It’s not me, it’s always them

Let’s blame Greece for a swoon in Aussie equities.

Now that the Shanghai stockmarket has declined 20%, let’s blame them too.

China is trying to stimulate their economy. Yep, that’s another thing to pick on.

Hang-on, isn’t Australia also cutting rates? Aren’t we in a monetary easing phase too?

Perhaps other countries should blame us for doing something as preposterous as cutting rates and weakening our currency.

When the Chinese equities market doubled in the past year, we should have blamed them too, ‘cause the Aussie market didn’t follow.

Greece’s woes has nothing to do with the decline in the shares of an Australian company such as Boral, Computershare or Alumina.

Australia needs to looks at itself before blaming others for its stockmarket gyrations. It has a high cost labour force, high taxes, internationally uncompetitive manufacturing, higher cost of money and a high cost of living.

Subjectively, our politics of late, hasn’t exactly been clear, stable and welcoming either.

We’ve not had an economic recession for 23 years and we’re still not happy. Always ready to blame somebody else.

Forget the blaming of the other countries. Many of them are performing much better than Australia’s. Our hubris has not prepared us for the reversion that the Australian economy will suffer during the next cycle.

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Can You Smell The Deception & Misdirection

This is a periodical post about things that I see in the financial press, which I tend to interpret differently. When managing investors money, you need analyse the news and not just simply read it because you can’t assume you are getting to the truth.

Firstly, Jakarta warns Australia they are prepared to “clash” over border violations incurred by the Australian Navy. Australia best heed their warnings and wipe that smirk off your face because 300 million Indonesians should send your xenophobic fears into overdrive. I hope our government isn’t pinning all of our defensive hopes on U.S. Marines stationed in Darwin?

But equally Telstra is looking to form a 50/50 venture with Telekom Indonesia. Can David Thodey please be our next foreign minister?

I can’t believe why any company in the world wants to pay that much for a small insignificant business such as Warrnambool Cheese & Butter. Good luck to them.

Panic, Panic – protestors block Bangkok streets and the Thai Prime Minister is suspected of corruption. The Thai stock market has risen 9% in 10 days since this story picked up steam.

Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Group raises $68 million. Now I’m not sure what their raising target was but from a distance, their reputation could have easily raised 4 times that amount. My point is, would-be stockbroking firm geniuses should keep in mind that it’s difficult to raise money from the public.

With 65% domestic market share, Qantas still thinks it plays on an uneven playing field.

Franchisee of Australia’s 370 Burger King stores, Competitive Foods Australia, posts revenue of $1.03 billion for fiscal year 2013 and makes $21.4 million profit. That’s a lot of invoices and money to handle in order to make a 2% net profit margin. Last year, revenue was $935 million and profit was $8 million. Hey Jack, I see that cost cutting program is working?

Australian rail operators (in the Pilbra, Western Australia) are complaining that truckers have got an unfair price advantage when they transport iron ore. If trucking iron ore is cheaper than by rail, then the iron ore giants should then give their competitors access to their railroads. Umm, I didn’t think they would.

Various interviewees in newspapers are wishing for a weaker Australian Dollar. Be careful what you wish for. When you see commodity prices rise, it is usually accompanied by a higher Australian Dollar. In Australia we mainly export commodities, ’cause we don’t manufacture things such as cars, televisions or clothes anymore. So if the AUD remains weaker, we can sell US Dollar denominated commodities and receive a lot of AUD once its converted but it’s also good for overseas money to buy up Australian assets (see Australia is “on sale”).

Australia’s stock market falls due to weak Chinese data. Yup, heard this one before. Just like other brokers who actually ask me if I’m staying up late to watch the U.S. unemployment numbers. It doesn’t really affect the earnings of the shares in the companies that I and my clients own but if you need to justify a movement in the stock market with some sort of news, good luck and be my guest. Please continue to manage your investments on the basis of “jumping at shadows”.

Finally, this week, not a single economist who provided an estimate on the Australia Consumer Price Index reading got it correct and Deutsche Bank posted a “surprise” $1.15 billion quarterly loss.

Whether these professionals continually get their ‘calls” incorrect, can’t make money themselves or continue to pay fines for manipulation & price rigging, yet people still give these investment firms their money to manage.

How To Go From Sinophile to Sinophobia – Ask Australia

A country’s Foreign Affairs  isn’t only about setting policy but you need to understand economics in order to achieve your diplomatic objective.

Having a few politicians who are certified Sinophiles isn’t an automatic pass either.

Unfortunately, politicians and their advisors often aren’t financially literate let alone considered to be business people and because of this, they fail to understand how to deal with other countries over the length of many economic cycles.

In Australia’s case, it was the only large developed economy to survive the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The fact that it has hasn’t posted a year with negative economic growth for 22 years in another anomaly.

Over the past 10 years, Australia’s economy benefitted from China’s appetite for its commodity resources (see China’s stimulus) and we loved them for it but after a while Aussies weren’t happy with what panned out, as the social and financial divide was then blamed on a “Two-Speed” economy.

When a large trading partner saves your economy, you say “Thank You”.

You don’t;

  1. antagonise them by placing U.S. Marines in Darwin and lie about the real reason they are there.
  2. call them dirty polluters (even though you have been one for a 100 years before them)
  3. revile the fact that their students come to Australia to study and “take away places from Aussie students”.
  4. ban their large telecomm networking company from participating in the construction of your own National Broadband Network
  5. obstruct and oppose their companies from buying assets (farms) from a willing seller in a free market enterprise system &
  6. charge their citizens more tax if they choose to buy property in Australia.

Oh Australia, you just don’t get it.

Buy a container of coffee beans

The price of arabica coffee has fallen to 4 year lows. (Are you paying less for your coffee lately?)

While the demand for coffee has remained steady for the past decade, only recently has supply increase, thus explaining the fall in the price of the commodity.

Compare this to the 1,000 cups that each Norwegian or Finn drinks, each year, which is equivalent to about 10 kilograms (kgs) of coffee.

Although Scandinavians love their coffee, the largest coffee market in the world is the United States of America, where it’s averaged that each person consumes 4 kgs per person, each year.

Roasted coffee beans Español: Granos de café t...So where is the upside?

The tea-loving Chinese only drink an average of four cups of coffee, per person, per year.
Just imagine if the Chinese taste buds change as Starbucks and Espresso bars start popping up around the place?

Or perhaps a wider group of Americans increase their coffee intake.
If that story doesn’t pan out, recent studies suggest that drinking coffee can halve the risk of suicide. As mental illness becomes prevalent and should the economy deteriorate again, it’s plausible that drinking more coffee could be added to a doctors prescriptions.

Although that advice won’t help the growing insomniac population, which is a future blog post topic.

So, with prices being low, it’s not a bad idea to go and buy a shipping container full of raw, green Arabica Coffee and keep them for a while.

“Green” coffee beans that are stored in a dry environment can last for up to 10 years.
Furthermore, stored beans are then considered “aged beans”, which over time lower their acidity and increase their body.

Just An Idea!

The numbers say it all

Heard a radio story yesterday that was interviewing a knitwear manufacturer in Melbourne, Australia.
At his factories peak production several year ago, it employed 70 workers and now he employs 20 people.
Why?
To knit and assemble a jumper (sweater for North American readers) in his Australian factory, excluding the cost of the raw material, the cost is between $30 & $35.
In China, the cost of manufacturing the same garment is between $7 and $8, while it’ll cost you a $1 in Cambodia or Bangladesh.
In a globalised world of free trade, it’s difficult to argue against the numbers.
Import Tariffs anyone?

Putting China in context – Part 1

Today, China’s Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index (SHCOMP) is trading at 2,200 which is the same level seen in 2011, 2008 and 2006,

You can buy the Chinese stock market today for the same price that it was 7 years ago.

Furthermore, it’s trading at one-third of its 6,124 point high seen in October 2007 with a Price/Earnings Ratio of 11 and Dividend Yield of 2.3%.

Economists are suggesting that for China to move it’s into next phase of expansion and prosperity, the economy would need to move from bing dominated by manufacturing  into one that is driven by domestic consumption. I think this argument is irrelevant.

Sometimes too much analysis can be counter-productive.

I don’t think pundits were wondering when America was going to morph from its industrial manufacturing roots into a consumer society back in 1910. As The Roaring ’20’s came around, it just happened.

Interestingly, many developed economies now yearn for a return of their manufacturing economy.

Recently, the SHCOMP fell 2% because China only reported GDP growth of 7.7% rather than the consensus expectations of 8%. Analysts then expressed their “disappointment” and promptly wrote reports re-iterating their case for a decline in China’s economics.

Many countries could only wish for the growth that China has.

 

Iron Ore prices rise 33%

Did you know that over the past 6 weeks, the spot price of Iron Ore has risen 33% back to $120 per tonne?

Some investors may not believe this as they are still anchored to the bad news they saw last month with headlines such as ‘Iron Ore Prices Plummet”.

Credit to London’s Financial Times who did report the positive news this week.

source: Bloomberg

 

 

 

 

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