Earlier, I quipped about my exclusive World Recovery ICE (Independent Corroborative Evidence) based on the number of polluted days in my neighborhood of Southern China. Having started it, I now owe you an update from when I reported that the world economic recovery was sluggish because I looked out and saw constant sunny blue skies. That was a few months ago.
For the good part of more than a month, the polluted skies have returned. They are not quite “mushroom soup”, but clouds are no longer well-defined and the sun doesn’t shine through as often. So I would say that even if we are not onward with a real sustainable recovery, there is at least a solid blip of export business returning — most likely a good Xmas season at retailing in your parts of the world, or at least an expectation of one.
Other ICE seems to confirm my end of the puzzle. The August power usage and transportation data for China have just been released, and there are robust growths in excess of 10%. Therefore, the Li Keqiang Index must also be ticking up.
Onions Are For Real
Some of you may have heard me mention recently the potential risk of a financial crisis emanating from India. The rupees are a prime target for attacks by the predatory hedge funds, and the Indian authorities are repeating many of the same mistakes of the countries embroiled in the 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis.
The last thing I came across is serious. Onion prices are sky-rocketing!!! In case you don’t know, the Indian population live and die by onions, that delicious everything you start your cooking with (after you put in the ghee). Any cereal can go down with an assortment of spices, but hunger is not cured unless there is — yes, onions.
Just look up your history. Count the number of riots in India when onions are scarce. Look at the regimes that fell when they could not bring forth affordable and plentiful onions. Next year will be an election year. With onion prices going up 6-7 times!! this year, never mind the election — we can’t wait that long — you can’t be serious.
With domestic flooding and the fast pace of rupee depreciation driving up import prices, I am afraid there is no quick fix to the onion crisis. Fiscal ill-discipline and wanton waste of foreign currency reserve on expensive purchases of advanced weaponry have rendered India vulnerable to Wall Street vultures. There are even talks of an “onion bubble” with unscrupulous hoarding and artificial price-rigging in the onion-futures market. What has the world come to, huh? Can’t even leave onions alone?