We shifted our newsletter thoughts collection base from Starbucks in suburban Mumbai in early October to Hotel Radisson Blu in Karjat, a 3-hour drive from Mumbai in early November. A few facilities such as gym, pool were still closed. Irrespective of this, the hotel was buzzing with guests who seemed to be enjoying their freedom after being locked for a good 6-8 months. Our channel checks to hotels, malls, food courts, local markets and glance into headlines or commentaries made by corporates suggests resumption of onground activities is unbelievable. With local trains expected to resume in some parts of India, all parts of the economy should be up.
OCTOBER: LIVING UPTO ITS NAME
October is typically associated with days which are flush with falling leaves, chilling weather, and growing anticipation for the holiday season. In India and globally, people lived up to the spirit of the month as we could see the fear of Covid reducing (read: treating it as a part of life for some time), people moving out of the comfort/warmth of their homes towards the cooler environment and spending time on shopping, entertainment, vacation etc. We guess besides the weather, temperatures at home had been rising month on month seeing the same faces every day, juggling between work and home, family time, kitchen and surrounded by electronic gadgets throughout the day.
Covid News Flow Incrementally Offering Bipolar Perspective
In the US and Europe, we saw more than a doubling of cases per day. However, India has seen a massive reduction from 98000 to <50000 cases per day.
The second wave globally, upcoming festival and winter make India vulnerable. However, India is better prepared considering business resumption, ramp up in testing rates and awareness campaigns. Testimony to this is recently concluded elections in Bihar.
Vaccine with 90% efficacy is now available, but there are hurdles like transporting and storing a vaccine at -70°C. Does the world have enough freezers, distribution/ logistics infrastructure, etc. or we wait for another vaccine?
MACROECONOMIC VARIABLES- OCTOBER
- E-way bills rose 21% to 64.1 mn, highest ever since it was introduced.
- Railway freight volumes up 15% year-on-year (YoY).
- Manufacturing PMI at 58.9, which is a 13-year high and up 16% YoY.
- Services PMI at 54.1 (up 10% YoY) vs. 49.8 in September 2020. Reading above 50
indicates expansion, while a sub-50 print signals contraction.
- GST collections up 10% YoY and month-on-month (MoM) to Rs. 105,155 crore.
Core data de-growth was much lower at 0.8% driven by the rise in
production of coal (21%), steel (0.9%), electricity (3.7%) and rest declining in
- Passenger cars volume up 14% YoY and 2-wheelers by 17%.