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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Diamond, Palladium and State of Montana

The greatness of Test Cricket is its swings and changes – After restricting Aussies to 333, Indians were 212 for 2 at one stage but last Tendulkar at the dying minutes.  Today there were expectations of Indians posing a formidable total and putting pressure on the hosts.  Hilfenhaus on his comeback had other ideas as he quickly got rid of Rahul Dravid and followed with wickets of Kohli, Dhoni, Ishant whilst Siddle took care of Laxman and Ashwin who made a useful 31.

Australia has a lead of 51 – Warner dragged one back, Cowan and Marsh followed soon – all out to Umesh Yadav and Ishant accounted for Clarke.  Aussies were pinned on the mat at 27/4 – but  recovered through Ponting and Mike Hussey…………

At a different pitch, miles away from Melbourne amid growing concerns of his health, Anna Hazare continued his second day of his three-day fast in Mumbai.  There are reports of only a handful activists present in the sprawling venue as Team Anna members appealed to him to call off his hunger strike.  There are fears that Anna will require hospitalisation owing to a deterioration in his health.   What is to be read ? – an accomplishment or a realisation that none of the political parties is serious about this.  The Lok Pal Bill in its shape has squeaked through in the Lok Sabha but its fate in Rajya Sabha hangs in uncertainty.  The political polarisation was clearly evident in Lok Sabha and in the Upper House, UPA does not have the majority and the bill may not fructiry into a law in near future.

After seeing so many Indian politicians, would you feel refreshed to know about Brian David Schweitzer ? and do you hold any quantity of Palladium ?

Palladium is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Pd and an atomic number of 46. It is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston.    It is widely used in  catalytic converters, which convert up to 90% of harmful gases from auto exhaust; it is used in electronics, dentistry, medicine, hydrogen purification, chemical applications, and groundwater treatment. And it is used in jewellery also.

Now International analysts  suggest that  Diamond prices are poised to rise for the next four years, outpacing gold, as increased spending on luxury goods in China, India and the Middle East outpaces supplies of the precious stone.   It is stated that the  average price of rough, or uncut, diamonds will probably rise 9 percent to $145 a carat next year, 1.4 percent in 2013 and 4.8 percent in 2014.   Gold is forecast to decline for three years starting 2013, following a 19 percent gain in 2012, according to the median of seven analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg News.  These are analysis based on market demand and supply but not driven by sentimental values, which appear to determine the demand for Gold in India. 

The demand for diamonds is expected to double the pace of supply reportedly due to expanding middle class in China and India.  So we can be happy that we are determining something internationally. It is reported that these Nations and Middle East will account for a very high % of global diamond demand in the years to come. Rough diamonds advanced 24 percent this year, according to an index compiled by   Whilst there reportedly has been a large inflated artificial demand for Gold, the same seemingly does not exist for diamond.   

So what will the Salaried middle class of India do – save and invest – invest where in ‘dipping share market’; buy e-gold;  buy physical silver; enter commodity market or start buying uncut / polished diamond – remember all or any of these only as investment not for wearing and showcasing around…….

In Montana, Governor  Brian Schweitzer  reportedly has given out coins made of Montana palladium worth more than $600 to people who suggest ways for the state to save money. His favorite idea: quit printing government telephone directories.   He is quoted as saying in an interview that one has to be smart enough to figure out how to find someone online and there is no need for printed telephone directories !

Remember, we used to have 2 big volume books of Indian Telephones listing out the telephone numbers, given out free almost every year for all subscribers. Now think whether you can demand a few sheets of such printed paper from any of the private players be it Airtel, Tata, Aircel, Uninor, Vodafone or anybody else for that matter…

In a Country where Governors are reported to run their State like a business, Schweitzer call his his management style “running government like a ranch.” Montana was one of only two states to report surpluses from 2009 to 2011, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The other was North Dakota.   Rising tax collections on individual income, corporate licenses, oil and gas production and insurance will leave $427 million to spare at the end of June 2013, according to  report by the Legislative Fiscal Division. As for those one-ounce palladium coins donated by a local mining company, they’re worth about $660 now, up from $430 in May, 2010.

Brian David Schweitzer  is the Governor of the US State of  Montana.  He is one with highest approval ratings among governors in the nation, with polls regularly showing a rating of above 60 percent.   Schweitzer, a soil engineer who owns two working ranches, used a branding iron to burn the word “veto” on seven paper bills passed by the Republican-led Legislature in April.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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