Good morning, folks! And we have already hit Thursday. How’s your week been so far? Flying or sluggishly trying to crawl along? Today’s Scribe is a surprising mix of optimism to balance out the same-old corona induced darkness.
Time to update your resume
While on the one hand we are hearing news of layoffs in many sectors, on the other recruitment firm Team Lease’s latest Employment Outlook Report suggests there is marginal improvement in hiring sentiment since Unlock 1.0.
Really? Of the 21 sectors analysed, barring the predictably battered ones of travel and hospitality, all other sectors expressed a higher intent to hire. Overall, hiring sentiment which had dropped to 11%, rose to 18% post Unlock 1.0. Hiring intent seems to be driven by the two end of the spectrum – blue collar profiles and leadership roles – in large companies. The sentiment at large is driven by large companies in metro cities.
American land not so golden any more: As per a report by global recruitment firm Indeed, thanks to the consistent uncertainty around H-1B visas, the American dream seems to be losing it’s sheen for Indians. Although US still is the search topper on Indeed, the contribution has fallen to 42% in June 2020 as against a high of 58% back in Jan 2019. In fact, Indian students are willing to even come back to a job in India as seen in the changing profile of candidates attracted by tech-special hiring firms Interviewbit and Instahyre.
Last ditch attempt to save Jet Airways
And then there were two. At a time of such crisis for the sector, two consortiums have put in their bids for the embattled airline in the fourth and possible last round of bidding.
And the bidders are… The first bidder is a tri-party consortium comprising of Abu Dhabi based Imperial Capital Investments LLC along with two little-known aviation related Indian firms – Flight Simulation Technique Centre Pvt Ltd and Big Charter Pvt Ltd. The second bid has come in from a consortium of UK based financial advisory firm Kalrock Capital partners with Dubai-based businessman Murari Lal Jalan.
Some glimmer of refund from IATA: International Air Transport Association or IATA stepped in and managed to get Rs. 30 Crores for disbursement towards refunds on the Jet Airways tickets booked by their travel agents beyond grounding date of 17th April 2019. Considering the total amount of refunds due is Rs. 150 Crores, a lot more is pending with no timeline in sight. As for those passengers who booked directly with the airline or a non-IATA approved travel agent, “sunk cost” might be a realistic phrase in the current scenario.
Existing home sales go through the roof in the US for June
Yesterday the National Association of Realtors announced the highest-ever monthly increase in the number of existing home sales for the US at almost 21%, as compared to May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 Million units.
So no more recession in the US? As anyone with a basic understanding of statistics and the times we are living in will figure, it is still pre-pandemic levels with an 11.3% deficit as compared to June 2019. This high number is more so because of the big dips April and May registered, which helped June bring an end to three straight months of decline. Also, the average 30-year mortgage is at a historically low figure of 2.98%.
Will the trend continue? One of the biggest challenges for the pick-up in demand is a lower inventory. At the current pace, the existing inventory will last approximately 4-months whereas a healthy rate is considered to be 6-7 months. This has also shown in a 3.5% increase annually in home prices. Also, the urban areas have been less active with more people looking for single-family homes. Clearly, space is a need if you are going to be locked up with the same people for longer. But, there are signs that the housing market could remain robust most of summer, considering mortgage applications to buy a home were up 19% annually, just last week.
Heads start rolling in the IL&FS case: National Financial Reporting Authority or NFRA imposed a penalty and barred former Deloitte partner Udayan Sen from conducting any auditing activity or being appointed as an internal auditor for seven years. As NFRA put out in an earlier report about Deloitte’s role in IL&FS scam – “the auditor did not display the required professional scepticism and accepted the management stand”.
First fully indigenous unit at Kakrapar achieves criticality: Kakrapar Atomic Power Plant or KAPP-3 is a fully indigenous single-largest nuclear power plant in India with a production capacity of 700 MW. The other two units in the plant were powered by Canadian expertise. Read more here about what it means when they say it achieved criticality.
Tractor sales bring hope of rural revival: June saw a whopping 23% sales growth for the farm vehicle over the same month, last year. Less infections, timely monsoon, government initiatives and a record rabi crop have helped. Two-wheeler sales are also up to 60-80% of the pre-pandemic levels with Hero Motocorp seeing a quadrupling of it’s sales from May to June. However, Bloomberg economist were quick to dampen the euphoria citing growing tractor sales as a sign of deep distress in the Indian economy.
United Airlines reports a loss of more than a unicorn and a half: As coronavirus ravaged the world, United Airlines’ revenue slashed by 87%, with a 97% crash in the Us-Europe sectors. Burning $40 million a day in the April-June quarter, United Airlines reported loss of $1.63 Billion for the period. Although CEO Scott Kirby committed to bring down cost to $25 million a day and promised the airline would survive the crisis.
Robinhood UK expansion plans hit pause: The millennials’ popular stock trading app Robinhood which has off late found itself mired in controversies has decided to focus and strengthen home market US first before venturing out.
The biggest news for the day was gold hitting half century in India. For the first time gold prices crossed Rs. 50,000 per 10 gram.
On the other hand, most other assets saw a downward trend. Equity indices, Sensex and Nifty broke a 5-day euphoria to end in the red, over a crest of gloomy global cues. Oil too saw a marginal dip in their prices with news of slowing demand and inventory build up in US.
Indian summers can be unbearable and Sony seems to have invented the product for those times. While still available exclusively in Japan, check out Reon Pocket, a wearable air conditioning device. We kid you not! You can pair this palm-sized plastic gadget with a Sony V-neck undershirt with a built-in pocket between the shoulder blades and feel the coolness, upto 13 degree Celsius down. That’s one cool invention, we say.