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Fear and cheer

Depression, recession, bear market... all have translated to job scares, a slowdown in demand and panic attacks. Here is a recap of the spillover effects of the ongoing economic imbroglio in the last fortnight, across the globe.

Print Edition: January 8, 2009

Depression, recession, bear market... all have translated to job scares, a slowdown in demand and panic attacks. Here is a recap of the spillover effects of the ongoing economic imbroglio in the last fortnight, across the globe.

Lay-offs
• Bank of America to slash up to 35,000 jobs globally over the next three years.
• HSBC to lay off 193 people in its consumer asset business in India and redeploy another 620.
• The BPO Industry Association of India estimates 250,000 job losses in the first quarter of 2009.
• Yahoo to axe 50 employees from its Mumbai and Bangalore operations.
• Sony to cut 16,000 jobs, none in India.

Hiring
• LIC to hire over 10,000 employees and 250,000 insurance agents across India by March 2009.
• Barclays Plc to offshore 66 jobs from UK to India.
• Indian Overseas Bank has invited applications for 1,000 positions across the country.

News from board rooms
• Domestic air traffic fell more than 21% in November, the highest in several years.
• SKF India and Trinity Engineering announce block closures at their Pune plants for 10 and 6 days.
• The West Bengal government has rejected Dunlop India’s plea for Rs 100 crore soft loan, saying that it is not a sick company.
• Cisco India has asked its employees to take a fiveday off at the end of the year without a pay cut.
• Workers at Tata Group-owned steelmaker Corus have offered to take a 10% pay cut for the next six months to avoid factory closure in Wales.
• Mahindra & Mahindra and Fiat have postponed launches in India from December to January.
• The media conglomerate, Tribune, has filed for bankruptcy.

Extras
• TCS has increased work timings from eight to nine hours a day.
• Kingfisher Airlines will replace pilots’ gross salaries with a two-part pay structure based on the number of flying hours.
• US firms like Deloitte and ADP have hiked the referral bonus for its existing employees in India.

The rich & famous

Honda slows down
Japan’s Honda has pulled out of Formula 1 racing “to protect its core businesses”. The move could leave 700 workers in the lurch unless a new buyer is found by year-end.

Mercedes-Benz, BMW buck the trend
While car sales in India have fallen nearly 7% since October last year, Mercedez-Benz has registered a 47% increase in its one-year target figures, and BMW’s sales have more than doubled during the same period.

Poor little rich Indians
The combined net worth of 40 of India’s richest people has plunged by 60%, from $351 billion a year ago to $139 billion, according to the India Rich List of the Forbes magazine.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen in a quandary
To survive the slowdown, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has more than doubled the number of properties she lets out.

Bargains and deals
60%
Reduction in weekday film ticket rates by Spice Cinemas.
Free meals Offered by Arabian Park Hotel in Dubai, to fired workers.
99 Euros Asking price of a 400-sq-m house on sale in Austria.

Quotes
Global recession is not likely to adversely affect India and there is no need to hit the panic button.
— Oscar Fernandes, Minister of State for Labour

D. Subbarao
D. Subbarao
The year 2008-9 will be a difficult year and 2009-10 will also be difficult, perhaps more so.
— D. Subbarao, RBI Governor

Capital market is drying up and several commercial state banks can’t access long-term financing. Some firms won’t be able to repay banks so their non-performing assets may increase.
— Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank’s acting Country Director in India

Policies
• Net direct tax collection fell by 36% from Rs 16,189 crore in November last year to Rs 10,346 crore this year.
• The Commerce Ministry has revised the export target of $200 billion for 2008-9 to $175 billion.
• The number of overseas visitors fell by 2.1% in November, the first time in six years.

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