Wry & Dry

NAB's lipstick; but oink. Victoria's Islamic calendar. Wallonia?

Wry & Dry is excited that, effective 2nd October, the government of Saudi Arabia is to switch from the 354-day year Islamic lunar Hijri [1] calendar to the familiar 365-day year Gregorian [2] calendar.  Saudi bureaucrats had been using the Islamic lunar Hijri calendar but now must work 11 extra days for the same annual salary. 

W&D senses that Daniel Andrews, Premier of the Peoples' Socialist Workers Paradise Republic of Victoria will see an opportunity here.  That is, to do the opposite.  And announce that the State of Victoria was henceforth to use the Islamic lunar Hijri calendar.  The move would mean workers would have to work 11 days less per year, on the same salary.

What a vote winner!  W&D will keep readers posted.

More seriously, underlying inflation (i.e. with volatile items such as petrol and food removed from the calculation) hit a record low annual ratw of 1.5%.   The spike in 'headline inflation' was driven by a sharp, flood-driven rise in food prices.  Nothing to see, here.

But plenty to see with this morning's announcement of AMP's $565m profit hit in its life insurance business.  And this on top of APRA's review of the banks' and AMP's financial planning practices.  The report, which should have had the title Fee For No Service, requires the banks and AMP to repay $178m to clients who were charged for a service they did not receive.  Rather like certain airlines...  W&D will spare the banks his sharp quill, this week.   But simply to ask when will the bank disasters end?  

Speaking of banks, again, the NAB put on the pink lipstick and dressed up its profit result.  As W&D's colleague Fleur Graves accurately notes in the accompanying article in Investment Matters, the profit result still oinks.  The headlines said underlying profit up 4%.  But the fine print said Earnings Per Share down.  

Continuing the animal farm theme, W&D notes that Qantas, the airline the advertising basis for which is nationalism rather than service, has a new livery.  The key feature is, apparently, a streamlined kangaroo.  To W&D it seems as though the 'flying kangaroo' has morphed over the years from a kangaroo to, err, a white bolt of lightning.  W&D hopes that the lightning bolt represents speedier in-flight service.


Qantas' flying kangaroo has morphed to a white bolt of lightning.  Perhaps in hope a faster in-flight service?

Meanwhile, in France, where some pigs are clearly more equal than others, M. Hollande, the socialist President, has seen his approval rating hit 4% [3].  

Delightfully, Ms Segolene Royal,  M. Hollande's former partner, mother of their four children as well as Minister for the Environment, is being urged to run for President against her former bed-mate.  Donc très français.

SegoleneFrance's next President?  No lipstick required.

Might 2017 see women leading Germany, France, Denmark, Korea, Norway, Chile, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and USA?  Not to mention Janet Yellen (head of the US Federal Reserve); Christine Lagarde (IMF) and Elvira Nabiullina (Governor, Bank of Russia). 

Speaking of winners, the shareholders of Tesla are happy, the amazing electric car company was loud with the announcement of a surprise quarterly profit.  It came after 12 quarters of losses and only one other profitable quarter.  Not so popular is Samsung, the Korean electronics company and maker of the Galaxy Note 7 smart phone.  Samsung's mobile phone division's operating profit plunged 96% from a year earlier, as the disastrous recall of its premium phone shredded profits.

Later, readers can read how a madman came to be elected as President on one narrow domestic platform but now wants to be a first-world power; how a tiny part of a tiny country almost derailed the plans of 500 million people; and the epic fail of Crisis Management 101 by the owners of Dreamworld.

Elsewhere, Follow The Money updates the odds on the US presidential race.  And, good grief, Trumpster makes a (very small) comeback.

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

[1]  The Islamic calendar, Muslim calendar or Hijri calendar (Anno Hegirae or AH) is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days.

It is used to date events in many Muslim countries (concurrently with the Gregorian calendar), and by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper days on which to observe the annual fasting, to attend Hajj, and to celebrate other Islamic holidays and festivals.

The first year was the Islamic year beginning in AD 622 during which the emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra, occurred. Each numbered year is designated either "H" for Hijra or "AH" for the Latin Anno Hegirae ("in the year of the Hijra"); hence, Muslims typically call their calendar the Hijri calendar.  The current Islamic year is 1438 AH. In the Gregorian calendar, 1438 AH runs from approximately 3 October 2016 to 21 September 2017.

[2]  The Gregorian calendar is internationally the most widely used civil calendar.  It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582.

The calendar was a refinement to the Julian calendar amounting to a 0.002% correction in the length of the year. The motivation for the reform was to stop the drift of the calendar with respect to the equinoxes and solstices—particularly the vernal equinox, which set the date for Easter celebrations. Transition to the Gregorian calendar would restore the holiday to the time of the year in which it was celebrated when introduced by the early Church. The reform was adopted initially by the Catholic countries of Europe. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time, for the sake of convenience in international trade.

The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece, in 1923.

[3]  Source: Le Monde, 25-Oct-16.