Economist Feb 1st 2014

《The Triumph of Vladimir Putin》

  • Good year: protests seen off; Syria; NATO frustrating in Afghanistan;
  • Ukraine matters much to Putin

《Sochi or Bust》

  • Most expensive in history – corruption, inefficiencies;
  • Tight security;
  • As vulnerable as 1980s: oil & gas rent – use them to consolidate power; problem is excess of money and lack institutions; repression or democratization? Widespread dissatisfaction and discontent among elites.

《Too Big to Fail, But in a Good Way》

Koc and Sabanci: more than a quarter of Turkish market cap;

  • Short positions in FX provide hedge;
  • Untrammeled access to a market in EU;
  • Despite of conglomerate discount, global indexes prefer to own holding company;
  • Resist the vanity of owning news media and out of public facilities, governments have left them to get on with doing business – “long may that continue.”

《Deal or No Deal?》

  • Polarization of two parties, obama’s promise to bypass legislature – things are getting better;
  • Several deals are possible: minimum wage vs income tax credit; immigration; promoting free trade.

《The Odd Couple》

New Komeito and LDP – relations hit a low point:

  • Conflict in Yasukuni shrine;
  • Self defense constitution;
  • Nuclear reactors;
  • China policy;
  • Economy

Votes: bind this odd couple together – 8m members of Buddhist, Soka Gakkai.

《Physician, Heal Thyself》

  • A system that inflates the cost of medicine;
  • Public hospital is actually not public, doctor underpaid & higher than OECD spending on medicine;
  • Kickbacks account for more than 20% of final retail price
  • Promoting generic brands is difficult in China – Provincial bidding system, squeezes margins of drug companies, they would rather not make or supply the drugs

《Less Amazing than Amazon》

  • Walmart New CEO, an inflection point: open more smaller stores, step up its counterattack on Amazon – But it is chasing a fast-moving target;
  • Aims to – build up the market ecosystem that pulls together shops, warehouses, delivery, fleets, and technology.

《Fixing a Flat》

The departure of Lanxess CEO

  • One quarter of revenues from types and auto parts;
  • Oversupply when doing well causes fall in prices;
  • It needs a disciplined manager to cut costs (New CEO from Merck);
  • One solution: produce abroad or keep pushing those high-end products

《Don’t Panic》

  • Most EM are far less vulnerable than they were in 1997.
  • Risk factors: rising rates in America; slower growth in China.
  • Policy makers used market turmoil to push through more reform;
  • Yet not wholly in control, the flow of capital has more to do with what happens beyond their borders.

《Locus of Extremity》

  • Rising rate impact on the Fragile Five: reducing demand for EM assets;
  • As group, EM actually net exporters of capital: smoked the foreign currency but did not inhale, while some of them breath deep
  • Countermeasures: ban imports, taxed luxuries, let currencies fall;
  • Anticipating a more normal world – pension funds can meet their obligations and investors more reluctant to venture into anything exciting abroad.

《The Coin Has Two Faces》

  • Currency traders have had little to get their teeth into;
  • Policy dampens fluctuations;
  • Long term investors shifted to dollar buyers;
  • Last period of dollar strength was late 1990s – Internet booms, now linked to potential of shale gas;
  • Negative consequence: EM struggled to peg, difficult for American exporters, and for commodity importers;
  • Good news: US bonds more attractive

《The Price of Getting Back to Work》

America recovered quickly but lower in employment rate, reversed trends in UK;

Productivity puzzle:

  • Falling productivity cushioned against job losses in recession, while resulted in high inflation;
  • Declining productivity is consequence of falling real wages: lower real wages encouraged firms to use more labors and less capital, causing productivity to fall but popping up employment;
  • In US, milder inflation, discourages hiring, leading to rising productivity and weak employment growth.

Economist Jan 25th 2014

《China Loses Its Allure》

Things getting harder for foreign companies:

  • Government’s restrictions;
  • Competition – local firms joining the fray;
  • Some companies leaving; some struggling;
  • Sino-dependent firms worse than peers;

Challenges ahead:

  • Enhance productivity;
  • Improve governance – Chinese consumers more active;
  • Respond to local tastes.

《Doing It Their Way》

World shaped by china’s rush to consumerism:

  • stated goal;
  • increasing in absolute terms;
  • urbanization;

Sophisticated markets:

  • skewed to expensive;
  • online from the start: heavily reliance on peer reviews
  • brand switching: first – mover becomes old-fashioned;
  • go abroad;
  • creative marketing and advertising.

《In Three Parts》

Chinese economy: three forms of growth – supply, demand, and credit;

  • Supply: demographic turning point;
  • Demand: Not overheating;
  • Credit: in three categories: (1) adds to both supply and demand; (2) add nothing to capacity but to demand; (3) adds little to economic growth;

Chinese pattern of investment remains a worry, but at least enjoys a re-balancing of incomes and production, also the shift in production – more in services than industry.

《Patch-up Job》

Internets giants engage in breathtaking tax gymnastics:

  • France: buzzing with Internet-tax proposals; culture tax;
  • Italy, pass law to curb profit-shifting;
  • Chile: tech giants’ clients are in taxman’s crosshairs.

《Grease-Proof Taper》

  • Fragile five – BRL, INR, IDR, ZAR, TRY; Brazil most overheated, while Turkey and South Africa are running more current-account deficits, and much smaller FX reserves;
  • In 2014, demand commodities likely to remain restrained, affecting AUD and CAD.

《Fighting the system》

  • Lionsgate: lean, bolder, freer to pursue opportunities, keep looking for new franchises.

一种关注(十三)

不知与情人节有什么关联,BAM Rose在这两个星期将会颁出一个名为“Vengeance is Hers”的系列,长达十部作品,以荧幕上(某一种)令人过目难忘的女角色为主线串成——女性在复仇。以下是BAM网站上的简介:

From screwball proto-feminism to witchy gothic horror to cerebral auteurist classics, this series gathers some of cinema’s most unforgettable heroines and anti-heroines as they seize control and take no prisoners.

这个系列自然与女权主义思想分不开,不过第一眼看上去充满了更多黑色与暴力的元素。当然有意思的是,正如“女性的肉体是纯粹的肉体,男性的暴力是纯粹的暴力”一样,将Her与Vengeance组合在一起,势必会引发观者更多形而上的思考。果不其然,网站所附的博客上张贴了“女性视觉语言的集大成者”劳拉·穆尔维以及尼采的语录(下图)。

回到电影本身,本周令人关注的有二:芬兰导演阿基·考里斯马基《火柴厂女工》(1990,  68min, 7.7, 8.3)和日本导演新藤兼人《黑猫》(1968, 99min, 7.8, 7.8)。尤其前者,是数得上的芬兰电影佳作,在两个月前林肯中心“Ozu and His Aftelives”的系列里,该片也曾被挑选出来放映过。

Je t'aime Je t'aime    Kuroneko    The Match Factory Girl   Alphaville

Film Forum 是新浪潮“左岸”与“手册”两派的主战场。本周的前四天,戈达尔柏林金熊奖作品《阿尔法城》(1965, 99min, 7.3, 7.5)压阵,而阿伦·雷奈的《我爱你,我爱你》(1968, 91min, 7.5, 7.3)将在周五情人节上映迎头赶上。这两部作品大致都处在“新浪潮”晚期(甚至都不归属于“新浪潮”),两位导演的的风格也相继定型——必然少了早期时候的张扬和锋芒,但是对自身电影语言的信心和坚持,显然是更多了。网站上对《阿尔法城》如此介绍:

Godard creates an eerie sense of sci-fi alienation with striking b&w shooting — sans artificial light — by the great Raoul Coutard on the all-location-shot wintry streets of Paris ’65.

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