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Jaitley says Mastercard, Visa losing out to local players in India

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New Delhi: Finance minister said that Mastercard and Visa were losing market share to domestic payments networks, months after Mastercard complained to the U.S. government that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using nationalism to promote a local rival.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke about the surging growth of RuPay and Unified Payment Interface (UPI), which allows swift inter-bank fund transfers, on the second anniversary of Modi`s shock decision to replace high-value bank notes in a bid to flush out untaxed wealth.

Modi has said when Indians use RuPay they were serving the country as its transaction fees stay within India and could help build roads, schools and hospitals, an endorsement that has worried Purchase, New York-based Mastercard, which is the world`s second-largest payments processor.

 

“Today Visa and Mastercard are losing market share in India to indigenously developed payment system of UPI and RUPAY Card, whose share have reached 65 percent of the payments done through debit and credit cards,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post about the various results of the note scrapping exercise, known as demonetisation.
Visa declined to comment. Mastercard did not respond to an email seeking comment.

RuPay process payments between banks and merchants for purchases made with credit or debit cards, while UPI instantly transfers funds between two bank accounts linked to mobile phones.

Jaitley was referring to the volume of transactions, not the value.

Though RuPay, owned by many Indian and foreign banks, accounts for more than half of India`s 1 billion debit and credit cards, industry sources say Visa and Mastercard still process the vast majority of the value of payments transactions in the country. Indian payments transactions were worth $51 billion in August, according to central bank data.

Jaitley said RuPay`s total transactions had leapt to 84.3 billion rupees ($1.16 billion) as of September, from 11 billion rupees before demonetisation. Total transactions done using UPI had jumped to 598 billion rupees ($8.26 billion) from 500 million rupees in October 2016, around the time it was launched.

Reuters reported last week that Mastercard complained to the Office of the United States Trade Representative on June 21 that Modi “associated the use of RuPay cards with nationalism, claiming it serves as `kind of national service`.”

The Mastercard note said that while Modi’s digital payments push was “commendable”, the Indian government had adopted “a series of protectionist measures” to the detriment of global companies.

The story sparked a backlash on social media against Mastercard in India, one of the world`s biggest payments growth markets.

Several people said on Twitter they had asked their banks to replace their Mastercard with RuPay, with some using the hashtag #BoycottMastercard to voice their concerns.

One user posted a picture of a Mastercard cut into pieces, while another named Ramesh uploaded a graphic with a Mastercard logo on a toilet flush. A spokesman for the Delhi arm of Modi`s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, said he had asked his bank to cancel his Mastercard and switch to RuPay.

Mastercard did not respond to Reuters` emailed request for comment on the social media backlash.

Ashwani Mahajan, who heads an economic group, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, which is linked to the ideological parent of Modi`s party, said that companies such as Mastercard should be “competing with RuPay, not complaining to the U.S. government”.

“They have enjoyed their market share for so long, we have the right to protect and promote our economic interests,” Mahajan told Reuters.


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Business

Sensex sheds 298.82 to close at 38,811; Nifty shrinks to 11,650

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Mumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex erased early gains to end 299 points lower Thursday as investors booked profits after stocks soared to record highs after BJP’s strong showing in the Lok Sabha polls.

Sensex and NSE Nifty went on to record highs even as Lok Sabha election results showed that PM Modi-led NDA leading on over 300 seats. However after the euphoria during the morning session, Sensex shed 298.82 to close at 38,811 and Nifty shrank to 11,650 on the closing bell.

During the day, the Sensex hit the 40,000 mark while the Nifty crossed the 12,000-level for the first time ever. However, the indices succumbed to profit booking towards the fag-end of the session.

 

The 30-share Sensex tumbled 298.82 points, or 0.76 per cent, to close at 38,811.39. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty settled 80.85 points, or 0.69 per cent, lower at 11,657.05.

IndusInd Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 5.23 per cent, followed by Hero MotoCorp, Coal India, Yes Bank, PowerGrid, ICICI Bank, HCL Tech, L&T, Kotak Bank and Bharti Airtel, rising up to 1.56 per cent. On the other hand, Vedanta, ITC, Tata Motors, HDFC twins, Bajaj Finance, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, TCS, ONGC and Infosys fell up to 5.53 per cent.

Riding on a massive Modi wave sweeping through most parts of India, the BJP was set to return to power Thursday as it led in 298 seats while the Congress trailed far behind with 52, according to trends released by the Election Commission for all 542 seats that went to polls.

“Markets were initially enthused to see the election results falling in line with the exit polls. However, the run up to the D-day was so sharp that it turned out to be a sell on news phenomenon,” said Devang Mehta, Head – Equity Advisory, Centrum Wealth Management.

Participants would now be keen to know the future course of action for bringing the economy back on track, solution to the liquidity situation, the union budget, onset and progress of monsoon in June and most importantly the earnings trajectory, he added.

According to traders, weak cues from other global markets and a depreciating rupee also weighed on investor sentiment. The rupee depreciated 37 paise to 70.04 against the US dollar in afternoon trade. Globally, bourses in Asia ended in the red.

Indices in Europe were also trading on a negative note in early deals. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was trading 1.79 per cent lower at USD 69.72 per barrel.

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Silver up on increased offtake; gold steady

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New Delhi: Silver prices rallied by Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg in the national capital on Thursday, while gold held steady, according to the All India Sarafa Association.

Traders said silver prices rose on pick-up in offtake by industrial units and coin makers at the local spot market. Globally, spot gold was trading marginally higher at USD 1,276 an ounce, while silver was slightly up at USD 14.53 an ounce in New York.

In the national capital, gold of 99.9 per cent and 99.5 per cent purity dropped by Rs 10 each to Rs 32,670 per ten 10 gram and Rs 32,500 per 10 gram. Sovereign gold, however, held steady at Rs 26,500 per eight gram.

 

Silver ready surged Rs 200 to Rs 37,400 per kg, while weekly-based delivery fell by Rs 66 to Rs 36,234 per kg. Silver coins held flat at Rs 79,000 for buying and Rs 80,000 for selling of 100 pieces.

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India PC mkt declines 8.3 per cent to 2.15 mn units in Jan-Mar qarter

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New Delhi: Personal Computer (PC) shipment in India fell by 8.3 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2019 to 2.15 million units, registering a year-on-year decline for the third consecutive quarter, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Besides, big commercial deals, market remained weak due to weak consumer demand, high inventory from previous quarters, and supply issues for Intel chips.

Shipments in the consumer segment saw a 26.5 per cent dip in the said quarter compared to the year-ago period. The commercial PC market saw a total shipment of 1.35 million units in the said quarter, a growth of 7.3 per cent over last year.

 

“The announcement of central elections on March 10, 2019 resulted in the model code of conduct coming into immediate effect further resulting in a delay in execution of government projects and impacting the commercial segment,” IDC said in a statement.

However, IDC expects the overall PC market in India to witness a growth in the second quarter. The commercial market is expected to pick up post new government formation in May, while the consumer market is expected to pick up largely driven by back to school campaign by vendors and online sales.

HP maintained its leadership position with an overall market share of 28.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, followed by Dell (25.9 per cent), Lenovo (25.2 per cent) and Acer (11.7 per cent).

The notebook PC (laptop) category accounted for 61.4 per cent of the shipment and witnessed a 9.8 per cent year-on-year decline.

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