Tag Archives: Deficit

Poly….what? Politics!

It is almost a week ago, yet the news is still rustling through the Middle Eastern meadows. The news is partially all over it. Yet, it is the Business Insider who gave us ‘a plot to shore up the country’s depleted coffers’ (at http://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-corruption-crackdown-looks-like-a-plot-to-plug-deficit-2017-12), Ambrose Carey makes an interesting point here. The beginning quote “Now a more probable motive for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s unprecedented detention of members of the country’s rich elite is emerging. Reports suggest that detainees are signing away cash and assets to secure their freedom in what looks like an unorthodox bid to plug the kingdom’s gaping budget deficit” could be a given truth. When we consider the Guardian last week with ‘Saudi prince Miteb bin Abdullah pays $1bn in corruption settlement‘, some of us thought that it was interesting not just that the counts of corruption had already been investigated, the idea that there was a ‘get out of jail card‘ for a mere $1,000,000,000 is equally stunning, that I beside the fact that the sum has been agreed upon and that the head of the Saudi National Guard is apparently still smiling after having paid the amount. In light of one of the accusations “awarding contracts to his own firms, including a $10bn deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear worth billions of Saudi riyals” we could see that the price is interestingly light. So does the Business insider have a case?

Well, when we consider how the oil prices have slumped from the almighty $135 to $58 we all have to wonder how the impact on the long term has been. pumping oil might be like printing money at your own convenience, but once the spending spree and the high rises are there, the long term issue is that oil is at 42% of what was and upping production by 193% is just not realistic in the long term. Yet there is another worry. the quote “a huge budget deficit, which stood at $79 billion in 2016. The government has had to use foreign reserves to help cover the revenue shortfall, with the former shrinking by about a third over the last three years. The recession has forced MbS to rein back public spending, alarming cosseted Saudis long accustomed to cradle-to-grave subsidies” does not give it. Even as that is merely the deficit, that and the selling of domestic debt in July gives rise to thoughts, yet we need to wonder how inflated this issue is, as it seems to be presented. Lets not forget that it is less than 10% of the Greek debt and unlike Greece, Saudi Arabia is still getting income from the oil fields. So the need to panic should not be there. And lets face it, who is actually panicking?

Even as the Business Insider is making a nice case. I fear I cannot agree on some of the ‘findings‘ and ‘assumed speculations‘ that they offer. With “So, in all likelihood, MbS will struggle to generate the money he needs. Worse still for him, his actions could have deleterious consequences for the economy. While the acquisition of assets and cash is likely to play well with ordinary Saudis weary of corruption amongst the royals and the business elite, it may unnerve already jittery foreign investors whose engagement is critical to the Crown Prince’s economic plans. Though allies have sought to portray the detentions as an anti-graft campaign aimed at cleaning up the corporate landscape, its apparently arbitrary nature and disregard for property rights and due process will worry the investment community“. You see, it might be correct to some extent, but knowing the greed that some have for mere millions, roughly 99.32554% of that population will not run away from optional billions, that is a given you can take to the bank. From my own point of view, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman can still have it all, the timeline might slip a little, but there are clear signs that there are options to grow opportunity within Saudi Arabia. They still have options to rival Al Jazeera if certain censoring is changed, By investing into tertiary degrees for Saudi’s its dependency for foreign workers will go down, which would be a massive boost for Saudi Arabia and as Saudi Arabia grows its entertainment network it can start opening doors on setting a 5G environment which will have them being amongst those leading the charge in the next mobile evolution which will enable a lot more industry all over the Middle East. In this aging day, pharmaceutical options seem to be the next step. There is no way it can compete with India, but in partnership with India they will have options to grow this industry internally. It seems like that need is too small for Saudi Arabia, yet with 28 million people it could profit by having an industry that is mainly for export within the Middle East that is comprised of 410 million people. That is still a large market that cannot be ignored and as the quality is proven and the export grows, Saudi Arabia could see a drastically reduced need for oil soon thereafter. There are more technology options for Saudi Arabia to enjoy, but the clear path of larger growth has been proven on several counts in several nations to be within the mobile and pharmaceutical industry and that could be the growing start for an entire next generation, because these two fields will have an almost exponential need for Patent lawyers, which means that the legal field will be pushed into revolutionary growth soon after that. Mind you, not merely a local growth, the IP field would enable global growth for Saudi Arabia as well and as this field is set in stone (or marble) it will attract even more foreign investors and opportunity seekers. All issues clearly set in this field and in this the Business Insider is still on the horse that states “The Crown Prince has staked his reputation on the success of an ambitious economic transformation plan, Vision 2030, to wean the country off its dependence on oil, but he needs to fund planned reforms and projects. He was banking on a part-floatation of the national oil company Aramco, which appears to have been postponed for at least a year. The ruthless purge and financial strong-arming could now deter the very western investors and regulators needed to move forward with the sell-off“, yet there is no given that other fields need to stop getting a foothold and as these two (or three) elements are grown within Saudi Arabia, other players will find options to get their own kind of fuzzy drink labelled ‘profit’ in their hands and as such they will still be fighting for a seat at this table called vision 2030. Even as the venue per plate is much higher than expected, the long terms gains are beyond what they are able to make now. With US deficits on the rise, the EU currently has 6 nations that are at risk of breaking the deficit rule (France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Portugal and Slovenia), so there will be consequences there too, which would imply diminished profit, so those players are looking for seats at tables with loads of gain and that is where Saudi Arabia is one of the few that would accommodate their needs. So as such, Saudi Arabia has options if they have optional controls for greedy mobs. And even as there will be good news stories coming from Strasbourg, there will be eyes on the EU as it will likely dial down the consequences for these six nations. In addition with the Mario Draghi stimulus game where we will see a likely extension into 2018 yet at a lessened 30 billion a month implies that Europe will be diving into close to half a trillion of additional debt, with the likely result that there will be nothing to show for it, no actual economic growth, so in all this debt driven society, Saudi Arabia could have a larger windfall if it plays its cards right. Once certain plays are in place, Saudi Arabia would be more and more primed for export and exporting opportunities to places that ignored and neglected its own infrastructure. In this the US would have to cut costs and corners to a level never seen before as it optionally faces the ridicule for being at best at par and more likely to stray behind Saudi Arabia in the 5G mobile networking, a field they were once the only one dominating in. What a massive set back that will be for the old USA. In this Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could have the forefront by preferring the Polytechnic sciences over Politics. In his role he cannot avoid politics, but by focussing on Science and technology he has the option to propel Saudi Arabia beyond what others thought possible. So even as it has its issues with deficits and treasury needs, can we rely on the Business Insider that it is so much worse than we expect? I for one am not convinced that this is the case. I might be wrong, but the fact that the larger players are still willing to sell their first born for a seat at that table makes me think that there are a lot more opportunities for investors than many perceive. the question becomes does the House of Saud feel safe letting these opportunities go beyond the national borders to other players? It is always a rocky road to travel. In the end I do believe that it is more about the speed of growth and less about who owns the growth. that should keep plenty of investors tallying their optional profits for some time to come.

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The other reason

Well, several of my friends are having their birthday tomorrow, so as a good friend I will call them sing happy birthday and as they ask in confusion why I was singing, I will remind them that it is world animal day tomorrow, because that’s how I roll. Today is not about the issues perse, but about the way some people go about getting to it. They claim to be all uppity up on morals, yet in a political paintball fight, there is no art, there are just people covered in paint on both sides of the political isle and as the press is steaming their systems on emotions, to maximise the circulation of whatever they are proclaiming. The bulk of the people go along with the rollercoaster ride and ignore the issues that play.

[1] To Tax or not to

In the first we get ‘the biggest crisis yet: Trump campaign reels after tax documents published‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/02/donald-trump-income-tax-returns-published). In this most will see “The campaign offered no specifics about how much Trump may have paid in these taxes, or when“, yet the issue that is in play in all this is “the anonymously leaked tax returns reveal how Trump used aggressive accounting tactics and the failure of several businesses to claim a loss of $916m in his 1995 personal filing“. This gives clear evidence that the documents as published were illegally obtained as well as the quote from another article “Bernie Sanders, once Hillary Clinton’s opponent for the Democratic nomination and now a supporter of her campaign, said the report was evidence of “a corrupt political system in this country”“, the second article was linked to in the first article and was released only a few hours earlier. Yet, in what manner was, as Bernie Sanders stated, a corrupt political system? If the Tax office was the source, than his own party needs to be put under scrutiny. If his statement refers to the tax loops, again, his own party and 2 administrations before this In those times both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did not really make any improvements to the taxation system and the current president is even worse, for the mere reason that he had to deal with a massively hit economy, so overhauling taxation and a 19.5 trillion dollar debt would have been a first instance. The total debt is about to surpass the WW2 debt the US was in, no political party has ever been so bad for a nation and there is no way that improvements are around the corner any day soon. The fact on how these documents were obtained remain a question, even though nobody wants to actually find out where the leak was and whether it was a government worker, is that not interesting too?

So as everyone seems to be condemning Donald Trump for not paying taxes, everyone seems to forget that he did nothing illegal (as far as we can tell at present). The US Tax codes allowed him to do these things, so you only have yourself to blame. If the people had united for a better tax system, it might have happened if the electoral system had made it very clear who can truly redo the tax system, because it will take years to do and neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump are running towards that race any day soon.

[2] Last Exit to Brexit

When we think of the March Hare, we tend to think of Alice in Wonderland, so one quote can be used when we add one little word. The quote is “The March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is Theresa May it won’t be raving mad – at least not so mad as it was in March“, I reckon you guessed it, I inserted the word ‘Theresa‘, isn’t it interesting how profoundly correct one sentence was in a book, published in 1865. On that same year, the NY Stock Exchange is opened near Wall Street. You see, this all tracks to two events. The first is ‘What will happen now timescale for article 50 has been revealed?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/02/article-50-timescale-theresa-may-brexit). Before I give the quote, there is something you need to realise. I stated it almost 4 years ago. In the time when the press was giving us quotes on how Greece could be taken out of the Euro and even out of the EU, all the time people ignored my words, going for those high hearted words on how it was all going to be ok. How deceived the readers were on options for Greece that never even existed. Now we get the current quote “As the man who drafted it has said, the EU’s divorce clause was never meant to be triggered: article 50 was inserted into the Lisbon treaty purely to silence British complaints that there was no official way out of the union“, so basically, the words of self-govern has been a lie too! So how to see this Brexit? A hard one or a soft one? It seems that we are discussing eggs and how they are boiled. So as we are getting close to that date, we see too many voices all making claims on how this single market is the solution. For who? The people, or big business, the same people who make the claims they make and pay no taxation for it, but they still want all their surpluses and bonuses. The next quote is “As Steve Peers, professor of EU law at the University of Essex, points out, article 50 goes on to define three distinct stages of that withdrawal process. First, the council, in the form of its chief Brexit negotiator, Didier Seeuws, and the member states it represents – without the UK – must agree the broad guidelines for negotiations.“, the rest points out a few more things, important to know is that the elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands will have additional consequences. France will see a possible triggering of Frexit. It is a certainty is Marine Le Pen makes it and it is still an option when the others get elected. Only if President Hollande gets re-elected is the danger of Frexit nearly nullified, but the French population is getting more and more on the Frexit pile. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan is not in favour, like David Cameron he is about changes to the EU, another one that is likely to fail, yet in the current predicament, the EU will need to choose very carefully as nations all over Europe have had enough. The nations more loudly opposing are those not contributing and seeing their Gravy train taking a new course, one that they are not profiting from. Now, I am not trying to be harsh on them, for that would not be correct in several ways. Yet the entire social situation where 6 nations are paying the bulk for a lot more nations is the issue that hits many nations and after the economic meltdown these places faced with the knowledge that many nations are facing internal struggles makes matters worse for the EU. In the need to be an outdated vision of a social impossibility, they are confronted with nations that see no future in these failings. Matters for Germany will be even worse if the Deutsche Bank melts down too. It is not really likely or realistic, but in all this it is still a consideration to make. The next part we see in Reuters (art http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-amato-idUSKCN1012Q8), the headline ‘Father of EU divorce clause demands tough stance on British exit‘. When I read ““When it comes to the economy they have to lose,” said Giuliano Amato, explaining that only then might the British reconsider abandoning the world’s largest single market“, it seems clear to me that Giuliano Amato can’t have been thinking clearly (or he was grossly misquoted). You see as a professor of Law at the University of Rome La Sapienza he should have learned the following:

  1. The Harm Principle states that laws exist in part to protect people from violence and abuse.
    Yet in this, I wonder if the law fell short when it regards the need of protection from economic exploitation through big business.
  2. The Morality Principle states that another reason for laws is to advocate a sense of morality.
    I think that as we see the non-prosecution on Wall Street and the tax loops and non-taxability that this side of the law has been receiving epic fail marks for some time now.
  3. The Donation Principle explains the importance of the government using laws to grant certain services and commodities to society and the individuals within it.
    There is a need for this, I will not oppose this, yet whilst governments are too deep in debt to resolve their economy, whilst the laws they create do not hold corporations to account and whilst tax write-offs have not been properly dealt with for well over a decade, the laws again falls short.

In addition, the EU laws have been a farce for some time now and as such we need to make larger changes, the UK decided to abdicate from the EU alliance. In all this the EU still overspends by far too much. First there was the Draghi approach to stimulus through a trillion that has nothing concrete to show for it, now there is the Juncker plan, which initially launched in 2014, with a commitment of 630 billion, which has to show that up to now, projects worth 116 billion euros have been approved, yet what is there to show for it and whom have seen the positive results? When we see the quote in ‘thecorner.eu‘, with the mention “These correspond to Grifols (which specialises in the pharmaceutical and hospital sectors); Redexis Gas (natural gas distribution) and to two credit lines from ICO, one of which is for an infrastructure investment fund“, so a Spanish player has a pharmaceutical, natural gas distribution and two credit lines. The quote “The Redexis Gas project requires an investment of 360 million euros and the EIB has committed to financing 160 million. The question which many experts ask is the following: Did Grifols and Redexis Gas need a ‘Juncker Plan’ to finance projects with these kind of characteristics? The overwhelming reply is no“, so we get to support high end solutions that have absolutely no impact of any serious nature on the Spanish population. Who on earth is Juncker catering to? More important, it is my personal impression that this 630 billion is set aside for certain large players, whilst the economy can only truly be started by the smaller players. Now, this could be an absolutely incorrect on my side, but when we see pharmaceuticals with their multi trillion options left right and centre. Is Juncker truly catering to the population of the EU, or just to himself and a chosen few friends? It seems unfair to state it that way, but cannot find another way to make my statement.

Two events, all overly published, yet in one case we see the law failing because it could not restrict, the other case shows a law that tried to work like a Venus flytrap and not let anyone out. The near perfect corporate trap for exploitation. The fact that these issues haven’t seen proper illumination is even more upsetting. We see parts, yet unless we look into the different articles, we are basically being kept in the dark to some degree. It is the degree that matters here. To the majority it needs to be clear that tax overhaul and tax legislation is an essential need in several nations, it is needed with the nations considering the European party and those who want to keep on dancing. In reality only France is the real issue at present, the Netherlands has support that is slightly below 25%, France was very high, but there is no latest polling data on this, so it is possible that it might be averted. In that regard Germany is now the big issue. If the Deutsche Bank collapses (no idea on that chance), it has every likelihood that people will flock towards a no EEC Germany, yet the amount of shifting can at present not be predicted to a decent amount. The impact of the first part is that the next President needs to take a hard look at corporate exploitation. There is no expectation that either side picks up that responsibility, but if it is not done, the debt all over the world will be a lot higher than any gold reserve on this world is able to deal with. In the second, we see a Europe that has no comprehension of what is to come, which makes sense to me, because this has never happened before. Yet the amount of non-preparedness we see, even though Brexit was clearly in the air for a year shows the sentiment that Giuliano Amato voiced a view that the members of the EU commissions seem to have ‘You can check in, but you can never check out!‘, yet this is not a Hotel in California, this is as I stated a Venus Flytrap where the fat cats walk by, the rest is just food for thought at best.

In the end, it is a speculation (mine) that the world, at present, will be better off with the Democrats winning, but not by a large margin, not this time. What is also food for thought, is that this would be the first time, where a man (and former president) gets to be the first lady. They would be the only family having been placed in both White House roles. Which is at present a better reason than any reason the political speakers are giving us, because in 3 administrations, they did nothing more than fumble the ball and left the American people with an outstanding invoice approaching 20 trillion.

 

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