Creeping Inflation – Thunder From Under Mon, 06 Jun 2022 23:45:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Creeping Inflation – Thunder From Under 32 32 It takes courage to fight food inflation Mon, 06 Jun 2022 22:58:59 +0000

INFLATION is hitting food prices hard. Many consumers noticed that their grocery bill was slowly increasing; and employees paying more for their meals.

The consumer price index for “out-of-home food” and “in-home food” increased, ranging from vegetables, cereals and meat to other animal proteins.

Rising food inflation has taken away the disposable income of low- and middle-income households for non-discretionary spending.

Put simply, the following factors explain the spike in consumer food inflation; and have fueled the global food crisis, particularly in emerging economies and low-income countries that have experienced foreign exchange shortages and are more vulnerable to food price shocks.

> Food price inflation rose years before the pandemic due to both demand and supply. Demand was sustained by better economic growth, rising purchasing power and demographic pressure.

Food production has been limited by uneven agricultural production, climate change (poor harvest), rising production costs, disease, quality and variable yields.

> The prolonged crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed sporadic containment and movement restriction measures as well as supply disruptions which have caused a spike in consumer food prices.

After the economy reopened, the release of pent-up demand and the recovery in demand exceeded the capacity of supply chains, pushing prices higher.

Soaring costs

> Business costs and raw materials used in food production and processing have also increased, as evidenced by global food producer prices in 2020-2021, which have soared and will impact consumer prices. consumption with a lag of at least six months or less if producers could not absorb higher costs.

From the end of 2019 to the end of April 2022, the World Bank’s food price index increased by 54%; chicken meat up 83.4%; corn increased by 108.5% and soybeans by 88.1%.

> The pandemic has led to increased shipping and transportation costs as well as delivery services. Higher shipping costs have hit the inflationary cost of imported food, apart from the cost of obtaining and delivering goods to customers.

> The war in Ukraine has caused further disruptions in supply and this has pushed up the prices of raw materials such as corn and wheat; energy, industrial materials, fertilizers and animal feed.

Rising wheat prices will translate into higher food prices, while more expensive feed and fertilizers have increased the cost of food production.

> Since most food is traded in US dollars, countries with weaker currencies have seen their food import bills increase.


Rising prices have prompted some countries to implement short-term interventions and administrative measures such as granting subsidies, setting price controls and a price cap, relaxing approved authorizations , reduction of import tariffs and export restrictions to maintain or improve domestic supply and curb food price inflation. .

Unfortunately, adverse global developments have larger forces influencing agricultural market prices, making stopgap measures to tackle food inflation limited success.

The integration of Malaysia’s domestic market into the world market means that our domestic producers and consumers will have to deal with the global influences of food supply and demand and the resulting impact on food prices. food.

Malaysia’s reliance on imports of agricultural products to meet domestic demand fell from 7.3% to 13.7% over 28 years (1987-2015).

In 2020, eight items recorded an import dependency rate above 50% – cuttlefish (52.2%), fresh milk (53.5%), round cabbage (63.6%), chilli (72.4% ), beef (78.1%), ginger (81.5%), mango (86.2%) and mutton (90.4%).

In 2020, the self-sufficiency ratio was 63.0 for rice; 65.0 for fresh milk, 75.6 for sweet potato, 88.2 for mackerel, 80.7 for sardines, 94.9 for pork, 98.1 for poultry and 115.1 for eggs .

Food security, affordability and stability remain a national priority. There are no simple solutions but complex tasks to fight against food inflation and food security. Government and the private sector must work together to ensure a sustainable food supply.

Some of the short-term measures (subsidies and price cap controls on food products for consumers and producers, including fertilisers, and a ban on the export of chicken) come with opportunity costs and poor resource assessment.

> Government subsidies and the ceiling price to make food affordable will further increase the budget deficit and, if it becomes unsustainable, will pose significant political risks for the country’s creditworthiness.

Therefore, food subsidies should be targeted to vulnerable households through food stamps/vouchers or cash assistance. Savings from targeted subsidies can be reallocated to the implementation of food production programs.

Worst shortage

> Price caps and controls cannot address scarcity. Setting prices at artificially low levels will only reinforce existing demand patterns, making shortages worse for many consumers down the line.

> For producers, if price subsidy and caps are set at levels below cost to producers, this will result in loss of economies of scale for producers, and reduced supply for consumers who would be prepared to pay more than the ceiling price.

In the current supply situation, which is severely constrained by sharp increases in commodity prices due to the disruption of international supply chains, it is unclear how price controls would incentivize suppliers and producers to increase production.

> Prices are the signals on which the market economy relies for supply and demand responses. The influences of global market development have resulted in supply pressures and increased costs. Limiting price increases for a longer period will not help consumers or alleviate shortages.

To ensure the sustainability of the agricultural sector and food security, we propose the following action plans in the short and medium term:

> Stop intervention in the market. Government regulatory interventions, while well-intentioned, are often counterproductive. They distort the functioning of the market and the allocation of resources and discourage agricultural production.

The main objective of the government is to create competition (not protection) in each segment of the food supply chains (producer, supply, storage and food distribution system) in order to reduce costs, curb research cash flow and plug leaks in the food management system. .

Smart farming

> Encourage technology diffusion and smart agriculture. Government and the private sector must accelerate the uptake of technologies in food and agriculture regarding environmental sustainability, climate change, crop yields and mechanization.

This will reduce reliance on expensive inputs, labor, fertilizers and pesticides and boost food production.

> Increase arable land for agriculture. Only 5.5% of the total planted area (nearly 450,000 ha) was allocated to fruits, vegetables, herbs, species and other crops.

On average, less than 200,000 ha occupied by fruit crops and less than 100,000 ha for market gardening and cash crops in 2016-2020. This compares to 5.9 million hectares for oil palms and 1.1 million for rubber trees.

> Strengthen all links in the food supply chain, from producers to consumers (growers/harvesters, agri-food industry and the wholesale and retail food distribution sector).

Establishing a more resilient food supply chain and management system with more collection, processing, transportation and storage capacity in different geographies of the country will provide market options more and better for consumers and producers.

> Provide real-time market information. Invest in a market information system to provide reliable and timely data on food production, demand and supply, trade and prices.

This will send the right price signals from producers to consumers; to strengthen the supply chain, stabilize prices, reduce business risks and increase response time.

Lee Heng Guie is executive director of the Center for Socio-Economic Research. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

Want to get rich? Top things to avoid when making portfolio decisions Sun, 05 Jun 2022 05:21:04 +0000

While libraries around the world are full of topics that tell investors what to do when making portfolio decisions – I think “what not to do” is just as important – because it It’s your “No” call that ultimately defines your journey as an investor. This is often the difference between a peaceful investment journey and one marked by difficult times.

Most new investors had a good ride until about 6 months ago – that is when the “tide of cash” started to dry up, there are signs of fatigue coming on. infiltrate. The good news that brought them to the markets was the revival of the economy after the challenge posed by COVID. Today’s news, however, is replete with global inflation fears, with the United States and the Eurozone hitting inflation numbers not seen in the past 30 years. Added to this we have the war in Ukraine which is further stifling energy supplies. Wheat and commodities like palladium etc and Chinese lockdown further aggravating the strangled supply line situation.

The above set of news is sure to rattle any seasoned investor, but the question is, should this get them moving on their portfolios?

In a study done in the United States in 1984 by Fidelity Investments on top performing client accounts, what they found was very interesting and hilarious. The best performing accounts were those where investors forgot they had those accounts. I’m sure if the same study were done today, the results wouldn’t be much different.

Much of the above stems from a few behavioral aspects of most investors, which I will ask under a few questions:

Sophistry of the question – Market ka kya lagta hai? Investors are too focused on market levels. They forget that markets are actually made up of companies. There has been a lot of volatility, crises, wars, and they will be there in the future too. Always in the long term, markets will go up because companies, good ones, tend to improve over time. If one were to look at the Sensex from 1979 at 100 points (Sensex was officially launched in 1986 with the base value of 100 from 1979), today the Sensex itself has increased by approx. . 600 times. And I can assure you that no one has gone full circle. Yes, we have had and will have volatility in between – sometimes, which is excruciatingly painful, but if all of these investors were to view these corrections as opportunities to increase investments, rather than exit the markets, the return of investors would be much higher – this is where investor behavior comes in. Over time, most fund managers can manage the volatility of investments, but it’s investor behavior that is losing return on investment to the investor.

Avoid trying to time the markets: Invest every month. With interest rates rising we are all in uncharted territory, this may be a difficult time that many new investors will face. The only message is “Don’t try to time the market” – nobody can. As Peter Lynch so aptly put it: “More money has been lost trying to time the markets than due to market corrections”. It’s a good tenant we see in the mutual fund space – Over the past 4-5 years, whether it’s a lack of other avenues or because of investor education, the sustained push on SIPs has created a prize pool of Rs 12,000 crore per month. The main message here is – Stay the course. Build a portfolio for the long term.

Don’t listen to social media or any opinion floating freely on Twitter or any other social media. If it’s floating there, there’s someone expressing their opinion who may not have your appetite for risk or worse maybe they’re “not qualified” to give an opinion . Communicate with your portfolio managers and advisors.

Invest, don’t speculate: Ignore the urge to act on your wallets. Oftentimes, investors are looking to see the action on the portfolios – the action is sometimes confused with the work that has been done by the advisor on the portfolio. The same goes for the very companies in your portfolio. The longer you own businesses, the better most businesses will fare over time.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: Diversification across asset classes will help normalize your returns – It is very important to diversify into asset classes that have little correlation. If all your asset classes are doing well or badly at the same time, your portfolio is not diversified. Everyone says they have diversified but very few do. Many investors think of diversification in the same way as bonds and stocks, forgetting about precious metals.

Few other important things on the TO DO LIST of investors –

* Greed and fear: The easiest thing to mention is another of Buffet’s quotes. “Sell out of greed and buy when there is blood”. But this is the most difficult to implement. This is where the maximum losses occur when people try to time the markets. For instance. – What is the definition of a stock that is down 90%? A stock that attracts investors when it is down 80% and then falls another 50% from your purchase price. These types of potential challenges can only be overcome by investing regularly.

* Practice delayed gratification: By practicing delayed gratification, you will have more money at your disposal that you can use to invest. Teach your children about delayed gratification at an early stage. Studies suggest that time spent in the markets determines your returns. The more time you spend, the greater your returns.

* Index investing is a very good tool: Don’t underestimate the power of low-cost index investing. A wiser thing to do is to invest in a low cost index fund if you are not able to beat the index.

* Safety margin: Always look for the best value for money. Whether it’s shopping at discount prices for your clothes, buying a house and the same goes for stocks. This has proven true throughout history and will continue to do so in the future. Unless you buy something worth Rs 100 to Rs 30, you will not earn money.

* When investing, what should your goal be? Although the goals of individual investors differ, but for a long-term investor, the future income from your assets (dividends) should exceed your monthly household expenses. It will surely take time. Be frugal in your spending and invest wisely and regularly. All the smartest investors have done it.

* The most important point: discipline. Discipline is the key to your investment success. Avoid leverage. Think long term. Buffett is 93 years old, and he always thinks long term, none of us have the right to think short term as an investor.

* Lately – Building wealth is a long-term process – the more patient you are, the more joyful and stress-free it will be.

(By Siddhartha Bhaiya, Director and Fund Manager at Aequitas Investment Consultancy Private Limited)

Pent-up demand insulates tourism industry from soaring gas prices | United States and world Fri, 03 Jun 2022 11:00:00 +0000

Ait’s the pandemic fades in the rearview mirror, tourists are deployed across the country to travel despite record gasoline prices and higher costs in all areas.

Gasoline prices hit a new high on Thursday, climbing to a national average of $4.72 per gallon. That’s up more than 52 cents last month alone and about $1.67 more than the same time last year. These prices are reflected in high airfare prices and make travel even more unaffordable when combined with higher prices. inflation at all levels.

While these prices would typically lead to lower demand for summer travel, this year appears to be different due to pent-up travel demand caused by two years of pandemic-related restrictions and difficulties planning trips.

Some 70% of people plan to travel as much or more this year than last, even though consumer prices have risen 8.3% over the past 12 months and petrol prices have climbed in arrow, according to a investigation by AAA.


Jase Ramsey, an associate professor in the Department of Management at Florida Gulf Coast University, said despite soaring gas prices and soaring airfares, demand for travel and tourism this summer is expected to be strong. .

“People want to travel so badly that they absorb the cost of it in a way that I find somewhat shocking,” Ramsey told the Washington Examiner. “Right now, after COVID and two years at home…people are ready to go out again.”

Ramsey said companies aren’t as concerned about passing on higher costs to consumers due to the level of demand.

Angela and Mikel Welling own and operate Off-Road Adventure in Appalachia in Gore, Virginia. Their company offers tourists off-road 4×4 Jeep tours. The couple actually started the business during the pandemic, and the two have seen it flourish ever since, especially this year as COVID-19 wanes.

Angela Welling told the Washington Examiner that as the weather gets warmer and summer is in full swing, his business is seeing increased interest and bookings.

She suggested that some of the traffic to her business might actually be the result of higher gas prices. She said many of her clients come from surrounding states and may have decided to take a jeep tour so they can still have a unique vacation experience without wasting huge amounts of money on tickets. plane to distant places.

She said that even though gas prices are high and affecting the cost of a visit, customers seem to want to venture out and enjoy their first summer which has largely returned to normal since the pandemic began there. over two years ago.

“We’ve had a lot more calls and bookings so far this year,” she added.

Angela Welling said she and her husband were a little nervous if petrol prices continued to rise, as it would mean they would have to raise their prices a bit more to offset the higher costs. She said, however, that if she and her husband were to raise prices a bit more, it shouldn’t have too much of an effect on demand, because their business offers such a unique experience.

“We’re still not really worried,” she said of current gas prices.

Air travel is expected to increase 25% from a year ago, according to AAA, and despite record gas prices, 89% of travelers plan to travel by car, a 4.6% increase from at 2021 levels.

Curtis Dubay, chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told the Washington Examiner that there is so much pent-up demand for travel and tourism that people will pay extra for these experiences.

He noted that wages continue to rise and there is still a glut of savings people can dip into to cover the costs of their summer holidays.

“It’s definitely going to change some people’s plans, but if you’ve tried to book anything you know how hard it is to do. So people are just going to absorb the blow and move on.” , said Dubay.


However, there are still travel options for those trying to save money. On the one hand, consumers can save on gas costs by traveling shorter distances or visiting regional destinations instead of flying across the country or overseas.

For those looking to save on travel this year, Ramsey suggests finding a place to get off the beaten path where demand may not yet have returned to pre-pandemic levels. For example, while the cost of travel to Europe and major tourist destinations right now can be extremely high, other places, like Costa Rica, are relatively cheap.

Original location: Pent-up demand shields tourism industry from soaring gasoline prices

Washington Examiner Videos

Questions and Answers: Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte Candidates on Health Care Wed, 01 Jun 2022 22:00:00 +0000 BarrieToday reached out to candidates in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte to hear what they had to say on a range of topics ahead of Thursday’s provincial election

Editor’s note: BarrieToday has reached out to all candidates in the riding of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM) to hear what they have to say on a range of topics ahead of Thursday’s provincial election. Each candidate was asked to provide a 150-word response. Here’s what they had to say about health care.

Elyse Robinson, green:

First, we can help people age in place with a $1.6 billion investment in home care to reduce stress on our long-term care system.

We can also build 55,000 long-term care beds by 2033 and at least 96,000 by 2041 to meet growing demand and increase base funding for long-term care by 10%.

On health care, we can increase base operating funding for hospitals year-over-year to a minimum of 5%, work with the federal government to provide top-up funding to reduce the backlog in surgeries, imaging and other services; and increasing options for primary care health care, such as community health centers and nurse practitioner-led clinics.

Finally, we can immediately repeal Bill 124 and the problematic sections of Bill 106 to allow all healthcare workers to collectively bargain fair wages and, until then, provide a minimum hourly wage of $35. to licensed practical nurses and $25 to personal support workers. .

Beverly Patchell, NDP:

We will invest in preventive measures such as mental, dental and drug insurance; repeal Bill 124; launch a campaign to recruit, retain and return health workers.

Solve the crisis of care for the elderly by withdrawing the benefits of home care and long-term care; restore hospital funding and ensure funding keeps pace with inflation by investing in hospital expansion.

Gerry Auger, Ontario Party:

I would seek to have more practitioners from a wider range of disciplines involved in the preventive care and treatment of patients, allowing physicians to address pharmaceutical options to consider for more acute and serious diagnoses and treatment options.

I would like to see physicians trained in naturopathic treatment methodologies as well or better yet create a collaborative treatment team in medical practices to form around a patient to include naturopathic practitioners as possibly a first point of contact in the process. initial assessment of an admission case.

I would expect this to free up doctors to deal with more urgent care cases to reduce ER wait times and to have daily debriefing to review cases and determine if an escalation of urgency should be considered.

Hayden Hughes, New Blue:

There are many things in our healthcare system that just don’t work, and COVID-19 has amplified those problems.

One of these problems is the growing number of pending procedures and another is the lack of staff. The first thing to do, which would greatly reduce these problems, would be to rehire the health care workers who were laid off due to the warrants.

Hospitals, like RVH, as well as long-term care homes, should reverse their vaccination policy for workers so that those with decades of experience and personal connections within the system are back in their place. .

This needs to be done before any increase in training and any new hiring as it is the most ethical way to ensure these facilities are properly staffed and it will ensure that our healthcare system has enough workers. for fall.

Jeff Lehman, Liberal:

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of our health care and long-term care systems. It’s time to stop the rampant privatization of the health care system and focus investments on supporting our dedicated health care workers.

A Liberal government in Ontario will hire 100,000 new health care workers, prioritizing full-time positions. We will also repeal Bill 124 on salary caps, so health care workers get what they deserve.

For our seniors, we will focus on bringing care closer to home – with home care for 400,000 seniors while ending for-profit long-term care.

We will also strive to innovate and rethink health care in Ontario by shifting investments upstream to address the determinants of health.

I have seen firsthand how alternatives to hospitalization can help communities through my seminal work on the Barrie Health Accord and will continue to advocate for community solutions to health care at Queen’s Park .

Doug Downey, Progressive Conservative:

We are investing a historic $4.9 billion over four years to hire 27,000 new caregivers, including personal support workers, nurses and doctors – all the staff the system desperately needs after years of neglect – and an increase in the average daily direct care from 2.75 hours to 4 hours per resident, per day.

And to increase capacity and build a strong and resilient health care system, the government is investing $300 million in 2022-23 through the province’s Surgical Recovery Strategy, bringing the total investment to approximately $880 million. dollars since the start of the pandemic.

This investment will help reduce surgical and diagnostic imaging backlogs related to delayed or canceled surgeries, reduce wait times and support an additional 150,000 hours of diagnostic imaging exams.

In BSOM, we have made investments at all levels, including the creation of 278 new long-term care beds and 234 improved spaces in our constituency.

Inside Housing – Insight – Will soaring metal costs slow siding sanitation? Tue, 31 May 2022 07:00:00 +0000

Headache for BSF candidates

Elsewhere in the country, renters are mired in similar issues. In a building in the North West of England, tenants have been warned that delays in repairing their building are likely to drive up prices.

“The longer this situation continues, the more likely we will be affected by cost increases due to inflation,” the tenants said in an email from their management company and seen by Inside the housing.

He added: “There is a risk that the contractor decides to withdraw from the project. This would mean that the works would have to be re-tendered, which could have further cost and program implications. »

Scott Mason, founder of Clad To Help, which advises on reclamation projects, is aware of the issues.

“Contractors are overwhelmed with demand for remedial work and wider supply chain issues are affecting material prices and lead times, creating a headache for Building Safety Fund (BSF) applicants who find themselves running after them,” he said.

It echoes Ms. Saha’s experience with quotes from contractors. “In the current climate, contractors can’t sustain their price as long as they would have a few years ago,” he says.

“I had a situation where I just wanted a small amount of metallic coating for training purposes, which I would normally have gotten in a week. But it got to the stage where there was an eight week wait”

Other difficulties are found in this matrix. Contract negotiations between applicants and a contractor often cannot be finalized until a grant is officially offered, says Mason.

“But this offer may be months after the second stage of the fund has been submitted due to prolonged governance,” he says. “It is only at the conclusion of contract negotiations that the price effectively becomes locked in between the claimant and the contractor, whereas the amount requested and offered by the OSB is based on the contractor’s offer price. reconstructed months before.”

Mr Mason says that with his own situation, they have included a 3.5 per cent contingency allowance to cover cost increases in the four months before submitting a claim to the OSB. However, he says, the contract price increased by more than 6% by the time the work was due to be done. “We had no choice but to dip into a separate general provident sum that was earmarked for other unknown risks,” he says.

Tying contractors to get the job done is also a recurring theme. Giles Grover, from the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign, says, “I think some entrepreneurs can almost pick and choose which projects they work on, because there are so many.

Lately, the issue of rising material costs has also loomed on the horizon. This was a problem before Russia invaded Ukraine, but has since been made worse by the conflict.

Steel prices, in particular, surged as supplies were disrupted across Europe, with Russia the world’s fifth-largest steel producer. Meanwhile, in March, British Steel raised prices by 25% – reportedly its largest one-time increase on record.

“Just because you’re seeing a double-digit increase in material and product costs doesn’t mean you’re seeing total construction costs go up by double-digits”

Noble Francis, economic director of the Construction Products Association, says steel and aluminum have been hit by a double whammy from a spike in commodity and energy prices, with both materials being commodity commodities. high energy intensity.

He thinks there could be ‘significant impacts’ on surfacing remediation projects next year, although he suggests the spikes could even out over the next six months if there isn’t. no other occasional shocks.

He is, however, keen to point out that two-thirds of contractors’ costs are usually labor costs. “Just because you see double-digit increases in material and product costs doesn’t mean you see total construction costs increase in double digits,” he explains. “Labour costs are still in single digit inflation.”

Carlton Jones, director of the Metal Cladding and Roofing Manufacturers Association, says he has also noted the sharp rise in steel and aluminum costs since Brexit and the pandemic.

He saw the price of some steels double from £800 a tonne to £1,600 a tonne. “I know of a coated steel supplier who quadrupled their prices in eight or nine months,” he says.

“Brexit is not sorted”

Lead times have also been an issue. “I had a situation where I just wanted a small amount of metallic coating for training purposes, which I would normally get in a week,” says Jones.
“But he got to the stage where there was an eight-week wait.”

It also depends on where the products come from. “The steel supply could come from the UK, Europe or the Far East. And people might feel like Brexit is sorted, but as far as the industry goes, Brexit is not sorted. Trade agreements, customs and CE marking are all problematic. »

Jonathan Evans, managing director and president of coatings supplier Ash & Lacy, notes the significant impact of the war in Ukraine.

“One of the biggest aluminum manufacturers in the world is Rusal (headquartered in Moscow),” he says. “But obviously, because of the sanctions, that means around 12% of the global aluminum supply is affected. This does not help the situation. »

Swara Bhasker on India’s body politic becomes skeptical Sun, 29 May 2022 05:40:00 +0000

All conversation in “good society” follows the same course. After the usual inquiries and gossip, everyone agrees that “things are so bad yaar!” As a rational, educated and reasonably informed person in India, it is difficult to turn away from the reality staring us so squarely in the face.

If Marcellus from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet were to comment on India in 2022, he would surely rephrase his famous quote to say, “Something is rotten in the state of India”.

Last week a disabled man from Madhya Pradesh was lynched, allegedly on suspicion of being a Muslim. He died from his injuries while the video of his lynching went viral. The accused was arrested and found to be a member of the local BJP unit. As law-abiding citizens, our horror has many options when it comes to choosing where to reside. Should we be horrified to be so brutalized as a society that we physically assault a visibly disabled elderly person? Or should we reserve our shocked irony for the fact that a helpless man tragically died due to mistaken identity that he could not correct? This incident is just more proof that we have so dehumanized Muslims in India that the mere suspicion of belonging to this religious identity runs the risk of being potentially lynched to death!

Dalit activists will be right to point out that we are only witnessing, on a larger scale, the violence that the community has suffered for centuries. Even ruling regime loyalists will be unable to defend this brutalized public culture of normalized violence, but they can try to justify the clamor of the Gyanvapi Mosque, the delusions of Tejo Mahalaya, or the rising prices, inflation, unemployment and China invading our territories.

There is surely something wrong with us collectively. We believe that any rumor has circulated on WhatsApp. We’re more enraged by Bollywood celebrities naming their children after medieval kings than by Muslim women being auctioned off online as virtual slaves by Hindu “trads.” We are more angry at the imagined sins of the Mughal rulers than at the obvious sins of our own elected legislators. We denounce the Taliban but we forget that the Afghans did not elect them to power, while we elected an accused terrorist to Parliament with a decisive mandate in 2019. We consume propaganda like popcorn even though the food and oil become unaffordable for a majority of Indians, and when asked to use our vote wisely, we yawn lazily and reply, “But, there is no alternative!” The wealthiest of us advise ourselves to leave the country completely. It is as if the mind of the Indian body politic has been brainwashed into indifference.

It is precisely to this indifference and this collective acceptance that the leaders of our struggle for freedom have risen during our struggle for independence. Every great leader has tried to liberate India not only from political slavery by the colonizers, but from the intellectual, mental and spiritual slavery that colonialism inflicted on the spirit and soul of India. Our national movement was not simply for political freedom, it was also a movement for liberation from social oppression by unjust indigenous traditions. Almost all of our nationalist leaders, across the ideological spectrum, were also social reformers, activists and advocates for reform. They did not see independence simply as an electoral project, they saw it as a transformation project.

India is again at the same crossroads. The challenge is as formidable and global as the colonial state. Except he is no longer identifiable as a light-skinned foreigner, but rather as an intangible, abstract ideology of hatred that has taken the form of an electoral formula that far too many Indians vote for. The solution to this cannot simply be electoral. This is the mistake that all opposition parties and splinter groups make. We are looking for an electoral solution to a much more endemic problem.

The monster of hatred and apathy that unleashed in India was first born in our minds and hearts. A project for change in India cannot simply be a plan for electoral victory, it must be a more transformative attempt. But for that we must begin by admitting that the Indian body politic is sick.

The writer is an award-winning Bollywood actor and sometimes writer and social commentator.

Singapore car refuels in Johor, leaves without paying Fri, 27 May 2022 03:32:18 +0000

Click to enlarge

Here is a curious case of a Singaporean car filling up in Johor and driving away without paying. Curious because we don’t know exactly how it happened – maybe you can help us.

So here is the case. The Singapore registered Kia Sorento you see here bought diesel from a gas station in Bukit Indah, JB. Except that the driver did not buy the fuel, because he would have left the station after refueling, without paying. The gas station then posted a notice and a CCTV screenshot of the Kia, asking the owner to come back and settle the bill.

As with most crimes these days, it went viral, being picked up by social media pages in Singapore. The legend on the SGRV Admin Facebook Page reads: “Kia Sorento Diesel failed to make fuel payment at Bukit Indah, Johor. Gas station cashier Bukit Indah JB asks to post”. They did a license plate search for SNA 9151 S and the official info shows 2.2D, so it’s diesel that would have been stolen.

By the way, unlike RON 95 gasoline, Singaporean vehicles are allowed to pump diesel in Malaysia, but the purchase is limited to 20 liters per day at gas stations within 25 km of the border Malaysia-Singapore (Bukit Indah is within the zone). The price of diesel in Singapore is around S$3 (RM9.60) per liter and in Malaysia subsidized diesel is capped at RM2.15 per liter for Euro 5 B10 and B20 blends. Based on these prices and the 20L limit, the savings for the Kia Sorento is RM149.

Not paying for what you bought is not fair. Singapore residents are already saving so much (more so with the current SGD-MYR exchange rate) and surely going viral for a saving of less than S$50 isn’t worth it? Inflation is rising everywhere (news flash to Malaysians: yes, even in SG), but unlike Malaysia, you’re pretty well off if you have a car, and this is the latest Sorento, not a Picanto. There’s also a chance that the driver really forgot, of course.

But what intrigues us is how it happened. Presumably the Kia driver made a cash purchase and the cashier didn’t ask for payment before authorizing the pump? It’s quite the norm for them to ask to hold cash for full tank purchases, so maybe this transaction slipped through. What do you think?

Martin Lewis issues ‘ticking time bomb’ warning to owners Wed, 25 May 2022 15:02:00 +0000

MARTIN Lewis has issued a warning to homeowners telling them to act quickly as mortgage rates soar.

He described the rapid rise in rates as a “ticking time bomb” while urging anyone nearing the end of theirs to “prepare ahead”.


Martin Lewis has issued a ‘ticking time bomb’ warning to owners1 credit

It comes as the cost of everything rises, in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

Energy bills soared 54% last month, with higher costs set to hit later in the year.

Meanwhile, taxes have risen and prices on supermarket shelves have soared as inflation hits its highest level in YEARS.

Martin took to TV again last night to allay consumer concerns amid the crisis, as he hosted the Martin Lewis Money Show Live.

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But homeowners were interested to know how soaring inflation and more would affect their real estate plans.

On the show, he was asked what to do to fix your mortgage contract when your current fixed term expires, amid rising costs.

The money mogul explained that six months ago you could get mortgages below 1%.

But the cheapest patches are now double that, at 2.1%, he revealed.

Inflation figures hit their highest level in 40 years when they hit 9% in March, adding pressure on already struggling households and their finances.

And help drive up mortgage rates in no time.

The Bank of England raised the interest base to its own 13-year high of 1%, after warnings that inflation could also hit 10% within months.

It’s a decision that makes the cost of borrowing, including loans, credit cards, and mortgage repayments, more expensive.

If you have a fixed rate mortgage, you will not be affected by rate increases on repayments in particular.

But you could experience a “rate shock” the next time you come in to mortgage and find that cheaper deals are no longer on the market.

This was exactly Martin’s biggest concern, as he worried about how households would be accepted for accessibility checks.

“An affordability check looks at ‘do you have room to pay that mortgage,'” Martin explained.

“Now we are clearly in the middle of a cost of living crisis. So everyone has less room than before because other costs have gone up.”

Martin said: “You might even want to pay a booking fee to lock in a cheap mortgage in case things get more expensive.

“If you don’t, you can get a cheaper one elsewhere, so it’s like an insurance policy, so you lose a few hundred pounds after locking in a cheap mortgage.”

Will Rhind, Head of Mortgage Advice at habitatsaid: “With four rate hikes already rolled out in less than six months, we expect UK homeowners with an existing mortgage to see very different rates on their next re-mortgage.

“We urge all mortgage holders with six months to go through the end of their fixed rate to speak with a mortgage broker across the open market to explore the options available to them now so that ‘they can start planning ahead in these unstable times.”

Mortgage experts have also explained that anyone opting for a shorter deal the next time they make a deal could end up paying more over time.

Someone who opts for a two-year solution could end up remortgaging up to 10 times over the life of the average mortgage.

With fees to be paid each time, it could get expensive – up to around £10,000 in arrangement fees alone, experts say.

“Homeowners may be better off exploring a longer-term solution of more than 10 years or more to protect against further interest rate hikes and uncertainty over the life of their mortgage,” said Will deHabito.

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Martin Lewis has also revealed whether you should pay your energy bill now after the latest price cap prediction of £2,800.

And the money guru has shared how to get FREE food from the supermarket as prices are also skyrocketing.

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Argentina’s top inflation-fighting official resigns over soaring prices Mon, 23 May 2022 21:17:00 +0000

FILE PHOTO – A woman shops at a supermarket, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 4, 2022. Picture taken May 4, 2022. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

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BUENOS AIRES, May 23 (Reuters) – A senior Argentine official tasked with leading the government’s efforts to rein in runaway inflation resigned on Monday over differences over how to contain the steady rise in prices, which have plagued the economy from the country.

Annual inflation in the South American nation hit 58% in April as many food and energy prices jumped following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with some analysts predicting that consumer prices will rise by 70% later this year.

Internal Trade Minister Roberto Feletti announced his decision in a Twitter post along with his letter of resignation after serving just over seven months in the post and citing policy “deviations”, but without going into details.

Last week, the Feletti-led ministry was merged into the Economy Ministry, as internal tensions within President Alberto Fernandez’s center-left ruling Peronists spilled over into the public eye.

In a statement released later on Monday, Guillermo Hang, a central bank official, was named the new domestic trade minister.

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Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Eliana Raszewski; Written by Carolina Pulice; Editing by David Alire Garcia and David Gregorio

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

APAC Week Ahead: Volatility ahead amid influential economic events and data Sun, 22 May 2022 00:04:32 +0000

JThere is no longer any doubt that US equity markets are now falling into a bear market, with the S&P 500 having briefly fallen above the 20% mark since the start of the year last Friday. Hopefully ‘bad news’ can make ‘good news’ because people’s wealth in their stocks has declined so frighteningly, which will result in weaker demand and help calm inflation, thanks to the accelerating rate hikes, falling prices of risky assets and no solution to war-induced supply chain disruptions. The Fed’s policy approach could begin to take effect, which is to fight inflation at the cost of slowing growth, or worse, economic recession.

Despite the rout in US equities, major Asian stock markets are more resilient. Notably, Australian equities have outperformed all other major equity markets, down 7% year-to-date (see chart below), amid high commodity prices. With Labor winning the election, it will be ingesting to see how stock markets react on Monday. Meanwhile, Chinese stocks benefited from policy tailwinds last Friday, with the CSI 300 jumping 2% after the PBOC cut the 5-year loan prime rate (LPR) by 15 basis points, the biggest reduction since the redesign of the mechanism. in 2019.

(Click to see enlarged table) YTD performance of the S&P 500 (-18.14%), HSI (-12.04%), Nikkei (-16.43%) and ASX 200 (-6.94%) in US dollars. Source: Bloomberg

Key points

  • Are there rebound opportunities for US stocks after the S&P 500 briefly fell into a bear market? Can the tech-heavy Nasdaq index begin to build bullish momentum after falling 23% from its April peak?
  • Will Chinese stock markets take off following the easing of Covid-related containment measures, coupled with dedicated government stimulus measures?
  • Did we see a short-term top in USD/JPY as US bond yields quickly retreated from the highs in May? Weakness in the US dollar index is starting to kick in after hitting a new 20-year high.
  • Additionally, falling bond yields and weaker USD may have helped gold establish a bottom reversal opportunity, with a bullish breakout on the descending trendline. See the latest market movements

Key economic data and events

US GDP, Good Orders, PCE and FOMC Meeting Minutes

A series of upcoming US data will be the main indicators to see if the Fed’s rate hikes will start to weigh on economic growth. The April PCE data in the US is in focus, if it points to a continued high cost of living, which could lead to a deterioration in risk sentiment. The second reading of first-quarter US GDP will be released on Thursday, which will provide further evidence if the macroeconomic landscape has deteriorated after the first release of negative 1.4% growth. Additionally, the flash U.S. manufacturing and services PMIs for May will provide projections of economic activity for the current month on Wednesday. The FOMC meeting minutes are certainly a spotlight for finding more clues to the Fed’s policy roadmap, in which a 50 basis point rate hike has been priced in for each of its next two meetings. .

RBNZ Policy Meeting

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to hike the official exchange rate (OCR) by 50 basis points, to 2% next week to curb 30-year high inflation, which stood at 6.9% in the first trimester. The Reserve Bank expects more rate hikes of 50 basis points to occur at each of the meetings for the rest of the year. While the New Zealand Treasury has predicted a gloomy economic outlook from the second half of the year, any dip in the RBNZ rate hike could send the local currency plummeting again.

Australia flash PMI, retail sales, construction production and capital expenditure

Australia released strong new jobs data last week, coupled with better-than-expected wage growth. Good economic data could support more aggressive moves by the RBA, which would be a bullish factor for local currency and equity markets. Upcoming Australian economic data, including flash PMIs for manufacturing and services in May, construction production and private capital expenditure for the first quarter, will offer more clues about economic health, with expectations that Q1 business spending may have recovered strongly from the omicron disruptions.

Upcoming European Week

  • Marks & Spencer annual results – Wednesday

  • Flash PMI Germany, France (May) – Tuesday

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