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a) Rupee rout: on the Indian currency’s slide

India’s macroeconomic threats lie exposed as it grapples with the rupee’s slide. The currency sunk to a closing low of 68.07 against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, its lowest level in 16 months, before recovering slightly the next day. The rupee, already one of the worst performing Asian currencies, has now weakened 6.2% in 2018. The rise in crude oil prices through this year, amidst rising geopolitical tensions in West Asia and dwindling global supply, have obviously hurt the rupee and the trade balance. Meanwhile, despite a depreciating currency, India’s merchandise exports are stumbling instead of gaining from the opportunity. April clocked a sharp decline in exports from employment-intensive sectors such as readymade garments and gems and jewellery, according to official data. The trade deficit has consequently widened to $13.7 billion in April, compared to $13.25 billion in the same month in 2017. The value of oil and petroleum product imports increased by 41.5% from last year to hit $10.4 billion. U.S. sanctions following Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and a June 22 meeting of OPEC should drive oil price trends hereon. Oil prices apart, the tightening of U.S. monetary policy has almost always spelled trouble for emerging market economies hooked to Western capital inflows. This time it is no different; capital outflows are scuppering the currencies of many emerging market economies. As the U.S. Federal Reserve has come to adopt a more hawkish stance, investors in search of higher risk-adjusted yields have started to pull money out of emerging markets. Yields on emerging market bonds have risen as investors sold them off aggressively. The yield on the 10-year bond issued by the Indian government has risen to more than 7.8%, from 7.1% in early April. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) pulled out 15,500 crore from Indias capital markets in April, which is the highest monthly outflow since December 2016. Not surprisingly, about two-thirds of the outflow was attributed to the bond market. The current headwinds from the reversal of capital flows were only to be expected. India is better placed than countries such as Argentina or Turkey. But that’s no reason to be complacent as external account risks can get out of hand very quickly. A hike in the RBI’s benchmark interest rates could stem the capital exodus, but with core inflation picking up and the government keen on a rate cut as a growth catalyst, the RBI has an unenviable dilemma on its hands. Policymakers, blessed with relatively benign external economic conditions after the taper tantrum of 2013, will have to find means to spur exports — whether by facilitating swifter GST refunds or taking on tariff and non-tariff barriers from the developed world. Efforts to diversify India’s energy basket also need greater stress.

b) Death in Gaza

The violence in Gaza that preceded the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem on Monday has once again reminded the world of the dangerous consequences of President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv to the disputed city. When Mr. Trump first announced the shift, making good a campaign promise, many had warned it would trigger violence in the Palestinian Territories besides complicating any peace processes. On Monday morning, across Gaza, a tiny Mediterranean strip that has been suffocating blockaded by Israel and Egypt for years, loudspeakers urged Palestinians to rush to the border with Israel and protest. On the border, Israeli soldiers fired into the crowd, killing at least 60 people; it was the worst day of violence since Israel attacked Gaza in 2014. The embassy shift and the disproportionate response at the Gaza border, crucially, came on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba, the day to mark the forced eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in 1948. Gaza has been burning for the past few weeks. Dozens of protesters had already been killed before Monday’s incidents. The callous way in which Israel dealt with the protests shows the utter disregard Tel Aviv and the international community have for Palestinian lives. Shortly after the Gaza violence, at the embassy opening ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t show any remorse over the death of Palestinians. Instead he called it a glorious day, while Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, said that “those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution”, referring to the protesters. The real problem is that there is no meaningful effort to restart the peace process, which is the only way forward to end violence and address the political and humanitarian concerns of the occupied territories. Mr. Trump had promised to make his own peace plan, but his decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem, which most countries do not recognise as Israel’s capital, has only worsened the crisis. Jerusalem is seen as part of a final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Though the whole city is now under Israeli control, the Palestinians lay claim to East Jerusalem, including the Old City, as their capital. They are now trapped in this cycle of violence. Despite repeated promises from the outside world, they are caught in the status quo — the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the blockade of Gaza. With Mr. Trump recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinians fear that facts on the ground are being manipulated further to their disadvantage. The international community must not remain silent; for starters, there must be an inquiry into the carnage at the Gaza border.


1) Grapples

Meaning: Struggle to deal with or overcome (a difficulty or challenge).

Example: “other towns are still grappling with the problem”

Synonyms: Tackle, Confront

Antonyms: Avoid

2) Sunk

Meaning: Gradually decrease or decline in value, amount, quality, or intensity.

Example: “their output sank to a third of the pre-war figure”

Synonyms: Fall, Drop

Antonyms: Rise

3) Dwindling

Meaning: Diminish gradually in size, amount, or strength.

Example: “traffic has dwindled to a trickle”

Synonyms: Diminish, Decrease

Antonyms: Increase, Flourish

4) Depreciating

Meaning: Diminish in value over a period of time.

Example: “the latest cars will depreciate heavily in the first year”

Synonyms: Devalue, Cheapen

Antonyms: Appreciate

5) Stumbling

Meaning: Trip or momentarily lose one’s balance; almost fall.

Example: “her foot caught in the rug and she stumbled”

Synonyms: Fall, Loss balance

6) Intensive

Meaning: Concentrated on a single subject or into a short time; very thorough or vigorous.

Example: “she undertook an intensive Arabic course”

Synonyms: Thorough, Rigorous

Antonyms: Superficial, Partial

7) Tightening

Meaning: Make or become tight or tighter.

Example: “he tightened up the clips”

Synonyms: Secure, Strengthen

Antonyms: Loosen, Slacken

8) Spelled trouble

Meaning: To suggest that there may be problems in the future:

Example: The latest opinion polls spell trouble for the Republicans.

Synonyms: Causing difficulties

9) Hooked

Meaning: Attach or fasten with a hook or hooks.

Example: “the truck had a red lamp hooked to its tailgate”

Synonyms: Fasten, Secure

Antonyms: Unhitch

10) Scuppering

Meaning: Prevent from working or succeeding; thwart.

Example: “plans for a bypass were scuppered by a public inquiry”

Synonyms: Wreck, Destroy

Antonyms: Further, Promote

11) Hawkish

Meaning: Advocating an aggressive or warlike policy, especially in foreign affairs.

Example: “the administration’s hawkish stance”

12) Aggressively

Meaning: In a determined and forceful way.

Example: “foreign-owned banks are aggressively marketing credit cards”

13) Pulled out

Meaning: To stop being involved in an activity:

Example: Lack of funding leaves us with no choice but to pull out.

14) Headwinds

Meaning: A wind blowing in the opposite direction to the one you are moving in

Example: The runners had to battle against a stiff/strong headwind.

15) Complacent

Meaning: Showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.

Example: “you can’t afford to be complacent about security”

Synonyms: Smug, Satisfied

Antonyms: Dissatisfied, Humble

16) Stem

Meaning: Originate in or be caused by.

Example: “many of the universities’ problems stem from rapid expansion”

17) Exodus

Meaning: A mass departure of people.

Example: “the annual exodus of sun-seeking Canadians to Florida”

Synonyms: Withdrawal, Evacuation

Antonyms: Arrival

18) Picking up

Meaning: To increase or improve.

Example: The truck picked up speed slowly.

19) Catalyst

Meaning: a person or thing that precipitates an event.

Example: “the prime minister’s speech acted as a catalyst for debate”

20) Unenviable

Meaning: Difficult, undesirable, or unpleasant.

Example: “an unenviable reputation for drunkenness”

Synonyms: Disagreeable, Unpleasant

Antonyms: Enviable, Desirable

21) Dilemma

Meaning: A difficult situation or problem.

Example: “the insoluble dilemma of adolescence”

Synonyms: Difficulty, Quandary

22) Benign

Meaning: Gentle and kind.

Example: “his benign but firm manner”

Synonyms: Kind, Friendly

Antonyms: Unfriendly, Hostile

23) Taper tantrum

Meaning: Taper tantrum is the term used for the 2013 surge in U.S. Treasury yields, which resulted from the Federal Reserve’s use of tapering to gradually reduce the amount of money it was feeding into the economy.

24) Spur

Meaning: Promote the development of; stimulate.

Example: “governments cut interest rates to spur demand”

Synonyms: Stimulate, Induce

25) Diversify

Meaning: (of a company) enlarge or vary its range of products or field of operation.

Example: “the company expanded rapidly and diversified into computers”

Synonyms: Expand, Change

26) Embassy

Meaning: The official residence or offices of an ambassador.

Example: “the Chilean embassy in Moscow”

Synonyms: Consulate, Legation

27) Consequences

Meaning: A result or effect, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.

Example: “abrupt withdrawal of drug treatment can have serious consequences”

Synonyms: Result, Outcome

Antonyms: Cause

28) Disputed

Meaning: An argument or disagreement, especially an official one between, for example, workers and employers or two countries with a common border.

Example: The unions are in dispute with management over pay.

Synonyms: Disagreement

29) Suffocating

Meaning: Something that is suffocating makes you feel uncomfortably hot or unable to breathe. feel or cause to feel trapped and oppressed.

Example: “I felt suffocated by London”; I’ve got to open the window – it’s suffocating in here!

30) Eve

Meaning: The day or period of time immediately before an event or occasion.

Example: “on the eve of her departure he gave her a little parcel”

Synonyms: Period before, Day before

Antonyms: Day after

31) Eviction

Meaning: The action of expelling someone from a property; expulsion.

Example: “the forced eviction of residents”

Synonyms: Expulsion, Ejection

Antonyms: Admission

32) Callous

Meaning: Showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others.

Example: “his callous comments about the murder made me shiver”

Synonyms: Uncaring, Insensitive

Antonyms: Kind, Compassionate

33) Dealt

Meaning: Cope with or control (a difficult person or situation).

Example: “you’ll have to find a way of dealing with those feelings”

Synonyms: Control, Manage

34) Remorse

Meaning: Deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed.

Example: “they were filled with remorse and shame”

Synonyms: Contrition, Repentance

Antonyms: Indifference

35) Glorious

Meaning: Having a striking beauty or splendour.

Example: “a glorious autumn day”

Synonyms: Wonderful, Marvelous

Antonyms: Horrid, Miserable

36) Provoking

Meaning: Causing annoyance; irritating.

Example: “there is evidence of provoking conduct and loss of self-control”

37) Trapped

Meaning: If someone or something is trapped, that person or thing is unable to move or escape from a place or situation.

Example: The two men died when they were trapped in a burning building.

38) Status quo

Meaning: the existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues.

Example: “they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo”

39) Manipulated

Meaning: Handle or control (a tool, mechanism, information, etc.) in a skilful manner.

Example: “he manipulated the dials of the set”

Synonyms: Operate, Handle

40) Carnage

Meaning: The killing of a large number of people.

Example: “the bombing was timed to cause as much carnage as possible”

Synonyms: Slaughter, Massacre

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