• Veteran industrialist Basant Kumar Birla, Chairman of the BK Birla Group of companies and grandfather of Kumar Mangalam Birla, died in Mumbai on Wednesday. He was 98.
  • His sprawling empire, the BK Birla Group, includes industry-leading companies such as Kesoram Industries, Century Textiles and Jaya Shree Tea. It was under his leadership that companies such as Kesoram Industries and Century Textiles started expanding into new sectors including cement and tyres.
  • According to Fitch Ratings Ltd.s local unit, India will continue to be a net importer of steel for at least the next two years as high-grade products from South Korea and Japan flow in tax free amid worries of escalation in supplies from China.
  • According to Rohit Sadaka, director at India Ratings and Research Ltd, India imports totalled 7.8 million tonnes in the year ended March 31, making it a net importer, and are likely to stay around that level this year, That could increase if India joins the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, opening the door for cheaper imports from China.
  • India’s annual consumption is close to 100 million tonnes and there are prospects for further growth from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to build infrastructure.
  • According to analysis by the country’s power-planning body, Coal may account for half of India’s power generation in 2030 despite a boom in solar and wind energy projects.
  • Coal India Ltd (CIL) has reported a marginal 0.1% growth in coal production at around 136.96 million tonnes during the April-June 2019 over 136.85 MT in April-June 2018.
  • CIL had registered a 15% growth in coal production during the first quarter of FY19, as compared with the same period of FY18.
  • However, the coal offtake witnessed a marginal dip by around 0.1% to 153.29 million tonnes during April-June 2019 as against 153.47 during the year-ago period.
  • Coal production increased by around 0.5% in June 2019 to 45.08 million tonnes as compared with 44.87 MT in the same period last year. In June 2019, offtake was down by nearly 1.6% to 48.86 million tonnes as compared to June 2018.
  • The sluggish production growth in the first quarter is primarily on account of a slowdown in overburden removal (OBR), due to the delay in finalisation of contracts.
  • OBR (removal of topsoil to expose the coal seams and extract minerals) is an important process in coal mining, particularly in India, which essentially has opencast mines.
  • More than 90% of Coal India’s production comes from opencast mines, and therefore, any slowdown in OBR affects the production growth, as new seams may not be exposed. Land and other weather-related issues may have impacted the production.
  • According to Gautam Shroff, co-head, institutional equities at Edelweiss, a stimulus by the government will be the next trigger that will set the tone of the markets going forward, expecting another 50 basis points of repo rate cut in 2019 in the forthcoming budget.
  • With the completion of the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) by 2021, the total traffic of the Railways is expected to increase by at least 144 million tonne by 2022.
    The Railway is also likely to take up the East-West and East-Coast Dedicated Freight Corridors, expected to be completed by 2027.
  • According to a new project appreciation report by the Railways subsidiary RITES, these two projects are estimated to cost around Rs 1.23 trillion and may handle over 1,500 million tonne traffic by 2041-42.
    The project completion cost was estimated based on the current price till 2026-27 by considering 5% annual inflation on construction cost.