Posts Tagged ‘ECB’

The question begs to be answered, don’t you think?….

Helicopter Ben's Car Crash Helicopter Ben’s Car Crash


2014 is a year that will be a year of DRAMATIC change – for pretty much everyone, I believe. Please allow me to expand on this – just a little….or if you prefer, let’s just say that I’m happy to stick my neck out a little…or a lot if the situation at hand necessitates it.

VANUATU has a very good chance of putting down strong roots in 2014, roots that would propel it onto a path of greater self-determination. This can/should come from a number of areas such as the Vanuatu Government doing everything in its power, as a currently forgotten and/or to-date ignored Member of the WTO, to revive the kava export industry (Australia would be an appropriate start, methinks), continuation of the progress being made with regard to the legitimization of land ownership claims, planning and implementation of Vanuatu’s attractiveness as an IT-savvy and IT-friendly place within which to conduct an IT-related business, for instance – call centres for major off-shore corporations and financial institutions and the like.

Spot Gold Price 10 Years to 2/1/2014GOLD has been an absolute boon for Gold INVESTORS (Note the emphasis on “Investors”?). Its spot price has steadily deteriorated over the past two years or so thereby giving “dollar-cost-averaging” Investors (there’s THAT word again) the opportunity to make a mid-to-long-term killing.

Locally (Vanuatu and Australia), there’s a lot that can be said about the good, the bad and the ugly side of politics and bureaucracy. Some of it is refreshing, some disgusting, some appalling and some – just plain bloody unbelievable in its apparent untouchable temerity!

And finally, there’s the insane, the crazy, the weirdness or purely absurd and/or funny as hell.

So stay tuned for a mix of all of this in the year ahead – 2014 – the year of change! For better or worse? Well, to a very large degree, it’s all going to come down to what YOU do…or NOT do.


switzerlandflagPerhaps there is a lesson in this for our own country?

When you read this article here, take particular note of the following comments….”….follows the disposal of some of its (Switzerland’s) gold reserves between 2000 and 2008, as part of an agreement among global central banks to reduce their holdings of gold.

In other words, the Central Banks agreed to sell off their gold in exchange for more Monopoly money. Say what?

Then there’s this lovely observation made by a financial commentator – ”

“This has a long way to go yet, and may not be passed when the referendum does happen,” noted Macquarie Bank precious metals analyst Matthew Turner.

“If it did, it would be incredibly bullish, a rocket for gold prices as we are talking about huge purchases that would have to be made. But the Swiss National Bank will not want its reserves policy to be determined by referenda and this proposal will be countered,” he added.”

Yes – I have highlighted those sections a gold bug would find interesting. Just don’t underestimate the Swiss, is all I say!


Vanuatu National Provident Fund

Here is Part Two of Keep Your Grubby Hands Off OUR Money!”  Enjoy….

(Note: All of my media articles can be found on the Home page of “The Watcher”  or here (The Money Connection).

By now, you all know of my passionate interest in anti-corruption and my activist role in attempts to change things for the better in Vanuatu. The Vanuatu government ratified a UN Convention, 2 years ago, wherein an anti-corruption body was to be formed. This has not happened yet and time is running out for the government to meet its UN obligations.

ralph regenvanuFortunately, the new Cabinet includes Ralph Regenvanu, the new Lands Minister, President of the Graon mo Jastis Pati and current Government Spokesman. I say “fortunately” because Ralph is also an enthusiastic anti-corruption advocate. As such, I am hoping and anticipating that he will “make it happen”, sooner, rather than later.

On the world scene, things have also been pretty chaotic – Civil wars in Africa, Cyprus citizens robbed of their savings, calls by Germany for the Italians to have some of their personal wealth confiscated as well (15%), attempted leadership spill in Australia, South Korea and Guam are on “high alert” due to North Korea making a lot of noises about war and Argentina pushing to take over the Falklands again in light of the first-ever commercial oil discovery there. Hope the situation doesn’t arise where another “Maggie Thatcher” is needed again, as in 1982!

A word or two on GOLD. The “mates club” members – IMF, WTO, World Bank, EU, US Federal Reserve and the ECB have done a cracker of a job in their apparent common goal of creating economic chaos. Their so-called attempts to “stimulate growth” have been a hoax. Why? Well, they continue to debase the global currencies ad nauseum and simultaneously decry the value of GOLD (E.g., Ben Bernanke’s stated view that gold is NOT money) but what are they doing in practice? Surprise! They’re buying gold as if there were no tomorrow. For the first time in 20 years, the Central Banks became net BUYERS of gold in 2011 and have retained that position ever since.


Vanuatu National Provident Fund

Pension Funds, worldwide, are now pushing to have a proportion of their assets allocated to gold (Hmmm, I wonder what the VNPF’s position is on this?). Note: I know that the current Reserve Bank Governor has stated that Vanuatu has no gold nor is there any intention of having gold in the nation’s coffers.

These two trending factors, Central Bank buying and Pension Fund buying combined with an increasing private demand for gold, stand to push up its prices and in my view, dramatically.

There are many indicators emerging that suggest that 2013 could well be the watershed year for global finances. The issue is not whether we’ll feel any pain from a global financial collapse but rather how much pain and how soon? In times such as these, gold always proves its worth as a “store of value”. Got some? No? Get some.

giant_wave_goldcIT’S COMING – Will you be able to ride it out? – 

“The Golden Tsunami – Krakatoa Style”

Aliens in Human Form

Aliens in Human Form

Locally, well not much has changed over the past week or so– we’re getting a 1.5 Billion Vatu Convention Centre, courtesy of China. A likely white elephant, in my view and all the while sorely-needed money for health and education goes wanting.

Sometimes, I swear, I think there must be something to the “there are aliens amongst us in human form” theory because the actions of the policy-makers and law-makers here defy human logic.

Looking abroad, I guess the first point to make about the past week is that watching the markets has been as about as exciting as listening to the Antartic weather forecast for tomorrow (COLD!). All very “Ho hum”, you might say.

Apart from Japan’s, the others have all experienced small daily pluses/minuses with the end result that all ended “up” for the week.

What could have affected the markets in a manner that drove them in the same direction?

It’s all been to do with “money” or rather, the lack thereof.

JapanJAPAN. Currently has a national debt that is 24 times the tax revenues. Their new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has declared a new strategy for their economy. You guessed it – grease the wheels of the money-printing presses and let ‘er rip! This, from “The Guardian”, U.K…… The interest rate on Japan’s 10-year government bonds is now less than 1% – the lowest in the world, despite a very high level of government debt and annual budget deficits. Indeed, Japan’s debt is roughly 230% of GDP, higher than that of Greece (175% of GDP) and nearly twice that of Italy (125%). The annual budget deficit is nearly 10% of GDP, higher than any of the Eurozone countries. With nominal GDP stagnating, that deficit is causing the debt/GDP ratio to rise by 10% annually.”

One response from angryboy that had what I reckon is a good take on the issue, said –

“The Japanese have been trying to “kick start” their economy for years but all they seem to be doing is proving that Keynesian “stimulus” efforts work just like any other artificial stimulant by providing a short lived boost that does nothing to provide any sustainable, positive changes and leaves the country ever deeper in debt.
The one positive note is that there are plenty of lessons on what not to do for the West to learn from”

U.S. President Barack Obama says Congress has to raise the debt ceiling because they already spent the money.” 

Oh dear! And this from the leader of the largest economy on the planet (sigh).

CHINA. A different story to remind you about. There is continuing discussion and speculation about the Yuan gaining increasing status as a “currency of choice”. The facts speak for themselves and this CBNC article “Yuan as a World Currency? Getting there Fast” is but one of many snippets of the “facts” out there in mainstream and academic media.

PHOCEA SAGA. We’re watching the events and news surrounding this issue and will keep you posted. Is this the straw that will break the back of the Kilman government?

Looking back on 2012, what would you rate as the most important/significant events of the year? What about yourself? Did you have a good year…or something else? For some thoughts from yours truly, check out my first diatribe for 2013 – “The Certified BULLS**T Club – New Members Welcome!

Globally, I feel it’s fair to say that the major events of the year were the US Presidential elections, events in Syria and the London Olympics. Whatever the world events, it’s the things that happen in YOUR close world of friends, family, business colleagues and community that affect you most and therefore are most likely to hold priority for you.

For most of the people I know, it’s been a financially challenging year and for some – devastating. Businesses closed down, bank re-possessions, jobs lost, no money for school fees and so on.

Sure, there have been some individual successes as well. I wish I could name some of these great people, men and women who are quietly achieving….in the true sense of the word. I won’t though, as they are unequivocally entitled to their privacy. I can say this – I’m eagerly awaiting the next 12 months as these people continue to grow their successes, more often than not because of the challenges faced by them. The most personally gratifying factor for me is that each and every one of them is, without exception, a good person and human being!

2012 was an interesting year for yours truly. Apart from a couple of temporary “nasties”, it was a pretty good year from a health perspective. I have worked with some really cool and successful people this past 12 months. Had some fun too…..small stint on radio, my regular shell (or two) with my nakamal mates, some special occasions with my wife and social occasions with friends. Overall, I consider 2012 to have been a good year ending in a foundation for an even better 2013.

Okay, now let’s leave the beer & skittles and roses behind for a spell…….

My perception is that there is a distinct air of “change” omnipresent. I have heard it said many times recently, in many different quarters, that people are looking to 2013 as a year of change – for the better. Perhaps we are on the verge of an era that will bring with it a greater participation, numbers-wise, in meeting the challenges ahead, in concert with others and for the benefit of all. I hope so. It’s not going to be an easy task but one that is ”do-able”.

Gold Medal Award-January 2013I plan to keep up my writings to you, dear reader and with a bit of luck, keep you entertained as well as informed. I’ll also be doing my bit on the anti-corruption front, particularly locally, so you can expect to read/hear more on this subject. On that note, I ask that you check out the “Certified BULLS**T Club” site and please, if you feel you have a possible contender for an award, send in your nomination for the inaugural January Awards.

Inside the MadnessFirst up – thank you to everyone for your readership support over these past several months. I hope that my writings have stimulated your own thoughts from time to time, educated you in a small way and raised your consciousness a little as to what’s happening in the world around you. By the way, I also hope that I may have helped improve your financial position in some fashion. Hopefully my occasional attempts at humour have also helped to entertain you along the way.


As part of my “Goodbye” to 2012 and “Hello!” to 2013, I thought it appropriate to include a link to my final article for 2012 – On the Steps of Madness“.


“The Man with the Golden Balls” (apologies to Ian Fleming’s James Bond)

3 Golden Balls

“Two to one, you won’t get your stuff back”.

There is an old joke that these three balls mean – 

“Two to one, you won’t get your stuff back”.

But there’s more to it than that…far more……

(click on the balls above for a good yarn…go on…do it!) Enjoy…….

The Watcher

“ONE MACAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE”. By the way, when I say “man”, I mean this in a non-sexist sense in that “man” or “woman” can be applied here.

Take the present case of Malala Yousufzai. Here is an instance that makes me both proud and disgusted at my fellow human beings and in the latter instance, I use the term “human beings” loosely. 

MALALA is a GIRL, not a woman – a 14 years old teenager, living in the North-West region of Pakistan. A couple of days ago, she was shot, deliberately, by members of the Taliban who had objected to her public promotion pushing education for girls (the Taliban had blown up a lot of the schools, mainly those for girls) and her open criticism of the fundamentalist Islamic movement.

Here’s a youngster who, with the loving support of her immediate family, has MADE A DIFFERENCE, albeit as the result of the actions of fanatics that nearly killed her. The event has evoked a wave of reactions, more of an uproar really, from around the world, including from Pakistan itself. My view? I am not beholden to any religion other than the religion of being able to “live life” as I choose to live it without impinging on the rights of others. But how can anyone, in the name of their God, justify the killing of man, woman or child because they have a different viewpoint. Frankly, to my mind they’re just a bunch of mindless, psychotic mongrels who don’t deserve the right to even be classified as “human beings”. “Lower than a snake’s gut!”

In America and here in Vanuatu (your turn soon, Aussies) we are dead smack in the middle of the election campaigns for the position of President/Prime Minister.

The voters in America (and I find it difficult to sympathize with them as they’re the ones who chose to not vote for true “leaders” in the past) appear to be faced with the choice of electing a President that they least dislike! Not for a President to believe in – just the “best of a bad bunch”. That’s tragic.

At least here in Vanuatu, on 30th October, the citizens DO have the choice…..and the chance to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in just over two weeks’ time.

Under Vanuatu’s Constitution, Citizens can choose to vote….or not vote.

  • Those that choose NOT to vote deserve whatever they get if the wrong people get into power. They will have no moral right to object if their lives become no better…or even worse because of their own apathy.
  • Those that do vote have a choice between a multitude of Parties and Candidates.
  • They can vote for the “old guard” and/or the new.
  • They can vote for crooks or honest men and women.
  • They can vote for those would respect traditional culture or those who would choose to allow and encourage cultural degradation in favour of the pursuit of personal financial gratification (corruption).
  • They can vote for the educated or the illiterate.
  • THIS TIME, it is possible for the “ordinary people” to make a difference – to put back the hopes and dreams for a unified nation with its own sovereignty and culture intact.

We can but hope!