Category: Your Money

Chinese Fried Rise

Chinese wall

Image by rvw via Flickr

I am sick and tired of hearing about how China is “awesome” and India “sucks” when it comes to infrastructure. Sure, we have our bureaucracy and corruption, but its nothing compared to the scale at which it occurs in China. For us, a down day is when farmers refuse to pay back SKS. Compare that with Chinese bank loans that stood at $6,500 per capita in 2010 compared to gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $4,400.

And their much envied high speed trains? It is a $330 billion scam where railway bridges were constructed by untrained unskilled migrant workers and rocks and gravel were tossed into pier foundations instead of concrete. Take this: when two bullet trains collided in July 2011, bulldozers buried the rubble even as bodies fell out of the windows of the carriages.

So what about the growth miracle? Sure, China is to manufacturing as India is to IT & BPO. But they seem to have lost their way when their “planned” economy allowed property construction to take up 13% of their GDP (from 3% in 1999) compared to 5% in India.

Yes, we flushed $7.82 billion down the NREGA. But we have nothing on the 18,000 officials who have fled the country taking a combined $126 billion dollars with them.

So the next time you wish for the Chinese miracle in India, keep in mind that our bottom-up economy, for all its messiness, is still better than one that is centrally planned and top-down.

Sunder’s List: Eurocrats Rejoice!

Great! So European leaders finally agreed on something totally useless.

They scrapped a pledge to make private investors absorb losses in any future bailout for a euro nation. But we know that there are going to be future bailouts. So who foots the bill?

As if one EU agreement is not enough, now they are going to setup a series of bilateral agreements outside of the EU to “enforce” and “approve” sovereign budgets. The new disciplinary rules may help ensure that there will not be another euro crisis, but they may not be sufficient to fix the current crisis.

The “fiscal compact” is just a warmed over Stability Pact and is unlikely to make much of a difference on the ground.

There is no shared debt issuance, no fiscal transfers, no move to an EU Treasury, no banking license for the ESM rescue fund, and no change in the mandate of the European Central Bank.

Britain is out. They never liked the idea in the first place. They are Europe’s 3rd largest economy.

The only winner here are the bureaucrats that work for the EU. Their ranks are going to swell. Cheers for lifetime employment!

Read more here:

Europe’s blithering idiots and their flim-flam treaty (Telegraph)
German Vision Prevails (NYT)
What David Cameron really thinks of Nicolas Sarkozy (Telegraph)
How long will Britain stay in the EU? (FT)
Europe’s Disastrous Summit (SA)

Correlation in the NSE

Meet the worst nightmare of stock-pickers and the best friend of technical traders: Correlation.

This year has been unkind to stock-pickers as markets have tended to move in unison, with price moves increasingly driven by the ebb and flow of investors’ fears (risk-on/risk-off) over the economic environment. We setup a correlation matrix between the NIFTY50 stocks and the index itself to see how we faired this year.

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The vertical axis here is the correlation between individual stocks (dots) with the index.

Now lets do a quick gut-check. The top 3 stocks with the highest correlations with the index were:

RELCAPITAL, ICICIBANK and STER. A quick look at their charts show that it is indeed so. The ones that were closer to zero are: GRASIM, SIEMENS and RANBAXY. They may have been highly volatile, but we are only looking at correlation for now.For stocks that went the other way, we have: HEROMOTOCO, BAJAJ-AUTO and HINDUNILVR.

There’s really no actionable information here, except that instead of tracking close to 30 stocks in the index, you are better off just buying the NIFTYBEES and saving yourself a lot of effort.

For the more inquisitive, the data can be found on google docs.