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Falling yuan, sinking rupee, stalled reforms subdue markets

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Mumbai, Devaluation of the Chinese yuan and the Indian rupee, as also the stalled reforms process, dampened investor sentiments in the equity markets during the weekly trade ended Aug 14.

yuan0 (1)
The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) fell by 169.08 points or 0.59 percent during the weekly trade, ending at 28,067.31 points from the previous close of 28,236.39 points on Aug 7. The S&P BSE Sensex had marginally gained by 121.83 points during the weekly trade ended Aug 7.
“The devaluation of yuan is a sign that the currency wars have started at a time when the world economy is stalling, commodities prices are falling and the Chinese markets are bleeding,” Anand James, co-head, technical research desk, Geojit BNP Paribas.
“The yuan’s surprise devaluation also stroked fears of competitive devaluation across Asia, especially before the (US) Fed’s monetary policy decision due in September,” he added
The yuan has fallen by 4.6 percent since Tuesday, its biggest devaluation since 1994.
The devaluation, intended to boost exports, has made investment in China cheaper, thereby leading foreign funds away from India.
This also impacted the rupee, which on Thursday fell to its lowest level against the US dollar in 24 months at Rs.65.23.
The logjam in parliament and the yuan’s devaluation led the markets to lose a total of 724 points during the first three trading days of the week.
However, investors were seen hopeful of a rate-cut based on healthy macro-economic data points including Consumer Price Index (CPI), Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
“The recovery was led by the 0.05 percent rise of the yuan (on Friday), after three days of depreciation instigated by the People’s Bank of China, and better than expected macro data,” Rahul Dholam, senior analyst with Angel Broking, cited
The macro-economic data points showed a fall in India’s annual retail inflation rate to 3.78 percent in July, the annual wholesale inflation fell to (-)4.05 percent, however there was a rise in the factory output to 3.8 percent in June.The WPI coupled with consumer price index (CPI) have pointed at a gradual reining in of prices.
The RBI has set a target for CPI inflation at 6 percent by January 2016.
On the bright side of the volatile weekly trade was the possibility that the government might extend the “Monsoon Session” or call for a “Special Session” of parliament to pass the GST bill kept investors optimistic about the future of the key economic legislation.
“The signals that are coming — like an extension of the monsoon session or a proposed special session to get the GST bill passed — are very encouraging,” Devendra Nevgi, chief executive of ZyFin.
“The India growth story is based on the ability of the government to bring in reforms. For the central bank to be able to cut rates and usher in the demand by propping-up the consumer sentiment. The lack of reforms will send a dampening signal to the rest of the world,” Nevgi elaborated.
Lately, investors have been reluctant to chase higher prices given the possibility that the reform process might be stalled due to the government’s inability to conduct business in parliament.

(IANS)

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Shanghai Airport Gets Check-In With Facial Recognition Machines

Increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

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Shanghai,
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate. VOA

It’s now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding powered by facial recognition technology, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Similar efforts are under way at airports in Beijing and Nanyang city, in central China’s Henan province.

Shanghai,
Face recognition tool was first launched in 2012

Many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed security checks, but Shanghai’s system, which debuted Monday, is being billed as the first to be fully automated.

“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao airport. Currently, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology.

Spring Airlines, Shanghai said Tuesday that passengers had embraced automated check-in, with 87 percent of 5,017 people who took Spring flights on Monday using the self-service kiosks, which can cut down check-in times to less than a minute and a half.

Shanghai,
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

Across greater China, facial recognition is finding its way into daily life. Mainland police have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds and nab jaywalkers, and are working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.

Chinese media are filled with reports of ever-expanding applications: A KFC outlet in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, where it’s possible to pay using facial recognition technology; a school that uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class; and hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to curb money laundering.

Also Read: Facial Recognition Technology Catches A Person With Fake Passpost At The US Airport 

But increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.” (VOA)