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Hello everyone! Good day! 

Let us dive into some news from past week 

COP28 – Members Reach Landmark Agreement To Fight Climate Change 

One of the many objectives of COP is to take actions to restrict global warming by up to 1.5 degree Celsius while scientists have already warned that the world is moving towards a 2.7-degree Celsius warming by 2100. But, the irony of the climate summit started with this time’s host Dubai, UAE and the president being Sultan Al Jaber, head of UAE’s state-owned oil company. 

The initial draft agreement of COP28 was criticized by delegates and climate leaders equally for the weak language and lack of any mention of fossil fuels. After multiple deliberations, the 200 delegate countries have finally agreed on the need to ‘transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems.’  The draft advises countries to do it in a ‘just, equitable and orderly manner’ and richer countries are expected to move away from coal, oil and gas. The US, EU and other climate vulnerable nations are still not happy with the outcome as the draft enforces neither any responsibility nor a timeline for countries to make this transition. The agreement also mentions the global target to triple renewable energy production and improve energy efficiency by 2030. 

US Fed Signals Rate Cut in 2024, Markets Rally 

The Federal Open Market Committee left the benchmark rates in the range of 5.25% - 5.5% but signaled up to 75 bps rate cuts in the year 2024. The move comes after inflation falling to comfortable levels, even though it continues to remain above the Fed’s target of 2%. 

Wall Street and Asian markets gave run ups following Fed decision as stock investments have now become more attractive for investors over bonds. Following the Fed announcement, Indian stock markets reached all-time highs and the top gainers were IT companies, whose major revenue comes from the US. Last week, RBI had maintained the policy rate unchanged, however the retail inflation buoyed by food prices remains a concern. 

Revocation of Article 370; Unanimous Verdict by Supreme Court Bench 

A five-member constitution bench unanimously upheld the Central Govt’s decision of revocation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir.  Post the revocation, in 2019 J&K was divided into two Union Territories. The highest court cited that the Article was only temporary provision to ease the accession of the former princely state to the Union. After four years, this abrogation has brought peace and development. The top court has directed the arrangement of an election by September 30 next year. With a growing number of domestic and international visitors, tourism in J&K is becoming one of the country's top destinations. Pakistan doesn't seem to approve of it, as on Monday, they stated that the Supreme Court's abrogation of Article 370 has "no legal value." 

More news from the week ...

  • Netflix Releases First-Ever Viewing Report: Netflix for the first time has released a report titled ‘What We Watched’ set to be issued every six months. The spreadsheet contains data of Netflix users for 50, 000 hours across 18,000 titles. It covers viewing patterns exclusively from January to June 2023. 

  • Startup Winter; Yet AI Startups Shine: According to a report by Tracxn, Indian startup funding reduced by 72% in 2023 compared to 2022. The higher interest rates have made capital costly and hence the funding dearth. However, funding to AI startups in US has more than doubled this year from the previous year.   

  • Gemini Pro and Grok: Google launches Gemini Pro for developers and enterprises to boost its cloud offerings. For premium+X members, Elon Musk’s xAI chatbot Grok AI is now available in India and another 46 countries. 

  • An uptick in retail inflation: In November: India's annual retail inflation rose to 5.55%, up from October's four-month low of 4.87%, mainly due to a notable increase in food prices. Despite the uptick, inflation remains within the RBI's range. 

The Latest Issue of Sovereign Gold Bond: 2023-24 Series III is Here! 

Source: Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash 

RBI, on behalf of Govt of India will issue a tranche of SGB in December. The subscription is open from Dec 18th – 22nd. You can find all the details here

Are you new to Sovereign Gold Bonds? Check out this Instagram reel which simplifies SGB. 

Visual of the week

Chenab Bridge; Source:  

Chenab Bridge in J&K, built at a height of 359 m above Chenab River is the world’s tallest railway bridge. The bridge is present between the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL), which is expected to complete early next year. Recently, the Railway Board has allotted J&K’s very first Vande Bharat train, which would run on the route. USBRL covers a span of 272 km, comprises 38 tunnels, with the longest tunnel measuring 12.75 km, marking the nation's lengthiest transportation tunnel. Additionally, the project includes 927 bridges including Chenab bridge. 

Test you knowledge !

Did you know how much it costs to manufacture a Vande Bharat train? 

[A]   90 Cr

[B]   120 Cr

[C]   150 Cr

[D]   180 Cr

The bid to manufacture 100 Vande Bharat trains with sleeper facility was won by French rail company Alstom. The company won the tender by bidding at Rs 150.9 Cr per train. This will be costliest Vande Bharat trains as the train’s body would be made out of aluminium as compared to stainless steel. Aluminium body makes the train lighter, and these can clock up to 200 kmph. 

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