ET”;s reporting on key sectors shows that, with a few exceptions, demand this month has been lower or barely higher than in June. Some macro data are small positives. There”;s some good news in a section of the job market. But from retail to real estate, autos to cement, ride-hailing to electricity consumption, the narrative is either a small rise or a decline. Industry says that short of a big demand bump, FY21 outlook doesn”;t look promising. Here”;s the sector-by-sector picture.Macro dataE-way bills till July 26, at 38.8 million, are marginally higher than those till June 26 (34.1 million). Rail freight as on July 27 surpassed the level on July 27, 2019 –;3.13 MT compared with 3.12 MT. And while the trade surplus in June is an indicator of low economic activity, July exports are almost 87.5% of 2019 July, showing some revival.Verdict: Small positiveJobsCompanies”; hiring intent improved from 11% during the lockdown period (March 25-June 7) to 18% for the period till September, according to a TeamLease report. Industries most keen to hire are those doing good business because of the pandemic: healthcare and pharmaceuticals; education; agriculture and agrochemicals; FMCG; IT; and ecommerce. If this persists next month, jobs can recover well, say experts.Verdict: Medium positiveAutomobilesJuly has been better than June, which was better than May. But the June to July improvement isn”;t sharp. Year-on-year sales decline was 25% in June and 15-20% in July. Industry says local lockdowns are affecting sales volumes by 5-7%. Two-wheelers are still the best-sellers, and sales of commercial vehicles are still in the dumps. FY21outlook: Double-digit sales decline compared with FY20.Verdict: Small positiveReal-estateSales have plateaued in July after a pickup in June to 60% of year-ago levels. Industry says demand unlikely to improve till Dussehra/Diwali. And that too depends on a demand stimulus.Verdict: Big negativeRetailJuly saw a marginal rise, 64% year-on-year de-growth compared with 67% in June. In the durables and electronics sub-sector, July saw 85% pre-Covid performance vis-à-vis 75% in June. And in FMCG, June”;s high growth has plateaued in July. Industry says stockpiling is over, and it”;s rural demand that”;s driving FMCG now. FY21outlook depends on demand reviving in urban centres and malls opening up fully.Verdict: Small positiveSmartphonesThe 10 million units sold in July were lower than June”;s 11 million. Industry says August-September sales are likely to be flat. Festive season is critical. But demand exhaustion and consumer caution on upgrades are concerns.Verdict: Small negativeEcommerceJuly saw 90-100% levels of pre-Covid gross merchandise value (GMV), bettering June performance. But average order value is still down compared with pre-Covid. Etailers are betting on the festive season for higher fashion and electronics sales. But some analysts are not sure. However, GMV outlook for FY21is good.Verdict: Big positiveDigital paymentsJuly saw 90% of pre-Covid transaction volumes, up from June levels. Some payment options such as UPI exceeded pre-Covid volumes. But card transactions at PoS terminals are still at 50-55% of pre-Covid levels. And local lockdowns are hurting card payments at small retailers.Verdict: Medium positiveCab-hailingJuly saw 10% of pre-Covid rides, a sharp drop from 20% pre-Covid rides in June. Industry says local lockdowns are hurting. Analysts say at these levels, the business will be tough to sustain over the next few months. Ride-hailers need to look at other business models such as rentals and corporate contracts. Plus, even if demand picks up, drivers who exited the business may not be able to come back quickly.Verdict: Big negativeAviationJuly saw airlines operating 750-800 flights per day, less than 30% of pre-Covid levels. And this month was slightly worse than June as local lockdowns affected flights. Government estimates domestic flight numbers may be around 1,500 flights per day till November-end. Industry says this will be difficult, if Covid continues to spread.Verdict: Big negativeHospitalityJuly occupancy likely to be around June”;s 20% level, industry says. Local lockdowns are an additional negative. Industry says it will take two-and-a-half years to reach 50-70% of pre-Covid levels. Debt is likely to be a big problem.Verdict: Big negativeTechnologyJuly saw further improvement for India”;s IT firms vis-à-vis June, as tech spends by global clients adjusting to new work rules kept rising and IT biggies bagged large deals. Hiring in India and abroad is up, and IT stocks are high-performers. Industry says FY21outlook is good.Verdict: Big positiveFuel & electricityDemand for diesel in the first half of July was 18% lower than in June first half; and petrol demand was down 6%. The industry blames high prices and local lockdowns. Peak power demand in July, at 164 GW, was marginally higher than June”;s 158 GW. Fuel and power companies say unless industry and mobility revive, FY21will be considerably worse than FY20.Verdict: Medium negativeSteel & cementFor steel, capacity utilisation of 80% in July was slightly less than in June. Rating agencies estimate steel demand contraction of 20-21% in FY21. In cement, 70% capacity utilisation in July was better than in June. But demand overall is weak, says industry, since construction activity is not growing fast. Analysts expect cement demand to decline by 10-12% Y-o-Y in FY21.Verdict: Big negative

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