Tag Archives: Financial Times

Those dodgy numbers

We knew it was going to happen, we knew that there would be some term of hardship, everyone knew this. So when the media is lashing all out whilst they know that they are misinforming the people intentionally. We have to wonder why we are not making short work of the media as a whole. So as the Independent gave us (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/eurozone-gdp-growth-rate-uk-second-quarter-2017-eurostat-ons-eu-brexit-a7870811.html), ‘Eurostat’s ‘flash’ estimate for growth in the single currency bloc was 0.6 per cent, double the 0.3 per cent estimate for the UK from the Office for National Statistics last week‘ we have to start asking questions. You see, the numbers are correct, they are all about the correct numbers, yet the clarity that is also behind it, mainly what Forbes and a few others tell us with: “We have the results of the composite PMI for the Eurozone and this is showing that the economic growth in the region is slowing. This really is not quite what is desired, especially as we’ve still got the ECB going all out on quantitative easing” we need to wonder what the game of the Independent is. In addition there is from that same Forbes piece: “in this day and age, people tend not to order the parts to make something until they’ve committed themselves to actually making it. So, what people are ordering to make things from is a really good guide to what is going to be made in the immediate future. We then standardise the measures so that we’ve an index, anything above 50 indicates expansion, below contraction. The one really great joy of PMIs is that they are a very good guide to what is about to happen” and that part of the equation is a slowing economy. Even as we see “A falling Eurozone PMI isn’t a disaster but it’s not exactly what we want either” we see what matters, in the age of 60 billion a month QE, we see in equal measure that the economy is slowing down, so in all this, did the independent give us that, or are they in a ‘lashing mode’ on how the EU is at twice the presented strength? And the term ‘presented strength’ is actually a lot more important than you think.

You see, this is important when we consider Mehreen Khan’s article in the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/edd41c68-76a4-11e7-a3e8-60495fe6ca71). Here we see: “Separate figures from a business survey showed the Eurozone’s manufacturing sector is in the grip of a jobs boom. Factories in France are hiring at their best pace since 2000 and in Spain at a rate not seen since before the start of monetary union in 1998, according to IHS Markit’s purchasing managers’ index“, interesting that both are referring to the PMI is it not? Another article in the Financial Times is giving us ‘Spain unemployment rate has fallen to a 9 year low’, which is great for Spain, yet again, it is merely part of the issue. The fact that it is over 17% is still an issue. Even as there is a drop, it is August, the tourist season is starting to peak this month and that is good for Spain, I am happy for them, I actually am. Yet, the issue is that the drop of 26,000 claims is merely a temporary one, because as tourist season winds down in 8 weeks, these people will get back on the unemployment books, so it is merely a very short term benefit. In addition, it might be better than another time, yet when we consider that the increase started in 2007 doubling the amount in 26 months is another given missing. In addition, there is still the issue not merely of the unemployed, but the internal drain it causes to the coffers (source: Statista). So in my view any benefit Spain gets at present is merely setting the clock forward a mere quarter. Unless an actual economic improvement comes to Spain, we see mere posturing through ‘presented strength‘, not by actual growth or gaining actual strength. It takes three quarters to get a true visible growth to show and the newspapers are keeping silent on that, they hide behind ‘but that is tomorrow and this is now‘, which for the most is correct, yet as they know from various sources that there is already a visible slowdown, the presentation they give is a fake, it is presented fake optimism, some might refer to it as ‘fake news‘.

The fact that the BBC gave a similar view (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40774654) does not make any of them a liar, they spoke the truth with “The rate dropped to 9.1% last month, from a downwardly revised 9.2% in May” the fact that France, Spain, Italy and Greece are dealing with global tourism that brings them money, so they need staff is perfectly valid, yet here too is the missed information that is not shown. These nations depend on Tourism. In France and Italy we might see the year round tourism for Paris and Rome, but those two parts are extremes. What is not an extreme is that all three rely to a part on tourism, a valid dependency. Now we consider two sources, the first (at https://www.imtj.com/news/european-tourism-figures-show-growth-2017/), gives us “Several destinations report a rebound in arrivals from Russia -Iceland (+157%) Cyprus (+122%) and Turkey (+88%)-. Overall, outbound travel from this market is projected to improve in 2017“. Now, we need to remember that this was a June article, part of it was expected growth, which is fair enough. The second source Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/186657/travel-and-tourism-scores-of-countries-from-europe-in-2011/), gives us a chart with Spain, France and Germany showing a rise beyond 5% and training Italy with 4.99%, a decent growth all perfectly valid, so when you realise that, and when you see that the impact was a dropped from 9.2% to 9.1% in unemployment rate, is that still a good thing? The rise of these three nations alone (others nations all have tourism, yet not that high), consider the tourism needs; how come that the drop for the short term was not stronger to let’s say 8.7%? That would have been a clear indication of progress, 9.1% even in the short term is not progress and that part remains undiscussed by the media, is that not strange? They have been slamming Brexit through speculations in dozens of articles, and the reality of this so called double economic growth versus the UK is not set into a complete proper context. Even as several sources show the European slowdown. The EU has 8 more weeks until summer is over, what happens then? Will we see the message of a non-anticipated slowdown, or will we see that the slowdown was larger than anticipated? When you see that part, could you decide to trust the media you rely on?

However the independent also gives us “However, the UK economy has grown faster than the Eurozone’s since the 2008 financial crisis, reflecting the single currency’s multiple crises between 2010 and 2013“, which is true yet in this, they also fail to mention that there will be some level of slowdown and the Eurozone will make some level of temporary improvement, the question is for how long this happens. I am slightly less optimistic, yet also hesitant to be too negative. When the dust settles in the Middle East, we know that the Netherlands have two massive opportunities and a few other options through the large projects in Oman and the UAE, those large projects are the kind of solutions that put the Netherlands in the engineering top of the planet. The options could propel that small nation with most of it below sea level in scale and equality to Germany which is roughly 900% the size of the Netherlands. As Germany is one of the large 4, the Dutch achievement would be close to a legendary one. And if there is a large boost to the EU economy it will not be less likely to come from Germany than it will more likely to come from the Netherlands in both 2017 and 2018. This was always a reality that the EU and Germany faced, things will turn around, yet for the short term the EU numbers would probably boost. What is important is that it would not have impacted the UK in any way other than the presented numbers of difference. In this the UK is not on par with the EU on the short side, yet as European tourism falls in autumn, the numbers will no longer look against the UK to that degree and we will suddenly see different mentions, in this some of them are already a near given, so when we see “The single currency zone has now seen 17 successive quarters of growth. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone currently stands at 9.1 per cent, down from 12 per cent in 2013, but still double the UK’s current rate of 4.5 per cent“. OK, I will accept that, yet what I miss is the part that needs to be given with the quote ‘17 successive quarters of growth‘, so how much were these quarters of growth and how did they compare to the UK? It seems that this part is equally missing. In addition there is another part missing, this related to the final quote in the article. With “Other data last week showed that, within the Eurozone, France’s GDP expanded by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter and Spain’s by 0.8 per cent” you might wonder, yet when we look at Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/263008/gdp-growth-in-eu-countries-compared-to-same-quarter-previous-year/) we do not see the same part. We see the Q1 numbers where France and the UK are on the same foot, Italy trails by 0.1% and Spain is ahead by a fair bit, which is the part that impacts and matters, yet the high note comes from Ireland, Estonia, Malta and Romania, which seems like a powerful impact, yet they are together a mere fraction of the EU output, which is why France, Spain and Germany are so important, they are the lion share together with the UK. Only when we look at the last 8 quarters can we see numbers that make actual sense to some and whilst the future is not a given, the knowledge that there is a slowdown coming, there we see that the hyped EU numbers are slightly over the top in my view. So as we accept that the 2 of the large 4 would have much better numbers in tourism season, the fact that the unemployment numbers were projected down by 0.1% is still a much larger issue than most people realise. What is phenomenal is the fact that the impact on tourism is better for Greece. They reported yesterday that the number of international arrivals in the first half was up by well over 10%, which is awesome, as the Greeks should be getting loads of good news after all the garbage they went through. The two sources, the first (at http://www.tornosnews.gr/en/tornos/trends/26630-greek-minister-spectacular-tourism-figures-in-2017.html) gives us: “there is a huge increase in overnight stays and hotel occupancy, ranging from 80% to 95% in most tourist destinations, as well as record arrivals in some of them. The Minister also referred to important economic benefits from the tourism industry, particularly from non-Schengen countries“, which means that the local Greeks will get a relief from the pressure they have had for the longest of times. The small issue that temperatures are up to 41 Celsius might not be the best thing to be confronted with, yet over all they heatwave will give the sun the hours of baking that the tourists love so much, it would also increase the need for windy trips (on boats with sails) and those enjoying places like the caves of Lasithi (in this, I have personal experience that visiting Knossos is a really bad idea, but several museums in Iraklion tend to be nice and cool. another source is giving us (at http://greece.greekreporter.com/2017/08/05/a-record-3-2-million-tourist-arrivals-expected-in-august/). This gives us “Russia and the Netherlands have marked the greatest rise in seats by 25.8% / 46,000 and 18.3% / 26,000 seats, respectively. Top Greek destinations include islands of Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos, Kerkyra, Mykonos, Santorini and Halkidiki. Tourism professionals are forecasting the same performance in September, citing a total of 2.73 million seats booked for the month after“, implying that it will be a much better year than hoped for, and good for them I say!

Yet in the back of our minds will be not just for the European zone, more precisely, what will Greece do next? In this day and age tourism is great for them, yet they still have the other three quarters to deal with and in this they might have options and opportunities, it merely becomes the view on how to address it and which model to change so that it becomes a benefit.

They are all issues people want to address, yet in this we need to realise that the dodgy numbers are not a help. They are merely the approach towards undesired thoughts and in the end presented strength is no strength, it becomes strength when it is acted upon and results in a positive outcome, this is why quantative easing is never an actual solution. It is merely an option for those who are paid and reflected on the presented result with quarter on quarter growth. The fact that there is a new multi trillion debt is not what their bonus is balanced on. That is the part that people forget. I state to you here that I can go into the USA tomorrow and get a firm with $2 billion if revenue within a week. I have access to all the materials. I merely want 1% of that revenue as a bonus. Now consider that I am selling Official US currency $20 bills for $9.99. I get the bonus because I made my revenue, yet the fact that there is a $1 billion loss is not my issue, it will be for the registered owners of the business and if I set up an LLC with my finding founders, go bankrupt after the exercise one week later, I am still entitled to my $20 million severance package. This is the reality of quantative easing. People like Mario Draghi will not call it like that (and in equal measure find my example way to simplified, which is partially true), but it is the reality that they face in Europe. So as we see the reported news on how the UK is merely 50% of the Eurozone, we need to realise that there is a blowback from the actions that they are taking and in the long run only the bankers and the top of the ECB will be smiling enjoying life in the luxury estates that they own. I feel that we will see a strong impact of what happened before on the 26th October in Oslo Thursday. On that day we will see

  • Norway Central Bank announces interest rate decision – 0800 GMT.
  • Stockholm – Swedish Central Bank announces interest rate decision. Monetary Policy Report will be published – 0730 GMT.
  • Frankfurt – ECB Governing Council meeting, followed by interest rate announcement
  • Frankfurt – ECB President Mario Draghi holds a press conference, after the interest rate meeting Monday, October 30th

The press conference comes three days later, so after the 3 day speculation there will be the press meeting with even more speculation all that as the Christmas temporary need for short term staff is announced in several global places. I will let you work out what speculation will be offered. I am not having too much faith in the upcoming actions. Merely an anticipation of a media assisted manipulated bad news through overly optimism. It is merely my speculation on the matter.

 

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When we shift the sands

Sit down and consider a simple question: ‘When was the last time you got played?‘ Not by some sexual partner you wanted, or some deal where the profit remained absent, not the kind that truly takes life’s pleasure away (for a lot of people), the kind where we see that whatever sport you love to watch, being it the NBA, NFL, NHL, IFL, Premiere League or Cricket. When was the time you sat down and knowingly were watching a game that was rigged? How much fun will you have when you start watching the game, knowing it was rigged by others who have profit in mind? How much fun will that game be to you than? Not after the fact, but you in this example you get to know the game has been rigged before the start. How much fun will the game be at that point? To give a slightly better illustration, There was an earlier article by me on March 19th 2014 when I wrote ‘Any sport implies corruption!‘, which dealt with some of the parts of the Qatar 2022 allegations. In there I refer to several links that give us the initial important quotes: “The 2026 World Cup television rights in North America were awarded without a bid to Fox and Telemundo, who had complained about the Qatar schedule change, for which they hold the broadcast rights“, “Six European federations demanded Fifa clean up its act. Three top commercial backers, Coca-Cola, Adidas and McDonald’s, did so too” and “Of the 11 men who voted on 2018 and 2022 World Cups who are no longer on Fifa’s executive committee, only five provided answers to Garcia’s inquiry. Two could not be located at all“. This is how the sport becomes a joke and a mere vassal for corruption and commercial exploitation. Now consider the fact that a person gets the ‘honour’ to become an official, elected to give a vote on who would be the best nation to represent soccer, there are not small people, they tend to be directly linked to captains of industry, the kind that are on the Forbes 500 list. So when we see ‘Two could not be located at all‘, my pondering becomes ‘Who got them assassinated?’ You see assassinating a person is simple, getting rid of the body evenly so, the trick is to know the rules of evidence and not leave any for the prosecution. The Qatar allegations implied a new shot to a billion dollar industry. If these people ask questions, YOU WILL BE FOUND!

The entire mess left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The BBC comment (at http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-31605149/2022-world-cup-scudamore-very-disappointed-with-decision), shows bigotry and greed all in one setting, with “Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has said that he is “very disappointed” with the recommendation of a Fifa taskforce to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November and December. Mr Scudamore told the BBC that the European leagues felt let down, both by Fifa and Uefa“, it is bigotry because it shows plain intolerance for those in different time zones and seasons. And these people are back in the game now!

In addition, there are still issues with the Sunday Times on that. At the time, also quoted by CNN (as stated at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/07/28/the-old-reasons/), in ‘The Old Reasons‘ we see “We’ve seen millions of documents that prove without a shadow of doubt that corruption was involved. There is clear evidence linking payments to people who have influence over the decision of who hosted the World Cup“, were these people ever subpoenaed, was the evidence, if not, were the editors prosecuted in any way shape or form? No, they were not and nothing was given or achieved. Some of the players understood that the price might be too high. As the FIFA got rid of their corrupt bladder, or is that Sepp Blatter? We now see a second push. Suddenly FIFA found a former president to fall on his sword. Consider that NOW; we see that there are allegations that Nicholas Sarkozy took bribes regarding Qatar 2022. The timing is almost flawless, you see, this will not be a long event, some of the players like the Lard dealer McDonald’s and his clown, The fuzzy dilution to sugar, namely Coca Cola and credit hog system Visa are all about maximising their potential, that is not possible in Qatar, and as such they need it changed and it can only be done if the switch is in weeks, not months. I reckon that these players will ‘suddenly’ give loads of support to whomever takes over, which might be likely the US. I am speculating that if Qatar is suddenly deprived for other reasons, we will see that Atlanta will become the winner (Morocco was never a realistic player on their bid), and guess what, Atlanta will within a few months claim that they can push the event ahead and would be able to get 2 years ahead of schedule. The one nation that has been unable to keep time lines and budgets for DECADES is now suddenly achieve the ability to be ahead of schedule. Now, this is pure speculation, yet in light of ‘sudden allegations‘ which implies an actual need for evidence, evidence that was never available in 2014 and 2015 is suddenly there in 2017? That is beside the joke that the Sunday Times (mainly their editor Martin Ivens) has proven to be with ‘We’ve seen millions of documents‘, I doubt that, I very much if he even looked at 1% of that amount of documents in his studies to get to his A levels, so there is that!

My anger is not about him, I don’t know him. It is the blatant level of facilitation that is shown towards big business and media needs, the sports fan be damned. The media REFUSED to do anything about Sepp Blatter for the longest of times. They did whatever they could to minimise the people of being exposed to Andrew Jennings, the investigative reporter in all this. When you Google ‘Andrew Jennings‘ and FIFA in Google, see how much news comes up, see how the media skates around the central person who exposed the levels of corruption that FIFA had embraced, you’ll find very little. These are part of the shifting sands. I reckon that the entire Saudi-Qatar pressures have not helped any. It merely opened the door for big business to see if they can push towards their advantage.

It is the Australian Financial Review that gives us “Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, denied any wrongdoing by his client and pointed out that Garcia’s report stated “no evidence was found” linking Platini’s vote with any investments. A source claimed the investigation was “politically motivated”. A spokeswoman for the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office said that they were “carrying out two separate preliminary inquiries” into the Veolia deal and the Qatar World Cup bid“, in this there are two parts. The question why there is a political motivation regarding a former president (there might be, I just wonder how political it could be). The second part is that there had been several issues with the Garcia report first it was withheld, then there was only a summary and after that he leaves. Several sources gave us “Head of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, has resigned from his post after FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee dismissed his appeal against the summary of the 430-page report that Hans Joachim Eckert, head of the Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber, issued on 13 November 2014.In the appeal, Garcia calls Eckert’s summary of his report on the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process “incomplete and erroneous”.“, which happened around the 17th of December 2014. So now the report is merely used, merely observed or neither? In all this Joachim Eckert has played a role to some extent, the summary can be seen as evidence on that. In all usage there are several more questions and we had seen a lot of mentions at the time. The fact that Joachim Eckert was pretty much thrown out of the building in May 2017 implies that there is a chance he had the option, and opportunity (a speculative statement) to ‘foul’ plenty of other parts, giving more and more questions regarding the actions of Qatar, I am willing to go as far as to state that none of the evidence should be allowed into any court or be used in any decision until a board that includes Andrew Jennings and Michael J. Garcia and that board would have to investigate every piece of evidence offered. In addition, if any evidence is found that gives rise (not necessarily proves) that McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Visa had any hand in any of these events, they must be banned as FIFA advertiser and sponsor for 15 years, see if that refocusses their need for greed!

I admit that my emotions are getting the better of me, and I also agree that this is not a good thing. The shifting sands of greed and corruption have gone too far. It is bad enough to see corporate greed in your almost daily life. It is quite another when the sport has become so commercialised that corporations and the media decide on how the sport is played beyond the levels they were already doing it nowadays. You see it is the Financial Times who gave us some of the goods yesterday (at https://www.ft.com/content/36f8ceca-76d2-11e7-90c0-90a9d1bc9691). In this we might notice ‘Gulf media unleashes war of words with Qatar‘, and in addition we see ‘Saudi-led alliance weaponises satellite channels after exhausting diplomatic arsenal‘, yet someone has been considering the longer play and the impact that depriving Qatar 2022 might be. I think that this was short sighted by those players. I always believed that sports could unite disagreeing parties, pushing sport away limits the options for all parties in this. I also believe that the players in Saudi Arabia made an error, a serious one. When we consider “Riyadh and its allies escalated the crisis so rapidly that they have few left themselves with few realistic options to apply more pressure on Qatar, the top exporter of liquefied natural gas” as well as “Some Saudi journalists say they have come under government pressure to criticise Qatar. One Saudi editor described how officials have been using a mobile phone messaging group to instruct journalists on how to shape coverage and what stories to focus on. “These are orders, not suggestions,” he says“. The issue is seen in other ways, not the ways stated in the article. In this Ahmed Al Omran made the flaw that he did not consider (my personal view). You see, I never much looked into the matter of Saudi Television, mainly because I do not speak the language (or live there) and I reckon that the stations do not come with subtitles, which is fair enough. So when I quote the Wiki statement “State-run television consists of four channels: Saudi One, the main channel in Arabic launched in 1963; Saudi Two, an English language channel; Al Riyadiah, a sports channel; and the news channel Al Ekhbariya. Government-owned terrestrial television has changed little since 1969” that was what I expected to see. Even as Saudi Arabia has over 30 million people, the idea of these stations was not shocking in any way. The UK merely had BBC one and two for a much longer time frame. Yet, then I looked up and found MBC, the Middle East Broadcasting Center, when we look at that we see a lot more. At http://www.mbc.net/en.html (there is an English version) we see something more commercial looking, we see opportunity for Saudi Arabia. Not the mention of “how to shape coverage and what stories to focus on. “These are orders, not suggestions,”“, that is where the flaw is. To change it Saudi Arabia should have been creating its own Al-Jazeera, they forgot the truth and freedom of the press is the double edged sword that works for any nation. As people decide to censor and shape news, not report it, they become the one not being watched. If exposure is power than exposing media corruption is the strongest most powerful exposure we know. It is the kryptonite against governments that play the crooked media game, often the governments are no longer in charge, the media decides and they tend to decide whatever their sponsors and stakeholders tell them to. We have seen that time and time again, I have reported (read: blogged) on this again and again. In all this, the level of exposure is the calibre that turns any BB gun into the deadly weapon it needs to be. So as we see an escalating play using peaceful means, the players forgot that there are many more millions watching and some do not know all the facts, I reckon that there are many in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt are only apprised of the Al-Jazeera view. I am not stating it is a wrong or incorrect view. Yet the reality is that there are always three sides to a story, your side, their side and the truth, because the truth when spoken (or written) is always smitten with elements of compassion, valor or honesty. We see this in ‘A man threw another man into the sand‘, yet when we realise that the truth unspoken was that the man saw the scorpion, or he saw that his bisht caught fire, only then do we see that one man did not throw, the other man was not thrown. We see that there was an act to protect and safe a life. It is a very simplified example, but there tends to be points of view in any truth, the question is which exposure matters? Al-Jazeera grew as there was no alternative. We now know that there could be competition, as the west in equal measure have grown tired and distrustful of Fox News, CNN, TRT World and a few others, we see that there are still places to grow. Yet in this ‘These are orders, not suggestions’ will not carry weight in the visibility of any news channel.

The shifting sands are treacherous and offer dangers, yet in equal measure they offer opportunity to those who see them as such. We see how large corporations are taking whatever steps they can, try to get every opportunity, whilst hoping to manoeuvre their competitors into a place where they step and the sands drown them. That is the game and how it is played, yet at times we see that large corporations have been taking their game too far and as such, when they trespass on the things we hold for granted and holy, than we see the injustice and we demand clarity. In this large corporations try to make the moves that remain always one step away from that. The fact that we see these attempts against Qatar 2022, has nothing to do with Qatar, they have to do with the process they set up, large corporations demand that they win every time, so now, when they will not win, but at best play even, now we see the petulant children they are and the consequences of enabling them to the extent that they have been. Many (not just me) are upset. For the most they are not all soccer fans. Some merely want facilitation of as many games as possible, every day another match and as there is an overlap, some of the participators now get upset, they go into tantrum mode. Yet the realisation that you grew the exploitation game with 209 FIFA members, did they not expect that they would get the losing ticket at least once? So when it is not Qatar, but Samoa or Cuba? What happens then? What happens when Mauritius gets the sponsors it needs to host, how will that upset everything? This is the part that everyone ignored, because those nations could not afford to host, yet Qatar was another matter altogether. This is the first time that the exploitative engine that is FIFA, saw the cogs they designed work against them. Now there is an issue and we see that several players are in a state of panic, there were no options but to lose this one round. The pressures through Saudi Arabia have changed panic into opportunity; they just need the right person to fall on their sword. The question is how willing is Nicholas Sarkozy in all this and who is the party that voiced the allegations? Where is their evidence? These are all questions that are more likely than not to come with false answers, that is, until the games are done, we can expect some sudden revelation, humble apologies and carefully phrased denials and innuendo from politicians and media soon thereafter (likely at the immediate same time). Their question would be closed soon after the need of their assassinations. Oh, my bad! I meant to say: “The involved parties could not be located for comments and response in any way shape or form“, apparently that is how events are shaped with and because of large corporations.

 

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Knocking on the door of death

There is a time in anyone’s life when death comes knocking. For some it is in an early stage for others when the end of a long road has been reached and a few of the latter go that way after a rewarding life, being it material or spiritual. So when we see ‘The Greek government says the country has turned a corner, but that is not the experience of people on the ground‘ it is merely another step to an early grave for a lot of them. The Greek Debt is being disconnected, it is being misrepresented by government and media, and overall the people are only losing more and more at a steady pace. When we see the quote: “The worst is clearly behind us.” Panaghiota Mourtidou pondered the words with a gravity unusual for the jovial volunteer. Even now, several days after the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, saw fit to use the phrase, she still feels somewhat bewildered” (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/30/greek-debt-crisis-people-cant-see-any-light-at-the-end-of-any-tunnel), the people seem to realise that they are being played. In the end Tsipras delivered on being as shallow and as deceitful as all the administrations before him. When we see the mention of the  French-trained hairdresser who had paid into a pension fund for almost 45 years, we see the initial fallout “At first it was a fairly good pension at €1,750 a month,” she recalled. “Then it was cut to €1,430 a month and now its €960 a month“, it is a 46% drain on quality of life, it is merely slightly more than Australian welfare, it implies that people get to live of $5 a day for their goods and groceries, which is utterly inhumane and I think that Panaghiota Mourtidou and Alexis Tsipras are insane to give any voice to ‘the worst is behind us‘, there is a realisation that this is merely the end of the beginning. With a debt of €325 billion, and according to one source an interest that is set to roughly €600 per second, we know that this is before the last bailout, so it gets to be a little less positive soon enough. We know the Greece didn’t have any options, they all know that this would happen, yet the injustice that there has been no prosecution of the previous administrations must hurt the people a lot too. So when she voices the fact “Hopes of spending their later years in Crete have been dashed“, I feel for her, because at some point, that was my dream too and for a lot it was a decently realistic dream. In all this we see “raise the sort of money it needs to refinance its debt,” said Kyriakos Pierrakakis, director of research at DiaNeosis. “It will almost certainly need a new financial credit line, a bailout light, and that will come with new conditions.”“, as the risk grows the refinancing of debt is so hollow, as more goes into interest it all falls away and nothing is left. Now, we can agree that Greece or a larger than smaller extent did it to themselves, they did it in either ignorance or in spite of, the reason does not matter; the outcome would remain the same. As they had the option to get out of the Euro and default on their loans there might have been an optional new start-up, now we see that there has been almost no actual support and the Greek population will need to live with the consequences of ending empty handed, generations washed away without the optional memory, it might be the first time in history that the financial institutions have taken their goods, their savings and their memories, the harshest of conditions.

In all this, Kathmiri shows another side (at http://www.ekathimerini.com/220517/article/ekathimerini/business/prices-remain-particularly-high-in-greece), the quote “Eurostat data show that Greek consumers pay more than all other European Union citizens for their telephony and postal services, with price levels standing almost 40 percent above the EU average rates, and even higher than the rates in Switzerland“, the question becomes: ‘who is pushing this?’ When we see options from Vaya, TataDocomo and Amaysim in places as outlandish as Australia (a large island with at some places miles of stretches between each house), the option from the Greek government to open the option to other players so that some of the quality of life is not lost is one part, the other is to invite players like Google, so that the Greeks have some level of ‘free’ internet is not out of the bounds of thinking. The mandate for the Greek politicians becomes less waiting for the credit houses to throw them scraps; it becomes an issue to offer the Greeks some additional levels of options that floats the quality of life to the smallest degree. It is a simpler process than merely hoping for the economy to get better and to hide behind the falsehood of ‘the worst is clearly behind us‘, a statement we all know (especially the Greeks) is not true.

All this whilst Victoria Hislop produces an article a day earlier on ‘Patra represents the extremes of Greece – sublime and mundane‘, it is her view and she shows some of the remarkable places in Greece, in that she gives her views, with images of Saint Andrew, a breathtaking place. She voices how Patra is elemental in all this as a given need when one sees Greece. It is all valid, you see, the darkness of the debt is an internal one, driving tourists forward towards Greece is clearly another part. I fell in love with Crete when I originally saw ‘Who pays the ferryman‘, in the end I went to the places where it was filmed, and many other places on the island. I saw the relaxed Elounda, the bar where some of the episodes were filmed, but that was merely the beginning, you see, Crete had so much more, Spinalonga was the true treasure of historic events, the Venetian fortifications as well as the impact that the other visitors had to the place. Greece is more than the debt it has, but has been equally reduced to the debt. Yet in all this, what have the greed driven corporations pushed towards Greece in an air of support? Did we see Vodafail giving a sweet deal to the Greeks and create a long term loyalty plan? Ah, no, because they still have a net debt of £29 billion, which was up by 31%, whilst the executive officer Vittorio Colao lives of £6 million, amounting to £500K per month. OK, to be clear, I am not having a go at him, he might have been well worth every penny. It is just that I have been confronted with the Vodafail PR for a little too long and when the times are hard, they ‘suddenly’ retrench. This is a valid step for any corporation mind you, yet, if these players are so much about one EU, and using their influence trying to thwart Brexit whenever they can. Is that suddenly small minded local thinking not an interesting non-EU mindset? When we consider (at http://www.politico.eu/article/digital-single-market-mid-term-report-card-tktkt-percent/) we see the fallout in the corporate sphere. The quote “Thirty years after the launch of the EU single market, 20 years after its first work on launching a telecoms single market and 10 years after then-Commissioner Viviane Reding launched the digital single market idea, the Juncker Commission has only got one of its 35 digital proposals signed off so far“, it is clear evidence of the utter uselessness of a single market, it is evidence on the need and greed of large corporations, the maximisation of profit. In all this, I have stated years ago that pushing some of the services to Greece could have had a positive impact, an actual sweet deal for some of the large players whilst they moved away from expensive western European places, yet none of that was done, because PR was all about the visibility in Dynamic London. So how EU is that? I am all in favour of growing London businesses, yet when you consider £3500 per square meter on average for a company spot, and Greece can get you a large building at 1000x in a one time off option (not an annual fee), how expensive is London (or Amsterdam for that matter). In all this, pushing several call-centres to Greece and Crete could have had an impressive impact on the Greek economy, yet the large players never considered that (or optionally intentionally steered away from that option), it was not sexy enough. So after 30 years we see “Presenting its half-time report card Wednesday, the Juncker Commission acknowledged things need to pick up speed. “The work is far from complete,” said the Commission’s Vice President for Digital Andrus Ansip. Estonia will put digital issues at the top of the agenda when it takes over the EU presidency in July; as its longest-serving prime minister, Ansip is well-placed to leverage that push“, which does not mean that any of it will get done, pushing the weight to the next person, that is the mere realisation that the EU with their so called one market, their 20 gravy trains and a cost of existence that has surpassed the Greek debt in tenfold is showing us that not only is the EU a redundant thing, the fact that Santa Mario ‘spends way too much‘ Draghi is even more evidence as his €60 billion a month is leaving Greece out of any easing options, an equation that should warrant a lot more questions, yet the Financial times (at https://www.ft.com/content/82c95514-707d-11e7-93ff-99f383b09ff9), is showing how apparently, the recovery is slow, but real. That might be to some degree correct, yet when we see “Debt sustainability in both Italy and Portugal is very sensitive to economic shocks“, which is true, especially with the massive debts Italy has, In that that their interest due has surpassed €2500 a second, Greece is not a consideration anywhere, Greece no longer counts. The one quote that we see and require to consider is “Five years later it is clear the head of the European Central Bank was true to his word, restoring financial confidence and ending a crisis of sovereign debt through a series of extraordinary measures to support the continent’s governments and banks“, the first is was he actually true to his word? Is there actual financial confidence or is there an environment of governmental abuse and pushing the risks of the games some play and dangers they bring onto the population of these nations as debts keep on rising, as governments have lost all abilities to keep a proper budget? When we see the local news in the Netherlands with ‘De Nederlandse bank‘, the additional mentioning on how the Brits are all getting into trouble because of Brexit, the Flemish where we see over valuated housing issues rising, in addition, the large banks in Belgium have invested well over €40 billion in fossil fuels, this is an issue and an important one when we consider “Naast de schade aan klimaat, mens en milieu, erkennen steeds meer experten ook het financiële risico van investeringen in fossiele energie. Zo wees BlackRock, ‘s werelds grootste vermogensbeheerder, op het gevaar van ‘stranded assets’: fossiele energiebronnen of -centrales die in de komende jaren meer zullen kosten dan ze opbrengen“, which paraphrased translates as “beside the climatological damage, an increasing amount of experts are pointing at the financial risks of these stranded assets, Blackrock being one of the voices state that fossil energy sources will cost more than they will bring in revenue wise“, so not only are we watching €40 billion in bad investment, the dangers are that there are long term considerations in costs as well. Now in the end, this might have been the least of the dangers for the Belgium government, yet in that light it means that certain matters can no longer be maintained in the overall image. This is a very disturbing issue. All this links back to the options for Greece, when we see European governments make bad and expensive decisions, in addition as the governments in question seem to be creative book keepers, yet when we look at the risks given to their populations, the long term damage is one that seems to be spiralling out of control and none of these governments are making their politicians criminally accountable for any of their actions, how is there any chance of a surplus within the next two generations? That is a reality that should have been enacted for the longest of times, so as we see the impact of Greece as (partially due to their own acts) we see large corporations move out, more and more exploiting individuals move in for the kill and we see Alexis Tsipras and Panaghiota Mourtidou state that ‘the worst is over‘, how delusional is that?

In Belgium the newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws‘ (at http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/957/Binnenland/article/detail/3148452/2017/05/03/Belgische-staat-verkoopt-deel-aandelen-BNP-Paribas-Geen-onverstandige-zet.dhtml), gives us two parts. The first is “Belgische staat verkoopt deel aandelen BNP Paribas: “Geen onverstandige zet”“, The Belgium government is selling a stake (25% reduction) into the French group BNP Paribas. This international banking group employs over 180,000 employees in a little over 75 nations; they have assets close to €2 trillion and had a profit last year of €7 billion, so they are no small grocery on the corner of a village. This happened two days after “BNP Paribas Fortis zet parlementslid zonder uitleg op straat“, meaning that they ended the accounts with a member of parliament, this Member of Parliament has 60 days to push his accounts into another bank. Now the reasons are not linked as a given, yet when we see ‘what is the most upsetting is that neither the phone connections nor the office of the bank gives me any reason as to why this is done‘ (at https://www.demorgen.be/binnenland/bnp-paribas-fortis-zet-parlementslid-zonder-uitleg-op-straat-bc2612a0/). When we consider the other (translated quote “often it is about strict rules regarding ethics and battling fraud, e-Finance institutions are mandatory required to collect customer information and to report this. It depends on the type of customer and for politicians there are specific rules, they need to be updated more frequently“, now we can argue and speculate, yet the question becomes if there is a problem reporting within the bank, that tends to be not such a good thing and if this politician is not the wealthiest one, the juice might not be worth the squeeze, so in this age, as banks become more and more stringent into ‘adhering‘ to certain rules, it seems to me that this tends to be a first sign that the bank has certain stress issues it really prefers not to update too often. It is merely speculation from my side, yet when we consider that for the longest time, elected officials as customers were a positive impact on the PR of a bank, seeing the member of a Green party (usually the most innocent of political types) pushed away, I wonder what on earth is going on.

How these two relate?

That is not the actual question, but it is an important factor. The news (at https://www.febelfin.be/en/belgian-banks-are-doing-fine-first-sight-will-face-a-problem-profitability-near-future), gives rise to a KPMG report, which gives us “But the Belgian banks will have to take corrective measures to maintain this profitability while keeping solvability and liquidity at acceptable levels“, which in light of more frequent reporting might be an issue for these banks, as we see ‘higher costs due to increased regulation and tax burden‘, we need to realise that the banks are playing on ponds that are a lot more shallow than the people realise, even if the water looks clear and reflective as a mirror, it equally shows that beneath the surface there are optional hidden hurdles. I am not stating more options to get beached, more that the requirement to navigate a lot more to get into a forward placement; these two elements are not the same, but the return on investment is becoming a (much) larger effort. Now, as Belgium is economically in a better place than Greece is, it gives rise to the optional irresponsible dangers that Greece is willing to go to with the next selling of Bonds and with the dangers of added percentages on risk, the impediment of forward momentum is not an equal, but a more elevated risk for Greece (as they are all in one happy European Union), in the end the only thing it does is that it raises risk and debt for the mere depressing benefit of one mere interest payment to ignore, a mere 12 weeks of time. The KPMG report as mentioned earlier shows that so far the anticipated return on equity is falling to 6%, which is on par with the minimum requirements for 2017 at 8%, yet will fall another 2% over the next two years, meaning that the minimum required target will be off by 40% in 24 months, which is going to be a large impact on every bank who had set their targets accordingly. This leaves me to speculate that the banks will become a lot more creative by underplaying the dangers for now and as such, Greece will hit waters a lot rougher and more dangerous for the Greek people soon enough. Belgium is merely one example. Italy, the Netherlands and Germany will be facing similar issues. The last one (read: Deutsche Bank) with exists from Australian markets as it is transforming (read: or is that reinventing) itself. As players from the senior side are moving all over the world to other competitive players, we see that the Deutsche bank is moving in some direction. This is the explosive field we see and this is the market that Greece is trying to get into again in what I would call a far too dangerous time to play that desperate card. To me it seems irresponsible on several fronts, so the initial ‘the worst is over‘ could before the end of fiscal year 2017 become ‘we are hitting additional hard times, that could not have been foreseen and were outside of the scope of anything we could normally expect‘, when the Greek people see that statement come, I will happily remind you that this was not as unexpected and that I foresaw the dangers months before they played out, when that happens, the Greek population will need to ask themselves how they got played, how their quality of life was diminished by well over 50% and how it happened that none of the politicians involved ever got to face court and judges on any of that.

I do not pretend to know the markets or that I am some banker with the insight of ‘Nostradamus’. Merely a person applying common sense, 6 languages and the use of a spreadsheet, this is how I got there, with all of the degrees I do have, none of those are in economy. So when you see the ground fall away from you just wonder how the economists or the economic reporters did not see it coming as some of them move to other shores with their awesome savings, leaving the Greeks to fend for themselves, deprived of whatever they were supposed to have.

When death comes knocking, the type ‘A’ bankers, often viewed as impatient, ambitious and smitten with business aggressiveness, suddenly become the type ‘B’ individuals, all happily willing to step aside letting whomever are behind them take the plunge into purgatory first. This is how quaint the reality of life will end up being considered for all those who are watching it unfold from a distance (if they get to be lucky enough to watch it from a distance).

 

 

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French Grape juice and a shipyard

There are issues stirring in the land of grapes and cheese. In France things are becoming slightly restless. Now, I have had my doubts about Emmanuel Macron for several reasons, but not on this. The Express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/834196/France-Emmanuel-Macron-en-march-crisis-polls-fall-French-president) gives us “Several members of French ruling party En Marche! have accused President Emmanuel Macron and party directors of going against the root values of the movement by trying to change the internal guidelines regulating the candidates’ selection process“, which gives my initial response ‘And?‘, you see, being in a new party, being in front and shouting the loudest does not automatically grant the rights to wield a multibillion wallet for defence or healthcare. In the end, the selected party needs to place the right people in the right places, those with knowledge and the ability to push a nation forward. This would have been the one nightmare for Nigel Farage if he had won the elections the last time around. No matter how we feel about UKIP, it is not really seeded with senior cabinet quality fuel. The same can be stated for En Marche! That view is well phrased in “French politics expert Ariane Bogane from Northumbria University told France 24 that the party had justified its decision to change key elements of the movement, such as internal election, by saying that it was in order to avoid “personal ambition,” “rivalry” and “in-fighting”“. So what is going on, is it merely the infighting, or the disillusion of those who did work hard and expected to become part of the French government? Those bragging on the post they are considered for and having to go home realising that the carefully phrased ‘we are considering‘, becomes, ‘we were forced to find the person with the ability much more suiting the expertise required‘? Politics is all about finding the pushing forward party, within the party it will almost never be about to compromise.

Yet the title gives another image. With ‘‘Oligarchy is coming!’ Macron faces nightmare political CLASHES as he PLUMMETS in polls‘ we are confronted with two part. As the express hid in the dictionary trying to tell us that a small group of people is in control in France is not new. Those who keep their eyes open are aware of that, for example, Natixis is surpassing a trillion euro value before the end of 2018, and its 15 members of the board have a large say for well over 20% of France, which is one hell of an impact. I am not referring that they have something to say, like for example Mark Carney as Governor of the British bank, no these 15 can lay down the law in unspoken ways. Actually, one of them had a (large) setback as the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 with “Henri Proglio’s contract as chief executive of Electricité de France SA, sidelining a powerful businessman who has been close to the country’s center-right political camp“, yet there are several indications that this was merely a resignation on political grounds as some equally powerful players got to feel the heat of more than the mere risk of the Hinkley Point C nuclear project (yet, we will remain silent on those accusers, won’t we Credit Agricole SA?); in all this, the players have a point as the costs at one point was expected to surpass over 10% and on £18 billion it starts to add up fast. This is merely part one, in part two we need to look at the plummeting and so on. Yet overall, why becomes the question. I think it is more than that the current president is a mere former banker. In this the Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/emmanuel-macron-popularity-rating-plummets-french-president-worst-in-20-years-july-ifop-budget-cuts-a7856986.html) gives us “Results come after the 39-year-old former banker unveiled key budget cuts in public spending and military finances – a move which has been heavily criticised“, which might be a valid reason for some to nag, yet what they forgot is that the previous administrations left France with a minus €2.1 trillion on the French governmental credit card and their economy is nowhere near the English one. In addition, France has a mere 64 million people, do that equation as debt per person bites in equality. The money is gone! The UK has been in this mode for well over half a decade and the French better wizen up fast, because the people now complaining had not as much as a hard time because harsh changes were required as early as 2010, nothing in that regard was seriously done. Another quote is “Mr Macron ended up overruling his own prime minister by vowing to go ahead with tax cuts in 2018, and plans to cut housing benefits were received unfavourably“, which everyone sneers at (the decision that is), yet perhaps you remember the French actor Gérard Depardieu who moved to Russia of all places because of outlandish taxation. When we consider some of the French numbers, we see the quote “less than 50% of inhabitants in France pay any income tax at all; only around 14% pay at the rate of 30%, and less than 1% pay at the rate of 45%” (source French Property). Under those conditions, we might expect that plenty have to complain about housing benefits, it might well be those not paying income tax at all. So when we see housing benefits, whilst the French are down well over 2 trillion, we have to consider how valid the polls are, perhaps better stated how fair they are one Emmanuel Macron. We all knew that the promises made by Emmanuel Macron would be hard to keep, yet not impossible. As a banker he knows that if the tax hike works and the hike become thousands of jobs, he has a start, the one thing about the French is that they are proud, yet those who are part of this Oligarchy tend to invest nationally as that is where their power and influence are.

For this we make a small sidestep to the dictionary. You see there are difference (which is also odd)

In the Cambridge dictionary we see “A type of government by powerful people in a small group is called oligarchy“, Merriam-Webster gives us “A small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes in a type of government” and Oxford states “Oligarchy is a type of government controlled by a small group of people” so as we see the En Marche group cry in a Merriam-Webster style, whilst the reality is that the reality is merely the Oxford/Cambridge application of the issue. None of them invoke a social governing and even as the En Marche people are now moving towards Fascism accusations (none have been formally made at present), we need to realise that none of it matter if the French economy does not make a decent step forward. The social structures have drained the French nation too much. France has seen strike after strike; the French labour unions are a debilitating power, a fact even acknowledged by many French citizens. Now, I have never been against labour unions, yet they have to realise that their time as they perceive themselves to be is over, if the French have to default even once, their existence stops, the money flow stops and that will change the game forever in France. There are other parts and there is an issue whether a blame game applies. We have heard for some time on labour reforms, and even as we see the validity due to massive French debts, in this Bloomberg offers (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-24/macron-s-uphill-battle-against-france-s-labor-law-quicktake-q-a) questions and answers that I now can avoid. We know that there are issues, yet it comes from a civil law system, with the French labour code set in over 3000 pages, as such reform now becomes essential. We see reports like “French unions say making it easier to fire people won’t create jobs, and that unemployment results from the tight budget policies forced by EU-imposed austerity“, this is not an invalid response (read: consideration), yet in equal measure we see that there is little space for short term jobs and as such, backpackers all over Europe get to take some of the economic cream from the top of the revenue, something that might be valid work for the French, yet some of them are not going near any short term jobs in hear of long term consequences. The Bloomberg quote “His three immediate predecessors all viewed France’s labour laws as too restrictive. In 2003 and 2005, Jacques Chirac managed to loosen the 35-hour cap on the working week, making it easier and cheaper for companies to add extra hours. In 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy cut taxes on overtime work and made it simpler for individual workers to negotiate their own departures. And Francois Hollande’s reforms of 2013 and 2016 made it easier to justify layoffs due to a downturn in business” is the clearest one, you see three administrations have seen the folly of the labour restrictions. Whether the unions are in fear of the power they wield, and the fear of how they become obsolete, that is how I see it, four administrations realise that companies with 49 have growth limits, pushing themselves into foreign ground through partnerships when it becomes an option, slicing the French economy at least twice in a negative way.

The second issue is less on the things he does and more about how it is done. The New Statesman is referring to ‘the Macron Con‘, the Evening standard is all about ‘shedding the banker image‘ and some have even less nice things to say, yet some is of his own volition, with ‘My thoughts are ‘too complex’ for journalists, says Emmanuel Macron‘ the Telegraph paraphrases “An Elysée official told Le Monde newspaper that the 39-year-old centrist leader’s “complex thought process lends itself badly to the game of question-and-answer with journalists” that is held every year on the July 14 national holiday“, it is not a good way to make friends in that area of people who still at times laughingly refer to themselves as ‘journalists‘. It now becomes the question how they will see and report on the STX France nationalisation. In this there is validity to at least some degree. There is no guarantee that the Italians will keep it as is, there is no guarantee that there will not be a ‘transfer’ of grounds towards very different applicable destinations. When we consider USA Today as a source with: “STX France is the only shipyard in France big enough to build big warships. It’s also a significant employer in France“, if so, can anyone explain to me how handing it to the Italians was a clever move to begin with? If the EU will builds its force on EU ground, than France would fare a lot better keeping the one place where they could be build French property, that is merely good business. In addition, as it is still doing jobs, which are unlikely to be completed before the end of 2018, how is changing hands of the shipyard a good idea?

There is no doubt that the STX war is not over and I am not even going to speculate how this will turn out at present, you see being pre-emptive is one thing, the danger is that some shareholders will offer what they have in different ways to get the most out of their shares and greed can make a shareholder creative in getting the coin they expected. Yet, Trikkles (at http://trikkles.com/2017/07/28/french-government-to-nationalize-stx-france-economy.html), gives us “President Macron jettisoned his pro-business agenda and threatened to nationalise France’s leading shipyard to prevent its takeover by Fincantieri“, is that true? Keeping STX French might be very pro-business indeed. If it becomes Fincantieri property, there would be consequences. The Higher echelons could end up being replaced by Italians, so that is a chunk of funds not remaining in France, in addition, with procurement scandals first in Taipei in 2000 and now in India 2016, there are other considerations to make, so there are issues beyond the ship that is to be build. The interesting part is that in the entire emission control solution, I would have thought that they would focus on bringing jobs to the US, not ending up with a French place and getting loads of Americans and Italians to Normandy, let’s face it, it is no longer 1944.

In all this Emmanuel Macron seems to be getting a rough time. As the newspapers focussed on the largest drop, it seems that they are all in denial that both the UK and France are merely two players who have an astronomical deficit to deal with. In all this the Financial Times gives us another view (at https://www.ft.com/content/c826f982-7383-11e7-93ff-99f383b09ff9), as they state “Macron’s pro-EU stand is tested by Italy on the waterfront“, some will call it ‘betrayal’, yet who voice that and for what reasons? Here we also see the quote from Pier Carlo Padoan as he accused Mr Macron of abandoning his professed “pro-Europeanism and liberal values” by his decision to take STX France. So is it non-liberal or an essential step not to endanger the Normandy economy in the longer run? As we realise that STX is one of the few places in Europe where building an aircraft carrier is possible, as well as the fact that the largest cruise ship in history is getting build here, why leave it to the Italians? In this, the quote “Fincantieri had pledged to keep jobs and orders in France for five years” reads like a hollow joke, it merely not mentions that after 2022 syphoning the French economy towards Italy would be a given and with the French economy being a mere 1%, that syphoning could potentially kill the French options. So when I see the additional hollow quote “and Italian ministers rightly point out that Mr Macron’s demand to renegotiate suggests a lack of trust“, would that be a lack of trust, or a lack of Italian consideration when the clock strikes August 1st 2022?

In this there is one part that the complaining French seem to fail to grasp, if STX is only the first of a few reallocations to foreign owners, how deep in unemployment could France get? I have in the past never professed to be any kind of consideration to bankers like Emmanuel Macron, yet in equality I have been for the most always been on the side of giving all a fair chance, it seems that the French are not giving that to Emmanuel Macron, which as French citizens is their right (freedom of speech and so on). I merely hope that these people are looking further forward than the issues due next week, because in the long run France will need to adjust to a larger degree, the question becomes how and that is the issue that the previous 3 administrations have fought over for the longest time of their administration.

 

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Drop the Mike, Ashley!

Welcome to the issues on a man that I do not know. This is not the most straight-forward of starts, yet the man who has been valued more than once and that verdict is several thousand stacks of £1,000,000. The man who owns Newcastle United, which means he gets the swanky seat in the stadium. Now, we can understand that this man founded Sports Direct. When you get enthusiastic about sports, you can bet that it will be part of your life. There is no denying it and as it became a good success, I would state ‘good for him’. Yet, the focus on him started in an entirely different way. It started with him getting in on the videogame action by getting a near 26% stake in the franchise ‘Game‘. That brand did not go well here in Australia, yet I always found it to be a decent store and the people working there knew their games and consoles. I have seen them in the UK as well and a similar feeling remained on that experience. Here it did not go well as they were up against EB Games (who grew aggressively at that time) and JB Hifi that was an established chain of quality stores, so they had a murder competition, they did not make it (for the most). Yet all this is now in play when I read “Mike Ashley swoops on video games retailer after profit warning forced by shortage of Nintendo Switch consoles“, this is a weird issue. We get ‘profit warning‘ in regards to a situation of shortage. Basically the story becomes, we are short on revenue/profit because we can’t get any more consoles, they are sold out, and everyone wants one! Which at present is pretty much the truth of the desire of people and their need for the Nintendo Switch, it is actually THAT amazing.

The result was “Game shares rose by more than 15% to 28p on the news, and later traded at 26.5p (up 9.3%), giving it a market value of £47m“, apart from the 28p not sounding like that impressive, it is the end result of +9.3% that is staggering. You see, I have issues with the entire part where ‘profit warnings‘ are labelled in the way they were. You see, the entire mess (as reported) gives no clue on the actual situation (well, the one as I personally see it), I do not care how people quantify one way or the other; it is the addressing of profit warnings.

I offer in evidence the following pieces

Part 1, Sony (at http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2017/01/03/uk-2016-sales-chart-2016-game-sales-down-13-infinite-warfare-the-2-best-selling-game-of-the-year/) gives us ‘UK Sales Chart: 2016 Game Sales Down 13%, Infinite Warfare the #2 Best-Selling Game of the Year‘. In this we see: “The major titles of 2016 also disappointed when compared to 2015’s, with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (the second biggest title of 2016) lagging 31.5% behind Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. In other comparisons, Watch Dogs 2 fell just short of the 500,000 copies Assassin’s Creed Syndicate sold in 2015, Steep performed worse than Rainbow Six Siege, Gears of War 4 couldn’t reach the heights of Halo 5, and Final Fantasy XV was outsold by Just Cause 3.” For those who do not talk games, let me boil it down to the first item is that overall less games were bought. In my personal view, the overall quality of games was not great. Even as Watchdogs 2 was a good step up from the previous game, yet many gamers felt too burned by the first game. I believe that the second game was good, it has online and offline options and people were not forced to go online here. Regarding the other title, I am not a fan of Call of Duty, I know many are. the fact that a game like that became ‘the’ game is not entirely on the fact on how good their Infinite Warfare was, it is more that the other games were way below the line. The fact that the last four larger releases this year alone could be bought for 50% down, including the special editions with figurines is also a changing trend. People are less willing to just shell out the cash for games, reviews are more competitive and even though there are really good reviewers, there are a lot more really bad reviewers and they tend to get plenty of exposure. Yet in the end, the games were for a larger extent not up to snuff. The reviewers ‘deserve’ extra attention as some are more and more about the larger players, whilst some of the true gems have been largely ignored by plenty of people. Nioh is perhaps one of the most visible ones. Like Infinite warfare it is a specific game. I actually like this game, but I loathe the challenge it contains at times (they are really hard games). Some saw that is was some Dark Souls games and plenty of people ran for the hills as this is a game for actual gamers, not for wannabe’s. In my view there are several similarities, yet the only thing that the game Nioh truly has in common with Dark Souls III was its graphical excellence.

So here we see two elements that would push any revenue down.

Part 2, Pushsquare. At http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2017/01/ps4_physical_game_sales_increase_as_uk_industry_suffers_blow, we see more confirmation: “Overall sales down 13.4 per cent“, the mere subtitle and the direct impact that matters, less sales overall, this is not entirely correct, but I will get to that in a moment. The next quote is, as I personally see it wrong, but still essential. With “Bethesda’s Dishonored 2, for example, couldn’t come close to matching the success of Fallout 4, while Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XV somehow failed to outsell Just Cause 3.” My issue is that no matter how you slice it, Dishonored 2 is a little bit of a niche game, more intent for those who love stealth gaming (me being one), it is graphically superb, the game is a little steampunk in a very good way, but for the most, it is highly original and exquisite in quality. It is not fair to compare it to a game that has millions of followers and has been revered since its original release (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC) on 11/11/11, the date that some will carry with them for all time. An established success that was bought on the console be new players as well as nearly everyone who had the previous version. The game is good for months of gameplay, so a game that sells itself due to 5 years of raving reports. The second is equally unfair. I myself was never a FF fan, but I have always admired the originality and scope of the stories and the near perfection each game brought. Even I am surprised that Just Cause 3 outsold it, perhaps merely because of the over the top explosions and things you can do with the game? I cannot tell what the exact reason is, yet the second part implies that the gamers are diversifying in different directions, changing the gaming requirement. It is almost like there is a new generation taking over the baton of gaming and it has different tastes.

Yet he best is left for last, in part 3 we see Retail Week

The mention (at https://www.retail-week.com/sectors/entertainment/game-issues-profit-warning-as-uk-sales-falter/7022184.article), where we see “The specialist retailer, which posted a slump in its interim profits in March, said anticipated supply in the UK of the latest Nintendo console had failed to meet expectations, negatively impacting overall sales“, is a first issue. In this the mention ‘anticipated supply‘ beckons the question, so did you order enough or not? As the experts, you should have seen the impact it would make. The E3 and other events clearly showed that Nintendo was blowing both others out of the water. In addition we see “alongside ongoing poor sales of Xbox and PlayStation devices“, now we can argue about Xbox for several reasons, so let’s take this out of the equation, the PlayStation part gives the issue. Overall sales of the PS4 and PS4pro are still up by a decent amount, so it now becomes a shifting focus, but I will get to that soon.

For now I will end with the quote “The group continues to actively implement its UK action plan, encompassing improved supplier arrangements, enhancements to the customer experience, further operational progress including cost reduction programmes and disciplined cash management“, yet will not address it yet. Let’s take a look at three more elements.

The first is from the Business Insider which gives us “Sony sold 10 million PlayStation 4 consoles between early May 2016 and December 6, 2016. That puts sales in the neighbourhood of over 1 million sold every month, which keeps it locked in as the fastest-selling PlayStation console of all-time

The second is again from PlayStation Lifestyle with “Taking a deeper look at software last year in the UK, Games Industry points out that nearly 80% of all boxed games sold last year were either on PS4 or Xbox One (up from 66% in 2015)

The last is G24/7 where we see (at https://www.vg247.com/2016/11/14/ps4-console-sales-have-tripled-in-the-uk-following-the-launch-of-the-ps4-pro/) “Sony’s PS4 Pro launched at the end of last week and has had quite the impact on PS4 console sales. According to MCVUK, PS4 sales for the week ending Saturday, November 12, were up 204%. 65% of the total PS4 sales last week were for the PS4 Pro, while the final sales figure for all PS4 consoles was 44% higher than those for the Xbox One.

Now we put the whole together!

We know that sales were massive end of year 2016, especially with a new console and Christmas coming up, all that makes sense. We can also clearly see that overall, the consoles represent the bulk of all game sales. This partially makes sense because that is what we see as flagships in pretty much any gaming store, PC owners have a lot more options to buy in other places and at times a lot cheaper and there is Steam to consider, so that part remains an unknown and as such a much lesser impact to these stores (apart from the selling of steam credit). The fact that the PS4 is surpassing the previous consoles, is debatable (PS2 sold over three times the amount in its life time), yet the overall market trend is that games should be on par and were up by a fair bit last year. So when we go back to the initial start with “Video game retailers have been particularly badly affected by the broader shift away from the high street in recent years, with developers moving to increase their own profit margins selling games as direct downloads“, which we get from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/172c3ba1-e880-35e8-9273-957e325cd7f4?mhq5j=e3).

In this there is debate, yet he part no one touches on is how the expectations were set, what they were weighed on and on the given image that sales were down, which had been an upcoming known for close to 2 quarters of a year. The part that the Financial Times gives us is that direct downloads are playing more of a role nowadays. It actually impacts the industry in 2 ways. Apart from buying directly, the additional issue is that consoles have a premium service; most gamers take that because of online gaming and the fact that both systems offer at least 2 free games a month. Microsoft was initially really bad with that (lousy games or games everyone had), they are still not great, yet this month it includes Lego pirates of the Caribbean, which is actually a nice and decent game (and not a large download in console terms). Sony beats Microsoft here hands down with titles like Until Dawn and Life is Strange. In all this both offer decent free games, with a bonus for Sony people as their account will also enable them to get free games for their Vita handheld, all that for around £50 per year, the premium service sells itself to both consoles without any difficulty. All elements that shows the impact of a bad year of games, not consoles, the overall quality of games gives rise to people deciding to just download an average game instead. The interesting part that even as Ubisoft lagged in a few ways, the one game what was awesome in many ways, ‘For Honor’ actually did not do that well, which is a mixed signal that multiplayer games are wanted, yet without a strong one player side, it tends to not make the cut in a top 10, which would be unfairly devastating on the makers I think. All elements that the analysts in this case should have known and realised and as such, when we see ‘would not meet expectations‘, my question becomes: “the expectations of whom and on what foundations?” Now we get to the part I skipped.

With “The group continues to actively implement its UK action plan, encompassing improved supplier arrangements, enhancements to the customer experience, further operational progress including cost reduction programmes and disciplined cash management” I wonder what we are being served.

  • Did they call short because they did not keep an eye on running costs, what arrangements would be needed with suppliers? Were they not up to scrap?
  • Even more customer experience? Were the current settings and anticipations of the competitor not up to scrap?
  • Disciplined cash management? Is cash not managed correctly?

The feedback we got from Game, directly below the image of a sort of smiley ‘Game CEO Martyn Gibbs on the merits of in-store gaming arenas‘ is one that leaves us with the thoughts that Game is going down because they are not on the ball of the game, and the game is passing them by? So in all this Mike Ashley merely flying in to pick up a bargain? In this he better realise fast that Game has an issue and more than one potential issue in play, he also needs to realise that the Games market is a shifty one and in the years before the publishers see clear to push a bigger load to online sales in the next 5 years (depending on where you live), we better consider that top games is a market in motion and it is likely to see a shift that Microsoft and Adobe made some time ago on PC’s, it is not a change that gamers are currently happy with, but it is one that the next generations of consoles will likely face, the game shop is seen as the middle man and they are trying to cut it out to maximise it for their own need to please whatever stakeholders they report on. It is early days now, but in 5 years it won’t be.

In the aftermath we actually need to look where I normally do not go. It is the Telegraph, in this case the business section, where (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/06/30/game-warns-profits-will-substantially-expectations/) we see the generic parts like “following its third profit warning“, we know that Christmas was weak (to some extent), yet in equality when you consider the previous information, the issue is not entirely just ‘weak Christmas‘, it is merely a much stronger competition to some extent and the fact that the cost of living in metropolitan UK seems to be ignored by analysts and those who speculate on how it would (read: should) be. The issue that is stronger is “The shares nosedived to just 21p on the back of the profit warning, valuing the business at £35.6m only two years after it was floated at 200p a share by US hedge fund Elliott Advisors” as well as “Elliott cashed in £101m at the time of Game’s stock market listing by selling a stake and made a further £59m by dumping a further 10pc of its stake just three months afterwards, despite agreeing to a lock-up period of six months” which now also implies that Game got played and not in such a nice way. Yet the bulk of all the sources do not give any clarity of the part that Elliott Advisors was playing, even the Financial Times steered clear of that part. In this, I am now also questioning the setting as given to Game and its senior management. Even as CNBC is giving the notion that Paul Singer, CEO of Elliott Management is just the best invention since Frozen Yoghurt (if we are to believe places like Forbes, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal), I wonder what price we can see the UK pay for getting played to the extent it is getting by the US Hedge market, in that regard should we allow for any US company coming in under false pretences and flood the market so that they can drain the profit quickly and walk away? It seems to me that they tried that in the Netherlands with Akzo Nobel, which had the great benefit of Elliott Management failing (for now), but it shows the extent that as a shareholder Elliott Management will go to get their profit, it seems to me that Game was not nearly as lucky and the fact that the different levels of publications left that side seemingly in the dark corners of ‘them not printing that part‘ is also upsetting (to me even more upsetting is the part that the Telegraph actually did get that info out). The fact that Game has been seemingly under exploitative attack does not diminish the issues as given by some of the publishers by the quotes, Game got caught out, which under the current size and the possible level of possible losses is a dangerous place to be in.

In all this, I am aware of things, but not as much as a person like Mike Ashley would be, so is this his triumph with Game, should we see this as a mere quick victory to see if he can get more out of this than Paul Singer’s place did, or is it an actual rescue and grow attempt? I am not implying one or the other, but as you see the presented evidence, there are a few issues with Game and I believe as such they were set up as the weak runt in the market, whether this will happen twice in a row is something I have no way of telling and I am not implying anything wrong, immoral or illegal. The entire mess is not completely shown by some players and that is what seems to be the actual issue. I remain in an attempt to be protective of the places that feed my need for gaming and there is a positive in having a diverse and competitive market. It guarantees to some degree I get the best games at the sharpest price, which is what every gamer wants, there is no exceptions to that rule.

 

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About that glass of water

As we see Brexit make the cover pages again, the Guardian gives us ‘UK caves in to EU demand to agree divorce bill before trade talks‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/19/uk-caves-in-to-eu-demand-to-agree-divorce-bill-before-trade-talks). There are a few issues here and it is not on what is decided on. You see “capitulated to key European demands for a phased approach to Brexit talks, agreeing to park discussions on free trade until they have thrashed out the cost of the multibillion-euro UK divorce settlement” is fair enough. It can be debated in several ways, yet in honesty, as we see the issues that the ECB have pushed upon the UK and the payments the UK have made, it can be clearly stated that the 60,000,000,000 Euro a month that Mario Draghi has been dishing out every month will go to the Euro nations MINUS the United Kingdom. If there is a divorce settlement, the impossibility of the ECB petulant child is a spending tantrum the United Kingdom should be set away from, for the mere reason that it is up to the other parents to contain the credit spending spree engaging youngster.

So as the article makes reference to that half-filled glass, let’s take another look at the options.

The optimist is stating that Brexit will only have used 50% of the opportunities. This is debated as we see that not just governments, but banks and financial institutions are all about keeping the EU inclusive and forever growing so that it can be milked more efficiently.

To support this view, from last year (Nov 2016) we got this part: “Rome has argued that the tight fiscal measures are stifling some economies and should be loosened to allow EU members to invest more money in order to boost growth. This stance has set Italy, Greece and other southern European countries on a collision course with Germany and other northern European member states, who have warned that increasing public spending and subsequently, public debt, is a risky proposition for a bloc still suffering the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis“, so as we have seen, these investments have for the most not made any impact. Italy showed a deficit of 2.4% ($45B), France -3.4% ($84B), Spain -4.5% ($55B), Poland -2.4% ($11B), Belgium -2.6% ($12B), Denmark -.9% ($2B), these are merely the annual 2016 numbers. The list goes on and apart form 1-2 none can keep a correct budget, and they have not been able to do so for well over a decade. In addition there is the 60 billion a month EU spending spree. It seems that the opportunities will be limited to banks.

The pessimist states that Brexit comes with 50% additional fees. Part of that was raised by little old me through the overspending of Mario Draghi. The EU has a debt that is now surpassing 12 trillion Euro, which is including the 1.7 trillion of the UK at present, so the UK, one of the 4 large EU economies is merely 14% of that. The other three (Germany, France and Italy) each have a debt almost 50% larger than the UK. These 4 represent 80% of the EU debt. There is no containing this level of irresponsibility, and getting out was from my point of view the best option. The benefit is that the UK could end its austerity in 5-10 years if proper steps are taken. The EU will be in deep debt for a very long time after that and the smaller nations are realising this and that is why they were complaining so loudly (as I personally see it).

The opportunist drank the Brexit cocktail. This is seen in the growing partnerships, the Netherlands has kicked it off by sharing ‘UK and Netherlands sign defence cooperation agreement‘, it increases defence and security when we consider the Ferry services between the two nations, in addition, the countries will also share personnel and work towards a UK-Netherlands Amphibious Force. This should also bring additional opportunities to the Dutch as the have the most modern navy in the world, a military branch an Island like the UK could benefit from. In addition, the overall high levels of technology in the Netherlands would give additional benefits to cyber security operations. GCHQ has skills that the Dutch AIVD would love to get a better grip on, an option that should become available in this defence cooperation (source: http://www.army-technology.com).

The practical politician does not see that Brexit is half good or half bad, he or she puts them together and both are true. Yes, that is one way of looking at it. The issue is not the political view, it is that the view that they offer is on a sliding scale of change, and it always change towards the need of the politician, which is at times nowhere near the recorded metrics. Sean Whelan, the economics correspondent for RTE gives us “The good news is that almost a third of Irish exports to the UK would face no tariff whatsoever. The bad news is those products (and this report is all about products) are almost entirely produced by the foreign multinational sector – in particular, the pharmaceutical industry“, leave that situation to politicians to evolve into personal ‘opportunity’, is in not interesting that we haven’t seen this element before? All the scaremongering and the ‘one benefit’ will be for the large corporations. Is it not weird that only they seem to have a leg up on the benefit range?

So when we talk about the Brexit glass, we get more and more views and more and more pointed news that gives us a scary story. The reality is that in all this, I stumbled on 2 positive developments, directions I pleaded for as early as late 2015. So as we now see the evolution of nations working together, we might get additional proof on the economy.

That part was initially given by City AM, where we see “UK economy will grow by 1.7 per cent this year, faster than the previously forecast expansion of 1.6 per cent, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW)“, which sounds good, yet the UK is not out of the fire. When we also read “Michael Izza, ICAEW chief executive, said: “I would like to see the new government put business and the economy at the top of its agenda, doing more to create a climate of optimism and certainty which will help build confidence“. This is more of the banter we have seen too often, that is given by me in such a statement as the UK has no coffers to invest with. This has been the issue all along, as the previous labour government went all out on spending, we are in a stage of culling these debts, so as we see ‘need for investment’, we better realise that Labour wasted £11.2 billion that went straight down the drain. It will take some time to overcome this in addition to the deficit and the debts. It’s not rocket science and relying on the forecasts as they have been wrong by too much all over Europe, we need to consider which sources to trust. A mere reality of what came before and also a reality as Brexit will have an impact; there was never any denying that. It is just that from my point of view, the UK recovery would be faster outside of, than within the EU. That part has already been shown to some degree, to some mind you, not to the full extent. We can only speculate on that part until Brexit is final.

So no matter how we relate this to a glass, how it is seen. The glass merely is. It is the consequence of long term European injustice. Their convoluted presentation, where big business gets a free pass again and again, not tax accountability of any kind. By allowing the EC gravy trains to be running smooth they also sunk their own options of long term survival.

Yet, the gravy train is ignored. So when I refer to the Times (at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/kinnocks-on-the-brussels-gravy-train-xcxbdkx6r) with reference to June 2016, here we see: “The former Labour leader was responsible for transport and then became a vice-president with responsibility for administrative reform. By the time he left in 2004 Lord Kinnock was earning £163,453 a year alongside a housing allowance and an entertainment budget. He received a payment of nearly £273,000 on leaving office. He has an EU pension thought to be worth more than £60,000 per year alongside the pension he receives for…” and we have not looked at the other 750 members! Still think that I lost my marbles, or are you seeing a spending spree above the 60 billion Euro a month that is too ludicrous to consider?

By trivializing this I am not making it any better, talking about glasses and water, but it aids you to consider that within the European community, the consideration of water can be whatever they want it to be, which means that transparency is pretty much gone. Is that not the first requirement of the European Community? Is Brexit still such a bad idea? This is supported by the Financial Times as they published in May 2017 (at https://www.ft.com/content/7d1eea08-3be8-11e7-ac89-b01cc67cfeec), the article ‘Call for transparency on ECB corporate bond buying‘, now it is important to consider that nothing wrong was done (as far as we can tell), yet when we see ‘MEPs want to dispel any concerns of benefits to small group of favoured companies‘, the question becomes, why was this not done from day 1? The quote “So far, about €75bn of corporate bonds has been bought as part of QE, a small part of the €1.8tn that the ECB has spent overall. Most is spent on bonds issued by Eurozone governments” gives view that it is not a massive amount compared to the complete spending spree, yet €75B is massive, 0.001% of that could secure my financial future, settle my bills have a decent house to live in, so it adds up to a lot, fast! Still the article shows a concern and that is why I went there. The quote “While the actual amounts are not disclosed, the ECB has explained that it buys proportionally to outstanding issues, and market capitalisation provides a weighting.“, yet weighting depends on factors, which factors and how are they applied? Invariable, weighting is done to either ‘regress to the centre’, as a means to present it as an accepted part (by whom is still the question), or to obscure the view of the amount of outliers in the balance of the matter, neither of these is a good thing. In addition, the request “disclose greater detail on this programme’s operating guidelines, in order to explain to citizens how the corporate bonds are being selected“, is a worry as there could be a unbalanced support to corporations with bonds and in addition, the mention “Another request from the MEPs is that other central banks follow the lead of Germany’s Bundesbank in publishing the names of companies with bonds, rather than just the ISIN number, a code used to identify them on the financial markets” gives out that hiding behind an ISIN number gives weight to other issues too. Part of this is in the attached PDF ‘a proceeding under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 54 of the EEA Agreementattached here, where several issues are shown, the quote ‘by requiring European financial firms and data vendors to pay licensing fees for their use‘. So not only is the EC hiding behind these numbers, but there is an additional fee? Well, apparently that was negated to some extent and that agreement ended in 2016, so are there fee’s now, all issues of non-transparency. All these issues chipping away the assumed ‘premise’ towards the ‘validity of existence’ of the EC and even the ECB.

So when we talk about the glass it is not just the size, not about the water that is in it, but the fact that the glass is too opaque in many instances, the fact that some members have known the lack of transparency and in this we see a system that seems to have been intentionally hiding behind non-transparency. If there is one part that proves it, than it is the existence of Grexit and Brexit and more over the time it took for these politicians to give clarity on how proceedings were supposed to go and how the media left the people in the dark on the actual issues. All that, with the confusion we see as the EC seems to be in the dark on how to deal with an exiting nation gives more worries than confidence, because the actions and threats shown is not that of some economic alliance, it is the foundation of some tyranny where the freedom of choice becomes the burden of blackmail, threats and intentional miscommunication.

I’ll let you decide on how much you enjoy being blackmailed and threatened and where the freedom of choice remains in all of that.

Commission decision COMP39.592

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Saturation in Denial

Last week the Guardian published one of the weirder stories. It’s from Lisa O’Carroll and Gwyn Topham with the title ‘Ryanair ‘will have to suspend UK flights’ without early Brexit aviation deal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/06/ryanair-uk-flights-brexit-deal-wto), why do we care?

The subtitle is a little more interesting, but for very different reasons, so when you see ‘Falling back on WTO rules without a bilateral arrangement would be ‘disastrous’, says airline’s finance chief‘, you need to look beyond the claim given.

Why is this funny?

When you see the quote “Ryanair has warned it will have to halt flights from the UK for “weeks or months” if Theresa May does not seal an early bilateral Brexit deal on international aviation“, we need not worry, we can howl with laughter at the implied push for stress, both Lisa O’Carroll and Gwyn Topham should know better! You see, when you go to www.skyscanner.com.au, and I seek a flight from London to Amsterdam, I get flight offered from $198, for a return. Now, the issue is not the price, the issue is that between the 9th and 10th of April, I get offered 1295 results, stretching 130 pages of flights over a period of 24 hours. Now, we can agree that this does not apply for all locations. For example flights to Munich will only give 934 results and Stockholm gives me 981 options. So basically, there are more options to get from London to either Amsterdam, Munich or Stockholm, than there are trains from London to Birmingham! Now, it is a fair call that this place is filled with Ashton Villa fans, so why would you want to go there, but the direct issue is given. When we see the quote “Ryanair’s UK flights were only 2% of its business, said Sorahan“, so why on earth are we wasting time on a non-issue? Especially when the quote “He said: “We could still operate within that 1960s bilateral agreement” which established mutual flying rights between the Netherlands the UK” is found down the line. It is actually Pieter Elbers, the chief executive of Dutch national carrier KLM, who gives us value with: “It’s a worry. The instability and uncertainty is not good for business. However, it’s premature to go into this will or won’t happen“, which is actually right on course. Any action now is just premature for now and this visibility for Michael O’Leary whilst this is 2% of a saturated business is a bit out of whack on the best of days. A small outdated statistic is: “On a typical July day there are around 30,000 flights across European airspace“, 30,000 flights! Now we can agree that in July plenty of people get on a plane for an annual vacation, yet consider that we are talking about 8-12 million people per day (a wild guess in action). So when we consider Ryanair giving us grief over his 2% fleet, he should perhaps take a gander towards other shores?

This all follows with two more quotes “Brexit has already forced other airlines such as EasyJet into moving aircraft to enable continuity of business” and “Sorahan said Ryanair had planned to grow by about 15% in the UK last year but had instead posted growth of about 6%” The first part gives strength to the statement by KLM executive Pieter Elbers, ‘it’s premature‘ which gives us that some executives like those in EasyJet have a bigger grasp on their continuity of a bonus, than a sound approach towards a saturated market. The second one gives us that Ryanair missed its forecast by nearly 10%, so is this really about some Brexit deal, or is this about an airline that missed its target by 10%, from a 2% group. I am even amazed that this is on the radar of Neil Sorahan. When we consider the Financial Times last year, we see (at https://www.ft.com/content/f337fb7f-b4ba-3ad8-b50b-c698dd7a2adb), where we see “Revenue was €6.54bn, up 16 per cent on the year and only a nudge below analysts’s forecasts of €6.55bn” as well as “Ryanair said it expected net income in the current financial year to increase 13 per cent to between €1.38bn and €1.43bn“, which was off by 50%, so as Brexit was not in the referendum at that point, we get a slightly different view. There is no doubt that there will be a few issues in the post-Brexit era, yet to immediately go into ‘panic mode‘ by halting flights seems like an overreaction, especially as there are 1294 alternatives.

Saturation, when you can no longer absorb or dissolve!

Market saturation is a weird point. I remember meetings in the 90’s where I was part of a group of Americans and they were unable to fathom the term ‘market saturation‘, they regarded it as some fictional state of mind. The question becomes, are the airlines in a state of saturation? Now, consider the question how many of the 30,000 flights are actually an issue, especially with the fact that Ryanair has a mere 2% vested in the UK flights? Now we get that we have to look at it from the other side of the table. 10% of its fleet operates from one of 19 UK airports, so we get that there is a possible issue in the future. Now consider that Ryanair is a commercial operation that requires to have profit, which means it needs to keep its cost as low as possible. Which is a fair goal to have and when you are working a low cost range, you are definitely worried on what Brexit will bring, yet at present, it remains a premature act. Still the underlying score remains a valid one, what does a company do in a saturated market? Well, apparently they whine against journalists. OK, that is not really fair! I admit that, but jumping the shark at this point as politicians are still trying to get their bearings in a place where the facilitation of profit is the major taco to content towards, against whatever natural confrontational issue gets in the way.

That was a mouthful, so let me take a moment to set that in its right perspective. The EEC, EU, or EC; whatever name you want to give that bunny, it seems that the bulk of all European governments are focussed on profit in a place that has a stagnating economy. The problem from my point of view is that profit in a stagnating economy tends to limit those pursuing it to a spreadsheet life merely focussing on next quarter. In this economy the essential need will be to set an agenda towards the next 10 years, not the next quarter. The stock market, the speculators and forecasters state. They are setting the tone for panic modes and sour feelings, even as Ryanair is still moving forward. So, even as Ryanair is trying to get a stronger handle on its ‘Always Getting Better‘ programme, it needs to remain flexible to stay afloat (or flying). In this, they will soon feel a pressure going towards dashboards and short term reporting instead of growing a big data collective where they will enable themselves to get ahead of their main competitors. For that they need visionaries, not reactionists. In that Brexit will fuel the need for reactionists in panic mode, whilst the larger players need to do the exact opposite, take the possible hits they might get and after that move forward stronger, because if Brexit is any indication, the European mainland side will be hitting a recession shelf that is not unlike the 2008 events, but will take longer to overcome. In this several parties have been trying to postpose these events, yet the more postponing we see, the larger the effect will be when it hits and the longer it will last.

Again in this side we will see another emerging wave. The wave of saturation will reflect onto corporations and they will give us new waves of redundancies, where the groups of less significance will collapse opening up options for the flexible larger players, when that happens, those who do not have the data collections in place will lose out on several percentage points of margin in their commercial options. The size and scope cannot be predicted, anyone who claims to do so will not be worthy of your time in this. The fact that these systems have been delayed by a large amount of players will set them back and whilst they start fighting to get ‘something’ in place in the 11th hour does not mean that they remain a player, it merely means that they have invested in a system too late. In this I do believe that if we see a serious approach to their ‘Always Getting Better‘ programme, they could have some benefits, yet that can only be stated with any certainty if we compare what their main competitors offer against what is currently in place. Brexit has nothing to do with that, it is optionally pushing some players to up their game, we must accept that there is a reality that some industries will feel the impact of Brexit, the extent cannot be stated and should not be speculated on, the best solution is to be vigilant and see what improvements can be installed to increase the value of their company and the services that they provide. Big data is only one element and it is not a prophet on a pedestal, it is a tool that allows options if the company has certain levels of flexibility, whether that market is saturated or not, focussing on an event that the people want is not productive.

 

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