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Sun, 24th July 2016

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “Analysis” Category

Clashes in Kashmir Risk Taking India-Pakistan Back to Brink of Nuclear War

The long ignored suffering of the Kashmiri people carries with it the world’s greatest risk of full-scale nuclear war between two long-standing adversaries.

Tensions have reemerged in the disputed territory of Kashmir, a Muslim-dominated region that has long been controlled by India, but whose population longs to be reunited with their brethren in Pakistan exacerbating longstanding tensions between the two nuclear powers.

Ten years ago, Pakistan and India stepped away from the abyss, after decades of warring over the territory, by deciding in principle to dissipate tensions and allowing the free movement of people and goods across the line of control.

The win-win agreement would have seen the two countries withdraw one million soldiers from Kashmir and administer the territory jointly providing residents more autonomy as progress moved towards a final resolution – but it never happened with then leader Pervez Musharraf attempting to flex his leverage with the Bush administration over the fight against al-Qaeda by stepping away from the table not realizing at the time that he was playing his hand too deep. 

Apart from brinksmanship, Musharraf faced another staggering and unexpected challenge when he called on militant Islamist groups occupying Kashmir to disband and demobilize in 2003 to facilitate the diplomatic process – these militants turned into al-Qaeda affiliate Lashkar-e-Taiba that turned its weapons on the people of Mumbai.

France Escalates – Sends Aircraft Carrier To Fight ISIS

Seemingly not satisfied with the domestic blowback from their interventionist-driven Washingtonian foreign policy,Francois Hollande – lagging badly in the polls – has decided to double-down following the recent terror attack in Nice. As Sputnik News reports, France will send artillery to Iraq and its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to assist the US-led coalition’s efforts in Syria and Iraq in the coming months.

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will be sent to the region in September, the President added.

 

“The Charles de Gaulle airacrft carrier will arrive in the region by the end of September. It and our Rafale aircraft will allow to intensify our strikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq,” Hollande said in a televised statement.

France will also send artillery to Iraq in August to help the Iraqi army fight Daesh terrorists, the President added. 

“The Defense Council and I made a decision this morning to provide Iraqi forces with artillery as a part of anti-Daesh efforts. The artillery will be delivered in August,” Hollande said.

However, France “will not deploy ground troops,” Hollande said.

We support the operations in Syria and Iraq, but will not send our troops. We have advice to give, training to provide, but we will not deploy men on the ground,” Hollande stressed.

The US-led coalition of more than 60 nations, including France, has been carrying out airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since the summer of 2014, with the US alone having recently reached the questionable milestone of dropping 50,000 bombs on ISIS. 

Do you feel more of less safe?

Goldman: The Last Two Times P/E Multiples Expanded This Much, The Result Was A Historic Crash

It’s not just former Fed economists who are getting worried. So is Goldman.

As we wrote last weekend, “With “Stock Valuations At Extremes” Goldman’s Clients Are Asking Just One Question”, namely how much longer can the rally continue.  This followed another Goldman warning from two weeks ago, where as we noted before, “Goldman Warns Of A Sharp Plunge In Stocks In “Next Few Months.”

Who knows: maybe Goldman will be right and the market will plunge – it certainly isn’t trading at all time highs and 25x GAAP multiples on fundamentals. But for now those who heeded Goldman’s warning and traded ahead of a 10% “pullback” have gotten crushed.

So has Goldman’s chief equity strategist David Kostin finally thrown in the towel?

European Foreign Ministers Believe Ireland is Planning to Exit the EU

Senior ministers from EU member countries do not believe that Ireland plans to remain a part of the European Union, said Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar.

Ireland’s Minister of Social Protection Leo Varadkar says that a number of his colleagues approached him at a recent EU meeting in Slovakia who did not realize “we’re staying in Europe,” in what may be a harbinger of things to come for the Island nation.

Citing a series of “unusual questions,” Varadkar says there is not a big diplomatic effort needed to reassure other countries that Ireland remains committed to staying in the European Union.

“Some of them were asking me ‘is Ireland going to leave the European Union as well?’ So I had to make it very clear that our place is in Europe, our home is in Europe,” said Varadkar.

“Europe is a big place now. There are 28 members and we’re a small country,” he said. “There’s a big diplomatic offensive underway now to first of all reassure everyone in politics, in business and everything else that Ireland made its decision a long time ago.”

Japan to allow fingerprint authorization for visitors

Visitors to Japan will be able to use their fingerprints instead of passports to identify themselves at some hotels thanks to technology introduced by a Tokyo venture.

With financial help from the economy and industry ministry, Liquid will start offering a fingerprint-based authorization system by March in a bid to increase travel convenience. Some 80 hotels and Japanese-style inns in major tourist spots like Hakone and Atami, two hot spring resort areas not far from Tokyo, will be among the first to install the system. More inns and hotels will follow.

 The ministry will cover part of the installation costs.

Visitors to Japan can register their fingerprints along with their passport information in their home countries or at registration spots at airports or elsewhere in Japan. Foreign travelers can then identify themselves at a hotel’s front desk by waving their fingers over a contactless device.

Japanese law requires hotels to check and keep copies of foreigners’ passports. But the economy ministry and the ministry of labor have decided to treat “digital passports” as legitimate alternatives.

G20 pledges to do more for growth and to share benefits more broadly – draft

G20 leaders are trying to head off anti-globalization wave

A draft G20 resolution from the meeting in China this week said the recover continues to be weaker than desired.

“The benefits of growth need to be shared more broadly within countries to promote inclusiveness,” a draft obtained by Reuters said. Adding that G20 members were “well positioned to proactively address the potential economic and financial consequences”.

The official statement will be released Sunday.

BOJ’s Kuroda says to ease again if necessary to hit inflation goal

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Saturday he would ease policy further if necessary to achieve its 2 percent inflation goal, while reiterating a commitment to continue with the current stimulus until prices are anchored there.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, Kuroda maintained an upbeat view on the Japanese economy and price outlook in spite of rising market expectations for more BOJ monetary stimulus.

 A majority of economists polled by Reuters expect the BOJ to ease policy next week, forecasting a combination of measures in another attempt to kick-start inflation.

“If the economy’s (recovery) trend continues, leading wages and prices to rise in a virtuous cycle, which is continuing, prices will eventually rise to the 2 percent price stability goal,” Kuroda said.

Depth of Chinese anger over sea ruling bodes ill for Japan

The international tribunal rejection of Beijing’s South China Sea claims unleashed a torrent of online comments from angry Chinese. Some of these remarks, to this reporter’s surprise, came from business and personal acquaintances who had never shown much passion about politics.

With the government seeking to deflect anger away from itself, the ruling could have economic implications for a country with no territorial stakes in the South China Sea — Japan.

 “I’m not going to allow an inch [of the territory] to be lost,” one local friend of this reporter wrote on the WeChat messaging service on the night of July 12, just after the United Nations-backed tribunal handed down its ruling. Another friend said: “We’re going to defeat anyone who intrudes on our China, wherever they are.”

The people who made these and similar comments are company managers, corporate sales representatives and Chinese language teachers. All are well-educated; many have frequent contact with foreigners, through relationships forged at work and while studying abroad.

Knowing this made their outbursts that night more chilling. 

In Strauss-Kahn’s Footsteps: Trial Against Lagarde May Ruin Her Career

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde attends the session Where Is the Chinese Economy Heading? of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland in this January 21, 2016 file photoIMF chief Christine Lagarde may repeat the fate of her predecessor – Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whose political career was destroyed by a legal scandal.

Lagarde has been accused of involvement in a multimillion-euro government payment to businessman Bernard Tapie and may face one year imprisonment and a fine of 15,000 euros.

She came under investigation in August 2014 for authorizing the payment of 403 million euros ($434 million at the current exchange rate) in an out-of-court settlement to French businessman Bernard Tapie.

Back in 1993, Tapie decided to sell his stake in the company Adidas. The deal was brokered by state-owned bank Crédit Lyonnais, against which the businessman later filed charges of fraud.

The long-lasting trial ended in 2008 with Tapie’s victory, as result of which the businessman was paid 403 million euros compensation from the state budget. Christine Lagarde, then France’s finance minister, has not challenged the decision of the arbitration commission, although later it turned out that Tapie’s lawyer was a good friend of one of the three judges adjudicated for the payment of the compensation.