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Rupee slips 12 paise to 69.48 versus USD in early trade

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The rupee opened on a weak note and declined 12 paise to 69.48 against the US dollar in opening trade Wednesday, amid simmering geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and higher crude oil prices.

The rupee opened weak at 69.40 at the interbank forex market and then fell further to 69.48, down 12 paise over its last close.

The rupee had settled at 69.36 against the US dollar on Tuesday.

Forex traders said, rupee is trading in a narrow range as market participants are cautious amid rising tensions between the US and Iran.

On the global front, the trade concerns between the US and China, and rising US-Iran tensions are poised to dominate a high-stakes G20 summit from Friday.

Besides, strengthening of the American currency in the overseas market weighed on the local unit.

Meanwhile, foreign fund inflows and strong opening in domestic equities supported the domestic currency.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 1.60 per cent to USD 66.09 per barrel.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net buyers in the capital markets, putting in Rs 1,157.87 crore Tuesday, as per provisional data.

Domestic bourses opened on a positive note Wednesday with benchmark indices Sensex trading 121.08 points higher at 39,556.02 and Nifty up 21.60 points at 11,818.05.

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Business

Amazon bridges language gap, allows seller to register and manage in Hindi

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E-commerce giant Amazon on Thursday announced that its sellers will now be able to register on Amazon.in marketplace and manage their online business in Hindi.

This will include everything from registering as an Amazon seller for the first time to managing orders, inventory management and accessing performance metrics, all of it in the language of their preference breaking the language barrier for millions of Indian entrepreneurs, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), local shops and retailers and help them benefit from e-commerce, a statement said an Amazon statement.

Amazon also provides Seller Support Services and Seller University videos and tutorials in Hindi.

“The experience has been made available on the Amazon seller website as well as on the mobile app. Amazon also provides Seller Support Services and Seller University videos and tutorials in Hindi,” it said.

According to the company, hundreds of Amazon sellers from tier-I, II and III cities across Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh have switched to the Hindi experience to manage their accounts during the six-months testing phase.

During the testing phase, for the first time new sellers from markets like Darbhanga in Bihar, Barmer in Rajasthan, Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh, Hailakandi in Assam and Bardhaman in West Bengal signed up on the Amazon.in marketplace.

Gopal Pillai, VP Seller Services, Amazon India, said: “As we look at enabling more and more of Indian MSMEs to embrace ecommerce to grow, we continue to doubledown our efforts on vernacular, voice and video powered initiatives. The launch of the vernacular registration and account management experience for sellers starting with Hindi is a step in that direction.”

This becomes all the more significant as businesses emerge from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and explore new opportunities for growth, Pillai said.

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Rupee settles on a flat note, slips 1 paisa to 75.58 against US dollar

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The rupee surrendered all intra-day gains to provisionally close on a flat note at 75.58 against the US dollar on Friday as investors looked for cues to move forward and take positions.

Forex traders said positive domestic equities, sustained foreign fund flows, revival of business activities and weak US dollar supported the local unit, but there were still a slew of risks, including US-China trade tiff, that weighed on the currency.

At the interbank forex market, the rupee opened strong at 75.38, but later pared gains and finally settled at 75.58 against the US dollar, down 1 paisa over its last close of 75.57.

“The USD/INR spot has been trading in a very tight range 75-75.65 as investors await catalyst to move forward and take positions,” said Rahul Gupta, Head of Research- Currency, Emkay Global Financial Services.

Currently, the spot is in indecisive market and going forward the focus will be on Jio-Mubadala deal related dollar flows, US-China trade spat and whether there is a second wave of infection.

The expectations of more stimulus measures from the US government drove the optimism in the market, however, Trump administration postponed the meeting to next week crashing investors’ hopes, he said.

Technically, 75 is a crucial support and break off which can take spot towards 74.50 or bounce from there can take prices towards 76.50,” he added.

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Foreign investors pull out over $16 bn from India amid Coronavirus pandemic: Report

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Increasing concerns of a major economic recession in Asia amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, foreign investors have pulled out an estimated $26 billion from developing Asian economies and over $16 billion out of India, an independent Congressional Research Center said in its latest report on global economic effects of COVID-19.

In Europe, over 30 million people in Germany, France, the UK, Spain, and Italy have applied for state support, while first quarter 2020 data indicates that the eurozone economy contracted by 3.8 per cent, the largest quarterly decline since the series started in 1995, it said.

In the US, preliminary data indicated that the GDP fell by 4.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the largest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2008 during the global financial crisis, the CRS said.

According to CRS, the pandemic crisis is challenging governments to implement monetary and fiscal policies that support credit markets and sustain economic activity, while they are implementing policies to develop vaccines and safeguard their citizens.

In doing so, however, differences in policy approaches are straining relations between countries that promote nationalism and those that argue for a coordinated international response.

Differences in policies are also straining relations between developed and developing economies and between northern and southern members of the eurozone, challenging alliances, and raising questions about the future of global leadership, the report said.

Amid growing concern across the world that Chinese companies are buying cheap, distressed assets hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, India, last month, reviewed the extant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy for curbing opportunistic takeovers/acquisitions of Indian companies.

With the amendment, an entity of a country, which shares a land border with India or where the beneficial owner of investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country, can invest only under the Government route.

Until before the new arrangement was made in the policy, the curb on FDI was only on Pakistan and Bangladesh as a citizen of Bangladesh or an entity incorporated in Bangladesh can invest only under the Government route. Further, a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan can invest, only under the Government route, in sectors/activities other than defence, space, atomic energy and sectors/activities prohibited for foreign investment.

This change has brought China in the ambit of ‘government permission’ before investing in any sector in the country.

China had slammed the move saying New Delhi is “against liberalisation”.

China claimed that India’s new rules for FDI “violate WTO principles of non-discrimination and are against free and fair trade”. It further called for a “revision of discriminatory practices”.

However, the Indian government has said that it is “not denial” of permission but only an approval process, which is in no way a violation.

Meanwhile, according to the Congressional report, while almost all major economies are shrinking as a result of Coronavirus, only three countries China, India, and Indonesia are projected to experience small, but positive rates of economic growth in 2020.

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