Australia cuts interest rates to combat deflation
Australia's central bank has cut interest rates to a record low of 1.75 percent in order to prevent deflation and protect its rising currency.
The Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) quarter-point cut sent the local dollar down more than one US cent to $0.7567 as markets betted that a further move to 1.5 percent was likely. Underlying inflation dropped to a record low of 1.5 percent, taking it to well under the RBA's long term target band of 2 percent to 3 percent and effectively pushing real rates higher.
RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said: "Inflation has been quite low for some time and recent data were unexpectedly low. These results, together with ongoing very subdued growth in labour costs and very low cost pressures elsewhere in the world, point to a lower outlook for inflation than previously forecast."
A number of central banks across the world have started new stimulus cycles this year while the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank (ECB) have embraced sub-zero rates and expanded their asset-buying campaigns.
This easing abroad has boosted the Australian dollar further than the RBA desired, hurting exports and tourism while pushing down import prices and, thus, inflation. All of which argued for at least one cut in rates to offset these tighter financial conditions, and markets were quick to price in the possibility of a further move.
"It's hard to see how one cut by itself is going to do much," said Commonwealth Bank Chief Economist Michael Blythe, "So you'd have to think the odds on a follow-up have also increased, very much tied in with how the inflation outlook evolves from here. August would be the most obvious timing."
While Australia is still struggling with the unwinding of a massive mining boom, economic activity has been generally favourable. Growth was a surprisingly brisk 3 percent for 2015 and unemployment recently fell to a 30-month low of 5.7 percent.
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SOURCE: [Yahoo Finance]
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.