Monday 2 November 2015
Back from the basement...
After two weeks of travelling in the Middle East (well the non-warring bits, so a very small area sadly), I come back for once to find not much has changed. Luckily, we have avoided a stock market collapse in Sept/Oct for another year so we can look forward to the lukewarm rise into the New Year.
Also, a total obsession with this Tax Credit thing, which in the annals of Government is really very small beans, rumbles on. Moves are afoot to change the Lords no less - an annual discussion that has now been going on for 100+ years so we know where that is going!
As for the Middle East, a strange place it is indeed. Oasis of wealth and security in amongst hatred and misery; rather like a large version of London with better weather.
The biggest thing that I can perceive is the rapid descent of Saudi Arabia. Fighting a war in Yemen and against both Asad and ISIS in Syria and Iraq; all the while the price of oil remaining subdued. The country is really screwed in the short-term. So much so it is hurting the Hedge Funds of Mayfair, diddums for them of course. In the longer term Saudi has enough money to ride out a five year storm; but the sort of projections here I feel are fantastical when it has used up 10% of its foreign reserves in one year.
My travels made me think of a challenge though; which is the more decrepit civilisation - Iran or Saudi. Clearly this is a bottom fishing exercise but equally it would perhaps guide us to who will win their Middle East cold war much as the USA beat Russia in the global cold war.