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Power consumption grows 11.45% to 55.37 billion units in first half of October

New Delhi: India’s power consumption grew 11.45 per cent to 55.37 billion units (BU) in the first half of October this year, mainly driven by buoyancy in industrial and commercial activities, as per government data. Power consumption in the country was recorded at 49.67 BU during October 1-15 last year, according to the power ministry data.

For a full month in October last year, power consumption was 97.84 BU.

Thus, the extrapolation of half-month data gives sufficient indication that power consumption may witness year-on-year double digit growth this month, according to experts.

They said a double-digit growth in power consumption in the first half of this month showed that commercial and industrial demand has improved with easing of lockdown restrictions and would be better than this in the coming months.

The government had imposed nationwide lockdown on March 25 to contain the spread of COVID-19. Power consumption started declining from March onwards due to fewer economic activities in the country.

The COVID-19 situation affected power consumption for six months in a row from March to August this year.

Power consumption on year-on-year basis declined 8.7 per cent in March, 23.2 per cent in April, 14.9 per cent in May, 10.9 per cent in June, 3.7 per cent in July and 1.7 per cent in August.

The data showed that electricity consumption had grown by 11.73 per cent in February.

Power consumption has shown an improvement post lockdown easing for economic activities after April 20.

After a gap of six months, power consumption recorded a growth of 4.6 per cent in September this year at 112.43 BU from 107.51 BU in the same month last year.

Earlier this month, Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh also said, “In September, our power demand was higher than September 2019. So the growth started again. Despite the fact that COVID problem lingers, the growth in our power consumption and demand has started.”

Peak power demand met, the highest supply of power in the country in a day, during October 1 to 15 was recorded at 170.04 GW (recorded on October 7 and 8).

Peak power demand met for the month of October last year stood at 164.25 GW (recorded on October 14, 2019).

Peak power demand in September this year recorded a growth of 1.8 per cent at 176.56 GW, compared to 173.45 GW a year ago, the data showed.

Peak power demand met had recorded negative growth from April to August this year due to the pandemic. The peak demand met dropped to 24.9 per cent in April, 8.9 per cent in May, 9.6 in June, 2.7 per cent in July and 5.6 per cent in August.

In March, it was muted at 0.8 per cent.

Scrap sales tepid, hint early reports of jewellers as lockdown eases

MUMBAI: Heavy scrap arrival, or sale of old gold for cash, hasn’t happened despite record high gold prices and the impression among jewellers that Covid-induced economic distress would result in huge scrap supply at their showrooms once lockdown restrictions were eased gradually . The reason, points out a gold market analyst, is the presence of gold loan companies for the hard-pressed .

Jewellers operating in states like Kerala , Maharashtra and Goa, whose governments have eased restrictions in certain areas , said Most customers were placing orders rather than selling scrap .

“In six -seven showrooms out of 27 operating rotationally in the state (Maharashtra), new gold sales comprise 80% while old gold sales have been 20%,” said Amit Modak, CEO, PN Gadgil Jewellers. “This is contrary to what most thought before the lockdown began to be eased gradually.”

The same is the experience of Aditya Pethe , director , Waman Hari Pethe Jewellers (WHP) . Out of 25 WHP stores , only one in Kolhapur is operational, but customers were “placing orders rather than selling old gold,” he said .

Since the start of the year , 99.5% purity gold has shot up 20% to Rs 46700 per 10 gm (ex GST), as per trade body IBJA. With prices near a peak jewellers and industry watchers expected a surge of scrap once lockdown restrictions were eased , but that hasn’t happened .

Well known south name, Malabar Gold has witnessed “very robust“ footfalls for across 36 stores which opened this week , abiding by “all the requisite safety norms,” said a company official.

Chirag Sheth , senior research consultant (South Asia) , Metal Focus, attributes the low scrap arrival to the presence of gold loan companies

Muthoot Finance

and

Manappuram Finance

which cater for customers “wanting to leverage the gold jewellery amid rising prices either to deploy the funds elsewhere or to meet urgent requirements amid the pandemic” .

Indeed Manappuram’s total gold loan disbursements rose 90% year on year to Rs 1.7 lakh crore in FY20.

Prices of gold broke out since September last year .

UK recovery continues but way to go to recoup virus losses; faces risks related to Brexit

LONDON : The British economy recouped further lost ground during July after a swath of coronavirus restrictions on businesses were lifted, official figures showed Friday. However, it still has to make up around half the output lost at the peak of the lockdown and now faces renewed risks related to Brexit.

The Office for National Statistics said the British economy grew by a monthly rate of 6.6% as many sectors started reopening after months of being idle during the lockdown. The hospitality sector, which includes, hotels, pubs and restaurants, reopened at the start of July, for example.

Other sectors, such as manufacturing and house-building also continued their recovery, though industrial production and construction remain below their pre-crisis levels.

July’s increase means that the British economy has now grown for three months in a row in the wake of April’s dramatic 20% slide. Overall, the British economy remains 11.7% smaller than it was in February before the full economic impact of the pandemic was felt.

Economists think the pace of the recovery will moderate following of a recent pick-up in new virus infections that has seen the re-imposition of lockdown restrictions on social gatherings, for example.

The looming end of a salary-support scheme and heightened uncertainties over a trade deal between the U.K. and the European Union are also expected to weigh on growth and, as a result, most economists think the economy will end the year around 8% smaller than it was before the pandemic.

“We’re likely to see the pace of expansion slow in August and September and stall as we head into the winter as the `mechanical rebound’ ends and unemployment rises,” said James Smith, developed markets economist at ING.

Concerns over a post-Brexit deal have become a particular concern over the past few days amid a souring in relations between the U.K. and the EU. The announcement from the British government that new legislation breaches elements of the withdrawal agreement, which allowed for the country’s smooth departure from the bloc at the start of the year, has prompted a furious reaction from the EU and raised the prospect of an imminent collapse in the talks.

Even before the current standoff, the trade discussions had made very little progress, with the two sides seemingly wide apart on several issues, notably on business regulations, the extent to which the U.K. can support certain industries and over the EU fishing fleet’s access to British waters.

The EU has been particularly insistent on ensuring that British-based businesses don’t have an unfair advantage as a result of laxer social, environmental or subsidy rules in the U.K.

British businesses are worried about a collapse in the talks that could see tariffs and other impediments slapped on trade with the EU at the start of next year. Most economists think that the costs of a “no-deal” outcome would fall disproportionately on the U.K., as trade with EU accounts for around half the total.

Supporters of Brexit have said that one of the benefits of unshackling the British economy from the EU is that it allows the country to sign trade deals with whoever it wishes _ the EU negotiates trade deals on behalf of all its members.

On Friday, the British government said it had secured a free trade agreement in principle with Japan, its first major deal as an independent trading nation.

Though details of the agreement are thin, the government said the U.K.-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement “goes far beyond” the existing deal between the EU and Japan and will increase commerce with Japan by around 15 billion pounds ($19 billion).

Skeptics say no amount of trade deals can mitigate for the losses that may accrue in the event of a `no-deal’ outcome with the EU.