Monday, May 31, 2010

Pump Prices Remain At Unreal Levels

Almost two years after they collapsed on world markets. The green line represents the evolution of IPE Brent oil after adjusting for the MUR/USD exchange rate while the red one charts local pump prices complimentary of early harvest and bumper crop.

And that's supposed to:

1. have made us more resilient during the financial crisis? 
2. be an external shock?

Beats me!

70% of Poll Says Aubeeluck's A Better Dancer

Than none other than Navin Ramgoolam. Indeed 21 of the 30 people who voted thought that Parti Malin's Leader got the moves.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Myth of The Strong Rupee

You will be hard-pressed to find evidence of a persistently strong rupee in the graphic above that pits our currency against three harder ones over a long period. Indeed a USD was worth Rs11.91 on average in 1983 but about 2.6 times more so far this year. Similar story for the British Pound: you needed 17.86 rupees for every £1 twenty-seven years ago but as much as Rs47.50 on average in 2010 even though it came down quite a bit from its unreal peak of 2007. And the € was still 58% higher than its debut in 1999.

I always thought that entrepreneurs and currency speculators were worlds apart.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Understanding the US Oil Spill

And you can take a look at a live shot of the spill here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Manou Back From the Dead As Rupee Sent To Hell

That's right. As of May 25 our rupee, as the table shows, had three of its 10 worst days in a decade against the greenback between May 17 and 19. That was enough to make May 19, 20 and 18 the last days of the three worst 3-day periods of the MUR/USD exchange rate since the world survived the Y2K bug. And you don't have to look elsewhere for the worst week in 10 years either: it's the five trading days ending May 20 when the USD appreciated by 5.10%.

Ti tann dir pa pu donn bibron dan godi...

Kozelidir Media Resources 2

Here's a second installment. Enjoy!

Pu Moris vinn pli riss

Kan depresiasyon vinn ene maladi

To krwasans en dollar komie

Prodwi ek lindistri ena zot sikl

Kifer li pa grav si enn lentrepriz ferme

Prev politik ki reform ekonomik ti mari dan dife

Kuma Sithanen inn fer Moris vinn plis vilnerab

Komie FDI bizin pu met nu pei korek?

Kifer IRS finn mor

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kozelidir Media Resources

I am making a number of sound bites that deal specifically with crucially important issues available to media people. Students of economics and citizens wishing to get their facts right will also find them quite useful. Think of it as another small contribution to raise the level of debate in our country.

Kifer entrepriz gayn problem

Eski bizin sov bann entrepriz

Santaz Bann Gourma Laminn Dipin (kuma u konne wen entreprener)

Kuma pe touye nu lekonomi

Ki fer nun perdi 25,000 jobs dan textil

Amenn sa baget mazik la (lala na pa ti la)

Don remed mem ler pa malad (pu kompran stimilis pakeg)

Ena resofe ladan mam (kuma nun turn en ron)

Ramgoolam Not In the Mood To Nurse GLDs

More precisely, here's what he said: Ki zot tile? Pran zot dan godi dir ayo papa Euro! Euro! donn zot bibron? Pa Pwena! Devaliasyon zame tienn solisyon. Nu bizin vinn pli konpetitif".

Kind of refreshing to hear. In any case the majority of citizens didn't vote for Berenger's team because they didn't want our currency to be depreciated.

Bheenick is also back at his desk since Friday afternoon and has stated that he will not be privileging a few at the expense of the many.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The $/€ Rate Since The Launch of the €

Funnily enough you will have trouble forgetting the rate the day the € was launched unless you never heard about la prise de la Bastille: 1.1789). 

For the first three years the new currency lost ground reaching a minimum of 0.8252 on 26 October 2000. But since 6 July 2001 till 15 July 2008 the trend has been resolutely positive moving from 0.8384 USD to 1.5990 USD. That's a 7-year streak if you're paying attention and must have helped build robust reserves for exporters with inputs in USD and sales in EUR.

It then fell quite a bit with the collapse of the oil prices especially in October 2008 but recouped more than half of the decline in the following couple of months.

The USD/EUR rate then trended positively for two quarters beginning March 2009 before starting a negative trend from its local peak of 1.5120 on December 3, 2009. 

It closed at 1.2497 yesterday which is more than 50% its all-time low.

The graph is from the ECB's website. Check out the adjustable data windows.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Procrastination Can Be Costly

On July 3, 2005 l'Alliance Sociale wins the elections but Ramgoolam doesn't appoint Bheenick immediately as Governor of the Central Bank. There are probably two reasons for that. The first one is that he doesn't want to compensate Basant Roi for ending his contract prematurely. The other is that Sithanen doesn't want somebody with an independent mind heading the Bank of Mauritius.

Things drag on. Too much. Bheenick is finally appointed in February 2007 -- seventeen months later -- and Sithanen tries to blackmail the PM by dangling a letter of resignation. That doesn't work but the damage is already done. Indeed the amount of inflation -- some call it radioactivity -- created between July 2005 and February 2007 is about 12.5%. That's more than half the high cumulative inflation of 23.9% generated by Federation 2 over a 4.75-year period but in less than one-third of the time. Do the math and you'll love the speed.

Announcing that Manou would stay on as Governor during the campaign has certainly contributed to Ramgoolam's victory just like his steady hand at the BOM during his first contract kept the PM's chances of reelection alive in the face of unrelenting Shaitanomics.

A lot of important and urgent work awaits the Governor-in-waiting. He shouldn't be kept away from his desk any longer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Where Were You On February 6, 1975?

Because that was the day a pretty little thing called Gervaise spent the day crossing Mauritius. If you were old enough not to have been in diapers then you probably ate some faratas on that day.

The damage to our economy was extensive as you can imagine. You may also wish to take a look at a manuscript that Mr. Padya filed about one aspect of the intense tropical cyclone here.

So 1975 was not a boring year at all: February we get Gervaise and three months later students are on the GRNW bridge.

Students Protest Turns 35

I heard about it on the radio this morning and flashed back: I asked all kinds of questions but didn't get that many answers. Thought it was a cool idea -- anything that got me away from school was kind of cool -- and even wanted to join in. But I was told that primary students were not exactly welcome.

One Noor Adam Essack wrote about that event in Le Matinal today where he mentioned that students protested at the time because they wanted an education system that reflected our local flavour.

35 years later, are you happy with our education system? While you think about it I'll have my friend John sing something for us.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Rubbish From L'express

The front page article on its website claims that 79% of the people who visited a news site preferred L'express. Visiting and preferring are not exactly the same. I know a lot of people who visit that website to get a feeling similar to the one they do when they eat funny mushrooms.

And the best joke of the week... the same article claims that according to Alexa -- the traffic monitoring site -- L'express is at 13th ahead of Twitter and e-bay!!! Lol.

L'express is in fact 13th in Mauritius but ranked at 55,425 in the world today. Twitter is 11th in the world while e-bay is 24th in the world.

Jean-Claude, don't forget to mention this new mistake in your editorial on Sunday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Anti-graft Expert Blames World Bank

That's what Bertrand de Speville did in an interview in Le Mauricien this afternoon. Essentially he's saying the Bretton-Woods loan shark may be suffering from a we're-so-big-we-can't-be-wrong type of institutional arrogance and is responsible for the lack of progress in the fight against corruption in many countries. De Speville recently published book can be ordered from Amazon by clicking on the image below. I also recommend reading the very interesting Chapter 7 of Sebastian Mallaby's book.

Overcoming Corruption: The Essentials

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Voters Give Ramgoolam Opportunity To Shrug Off Neocon Label

That's one way of looking at what happened 11 days ago. Granted things are looking promising for him given that the most neocon element of his last government was denied a ticket. And Bheenick's impending reconduction at the helm of the central bank will certainly be another positive development for a majority of Mauritians: the odds of another fatwa being issued against our poor rupee are pretty low.

Ramgoolam should seize this brand new opportunity and redeem himself. Right away.

Friday, May 14, 2010

57 Countries Had Better Growth Rates Than Us For 4 Straight Years

The years are 2005 to 2008 and the data is from the World Bank. That should steal away the thunder from the few bean-counters around who keep overselling their achievements as far as the management of the economy goes. Here are some of the countries that had better growth rates than Mauritius in each of these four years:

Argentina and Brazil (Lol! they turned their back on the Bretton-Wood sisters in 2005), Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.

How do you like the perspective?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

76 Countries Had A Better Growth Rate Than Us in 2008

And as you recall that was supposed to be the year of the bumper crop. Still that's a 100 spots better than our ranking in 2005 a year when our textile industry completed a major contraction.

MMM Promises Sparks in Parliament

So said Rajesh Bhagwan to Le Defi+ a couple of days ago. Congratulations Rajesh for finally remembering why we send an opposition to parliament.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bono Turns 50

World Bank Blows Own Trumpet, Again

According to an article published in the media today reforms undertaken since 2006 have saved us by producing a higher growth rate during a three-year period. And given that the reforms were implemented by a Bretton-Woods puppet and his university friend who spent literally all his life working for the Washington-based loan sharks the World Bank is essentially asking us to be grateful and to keep on borrowing billions we don't need from them. Plus we should keep on listening to their crappy advice that has screwed up Mauritius for the past five years.

Hello!!! Anybody home? Ramgoolam had to unceremoniously dump Sithanen otherwise he would have become the leader of the opposition by now.  You already know how Malawi ended poverty, but did you know how brilliant they've been with the world's second lung? And it's nice that some NGOs keep track of the 'work of god' they do around the world.

By the way, this is our 500th post. Thanks for the conversations!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Suddenly Berenger Finds Electoral System Shabby

That after participating in nine consecutive general elections over a 34-year period, being a Senior Minister a number of times and even Prime Minister for 2 years in a government with a super majority. Why didn't he do something about it all this time?

But he can redeem himself a little bit by convincing the newly-elected parliament to repeal the best loser system.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Top 10 Most Popular Posts in April 2010

Riding No. 4 Sends Birthday Girl to Parliament

Yep, Mireille Martin turned 35 on Thursday the day the voters of constituency no. 4 sent her to parliament for a second time. She got the most votes -- 16,607 votes which is 10,000 more than Cehl Meeah -- beating Joe Lesjongard by 72 votes while Kalyanee Juggoo came in third.

With Aurore Perraud getting one of the 7 best loser seats this riding will have three women representing it in Parliament. Not bad.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

6% Votes Difference Gave First 2 BBRs Large Seat Advantage

In 1983 the first Bleu-Blanc-Rouge (BBR) alliance got 5.7% more votes than Berenger's MMM. That gave them a 22 seats advantage. It was also the first time Berenger had presented himself as candidate to the land's highest office. He didn't get elected in Quatre-Bornes.

Four years later the second BBR alliance got a 5.6% advantage but gave back two seats to the MMM but Berenger was again not elected in QB.

Interestingly in 2005 Ramgoolam got a BBR-like result: 38-22. And this time he got a 6.2% votes advantage. But he pretty much wasted such a comfortable majority.

Voter Turnout Goes Back to Level of 1995

Well almost. For sure it's not the 87% reached in 1991. It is also about 4% less than in 2005. Are we slowly joining the ranks of the so-called advanced economies where half of the voters don't bother to vote? Not sure exactly the same factors are working here. I would rather go for a growing disenchantment of voters.

Who benefits from the lower turnout? Is it the MMM because its voters are more disciplined or sticky? Can't tell because whatever discipline they have could not get Ashock Jugnauth to ride on the worst economic management in our history in the bye-election last year.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Body Language, Arithmetic and Fact

First body language. Berenger looks quite preoccupied throughout the interview he gave to Jean-Luc Emile yesterday. His body language seems to be saying that he has lost today's elections.

Next arithmetic. He reads from an "NIU report" and tell us that the secret services are expecting 37 seats for his group, 19 for Labour, 8 for MSM and 2 for the PMSD. The snag is that the total of these numbers makes 66 seats! Also pay close attention to his body language (after 7m55s) when Emile asks him whether it's not a fake document.

Finally, he says he lost the 2005 by a thin margin. Not quite. He lost by 6.2% in terms of the votes but he got 16 seats less than Ramgoolam. A 6% difference has been enough to give a comfortable majority of seats to a government each time that has happened. More on this later.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Only Vote That Counts

That would be yours and mine. And in the final analysis the candidate who gets the most votes get elected and the party which gets more candidates elected will form the next government. Full stop.

Unlike what you heard Jocelyn Gregoire say the creole vote will not have more weight in this election. It will not carry less weight either. In fact it will carry the same weight as the weight of all the other components that make up our country. That's because the final outcome depends on the sum total of what each and everyone of us will do tomorrow.

It is a pity that not enough time was spent discussing the issues that really matter to us. But on the positive side many more progressive voices were heard. And they were heard steadily. We're not exactly talking about a whisper here.

72% of Survey Say They Are Not Better Off Now

Than they were in 2005. I don't think anyone is surprised by this.

81% of Survey Want Abortion To Be Legalised

It's not because it's not legal that it's not happening.

65% Of Survey Against Capital Punishment

Which is good news because capital punishment cannot be a substitute for lack of basic management.

Survey Says 41% Don't Trust Our Politicians At All

And only 3.1% of the 32 participants in our survey said they trusted them a lot. 56.3% trusted our political class on a little bit.

Survey Says 87.5% Read and Analyze Manifestos

Before they go to vote. That's refreshing to hear. 12.5% don't bother.

Survey Finds 100% Vote For Best Candidates

Lol! I guess Resistanz Ek Alternativ can book a long holiday.

Survey Finds 69% Vote For Best Candidates

That's the first question we asked in our first survey in which 32 people took part. Participants are also saying that they are more likely to shift their votes than to vote for the same party. Food for thought.

14% of Poll Will Now Vote For Ramgoolam

Indeed 7 of the 49 people who voted said they will vote for Ramgoolam given that he has dumped Sithanen. 85% are saying that this will not have any bearing on how they vote tomorrow. The poll would have been a tad more interesting if it had included a third category: those who will not vote for Ramgoolam given that he has not given a ticket to his Minister of Finance.

But it's true that both alliances have promised reversing many of the bean-counting decisions.

Poll Says 22% Decide 3 Days Before Election Day

That's more than one in every five voters. Of the 22%, 8% decide on voting day. 26% decide before nomination day which would mean that they are either blind followers or trust their parties will have good candidates or thoroughly distrust the other parties. 14% decide after the candidates are known while 35% decide only after the manifestos are published.

Which gives you an indication of the amount of respect that our politicians have for us by publishing their program for the next 5 years only 10 days before we go to vote.

53% of Poll Planning To Vote For Alliance Du Coeur

Yep. 41 of the 76 votes casted in this poll were in favour of Berenger's alliance against 26 for L'Alliance de L'Avenir. 6% were voting for a third party while 5% were not going to vote.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Poll Saying May 5 Race is Close

50.7% of the 152 voters said the MMM's alliance will be forming the next government vs. 49.3% for the Ramgoolam's alliance.

If we assume that each alliance will get at least 15 seats and trim three buckets on each extremity, we have 52.1% of the voters saying that Ramgoolam will be staying on as PM vs. 47.9% for Berenger taking over.

Finally, the two choices with the highest number of votes are Ramgoolam getting between 15-20 seats or 35-40 seats.

President Uteem Reminds Partisan Crowd Son is Candidate

That was on Saturday at the May 1st rally of the MMM in Port-Louis. This stunned the whole nation because we don't expect a former President to go back to partisan politics. And that's all the more surprising because Cassam told us about a month ago that he had finally understood why he shouldn't stoop that low.

He was also very happy to tell a crowd of "several hundreds of thousands of people" (L'express which is a little more than a loudspeaker of the MMM has estimated the crowd at 18,000 to 20,000 people) that we have to be careful and make the right choice (that is vote for his old party the MMM) to avoid Mauritius from becoming a dictatorship.

Looks like the judgement of the former President has become seriously impaired because a few weeks back he was trying to broker an alliance between the MMM and the Labour Party.

Well, maybe not if Ramgoolam has transformed himself into a little Hitler in the meantime.

Let's Go Fishing

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dayal: Callikan Should Go

Because of the biased coverage of the current campaign favouring the two main alliances. I think there are more serious reasons like airing the gross remarks Berenger made about the face of Ramgooam. And where's the IBA when you need it?

Besides we didn't get to see Ramgoolam and Berenger debate about what they are gonna do with respect to the issues that are important to us.