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Some thoughts for the New Year.

What lies ahead for next year?

This year (like every year for that matter) there have been a few winners, who have made their fortunes anew, and some losers, some of whom are usually in the winners ranks but have notched down a few places. 

Times have been very hard, especially in the Steel and Oil businesses.  In both sectors, the prices have hit multi-year lows, and there seems little sign of respite or rebound just yet. 

The Steel sector was hit by the slowdown in China and problems with the development agenda elsewhere, like Brazil.  China is by and large now having the semblance of a mature economy, and although there still remains potential, most of the infrastructure projects seem to be complete, especially in the metropolitan areas.  For the urban areas, the Chinese are not in a hurry to develop all those too quickly, and will wait and choose the time when the commodity prices are at an absolute low.
Unless of course they have to keep everybody busy, in which case the turning point I suspect is just about there.  Keep an eye and you will spot the uptrend. 

In Brazil, as in India, the potential for development is still vast.  Both these trading nations are encouraging entrepreneurs to take a lead and open up trade with the world.  As goods and capital flow
into these economies, the people there will have expectations of a rising standard of living.  These are vast markets, and their development is in the goodwill of investment from overseas. 

My suggestion is that if the central banks can be guided into lowering the benchmark rates, especially in India, Brazil and South Africa, they could be the leaders in growth for the next cycle.  The added demands and needs of a population that is growing up, and the aspiring middle class that is being created, offers a huge consumer market, where people surely want everyday items like Cola, burgers and chips, pizza, dumplings, rice and dhal, fritters, etc, as well as housing, furniture, cosmetics, cars, juicers, footbaths, shavers, etc, etc....the list is endless, and the demand huge.  And these are hard-working people, who will wish to earn and pay their way.  Both governments are trying their best to create opportunities, but more can and should be done in this regard. 

I can imagine the slums of Mumbai being replaced by 4 and 5-storey buildings, to house the people who will have been displaced as well as newcomers to the area.  A humane, considerate policy of building good housing for the current slum-dwellers would I imagine meet with the peoples' approval and gratefulness.  If more satellite towns are created, all over India, then the overfull trains may become easier to travel in.  Creation of jobs in the local areas would be a great initiative.  Work closer to home, saving in time and trouble and expense of travelling by the overcrowded public transport.  The pot-holes certainly need some 'magical' solution.  Don't tell me India cannot be transformed.  Under the enlightened leadership of Prime Minister Modiji, India is opening up for co-operation and joint ventures
with various nations (France and Germany, Japan, U.S. United Kingdom....the list grows) and I cannot even imagine how much growth will be possible.  It will be simply phenomenal over the next four years.
I believe the Reserve Bank committee would do well to take courage and have confidence in the strength of India, and cut the benchmark rate, perhaps to even five percent.  How can these big nations, who each has the potential of being a superpower in the league of superpowers, be competing on terms which are self-imposed and unfair to themselves? 

Russia has created her own problem with the annexation of the Crimea.  Ukraine, and Kiev, are the transit point for the supply of their gas to Europe.  There is the whole of $24 billion of trade lost and causing contraction in the affected parts in Ukraine, Germany, Russia and U.S.  The imposition of trade sanctions have had a bitter effect for all.  The fall in the value of the Rouble has decimated Russia's currency reserves.  The fall in the price of Oil has severely reduced their income.  Unless the situation sees some easement and return to harmony, I am not happy to note that Russia may be heading for a recession.  Please, Mr Putin, please be forgiving and generous, and let your nation thrive once again.
Can the people of Ukraine look forward to such a gesture of goodwill for Christmas?  I believe there is all the hope and possibility.  It would restore everything to a happy normal state.

China is doing fine, by the numbers released by them at the weekend.  They have had a change of focus, to cater for domestic demand, but their exports can be ramped up as and when their trading partners need more supplies.  For themselves, the Chinese can be anticipating good GDP numbers, as well as visible and tangible rising standards of living.  

The great initiative being developed by Dr Manoj Bhargava (pronounced without the a at the end) in creating technology for desalination of water, production of electricity from a stationary bike hooked to a battery and storing the energy thus produced, and his pulse-generation machine to rejuvenate the human body, all these seem to have arrived for humanity on time.  As these innovations are adopted by governments and corporations where the wonderful service is much needed, the world will see huge changes.  Dr Bhargav calls it Stage 2 Innovations, and Billionsinchange.  His innovative technology has been designed to meet the current needs of the world, water for drought ridden areas, cheaper electricity for areas where the electrical grid is a dream of another age at the moment, and a machine that rejuvenates people....what could be more wonderful, for people who like to live longer but still be independent and healthy?  These are technologies whose time has come, and their altruistic introduction I imagine will find a great welcome.  52222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222222220  1000000000

Wishing all my readers and friends a very Merry Christmas.
May Heavenly Father's blessings be upon all, for joy and good health.


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