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David Stafford
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Student of markets, enjoys following their course.
My book:
Around the World in Several Pieces
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  • Interesting Developments Post Ukraine Crisis; China-Russia Chimera

    Though it may have seemed like the Ukraine crisis and its aftershocks per se, on the global gestalt were slowly fading away, leaving Russia, reeling, and attempting to creatively act as protectionist as possible, there seems to be a new phenomenon shaping the future of Russia, and of its ideological and geographical neighbor, China.

    ________

    China as well as Russia, had seemingly been in a rough spot as of late. The glut of cash in China, has triggered some interesting economic outcomes in this land of the "dragon" per se. Junk-investments were popping up all over the place, with the liberalization of China's investment market per se, all the whilst the Chinese were looking for international investments, perhaps as they always have been. None the less, the Chinese in general, have been buying up property,companies, land, energy and mineral rights, all around the world at an astounding pace, the only competitor(particularly for minerals) often big enough to out-scale them at times, being if its really worth it..., companies like the massive Glencore etc.

    ________

    However, by ostracizing Russia per se, from a Western perspective, using sanctions, elite-asset-confiscation measures etc, we seem to have sort of created a sort of toxic ambiance in Russia, which may have, like some sort of Frankenstein-esque tale, forced Russia into a position whereby, it is now sort of perhaps becoming more of a ward of the ever-expanding, Chinese capital flow per se.

    ________________(toxic-transformation reference(link))

    (click to enlarge)

    ________

    For evidence of this, we may turn to a few interesting stories, somehow still emanating, from the increasingly inwardly focused country of Russia(Fines for having "foreign sounding names in ads"; link). Amongst these stories we have for example such newsworthy items perhaps, as that pertaining, to China's famed solar industry expanding into Russia to the tune of a billion dollars(link). All the whilst, perhaps interestingly enough, we now have the Chinese essentially co-opting the Russian economy faster than the Russians can, in the vacuum left by the sanctioning, and hence departing west(link).

    ________

    Perhaps the last story is the most telling, for perhaps it is a truly unforeseen outcome of this whole matter, that the Ukraine crisis, would essentially add Russia, and its stable energy-related cash-flows, essentially to the portfolio of the sort of imaginary Chinese portfolio. China, with its more-money than we know what to do with economy as of late, perhaps will see Russia, as "just what it needed". Its as though billions in Chinese cash was just "sitting on the sidelines" and a large portion of the Russian economy per se, was just IPO'd, hence perhaps making China, much stronger per se, economically speaking, giving it the chance to convert capital perhaps put in a precarious position via junky-investments of desperation, now into a menu of potentially energy-cash-flow stabilized, investment products that it could have only perhaps dreamed up in some sort of late night whisky fueled, "what-if" central planning meeting otherwise.

    __________(Expanding Chinese Dragon(link))

    ________

    Hence, perhaps the Ukrainian crisis, apart from potentially weakening Russia in the short-mid term, has perhaps given China essentially a heavily armed(Russia building 2 new stealth subs(link)), energy rich, addition to its portfolio. Perhaps this has sort of created a sort of centrally planned, post-soviet super economy of sorts(in the making) in the far east. Perhaps this was unaccounted for, or perhaps it was accounted for, but perhaps it is very ironic, that in this age, of increasing awareness of Chinese capital expansion, worrying in a sense some westerners, that the west in essence greatly facilitated China's snagging of its recent great prize per se, and in a highly fortuitous liquid moment in the countries history. Perhaps in essence the Ukraine crisis has inadvertently or advertently, who can say, created a sort of post-soviet Chimera, of sorts over in the Orient per se, with part of Russia's economy becoming another headed-tail on the body of the Chinese economic juggernaut per se.

    ____________(image source)

    (click to enlarge)

    ________

    Either way its perhaps fascinating to imagine, and muse how all of this will turn out. It has perhaps sort of created a dynamic similar to the trade liberlisation policies enacted in Latin America, vis a vis the West, now in regards to Russia's relationship with China. Perhaps its unique almost to see such a juxtaposition manifesting between to relatively mature states per se, but either way, this may potentially be fascinating, in regards to how this new portfolio in China's capital account per se, may give it that extra bit of stability that it was looking for, going forward.

    _________

    Either way, hopefully the only co-option one is facing at the moment, involves one's costume, and the eating of copious amounts of candy on this fine Halloween. Hopefully everyone's investments are doing great, and are as stable, if not more stable, as the "Chinese portfolio" may be in the mid-to long term. Thank you again for reading, and happy Halloween.

    Tags: China, Russia
    Oct 31 5:05 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Post Halloween Harbingers.

    With the stock market's correlation-causation relationships getting trickier by the month, and general global "crises" and "scares" leaving the average market participant and perhaps individual in general a little jaded or numb these days, there are perhaps some interesting predictions none-the less floating around the investment-related news space these days.

    ___________

    Though it may ultimately be "much ado about nothing" one of these interesting predictions which I've interestingly enough seen appear coming from a variety of different perspectives if one will, in regards to forecasting of future events, has to do with none other than those items which are often unfortunately lost in large bodies of water during boating accidents, namely precious metals.

    ___________

    Yes, believe it or not, it seems as though an interesting prediction for the coming month or two is associated with the sort of events or spirit associated with the opening of the new precious metals exchanges in China for example. With the mainland Chinese's new precious metals exchanges(link), various individuals and organizations have proclaimed that with more direct transactions, and hence presumably greater "price discovery" that there will hence be interesting price changes in the value of those soft and shiny metallic friends of ours.

    __________

    Perhaps however, especially since the financial crisis, and the vast number of "vested interests" proclaiming similar news, one may want to take such news with a grain of that gold of yore, salt. None the less, this seems to be a theme which I've observed in a variety of different news sources and from a variety of different forecasting methodologies per se. However, at the same time, hearing an oft repeated refrain from two different bands at the same time, an accurate prediction may not make, so perhaps we'll all just have to see on this one per se.

    __________The ancient Malian salt-king Mansa Musa(image source)

    http://msmonterossosfacebookpage.wikispaces.com/file/view/mansamsa.jpg/147528455/544x395/mansamsa.jpg

    __________

    None the less, it seems these days, that the precious metals haven't necessarily been living up to their un-correlated pretenses, just today for example, silver and gold perhaps took a similar semi-shellacking relative to the rest of the markets in general. All the same, perhaps these predictions will be true for once, or perhaps these predictions will, as all predictions, just have to be proven true of false by the patient gait of every investor's potential friend, namely ye olde Saturn, or father time.

    _____(image source)

    ______

    At the moment, silver is once again trading in the potential not-too- expensive-gift price range of about 17.00 dollars per ounce, down from the meteorically elevated 50.00 of not so long ago, however, perhaps we will all just have to see if these precious metals truly become more preciouse price-wise in the coming months per se.

    _______

    Perhaps such an event would make for an interesting Halloween expectation for both kids and adults, however, perhaps this will quite simply provide anyone that has a hankering for the preciouse metals, another thing to be thankful for come Thanksgiving, or perhaps it will just be another silver-lined news story under the bridge per se, joining the other torrents of precious metals related suggestions, and forecasts, one may hear of on a regular basis.

    _______

    However the precious metals prices' change, I hope everyone has a happy Halloween one way or another. Whether one is tricking(asking for candy) or treating, I hope its a fun time, and a decent family experience if applicable, and thank you again for reading.

    ________(image source)

    Oct 27 7:45 PM | Link | Comment!
  • A New Page In The Continuing Trials Concerning The Post-Ukraine Saga World.

    As the international dissension involving the Ukraine is perhaps placed somewhat in the rear-view mirror, from the latest news reports it seems as though the Russian gestalt is moving forward per se. Its moving in perhaps some traditional and "expected" directions and in some new directions it seems as well.

    _______

    In so far as new directions per se, perhaps most intriguingly Russia seems to(even though still entrenched in Eastern Ukraine per se) be warming to cultural inclusivity related issues in regards to questions concerning I guess what one could call sexual rights. Since court cases in general in Russia are rarely free from upper level political decision making processes(particularly cases involving national/social issues), it is perhaps interesting to note that a gay-rights activist was recently rewarded a sort of compensation for a parade which he was organizing which was canceled. This is perhaps a different socio-political tone to that which was made a global issue per se in the lead up to the last winter Olympics, and perhaps this signals that even though Russia is still very interested in the Ukraine, that it is not being so forceful per se in so far as internal social discussions are concerned.(source)

    ______

    However, to quote one of the most vague cliches of all time perhaps, "the more things change, the more things stay the same" for, all the whilst, the Russian elite if one will, are playing their famous not so subtle game of centralizing national energy assets via threatening the elites who own them with prison, as was made famous in the former Yukos case so very long ago(relatively speaking). For one may wonder why, amidst all the closing of ranks per se amongst the Russian elites, a particular owner of a massive sort of multi-faceted firm, named "Systema" was targeted by the more powerful elites, namely, most likely the Kremlin. Well, as it turns out Systema includes large energy related asset holdings. Hence, not so surprisingly perhaps once these were sort of forfeited by the Mr. Yevtushenkov in question, he was hence promptly released from prison. Hence, one may observe the old centralization of energy assets whenever there is local economic instability play unfolding.(Oligarch stripped of energy assets)(Same Oligarch subsequently freed(within a matter of days))

    ______

    Apart from Yevtushenkov's brief stint/negotiations "up the river" if one will, the rest of the elites seem to be doing something perhapsnot altogether surprising, but somewhat rare perhaps, given the dynamic balance amongst Russia's elites, namely they seem to be forming a sort of unified block per se. For, more specifically, Russian elites, are now pushing for those other elites presumably who have been subject to asset confiscation abroad(see yachts, vacation houses, frozen accounts etc.) to now be reimbursed by the state for their losses, if one will. This is perhaps a sort of interesting state of affairs, as it is far more common perhaps to hear of the fabricated news stories, and scandals which the elites there will more often use against one another etc., and hence its perhaps somewhat interesting to see the Russian elites forming a unified front per se in such a manner. None the less, presumably they've all lost some assets, perhaps, in said mass foreign asset seizure debacle and hence, perhaps now they all have a sort of shared grievance. Its perhaps sort of interesting and not so common behavior.(source)

    ______

    It may perhaps also be worthy of note, that amidst this sort of re-centralization of power(energy assets), and closing of ranks amongst the local elites, there also seems to be enough energy behind this group-think phase to also include the purging of some old thorns in the side of the sort of local elites if one will. Namely, amidst all this elite solidarity, perhaps as a sort of toast to togetherness if one will, the majority has presumably decided to "ostracize" or expel one of their less "popular" members namely, a respected economist, who was critical of the Kremlin's "economic policies", yet who presumably was a little too critical for this particular consolidation phase in the local elite milieu in Russia during these not so rosy times.(source)

    _______

    Hence, now that things are getting sort of rocky economically and hence socially speaking, in that land of the frozen north, it seems that economic issues and centralization of control of energy resources are once again taking center stage in the elite conversation if one will in Russia. Social issues which were once an avenue of elite influence dissemination are now being relinquished to natural social forces per se, perhaps as evidenced by the aforementioned court case involving restitution for the canceled parade, and hence perhaps we're seeing the more traditional if one will, Russian elite mindset re-surfacing, namely one whereby their assets are backed by the state, which in turn controls the countries energy assets, and which further doesn't allow for any dissent on this centralization of energy assets issue, nor for economic policy critiquing. Hence, though Russia may be facing some daunting economic realities in the short-to-mid-term, perhaps this isn't a new "place" per se for the Russian elites, and hence perhaps they are simply reverting to a play-book from more desperate times, in response to this sort of new-found local economic malaise per se.

    _______

    Hence perhaps the Russian elites are returning to tried and true methods of maintaining their wealth and power in the midst of economic tribulations and scarcity per se. Though the specific methods may be somewhat indirect, and unique, perhaps this is all a sort of familiar act from the always sort of mysterious, yet simultaneously repetitive(in this case), Russian-elite-masquerade if one will.

    (source)

    Oct 08 1:25 AM | Link | Comment!
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