Dr Mahathir as quixotic as Presidents Trump and Xi

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Dr Mahathir fighting rogue windmills – as quixotic as Presidents Trump and Xi.

Hope text pic _may 25,19 mahathir

Reuters reported on 22 May 2019 that China told the world’s main disarmament forum on Wednesday that U.S. foreign policy was destabilizing, baffling and redolent of Don Quixote, the Spanish fictional hero whose misplaced determination leads him on a series of doomed endeavors.

We cannot but help be reminded by Don Quixote, depicted in Cervante’s writing, who was all geared up and belligerently ready to tilt at windmills,” Li said, referring to Spain’s most famous work of literature, a 17th century work by Miguel de Cervantes.“

Don Quixote” is the story of an errant, daydreaming knight and his faithful servant Sancho Panza. The hero attacks windmills, believing them to be giants, making his name a byword for attacking imaginary enemies.

In a fiction biographical novel of short stories, “Uncle Zed’s Trusted Quirk Tales”, both U.S. Trump and China’s Xi are referred as quixotic too. However they are deemed quixotic as they attacked rogue windmills to safeguard national needs.

Dr Mahathir is also thought as quixotic, and presented are some excerpts as follows:

Chapter 1 extracts: Fast forward, the 10 of May 2019 was a reckoning morning for Uncle Zed, as his younger consulting colleagues fondly disguised the lone wolf epithet they depicted for his quixotic personage. Malaysia’s ruling party of sixty years Barisan Nasional (BN) had suffered a gigantic loss to Dr Mahathir’s leadership of the new coalition party Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the 9 May 2018 General Elections.

After a year the euphoria had turned to just hopeful that PH would turn things around in view of financial mismanagement by the scandal-plagued previous government of Najib Razak at the helm. Uncle Zed was given the daunting job to help turn around Golden Airways.

Chapter 4 extracts: Relative to The Good Country Index, are there world economic developments tilted for the future of humanity? A call circa 24 October 2018 for a Marshall Plan for Africa is a prominent instance. The Czech Prime Minister made the suggestion because the European Union wanted to spend more than $11 billion on increasing the number of border officers from 1,500 to 10,000 for stopping illegal migrants particularly from that continent. Can citing world developments help reflect some scriptural guidance in modern times?

Using a wide range of data circa 2015 from the U.N. and other international organizations, each country was given a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it was a net creditor to mankind circa 2015, a burden on the planet, or something in between.

Investment to prod up specific African economies can help deter the poverty stricken populace from seeking greener pastures abroad because most people prefer to stay put in their homeland. Other EU nations like Poland and Hungary also are opened on measures to persuade potential migrants to stay in Africa. In the grand scheme of things nationalistic objectives can also result in a greater good of others – the workings of universal energies at play. Some call them angels, they still constitute spiritual forces from God.

One poignant note of the Islamicity study of Scheherazade S Rehman and Hossein Askari is that most self-declared Islamic countries did not adhere to Islamic principles concerning economic, financial, political, legal, social and governance issues. Very provokingly it questions how man can live the true meaning of Islam. The true parameters are trust, justice, fairness, freedom. People do not lock their doors when they go out and yet no one trespasses the property. If you return a broken egg to the grocer he replaces it without question. People are honest in their dealings irrespective of the value of the transaction.

Their study of 208 countries assessed if they were governed on Islamic principles using criteria such as corruption, human liberties, financial systems, economic opportunity and economic freedom. Malaysia was ranked 38th, the highest among Muslim countries.

Andrej Babis the Czech prime minister had formed his ANO party in 2013 with the promise to end corruption. So does the 2018 new coalition PH government of Malaysia under Dr Mahathir.

The Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Hungary and even Germany are almost on the verge of following the footsteps of neo-fascistic Italians as the rising tide of populism veer to prioritizing each country’s homeland needs. They will fight Brussels’ encroachment and for instance combat illegal migration by making the task of protecting Europe’s borders to respective nation states. The UK must also have a similar policy for its own homeland need.

. . . Australia and New Zealand on 18.11.18 indicated they will jointly fund a US$1.7 billion plan to increase electricity supply from 13% of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) eight million-strong population now to 70% by 2030. Australia is expected to give around A$572 million in development aid to PNG for the 2018-2019 period.

The aid donors could be seeking to counter China’s influence in the strategic Pacific region. During the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (Apec) annual summit in PNG, the opposition leader, Gary Juffa cited Malaysia’s Dr Mahathir scrapping China-linked projects worth hundreds of billions of ringgit by citing affordability issues. He warned that PNG could be unable to cope with Chinese BRI investments debt burdens.

After the Apec summit, Dr Mahathir mentioned to a congregation at Hohola Mosque in PGN about reading and understanding the Quran in your own language. “If you read the Quran, it will teach you what is the way of life for the Muslims. But if you go according to certain interpretations by leaders, then you may not be getting the right message that’s found in the Quran,” Dr Mahathir said. “The Quran should be the final guidance for us. Whenever we fail to understand or whenever we find teachings to be in doubt, go back to the Quran.”

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria not wanting to sign United Nation’s The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration agreement do not contradict our notion of right-wing governments focusing on their own respective homeland priorities. Macron’s European Army now is intrigued with Merkel joining in but Trump’s mocking response “Make France great again!” even surpass our alluring to most EU communities being alienated by any leader bent on Neverland federalism. In our book, the somewhat leader of lost EU commission boys, Macron could now bring the European Union to rue because of his view to possibly even defend against the U.S.

. . . Relative to economic systems and governing communities there must be consideration of the stage of development of any one nation and the circumstances of peace time or deluge of calamities and such. The scriptural principles do not lay out the specifics for a functioning economic system. They provide the broad guidelines for mankind to adhere to and no matter in what century the principles hold true.

The specific strategies and policies would then take consideration of the stage of development of any one nation, as well as current knowledge of the most prudent practices and supporting technology and prevailing financial resources relative to other nations, competing products, logistics leverages or shortcomings. Heaven is for those who are not high-handed – meaning arrogant to the extent of twisting God’s decrees and introducing own decrees to cause corruption on earth.

Obviously if the nation is at war or have just experienced famine or other adversities like financial turmoil, or it lacks expert resources and skilled population it cannot implement an economic framework which works for a more developed nation in peace time.

In a less developed nation where the shadow economy could dwarf the formal GDP the chance of success of good governance could rest with better education to uplift vicious cycle poverty and greater public works to exert direct intervention in fostering more responsible entrepreneurs who are more equitable to their charges. Measures must focus on the breakup of well-oiled circuits among the unscrupulous controlling elite.

There no longer is a need for a UK’s “special partnership” with the European Union and it’s a positive factor development for a reformed world order. Each nation ought to abide only by its own laws and unique homeland needs. Theresa May’s vision for Britain after Brexit now has to be a no-deal Brexit. Germany’s Merkel may try to upset the course by saying that a Brexit deal should be flexible. Where was she when Theresa May made her case on 22.9.17 in Florence? Why bend backwards to comply with Euro zone rulings?

The euro zone direction is an on-going restrain on new world order reform and British Prime Minister Theresa bent on renegotiating by the 29 March 2019 deadline is a dismal development because a no-deal Brexit would be a positive for new world order reform. After all the Czech prime minister would pass emergency legislation to ensure British citizens continued to have the same access to the republic.

Poland getting suspended because of political interference in its legal system; the Greeks pointing out a British no-deal Brexit would leave EU finances £10bn-a-year short and add “increased financial and political instability” to the nation are developments on which the UK politicians ought to leverage in convincing all and sundry that a no-deal Brexit is favorable. UK jobless rate falls to new 43 year-low. The Euro zone June industry output plunges. Macron leadership can look forward to French ports being excluded from European Commission plans for a new shipping route linking Ireland with the Continent post Brexit.

The premise of new world order headwinds in 2019 underscores nations surviving by learning in order to avoid crude madness that history has so far counted. A brighter future of humanity and advancement of the grand scheme of things will be shaped by peculiarly startling efforts of real action of world leaders as they balance their duty to their own citizens with their responsibility to the wider world.

. . . Dr Mahathir official visit to China in mid-August 2018 was to place his own affinity with China correctly when he clarified the burden of Chinese-backed projects initiated by the previous government. The construction of the East Coast Railway Line (ECRL) and the Suria Strategic Energy Resources (SSER) pipeline project were thought to be perverted. There was no suspicion that Beijing did not act in good faith thus things ought to be sorted out. China’s support for Malaysia’s palm oil would help and a bilateral trade payment in ringgit and yuan agreement will upend new Chinese direct investments.

Following the revival of ECRL and Dr Mahathir’s bilateral talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang in the 25-27 April 2019 One Belt, One Road summit China will purchase more palm oil from Malaysia to meet good demand from its 1.4 billion population. Malaysia exported 3.07 million tonnes of palm oil and palm products with a total value of RM8.38 billion to China in 2018. This was 7.3% more than 2.86 million tonnes of palm oil in 2017.

. . . Realpolitik in Malaysia in 2019 continued with race, religion and royalty issues. Indeed not being cozy on the dais Dr Mahathir, Malaysia’s Prime Minister expressed his thoughts on governance: “The world does not live on religion and race alone. This is illogical and emotional. This government does not understand the need to accept global standards on humanity and human rights. The country will soon find itself alone, yet it wants to trade and build diplomacy. The government should not be cowed by threats, and focus instead on the opportunity to earn international standing and respect. Unless they intend to commit serious crimes against humanity, genocide or war crimes, I do not see why any country should be afraid of the Rome Statute.”

Pundits voicing against the newly elected Harapan government’s fluidity of tactics in giving in so easily: “Disappointed is an understatement. This government is nothing more than a circus. Mahathir, just don’t ever ratify any international treaty as whatever treaty it will somehow affect the monarch, Malay rights and the sanctity of Islam in ‘Bolehland’.

. . . All in all for Dr Mahathir symmetry is more attractive to not sticking your necks out. In April 2019 He repeated what he had said in 1985 about the Raja-Raja Melayu. Granting Rulers absolute power may lead to them advancing their personal interests instead of their states. He highlighted the times the Malay Rulers ceded states to the British and the “selling off” of Singapore to the British. “This is what happens if we give absolute power to the rulers. They may put their own interests before their states’. It is to save the rakyat — for the rakyat to choose their own representatives, who can be voted out (of power) if they do not perform.” He also criticized the Malay feudal mindset that believed the Malay Rulers could not be questioned even if they made mistakes or violated rule of law. “Are we willing for this to continue? The rakyat is afraid of not serving the rulers, and when the rulers act beyond the constitution, it is the rakyat who become the victims. “This is the problem we have now. If we are willing to lose democracy and the parliamentary system, then let’s stop having elections.”

With regards to the Rome Statute Dr Mahathir had concluded in March 2019 that the Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail was entitled to his own opinion on the Rome Statute. “He is not an elected representative. He only speaks for himself.”

Chapter 5 extracts: The Islamic State had a puritanical vision of Islam which even threatened the nation which millions of Muslims make pilgrimage every year. Any pictorial representation or shrine was considered as revering something other than Allah. A Mosul resident proudly said after Islamic State took control there was no corruption and knowing the right people and pulling strings was eliminated. Radicalized youths and the jobless citizens were convinced they were on the right track.

Thus the Dr Mahathir focus on Malaysia socio-economic imbalances is meritorious. On 19 October 2018 the World Bank’s country manager for Malaysia opinionated “we were quite happy when we heard the speech” on the 11th Malaysia Plan mid-term review, which placed emphasis on social protection.

The face of a leader radiates from the bliss of submission and he or she is akin to a field crop which puts forth its shoot so well that it swells up and grows thick enough to stand straight on its stalk in the way farmers admire, so that unscrupulous folks are exasperated. Note that those who repent merely repenting with their tongues get them nowhere. There must acts of practical righteous deeds.

Anyone whose evil actions seem very alluring has gone astray. Some have taken as their god their vain desires because they want to hold on to their prejudices; or that their king or prophet is the greatest or that their race and religious sect is the best. Instead you should humble yourself and focus on virtuousness.

The orderly way of life (central message of the scriptures) would manifest in existence of various centers catering to charity, care of the aged and orphans, public shelters or health clinics, and such instead of superficial boastful proclamation of having more chapels, temples, mosques and other ‘holy sites’ in every district.

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Connecting with noble truths

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Joyous Wesak Day folks

 

Hope feature image_May 19,19

Realpolitik in Malaysia in 2019 continued with race, religion and royalty issues. Indeed not being cozy on the dais Dr Mahathir, Malaysia’s Prime Minister expressed his thoughts on governance: “The world does not live on religion and race alone. This is illogical and emotional. This government does not understand the need to accept global standards on humanity and human rights. The country will soon find itself alone, yet it wants to trade and build diplomacy. The government should not be cowed by threats, and focus instead on the opportunity to earn international standing and respect. Unless they intend to commit serious crimes against humanity, genocide or war crimes, I do not see why any country should be afraid of the Rome Statute.”

Hope paragraph break image

The Creed of Abraham acknowledges that even the billions of stars in the sky submit to the ordained workings etched with creation and they move in tandem with the ever expanding borders of the universe. Man too must submit to be in line with God’’s wondrous creation. The Almighty does not need you to bow and worship – these are mere cravings of egoist rulers and it is their misplaced arrogance that they crystallize the notion of worshiping God.

To reach this state of realization it’s helpful to understand that God permeates the whole universe while we merely exist even while we are alive on Earth and that God’s established constant laws apply. A true follower of the Creed of Abraham knows by observing that each created thing has its unique form and nature – creatures and plants function instinctively or are governed by their natural inclination for growth and survival. Hence firstly observe Mother Nature. Whether we experience momentary happiness or grief our surrounding nature remains true to form.

The corollary is that suffering for man is caused by his attraction to objects of desire which is destructible. We need to focus on oneself to begin the path of moderation by avoiding the pull of passions and ignore grief. With noble intent one dispenses aspirations for bigger businesses and branded cars; luxurious abode and many children; hoarded money, elegant clothes and fine jewelry; exquisite meals and sensual relationships – all are outcome of pure vanity and extreme desires or because of greed and pride. The focus then is on upright conduct based on truth.

The above prognosis is the culmination of Zed’s enigmatic quest for an “Idiot’s Guidebook on God’s sanctioned system or ‘way of life’ for mankind to seek out truth through better understanding of the scriptures, which involves perusing various translations, clarifications and opinions.

The tree and and each leaf is part of nature. Water as the universal solvent even rejuvenates its pure properties as rain to sustain varied vegetation, The Earth is well spread out with valleys and paths for travel. Thus creation and nature together is a wonder and not an outcome of evolution. Life on earth for man is impermanence – the first noble truth.

It was only after experiencing diffusion and anguish because of grief, loss of prosperity and experiencing even hunger and ill heath that Zed became enlightened. It smacked off the Buddha’s advice to fall back on direct knowledge from one’s own experience. The Buddha told the Kalama people not to believe religious teachings just because they were claimed to be true by various sources. He urged that direct knowledge from one’s own experience should be called upon. He counseled that most of the words of the wise should be heeded but to question if any teachings can reduce suffering or is conducive to happiness.

Anything in excess even happiness gives birth to sorrow, thus the middle path to attain divine bliss because you will then see things as they are.

Suffering (Buddha’s second noble truth) is universal and will always be there, ignore grief at all cost, live for the moment without regards to the past and any worries of the future be it even sorrow due to disease. Ignorance ushers grief, misunderstanding, worries, greed, anger, pride, selfishness, envy and fear. Buddha’s disciples have shaved heads, a metaphor of being rid off pride. Divine spiritual knowledge wipes out the dual nature of illusion to ensue acceptance and happiness.

Man sees as he wishes to see and if your eyes want to see only darkness you miss out on the beauty of nature. The world is beautiful, do not see your sorrows and be deluded. You will become merciful and rid off the darkness in the inner self. Suffering will always exist and nature remains beautiful no matter our personal circumstances.

The goal is become one with the universe and not be deluded. Rituals, offers of sacrifice, penance, pretense and ego build a wall of illusion. Do not be confined in the wall and you need to break free with your good character (not necessary to be monks) – not on the basis wealth, race, caste or sex. Getting a desire makes us feel we can be satisfied – just a piped dream. You must turn to your inner self otherwise there will be emptiness even after fulfilling all desires. What is indestructible is staying away from worldly desires – be quiet and calm. Nature is constant and does not change with your circumstances. Your outlook must change for any inner-self salvation and serenity. Divine joy transcends happiness and grief. Eclipsing the ego is Buddha’s third noble truth.

The Buddha’s eight-fold path envelopes right view, right resolve, right speech, right effort, right action, right mindfulness, right concentration, right livelihood. Be dharma personified or go to dharma for refuge starting with being truthful, always and all ways. This represents Buddha’s fourth noble truth. The nature of reality begets right behavior and an equitable social order.

You can grow tired of your dreams. Thus arrogance begone. Seek refuge with the Lord, ever cherishing mankind and shoo away the mischief of the whisperer which is within us. Only in this manner will one be able to live peacefully by adopting the middle path, avoiding extreme of happiness and wanton grief – fighting off the pull of passions.

Everyone is tested and needs to take the challenge to promote God’s words and to deliver good news to those who do deeds of righteousness. Everyone will go through tests to discover truth. The diffusion and anguish are a prelude to God’s mercy of opening oneself to Submission. Take the challenge to spread God’s guidance and be humble to discover the truth – once it is known it must not be concealed.

Remember you need to forsake the wayward ways in regard of property through the commitment (In the Arabic liturgical readings: ‘asalatuka’) to the ordained “way of life”. Can prayer enjoin a person to forsake his or her wayward ways in this context? Diffusion and anguish elements are part and parcel of the order of life. But you must be steadfast and be effective in promoting right conduct to attain tranquility on earth.

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Parodying renditions of precepts and principles of the Creed of Abraham, which is akin to the liturgical readings with hymns and extracts used in unorthodox sacred Christian and Jewish services was deciphered for a simple reference listing of noble values by Zed. His goal was to garner a seamless understanding of the core message of all scriptures. He considered the Arabic liturgical readings to be a seal and conclusive rendering of divine rules and customs – which ones are true and what are not.

The pull of passions must be fiercely fought off. Note again that ritual prayers and worship are the way of life of followers of religions to have a sense of satisfaction that they have discharged their obligations to God when what is really required of them is that they discharge their commitments among fellow humans and themselves.

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God Bless.

Outlier economic and global outlook #1, Part 1

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As at 21 March 2019, economic conditions around the globe are steadily getting worse.

In the United States international revenue has spiraled down due to declining exchange rates and the negative effects of the ongoing trade wars. Pundits M (maverick economic watchers) see slowing international macroeconomic conditions and weaker global trade growth trends continue. The year-over-year decline in FedEx Express international revenue and China’s industrial output and retail sales softening with a jump in unemployment are worrying case examples.

Will the US-China trade negotiations put a floor under it? China is likely to avoid quantitative easing and massive deficit spending. Germany cannot hide the daunting external risks. Turkey entered its first recession in a decade. U.S. manufacturing output was down for the second straight month in February. Freight volumes dropped for three months in a row. Class-8 freight trucks were down 58% from a year ago. Residential construction spending plunged for the six month in a row.

The economy pundits point to low prices for corn, soybeans, milk and beef. In the 12-month period ending in June 2018, more than 80 farms filed for bankruptcy – doubling the number over the same period in 2013 and 2014. Now record floods devastating a wide swath of the farm belt across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and some neighboring states. First estimates of lost crops and livestock are approaching $1 billion in Nebraska alone. With their stockpiles of grain gone, the one thing that can stand between them and financial ruin farmers have also lost their livestock as a result of the devastating floods.

Global economic conditions continues to deteriorate and in particular the global financial system is vulnerable as .global debt-to-GDP ratios have risen to 231% compared with 208% in June 2018. The U.S. FedEx bleak outlook for the economic future is a very ominous sign as an economic downturn at this time could ultimately set off a very disturbing chain of events.

Industrial production on a year-over-year basis in Europe has fallen for three months in a row. Pundits C (conforming economic watchers) leading economic indicators also took a dramatic turn south. U.S. stock market valuations (SP500 using fourth quarter 2018 data) warms that over 60% of available term-spreads have inverted – meaning valuations are beginning to get close to sounding the alarm. All measuring of pick-ups and decelerations in economic growth are now in negative territory.

Nonetheless the net worth of the American household grows virtually every single quarter year over year. It typically coincides with economic trouble during rare periods when it doesn’t expan and contraction in net worth has always indicated an economic recession was imminent. A more than a 4% decline in sequential quarters is a warning. It is importance that the U.S. stock market remains above the fourth quarter 2018 low in the near term to avoid risk of entering an overall wealth contraction. The current slowing rate of asset growth to +0.8% require a deeper wealth contraction below zero to have the same meaning as in past recessions.

Let’s note that the main components of net worth are real estate and investments. Contracting individual net worth is due primarily to depreciating home values and or stock market declines. The 2000 to 2001 tech bubble implosion home values continued to climb at a double digit pace registering only a modest overall net worth contraction whereas the stock market fell nearly 50%. The most significant wealth contraction since the Great Depression occurred in 2008 with stock market capitulation but was greatly exacerbated by the rare collapse in real estate of 34%. Only if the U.S. stock market end a quarter in 2019 beneath its nadir of the fourth quarter 2018 will there be a wealth panic coinciding with a contracting U.S. economy. The stock market in March 2019 so far is right back to the highs of 2019 is impressive, as if the market is becoming certain there will be a China trade deal. Any net worth issue for 2019 will not be a headwind and possibly and green shoots for a new global expansion can be heralded.

Only if China fail to offer a sufficient solution that risks triggering a severe escalation of the trade crisis. A policy misstep by Trump and Xi could lead to at least a modest contraction in our GDP and household wealth. Then the topic de jour will be declines in gross exports and Pundits M trajectory of weak global macroeconomic conditions will take hold.

Pundits Y (mainstream orthodox economic watchers) note that the Federal Reserve will remain the top holder of U.S. Treasuries for the foreseeable future after the central bank said it would stop shrinking its $4 trillion balance sheet by the end of September. Its balance sheet was less than a quarter of its current size and consisted almost entirely of Treasury securities before the financial crisis of late 2007. The Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) bought a mix of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from the end of 2008 to late 2014 (six years) resulting in its balance sheet mushrooming nearly five-fold due fostering an economic recovery.

Treasuries now account for 55% of the assets on the Fed’s balance sheet. MBS is about 40%. Other assets include gold. Some securities range in maturity from 1-month bills to 30-year bonds. Before the financial crisis the Fed’s preference was for short-term securities such as T-bills, which mature in a year or less. In addition notes maturing between five and 10 years accounted for just 7% of the Fed’s Treasury holdings. The longest-term securities which matured in 10 years or more were around 10% of its portfolio.

By early 2013 the five-to-10 year sector shot up to as much as 52% as the Fed was making a concerted effort to lengthen its maturity profile to pressure long-term bond yields lower and boost the housing market. The longest-dated bonds grew to account for 25% and its holding of T-bills dropped to near zero. Today the Fed’s five-to-10 year paper is about 11% and its holdings of long-dated bonds has risen to nearly 30%.

It’s a piped dream that overall balance sheet can shrink a bit more relative to the U.S. economy. It was roughly 25% of annual U.S. economic output at its peak compared with around 6% before the crisis. As a percentage of nominal gross domestic output, the balance sheet today is just 20% of the $21 trillion U.S. economy. The Fed’s goal is about 17% and then growing the portfolio at a pace to maintain that balance sheet-to-GDP ratio over the long term. All of this is happening at a time when the US economy is close to full employment and the Fed has a 2% inflation goal.

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Bond prices rose sharply on 20.3.19 after the Fed forecast slower economic growth. The policy to stop shrinking its bond portfolio in September should hold down long-term interest rates. Bond yields touched the lowest level in more than a year. The Nasdaq edged up 5 points ( 0.1%) to 7,728 but the S&P 500 fell 8 points (0.3%) to 2,824. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 141 points (0.5%) to 25,745. As the outlook for higher rates dimmed prices of banks fell. Incidentally the Dow was weighted by Boeing shares which for instance on 11.3.19 wiped nearly $16 billion off Boeing’s market value, marking an abrupt reversal for a stock that had been the runaway top performer of 2019.

Bottom-line outcome was a rainbow fire as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 2.53%. This was comparatively positive as the US 10-year Treasury notes on 12.3.19 was 2.65% and two-year yield was at 2.49%.

Now the Fed’s target range currently was 2.25% to 2.50% whereas the “effective” federal funds rate on 20.3.19 was 2.41% which was above the 2.40% interest rate (IOER) the U.S. central bank currently pays on the excess reserves that banks leave with it.

To understand what was troubling we understand that the rise in the average cost for U.S. banks to borrow excess reserves from each other overnight (known as federal funds) or “effective” federal funds rate could be due to the plan to halt the shrinkage of the U.S. central bank’s bond holdings. If the effective rate increases further there would alarm about the central bank’s effectiveness in controlling short-term rates.

In 2018, the Fed adjusted the IOER twice in an effort to keep the effective fed funds rate in the middle of its target range. Pundits Y recalled that in 2018 yields on 10-year Treasury paper held at 3.24% at one stage, near a seven-year top.

Rising treasury yields tend to dampen stocks and threaten the economic outlook, thus putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to go slow on policy tightening. Although tailwind from increased trade friction did not lead to any morphing into a recession the Dow dropped 92 points on 17.9.18 when the 10-year U.S. Treasury note was above 3%. The alarm bells were not sounded although it reached 3.05% because the then strong dollar kept inflation in check.

At end of November 2018 the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell turned dovish albeit without political reference. Treasuries rallied hard to down 10-year yields at 2.99%. It appeared that the Fed’s perception of strong economy might not be as solid. The gap in interest rates between 2-year and 10-year Treasury securities dipped to 0.15% point. The spread between the 3-year and 5-year notes dropped to negative 0.01 percentage point on 3.12.18, the first time that had happened since 2007. For gauging recession risk and weighing investor doubt about the future, an inversion of the yield curve is significant because it has preceded past recessions.

If underlying economies were linked with stocks the spillover effect of deflated wealth was enormous because only the U.S. and Japan were clearly in positive territory in respect of stocks performance. In any scenario there was a need to see continued rise in business investment otherwise even the boom of U.S. companies current earnings would subside.

Outlier economic and global outlook #1, Part 2

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More tales of 2018 world developments

A first week December report had the U.S. global trade deficit in October jumped to a 10-year high and that the deficit with China surged 7.1% to a record $43.1 billion. U.S. cash aid to farmers hit by China tariffs was about $12 billion. Together with the Administration’s tax cuts and the Fed’s balance sheet bond reduction of $50 billion per month, shortage of dollars in the market meant that the U.S. Treasury would print more dollars.

For mainstream watchers who noted that China’s ownership of U.S. bonds, bills and notes was reduced by $10 million from $1.18 trillion in June 2018 – it’ was less than 1% but let’s connect the dots pertaining to the onset of world order reform. Dumping U.S debt by China would be at a steady pace albeit slow because of the risk exposure of their trillion dollar holdings.

The 2018 inflationary pressures of higher crude oil prices would push affected third world nations to purchase oil on the Shanghai and Hong Kong markets where China’s petro-yuan thrust would then move to the forefront. Nymex crude oil had increased by $4 to above $72 per barrel which was a 5% hit. The petro-yuan thrust would hamper the western economies central banks liquidity drains and a new world order currency would no longer be free from a gold peg. On the horizon was the Fed shrinking its balance sheet, meaning the bonds they were selling were sucking dollars out of the economy. Some emerging markets using their dollar reserves to prop up their own currencies and economies would lead to a ponzi scheme because borrowing money just to pay back old debts meant that.

Foreigners cannot buy more U.S. debt due to shortage of dollars in the market so the Fed will monetize the U.S. Treasury and outstanding debts by just printing more dollars, meaning deflating all outstanding debts – the greatest ponzi scheme. How else will the U.S. Treasury be able to get the funding they need to run the biggest deficits since the Great Financial Recession of 2008, partly also due to Trump’s tax cuts.

The first week of March 2019 saw European Central Bank Chairman Mario Draghi announcing a new long-term lending facility for European banks and promising not to raise interest rates for the next year. Equities subsequently plunged with European banks, autos and basic resources performing worst. Negative short-term interest rates in the past four years were doing more harm than good and the ECB was out of ammunition. Negative interest rates suck deposits out of the banking system, reducing bank profitability. Negative interest rates also forces Germans to increase savings at the expense of consumption, which depresses economic activity.

Hence the Euro zone planned roller coaster quantitative easing rides will become painful options. A reformed world order in global reserve currency could finally take place with China’s nuclear option of dumping U.S. debt. The Chinese leveraging on its petro-yuan agenda would spare all parties the cost of exchanging dollars in the oil trade. Again, in due course some traders instead of holding surplus assets in yuan would freely convert them to gold at China’s exchange markets.

The prevailing October 2018 macro-economic scenario was China’s September exports of 14.5% increase from a year earlier. In spite of escalating trade tensions the weaker renminbi contributed to China’s $34 billion surplus with the U.S. This surpassed the record of $31 billion in August. Tariffs imposed on $250 billion of exports to the US was mitigated by the Yuan depreciation of about 6% against the dollar.

Although the Shanghai Composite Index had touched a nearly four-year low China’s GDP of 6.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier was only slightly down from the 6.7% pace in the previous quarter. China had set a GDP growth target of around 6.5% for 2018 compared with 6.9% economy expansion the previous year. Jump in exports of electrical machinery – the biggest export item from China to the U.S was a sign exporters might have pushed out shipments ahead of implementation of the latest tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports. Downside risk could be expected in the fourth quarter.

Many nations like present day China, a previously staunch socialist country tilted to Maoism succumbed in modern times to housing and commercial real estate bubbles in matters of economics and governing communities. In the light of a Britain-Germany Brexit negotiations stand off after June 2017 what were some new developments?

Since 2013 Deng’s domestic political strategy had been replaced with neo-Maoism and neo-Stalinism with regard to realpolitik. Hard to eradicate, the personality cult of the dominant leader had been revived. At the 19th communist party congress Xi set himself up for open-ended rule with the abolition of presidential term limit. There was no designated successor and selective anti-corruption campaign had shattered the personal security pact among the ruling elites. In China’s one-party state any lethal threat to the CCP upended the delicate balance of power at the apex of the regime. Official ideological orthodox had altered to a personality cult of lackey second echelon leaders blindly carrying out earmarked policies.

Xi’s signature foreign policy initiatives of the $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), strategic partnership with Russia and South China Sea intrusions were viewed as confrontational. The United States agnostic viewpoint then changed as China became a threat to its global leadership. With a perception that Trump’s resolute trade war was on the cards many of China’s elite turned to Deng’s forty year ago way forward insightful questioning of “Why have America’s friends grown rich but its enemies have grown poor?”

As at mid August 2018, some pundits did not perceive it in that light. Those who mind did not matter. Those who matter did not mind. How practical it was to be liked by some, not all was Trump’s motivation. The “Trump-Xi friendship” in resolving trade war tit-for-tat measures and threats would be called upon when needed. The prevailing trade war escalation deflected and was working in the U.S. realpolitik lifting of China’s ZTE sanctions – not withstanding whether it was a quid pro quo or anything else.

The greenback was trading near a 13-month high and the U.S. GDP surged at a 4.1% annualized rate in the April-June period. The Dow was once again above 25,000 points and Asian stocks recent slide turned northwards on news of a late August US-China trade talks. Some would see China’s Sinopec offering to take up the surge in shale oil production unlike in May when constraints were imminent. In spite of China’s threat of an anti-dumping probe into U.S. sorghum imports the buying for animal feed had not dampened and even corn imports from the U.S had risen to one of highest levels in the past decade.

Venezuela’s plan to raise crude oil production and Iran turning more to China as the world’s largest importer of crude most certainly would see the Chinese leveraging on its petro-yuan agenda, henceforth sparing all parties the cost of exchanging dollars in the oil trade. The sellers would be able to convert renminbi into gold should they not take up Chinese goods or there be a comparative deterioration in the currency. A reformed world order in global reserve currency could finally take place and freely be convertible to gold.

The increase use of the renminbi in global financial trade would support the yuan vis-a-vis the mighty dollar. Strengthening of the yuan of course would deflect any suspicion of currency manipulation in the matter of ever growing US trade deficit with China.

Outlier economic and global outlook #1, Part 3

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Outlier #1, p3 text pic

Extraordinary efforts by the U.S. Federal Reserve to foster an economic recovery from the financial crisis through asset purchases and rock-bottom interest rates have provided essential support for the market during its 10 year bull run. The S&P 500’s post-crisis low close was 676 points on March 9, 2009. On 9.3.19 the benchmark index closed at 2,743, down 2% for the week but represented a quadrupling of the 9.3.09 value – a handsome windfall for a savvy investor.

Sweeping corporate tax cuts passed by President Donald Trump fueled market gains for much of 2018 before a steep sell-off starting in September raised fears the bull run was coming to the end. The S&P 500 has turned in a handsome annualized return of 15%, with the consumer discretionary and information technology indexes each up about 20% annually.

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The Brexit Quadrum

The UK economy after Brexit will prosper. It is hauntingly a services sector nation, not one that over depends on manufacturing exports. Malaysia’s GDP growth of more than 5% per annum is within reach of the United Kingdom. Inflation due to rising crude oil prices hit many countries but the US and UK are not badly affected because of their strong currencies. Once out of the euro zone food imports need to be mostly sourced elsewhere. Even currently the UK exports to the rest of the world have gown by 2.5% per year versus 1.5% per year to Europe.

UK jobless rate falls to new 43 year-low. The Euro zone June industry output plunges. Macron’s hollow 2017 election victory (France’s loss) now can look forward to French ports being excluded from European Commission plans for a new shipping route linking Ireland with the Continent post Brexit.

Italy and France budget deficits trajectory will exceed the EU commission’s guidelines and a no-deal Brexit will leave a giant size financial hole in the commission’s coffers. In August last year Greece warned it will need more financial aid from Brussels in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario as the financial fallout could leave the country facing increased financial and political instability if there was a shortfall in the EU budget up to 2020. With a £10bn-a-year black hole in EU finances any Euro zone planned roller coaster quantitative easing rides will be painful options.

Leaving the EU without a deal on March 29 might bring some short-term instability but in the longer term it would allow the United Kingdom to thrive through forging beneficial trade deals across the world. Commonwealth New Zealand and Australia will be prominent for dairy products for instance to mitigate anticipated food imports.

Household consumption of the UK is a high 66% of GDP and job opportunities in the service sectors will be resilient, with tourism and banking enabling the job market to hold. A crash in house prices is unlikely as the UK will continue to see wealthy folks of third world countries drawn to it, thus people in the UK will keep on spending. This augers well for the UK since there is greater resilience to any likelihood of a global downturn.

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An outlier Malaysian economic outlook

The Foreign direct investment into Malaysia increased to MYR 3.95 billion in the third quarter of 2018 compared to MYR 2.84 billion in the previous period. This bodes well for the government three-year period to improve the economy because there must be continued rise in business investment.

Brent crude oil prices holding above $75 per barrel is a blessing for Malaysia. More important is that higher prevailing oil price has contributed to palm based bio-diesel spread over palm oil to hit US$219 per tonne in early October 2018. It would be a badly needed growth engine in a scenario of weaker palm oil prices. Malaysia’s 720,410 tonnes of bio-diesel production in 2017 could reach 1.2 million tonnes in 2019. Its export could double the 235,291 tonnes in 2017.

In Malaysia although Brent crude price is currently below $70 per barrel, a B10 program will increase local consumption of palm oil and help reduce surplus in the global market. A new rule will come into full force from February 2019 to phase in the B10 biodiesel mandate on truck manufacturers such as Scania and bus manufacturers assuring engine warranty extension with usage of B10 in Malaysia.

The inflection point will set in with the ability of companies to service their debts. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) must be greater than their interest expense. China might be in dire stance here if not for the nation’s high currency reserves. With higher crude oil price inflation worsens most countries economic situations. Malaysia of course is stabilized by Brent crude above $70 per barrel and its currency depreciation against the dollar is comparatively much better off than China and Indonesia. The Malaysian government’s ¥200 billion (RM7.34 billion) 10-year Samurai bond issuance of March 2019 is a brilliant move in attracting foreign investors to Malaysia. The coupon rate was estimated to be at 0.65% but Malaysia managed to lower it to 0.63% per annum.

Dr Mahathir official visit to China in mid-August 2018 was to place his own affinity with China correctly when he clarified the burden of Chinese-backed projects initiated by the previous government. The construction of the East Coast Railway Line (ECRL) and the Suria Strategic Energy Resources (SSER) pipeline project were thought to be perverted. There was no suspicion that Beijing did not act in good faith thus things ought to be sorted out. China’s support for Malaysia’s palm oil would help and a bilateral trade payment in ringgit and yuan agreement will upend new Chinese direct investments.

Outlier economic and bespoke investing outlook #29

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Besp 29 text pic _mar 6,19

Keeping just 1 gram in cimb gold investment account after liquidating on 27.2.19 our cum loss of MYR181.46 is 9% of hold money MYR2000.

Taking world gold price to be USD1287.03, it is 5.6% higher than the base of 22.11.16. The EP of MYR171.26 is almost 3% lower than base.

The Outlier economic and bespoke investing outlook page of my blog Hope Tribute Malaysia stated that in 2011 my hold money was MYR9,000. So what was the R.O.I. on the hold money? A measly 19.4% p.a. was one outcome.

In gold investment article 2 we had reiterated we plucked from the prudent-tinged air MYR9,000 as the hold money. If you are one of those who do not blink with daily MYR100 pittance on family meals alone multiply that sum by 5 or 10 times. Remember this is in context of “Losing it all should not disrupt your lifestyle or family responsibilities”. Being prudent is imperative if our viewpoint is that strictly embarking in speculation is not noble but humans are such that a little of “evil on the side” oils the mechanics of raising needed capital by enterprises as one of the factors of economics supply and nurturing innovation in the grand scheme of things.

So having a loss of MYR181.46 of hold money MYR2000 is far from losing our shirts. But for those who had 10 times the hold money a 10% loss on MYR20,000 can be significant to a small time investor.

We really have to go back to 25.4.18 re Bespoke Investing feature #22 to assess our patience in sitting it out when we stated that relative to our world gold price of $1350 upward bias price threshold level, the second week of April 2018 recorded a brief price surge touching $1363 on 11.4.18 and $1364 on 12.4.18 as US stocks futures were down on Syria tensions.

Thus we are now packing it up in relation to gold investing. The EP value (MYR equivalent price per gram) has not been any higher than base of MYR176.65.

Outlier economic and bespoke investing outlook #28

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The Hope Tribute Malaysia post “Outlier economic and bespoke investing outlook #27” of 4.12.18 is referred.

Compared with the 4.12.18 scenario the Ringgit strengthened against the greenback at 4.1310, thus although the world gold price against base has increased by 8.4% the local gold price is still below base MYR175.72. The EP is 0.7% lower than base.

Outlier #28 EP value_feb 18,19

The pending cash out quote spread is now MYR6.00 at MYR169.10 (cimb gold acct), indeed above our last purchase cost of MYR166 meaning increasing our gold holdings on 12.10.18 and 28.11.18 are vindicated.

Because world gold price has risen with the weakening greenback, a $1350 price threshold.appear to be more prudent for the next legs up precious gold investing because we want a EP above base cushion.

U.S – China trade talks are in order and since end of November 2018 the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell remained dovish. Briexit developments appear to be going our way and France’s yellow vest protests are in their 14th week, which underscores our attachment with George Soros’ 17 February 2019 inkling of the European conglomerate of countries is “sleepwalking into oblivion”.

Update 1 March 2019

World gold price closed higher on 18.2.19 and local gold price on 20.2.19 was 1% higher than base. The EP of MYR 177.70 was 0.5% higher. You have to go back to 9 June 2017 (post Britain 8/6 elections) when the EP was 178.09 at one stage on world gold price of USD1279 and forex MYR4.3310 to the dollar. Local gold price was MYR178.20 per gram.

Hope outlier EP feb 22c,19

The Dow closed 26,031 points and world gold price recovered to USD1329 per ounce on 22.2.19. Liquidated gold holdings on 27.2.19 to place hold money elsewhere.

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Don Q Scriptural Acts book preview.

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The religious biographical novel condenses the themes of a 2017 publication “Man from Quaint City” and “21st Century Don Quixote” of 2018 with updates on actual world events.

Hope contents pic Don Q acts_feb 15,19

The eBook and paperback formats are now available on Amazon.com

“How to Read the Quran” preview followup

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How to Read the Quran” preview followup

Preview URL is https://www.createspace.com/pub/https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1251180

eBook Preview Description: Write-up to follow through the 1st book preview of “How to read the Quran” since publication in mid-November 2018. It is entered in Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest.. Please give your rating.

How to read the Quran is a five-module approach to garner a seamless understanding of the core message of the scripture without being distracted by apparently haphazard not sequential narratives of divine guidance and decrees. Readers could juggle and combine the process to suit their preference and style. It is not meant to be Hut School teaching of correct rendition of verses in Arabic. What matters is for commoners to understand their role of fulfilling their obligations to their maker and then the Islamic precept of “Amanah” in the workplace, elsewhere and when at rest will ensue with robust vigor.

The first book preview URL is https://www.createspace.com/pub/community/give.review.do?id=1250691 Updates and some editing on the book preview is published on the blog Hope Tribute Malaysia https://hopetributemalaysia.wordpress.com/

Both the eBook and paperback book are now available on Amazon.com. Post publication events and world order reform developments not withstanding, the manuscript passages on cited cases remain spot on. Anecdotes such as one on student loan defaulters leading to honoring pledges and repaying debts without persistent demands draw on blog postings of Hope Tribute Malaysia. Under the category “Outlier economic and bespoke investing outlook” gold investing articles relate world events for signs of a reformed new order because upward bias in precious gold prices is dependent on it. Post publication of book the pertinent G20 summit in Argentina is an event covered in the latest #27 feature. Extracts from the post illuminate why our manuscript cited cases still hold.

. . . We had on 16.8.18 (Gold investing outlook #24) stated that the “Trump-Xi friendship” in resolving trade war tit-for-tat measures and threats would be called upon when needed. Indeed Beijing would revert to buying substantial amount of U.S. agricultural and energy products and to start purchasing agricultural products from U.S. farmers immediately.

The G20 summit also sealed a landmark deal on world trade reform. The UK parliament vote against Premier May’s brexit proposal would further contribute to a new world order. It was scheduled for 11 December but was aborted, hence this 3rd book preview. We wrote on 23.10.18 that with China’s cautious but clear bent on a new order for world trade and reserve currency we can look forward to world gold price above $1300 in December 2018.

On another front, France’s “Overthrow the bourgeoisie!”, anarchist sentiment culminated with a graffito on the Arc de Triomphe monument reading “Macron resign” on 2.12.18. The protesters were firstly angry about the green taxes that have raised gasoline prices, now in the fifth week it has become an uprising of rural France against policies favoring the industrialists at the expense of pensioners and the lower labor force. It points to a world where trade unions, church organizations and political parties are fading in importance. The yellow vest movement that didn’t exist a month ago became consolidated quickly because anger travels swiftly on social media without leaders. President Macron’s popularity is now in the mid 20% only.

In a contemporary democracy if compromises do not occur in formal debates, such spontaneous anti-politics movements can easily be hijacked by people with darker agendas. Hash tags of Yellow Vests protests spilling over into Belgium and the Netherlands are overtaking brexit in significance.

. . . In Malaysia although Brent crude price is way below $70 per barrel, a B10 program will increase local consumption of palm oil and help reduce surplus in the global market. A new rule will come into full force from February 2019 to phase in the B10 biodiesel mandate on truck manufacturers such as Scania and bus manufacturers assuring engine warranty extension with usage of B10 in Malaysia.

Foreign direct investment into Malaysia increased to MYR 3.95 billion in the third quarter of 2018 compared to MYR 2.84 billion in the previous period. This bodes well for the government three-year period to improve the economy because there must be continued rise in business investment.

In our manuscript, Addendum B Point 5.31 . . the closures at the date of publication the following passages still hold.

5.31 A published poll on 4.11.18 had France far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s party leading Macron. France’s 2017 presidential elections saw Macron winning with 65.5% of the vote on a turnout of about 74%, with Marine Le Pen’s high-spending and anti-immigrant manifesto attracting an estimated 11 million votes. In the author’s mind the defeat of France’s far-right opposition leader was a loss to the French masses.

4.94 Not in the limelight, scientists in China have successfully cultivated paddy in salty waters along the Yellow Sea coastal city of Qingdao. Some types of grain produced in between 4.4 tons and 9 tons of rice per hectare. Presently farmers growing some types of saline-tolerant rice could get 1.5 tons per hectare. Only by doubling the yield would it be commercially viable. God’s bounty awaits the ingenuity of man to reap and prosper. Consumers have taken to its flavor and texture and in China the rice grown in salty water is thought to have several health benefits.

Malaysia’s 720,410 tonnes of bio-diesel production in 2017 could reach 1.2 million tonnes in 2019. This of course depends on Brent crude oil prices holding above $70 per barrel. Instead of penalizing oil palm because of misplaced notions of sustainability, the European Union after depleting their forests has the audacity to champion measures to victimize the economies of developing nations. Greater oil palm cultivation would make renewable bio-diesel not only a growth engine for Malaysia and Indonesia but indeed contribute a greater good for humanity’s economic need for energy.

The above developments illustrate one aspect of the grand scheme of things even as mankind seek the bounties of God – a timeless theme in all scriptures.

4.96   There no longer is a need for a UK’s “special partnership” with the European Union and it’s a positive factor development for a reformed world order. Each nation ought to abide only by its own laws and unique homeland needs. Theresa May’s vision for Britain after Brexit now has to be a no-deal Brexit. Germany’s Merkel may try to upset the course by saying that a Brexit deal should be flexible. Where was she when Theresa May made her case on 22.9.17 in Florence? Why bend backwards to comply with Euro zone rulings?

UK jobless rate falls to new 43 year-low. The Euro zone June industry output plunges. Macron’s hollow election victory (France’s loss) now can look forward to French ports being excluded from European Commission plans for a new shipping route linking Ireland with the Continent post Brexit.

Poland getting suspended because of political interference in its legal system; the Greeks pointing out a British no-deal Brexit would leave EU finances £10bn-a-year short and add “increased financial and political instability” to the nation are developments on which the UK politicians ought to leverage in convincing all and sundry that a no-deal Brexit is favorable.

4.97 The euro zone direction is an on-going restrain on new world order reform and British Prime Minister Theresa bent on the European Union’s offer to extend the transition period of Brexit could lead to a confidence vote on her premiership in December 2018. What a dismal development because a no-deal Brexit would be a positive for new world order reform. After all the Czech prime minister would pass emergency legislation to ensure British citizens continued to have the same access to the republic.

Most cross references of Reminder verses are appended in Addendum A with points 1.0 to 3.0 in sync with the discourse of Modules 1 through Module 3. Points 4.0 and 5.0 of Addendum B is synchronized with Module 4 and 5. The bespoke investment strategies which focuses on everything having its place and exercising prudence are part of relishing the abandon life. We need to be prudent in investing and the featured articles illustrate the importance of not creating any ills for a life of serenity.

How to read the Quran is entered in Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest. Here’s one final quixotic shot in sharing the light is a twitter-like sum up.

The premise of new world order headwinds in 2018 and Brexit being a positive development underscore nations surviving by learning in order to avoid crude madness that history has so far counted. A brighter future of humanity and advancement of the grand scheme of things will be shaped by peculiarly startling efforts of real action of world leaders as they balance their duty to their own citizens with their responsibility to the wider world.

By “the grand scheme of things” is about God’s plan for mankind in general and everyone in particular. Relative to race, it’s reaching out to all and sundry to learn their heritage and culture. Minimizing our own “footprint” with co-dependent friendships rather than squabbling over matters of faith for no one group of people is categorically the guided ones

There are 5 modules. Relating to fair trading and equitable economic system we will elaborate more on Pharaoh and the like in Module 4. At this juncture let’s focus on some actions of distraught committed by ancient communities which had gone astray.

Pharaoh of course broke up communities into factions. In general communities which have divided their system and become sects (Arabic: “syiyaan”), whereby each group rejoices with what it has is the Reminder’s euphemism of religion. No other Arabic word in the Quran for religion is closer than “syiyaan”. Followers of the Creed of Abraham are not with them in anything. When trading the upright person does not defraud others or seek abnormal gains from imprudent customers and desperate suppliers.

The Word of God is truth and it does not change. If you were to follow the common run of those on earth, they will lead you away from the ordained way of life. Their opinions are but conjecture and they basically lie. Some specific directives to people gone astray are:

(a) You shall not touch the orphans’ money except for their own good.

(b) Give full measure when you trade and weigh with an equitable balance.

(c) Practice fair trading and refrain from profiteering.

(d) Be perfectly honest when you serve as a witness, even if it is against a near relative or when there is enmity. You shall not accept or utter anything that you yourself cannot ascertain.

(e) Follow God’s way. Do not be arrogant and accept no object of worship or say things without knowledge about God. Do not follow the teachings of preachers without discernment because they have no authority to forbid the permitted.

(f) Commit to submission to God alone just as every created thing in the universe is submitting to God.

When common folks recite verse 6 of the Opener during formalized prayers they are clearly asking to be shown the straight way. Al Baqarah proclaims the true guidance is in this book for those who believe in the revelation sent to Muhammad and before his time. Those who follow the guidance will prosper while those who do not believe make mischief on the earth.

Up to verse 25 stipulated are 4 core decrees:

1) From what God provides they contribute;

2) Do not corrupt the Earth;

3) Not cause for God to be associated with anything;

4) Deliver good news to those who do deeds of righteousness, for them is the garden.

Al Baqarah, signs and explanations numbering 286 in total; none of the 286 pointers clarifies how any religious rituals need to be done or how often they are to be established. Is there a need to in the first place?

As a corollary to that practical matters of living out an abundant life or conversely one filled with injustices is the thrust of the teachings in the scriptures. In whatever capacity we are to deliver some of divine guidance for a life of abundance.

Upon comprehending the scriptures we cannot miss the lesson to be just. Do not use the courts to unjustly consume part of the properties of other people or from being penalized. It is not virtuousness if you try to sidestep God’s system through back door means.

Common folks opting for anything “kosher” cannot be at peril to injustice otherwise it’s just branding, hiding under a cloak of piousness. What is in the value of ritual prayers and other sectarian rites if they do not prevent you from transgression and shameful acts?

The individual who wins God’s favors conditions himself to constantly question any sectarian tenet and the accompanying rituals and rites if there is any worthy outcome which ultimately improves one’s character and righteousness – focus of the scriptural teachings.

Addendum A Point 2.24 What are the deeds of a pious person? Do you realize that the perceptions of most people are conditioned by precepts propagated by community leaders and extended families? Fact is that even a much honored prophet can be viewed as at a loss. Moses was seeking to learn from a “servant of God” [read Q18:65-82] and Moses was baffled as to why wrecking a lifeline boat, killing an innocent child and wringing laborious charity to the inhospitable could be righteous. The three events and the lesson of the narration contrasts with the perception of people who have taken their priests and scholars [see Q9:31] as lords besides God – which of course make them deemed idol-worshipers. The righteous person is not recognized because of the predominance of man-made religious laws and cult beliefs.

Q6:115-116 . . . The Word of God is truth and it does not change. If you were to follow the common run of those on earth they will lead you away from the Way of God. Their opinions are but conjecture and they basically lie. [Inferred from the verse, not ad verbatim]

Khidr also mentioned to Moses to be patient in judgment. He had killed the lad. Is this not against the common understanding that killing another human is a grave sin? Apparently not – if you are in the state of higher awakening and that you are free of ritualistic laws and norms set by fellow humans – no matter how learned they are in their religious knowledge passed down generation to generation of forefathers, whether written or memorized.

Every people have their rites and ceremonies but God has prescribed a law and an open way through divine revelation. If God had so willed, there would be just a single people, but God’s plan is to test mankind in what was given; so strive as in a race in all virtues.

The Almighty’s laws are just and the accomplishment of God’s fair recompense invariably holds. Know that contentment is a product of the heart to be relished whether your personal or financial fortune flourishes or take a turn for the worse. The finest retreat is being free from evil and filled with contentment in life – attaining repose while being ever surrounded by affluence and unwholesome distractions. Man’s innate tendency to what is right and his inclination to virtues is influenced by interlocking selfish desires, wrong focus, cult practices, customs and superstitions.

The doorman of a guesthouse gains the respect of city visitors by his robust character and state of repose. He serves them with dignified conversation about the city attractions and seasonal anecdotes. Even the lift attendant can enjoy his work and stand tall in executing his job extremely well, adding pleasant brief interlude to the holiday experience of guests.

The store keeper, the street cleaner, the farm work hand or the construction manual worker all can be happy at work and contented in life. Their strength of character and inner peace draw people to their mannerism and wisdom. The rural elder who earns his keep in a fishing vessel can impart to you the serenity of life’s true riches even without uttering a word but silent eye reflection of an upright being in its finest nature.

Thus arrogance begone. Seek refuge with the Lord, ever cherishing mankind and shoo away the mischief of the whisperer which is within us. Only in this manner will one be able to live peacefully and keep the soul at rest when we are realizing the bounties of God.

Book Preview Questions:

Q1) Can we reflect scriptural guidance in modern times through citing real new world reform?

Q2) Will folks negate tolerance for corrupt leaders in their midst by relating pertinent anecdotes?

Q3) Will readers be encouraged to reabsorb the true teachings of all scriptures?

Q4) Will you support the book in the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest.

Outlier economic and bespoke investing outlook #27

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aa

Outlier economic outlook #27 . . . ready for the next legs

Hope Gold investg #27 jpec pic

While we wait till world gold price to burst out of our target $1300 per ounce price area in December or January next year and the EP value (MYR equivalent price per gram) to be higher than base of MYR176.65 we had islightly increased our gold holdings on 12.10.18 and 28.11.18 to lower our average gold holding costs to MYR228.56 per gram.

In setting the pace for the next legs up in world gold prices we must be prudent that our next outlay observe the $1300 price threshold. Perhaps then the local gold price would be MYR171 per gram and above the spread of MYR5.00 of pending cash out quote of MYR166 (circa our last purchase cost).

In respect of our previous Outlier economic and bespoke investing outlook posting of 19.9.18:

besp#27_forex n EP value

The Ringgit continued to weaken against the greenback at 4.2210 but was comparatively stronger than the previous day 4.2400 rate. Otherwise the EP value of 167.01 would be about 95% of base MYR176.65. All currencies have improved after the US-China trade battle escalation was put on hold at the G20 Argentina summit meeting between Trump and Xi. Brent crude oil price also increased to around $62 per barrel, which was $85 per barrel at the end of October. Any further improvement of crude price would strengthen the Ringgit but the Dollar decline would affect Malaysia local gold price if world gold price increased only slightly as what happened on 4 December. Relative to 3 December, world gold price increased by 64.6 basis points but local gold price increased by only 42.3 basis points.

We had on 16.8.18 (Gold investing outlook #24) stated that the “Trump-Xi friendship” in resolving trade war tit-for-tat measures and threats would be called upon when needed. Indeed Beijing would revert to buying substantial amount of U.S. agricultural and energy products and to start purchasing agricultural products from U.S. farmers immediately.

The G20 summit also sealed a landmark deal on world trade reform. The UK parliament vote against Premier May’s brexit proposal would further contribute to a new world order. We wrote on 23.10.18 that with China’s cautious but clear bent on a new order for world trade and reserve currency we can look forward to world gold price above $1300 in December 2018.

On another front, France’s “Overthrow the bourgeoisie!”, anarchist sentiment culminated with a graffito on the Arc de Triomphe monument reading “Macron resign” on 2.12.18. The protesters were angry about the green taxes that have raised gasoline prices and they did not like the speed limits on French roads too. It points to a world where trade unions, church organizations and political parties are fading in importance. The yellow vest movement that didn’t exist a month ago became consolidated quickly because anger is one of the things that travels quickly on social media.

In a contemporary democracy if compromises do not occur in formal debates, such spontaneous anti-politics movements can easily be hijacked by people with darker agendas.

At end of November the U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell turned dovish albeit without political reference. Treasuries rallied hard to down 10-year yields at 2.99%. It appears that the Fed’s strong economy may not be as solid. The gap in interest rates between 2-year and 10-year Treasury securities dipped to 0.15% point.. The spread between the 3-year and 5-year notes dropped to negative 0.01 percentage point on 3.12.18, the first time that has happened since 2007. For gauging recession risk and weighing investor doubt about the future, an inversion of the yield curve is significant because it has preceded past recessions.

Factory orders in China are down. The Dow closed 25,826 points on 3.12.18, up 287 or 1.1% on the Monday after the weekend G20 summit. It had in early trading +440 points or around +1.7%. President Trump rebuke of interest rate hikes is becoming the new reality, not tired of winning!

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In Malaysia although Brent crude price is way below $70 per barrel, a B10 program will increase local consumption of palm oil and help reduce surplus in the global market. A new rule will come into full force from February 2019 to phase in the B10 biodiesel mandate on truck manufacturers such as Scania and bus manufacturers assuring engine warranty extension with usage of B10 in Malaysia.

Foreign direct investment into Malaysia increased to MYR 3.95 billion in the third quarter of 2018 compared to MYR 2.84 billion in the previous period. This bodes well for the government three-year period to improve the economy because there must be continued rise in business investment.

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Update 20 December 2018

Far from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell turning dovish, the Fed signaled further gradual rate hikes and no break from cutting its massive bond portfolio. A first week December report had the U.S. global trade deficit in October jumped to a 10-year high and that the deficit with China surged 7.1% to a record $43.1 billion.

U.S. cash aid to farmers hit by China tariffs is about $12 billion. Together with the Administration’s tax cuts and now the Fed’s balance sheet bond reduction of $50 billion per month, shortage of dollars in the market will just mean that the U.S. Treasury will print more dollars. You can’t create gold at will, unlike paper cash. World gold price above $1300 in December or January next year will signal the next precious gold price legs up.

The situation in the EU too will support this trajectory. Italy and France budget deficits will exceed the EU commission’s guidelines and UK leaving the EU without a Brexit deal will leave a giant size financial hole in the commission’s coffers.

Does not Premier May remember that the EU had said that with a £40bn payoff a deal could be agreed? In August Greece warned it will need more financial aid from Brussels in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario. The financial fallout from a no-deal Brexit could leave the country facing increased financial and political instability if there was a shortfall in the EU budget up to 2020. With a £10bn-a-year black hole in EU finances, let the EU rejoice in a no deal Brexit. We already wrote back in April that the Euro zone planned roller coaster quantitative easing rides would be painful options. A reformed world order in global reserve currency could finally take place with China slowly but surely dumping U.S. debt.