Great news this week for economy
The good economic news continued to pour in at the end of this week, signalling the recovery from the global recession is well underway in Australia. The petrol, retail, food and construction sector have all posted positive statistics over the last year.
Perhaps the biggest news out of this week is the trade surplus hit a 29-month high in January. Many were expecting a smaller surplus, and even Treasurer Joe Hockey has mentioned that planning the budget will be slightly easier with this knowledge. During January, exports increased by 4 percent, and imports rose by 1 percent. Economists were expecting a trade surplus of $100m in January, and were surprised by the seasonally-adjusted $1.43bn. This is the largest surplus recorded since the $2.1 billion surplus recorded in August of 2011.
Read related articles in Business Review Australia:
- Construction boost looking to help economic growth
- Oz’s manufacturing sector contracts at slower rate
- Economic round up: New Zealand
The mineral and petroleum sector grew by 15 percent over last year, and recorded a record $113.8bn last year. The Reserve Bank’s recent monetary policy must be working, as this isn’t the only industry that is having positive effects.
Retail, a sector that seems to be consistently plagued by bad news, saw a 6.2 percent jump in sales over the past 12 months, and a 1.2 percent boost in January alone. New South Wales incurred the strongest spending growth of any state. Most impressively, this is the fastest rate of annual increase since the end of 2009.
Spending in cafes and restaurants has increased the most, up 11.9 percent over last year. This is usually a good indicator of the economy: if people are willing to splurge on a restaurant, they are probably more willing to pump money into other parts of the economy as well. Along the same lines, there were also increased profits in household goods, clothing, footwear, personal accessories and food retailing.
Ads for jobs increased in January, as did residential construction approvals. Many expect commercial and industrial construction approvals to be up soon as well. Don’t hold your breath quite yet, but it seems like the road to recovery has been set with a solid foundation. Economists will be looking towards future trends to help continue the upswing.
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.