature of tax reform, on funding the government, on rebuilding the military, on securing the border.”

Le Pen Wants to Restore Border Control, Close Salafist Mosques to Curb Terrorism

Marine Le Pen, France's far-right National Front political party leader (File)French far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen said that she would restore border control and fight against Islamic fundamentalism if elected to curb terrorism threat in France, in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper on Sunday.

“To begin with, I will restore our national borders. Secondly, I will deport all foreign nationals with [threat to national security] fiche S indicator, who are linked to fundamentalism, in compliance with precautionary principle. I will also fight against Islamic fundamentalism by closing salafist mosques or even by banning the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF),” Le Pen said answering the question on how she was going to prevent terrorist attacks in France.

France has repeatedly been targeted by terrorists. On March 18, a French national Ziyed Ben Belgacem attacked police in the northern Paris suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse and later arrived at the Paris Orly Airport where he tried to grab a female soldier’s weapon, saying he was ready to die for Allah.

On November 13, 2015, a series of gun and bomb attacks hit French capital claiming lives of 130 people. On July 14, 2016, a truck rammed into a crowd in Nice, which led to over 80 deaths. The Daesh claimed responsibility for the attacks.