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Posts Tagged ‘CRR’

poster-infam-stockDecoupling has become my favourite word of the week. Earlier, it used to be CRR.

The ripple effect or the chaos theory seems to hold more ground than the de-coupling theory given the current market scenario.

Decoupling is the theory that emerging markets (like Asia) have attained so much growth that they no longer depend on the US, and thereby they are insulated from any financial crisis for Uncle Sam. But recent events have proved otherwise.

And then again a short re-cap might help: Lehman brothers files for bankruptcy, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs abandon investment bank status, US announces $700 billion dollars bailout, Fed takes over Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, J P Morgan Chase buys Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo buys Wachovia…………All of this happened in the US. And worse, this is just the anti-climax.

So as per the theory, the rest of us shouldn’t have got hit. Unfortunately, we did.

Actually decoupling seemed to have been popular even during the credit crunch of 2007, when international financial markets ignored the turmoil in US economy. It seems to have become an unpopular word only post-October 2008.

Jeff Applegate said, If anything, global interdependence of economies is rising, not falling.

I am reminded of what Marshal McLuhan said (Proof that I wasn’t sleeping in all my Masscom classes), about the world being a global village. You just have to substitute the word stock markets, in every place he says internet, for it to hold good.

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I know this post is probably going to put off most people, who deem financial reporting boring and obtuse. Most general reporters feel business journalists are the guys who have it easy; the guys who attend press conferences that are scheduled for lunch, tea, high-tea or dinner; the guys who only re-write press releases and the guys for whom exclusives don’t make or break their careers.

Working for general newspapers for more than three years, I was prejudiced against business reporting. It took a tremendously talented boss and the AIG bailout for me to realise that finance is a wonderful world.

I’m finding words like stocks, repo, reverse-repo, CRR, solvency margins absolutely fascinating!

Also John Grisham books suddenly seem to have taken greater importance in my life. Tales of money laundering, swiss bank accounts and tax havens are proving to be fascinating reads.

Did you know that many of the re-insurance companies in the world are based in Bermuda because of the tax exclusion benefits? I was actually reading a run-of-the-mill press release, when I came upon the line…”reinsurance company based in Bermuda.” I was intrigued by that line and checked up to find that its not just re-insurance companies, but many other companies like banks, insurance companies, assurance companies, fund managers and investment consultants – whose working force is small and geographical locations don’t hamper operations – also opt for tax havens like Bermuda. What was also very interesting was that the very first tax haven was the Vatican City.

Even the nitty-gritties can prove interesting. I didn’t know that tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax fraud are totally different activities until I spoke with a lawyer. India is of course not likely to forget the hawala scam, one of the biggest and most amibitious cases of money laundering that got exposed.

And Wikipedia has become my bible. KYC – Know Your Customer is an anti-money laundering mechanism adopted by banks. Many of the bank regulations and the US Patriots Act are formulated to maitain the checks and balances in the system. But after seeing Farenheit 9/11 and being a regular reader of Counterpunch.org, I am able to see the common man’s point of view and how laws can violate human rights and invade privacy in the name of “national security” and “anti-terrorism measures.”

Even in India laws like POTA and TADA were more misused than used. MDMK Vaiko’s imprisonment was the height of misuse of POTA; political vendetta at its meanest. I was glad when POTA was repealed, but now it looks like it might make a come back in a sterner avatar.

And now since elections are round the corner or because they don’t have any issue to rake up, Tamil nationalism or jingoism has again become the trump card for Tamil Nadu politicians. I think Tamil is a great language. I also have great sympathy for Sri Lankan Tamils, who are the victims of both the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE. But I don’t see why I should suddenly become proud of being a Tamilian, just because DMK MPs are suddenly overcome with grief at the atrocities being pepetrated against Sri Lankan Tamils. Karunanidhi of course has not said anything about his “thambi Prabhakaran” after the PM’s assasination.

But, I digress. Anyway resolution of the week is to finish reading the Business Standard, Economic Times and the Business Line, back-to-back between 6-8 in the morning; provided I’m able to get up at 5 and finish the cooking. I’m also reading the Malhotra Committee report on the insurance reforms needed post-1993 liberalisation. Planning a post on it once I get through reading this labour-intensive (hard on my eyes, which have a tendency to droop when faced with non-fiction) report.

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