Top headlines: Govt invites farmers for talks, China pins down Ant Group

Farmers and their supporters take part in a tractor rally during a protest to support the nationwide strike, called by farmer unions to press for repeal of the Centres Agri laws, in Amritsar, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (PTI Photo)
Govt invites farmers for talks on Wed, says it has 'open mind' on demands

The government has called farmers for a meeting on Wednesday in Delhi to discuss three new laws liberalising India's agriculture markets, saying it had an "open mind" about their demands. The agriculture ministry has invited representatives of more than a dozen unions for the meeting at 2 p.m. in Vigyan Bhawan, news agency ANI reported. Tens of thousands of farmers are camping out on highways near the capital New Delhi in protest at the laws implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government that they fear will dismantle regulated agricultural markets, threaten their livelihood and benefit large companies. Read more

Asset quality pressure on banks to moderate by FY22-end, says Icra

Asset quality pressure on banks in India is likely to moderate with net non-performing assets (NPAs) declining to 2.5 per cent by March 2022 (FY22) from an estimated 3.1 per cent in March 2021, according to rating agency Icra. The loan restructuring volume is likely to be lower at 2.5-4.5 per cent of advances than initial estimates of 5-8 per cent of advances, it added. Icra said in a statement that moratorium on loan repayments is over, though the Supreme Court directive on asset classification is awaited. In this backdrop, the Gross NPAs are likely to rise to 10.1-10.6 per cent by March 2021 from 7.9 per cent in September 2020. Read more

Brexit to benefit select Indian firms, but only in the long-run: Analysts

The United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) last week struck a historic Brexit deal that cheered global markets, including investors back home. Though most analysts remain bullish on the prospects of companies that do business with the region, but caution that the benefit, if any, will be visible only over the long-term. The UK and the EU have been in complex negotiations since March to try to keep their trade in goods flowing from January 1, 2021. The deal announced on Thursday means that this goods trade – roughly half of the $900 billion of annual EU-UK commerce - will remain free of tariffs and quotas. Read more

Hiring set to bounce back in 2021 while key industries recover:

Hiring activities will bounce back in the coming year as major industries are recovering from the impact of Covid-19, according to a survey on Monday. While 26 per cent recruiters foresee hiring bouncing back to pre-Covid levels within the next three-six months, 34 per cent said that it would take their organisations six months to one year, said the "Hiring Outlook Survey" by the job portal. The survey, which involved 1,327 recruiters and consultants across the country, showed that jobseekers should remain optimistic for the coming year. Read more

How Jack Ma's $280 billion unicorn Ant Group just had its legs broken

Any doubts that Ant Group Co. overstepped the mark are now laid to rest. The new dilemma for the company’s management, and its bankers, is rewriting the narrative of the world’s biggest fintech giant. Executives have been told to return the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. affiliate to its payments roots, Bloomberg News reported Sunday citing a statement from the People’s Bank of China. This directive implies that its credit, insurance and investment product lines may need to be dumped, though the central bank stopped short of calling for the company to be broken up. Read more

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