Tag Archives: India

India’s Economic Suicide; Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research


Indian Prime Minister Nahendra Modi has declared 500 and 1,000 rupee notes illegal for exchange. Since these are worth a mere $7.26 and $14.53, he has de facto ended paper currency for use in all major transactions.

Half the population do not have bank accounts, and consumer trade has come to a screeching halt. That is because the highest permitted denomination fetches only about one US dollar, and exchanging the larger notes requires long waits and government identification, which a quarter of Indians do not possess.

Beyond the self-inflicted economic crisis, Jayant Bhandari says India is becoming a police state. She is on a fast track to banana-republic status, before fragmentation into smaller political units.

The gold market in India is in chaos, as people rid themselves of the domestic fiat currency: the price per ounce has skyrocketed to above $2,000, and tax authorities are blocking the retailers. This means the black market is set to boom, as smugglers adapt to the new opportunity, but import demand from India has dropped momentarily, since the formal markets are under the gun.

Hear the podcast: http://goldnewsletter.com/podcast/jayant-bhandari-indias-economic-suicide/

See articles: http://www.acting-man.com/?p=47966

Another dent in confidence of fiat currencies. What are YOUR thoughts. Lessons?  I will pay $1 million dollars to ANYONE who can tell me how central planning helps people increase wealth over time vs. free exchange.

The balance between quantitative and qualitative research

“There’s so much you can tell in a 10-minute tour of a plant.

I can tell you right away whether we’re making money, if we have quality or delivery issues (so customer issues) and if there’s a morale problem. It’s easy to tell.

But you can’t tell until you go there.”

– Linda Hasenfratz, CEO Linamar Corporation, in conversation with The Women of Burgundy, September 21, 2016

One of the familiar tensions underlying the quality-value investment discipline is the balance between quantitative and qualitative research. Many investors intuitively understand the importance of assessing the quantitative aspects of a business. We analyze the numbers to understand what level of return the business is generating for its shareholders, what level of debt sits on the balance sheet, and whether the cash flows into the business are stable and recurring, for example.

While a quantitative assessment is vital to an investment decision, it is not complete without a qualitative framework to guide its meaning. For instance, it is not just the level of debt on the balance sheet that matters, but whether those debt levels are appropriate for the business. It’s not just a historical record of stable cash flows that gives us confidence, but rather an understanding of the economic moat that protects those cash flows from future competition.

It is with this background that I find Linda Hasenfratz’s quote truly compelling. As CEO of Linamar, she is responsible for running a global manufacturing business that spans 13 countries around the world. She may be able to look at the financial metrics to assess how her business is doing, but for Hasenfratz it is clear that a true, holistic understanding of the business comes from walking the halls of manufacturing plants and speaking face-to-face with her management teams around the world.

Her words were a welcome reminder about the importance of being there, on the ground, to gain a complete qualitative understanding of the operations. As I listened, I felt as if a member of our Investment Team had been dropped into her seat. Take, for instance, the excerpt below from the June 2016 issue of The View from Burgundy, “Boots on the Ground,” which brings us along on a site tour of a Chinese flavour and fragrance company’s R&D facility:

“Normally lab environments are tightly controlled, but in this case, rooms labelled ‘temperature controlled’ had open windows, letting in both the hot summer air and a fair share of local insects. What’s more, the facility was curiously devoid of employees, and the few research staff we did encounter were surly and unapproachable. It seemed odd to us that a company could have its main R&D facility in such a state of inactivity and disrepair, while reporting seemingly world-leading profitability in a highly competitive research-driven industry.

Our negative impression from the site tour provided useful information that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to acquire had we not done the on-the-ground work. It prevented us from making an investment in what had appeared on paper to be an attractive business, provided one didn’t scrutinize its operations – an example of why relying on company-produced financial statements alone is not sufficient when conducting due diligence.”

In other words, the science of investing is never complete without the art.


India Confiscates Gold, Even Jewelry, in Raids on Hidden Money

Global financial repression picks up steam, led by India. After declaring large denomination notes illegal, India now targets gold.

It’s not just gold bars or bullion. The government has raided houses, no questions asked, confiscating jewelry.

For background to this article, please see my November 27 article Cash Chaos in India, 86% of Money in Circulation Withdrawn; Cash Still King in Japan.

Large denomination means 500-rupee ($7.30) and 1,000-rupee notes ($14.60), which account for more than 85 percent of the money supply. They are no longer legal tender, effective immediately.

As one might imagine, chaos ensued. And it continues.

India Confiscates Gold


Picking up where we left off, please consider Message to Modi: Do No More Harm by Mihir Sharma.

The chaos accompanying “demonetization” hasn’t eased up noticeably. It seems likely the disruption to the economy, especially in cash-centric rural India, will hit growth sharply for at least a few quarters. It’s tough to say for how long and by how much; we are in uncharted territory here and guesses have varied widely. But many analysts agree with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who’s predicting the new policy will knock 2 percentage points off that world-beating GDP growth rate.

Demonetization was originally sold as a “surgical strike on black money”— the illicit piles of cash many rich Indians have accumulated out of sight of the taxman. It’s now clear the policy has been anything but surgical. Worse, uncomfortable questions are being asked about whether the complicated rules and exemptions that have accompanied demonetization have allowed black-money holders to launder most of their cash. Of late, Modi’s chosen to focus instead on demonetization as means of advancing a cashless economy.

Yet the idea of a war on unaccounted-for wealth remains central to demonetization’s popular appeal, which means Modi will have to find other ways to keep that narrative going. So the government has now begun to push income-tax officials to conduct raids on those who might be concealing assets in forms other than cash, such as gold.

There’s already enough fear of such raids becoming common again that the government felt the need to step in to quell some of the anxiety. That didn’t help much. The government “clarified,”  among other things, the rules governing when tax officials could seize gold: Nothing would happen “if the holding is limited to 500 grams per married woman, 250 grams per unmarried woman and 100 grams per male.” It also said that there would be no limits on jewelry “provided it is acquired… from inheritance.” Also, the “officer conducting [the] search has discretion to not seize [an] even higher quantity of gold jewelry.”

What this means, unfortunately, is that India’s income tax officers have just won the lottery. During a raid, they can, on the spot, decide whether or not to confiscate a family’s gold holdings. And remember, India has an enormous amount of gold — 20,000 metric tons, much of it inherited. (The rules governing simple searches are different, but few know that.) Rather than cleaning up tax administration, the government has handed tax officials more power than they’ve had for decades. The rich will pay what they need to escape harassment; the rest will suffer.

Rich Escape, Poor and Middle Class Suffer

The last line in the preceding article says all you need to know about what’s happening: “The rich will pay what they need to escape harassment; the rest will suffer.”

Evidence suggests the politically connected, and their friends, knew about the ban on cash and acted in advance. Everyone else is stuck.

India’s raid on gold reinforces its ban on cash. Short term aside, these kinds of actions will increase demand for gold.

What’s Next?

I keep wondering: what’s next? People pretend they know, I admit I do not. However, I am quite sure a currency crisis is coming. Where it strikes first is unknown, but the list of likely candidates increases every year.

My spotlight has been on Japan, China, and the EU. India caught me off guard, but it adheres to my general theory this pot will eventually boil over in a cascade from an unexpected place, outside the US.

US actions may cause a currency crisis, but I believe a crisis will hit elsewhere first. If I am correct, gold will be the safe haven, regardless of currency, but especially where the crisis hits.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock


Value Investing in India; Revisit JCP or How to Fail in Business


Bill Miller used to run Legg Mason’s Value Trust but then people learned he wasn’t a value investor and not to trust him –Port Stansberry

Value Investing in India

India’s market seems cheaper than the good ole USA’s S&P 500. The average stock in the US is trading at 25-times earnings. Americans have to look beyond the decks of the Titanic and view foreign shores.  I traveled for a half year in India but I am ignorant about investing there, but we can always learn.

Stansberry Radio

This week, Steve Sjuggerud and his good friend Rahul Saraogi, a managing director at Atyant Capital, join Stansberry Radio to share the unique situation in India right now.

AUDIO (A tad obnoxious, but bear with them) http://www.stansberryradio.com/Porter-Stansberry/Latest-Episodes/Episode/541/0/Ep-151-Rahul-Saraogi-Investing-in-India

Picture Rahul

Rahul is a hedge-fund manager based in Chennai, India. He has been investing in India as his career for 14 years. And he told us on the radio show that India is “looking better than I’ve seen it in my career.”

Rahul wasn’t so concerned about the specific way you invest… as long as you simply get some money in. “India itself is going to do really well,” he said. “You need to have a piece of India in your portfolio.”


Rahul is a managing director at Atyant Capital and manages the Atyant Capital India Fund. In the last 13 years he’s managed money exclusively in the Indian markets. His mission is to consistently identify the best 10-15 investment ideas from among the thousands of publicly-traded Indian corporations. Rahul’s value-based investment philosophy stands apart due to his belief in the paramount importance of corporate governance, specifically how management operates with its minority shareholders in mind.

Prior to Atyant, Rahul spent four years leading Meridian Investments, generating a 430% absolute return for the firm’s high net worth clients.

Rahul graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics. Outside of Atyant, he practices Vipassana, a 2,500 year-old meditation technique that helps people see things as they really are. Rahul lives and works in Chennai, India.

CSInvesting: Color me skeptical, but I will take a look.

If I had to invest with a manager in India (vs. an ETF. See above) I might seek out: Prof. Sanjay Bakshi to the left of Prof. Greenwald of Columbia University.



Prof. Sanjay Bakshi of http://www.value_quest_capital.com/

Revisiting Failure (JCP)

Improving as an investor is hard. You can make money while doing the wrong thing and vice-versa. I always write down the reasons for my investment thesis and then record the result when the position is exited. I will place a tickler in my calendar say eighteen months later to again review my past investment to see if there is more I can learn dispassionately. My last post on JCP, http://wp.me/p2OaYY-1JG. I bought near $20 on the assumption of buying below real estate value with little value for the retail operations, then sold near $15 after Johnson was fired. I was wrong.


Here is an update on the story behind the company’s struggles, How to Fail in Business While Really, Really Trying. Read: http://omnichannelretailing.com/how-to-fail-in-business-while-really-really-trying/   A good read!  Investing teaches humility. My take-away turnarounds in a difficult business often don’t turn. The reputation of the business overcomes the management. 

Pray for Cuba; A New Blog (Sanjay Bakshi Interview: Value Investing Made Simpler)

Since I have family and friends living in Cuba, please let me take this moment to send my prayers to them as Tropical Storm Gordon bears down.

Life for the young and most Cubans is brutal under the Crastro brothers’ tyranny. See what Cubans have to say:A Glimpse of Cuba.

Azucar Amargar (Bitter Sugar-Life in Cuba for the young). Watch the first five minutes even if you can’t understand Spanish. A young revolutionary slowly discovers the truth. http://youtu.be/tHPGhgrGq7s

Sanjay Bakshi, A Graham-like Investor in India


Follow the links for this four-part interview. Go to other links. Good stuff. I am  impressed with the curiosity and diligence of the Indian students and investors that I have been fortunate to meet over the years.

Here is the entire interview:Value-Investing-The-Sanjay-Bakshi-Way-Safal-Niveshak-Special

Items of Interest for Economic Students-Emerging Markets, Fed Failure

VIDEO on Deregulation and Financial Crisis

Did Deregulation Cause the Financial Crisis? No!? See Video: http://www.tomwoods.com/blog/did-deregulation-cause-the-financial-crisis/

Foundering of Indian Infrastructure or How Government Development Creates Mal-Investment*: http://www.thedailybell.com/3439/Foundering-of-the-Indian-Infrastructure

Excerpt: Free-Market Analysis: We learn from this Economist article that the situation in India is even worse than has been portrayed. Like China and Brazil, the enormous floods of money created by central banking have been applied inefficiently and without much attention to the actual necessities of modern life.

See the video of Mal-Investment* (see at end of post) in India: http://www.thedailybell.com/3442/VIDEO-The-Insanity-of-Indias-Gigantic-Gujarat-Special-Investment-Region

You can learn how state intervention in China and India actually destroys wealth–the perils of investing in emerging markets.

Fed Failure

Has the Federal Reserve been a failure? http://www.freebanking.org/2011/12/28/the-new-york-times-versus-ron-paul/  See the links.

Keynes and Krugman

Keynesians Confused. http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/01/further-improvement-in-unemployment.html

Krugman called for a depression and deflation.

Bottom line, since Krugman doesn’t understand how money impacts an economy, at major turns he tends to be way out of whack on his forecasts. Only Austrian business cycle theorists understand the manner in which central bank money manipulation can impact an economy. Bernanke money printing has been super-aggressive. This is behind the manipulated turnaround in the economy that was spotted first here at EPJ. The price inflation is coming.

*The Malinvestment of Capital http://mises.org/epofe/c8sec3.asp

The malinvestment of capital goods can have come about in several ways.

1. The construction of the plant was economically justified at the time it was established. It is not so any longer because since then new methods of production have become known or because today other locations are more favorable.

2. Though originally a sound investment, the plant has become uneconomic because of changes that have occurred in the data of the market, such as, for example, a decrease in demand.

3. The plant was uneconomic from the very first. It was able to be constructed only by virtue of interventionist measures that have now been abandoned.

4. The plant was uneconomic from the very first. Its construction was an incorrect speculation.

5. The incorrect speculation (case 4) that led to the malinvestment has been brought about by the falsification of monetary calculation consequent upon changes in the value of money. The conditions of this case are described by the monetary theory of the trade cycle (the circulation-credit theory of cyclical fluctuations).

If the malinvestment is recognized and it nevertheless proves profitable to continue in business because the gross revenue exceeds the current costs of operation, the book value of the plant is generally lowered to the point where it corresponds to the now realizable return. If the necessary writing off is considerable in relation to the total capital invested, it will not take place in the case of a corporation without a reduction in the original capital. When this happens the loss of capital occasioned by the malinvestment becomes visible and can be reported by statistics. Its detection is still easier if the firm collapses completely. The statistics of failures, bankruptcies, and balance sheets can also provide much information on this point. However, a not inconsiderable number of investments that have failed elude statistical treatment. Corporations that have sufficient hidden reserves available can sometimes leave even the stockholders, who are, after all, the most interested parties, completely in the dark about the fact that an investment has failed. Governments and local administrative bodies decide to inform the public of their mistakes only when losses have become disproportionately great. Enterprises that are not under the necessity of giving a public accounting of their activities seek to conceal losses for the sake of their credit. This may explain why there is a tendency to underestimate the extent of losses that have been brought about by the malinvestment of fixed capital.

One must call special attention to this fact in view of the prevailing disposition to overrate the importance of “forced saving” in the formation of capital. It has led many to see in inflation in general, and in particular in credit expansion brought about by the policy of the banks of granting loans below the rate that would otherwise have been established on the market, the power responsible for the increasing capital accumulation that is the cause of economic progress. In this connection we may disregard the fact that inflation, though it can, of course, induce “forced saving,” need not necessarily do so, since it depends on the particular data of the individual case whether dislocations of wealth and income that lead to increased savings and capital accumulation really do occur.[7] In any case, however, credit expansion must initiate the process that passes through the upswing and the boom and finally ends in the crisis and the depression. The essence of this process consists in rendering the appraisement of capital misleading. Therefore, even if more capital is accumulated to begin with than would have been the case in the absence of the banks’ policy of credit expansion, capital is lost on the other hand by incorrect appraisement, which leads it to be used in the Wrong place and in the wrong way.

Whether or not the increase in capital is equalled or even exceeded by these losses is a quaestio facti. The advocates of credit expansion declare that there is always an increase in capital in such cases, but this certainly cannot be so unhesitatingly asserted. It may be true that many of these plants were erected only prematurely and are not by nature malinvestments, and that if there had been no trade cycle they would certainly have been constructed later, but not otherwise. It may even be true that in the last sixty to eighty years, especially during the upswing of the trade cycle, plants were built that surely would have been constructed later?railroads and power plants in particular?and that therefore the errors that bad been committed were made good by the passage of time. However, owing to the rapid progress of technology in the capitalist system, we cannot reject the supposition that the later construction of a plant would have influenced its technical character, since the technological innovations that appeared in the meanwhile would have had to be taken into account. The loss that results from the premature construction of a plant is then certainly greater than the above optimistic opinion assumes. Very many of the plants whose establishment was due to the falsification of the bases of economic calculation, which constitutes the essence of the boom artificially inaugurated by the banks’ policy of credit expansion, would never have been built at all.

The sum total of available capital consists of three parts: circulating capital, newly formed capital, and that part of fixed capital which is set aside for reinvestment. A shift in the ratio of circulating capital to fixed capital would, if not warranted by market conditions, itself represent a misdirection of capital. Consequently, the circulating capital in general must not only be maintained, but also increased by the allocation of a part of the newly formed capital. Thus only an amount that is quite modest in comparison with total capital is left over for new fixed investment. One must take this into consideration if one wishes to estimate the quantitative importance of the malinvestment of capital. It is not to be measured by comparison with the total amount of capital, but by comparison with the amount of capital available for new fixed investments.

Without doubt, in the years that have elapsed since the outbreak of the World War, very considerable amounts of fixed capital have been malinvested. The stoppage of international trade during the war and the high-tariff policy that has since prevailed have promoted the construction of factories in places that certainly do not offer the most favorable conditions for production. Inflation has operated to produce the same result. Now these new factories are in competition with those constructed earlier and mostly in more favorable locations?a competition that they can sustain only under the protection of tariffs and other interventionist measures. These extensive malinvestments took place precisely in a period in which war, revolution, inflation, and various interferences of the political authorities in economic life were consuming capital in very great volume.

One may not neglect all these factors if one wishes to investigate the causes of the disturbances in the economic life of the present day.

The fact that capital has been malinvested is visibly evident in the great number of factories that either have been shut down completely or operate at less than their total capacity.


[7] Cf. my Geldwertstabilisierung und Konjuncturpolitik, p. 45 et seq.