Simultaneous inflation and deflation pressures in China

China simultaneously experiences imported deflation and inflation. 

Drop in global demand for exports causes credit to unwind within the manufacturing sector. 

Swine flu and depleting foreign reserves causes price pig to increase. 

This will be a useful case study to observe the monetary and fiscal policy China implements to deal with simultaneous inflationary and deflationary pressures. 

China Factory Deflation Worsens as Pork Drives Consumer Prices  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-15/china-factory-deflation-worsens-as-pork-drives-consumer-prices

Federal Chairman Jerome Powell on 0.25% interest rate cuts

Overview

  • Outlook for the US economy is favorable but
    • core inflation is only at 1.6% instead of 2%
    • cutting interest rate by 0.25% from 2.5% to 2.25%
  • insurance against downside risk
    • global growth is slowing
    • trade policy tension is a new stimulus to the equation and it is a concern
  • key objectives
    • strong job economy
    • 2% inflation rate
  • adopt an iterative approach by observing how economy reacts to policy changes

Key areas of concern

global growth slow down

  • US core inflation rate is at 1.6% – excludes food and energy inflation which are cyclical
    • US GDP sustained
  • US manufacturing declined in 2019Q1 and 2019Q2
  • US business fixed investment slowed in 2019Q1 and fell in 2019Q2
    • companies uncertain about investment spending
    • not seeing additional demand for products
  • June US job growth slowed in 2019Q2
  • disinflation rates observed in other countries
    • manufacturing in rural China and the EU are slowing

highly leverage business sector within the US

  • Business borrowings are excessive
  • loans have moved off balance sheet of banks to market based vehicles

Positive signals of sustained US economy

  • rising household income drives confidence
  • no booming sectors observed hence no concerns for busts

Federal Reserves framework for monitoring risks

  • Excessive leverage in the Financial sector
  • Excessive asset valuations
  • Excessive debt loads in households and business
  • Funding risks that could result in sudden shortfall of liquidity

Structure of the US economy

  • US capital requirements within banks are at 2X of what is required to tide through tough times
  • Allocations
    • 70% consumer
    • 30% investments and manufacturing
      • not growing
      • remains healthy

Related references

The mushroom at the end of the world

  • staying alive for every species requires livable collaboration
  • scalability is not an ordinary feature of nature and requires a lot of work
  • expect interactions between scalable and non-scalable projects
  • The bulk of the work is threading through the non-scalable to reach the scalable

On the middle man

  • a necessary consummate translator within the supply chain
  • he maintains a mental map of who needs what
  • helps efficiently route the inventory to the most suitable individual

On Freedom

  • it is the concept of not having to be a cog in the machine.
  • it does not necessarily lead to great economic outcome for the pursuing individual
  • it allows the individual the ability to freely allocate the use of his time

The matsutake mushroom

  • along most parts of supply chain it symbolizes a social exchange which strengthens social ties
  • it is only during the sorting when the mushroom is looked at purely as a commodity

Man and nature

  • The satoyama revitalization
    • man is part of nature
    • man’s disturbance to nature is part of nature
  • unintentional design is the interplay of man and nature
    • animal/human activities/disturbance
    • pine tree growth
    • matsutake mushroom colonization and growth

Book summary: The Fate of Rome

Climate is both an enabler and disruptor of human endeavors. Nature balances the population it supports. Technology enables increased rate of energy extraction from environment to further human purposes.

Conducive climate results in bountiful yield and has allowed Rome to rise. Land is cleared and trade networks flourish during the rise of the empire. Clearance of wild lands unlocked microbes into the human civilization.

Microbes evolve to utilize humans and other mammals as vectors of infection. Dense population and connected trading network serve as a multiplier. The worst pandemic is the white pestilence (Black Death). This wiped out more than half of human population.

Trading network collapse as a result of the decimated population. Military rank diminishes both as a result of population decimation. Problem is further compounded by collapse of financial system which makes it difficult to sustain an army.

Grounds are fertile for spread of monotheistic dooms day religion like Christianity. Emperor Justinian converts to Christianity. Classical Greek school of thoughts gets displaced.

Climate change for the worse force nomads with superior military power to migrate westwards into Roman territory.

Roman Empire with decimated population gets further crippled.

Insights from the week

From Connie (Edmodo)

  • the key to consulting is to organize data into high level mutually exclusive buckets to allow easy defeating by decision makers

From Tim (Edmodo)

  • Kano model

From Val (Totango)

  • Company is concerned with increasing revenue and profitability. This will drive higher valuation during further exit

From Yip (ATT)

  • Analytics from Facebook page comments and twitter hashtag
  • need to balance customer support demand and cost of running department:
    • customer support hotline
    • Direct comments from influencers  which trigger negative sentiment to support staff
  • Business analyst reads comments manually to get qualitative needs and understands business needs
  • Data scientist explores data might not know the business needs
  • business analyst have problems working with data scientist
  • tools to help business analyst get directly at the insight instead of via data scientist
  • build model to predict call support volume by category
  • build model to quantify feature demand level needs
  • correlation of weather and commodity prices

Insights from visit to far west fungi farm

On mushroom

  • Get woods chips from petco
  • Alder or ashpen shavings
  • 6 inch to a foot at the bottom
  • Every few months 2 inch on the top
  • use Sundew, a carnivores plants to get rid of insects
  • Go to blue bottle cafe for burlap sacks
  • Don’t soak more spawns for more than 12 hours each time
  • If too dry soak, then keep in air for a day or two
  • Drop some clay in water to detect chlorine in water used for soaking wood and spawn

Meetups

Useful resources

  • LibGen.IO – site where free books can be downloaded
  • sci-hub.tw – site where free research papers can be downloaded
  • www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing – site for horse racing statistics
  • Far West Fungi Farm

Reflections on organizational observations

On the benefits of being under resourced

An organization that is under-resourced is similar to an individual who regularly practices intermittent fasting.

In the case of the individual, weaker cells are cannibalized by the body to produce new cells. Studies has shown decreased probability of developing cancer and Alzheimer, coupled in some cases with increased longevity.

In the case of the organization, operations are forced to be focused and only opportunities backed by stronger market signals prioritized and pursued. Wastage and distractions are structurally curtailed. ROI improves as a by product.

On organic growth

An organization that is organically grown tends to be happen-chance and exhibit somewhat illegible and opaque structure.

In contrast, an organization that is deliberately designed tends to exhibit a legible and transparent structure.

Counter intuitively, it is the former that exhibits more resilience in times of environmental stress. The observed illegibility and opaqueness is attributed to the process of organic adaption to its environment. Chief historical examples are:

  • Military of Carthage
  • Genghis Khan’s Mongolian horde

Related readings

Symbiotic relationships between man and other species

Somewhere along in time, Man formed semi-symbiotic relationships with selected species of plants and animals. Thereafter this cohabiting social structure was scaled up the world over. 

As the process ran its course, other species were inevitably marginalized due to habitat loss, some driven almost to the brink of extinction.

It is interesting to note, the larger the physical size of an unincorporated specie and the closer it’s distance to the brink of extinction. 

The long term trend tends towards mono-cultures and minification of species. 

Man does not share the position at the top of the food chain well with others.

Key observations in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, a city under construction

On society

  • 120 million relatively young population
  • 65% of youth graduate from college
  • unemployment rate is 85%
  •  The Youth is hungry for opportunity to advance in life
  • The Youth is highly optimistic and have faith in their prime minister
  • Shifting away from a tribal centric identity to a nation identity is the key challenge for the country. Tribal warfare was observed in Matema region.

On infrastructure

  • One belt one road initiative has thus far rebuilt 85% of all major highways
  • significant levels of Chinese operated construction observed in Addis Ababa where Chinese occupy the management layer while the locals occupy the manual layer.
  • Significant levels of new housing construction in villages by locals. Projects are facilitated by ease of material transport due to improved road conditions.
  • At the moment of writing, Chinese built daily train is in operation from Addis Ababa to Djibouti. Chinese management is in process of doing knowledge transfer to local with the intention of handing eventual management.

On nature and agriculture

  • mixed of highland and grassland terrain
  • lowlands are utilized for the cultivation of wheat, corn and coffee
  • highlands are utilized for the cultivation of potato and barley

On technology

  • Ethiopia’s own version of Uber was launched earlier this year.
  • Country-wide established 3G networks has been observed
  • Majority of people were seen using Android mobile phones like Samsung and Huawei.
  • Tenco is a locally manufactured Android phone ran by Chinese management. Typical phone sells for USD50.

On foreign relations with China

  • China is the largest trading partner where food is the main export.
  • China’s one belt one road initiative in Ethiopia aims to increase supplies of raw materials available to the middle class rich in China by building up critical infrastructure like roads and manufacturing facilities to increase overall throughput volume from this agriculturally fertile region.
  • The approach is to utilize Chinese capital, Chinese management expertise and operations technique gained from the rebuilding of their economy, local raw materials and local human labor.
  • Where maintenance is required knowledge transfer occurs. This serves to help conserve Chinese human capital as they further their initiative across the region.
  • The observed build up of educated youth will likely help facilitate the necessary knowledge to ensure infrastructure gets maintained beyond the time period of the initiative.

Related readings

  • Why the west rules for now, Morris Ian