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Excerpts Gold

The Chinese Aunty is very much like the Indian Aunty

Yang Cuiyan, a 41-year-old housekeeper from Anhui province, is one reason China is poised to topple India as the world’s top consumer of gold even as investors desert the metal.

Standing outside Beijing’s busiest jewelry store, wearing a thick coat against the autumn chill, she clasps a gold necklace that cost her 10,000 yuan ($1,640), or five months’ wages.

“I don’t know anything about the stock market and I don’t have enough money to buy property, so I figured gold is the safest choice,” she said. “I can put it on when I go back home to show everyone that I’m doing well.”

Images in Chinese media of aunties clearing shelves in gold shops after a 14 percent plunge in prices in two days in April illustrate an appetite for bullion that defies the views of the biggest banks in the West and points to limited investment choices in China.

“In China, you look around and see very few places to put your money,” said Duan Shihua, a partner at Shanghai Leading Investment Management Co. “With the share market down and the government nudging people away from real estate, gold will remain a favored choice.”

“I don’t want to put my money in a bank,” said Yang, the auntie from Anhui. “I want to keep up with my relatives and friends back home. We all like to compete to see whose necklace is thicker.”-from Bloomberg

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Excerpts

Why Harvard is disappointed with Private Equity

“I would characterize our Private Equity performance this year as fair. Private Equity (which includes venture capital) returned 11.0% for the year, a strong nominal return, but well below the return on public market equity, and only slightly above our benchmark. When we invest in private equity, we lock up Harvard’s money for multiple years. In exchange for that lock-up we expect to earn returns over time that are in excess of the public markets – an “illiquidity premium. Over the last ten years however, our private equity and public equity portfolios have delivered similar returns. While this asset class still presents unique opportunities for attractive returns, it has gotten much more crowded and there is less of an illiquidity premium. As a result, we are actively focused on honing our private equity strategy.”-wrote Jane Mendillo, who is president and CEO of the Harvard Management Company

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Excerpts Realty

If you thought Indian realty sucked…

An Iranian Shi’ite Muslim businessman now living abroad, who asked to remain anonymous because he still travels to Iran, said he attempted two years ago to sell a piece of land near Tehran that his family had long owned. Local authorities informed him that he needed a “no objection letter” from Setad.

The businessman said he visited Setad’s local office and was required to pay a bribe of several hundred dollars to the clerks to locate his file and expedite the process. He said he then was told he had to pay a fee, because Setad had “protected” his family’s land from squatters for decades. He would be assessed between 2 percent and 2.5 percent of the property’s value for every year.

Setad sent an appraiser to determine the property’s current worth. The appraisal came in at $90,000. The protection fee, he said, totaled $50,000.

The businessman said he balked, arguing there was no evidence Setad had done anything to protect the land. He said the Setad representatives wouldn’t budge on the amount but offered to facilitate the transaction by selling the land itself to recover its fee. He said he hired a lawyer who advised him to pay the fee, which he reluctantly did last year.-from Reuters

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Excerpts Movie

How Dharmendra almost shot Amitabh Bachchan

Again, we felt let’s raise the ante. So, we got Jim Allen and Gerry Crampton and their team. They did wonders to all the action sequences… the train sequence… they are all remembered scenes. We were shooting this climax sequence where Dharamji is tied up and Hema sings a song.

 

‘In kutton ke saamne mat nachna Basanti’.

 

She is almost collapsing from exhaustion and she is with Dharamji. The shot was that, at that precise moment, Amitabh comes and frees Dharamji. So a whole new life, a spirit is awakened at that moment. He rushes to Hema.

 

There was a box — a metallic box — lying there and Jim insisted he wanted a shot of real bullets. So Veeru kicks it open, pulls out all the bullets and fills them in and goes on. And then the marathon shooting sequence takes place. But in that moment, what happened was, because he (Dharmendra) was high, he kept coming.

 

High, as in he had a drink? On the sets? How did you allow that?

Yes. In a coconut (both laugh). We didn’t know. We only realised after this moment.

That’s a Punjabi Jat!

(Laughs) He was determined to do it because Jim had said, ‘This is the way it’s got to be done.’ So he had to do it.

There were about 12 or 13 retakes. Either the box wouldn’t kick open, or if he finally got his hands in, the bullets fell. You know, it didn’t come right.

That’s when he actually took a real bullet, put it in the gun, and fired (in the air). He was frustrated with himself. Right up there was Amitabh and the bullet grazed past him by inches.

Jim Allen took off his hat and said, ‘I’m not shooting. He can’t be drinking on the sets. He could have killed anybody. It could have been me, it could have been you, it could have been any worker. This is not right.’ Of course, Dharamji apologised and was perfect after that… he would do everything right.-said Ramesh Sippy in IE

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Excerpts

New regulations to benefit Ratnakar Bank

Disclaimer:I am market making in Ratnakar Bank

Allowing foreign banks greater operational ground may both help protect the interests of depositors and fund capital projects in India. It may even bring about cost-effective banking backed by technology, thus increasing banking penetration.

While mergers and acquisitions may be some time away, smaller banks like IndusInd Bank, ING Vysya, Yes Bank, Dhanalakshmi Bank, Karnataka Bank and Ratnakar Bank — which are looking for capital to expand their footprint or scouting for investors — will see their valuations rise dramatically.

A senior official in a foreign bank said, “Asking banks to be wholly-owned subsidiaries and to get a letter of comfort from the parent is like creating a one-way street for the banks. RBI wants to ring-fence and a guarantee from parent banks. It will be good news to the smaller banks like Ratnakar, IndusInd and others of similar size that are looking for funds to expand.”-from DigitalFC