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India indispensable partner of US for pharmaceutical supply’

Representational Image (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

HERE are news in brief related to Indian economy and business for Friday, August 18, 2023:

India remains an essential partner for the US’s pharmaceutical supply, Xavier Becerra, secretary of the department of health and human services, said in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state Gujarat on Friday. A senior US official will soon visit India to address the shortage of critical medications, including cancer drugs, in the US, he added. Becerra, who attended the G20 health ministers’ meeting, highlighted the symbiotic relationship, saying, “We depend on India, India depends on us, and together we can ensure global medicine availability.” Becerra also emphasised on the need for safe drugs in both countries, expressing a willingness to collaborate on regulatory standards. He praised India’s evolving healthcare role post-Covid-19.

India is set to witness its driest August in over a century with scant rainfall likely to continue across large areas, partly due to the El Nino weather pattern, a couple of officials from the weather department was cited by Reuters as saying. The rainfall in the current month is likely to be the lowest since the record-keeping started in 1901, could hurt yields of crops that are sown in summer, ranging from rice to soybeans, boosting prices and overall food inflation, which went up in July to the highest level since January 2020. The monsoon, which is vital for the Indian economy, constitutes nearly 70 per cent of the downpour that India requires to water farmlands and refills reservoirs and aquifers.

Moody’s Investors Service on Friday affirmed India’s rating at the lowest investment grade of ‘Baa3’, with a stable outlook, saying high growth will support a gradual increase in income levels, but flagged risks of populist policies due to rise in political tensions. Moody’s said although India’s potential growth has come down in the past 7-10 years, the growth would outpace all other G20 economies through at least the next two years, driven by domestic demand. Moody’s said the restoration of robust growth prospects post-pandemic, the effective commitment to inflation targeting and the rehabilitation of the financial system aided by reform supports its view of strengthening monetary and macro policy effectiveness.

India’s foreign exchange reserves jumped $708 million (£555.2 million) to $602.161 billion (£472.2 billion) for the week ended August 11, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Friday. This is the first increase in the kitty after declining for three consecutive weeks. In the previous reporting week, the overall reserves had declined $2.417 billion (£1.89 billion) to $601.453 billion (£471.7 billion). In October 2021, the country’s foreign exchange reserves touched an all-time high of $645 billion (£505.8 billion). The reserves took a hit as the central bank deployed the kitty to defend the rupee amid pressures caused majorly by global developments since last year.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged the G20 nations to facilitate “equitable availability” of technology and “open innovations” for public good. Addressing the G20 health ministers’ meeting in Gandhinagar, the capital of the western state of Gujarat, via video link, he also said the global community must be ready to prevent and respond to the next health emergency. India will eradicate tuberculosis well before the global deadline, he informed the audience. “Global initiatives on global health will bring together various digital health initiatives on a common platform. Let’s open our innovations for public good. Let us avoid duplication of funding. Let us facilitate equitable availability of technology,” the prime minister said.

UBS Group AG has decided to rebuild its team in India as it eyes creation of more products to compete for managing the rich Indians’ wealth, Bloomberg reported. The bank, which returned to the private wealth market a couple of months ago with its rescue takeover of Credit Suisse, has plans to add at least seven relationship managers to raise its total advisory strength in the south Asian nation to about 25, the Bloomberg report said citing informed sources. The bank has also decided to beef up its product team and is roping in two senior executives from rival firms in portfolio management services, which develops India-specific products, the sources added on the condition of anonymity.

(With agencies inputs)

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