‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 20-26 March 2022
Oil scarcity? Power cuts? Look at the supermarkets, doors open, billowing air-conditioned (AC) air to the world! Cooling a warming globe, apparently. Look at all the obscene luxury cars on the road, each with only one occupant. Are they rushing to develop the nation? Involved in economic production? No! Nikang! Just joyriding?!
Oil sails here from Singapore. Singapore gets it from West Asia. Sri Lanka gets it from Singapore, and is not allowed to get it directly, or create its own energy resources. And India is setting oil prices here to push its own agenda.
This ee examines this oily history between colonial Boustead & Co, which controlled electricity in Sri Lanka, helping to form an energy monopoly in Asia, setting up the country for a fall under England’s Shell, and US Exxon (which funds many a thinktank here)! It is Boustead who undermined DJ Wimalasurendra’s dream of energy self-sufficiency in Sri Lanka (see ee 01 August 2020).
It is England’s agents like Preece, Cardew & Rider (PCR), the ‘Consulting Engineers employed by the Crown Agents on electrical and mechanical subjects’ in the 1920s, who sabotaged Laxapana, and also took over construction of the Victoria Dam, part of the Mahaweli project in the 1980s, which once promised to sell energy to India! Ha!
There is no modern nation, no independence, no industrialization without energy security! The whites use energy control as one way to profit off and also create chaos in countries. From the moment of ‘Independence’ in 1948, with a white man allowed to set up Sri Lanka’s Central Bank in 1950, this former colony was turned into an import-consumer playground of the rich. The first CB governor John Exter was assigned here by the US Treasury. Exter’s job was to prevent investment in the modern industrialization of the country, by proliferating an import mafia. This orgy of consumption was a scenario played out around the world in former non-settler colonies (Random Notes).
Payment settled for Singapore diesel & jet fuel shipment;
unloading begins today – Ada Derana
• Indeed! Singapore has no oil of its own. The oil hoarded and refined in that city-state is imported from West Asia, etc. Their ships sail crude oil all the way past us. It is refined in Singapore, to then sail and be sold to us back here. No wonder Singapore sees us as idiots. While hiding one of Sri Lanka’s top criminals – ‘Royal-College Arjuna’ – they even give us sermons on ‘rule of law’!
Singapore was set up for reshipment of the English opium trade etc, to China by such English bankers as John Coutts (linked by marriage to England’s first governor in Ceylon, Frederick North). Modern Singapore was created out of distributing oil from Russia, and then from Dutch-controlled Indonesia and English-controlled Borneo, creating Royal Dutch Shell. And of course, US Rockefeller’s Exxon was also set up there. Singapore also profited immensely by providing refueling facilities for US bombers to destroy Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s (see ee Focus).
This ee examines why Sri Lanka has been made to depend on Singapore, which itself imports oil. Singapore is a base for US and English multinationals Exxon and Shell. ee also looks at how oil became a base for Singapore’s industrialization.
Sri Lanka is enchained to a system where half of global oil supply and a third of global trade passes through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Singapore is the world’s top bunkering port. The world’s 3rd-ranked oil-trading centre. An integrated oil hub, it covers the entire value chain: regional exploration management, construction & maintenance of oil vessels, rigs & platforms, and related financing; the processing of crude oil, storage of refined products, marketing & trading of energy products. Singapore oil prices set the regional prices for oil products for the Asia-Pacific Region.
• Oil price hikes, even in the USA, are being blamed on NATO’s current wars in Europe. Yet the US doesn’t actually import that much Russian oil and gas: only about 8% of imports, or a paltry 2% of the US’s overall use. If the war has had any effect, it is increased fear among investors, that they will lose profits! Why?
Scientists and engineers have dropped the cost of solar and wind power…
to the point where it is some of the cheapest power on Earth.
Supply is only a small part of rising oil prices and the method of suffocating economies: A new great game is being played around the world. Oil price hikes are not about supply. It’s about capitalist investors fearing they’ll lose out on profits. The industry is making ‘obscene amounts of money’. Oil prices actually dropped since peaking after NATO’s latest horrors in Eastern Europe, but petrol prices are kept very high in most countries. The fossil fuel industry and its political allies are using NATO’s war on Russia and the Ukraine, and high prices, to justify increased dependence on oil – ee Industry, Oil Addiction.
• The capitalist media is spreading fear, pointing to false causes, and will keep provoking people into disorganized uproar. This private media, their professors and artists, are actually worse, even less accountable than most politicians, who at least have to be elected and appear in public (with bodyguards, etc) and possibly get shot at and even blown up.
• ‘Pirates have taken over the ship!’, cry the more prescient. ‘Any IMF bailout package will subject the hapless public to ‘electric shocks’ and ‘waterboarding’. ‘Get ready for another round of assassinations, coups, faux uprisings and terror.’
‘Experts’ are indeed coming out of the wall. Certain walls. There are these clicking hikmeeyo (shrews) issuing the poisoned elixirs of the IMF, World Bank, various NGO-hijacked UN Commissions, etc. Most, posing as economists, thinktanks, activists, and even politicians, have never asked: Why we are not allowed to make a pin! (There are those who say they do, then let them tell us their process: from where the machines, how the workers are enriched?)
• There have been very few import restrictions. If any! The English press does not report on the proposals made by the Jathika Nidhahas Peramuna (NFF) led by Wimal Weerawansa, to the government, on how to control imports. And the former Central Bank Governor divulges he insisted on continuing import controls (see ee Quotes)
• These capitalists and their media have consistently lied about the government’s supposedly harsh import restrictions. The import mafia are led by the oil and fertilizer mafia, led by US Exxon-Chevron, England’s Unilever, and the banks. Note how there is little mention about the massive imports by multinationals like Chevron, Unilever, Nestle, etc.They have sabotaged from the very start, the attempts to more accurately target inessential imports.
Total imports last year cost US$20.6billion – the highest import costs reported in Sri Lanka’s history. Yet only $4.6bn was spent to import ‘essential’ goods such as fuel, coal, gas, medicine & medical apparatus. While almost $6bn spent importing non-essential goods. And, how much of the ‘essential’ fuel imported was spent on joyrides? How much on actual production? Such stats are not allowed to be divulged. (Random Notes)
• The media will not tell us. This so-called Sri Lankan media is not really Sri Lankan. Pages and screens are filled with multinational corporate (MNC) advertising, and most articles posing as news. This easily show us the media is import-mafia-controlled, by the usual suspects (Unilever, Nestlé, etc). These mafia capos do not have Sinhala village ‘thug’ names like Mahakandure Madush. Instead their ‘respectable’ Colombo 7 media barons have widely spread rumors, eg, about China mixing excreta with fertilizer! Such lies have a long history, as ee heard this week, about how rice from China was mixed with sand at the port to attempt to discredit our most successful trade treaty, the Rubber-Rice Pact (ee Focus).
A1. Reader Comments –
• US Advocata is the New Beggar • Fake Gas Scarcity • Terrorism Against Asian Unity
A2. Quotes of the Week
• WD Lakshman on Import Game • Many Promises, Only One Kept • India Loans for Indian Goods • Banks Make huge profits but no Investment • Birds Travel via Sri Lanka from China to Africa • No Inquiry on US Meddling in Sri Lanka elections? • Killer Albright on the need to Bomb Serbia • Capitalist Profits & Worker Solutions
A3. Random Notes –
• Anagarika on Imports • US-Korean IMF Agent Retires • Anti-Industrialisation Arguments are Many • Suppressing Industry is Key Demand • Most Countries are Capitalist Party States • Origins of Pirate Singapore • No Stats allowed on Imports • Dialog takes over SL Help Lines
B. ee Focus
B1. People’s Rights in China – Samitha Hettige on the 65th Anniversary of China-SL Diplomatic Relations
B2. Singapore’s History as Multinational Oil Whore
B3. Petroleum as the Driver of Singapore’s Industrialization
C. News Index
A1. Reader Comments
ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any news sent, or your comments, and place any e-link at the end. Email: email@example.com
• ‘Wow! Advocata is sending out letters pleading for money, comparing themselves to beggars nowadays? Wonder if Dhananath in exerting his creative genius, is aware of the sheer irony of it all!!? [Advocata is US-government funded, like most of the so-called economic thinktanks! It’s just an act! – ee]
• ‘One has to wonder how much of these queues arise from self-perpetuating hoarding after social-media fear-mongering? Friends returning from the hills say gas is readily available in quiet village areas. Gas suppliers say they order more than previous months, but it disappears immediately. All this contagious anxiety has dangerous spiralling effects…’
• ‘India and Pakistan are of the same view on the NATO war on Russia. Then Nuland is quickly dispatched. Then an unknown agent accidentally set off an Indian missile into Pak territory. It didn’t serve enough to spoil the thaw. No human casualties resulted. Now we see other events and interpretations – ‘Interpreting Pakistani PM Khan’s Praise for Indian Foreign Policy’. You can bet that the next event triggered by a paid agent on the border will be more successful in fanning flames of hostility again, ‘accidental’ or not. There are other agents on the frontlines, on India-China borders too. Ready to set off events, on call. RAW works in mysterious ways…’
A2. Quotes of the Week__
• ‘Look… the foreign-exchange situation was ok by the end of 2020 and we ended up relatively sound in terms of balance of trade… Import restrictions should have continued, I was recommending that but no one was willing to listen at that time. Now they have re-imposed these restrictions making it virtually impossible to get back to what it was. The restrictions, during my time, were put in place by the Treasury and I wanted that to continue but they (government) wanted to relax it, and that was one of the reasons why I quit… Holding onto the dollar [rate]? It was not only my wish but the wish of the government. We maintained it at the Central Bank but at times discussed this with Monetary Board and the Finance Ministry and it was a joint decision… But if this system [of import restrictions] had continued at that time, there wouldn’t have been this loss of confidence. Confidence is the key issue today… During my time (2021) the reserves were going down but we were expecting swap facilities from other central banks to beef up reserves. However, these expected flows didn’t materialize… we were expecting too much and not getting these short-term inflow of loans.’ – former Central Bank governor WD Lakshman (see ee Economists)
• ‘They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one – They promised to take our land… and they took it.’ – Maȟpíya Lúta (Red Cloud), Oglala Lakota Nation, Wounded Knee, 1890
• ‘The shopping list of planned imports under the Indian credit line includes sugar, rice, dhal, onions, potatoes and pharmaceuticals, as well as raw material for the garment industry, animal feed, tyres & tubes, aluminium, cement, fertiliser’ – ee Politics, Sustaining
• ‘Banks don’t encourage entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. They look for the company assets for security purposes and the balance sheets for evaluation criteria.’ Even during the pandemic, it was Sri Lankan banks that made enough and more profits, as much as triple the amount they made before the pandemic.’ – Peter D Almeida, ee Economists, SMEs
• ‘These magnificent birds travel an incredible 26,000km per year on migration to spend the winter in southern Africa. It’s astonishing to think that, over the lifetime of the average Beijing Swift, the distance traveled on migration is equivalent to halfway from Earth to the Moon! – ee Agriculture
• ‘The US Government meddled in foreign elections 81 times between 1946 and 2000, more than any other government’ – Savithri Guruge, Who put in Putin? – ee Sovereignty
• ‘We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing and that’s what they are going to get.’ – Madeline Albright (Maria Jana Korbel)
• ‘Politicians, the media, central bankers and the average worker have all been talking up the recent acceleration in the cost of living. Just a short time ago price rises of just 2% might have been considered ‘inflationary’. In the current phase of the Covid pandemic, inflation in core capitalist states, including Canada, is now running at the 5-7%, far ahead of wage settlements and bumps in income supports for welfare. Inflation always carries important consequences for workers’ living standards, collective bargaining and meeting basic needs for the poor. Inflation always generates class conflict, most directly and immediately over distribution, but indirectly eventually over questions of power over capital and the state. How much of the price rise reflects the breakdowns in supply chains, business efforts to recoup losses during the Covid crisis, and the need to widen profit margins? How much do the calls for a new round of austerity from the capitalist classes, and especially the banks, presage a new wave of austerity to reverse low interest rates and the spending on emergency social programs during the pandemic? What is driving price rises, and will this lead to an inflationary cycle as in the past? From a socialist perspective how should unions and social movements of the poor respond to the current crisis?’ – ee Workers, Crush
A3. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
After Anagarika Dharmapala’s brother Edmund Hewavitarane was killed by the English in a Jaffna prison, Dharmapala was chased out of the country by the English, helped by the Wijewardena oligarchy, whose media monopoly (Wijeya Group) now praise him, like mafia hitmen do at the funerals of those they killed.
Dharmapala was a pioneer in promoting Sri Lanka’s industrialization. He attacked the dependency mentality of the Sinhala, how we were made dependent on foreign products for our day-today survival: ‘We must learn to stand on [our own] legs and not be dependent on the alien… Rice, the staple food of the Sinhala is imported from India, also our curry stuff. Pins, needles, ink, stationary, glassware, crockery, hardware, wearing apparel, shoes, hats, machinery, cutlery, cloths, umbrellas, bentwood, furniture etc., are all imported from abroad.’ – Return to Righteousness: A Collection of Speeches, Essays, and Letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala, Ananda Guruge, 1965
• A few days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Asia Pacific Director Changyong Rhee was in Colombo gathering economic information to presumably ‘begin’ negotiations over IMF assistance, he returned to his home in US-occupied Korea, where he announced his retirement from the IMF and his nomination as the Governor of the Central Bank of Korea.
He is at least serving his country. In Sri Lanka, central bankers and other public officials are confined as mere fronts for multinational corporations. Not all. But almost. Their actual job is to prevent industrialization.
• The arguments are many, readymade and instant. Against industrialization: No local market. No economy of scale. Pollution. Laziness. Their arguments are innumerable and shower down like rain. Even when there is no rain:
• ‘Numerous countries that have been under colonial or semicolonial rule have failed to develop industrially because the dominant foreign power(s) have insisted on importing most machinery, equipment, components and other manufactured goods from their own countries. Countries dominated and impoverished have had to engage primarily in agro-industry, involving simple processing, mining, and traditional textile industries and much handicraft production, Secondary manufacturing, modern heavy industry in general, and diverse industrial production were generally suppressed in order to provide a market for the dominant foreign power. Any relatively large-scale industrial frame that did exist locally was typically under foreign ownership and control. At times a favored subcultural group of local entrepreneurs was fostered by the foreign officials and the local ruling elite, and permitted to organize and run fairly large-scale manufacturing plants, typically as monopolies or tight oligopolies. China before 1949 was in effect a semicolonial power of this type.’ – Barry M Richman, Industrial Society in Communist China: a Firsthand Study of Chinese Economic Development & Management, with Significant Comparisons with Industry in India, the USSR, Japan, & the US
• Most countries remain one-party states. The Capitalist Party. with noisy wings, sometimes two wings, sometimes eleven. The day-and-night job of the capitalist public media is to saturate eyes and ears with diversions and confusion. This they do with a tired and tiresome relish. After barraging the President as being ‘despotic’, now they say he’s ineffective. English-speaking Colombots, who have no idea what the English did and do, poke fun at the finance minister’s English. He’s involved in something more mundane: trying as hard as possible to keep the import-export plantation fraud going! Colombots wish to base an economy on external whims. They want tourists. They wish to keep selling tea to finicky white palates. The want white men and women deciding on our economy.
This week it was the faux tempest about the all-party confab. Then it will be back to Geneva.
• Origins of Pirate Singapore: It was illegal for ‘private’ English subjects to ship goods from China to England. This was the monopoly of the English East India Company (EIC). The English ‘private’ pirates in Hong Hong and Singapore then used a ‘legal fiction’ to make serious inroads into the EIC monopoly. Opium trader James Matheson (of later Jardine-Matheson, still the largest employer and landowner in Hong Kong to this 21st-century day) saw in 1819 that Chinese goods (e.g., cotton, silk, bought with their opium profits) could be taken from Lintin or Macao, landed at the ‘free port’ of Singapore and transferred to another ship, a ‘free trader’ bound for London. They thereby established Singapore as a ‘transhipment’ entrepôt, with the new English firms in Singapore making an easy 1% commission. Soon Manchester cotton goods were flooding the Chinese market via Singapore (from Michael Greenberg, British Trade & the Opening of China 1800-42)
• We’re never given a proper breakdown of ‘intermediate-goods’ imports. Capitalist, their media and economists oppose import restrictions, claiming SL’s import structure is heavily tilted towards intermediate goods that are needed for production, exports, SMEs, etc. Thus they try to neutralize our argument about import restrictions. By the late ‘50s, SL consumer-goods imports were the highest. This started to shift post-77. One thing we can do is to work on refining our import-data classification and run the numbers again. Too many consumer goods are classified here as ‘intermediate goods’. We can’t rely on the official categorization for what is intermediate and what is consumption. What portion of fuel is used by personal vehicles? Yet, intermediate goods are exactly what we should target for import-substitution, if we wish to create synergies: eg, garments is not competitive anymore because we dismantled textile production (e.g., in the 1970s, Hambantota was growing cotton for the Wellawatte Spinning & Weaving Mills) in favor of imports.
We should start producing intermediate goods needed for production. Then the ‘solution’ we must provide should be a bit more specified. Import restrictions + prioritizing industry requirements for intermediate goods + rolling out production, etc. There should be low or no tariffs for certain inputs and capital goods. Then we can move to making machines that make machines!
• When you need urgent info or help, Dialog no longer answers its own phone helplines – only computer responses, like all MNCs worldwide. But Dialog (whose director is on the President’s new economic advisory committee) has now been given the contract to provide information on SL govt services etc, to both Sri Lankan citizens and the world. March 23: ‘The Information & Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) announced, a contract agreement was signed with Dialog Networks (Pvt) Ltd to operate and manage Government Information Centre (GIC1919) from 2022-24’. – adaderana.lk/icta-signs-agreement-with-dialog-networks-pvt-ltd-to-operate-and-manage-government-information-centre
B. Special Focus____________________________________________
B1. People’s Rights in China – Samitha Hettige, on China – Sri Lanka Diplomatic Relations 65th Anniversary
The People’s Right to Live in China echoes in their word rénkǒu 人口 for ‘population’. The characters reminded the emperor of ‘how many mouths have to be fed’. The word became jinkō in Japanese, as the Japanese language is based on Chinese characters.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in 1949 October 1. Famine was the main reason for their revolution. By 1951, the PRC had a rice surplus. In 1952 Sri Lanka too was facing a crisis – and 2022 is the 70th anniversary of the China-SL Rubber Rice Pact (RRP). The Communist Party of Sri Lanka played a key role in pushing the UNP Dudley Senanayake government to sign the RRP. To this date China had helped us to fight famine while protecting its own 1.5 billion population.
Chinese civilization has grown rice for more than 10,000 years. In 1973, the PRC invented the first hybrid rice (Yuan Lingping being the founder). By 2020 China harvested more than 500kg/hectare using their own fertilizers. China is still helping us to fight famine. History says that during 1970-77 certain persons instigated by certain colonial powers, ensured that at the harbour, sand was mixed into the rice imported to Sri Lanka, to create conflict.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is being built to extend the 21st Century Silk Road (Belt & Road Initiative, BRI), from western China to the Indian Ocean. It will raise the Pakistani masses above poverty level. PM Imran Khan refers to China as an ‘All-Weather Friend’. Now we hear that his life is in danger. CPEC was used to deliver much-needed fertilizer to suffering Afghan farmers, after the US fled the country, freezing its forex assets. A good friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out (Chinese Proverb).
The Right to Work has a long history in China. China was the first to officially hire officials based on their skills. From the 2nd century BC, competitive examinations were held to recruit officials to the imperial service. Candidates answered a question paper with questions on 9 subjects, based on the teachings of Confucius. China had paper and ink by that time. Answer scripts were rewritten by another person, to prevent examiners recognizing the candidate from their handwriting.
The Communist Party of China was established on 23 July 1921. Its first centenary goal was to eradicate poverty in China. By 2020 independent evaluators outside of the Chinese government proved that all provinces in China have been raised above the poverty line. China managed to raise about 100 million persons above the poverty line to reach this goal, within 7 years.
China is one of the few countries where forest cover has increased during the past decade. They utilized those living below the poverty line, as ‘Rangers’. This gave them employment, protected forests, and gave cleaner air to the world at large. China is a member of the ‘Paris Agreement’ which has more than 200 members. The US is the only country which boycotted it, in 2020, since Paris Agreement conditions were blocking the US coal industry’s profits.
China gave us the Port City. It was suspended for a few years after 2015. You may know people who lost employment due to that suspension?
The Right to Health – The BRI network has supported most countries with medical supplies during the Covid pandemic. Chinese trains carrying medical supplies were called ‘Metal Camels’. While richer countries hoarded and refused to share vaccines or patents, China protected its citizens and people in most countries through donating vaccines. That helped us to restart our lives.
Rights in Tibet: When the Indian Army took control of Goa from Portugal and Pondicherry from France, not many were worried about ‘human rights’. In 1959 when China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) moved into Tibet, some were and are still worried about ‘human rights’. Democracy or socialism was unknown in Tibet before the 1960s. After 62 years, democratic reforms have added value to the lives of over 3.5 million Tibetans. It has taken them out of feudal political oppression and poverty. Most living in remote areas have moved into new concrete housing units which withstand the rough weather conditions of that region. In 1959 the average life expectancy was 35 years, while it’s now 71 years.
Tibet was the first autonomous region in China to provide free education until age 15. Tibetans now have an average of 10 years schooling. Before Tibet’s transformation, education was seen as a luxury by children of feudal serfs/slaves. The literacy rate among the young/middle-aged is now 99%. The entire population enjoys medical-insurance coverage. In Tibet green cover has increased by 47%. GDP grew from 174 million yuan in 1960 to 180 billion yuan in 2020.
What is happening in Xinjiang? Xinjiang is an important link in the BRI new Silk Road, a development plan stretching through Asia, Africa, Europe, and beyond. China hopes to eradicate separatist activity to continue development of Xinjiang. It is home to China’s largest coal and natural gas reserves (cfr.org). Ma Ling is a Hui Muslim teacher at an educational institution in Changji, Xinjiang (about 25 miles west of the capital Urumqi). The school has employees from 8 communities (Han, Hui, Uyghur, Korean Chinese etc). As per Ma, ‘Everyone is just like relatives’, emphasizing human credentials, ‘Xinjiang is not as gloomy as the Western governments say.’
Ma said he visited the ‘so-called concentration camps mentioned by Westerners… these are no more than training schools… On the contrary, if they don’t have this study experience in these training schools, they may only stay at home in the poor border villages, and will become prey to Afghan terrorists, and maybe finally become jihadis in the future.’ (thediplomat.com).
‘Human Rights’ of Chinese in Canada, the US, and under Japanese rule: When the US and Canada were constructing their first-ever railroads, thousands of Chinese slave-like workers were taken across the Pacific by colonial rulers to work in these mega projects. Thousands of southern Chinese peasants were killed constructing railroads in the Americas. To this date extremely few have ever appreciated the contribution of Chinese workers in building railroads in the Americas. These railroads have contributed immensely to the development of the US and Canada, and still play a pivotal role in the supply chains and economic development of these countries. It was after the PRC was established that such large-scale exploitation of Chinese labour by western multinationals came to an end. Japan also used Chinese peasants as laboratory rats to develop biological weapons during WW2.
Women’s Rights in China: According to the English medical journal Lancet, a study was conducted over 70 years on women’s health in China, proving the Chinese system actually ensured, ‘Children are the future and hope of the motherland’. According to the study there’s a sharp reduction of childbirth deaths, from 1,500 to 17.8 per 100,000 births, since the establishment of the PRC in 1949 till 2019. The study also states that in India, these numbers only reduced from 1,000 to 145 during that same 1949-2019 period.
‘Democracy’ combines the Greek words demos (people) and kratos (rule), symbolizing ‘people’s rule’. Democracy therefore is linked to human rights or better called, ‘people’s rights’. The US’ Summit for Democracy was held 9-10 December 2021 there. At the event it was argued, the rights of Indian women are superior to Chinese women, as Indian women live in a ‘Parliamentary System or a Republic’. As per statistics, nearly one fifth of the world’s population is the women of India and China. According to the Lancet, the achievements in China are largely due to the strong political will and improvements ushering in gender equality. Therefore, it is clear the rights of Chinese women are far more protected than Indian women, although China was not even invited for the summit.
Hong Kong (HK) and Macao were taken back to China in 1997 and 1999, by those who ‘leased’ the SARs (semi-autonomous regions) from China. Democratic elections were never held in HK under English occupation. After HK’s return, China never took the US dollar reserves of HK to the mainland…
B2. Singapore’s History as Multinational Oil Whore
The oil companies controlling the industry at Singapore used it as a place where, on the islands near the western entrance to the harbor, petroleum produced in Netherlands India (Indonesia) and English Borneo could be collected, blended & distributed… For petroleum its principal trade functions were handling, storage and shipment, with consequent low value added and limited employment. Petroleum exercised its greatest effect on economic development through volume, and the commodity’s chief linkage was a large demand for ship-repair facilities.
The petroleum trade consisted of 3 main products, i.e., kerosene, liquid fuel (fuel oil) and motor spirit (petrol, gasoline), and minor petroleum products like lubricant, etc.
In the early 20th century the main constituent of the petroleum trade was kerosene, used primarily as an illuminant by the poorer sections of the population. After WWI, despite the spread of electric lighting, Singapore’s kerosene exports increased rapidly as trade extended to more markets. But the phenomenal expansion in petroleum exports during the inter-war period was from liquid fuel and motor spirit. Liquid fuel was required chiefly for the bunkering of oil-fired ships and to a lesser extent to run industrial machinery, while motor spirit was needed for automobiles.
The story of Singapore’s petroleum trade was – and remained – the use which multinational oil companies found for the port in their worldwide operations.
Apart from some kerosene imported from the US west coast, petroleum distribution in and via Singapore was by 1939 in the hands of 2 subsidiaries serving 3 oil majors: the Asiatic Petroleum Co, established by Royal Dutch Shell, and the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company associated with Standard Oil (SO/Esso) of New Jersey and SO of New York. [Huff’s story begins] in 1891 when [Iraqi Jews based in London] M Samuel & Co. of London decided to use Singapore to import kerosene in bulk from Russia for distribution in Asia, and engaged the agency house of Syme & Co to establish and manage a petroleum tank depot – the first of its kind in the East. Since the municipal government refused to allow bulk storage in the town, Syme & Co established facilities on the island of Pulau Bukum in Singapore harbor to receive and distribute petroleum. In 1897, M Samuel & Co formed the nucleus for the new Shell Transport & Trading Co, which started up production in Borneo; the Singapore storage depot became part of this enterprise.
One of Shell’s principal rivals in the region was the Royal Dutch Company, given a royal charter in 1890 to produce oil in Netherlands India. It also established storage facilities just off Singapore, on the Dutch island of Pulau Samboe. In 1903, the English & Dutch companies set up the Asiatic Petroleum Co as a joint marketing company in London for distribution in the East, in 1907 merged to form Royal Dutch Shell. The new organization began 2 holding companies, the NV de Bataafsche Petrpleum Maatschappij, for oil exploration and production, and the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co for transport. In Singapore, the latter company was initially represented jointly by Syme & Co and Hoogland & Co (formerly agents for Royal Dutch), but in 1908 the agency disappeared when the Asiatic Petroleum Co opened a local office. This became the head office in the East of the Asiatic Petroleum Co and took control of the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co which managed Royal Dutch Shell’s fleet in Eastern waters. Although no longer requiring the services of Singapore agency houses, Royal Dutch Shell drew initially on the pool of management they had created. The first Singapore representative of the Asiatic Petroleum Co had been a partner in Boustead & Co and his assistant (and later successor) had been employed by Syme & Co.
Standard Oil of New York (Socony) and SO of New Jersey were the other great oil companies in the region. In 1898 Socony opened a Singapore office as part of its network throughout the East to distribute kerosene, while in 1912, after several unsuccessful attempts, Standard Oil of New Jersey gained a foothold in the production of oil in Netherlands India through a subsidiary, the Nederlandsche Koloniale Petroleum Mij (NKPM). The Singapore office of Socony handled distribution for the NKPM and developed another of the small islands in Singapore harbor, Pulau Sebarok, for storage. In 1931, when Standard Oil of New York merged with another US company, Vacuum Oil, which distributed lubricants in Singapore, the firm was named the Socony-Vacuum Corporation. In 1934 it became the Standard-Vacuum Co, following the merger of NKPM and the branches of the SV Corporation (later Socony-Mobil, then Mobil) in Asia, Australasia and South Africa.
Oil companies were drawn to Singapore by its geographical advantages – both local and international – and freedom from regulation. Offshore islands afforded a deepwater anchorage adjacent to Singapore harbor, so that use could easily be made of its facilities, while at the same time allowing safe storage of large quantities of petroleum. Oil was not refined in Singapore, but collected from several refineries in the region and blended. During the inter-war period [1918-39] this location on world & regional shipping routes enabled petroleum companies to keep distribution costs low by using a single store to serve distinct markets with different product mixes. The same was true in Singapore’s post-WWII growth as an oil port.
From the outset in Singapore, local and government opinion alike appears to have favored few if any restrictions or taxes on the oil companies. Certain safety measures were framed for Singapore’s own protection, but the government apparently considered that the siting of oil depots on islands separated from Singapore itself provided a margin of safety, which obviated their substantive regulation. The Asiatic Petroleum Co was said to find Singapore a very suitable base ‘owing to there being so few restrictions on oil tankers at this Port’.
Singapore’s port was the only large petroleum depot in English Malaya. The lion’s share of petroleum came from Netherlands India, chiefly Sumatra and to a lesser extent Borneo, while Sarawak furnished most of the remainder of imports. The Asiatic Petroleum Co was responsible for the bulk of the port’s imports and received petroleum from all Singapore’s main sources of supply. By 1933 the Company’s principal storage & distribution centre at Pulau Bukum had 27 tanks of 1,000-12,000 tons each and a total capacity of 130,000 tons. It also had large godowns and storage yards for petroleum packed in tins, cases, barrels & drums. Standard-Vacuum Oil was supplied from the main refinery of the NKPM in Palembang, Sumatra, but also received some kerosene from the US.
In the inter-war years the Asiatic Petroleum Co accounted for most of the international distribution of petroleum from Singapore. It used small, specially constructed coastal tankers in the region, and large tankers for bulk shipments elsewhere. Singapore’s extensive markets for petroleum exports show clearly the importance of bulk shipments to Japan and Australia.
The sale of oil bunkers developed by the Asiatic Petroleum Co made Singapore a pioneer in their provision and helped to attract the new oil-burning vessels there, promoting a continued role as a main port of call. During World War I, the Company had gained experience in the bunkering trade through supplying Allied vessels, and subsequently rapidly expanded its oil installations. By 1921, the port had a ‘large oil-bunkering business… chiefly due to the far-seeing enterprise of the “Shell” Company’s directors in providing facilities for the berthage of large ocean-going vessels at Pulau Bukum and Pulau Samboe, and for the supply of fuel oil in bulk from tank lighter to steamers discharging cargo in the roads’. These facilities at Singapore stimulated, as well as being a response to, the adoption of oil-fired ships for world trade, and made the port the largest English station for the storage & sale of oil bunkers in the East.
In 1926 Singapore’s convenience for oil-fired ships was further increased when the Asiatic Petroleum Co began to supply oil bunkers at the wharves. The Company erected storage tanks and a central pumping station at the north end of the wharves on land leased to it by the Singapore Harbor Board. Pipelines connected the tanks with most of the wharves, allowing the simultaneous transfer of fuel and cargo.13 In 1921 one-fifth of vessels berthed at the wharves were oil burners; by 1930 the proportion had risen to nearly a half and by 1939/40 to two-thirds…
(In 1925/27, 24.6% of the volume of Singapore’s petroleum exports went to Malaya. Others were mainly ‘Other English Possessions‘ in 1925/27 and English India, Ceylon & South Africa in 1937/39)…
In 1931 NKPM shifted most of the international distribution of petroleum which had been undertaken from Pulau Sebarok to the nearby Dutch island of Pulau Bintang. The Company’s decision may have been connected with the merger between Standard Oil of New York and the Vacuum Oil Co that year. The Singapore representative of Socony-Vacuum suggested that NKPM had moved ‘to give them the advantage of eliminating one additional country and customs control’. Apart from packed kerosene sent to Siam on vessels of the British India Steam Navigation Co [later, P&O], after 1931 Pulau Sebarok became almost exclusively a centre for distribution to English Malaya, where Standard-Vacuum Oil maintained several local depots.
(The Economic Growth of Singapore – Trade & Development in the 20thC, WG Huff, 1994)
B3. Petroleum as the Driver of Singapore’s Industrialization
Singapore’s approach to energy security has been shaped by its lack of natural resources. The nation relies on oil imports for its refinery and petrochemical industries as well as its transportation sector, and on gas imports to generate electricity for its industries and households. The refining & trading of oil and the manufacturing of oil derivatives are key to the country’s strategy for economic growth. This strategy has proven to be extremely successful…
Traditional notions of energy security focus on the security of supply chains, which include extraction, processing, transportation & distribution. One of the energy security concerns in the early 19th century was the effect any shortage in oil supply could have on military preparedness. The military – the English Royal Navy being a case in point – had made the transition from coal-powered machines to ones using oil. With their rising dependency on oil and the geopolitical uncertainty surrounding the major oil-producing countries, oil- importing countries realised that their national security, and in particular their economies, was highly vulnerable to oil supply disruptions. Such security thinking has led to a preference for stratagems aimed at ensuring the security of supply chains, such as establishing petroleum reserves, diversifying oil sources, nationalising natural resources. Thus, a typical framing of energy security would be primarily concerned with 3 main issues: supply, distribution and access, ie, the ability of the state to procure energy supplies at an affordable price for its domestic consumption at a rate that is not detrimental to the nation’s security and economic growth.
However, today, oil is no longer mainly consumed by the military. In fact, oil, coal and gas have been the most widely used fuels throughout the 20th century and will continue to be so. They will account for nearly 80% of total energy consumption by 2040. In most nations today, oil is the predominant source of energy for the production of goods & services. It is commonly used in the transportation industry, in petrochemical products and as fuel for power plants. The use of oil byproducts is so prevalent in public & private lives that an increase in the price of oil inevitably results in higher energy costs and therefore rise in the price of other commodities, which will then affect national economies and household expenditures. Even in advanced economies, hikes in oil prices could reduce living standards dramatically. The poor, according to a 2007 UN Development Program (UNDP) report on Asia and the Pacific, will be the worst affected:
‘On the whole, rising oil prices have left the poor with few choices other than to cut back on their consumption of oil products or make other cuts in their household budgets. The urban poor tend to be worse off since they do not have the alternative of collecting fuelwood or other biomass.’
Security threats to the state are increasingly non-military in nature, and more the result of internal conflicts than wars… Most such challenges are transnational in terms of their origins, conception and effects. [How can] all consumers have equal access to oil and gas-related goods and services such as petrochemical products, fuel and electricity, given these have been made readily available for public and private consumption.
Singapore’s Present Energy Consumption Landscape – Singapore is an island city-state with limited energy resources. Currently, its energy market is reliant on oil & natural gas imports. In 2010 Singapore’s electricity was generated by natural gas (78.7%), petroleum products such as fuel oil and diesel (18.7%), and renewables such as biogas, municipal solid waste and solar energy (2.6 %). Singapore’s energy mix is one of the least diversified in Southeast Asia.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) lists Singapore as the 10th largest importer of crude oil & oil products in the world, in its 2011 Key World Energy Statistics report. According to International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, about 82 % of Singapore’s crude oil comes from West Asia; almost 33 % of its crude oil is imported from Saudi Arabia. From within Southeast Asia, Vietnam is the largest supplier at 4.4 %. (Singapore imports its crude oil from Saudi Arabia, 32.8 %; Kuwait, 18 %; Qatar, 13.5 %; UAE, 10.5 %; other Middle East countries, 7.1 %; Vietnam, 4.4 %; Australia, 4.5 %; Malaysia, 3.7 %; and others, 5.4 %)
Gas is imported from Indonesia & Malaysia. Since the state is almost wholly reliant on natural gas for its electricity, its dependence on just these 2 sources of supply renders it particularly vulnerable to supply disruptions and political risks.
Looking ahead, the government then decided to add liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the national fuel mix with the intention of diversifying its gas sources to meet future energy demand [building an LNG terminal & tanks]
Energy security policies in Singapore are premised on the belief that energy resources are the means to achieving and sustaining economic growth. To date, the two most comprehensive documents that inform the state’s approach to ensuring energy security are the National Energy Policy Report (NEPR) and the report of the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC). The NEPR, 2007, was prepared by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade & Industry. The ESC report, Feb 2010, was prepared by a committee formed by the government in 2009. This committee and its 8 subcommittees included representatives from the public and private sectors as well as academia. Both reports stress that energy security recommendations and strategies should be aligned with the larger national objectives, ie, economic competitiveness, energy security, environmental sustainability…
Petroleum as the Driver of Industrialization – Singapore is one of the largest refining centres in the world, behind only Houston in the US, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The history of oil refining in Singapore began with the installation of an oil storage facility by US oil traders in the 1870s. Due to its strategic location in the region, Singapore was well-placed to be a regional distribution centre. The first bulk carriage occurred on 1 July 1892, when oil tanker Murex discharged 2,500 of its 4,000 tons and transported the rest to Bangkok. By WW1, oil exports had reached approximately 700,000 tons per year. Around the same time, Singapore was, in addition to providing storage facilities, also blending and distributing oil.
After World War 1, Singapore’s oil trade continued to flourish, and Singapore evolved into a port serving regional refineries such as those in Borneo & south Sumatra. By the end of the 1950s the oil trade had grown to about 3 million tons per year. By the time Singapore gained Independence in 1965, its oil industry had grown to encompass both storage and distribution, and a national refining industry had emerged.
When Singapore attained self-government in the late 1950s, the government was keen to strengthen the country’s economy through industrial development and thus offered ‘pioneer’ status to new commercial enterprises. Shell was the first company to be awarded pioneer status and began operating out of Pulau Bukom in 1961. This was followed by the Japanese firms Maruzen and Toyo Menka (1962), British Petroleum (1964), Mobil (1966), Exxon (1970), and the Singapore Petroleum Company (1973). Thus, by the 1970s, Singapore had transformed itself into an important regional oil refining hub, attracting the investments of major industrial players such as Shell, Exxon, Mobil.
Industry was the leading sector in the country’s first 2 decades of industrialization, 1965-84. During this period, the Singapore economy grew an average of 7 % per annum. However, between 1985 and 2004, the electronics industry gradually replaced the oil sector as the country’s leading export engine. In 1976 oil accounted for 50% of total domestic exports. By 1984 its proportion of total domestic exports had fallen to 47.6%. In 2001 oil accounted for just 18.3% of total domestic exports, having been replaced by electronics, representing 48 % of the total. In 2010 refined petroleum products accounted for just over 21% of the country’s total exports (MTI 2011, iv). The value of Singapore’s oil exports that same year was US$80billion.
A sustained increase in the price of oil… has led to a shift in the thinking of the Singapore government. Between January 2004 and August 2006, the price of oil rose by nearly 300% – $75 per barrel. The global price of oil went on to reach a historic high of over $147/barrel in July 2008. Although the price has since gone down, the current level remains higher than the first half of the last decade. As of 23 December 2011, the price of oil per barrel was $108.22, according to the Intercontinental Exchange Brent Crude Oil price index.
Energy economists and analysts attributed the upward pressure on the global price of oil in 2008 to several factors: the strong demand from the expanding economies of China and India; inadequate spare capacities in oil production and refining, and global concerns over ‘peak oil’; geopolitical uncertainties and natural disasters. The same factors have kept oil prices high in subsequent years.
Regardless of the dominant narrative among the experts, many countries were left reeling from the effects of the high oil prices. These countries suffered from slower economic growth, high inflation and high unemployment rate (also during the first and second oil shocks, in 1973 and 1979). Any deterioration in the national economy inevitably affects socioeconomic conditions. Increases in the prices of goods and services will have a serious impact on the population’s quality of life, and naturally, the financially less well-off will be the most vulnerable.
(‘The Non-Traditional Security Perspective on Energy Security Policies in Singapore’, Youngho Chang & Nur Azha Putra, 2012)
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines & links to make sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’ to expose the backwardness of multinational, corporate controlled ‘local media’:
(ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern (machine-making) industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• India’s IOC Petrol price put up by Rs 49
• Five defence agreements signed with India: Handunnetti
• Indian-made Advanced Light helicopters deployed in Ramanathapuram
‘Near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), between India and Sri Lanka’
• India keen on investing in SL ports & energy sectors: Indian External State Minister
• SL Navy seizes two Indian trawlers for poaching in Sri Lankan waters
• Analysts see geopolitical designs behind India’s largesse
“Anybody who controls Sampur controls the approach to Trincomalee Harbour,”
• India says Northern Province of Sri Lanka is “a region of focus”
• Tamil Progressive Alliance Seeks Non-Territorial Council for Hill Country Tamils
• CWC loses confidence in President Boycotted APC over fertilizer issue
• Making of India’s Ocean or Indian Pond
• Geoeconomic pitfalls: Egypt then, Lanka now
• Indian Navy Ship Sharda arrives in Colombo
• Is an IPKF Invasion Imminent – Recharting US Strategy After the War?
• Harin raises alarm over Indians being given intrusive access to Lankan skies and waters
‘Cabinet had decided to allow Indian monitoring aircraft into Sri Lankan skies while an Indian company ran a Maritime Rescue Centre to be established at the naval headquarters.’
• Sri Lanka cabinet clears India backed digital ID amid Big Brother fears
• Erasing the Eelam Victory Part 16 E– 1, 2, 3a&b
• TNA meeting with Prez ends with 5 points discussed
• Prez tells TNA govt. planning to release long-term detainees
• Malwathu and Asgiri Mahanayake Theras write 14-point letter to President
• Enough! 43rd Brigade wants US to take back its people
• SL abstains on UNGA resolution on humanitarian consequences of Ukraine war
• Is President a Hostage of the Ugly American?
• US Secretary ‘Biolab’ Nuland encourages PC polls, says move to reach out IMF courageous
• US Secretary ‘Biolab’ Nuland in Sri Lanka to focus on maritime cooperation, defence links
• Sri Lanka – US Navy Staff Talks conclude on a successful note
‘Director General Operations, Rear Admiral Prasanna Mahawithana from the Sri Lanka Navy, Director Air Operations, Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa from the Sri Lanka Air Force, Vice Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet, Rear Admiral Robert T. Clark, Air National Assistant to Commander Pacific Air Forces, Major General David B. Burgy…’
• USA willing to help Sri Lanka find sustainable solutions to urgent economic challenges
• Delegation of Senators from France in Sri Lanka
• What Should You Do About Ukraine? Nothing
• West sees no irony in accusing someone else of doing what they have been doing for years
• NATO’s aggressive and intrusive military expansion
• After surprise stopover in Kabul, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi lands in Delhi
• India, US have different priorities
‘India cannot agree with the US and EU’s reckless attempt to weaponise global economic links’
• Interpreting Pakistani Prime Minister Khan’s Praise for Indian Foreign Policy
• Japanese ‘Lobbyist’ Kishida fails to sway India on Ukraine during visit
• US Indo-Pacific Strategy may be more destructive to region than NATO is to Europe
• What are Russia’s Immediate Objectives in Ukraine – Indian Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat
• China sees parallel between Ukraine, Taiwan – Bhadrakumar
‘Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of Pacific Air Forces…threatened that if China behaves in the Russian way, “something more robust will happen.”’
• China Vice Foreign Minister at the Fourth International Forum on Security and Strategy
• What Would a Potential CSTO Intervention in Ukraine Look Like?
• US to remove IRGC from terror blacklist – Bhadrakumar
‘in return for a ‘public commitment from Tehran to de-escalation in the region.’
• West Response to Russian Invasion Demolishes Excuses for Rejecting BDS Against Israel
• More Sanctions On Russia Will Destroy Europe
‘Putin instructed to convert gas contracts with unfriendly countries into rubles’
• Biden wings his way to the borderlands of Ukraine
‘Not a single country in the African continent and West Asian, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asian region has imposed sanctions against Russia.’
• England finally pays a $540 million debt after 45 years of stalling
• Zelensky: ‘Western’ leaders said no to Ukrainian NATO membership, but rejected it publicly
• Lavrov’s History Lesson – Germany’s Downfall – Russian Forces Develop Routine
• More Sanctions On Russia Will Destroy Europe
• S. Korea to reinstate visa-free entry for Russians from April 1
• USA House Admits Nazi Role in Ukraine
• USA Lied About Funding “Dangerous Pathogen” Research in Secret Ukrainian Biolabs
‘’Newly Leaked Documents Reveal Pentagon Contractors Worked Under $80 Million Program Funded by Defense Department But Kept Hidden from Public’
• White UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Somalia
• Jamaican campaigners call for accountability from royal family over slavery
• Latin America is on the Frontlines of the US New Cold War on China and Russia
• Red Cloud’s Speech after Wounded Knee
• US government to increase military spending in 2023
C2. Security (the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of legitimate violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of legitimate violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance as the basis of a truly independent nation.
• Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions (Amendment) PTA Bill passed
• How the Colombo Security Conclave Can Avoid SAARC’s Fate
• SL approach to protestors in north & east reeks of double standard: former HRCSL chair
• Criminalisation Of Same-sex Sexual Activity – UN Women’s Rights Committee
• Angry people show red light for bike rally; organisers say no political links
• US pardoned Japan’s war criminals in exchange for Unit 731 chemical weapons
• AFRICOM Watch Bulletin #38
• US activists protest against the arms industry
‘Since early 2022, Lockheed Martin shares have skyrocketed nearly 25%, while other arms companies including Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman have each jumped to around 12%’
C3. Economists (Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve a modern industrial country.
• Economy out of control, former CB governor says
• IMF Report on Sri Lanka
• Hiring foreign experts for IMF negotiations
• CP Chairman tells Lanka to promote exports to Asian countries with biggest dollar reserves
• Getting out of the economic anarchy – Garvin Karunaratne
• Let’s appoint three talented beggars to the Central Bank – Nalin de Silva
• Coomaraswamy free-floated the rupee at the request of IMF
• IMF bailout package subject the hapless public to ‘electric shocks’ and ‘waterboarding’
• World Bank support sought alongside IMF targeted subsidies which will hit the poor
• APC gets underway: Prez says won’t seek political advantage; Basil to present new budget
• Cabraal’s remark irks Ranil
• Basil okays Ranil, Maithri ‘supplementary estimate’ proposal
• Finance Committee: Monetary Board insulted Parliament; SBJ wants action against ‘culprits’
• Cut in VAT in 2019 caused rating agencies to downgrade credit rating to near default level
• SJB says a state bank on verge of default
• Sri Lanka Bondholders Tap Legal Adviser for Sovereign-Debt Restructuring Talks
‘BlackRock and Ashmore have engaged White & Case to negotiate with the Sri Lankan government over debt payments’
• Sri Lanka to hire global law firm to aid debt restructuring
– island.lk/lanka-to-obtain-services-of-international-law-firm-to-handle-dealings-with-imf/– economynext.com/sri-lanka-to-appoint-technical-committee-to-negotiate-with-imf-hire-law-firm-91922/
• Advisory Committee’s 5 recommendations to Economic Council to implement immediately
• Harsha slams FM, CBSL Chief & Monetary Board for failure to appear
• Cabraal’s response to Harsha over failed appearance at COPF
• Footnote Harsha claims state bank defaulted on payment
• CB and FinMin stress stability of banking system in joint statement
• Banks, finance companies improve asset quality defying forecasts and expectations
• Think-tanks urging default, restructure of debts do not state conditions – Devapriya
• Past Govts. failed to follow IMF advice: Nalaka Godahewa
• Introducing import licences will worsen economic crisis: Advocata
• Government increased tax threshold, many taxpayers evade tax payments – Amarasuriya
• Collapse of the rupee: Is it sudden or orchestrated by Central Bank? – Wijewardena
‘no alternative other than getting a longer-term loan from IMF’
• Returning to a “Licence Raj” – Abeyratne
‘imported shampoo bottle or any other cosmetic product may be a luxury item to a household, but it could be an essential input to run a beauty parlour business…’
• Sri Lanka’s economic crisis requires stronger policy response – Roshan Perera
‘Interference in the market mechanism leads to shortages and the development of a black market. ‘
• Four cardinal mistakes the president did not admit in his speech
• China, India, and Sri Lanka’s Unprecedented Economic Crisis – Moramudali
• The main issue is shortage of foreign exchange. Tourism is clearly a panacea…
• Sri Lankan Leader Seeks IMF Help as Economic Crisis Deepens – Krishan Francis
• What Led To Worst Economic Crisis In Recent History, What Is The Way Forward?
• BASL files two fundamental rights applications in the Supreme Court on the economic crisis
• Implications of a new IMF deal for Sri Lanka – Aneez
• Banking on SMEs
• How Four Powerful Brothers Broke an Island Nation – Bloomberg
• Dump the rupee, advises world-renowned economist Prof. Hanke
• What Is a Currency Board?
• Sri Lanka’s Financial Meltdown Could Be End Of The Road For Rajapaksa Family
• Sri Lanka current economic crisis is similar to 1970s: New York Times article from 1974
• Sri Lanka, Short of Food, Faces an Economic Crisis – New York Times, May 13, 1974
• The IMF Connection with the Ukraine Crisis – Prabhat Patnaik
‘The economic doctrine promoted by the IMF after the fall of the Berlin Wall brought massive damage in the countries now at war.’
• Czar of post-Soviet privatisations quits Russia
• Amid barrage of western sanctions against Russia, India to finalise alternate payment system
• Ukraine-Russia: like an earthquake – Roberts
• US Tries to Play Venezuela against Russia
• Blowback from Sanctions Against Russia: Michael Hudson
• Changyong Rhee to retire from IMF to head Bank of Korea after Sri Lanka visit
• None of the Asian countries indexed among the top 20 happiest nations in the world
C4. Economy (Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how media usually measures economy by false indices like GDP, etc., in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, constantly calling for privatization, deregulation, moaning about debt & balance of payments, without stating the need for modern industrial production.
• SL rupee hits Rs. 300 against US Dollar at Standard Chartered Bank
• SL records nearly a billion-dollar trade deficit in January
• Sri Lanka allows IMF to release staff report
‘However during Wickremesinghe’s time, IMF staff reports were also blocked when his appointee Arjuna Mahendran was running the central bank.’
• IMF recommends VAT & Income Tax increases
• Sri Lanka debt has near term risks, SOE borrowings could add to crisis: IMF report
• Sri Lanka central bank says ready for closer engagement with the IMF
• Debt restructuring likely before IMF loan
‘CT CLSA report ‘Sri Lanka Debt Sustainability and IMF’
• Increasing interest rates could deliver rude shock for corporates with higher borrowings
• IMF assistance sought but Sri Lanka must be mindful of its core policies: central bank chief
• SJB demands to know conditions attached to USD one billion loan from India
• Ranil urges Govt. to source additional funding while IMF negotiations ensue
• Debt due to Chinese banks
• China may give Sri Lanka US$2.5bn in loans, trade credits
• SL settles $130million of Chinese debt
• After milk food price hike, electricity rates to go up
• SL’s electricity tariffs rise to unprecedented levels
• National inflation surges to 17.5% hitting new record high
• USD selling rate stands close to Rs. 300
• LKR depreciates to 285-290 against USD
• CBSL imposes curbs on forward forex deals
• Sri Lanka central bank ends ban on forward forex sales to importers
• CBSL directive to banks on foreign exchange inflows through workers’ remittances & exports
• Sri Lanka lenders ordered to double surrenders to the central bank
• Sri Lanka economy to slow, foreign funds needed for debt, financial stability: CB Governor
• Sri Lanka bond yields up, rupee quoted at 280/310 to dollar
• T-bill yields rise across all maturities
• Sri Lanka bill yields marginally down, rupee bid at 295
• Sri Lanka Treasury bill yields rise across maturities, 3-months up 75bp
• Treasury bills now offer nearly twice what banks pay for term deposits
• Steep increase in weighted averages for fourth consecutive week
• COPE: 47 individuals obtained SMIB loans of Rs. 68 million with forged documents in 2017
• Public Accounts Committee tells CMC to line action plans with annual budget
• Inflation in Bangladesh better than neighbours’
C5. Workers (Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Prices of lunch packets go up due to ingredient price hike by 500%
• ‘Health contingency plan essential to face economic crisis’ – Government Medical Professionals’ Association (GMPA)
• Sri Lanka state health workers threaten more strikes if demands go ignored
• IUSF calls off this week’s protest to resolve education issues
• Wijayadasa warns of possible mass uprising
• Community-level committees to prevent communal violence, violent extremism: ONUR
• Two posts set up for SLPA and Ministry of Ports and Shipping to look into employee grievances
• Banks directed to sell 50% of worker remittances to CB every week
• CB says direction to double forex sales will not have any impact on migrant workers, exporters
• Senior citizens’ FDs: Account holders need to show up at banks for renewal every year
• Don’t encourage EPF members to utilize holdings for current expenditure: Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL)
• Loss-making CPC pays hefty festival advance, bonus to its employees numbering thousands
• Tackling gender parity will add US $ 20bn to SL’s GDP: UN
• 16 Sri Lankans among 38 migrants, hidden in semi-trailer truck, found at western border
• Over 12,000 estate workers deprived of EPF, ETF, gratuity amounting to Rs 1,888 mn
• India, Sri Lanka, and the Fishers Caught in the Middle
• Six Sri Lankans fleeing to India rescued by Indian Coast Guard
• Six Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees Land in TN to Escape Food Inflation, Unemployment
• Economic crisis: Indian officials expect between 2000-4000 SL refugees to arrive in Tamil Nadu
• Displaced Tamil returnees yearn to rebuild lives amid multiple hurdles
• US-Occupied Korea to expand labour cooperation with SL: Envoy
• Malaysia joins SL and other countries in ratifying 2014 protocol of Forced Labour Convention
• Sri Lanka second most preferred destination for remote work in APAC
• When Sri Lanka Lost Control of COVID
• March 28-29, India General Strike- Workers, Farmers Unite Against ‘Anti-people’ Policies
• The Logic of Stupid Poor People (2013)
‘We had a little luck when a male relative got extra military pay when they came home a paraplegic’
• Global financial system causes inequality, says UN Secretary-General
• ‘Crush Inflation’?: Workers, Living Standards, and the Politics of Inflation
• Spending on Health Must Get Much Larger
• Ukrainian Refugees Spare No Words on Zelensky Government
• Truckers and unions strike in Spain amid soaring living costs
• Bessemer Alabama Amazon Workers Continue Struggle to Unionize
• The Ongoing US Covid Disaster
C6. Agriculture (Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to develop the rural home market, monetization and commercialization, to produce, rather than import, agricultural machinery.
• Agriculture Minister admits drop in paddy harvest but no food crunch
• Government importing rice to control the price of rice in the local market due to “rice mafia”
• China to gift 2,000 MT of rice to Sri Lanka
• Mass-scale dispossession feared; new Bill permits grant land mortgage without state oversight
• Cultivators in Dehigama, Ridimaliyadda face sugar plantation grab
• The ‘manmade agriculture disaster’ in Sri Lanka – CIC Professor Marambe
• Restaurants call for concessions from govt. on selected restricted import ingredients
• Efforts underway to keep egg prices affordable amid fall in production
• Sri Lanka livestock face malnutrition after money printing
• Drastic drop in water levels of hydropower reservoirs – Power Ministry
• Cinnamon Training Academy applauded as a model public-private partnership
• Land Commissioner General ordered not to follow circular on other state forests
• Probe into Agriculture Minister’s allegation Rs. 300 mn demanded from foreign investor for EIA on dairy farm
• Escalating Fertilizer Prices and Subsidy Removal
• Regional Plantation Companies mark 30 years of privatisation of plantations
• The Myth of the Agricultural Nation
‘Can the methods of the ancients really feed the current population of Sri Lanka? Are we agriculturally self-sufficient?’
• Building a family, land reforms and developing a new mango variety
• Moragahakanda dams trigger avalanche of ecological harms
• Gamini Dissanayake relocated >3,000 families in over 50 villages in valley of Kotmale reservoir
• Tamil Nadu State and Agri Budgets ‘Not Satisfying’
• Russia Ukraine War Posing Challenges in Fertiliser Supply of India
• The Beijing Swift
• The Beijing Cuckoo
‘ It takes the Maritime Silk Route through Sri Lanka to Africa, while the Beijing Swift takes the Land Silk Route from China to Africa…
• Empire Doesn’t Care About Climate. They’re Guzzling Even More Fuel
C7. Industry (False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry notes the ignorance about industrialization (versus handicraft and manufacture), the dependence on importing foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound, and the need for a holistic political, economic and military strategy to overcome domination by merchants and moneylenders.
• Govt. urgently allocates Rs. 100Mn to import 14 critical drugs
• Payment settled for Singapore diesel & jet fuel shipment; unloading begins today
• Cabinet approval sought to buy UAE crude for Sapugaskanda
• Kerawalapitiya power plant suspends operations due to lack of fuel
• Power crisis will be exacerbated if no rain in 10 days: PUCSL
• Troops deployed to CEYPETCO fuel stations
• Sri Lankan calls in STF troops to control protest for gas
• Gas shortage: NERD relaunches line of stoves as solution
• Petrol burn deaths increase in forex-starved Sri Lanka as households store fuel in cans
• Time for Sri Lanka to move from the Hydrocarbon age to the age of Electricity
• Vessels to bypass Colombo Port: Cargo misses connections
‘container transporters have increased their charges by 60 per cent’
• Neil Marine is one of South Asia’s largest Fiberglass Boat Builders.
‘The group is also involved in the businesses of polyurethane foam products, sewing machines, apparel industry support services and others’
• Sri Lanka’s nano Satellite KITSUNE released into orbit
• Issuance of sand mining permits: SC orders GSMB to follow requirements
• Sand mining & threats to freshwater fish: Construction industry’s wicked ways of destruction
• There’s nothing quite like Sri Lankan Quartz
• Builders ask, where’s the cement despite new factory?
• INSEE Cement MOU with Southern Provincial Council for Technical Officers and Provincial Engineers skills
• Pan Asia Bank partners with Ideal Motors to finance 100% SL-assembled Mahindra & Mahindra vehicles
• Indian CEAT 17-inch tyre for medium-sized SUVs like the Honda Vezel
• Exams put off over paper shortage
• Private sector has ensured the wide availability of medicines: NMRA Impedes
• Impact of the 52% menstrual tax on girls and women
• Chip industry faces foreign capital flight as Taiwan authority ‘plays with fire’
• Industrial Society in Communist China by Barry M. Richman
• Why the Saudis won’t pump more oil
• Why Africa Prints Money in Europe
• EU signs US gas deal to curb reliance on Russia
• This is the Time to Kick Our Oil Addiction:
• US lifts Trump-era tariffs on English steel
C8. Finance (Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, the curious role of ratings agencies, false indices, etc., and the rule of moneylenders, preventing investment in modern production.
• Restructure of not only foreign borrowing but also domestic debt critical: CTCLSA
• NDBIB and CT CLSA in strategic partnership
• Cargills Bank narrows losses in FY21 with net interest income of Rs.1.84 billion
‘Cargills Ceylon and CT Holdings, together held a 65% stake in Cargills Bank while the Employees’ Provident Fund had a 4.98% stake being the third largest shareholder’
• ComBank to set up fund management subsidiary in Singapore
• Siyapatha Finance records LKR 1 Bn PAT for Fy 2021, an impressive increase of 167%
• ICRA Lanka Limited upgrades Asia Asset Finance
• ICRA reaffirms UB Finance’s (SL)BB issuer rating
• Unproductive APC talks seen as affecting bourse negatively
• Sri Lanka stocks end lower in thin trade amid rise in fixed asset yields
• Mixed local sentiments continue at CSE whilst foreigners step up buying
• Allegation against state bank hits investor confidence
• Agalawatte Plantations transaction contributes in excess of 45 per cent to CSE turnover
• JPMorgan Is Saying “Buy,” Morgan Stanley Is Advising Clients to “Sell
• $13.7 Billion Credit Default Swaps on Russia’s Debt in 61-Day Span of 2021 as It Amassed Troops Around Ukraine
• These 3 Charts Strongly Suggest the U.S. Stock Market Has an Invisible Hand Propping It Up
• Two Dow Stocks, Two Cultures of Corruption: Boeing versus JPMorgan Chase
• Putin Invades Moscow Stock Exchange with $10.3 Billion in Buybacks; 33 Stocks Trade for Four Hours; Aeroflot Sinks by 16.44%
C9. Business (Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business focuses on the rentier diversions of the oligarchy, the domination by a merchant mafia, making money from unproductive land sales, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of corporate press releases disguised as ‘news’
• AmCham Sri Lanka welcomes US Ambassador Julie Chung
• SMET and CCRC oppose changes to existing Tourism Act
• Janashakthi Life profit before tax of at least LKR 1.2 Bn for Y21
• Ellawala to retire at CW Mackie, Hemaka to take over
• Women’s Chamber concludes power packed Women Leadership Forum 2022
• Japan funds health centre for remote Ampara village
• China pushes for FTA as SL’s economic crisis deepens
C10. Politics (Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant diversions and spectacles and the mercantile and financial forces funding the political actors, of policy hijacked by private interests minus public oversight.
• Mini parliamentary session?
• Boycotts of All-Party Conference under President’s patronage
• UNP takes to streets calling for national policy; Champika joins
• Minister Johnston accuses Opposition of instigating people to commit violence
• Water Minister Vasu remains fluid; won’t resign despite Govt. decision to seek IMF help
• Irresponsibility of Intellectuals – Response to “Irresponsible and Unattainable Demands”
• Economic crisis: 11-party SLPP dissident group divided over All-Party Conference
• JVP calls on masses to oust govt
• Only a powerful people’s movement can rescue country from present crisis: Anura Kumara
• De-Rajapaksafication is the door – Jayatilleka
• Sustaining democracy for three more years – David
‘India wants a broad-based government before it donates alms to Basil, Delhi has instructed the TNA to jump when the Hindu deity sounds his flute, and Washington has let it be known that Ranil has to have a prominent role to stabilise a free-market economy’
• Country plagued by corruption, rent-seeking, cronyism and various crises.
• Why did Sirisena allowed SLFP to vote for the 20th Amendment?
• New head for Ramanna Nikaya appointed
• Women’s quota’ in Local Government bodies at risk of being scrapped – Manjula
‘discussion organised by the Sri Lanka office of England’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy’
• How Democracy Is Not Good
• Waking Up to the ‘Revolutionary Vision’ of Bhagat Singh
• The Dialectic in China: Maoist and Daoist (1977)
• What is Dialectics?
‘Marx says “Capital is labour.” But, how can this be? Capital is the opposite of labour!’
• What you need to know about Ukraine Crisis from Black Left Perspective w/Dr. Gerald Horne
• Argentina commemorates the anniversary of 1976 coup
• Trudeau gains support to rule with NDP through 2025
C11. Media (Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• Fake bombing of Ukraine Theater Staged
• A revolution of dignity – Nalin de Silva
• Dialog takes over government information lines
• How We Live In A World Of Modern Ritual
• Emplacing Senake Bandaranayake’s archaeology in an intellectual tradition
• Lifetime Achievement Awards at Journalism Awards for Excellence 2019 & 2020
• New evidence shows US hijacks, monitors users’ social media accounts, emails
• Propaganda Does Not Change The War – The Ukraine Is Still Losing – Updated
• Lies and Times: How The New York Times Gives Cover to Fascists
• Imperialism and the Weaponization of Empathy