Involving: an iWatch, the growing market for beauty, some Banking Analyst Upset in the EU, and some papal prophecies about the end of the world Rome as we know it.

Good morning

The headlines:

  1. An iWatch.

    Link: well, I never thought I wanted an iPad.

    So the rumours are out there, and the latest one is an iWatch. And, you know, watches: who hasn’t done them before? But this mock-up picture above made me want one. It’s honestly an addiction.

  2. St Malachy and the New Pope.

    Link: now that the Mayan prophecy is dust…

    As everyone as heard, Pope Benedict is about to go on to being just plain Benedict, and retire to a convent. Which isn’t quite what I would have expected from a former pope (he is a man, right? Surely a monastery?), but I suppose that he needs to be taken care of owing to ill-health, etc.

    What is interesting, however, is what happens next. And if you’re looking for some doom-and-gloom, there are always the prophecies attributed to 12th Century St Malachy – which revolve around a vision he had of all the pontiffs from his time to Revelation, each associated with a particular motif or motto. Benedict would be associated with olives. And if you’re a believer, you can make that work. I mean – in the past, they’ve made do with mottos like Cervus Sirenae (Stag of the Siren) and De Capra et Albergo (From a nanny goat and an inn)*. So “Glory of the Olive” is surely easier than most.

    Sadly, after Gloria Olivia there is one pope left: Petrus Romanus (Peter of Rome). Who has this chilling line associated with his papacy:

    Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations, when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end**.

    Which must obviously mean that Berlusconi is getting back in.

    Farewell Roma.

    *Benedict’s olive association has to do with his name: the crest of the Benedictine Order has an olive branch in it.

    **The latin literally finishes with “Finis”, meaning “The End”.

  3. SAA suspends acting CEO.

    Link: how bad does it have to be if you’re only “acting”!

    Vuyisile Kona has been suspended by the board, based on “certain allegations” which “the board has a fiduciary duty to investigate”. Mr Kona has been acting CEO since mid-December.

    It doesn’t really speak well of the South African government’s process of appointment now, does it?

    National airlines – I’m just not convinced that they’re sustainable. It’s too easy for countries with access to cheap jet fuel (ie. Qatar, Emirates, etc) to come in and win. Which they are – in literal leaps and bounds.

  4. L’Oreal.

    Link: because they’re worth it.

    L’Oreal has announced its results, which included a 12% increase in full-year earnings. In a recession/depression? I want to make a comment about people putting their best face on it.

    Vanity vanity vanity. It’s making me redefine what I would consider long-term solid investments. I mean – people will always have to eat (so you should bet on food retailers), which means that food will always have to get to them (so you should bet on any fuel-provider). But I’m going to add that we don’t ever leave the house without checking ourselves in the mirror.

    Personal appearance: as important as eating. Which makes make-up not-a-luxury good at all.

  5. EU banks.

    Link: accelerated liquidity coverage ratio compliance blah blah blah.

    The EU nations are being called to accelerate adoption of some of the new Basel banking requirements*. But we’re still only talking about January 2018 – which would take the EU a year ahead of schedule. Even though the initial hoped-for timetable was to have everything in place by 2015.

    The requirement would force banks to carry enough liquid assets (easy-to-sell-for-cash assets) to cope with 30 days of no credit (ie. 30 days when the bank can’t borrow the cash from someone – usually, another bank)**.

    The banking analysts are outraged.

    Mainly because banks don’t make money by holding cash – even conventionally***, they make money by lending the depositors’ money out to borrowers and earning interest. So if they’re forced to hold any more than the bare minimum, it eats into profits and, importantly, bonuses. Hence the outrage. And the timetable delays!

    *The solution to future banking crises. Even though this is the third revision – after the last two sets of Basel Requirements proved woefully inadequate.

    **It can happen when everyone suspects that the bank is in trouble – who would lend to a bank that may not be able to pay you back?

    ***Ie. ignoring all the fancy derivative and investment banking fun.

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.