Wrong Choice of Words; Queen: Under Pressure

In my earlier article on Jerome Powell and the FED, I wrote “when recession hits the US”. Wrong choice of words.  I meant if recession does hit the US in near future or in case of a prolonged global slowdown. EU has been a worry and if forecasts are to be believed, a growth of 1.5% at best and core inflation between 1 to 1.5% leaves real growth hovering close to zero.

Under Pressure is an epic song by one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Queen. Remember We Will Rock You. A song re-sung by so many bands and an ever green crowd favorite around the world.

And Freddie Mercury, not to be confused with the hideous Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street. Its nappy time in India and Freddy might just come in your dreams. Leave you with Under Pressure, one of my all-time favorites. To one of the greatest rock stars of all time, Freddie Mercury. Watch Bohemain Rashbody, the biographical movie on the rock band Queen. Rami Malek, well done.

Swachh Bharat Mission Economic and Social Impact

UNICEF published an interesting analysis of Swachh Bharat Mission. A household living in a fully open defecation free environment saves up to $780 per year i.e. Rs 54,700 as of today. Swachh Bharat Mission has been hugely beneficial to citizens in India and the momentum needs to be maintained. Further, LinkedIn published average savings per household due to GST implementation. The government needs to highlight the economic impact of its policies in India. A small silver lining for the government after the recent debacle in state elections. Time to regroup and think ahead for team Modi.

LinkedIn recently published that India ranks among the top 10 dangerous countries for journalists. This is disturbing.

WTI below $50 per barrel

Great news worldwide. WTI crude oil price is $46.64 per barrel which is great news for keeping inflation in check. Lets keep it below $50.  Shale gas revolution helped a lot in increasing supply and its time to make shale gas extraction more inexpensive and efficient.

Man of the Year: Jerome Powell

2018, Man of the year, goes to the FED chairman Jerome Powell. Sorry, it’s not Bradley Cooper and in fact, I am yet to watch A Star is Born. In spite of unwanted criticism, Jerome Powell is a hero. When he got nominated as FED chief I was a bit skeptical. FED maybe is the only reserve bank which has a history of nominating chairman who does not have a Ph.D. Jerome following Alan Greenspan footsteps does not have one. At the same time, Mr. Powell outshines as a leader for his outstanding vision, tenacity, fortitude, and acumen in guiding the US economy through uncharted waters in 2018. He has been spot on increasing rates to not only stem inflation but also to give space for monetary flexibility once the recession hits the United States in near future. US today has one of the lowest unemployment rates thanks to sustained innovation and prolonged low rates and along with rising wage growth, fueling inflation in the US to 2%. Back it up with a 24% increase in earnings in 350 S&P 500 companies compared to the previous year beating analyst forecast of 20%, according to WSJ. All are telltale signs of an economy heating up due to low lending rates and increased consumer spending. Continuing real negative interest rates would have further fueled asset prices resulting in an imminent collapse fulfilling the doomsday prophecy. Continue reading “Man of the Year: Jerome Powell”

Mary Kom, 10 K, Marathon and Fitness

Mary Kom, “Epic Women” epitomizes fitness in India for both men and women. She is a six times winner of world boxing championship and hails from the northeastern part of India. North East India is undoubtedly the best-kept secret in India with unmatched natural beauty, resources, and absolutely fantastic and fittest people. Soon, the first all-women SWAT force will be inducted into Delhi police force comprising of 36 women constables from the northeast majority of them from Assam. My father was posted in the northeast in India as an officer in Indian armed forces and have had very fond memories of the place.

Continue reading “Mary Kom, 10 K, Marathon and Fitness”

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End of LIBOR…So what is SOFR?

LIBOR, the benchmark rate for trillions of dollars of financial products is going to be phased out. This news escaped my radar until recently and now there are many articles on this subject. One of the benchmark rates being pushed as a substitute is SOFR. So what is SOFR ? 

Paul Allen: Legacy of Eternal Sunshine

Recently, Paul Allen co-founder of Microsoft and founder of philanthropic company Vulcan Inc. passed away. Paul will forever be remembered for this spectacular vision, techno brilliance, and world-beating philanthropic attitude. Known for his affable and colorful personality backed with an invigorating sense of humor, Paul epitomizes American values of exuberance, geekiness and giving. A big fan of Portland Trailblazers, Seattle SeaHawks and Jimmi Hendrix, Paul left an indelible mark in technology, art, sports and philanthropy. Continue reading “Paul Allen: Legacy of Eternal Sunshine”

2018: Tipping Point: Rise of Middle Class

According to a report published by the World Economic Forum (refer to my tweets), 2018 is going to be a huge tipping point.  For the first time since civilization began, more humans are either rich or in the middle-class as opposed to those in poverty or susceptible to poverty).  More than 50 percent of the population will now be classified as those falling in the middle class ( household spending $11-110 per day per person in 2011 PPP)  compared to those in extreme poverty ( per person earning below $1.9 per day). Continue reading “2018: Tipping Point: Rise of Middle Class”

Japan, Bullet Train and India

Many Indians have grown up with the wonder of Bullet Train, a synonym for technology, speed, and comfort. The Japanese are the pioneers of high-speed trains (French close competitors with TGV in Europe) and due credit to Mr. Hideo Shima, the father of the Shinkansen train aka the bullet train. It’s not a pleasant surprise that the Japanese government will be facilitating the development of high-speed rail in India. The public-private partnership model sponsored by Japan offers an extremely generous rate of 0.1% with repayment of 50 years for the yen denominated loan. A huge game changer for India, trains would be operating at speeds between 300 to 350 km per hour. It’s going to save travelling time, increase productivity and over medium term bring down costs of traveling within India especially airfare. India will buy 18 Shinkansen train sets with the first high-speed rail working by 2022 between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Apart from extremely benevolent funding agreement,  there is also  provision of transfer of technology to develop production locally. An article published in Economic Times, states that the economy class will only cost INR 3000 (USD 40) for travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad (508 km). This is one of the best policy initiatives taken by the government and must be given the utmost importance for support for effective implementation. Further high-speed railway network should be implemented nationally along key routes with increased alacrity.  Continue reading “Japan, Bullet Train and India”