Saturday, May 20, 2006

India isn't going anywhere

The last week has seen me starting to write a business plan. I realised that the 'one man band' model just won't cut it for my idea and so more structure means more planning. As a result I have become a bit of a desk jockey again in life. Have been waking very early and working on it all day. Got myself fixed up with some business training (all government funded amazingly) in marketing, planning and finance which starts over the next couple of weeks and I have also started to get together a reasonable spreadsheet for doing the financial side of things on.

Obviously I still have plans to go to India as well - and I intend to do so but I am also aware that if I get this plan together within the next month or so and it looks good then I may be itching to get on with it, or there may be work opportunities to take advantage of - which might be to good a chance to miss. If this happened then I would either cut India short or shelve it. India isn't going anywhere. If I have to cash in the ticket so be it. On the other hand, it'll still be an option if I want to do it.

One result of sitting down all week is that my left hip has really tightened up, or at least it feels tighter. I can still do Mari B and C but it feels harder. Having said that, the practice as a whole is definitely back on that upward, lighter, stronger trajectory of a couple of months back. In the interim I have had some pretty hard sessions - taking a lot of mental energy. Maybe the change is partly due to pratising 4.5 times a week (an easy Friday practice). This feels good and right. In Mysore I realised that if I want to go only 5 days a week then that'll be just fine. Pressure can only come from me, because the teachers certainly won't be exerting it. With a slightly greater frequency of practice comes another little change - I am beginning to make it into a respectable Padmasana at key points of the Primary series - Urdvha and ordinary Padmasana as well as a half decent Yoga Mudra. All of which is mightly good to feel and do

So, progress is evident in all areas!

As an aside, and based on my observation as well as age old adage I want to draw attention to the corner of the world concerned with finance and all things material. Never has the old saying 'Sell in May and go away' been more apt. Turmoil is looming in the markets, see London equities for example, and not for the first time this is happening mid year after a good run up in the (northern) autumn and spring in share markets. All I can says is that generally these dips, always panic driven and in this case partly inspired by emerging markets problems of a few weeks back and latterly by concerns over high commodity prices and rising interest rates slowing growth, have almost always in recent years (post dotcom boom/bust anyway) been good buying opportunities. Either to get into new stock or to get more of an existing investment in and thereby improve the average price of a holding. There's no doubt that there's a lot to be worried about. Geopolitical risks are definitely on the up - not just with Iran, which is a typical slow burner and could easily take another couple of years before we have the real 'fallout' if you'll pardon the pun, but also over energy in Europe with Russia getting bolshie. And risk indicators like Gold have been showing the effect of this type of thing for a while now. The jump through $600/oz in the last couple of weeks certainly looked like end of rally dynamics or at least time for a bit of a correction. And this correction is spreading out as other commodities look overpriced meaning that producers of these products might not be able to continue to sell at such high prices which in turn leads to concerns about their stockmarket valuations and which is now causing a drop in overall equity prices. But why in the middle of the year? This is to do with market liquidity. In major financial centres people go on holiday or take their foot off the gas at any rate during the summer. Thus comes May and you see fewer people doing fewer trades. This means that shifts in sentiment and big deals will have disporportionate effects on prices. Ergo the current slump. On the upside though, notwithstanding all arguments about trade imbalances and the falling USD (also often a harbinger of equity market collapse), we have to look at why commodity prices are so high. It's because certain regions are growing very quickly. China and Japan are both growing, albeit at very different rates, the US is growing and so is Western Europe. This is essentially pretty healthy. Interest rates are going up as a result. This is the sign of a healthy economy and a normal global interest rate cycle as opposed to the disaster aversion scenarios that have been in place for a few years now.

The US and China have lead the way out. Productivity is good and improving in many key areas and seems to be one reason why oil at these levels hasn't unduly troubled the major economies. Growth, productivity and some fairly nasty geopolitical risks. Nothing new there then, at least not if the last 10 years is anything to go by.

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