Econ­omy feels the squeeze as con­sumers tighten belts BMC polls ahead: Fad­navis, Ud­dhav put up united front

NOVEM­BER PAIN Data show sharp fall in pur­chases; FMCG, re­tail, real es­tate, au­to­mo­bile sec­tors badly hit

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com A closed ATM kiosk at Jo­gesh­wari on Thurs­day. Tanushree Venka­tra­man tanushree.venka­tra­man@hin­dus­tan­times.com

In the first real ev­i­dence of the im­pact of de­mon­eti­sa­tion on the econ­omy, data com­ing in showed a sharp drop in con­sumer pur­chases in Novem­ber, with mo­bile phones, FMCG, home ap­pli­ances, real es­tate, and cars bear­ing the brunt.

There is hope of a re­cov­ery once the cash crunch ebbs, but, for now, the news is grim. Sales of fast-mov­ing con­sumer goods (FMCGs) — soaps and cos­met­ics — were down 30% in Novem­ber over the same pe­riod last year. A drop in car sales — rang­ing 15% to 40% — has been re­ported by deal­ers. Small towns, where mo­bile phone business was boom­ing, have seen a 70% drop while 35% fewer phones were sold in cities.

Real es­tate re­ported a 50% fall in en­quiries, 30% in re­sale prices, and 20% in searches on­line. Air tick­ets sold 15% less in Novem­ber, forc­ing car­ri­ers to cut av­er­age fares on the 11 busiest routes by 20% to 30%.

E-com­merce sees a drop in post­fes­ti­val sea­son but Novem­ber’s fall – 25% to 30% — over Oc­to­ber was un­usu­ally sharp. “Our or­ders dropped about 25%, pri­mar­ily be­cause of cash-on-de­liv­ery items, which has been 70% of all or­ders,” said TA Kr­ish­nan, CEO of Ecom Ex­press, which moves pack­ages.

After months of con­stant bick­er­ing, chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis from the BJP and Shiv Sena chief Ud­dhav Thack­eray showed great ca­ma­raderie at a civic event in Bhandup, fu­elling spec­u­la­tion that the two war­ring al­lies are con­sid­er­ing a tie-up for the cru­cial Mum­bai civic polls.

While there were doubts over the party’s stand, Fad­navis and Thack­eray put up a pic­ture of unity as they in­au­gu­rated the Yuva Sena chief Aa­ditya Thack­eray (sec­ond from left), Shiv Sena pres­i­dent Ud­dhav Thack­eray (cen­tre) and CM Deven­dra Fad­navis in­au­gu­rate a water tun­nel at Bhandup.

Rs2,887-crore tun­nel run­ning be­tween Gun­davali in Thane and Bhandup water com­plex.

Thack­eray re­quested Fad­navis to fast-track the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion’s (BMC)

projects, which have been stuck at the state-gov­ern­ment- or cen­tral­go­v­ern­ment-level, and Fad­navis promptly agreed for a re­view meet­ing.

PRATHAM GOKHALE/HT

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