5th January 2022
Good Morning! 

If you are around our age you probably remember the whole Blackberry and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) days right before Apple/Android smartphones took over.
Sadly yesterday marked the end of the Blackberry smartphone (if you can call their phones that).
Blackberry informed users on December 22nd that Jan 4th would be the last day their smartphones would work reliably.
Ironically, the company that kickstarted BB's downfall, Apple, just crossed the $3 Trillion market cap mark. It's almost like Apple is gloating on their last day, isn't it?



+ 0.27%



+ 0.17%



+ 0.40%



+ 0.41%



+ 5.6 bps



+ 1.09%

*As of market close

  • Markets: Stocks extended gains to a 3rd straight day yesterday as interest in financial, oil & gas and IT shares pushed the headline indices higher. However, selling pressure in healthcare and metal stocks put a limit to the upside.


Toothpaste Wars!

Distributors of India's largest FMCG company have agreed to put a stop to the planned boycott of the giant in Maharashtra, and the stock was up almost 2% yesterday.

This decision was made after top company executives met a 6-member committee representing the interests of the distributors. The Maharashtra lobby had earlier said it will stop supplying HUL’s Kissan range of products from January the 1st.

The reason for the proposed strike was that distributors felt they were being unfairly treated as they were getting lower margins on HUL products compared to new business-to-business (B2B) and emerging wholesaler and retailer platforms such as Reliance JioMart, Metro Cash & Carry and Udaan.

Last month the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF) had sent letters to 24 FMCG companies, including HUL, P&G, Dabur, Marico and Nestle, asking for the playing field to be levelled.

While HUL execs have managed to talk their way out of the boycott for now, distributors seem particularly unhappy with Colgate-Palmolive, and some have said they will stop selling certain Colgate toothpaste brands and the movement against the company is likely to intensify. 


Sarkari Issues And Fundings
Money gun

Starlink India ngmi (for now)

In November we covered how Elon Musk's other startup SpaceX's Starlink had formed a subsidiary here and was applying for licenses.

No, they weren't going to be launching rockets from here - we said Starlink, not SpaceX!

What is Starlink?

You've probably heard of existing satellites and how they are used for navigation (Google Maps etc) and communication.
These are quite big and generally operate from a medium earth orbit of 2,000 km to 35,000 km. (For comparison, planes generally fly at ~12 km).
Now in true Elon style, Starlink plans on doing something completely opposite. They plan on using small satellites in the low Earth orbit of 2,000 km to provide internet access at reasonably low latency. Latency is the time it takes for data to be transferred between its original source and its destination, measured in milliseconds.

What's Happening Now?

Starlink had started taking pre-orders. In fact, they'd even received close to 5k pre-orders.
They've now informed a number of these people who preordered that they will be refunding their money.

Apparently, the govt has asked Starlink to comply with local regulations first and not start taking pre-orders without getting the licenses they need.

Starlink has said that 'sarkari' processes are complex here in India, so they're not sure when they'll be able to start taking orders again, but hopefully it's soon.

PineLabs Raises From SBI

PineLabs which looks all set to IPO this year (sadly in the US) just raised $20 million from SBI. Yes our very own OG 'sarkari' bank.

Not too many deets weren't revealed about the investment, only that the Pine Labs CEO is really happy with the money considering he started his career by selling financial services tech to SBI.

If you can't quite remember, here's some more info on what Pine Labs does:

Pine Labs in general helps businesses accept online and offline digital retail transactions. You've probably already used Pine Labs. Their PoS (Point of Sale) system is quite popular in India. They claim to be in 3,700 cities and towns in India and Malaysia. It is been quite a great past 18 months for Pine Labs. After grinding it out for nearly 20 years, 2020 started with them entering the club.
Ever since then their valuation has tripled to $3.5 billion and now they will be going public soon.


Restart The Pump!
Oil Rig

The cartel of major oil-producing countries OPEC has decided to boost oil production starting next month.

The reason is that they feel the global outlook for oil markets has improved, and the world can handle more supply. As a result, 400k additional barrels of oil will be pumped by the 23 member nations of the OPEC every day, starting February.

The group is sticking to its plan to gradually bring up oil production to pre-pandemic levels. Demand had dried up in early 2020 and prices had even gone negative (remember that?)  and so OPEC had decided to cut production to help stabilize prices.

But with prices rising steadily over the past 2 years or so, the challenge now, as per some experts is whether member nations like Nigeria and Angola are actually able to boost production to meet these new increased targets.

Here's what oil prices have looked like in the past 12 months. A pretty decent run eh?

Oil Price Chart


On a Lighter Note
  • Only in Australia: A monster crab 'attacked' a group of golfers at an Australian resort, and ended up snapping a golf club in 2 pieces!
  • British national Preet Chandi has become the first woman of colour to make a solo trip to the south pole!

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