David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    Email of the day on the differences between China's authoritarianism and India's chaotic democracy:

    I have just returned from a visit to India and I visited China last autumn. I was struck by the difference between the two societies. In China I found an almost total absence of religious belief while in India I discovered an almost nationwide attachment to different religions and traditional mysticism. While I saw "tomorrow" all over China in the form of futuristic cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong, I only saw "yesterday 's poverty and superstition" in India. David and you harp on the importance of governance. I heard many Chinese persons state that as long as their material well-being improves, they are prepared to accept the absence of democracy because this enables the government to take action without vested interests standing in its way. In India democratic discussion was said by the persons I met to be an obstacle to rapid and firm decision-taking. What is your opinion on this?

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    Volkswagen Steps Up Tesla Rivalry in $25 Billion Battery Buy

    This article by Chris Reiter and Christoph Rauwald for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:


    Volkswagen AG secured 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in battery supplies to underpin an aggressive push into electric cars in the coming years, ramping up pressure on Tesla Inc. as it struggles with production issues for the mainstream Model 3.

    The world’s largest carmaker will equip 16 factories to produce electric vehicles by the end of 2022, compared with three currently, Volkswagen said Tuesday in Berlin. The German manufacturer’s plans to build as many as 3 million of the cars a year by 2025 is backstopped by deals with suppliers including Samsung SDI Co., LG Chem Ltd. and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. for batteries in Europe and China.

    With the powerpack deliveries secured for its two biggest markets, a deal for North America will follow shortly, Volkswagen said. In total, the Wolfsburg-based automaker has said it plans to purchase about 50 billion euros in batteries as part of its electric-car push, which includes three new models in 2018 with dozens more following. 

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    Persimmon chief's 75m pound bonus 'almost unfathomable'

    This article by Rob Davies for The Guardian may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    In an evidence session held by the housing committee on Monday, the Labour MP Helen Hayes asked Raab if he was comfortable with the “positive effect” that help to buy had had on housebuilders’ profits and executive bonuses. “It’s almost unfathomable,” said Raab. “No I’m not comfortable with it.

    “That’s why the government has introduced measures on corporate governance and is encouraging shareholders to take a greater grip on it. We want to see shareholders take a stronger grip on it and we’re starting to see more shareholder activism.”

    Hayes asked if the government was monitoring the effect that help to buy was having on corporate profits. “I’m not sure how we would measure a hydraulic relationship between those three points,” Raab said. He added that “other parts of government” were looking at corporate pay.

    Help to buy is designed to spur the construction of new homes by giving aspiring homeowners an interest-free government loan worth up to 20% of a property’s value – if the buyer opts for new build. According to several reports, housebuilders have simply increased the price of homes in response, driving up prices and boosting their own profits.

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    How Blackstone Turned India Into Its Most Profitable Market

    This article by George Smith Alexander and Anto Antony for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:


    Blackstone’s private equity funds have now invested a total of $3.5 billion in India. The firm is planning to add another $2 billion of such investments in the country over the next five years, Dixit said.

    Its Tactical Opportunities fund acquired a stake last year in an Indian asset reconstruction company that buys bad loans. Blackstone is also looking at insolvent firms put up for sale under the new bankruptcy law that took effect in December 2016, he said.

    At the turn of the century, many Indian industries weren’t fully open to foreign investment, and family-run businesses were wary of ceding control. Private equity has now become a “very important” source of funding for Indian companies’ growth, according to Sunil Sanghai, founder of NovaDhruva Capital Pvt. Blackstone has been successful in aligning its interests with portfolio company executives as well as finding the right time to sell, he said.

    “In the past few years, the investment climate has certainly undergone a positive change,” Sanghai said. “The private equity firms have also matured: they have seen a couple of investing cycles, and they now have experience with Indian companies and Indian management.”

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    Security analysis of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges

    Thanks to a subscriber for this article which may be of interest. Here is a section:

    This table shows that out of the 140 exchanges we analyzed less than 40% of them are using headers like the Strict-Transport-Security header or the X-XSS-Protection header. 20% expose server information which isn’t a security vulnerability in itself but that clearly shows the low level of security best practices implemented. And 26% of them use frontend libraries with known vulnerabilities. Only 2% implemented a Content-Security-Policy that, if done well, can offer powerful protection against clickjacking or XSS….

    We can do better.

    Our analysis isn’t saying that these exchanges have blatant vulnerabilities. But I’m questioning whether they implemented deeper security controls and protections if they didn’t implement basic security best practices that only take a few minutes (or seconds with Sqreen) to implement.

    After taking the volume that these platforms handled in the last 24h, I wanted to see if there was a correlation between volume traded and security.

    The answer is clearly no. There’s no correlation between transaction volume and security maturity.

    The 10 biggest crypto exchanges have an average grade of 3.8 out of a maximum of 10 and a median of 4.5.

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    Japan Scandal Gives Fresh Boost to Yen Bulls Eyeing 100 Mark

    This article by Masaki Kondo and David Finnerty for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Governor Haruhiko Kuroda made it clear last week the current stimulus program will remain in place for a while. There’s concern that any move past 100 could prompt a policy response if it’s deemed to hurt attempts to reflate the economy. However, his remarks on March 2 that the bank will start thinking about a stimulus exit in fiscal 2019 have at least increased market speculation over the timing of a possible normalization.

    Kuroda’s mention of an exit was meant to prime markets for an eventual withdrawal, says Daisuke Uno, chief strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in Tokyo. “Given the reduction in bond purchases, the BOJ is already laying ground for an exit. It just isn’t saying so.”


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    Bigger U.S. Auctions in Shorter Time Seen Boosting Yields

    This note by Brian Chappatta for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Bond traders have to contend with both larger auction sizes and a condensed schedule when the U.S. Treasury sells $28 billion of three-year notes and $21 billion of 10-year notes on March 12. To JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists, that combination signals a weak reception. Last month’s offerings, the first since 2009 to increase in size, priced at yields higher than the market was indicating heading into the sales. The 3- and 10-year auctions are usually spaced out over two days, but when they came on the same day in December, yields also missed higher.

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