India COVID crisis; Oil prices slip; EU mulls penalising Apple

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Today on The Leaders' Brief -

  • In another record, India has begun registering over 300,000 cases every day, and last week registered 3,9948 deaths in a single day. Not only is the situation in India appalling, but it is also alarming for a country surrounded by adversaries such as China and Pakistan. According to a report published by renowned Indian media house India Today on April 30th, the Chinese army has reinforced its presence in eastern Ladakh with permanent accommodations and depots even as two Asian Neighbours continue to engage in talks.

  • The COVID situation in India was an important contributor to oil prices falling from six-week highs last Friday. India is the third-largest oil consumer in the world. The other contributor was a weak Japanese crude import. The country saw imports fall by 25% in March from a year earlier to 2.34 million barrels per day. India's fuel demand has declined sharply in the first half of April from a month earlier. Diesel use slipped to 1.38mn b/d during the period, from 1.42mn b/d a month earlier.

  • European Union regulators accused US tech giant Apple last Friday of distorting competition in the music streaming market. The accusation comes as support for Sweden-based music streaming platform Spotify that had, a few years ago, complained to the European Commission alleging that Apple had unfairly restricted rivals to its own music streaming service: Apple Music. Siding with Spotify, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that there were clear signs Apple's App Store rules were affecting music streaming rivals' business development and app developers more widely.

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