Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Please Note

Because of an appointment,I may not be publishing next Wednesday.In that event,I will try to publish next Friday.

Russia-China Oil Deal

Russia and China have greed a 25 billion dollar arrangement in which Beijing will make loans to two state-owned Russian firms in exchange for oil.The China Developement Bank will loan 10 billion dollars to Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft,and 15 billion to Rosneft,the Russian oil titan.For its part,Russia will provide 15 million tons of oil to China over 20 years.China has been aggressively seeking international oil reserves for its rapidly growing economy and rising standard of living,while Russia has been hobbled by the recent crash of oil prices from vaporizing demand.China's advances have not always been welcome,as in its failed bid for U.S. oil firm Unocal.

Nature Note:Signs of Change

Before dawn,the constellation Scorpio rises in the southern sky.This is a sure sign of the approaching meteorological spring,which begins March 1.The silver maple buds are another sign.They have begun to swell and,if you wounded the trees,sap would flow out.Each day,the sun is stronger and higher than it was the day before.Red-winged blackbirds have returned to the pond,staking out their territories for the warm months ahead.The minds of growers are turning to planting when the ground thaws and winter will be forgotten.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Indian Ambassador Concerned

India's Ambassador to the World Trade Organization,Ujay Sing Bhatia,has noted the effect of financial rescue packages on free trade.Mr.Bhatia observed that such measures could add up to three billion dollars' worth since Q4 of 2008.These plans are regarded as ultimately distortive of free trade,with their components of industrial support,bank rescues and tariff increases.Mr.Bhatia called for clarifications in order to assess how this government aid is altering competitiveness.Indeed,many of the steps could be seen as violations of European Union free trade rules.WTO officials complained that they are not getting enough official information to make accurate assessments of possible distortions.With their export-driven economies,developing nations such as India are especially vulnerable to protectionist leanings.

Nature Note:Penobscot Restoration

The Nature Conservancy,together with other environmental groups and state,federal and tribal governments,is working to restore Maine's Penobscot River to its natural condition.Three dams on the river are to be bought.Two of them will be removed,and a fish bypass will be installed by the other.This will reopen much of the Penobscot drainage to migratory fish such as Atlantic salmon.The Nature Conservancy has helped with similar projects on China's Yangtze River and the Zambezi River in East Africa.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Looking Ahead From Qatar

We are looking at various banks in the U.S.,Europe and Asia,Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani revealed.Within two or three years,such an investment will get you in the right shape.We are looking at three or four blue chip companies.We are looking at the right time for entry.Dividend is one of the subjects;balance sheets are very important for us.In Qatar,I think we will be O.K. and there will be substantial growth,Sheikh Hamad believes.

Sheikh Manages Sovereign Wealth

Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani manages Qatar's sovereign wealth fund.We are affected by the financial crisis,the sheikh said,but the banking system is still strong;the economy is still strong,thank God.For us in Qatar,our acquisitions are not bad.No doubt there is a tough road.We have two or three quarters to watch it very carefully,the sheikh cautioned.

Nature Note:February Thaw

While January was nine degrees colder than normal,February has so far seemed about nine degrees warmer than normal.That is the way of nature:always balancing things out.With the rising temperatures,bird song volume has markedly increased.When you go out in the morning,you are greeted with quite an avian chorus.By this weekend,however,we will be back to cold conditions,with a possibility of a little snow.We will listen for any change in song with the return of the north wind.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Brown Calls For Unity

Gordon Brown,the British Prime Minister,said that the economic downturn can only be ended by international cooperation.Individual countries can do a great deal to help their own economies,but only global efforts can provide a long term solution,through better regulation and coordinated intervention.The International Monetary Fund and World Bank must play a larger role in crisis prevention and resolution.Only a truly international response of policy and governance can be effective,Mr.Brown stated.If we all coordinate our response,there will be a quicker global,and therefore British,recovery,he maintained.Mr.Brown plans to meet with CEOs of the largest international banks in April to discuss dealing with global financial problems.

Nature Note:Rabbit Tracks

Every morning I've been finding cottontail tracks in the snow.The front feet leave a single,small track,while the rear feet leave separate,larger tracks.Its favorite food,grass,has been covered for some time by a layer of frozen snow.I could walk on the snow without sinking in.It had become porcelain snow from the cycle of thawing and re-freezing overnight.A number of mild days are ahead,which should bring the crocuses up and help the rabbits.