Wry & Dry

Abbott under a bus. China hits 6.7%, again. Gambling city-state.

Wry & Dry has been gently working up to yet another public holiday in Melbourne (but this one has some serious background: it's for a horse race) and trying to ignore the daytime comedy that is Clinton v Trump, when along comes another daytime comedy: Turnbull v Abbott.  Yes, folks, like a bad penny, the Mad Monk is back.  

Abbott

A bout of Abbott's RDS [1] intersected with Turnbull's alarming opaqueness about whether the government would ease gun controls in exchange for the vote of a slightly mad Senator from NSW.

Turnbull's long-windedness failed to persuade the world that what looked to the world like gun-control equivocation wasn't equivocation.  The Labor Opposition couldn't believe their luck, just as the government was getting traction on CFMEU (a militant left-wing mostly construction industry union) thuggery.

Turnbull's darkening week turned black when ex-PM Abbott went on TV to explain that he, Abbott, when PM, hadn't traded an easing of gun-control imports for that Senator's vote.  But Abbott had, through the Executive Council in August last year, done exactly that.  Documents were produced and the Labor Opposition again popped the Moët.  Turnbull happily threw Abbott under the bus, as it were, in parliament.

Abbott looked like, and was, a first-class fool.  

Turnbull's seeming gun-control equivocation was forgotten as the spectre of a Rudd/Gillard-type Abbott-Turnbull war loomed.  The media love nothing more than this.  Readers can expect the week-end media to be full of it.

Melbourne Cup Day cannot come quickly enough.

Readers would have noticed that yesterday the Mexican peso rose to a six-week high against the US dollar.  Thus confirming expectations that The Trumpster lost the third debate and will not win the upcoming presidential election.  The Great Wall of Mexico will not be built.

But W&D offers a note of alarming caution.  Voting in the US is not mandatory.  And there is evidence that many younger voters just won't turn out to vote.

Consider this: Nearly 25% of Americans aged 18 to 35 would rather see a giant meteor strike Earth than see either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House, according to the new UMass Lowell/Odyssey Millennials poll just released.

The Trumpster's supporters will turn out to vote.  They love their Dear Leader.  The question is will Democrat supporters turn out to vote for The Wicked Witch of the West in enough numbers to win.  At the last presidential election, the voter turnout was just 55%.

Gloom.

Speaking of gloom, this week a cracker of a quote appeared, uttered by the very earnest Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Ms Kelly O'Dwyer.  With a world shattering blend of mangled syntax, a doublet of non sequiturs and complete lack of understanding of what financial advisers can do, the minister came out with:

"People are living longer and as a result they are going to need to rely on financial advisers to secure their financial future".

No, Minister.  

  1. Financial advisers cannot secure peoples' financial future.
  2. The fact that people are living longer doesn't mean they need to rely on financial advisers.

Oh, dear.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Inhale.  Exhale.

Elsewhere, the overseas first class plane tickets have just been booked.  The investment bankers that negotiated the merger of gambling giants Tatts and Tabcorp (merged value $11 billion) will pocket a nice little earner for their work.  

And the shareholders of each company are happy, with the share-prices of each rising.  See more in the accompanying Investment Matters.  But for now, W&D's simple explanation of the reason for the merger is in the following chart:

gambling 2

But be careful what you wish for.  Two reasons to ponder:

Regulatory risk may be on the horizon.  Not from the ACCC, but from anti-gambling politicians. 

Taxation. It is entirely possible that governments, having plucked all of the fruit (both low hanging and high hanging) from the prolific superannuation tree may now turn their attention to gambling.

Speaking of low-hanging fruit, W&D has his eye on Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince (a weird title in itself).  He has slashed the state budget, frozen government contracts and reduced the pay of civil employees, all part of drastic austerity measures as the Kingdom's finances are buffeted by low oil prices.  But austerity or not, you just cannot keep a Saudi Prince away from the toys.  

While vacationing in the south of France, the lad spotted a 440-foot yacht floating off the coast. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, which was owned by Yuri Shefler, a Russian vodka tycoon. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately 500 million euros (roughly $600m today).  The Russian moved off the yacht the same day.  To count his money, obviously. 

At the other end of the fiscal scale, W&D notes that the latest missile launch by North Korea resulted in, well, embarrassment for Kim-Jong-Chubby, North Korea's supreme leader.  It, err, didn't launch.   Much concern from Japan, South Korea and the US at the attempt.  China remained silent.  As will be the future for the person responsible for the launch failure.  Permanently.  

Later, readers can delve into China's latest GDP growth rate (for the third successive quarter: 6.7%); and the disaster that is Macao.

Elsewhere, Follow The Money updates the odds on the US presidential race.  

And, of course, Miscellany, to soothe your troubled mind.


[1] Relevance Deprivation Syndrome.  This strange and self-indulgent malady is observed mostly in ex-politicians, or politicians still in parliament who once held a higher office.  Examples include the late Malcolm Fraser; Jeff Kennett and Kevin Rudd.  W&D's forecast is that The Trumpster will, after Tue-8-Nov have ongoing signs of RDS.