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Banks profitability has been hit owing to continued pressure on asset quality and weak loan growth. The note ban has the potential to drive big treasury gains for Indian banks, says a report from rating agency India Ratings. Banks are likely to see register Rs. 38,200 crore of potential treasury gains for the current financial year (2016-17) – their highest ever, the report said.

This potential of windfall earnings from treasury gains comes at a time when banks are facing significant challenges, from bad assets to weak credit growth to capital requirement for new regulatory norms. The profitability levels of Indian banks have been hit owing to continued pressure on asset quality and weak loan growth.

Banks in general largely invest in central government or treasury bonds. In fact, they are the largest holders of government bonds, about Rs. 29 lakh crore, as on November 11, 2016, says the report. A fall in interest rate increases the price of bonds. Starting January 2015, the Reserve Bank of India made a series of repo rate cuts, reducing it by 175 basis points in the wake of falling inflation.

A surge in bank deposits, due to demonetisation, will also increase demand for government and high-rated corporate bonds, and is likely to put keep bond prices buoyant, the report said.

For public sector banks in particular, the gains from treasury could be a big sweetener given that they reported Rs. 17,700 crore loss in FY16. Public sector banks have already reported significant treasury gains of Rs. 17,400 crore in the first half of this financial year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes on November 8 in a move aimed at eliminating money laundering and black or untaxed money. It wiped out 86 per cent of the money in circulation worth Rs. 15.44 lakh crore. About Rs. 13 lakh crore of the banned notes have been deposited into the banking system.

Analysts say that even if withdrawals restrictions are eased in the future, banks are likely to be net gainer in terms of deposits as demonetisation will bring a large chunk of the informal economy into the banking system.

India Ratings however cautions about the sustainability of the treasury gains. “Excess treasury gains are a one-off and carry an inherent exogenous risk of reversal. Hence, prudent risk management and portfolio churning would ensure sustainability of the gains,” it said.

Nokia Corp said on Wednesday it had filed a number of lawsuits against Apple Inc for violating 32 technology patents, striking back at the iPhone maker’s legal action targeting the one-time cellphone industry leader a day earlier.

Nokia’s lawsuits, filed in courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, Germany, and the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, cover patents for displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding.

“Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products,” Nokia said in a statement.

Apple on Tuesday had taken legal action against Acacia Research Corp and Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc, accusing them of colluding with Nokia to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly from Apple.

“We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “Unfortunately, Nokia has refused to license their patents on a fair basis and is now using the tactics of a patent troll to attempt to extort money from Apple by applying a royalty rate to Apple’s own inventions they had nothing to do with.”
Acacia and Conversant did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and Nokia was not immediately available to comment on the Apple lawsuit.

The legal action by Nokia and Apple appear to mark a revival of the “smartphone patent wars” that began five years ago, when Apple filed a series of patent infringement cases against Samsung Electronics around the world, with wins and losses on both sides.

Apple’s lawsuit against Acacia, Conversant and Nokia was filed only one day after Ottawa-based Conversant named Boris Teksler as its new chief executive. He had worked as Apple’s director of patent licensing and strategy from 2009 to 2013, the latter half of his tenure overlapping with the lawsuits against Samsung.
Acacia is a publicly traded patent licensing firm based in Newport Beach, California. One of its subsidiaries sued Apple for patent infringement and was awarded $22 million by a Texas jury in September.

Similarly, Conversant, which claims to own thousands of patents, announced last week that a Silicon Valley jury had awarded one of its units a $7.3 million settlement in an infringement case against Apple involving two smartphone patents.

Nokia, once the world’s dominant cellphone maker, missed out on the transition to smartphones triggered by Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007.

The Finnish company sold its handset business to Microsoft two years ago, leaving it with its telecom network equipment business and a bulging portfolio of mobile equipment patents.

But this year, Microsoft sold its Nokia-feature phone business to a new company called HMD Global.

Nokia agreed to a 10-year licensing deal with HMD, which continues to market low-cost Nokia phones and plans to introduce new Nokia smartphone models next year.

 
[“source-ndtv”]

HTC has started sending media invites for an event on January 12 where the company says it will make its “next big announcement.” The company has shared a teaser invite with “for U” as a tagline. Unfortunately, not many details about HTC’s upcoming announcement are available right now.

It’s worth noting that the January 12 launch date is just after the CES week which means HTC doesn’t want its announcement to get lost in a host of launches during the event. The Taiwanese company has not dropped any hints in the invite for the launch event, however, recent rumours have pointed to the launch of the HTC X10 mid-range smartphone in January. The event could also see the launch of the company’s next flagship or be about the company’s recent virtual reality push, or both.

htc invite verge htc

Starting with the HTC X10, the successor to the HTC One X9 is said to launch in January and cost around CNY 2,000 (roughly Rs. 19,500). It is said to sport a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920) display, a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor (Cortex-A53 cores), Mali-T860 GPU, 3GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel rear camera with OIS.

Another recent report claimed that HTC has been working on its next flagship, the HTC 11. According to initial rumours, HTC 11 may sport a 5.5-inch QHD (1440×2560) display and run on Android 7.0 Nougat customised with HTC’s Sense 8 UI on top. The handset is rumoured to pack a dual-camera setup of 12-megapixel at the back while an 8-megapixel front-facing camera is also expected on board. Under the hood, the HTC 11 is expected to be powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU, along with Adreno 540 GPU for graphic performance. It is said to pack a whopping 8GB of RAM under the hood, with an inbuilt storage of 256GB. The device is said to be backed by a 3700mAh battery. According to rumours, HTC’s next flagship will launched with a price tag of $691 (roughly Rs. 47,000). However, all these leaks should be taken with a pinch of salt as HTC has not mentioned anything about the upcoming device and the leaks legitimacy remains questionable.

 
[“source-ndtv”]

Mumbai: To encourage digital transactions, the Reserve Bank today decided to slash MDR charges on payments made through debit cards and do away with levies on small transactions through mobile phones and Internet from January 1 to March 31.

The Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) for debit card payments, including for payments made to government, will be capped at 0.25 per cent for transactions up to Rs. 1,000 and 0.5 per cent between Rs. 1,000-2,000, RBI said in a notification.

The existing MDR cap is 0.75 per cent for transactions up to Rs. 2,000 and 1 per cent for over Rs. 2,000. However, there is no RBI cap on MDR on credit card payments.

RBI said reduced charges will “come into effect from January 1, 2017 and shall be applicable till March 31, 2017.

In the intervening period, Reserve Bank will review the framework for charges for electronic payment transactions, in consultation with the stakeholders. Similarly, it has asked banks and prepaid payment
instrument issuers not to levy any charges for transactions up to Rs. 1,000 from January 1 to March 31. This would cover transactions through Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), USSD-based *99# and Unified Payment Interface (UPI) systems.

The relaxations, RBI said are in tandem with initiatives taken by the government to “incentivise greater adoption of digital payments by large sections of the society.”

Post demonetisation of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes, several banks including SBI, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Yes Bank have waived MDR charges on debit card transactions till December 31.

Merchant discount rate is the rate charged to a merchant by a bank for providing debit and credit card services. The rate is determined based on factors such as volume, average ticket price, risk and industry.

As of October 2015, there were 61.5 crore debit card users and 2.3 crore credit card holders in the country.

Government has announced a slew of measures, both for customers and merchants, to encourage digital payments in the country ever since it sucked out a large portion of cash circulating in the economy.

Steps have been taken to make petrol, railway tickets and insurance policies of PSU companies cheaper if bought through debit/credit cards or other digital modes.

Besides, a lucky draw cashback reward scheme for consumers and merchants will start from the Christmas till mid of April for Rs. 50-3,000 transactions through digital means.

[“source-ndtv”]


Bengaluru: The CBI has arrested two Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials in Bengaluru allegedly involved in an illegal exchange of nearly Rs. 2 crore in spiked currency notes, officials said on Saturday.

A CBI official said a senior special assistant and a special assistant of the RBI’s cash department were held after they were found exchanging scrapped banknotes with Rs. 100 and new Rs. 2,000 bills. This was being done in violation of exchange limits imposed by the central bank.

The accused had given away new notes amounting to Rs. 1.99 crore to some people, the official said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation suspects that more people, including some RBI officials, may be involved in the criminal conspiracy.

Criminal charges have been slapped against the accused, who were taken into four day custody of the premier probe agency.

The agency had earlier arrested a senior RBI official for allegedly laundering money running into millions of rupees.

The arrest was made after the CBI on December 6 registered a case against a senior cashier for allegedly laundering Rs. 1.51 crore of new currency in exchange for old currency after the government demonetised those on November 8.

[“source-ndtv”]

London: In a relief to British Indians and NRIs, the Bank of England has said that it does not foresee any regulatory obstacles to people wanting to deposit or exchange banned Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes at the UK branches of Indian banks.

The banking authority’s chief stressed the issue was a matter for the Indian government, who must give consent for such action to ease the “potential ramifications for British Indians and Non-Resident Indians in UK”.

“Whether it is possible to deposit or exchange high-value Indian Rupee banknotes at Indian banks in the UK is a matter for the Indian government,” said Bank of England governor Mark Carney said.

“The PRA [Prudential Regulation Authority] can confirm that it does not envisage any UK prudential regulatory obstacles if the Indian authorities decided to allow Indian Rupee notes to be deposited with Indian banks in the UK,” he clarified.

The PRA, responsible for the supervision of banks in the UK, has also cleared the matter with the Financial Conduct Authority, which acts as the financial crime regulator in the UK.

“The FCA indicated that it has no objection should any Indian banks wish to exchange these notes or accept them as deposits, providing they have the necessary prior consent from the relevant Indian authorities,” Carney said in a letter dated December 9.

The letter was in response to a plea by Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP, Keith Vaz, to look into making an exception so that NRIs with the demonetised notes can deposit them at UK branches of Indian banks.

Vaz said Carney’s response removes “any obstacles which may prevent” the Indian government from addressing concerns among Indian diaspora affected by the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes announced last month.

He said: “Mark Carney has gone the extra mile to ensure members of the Indian diaspora in the United Kingdom may be able to exchange their Indian currency in the UK, following the bold decision to demonetise certain Rupee denominations.

“He has presented a pathway for this issue to be resolved which will hugely benefit members of the Indian diaspora in the UK. The Indian government is now free to enable currency to be exchanged in the UK, and avoid the deep concern currently being faced by many members of the British Indian community, who may not be able to travel to India by the deadline.”

Vaz said he is writing to Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley with a copy of Carney’s letter to seek a resolution to an issue affecting thousands of NRIs and PIOs.

[“source-ndtv”]

Mumbai: To encourage digital transactions, the Reserve Bank today decided to slash MDR charges on payments made through debit cards and do away with levies on small transactions through mobile phones and Internet from January 1 to March 31.

The Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) for debit card payments, including for payments made to government, will be capped at 0.25 per cent for transactions up to Rs. 1,000 and 0.5 per cent between Rs. 1,000-2,000, RBI said in a notification.

The existing MDR cap is 0.75 per cent for transactions up to Rs. 2,000 and 1 per cent for over Rs. 2,000. However, there is no RBI cap on MDR on credit card payments.

RBI said reduced charges will “come into effect from January 1, 2017 and shall be applicable till March 31, 2017.

In the intervening period, Reserve Bank will review the framework for charges for electronic payment transactions, in consultation with the stakeholders. Similarly, it has asked banks and prepaid payment
instrument issuers not to levy any charges for transactions up to Rs. 1,000 from January 1 to March 31. This would cover transactions through Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), USSD-based *99# and Unified Payment Interface (UPI) systems.

The relaxations, RBI said are in tandem with initiatives taken by the government to “incentivise greater adoption of digital payments by large sections of the society.”

Post demonetisation of old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes, several banks including SBI, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Yes Bank have waived MDR charges on debit card transactions till December 31.

Merchant discount rate is the rate charged to a merchant by a bank for providing debit and credit card services. The rate is determined based on factors such as volume, average ticket price, risk and industry.

As of October 2015, there were 61.5 crore debit card users and 2.3 crore credit card holders in the country.

Government has announced a slew of measures, both for customers and merchants, to encourage digital payments in the country ever since it sucked out a large portion of cash circulating in the economy.

Steps have been taken to make petrol, railway tickets and insurance policies of PSU companies cheaper if bought through debit/credit cards or other digital modes.

Besides, a lucky draw cashback reward scheme for consumers and merchants will start from the Christmas till mid of April for Rs. 50-3,000 transactions through digital means.

[“source-ndtv”]


The much-anticipated Zuk Edge smartphone – which was expected to be unveiled last week – will be launching on Tuesday, December 20, the company has said. Zuk shared a teaser on Weibo showing the upcoming Edge smartphone partially with an interface layout that seemed focused for the Chinese market.

Zuk Edge’s teaser image suggests that the smartphone will sport an edge-to-edge display and it may be placed like the Xiaomi’s Mi MIX smartphone. The image was shared by Android Pure.

Based on preliminary leaks, the Zuk Edge may feature a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display, and will be powered by a 2.35GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM (or 6GB of RAM). The Zuk Edge smartphone is likely to pack 32GB and 64GB inbuilt storage options, and have the fingerprint scanner as well (presumably under the Home Button at the bottom of the display).

On the camera front, the Zuk Edge smartphone is rumoured to sport a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel camera at the front. Zuk Edge is said to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ZUI 2.0 skin, and is expected to pack a 3000mAh battery. An earlier report tipped that the Zuk Edge may be priced at CNY 2,699 (roughly Rs. 26,800).

The Zuk Edge will be Lenovo’s fourth Zuk-branded smartphone. To recall, Lenovo has so far launched the Zuk Z1 (launched in August last year), Zuk Z2 Pro (launched in April this year), and Zuk Z2 (launched in May this year).

In separate news, a White-coloured smartphone believed to be the Zuk Edge has been spotted in live images. The smartphone packs slim bezels around the display and also sport a home button placed right below the display.

[“source-ndtv”]


On Wednesday, ZTE will launch its Nubia Z11 and Nubia N1 smartphones in India. The Chinese company is set to launch the two smartphones in the country at an event in New Delhi.

To recall, the Nubia Z11 was first launched in China in June, and was then released in other markets eventually. We can expect India pricing to be similar to China, where the variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage was priced at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 25,000), and the variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage was priced at CNY 3,499 (roughly Rs. 35,000). The Nubia N1 sported a CNY 1,699 (roughly Rs. 17,200) price tag in China.

The Nubia Z11 handset features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) 2.5D display and is powered by a 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor. Both the storage variants support expandable storage via microSD card (up to 200GB). As for optics, it sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, and OIS. There is also an 8-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.4 aperture. The handset packs a 3000mAh battery and supports Quick Charge 3.0. It houses a fingerprint scanner on the rear panel, and offers connectivity options like Bluetooth, GPS, Glonass, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G, GPS/ A-GPS, 3G, and USB Type-C. It measures 151.8×72.3×7.5mm, and weighs 162 grams. zte nubia n1 pink ZTE Nubia N1

The Nubia N1 features a 5.5-inch (1920×1080 pixels) full HD display with 401ppi pixel density, and is powered by a 64-bit 1.8GHz Mediatek Helio P10 octa-core SoC paired with 3GB of RAM. The smartphone offers 64GB of inbuilt storage, alongside the option to expand it via microSD slot (up to 128GB).

Optics include a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF, f/2.2 aperture, and LED flash. The selfie camera is also at 13-megapixel with beauty filters, and smart fill light for better night photography. The ZTE Nubia N1 packs a 5000mAh battery and a fingerprint sensor at the back that claims to unlock the smartphone in just 0.2 seconds. Connectivity options include 4G LTE with VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS + GLONASS, and USB Type-C support.

Both the smartphones run on Nubia UI 4.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and comes with hybrid dual-SIM which means it supports one Nano-SIM card in one slot, and a nano-SIM or microSD card in the other slot.


Google had started rolling out the final Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for compatible Nexus and Pixel devices last week, and it included the company’s monthly security update for December as well. Now, Google has posted a new build of Android 7.1.1 Nougat to the developer site for Pixel and Pixel XL smartphone, aimed primarily at fixing the previously reported connectivity issue on Pixel devices.

Last month, many Pixel phone users were complaining of connectivity issues, particularly on the LTE band 4 frequency. However, many users reported that with the release of Android 7.1.1 Nougat, which brought “general connectivity improvements”, the issue was fixed. But looks like, it wasn’t fixed for all users, and the new build named NMF26Q release 6 looks to do just that.

Google has not officially announced the new build’s release, nor is there any clarity on when it will arrive to Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL devices via an OTA update. But the tech giant has already published Factory and OTA images on its Android Developers site for those users who want the fix installed immediately. Apart from fixing the LTE connectivity issues, there’s nothing else that this build brings. Therefore, if your Pixel and Pixel XL devices are running smoothly and not facing any connectivity hiccups, we’d recommend you to wait for an OTA update.

Google has also updated its Camera app to bring a revamped UI and a host of camera improvements for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P devices. A toggle switch for grid lines, and a button for photo modes have been added on the top right edge alongside HDR and flash buttons. The update also loads the app faster, and switches between photo and video modes more quickly. Nexus 6, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P users also get a new Auto-HDR+ mode for better quality shots in low-light areas.

 
[“source-ndtv”]