January 25, 2011

Commodity Inflation starts to hurt Indian Consumer Companies (HLL,Ceat)

Inflation in India is raging at double digit levels as it is in most of the other countries in Asia.While Food Inflation has been hogging the headlines as Onion Prices become costlier than the daily earnings of the majority of Indians,other commodities are becoming expensive as well.Tyre Companies in India have seen their margins and profits collapse on the back of higher natural rubber prices.This is despite the explosive growth being seen in the automobile sector in India.JK Tyres and Ceat reported their quarter results and both were equally bad with stock prices taking a major hit.Consumer giant HLL which is a subsidiary of the Unilever Group and the largest consumer company in India also saw its stock price tumble.HLL too has been hurt by higher input commodity costs.While volume growth was excellent,the margins got compressed as input prices increased faster than output prices.Note the Indian stock market has fallen more than 10% of its peak even as developed markets are seeing higher peaks.Other Asian markets like Indonesia,Thailand and others too have fallen as high inflation hurts the prospects of companies here.The Central Bank in India RBI raised the intrest rates by 25 bps which some consider as too low.Like other central banks in Asia,India too seems helpless to fight the inflationary pressures brought upon by the higher commodity prices fueled by Bernake money printing.
November 20, 2010

Foreigner Bond Tax becomes favorite Capital Control as Dollar Deluges Emerging Markets

Deflating Developed Countries are fueling Inflation in Developing Ones with ultra low interest rates.QE2 has been heavily criticized around the world due to the dangers of it creating asset bubbles in emerging markets as yield hungry investors look for growth at any price.With hundred of billions flooding emerging debt and equity markets,the situation has become volatile for a lot of countries.Brazil has already seen its currency skyrocket in the last 2-3 years due to the huge spread between its bond yields and the US interest rates.With carry investors able to make around 10%,Brazil remains a favorite market for the inflow of dollars.Other countries like Thailand,Malaysia,Indonesia have seen their stock markets rallying to all time highs as well.Many of these countries have already imposed capital controls earlier.Now they are increasing further,as monetary authorities rush to close the gates.
October 21, 2010

Soybean and Rice Prices Rise in Empathy with Corn and Wheat to make new records

Food Prices are rising at an incredible pace around the world due to a combination of money printing by the USA and Bad Weather in Russia and Asia.The major cause of the Food Price Increase has been the global rush towards investing in commodities as currencies get devalued by countries eager to increase exports in a zero sum game.Wheat Prices were the first to rise after Russia stopped exports leading to the sharpest gain in the last 2 years.Corn prices have increased with increased demand from ethanol,bad harvests and relentless QE.Rice and Soybean prices were bound to rise in empathy with other grain prices.Note these two food varieties are substitutes of corn and wheat.So it makes sense for speculators and consumers to increase the demand for these 2 commodities as well. Rice Price Increase after Flooding in Biggest Exporters Rice Prices have shown a record increase after floods sharply reduced output in the 2 main exporter Vietnam and Thailand.With inventories being sharply cut and harvests going down it is not much of a surprise.Rice importing countries like Philippines will be badly hit as their per capita income is quite low and they have a large poor population highly sensitive to increasing food prices.Expect 2011 to be a Hunger Year for a large chunk of the world's population thanks to Ben Bernake and print his way to prosperity team.
August 5, 2010

Thailand's attractive Solar "Adder" electricity tariff leads to Installation Rush;Suntech and Sharp in the Lead

Thailand has proposed to generate 20% of its electricity from Renewable Energy by 2022 and has implemented an "adder" electricity tariff for Green Energy plants.This "adder" tariff is similar to the Feed in Tariff (FIT) schemes prevalent in other parts of the world which gives a higher electricity payment to Renewable Energy Power Generators.Under this policy Thailand is set to give the "adder" tariff for 500 MW of plants till 2020 after which the tariff might be reduced