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Straight from the Specialists

Weighing the Obama-Romney calculus

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Much is at stake in the United States presidential elections this year, perhaps more in terms of policy than in the past few election cycles. The presidency of Barack Obama has been fraught with battles in a deeply divided Congress, leading to paralyses on some major agenda such as government debt, and significant compromises on others such as healthcare reform.

A change in presidency, should Obama lose his re-election bid, will also likely lead to a change in the country’s policy direction — and perhaps economic fate. Obama and his opponent, Mitt Romney, have markedly different visions on the role of government in business and society.

As I write this, polls suggest an Obama victory, not so much because he has boosted his appeal, but more so because Romney has turned off many voters with his gaffes in recent weeks. One could even argue that Obama skilfully managed to make the campaign more about the person of his opponent rather than economics or political programs. The former Michigan governor’s off-the-cuff statement that 47 percent of Americans do not pay taxes and were dependent on welfare has alienated him from those even in his own party.

A good start but we need more reforms

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

It’s been a pleasant surprise over the last week or so as the Indian government appears to have transformed itself from allegedly corrupt politicians out to sell the country’s resources (read 2G and coal mines) into a group which means serious business.

How QE3 changes commodity prices

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

On Sept. 13, the U.S. Fed announced the QE3 program whereby it purchases mortgage-backed securities at $40bn per month with no time limit. It also pushed out guidance on keeping a low funds rate to mid-2015 from late 2014.

That’s the spirit, Mr Prime Minister

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(Rajan Ghotgalkar is Managing Director of Principal Pnb Asset Management Company. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of either Principal Pnb or Reuters)

Manmohan Singh’s “if we have to go down, let’s go down fighting” comment is exactly the spirit which needs to be demonstrated by those in power. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Some pain needed for long-term growth story

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(Rajan Ghotgalkar is Managing Director of Principal Pnb Asset Management Company. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of either Principal Pnb or Reuters)

The senior Bush’s call for a new world order following the end of the Cold War began unravelling authoritarian regimes which formed its delivery mechanism around the world.

Trade freedom: how imports support U.S. jobs

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Conventional wisdom says that exports are beneficial and imports are harmful. Conventional wisdom is wrong. A key element of this misperception is the mistaken idea that imports into a country cost jobs there. In fact, imports contribute to job creation.

QE3 could boost Nifty to 5,550-5,600 in the short term

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Indian markets have been buoyant since the European Central Bank’s decision on the unlimited sovereign bond buying program announced last week and the German Constitutional Court’s nod on Wednesday for the same.

Private life insurance companies still struggling

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has again come to the rescue of the industry in the financial year ending July 2012. While 23 private players together have a marginal dip in business (-1 pct), LIC has powered ahead with 23 pct growth in new business premium collection.

Overseas cues to drive market but policy paralysis may cap gains

(The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The European Central Bank (ECB) came to the rescue of world markets including India, which had a spirited rally on Friday to wipe out the losses of the past two weeks. The rally continued during the special session on Saturday to close the week at 5359, gaining about 1.9 pct. The week started on a positive note due to the recommendation on General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) dilution but failed to maintain momentum due to various disappointing data points as well as the political imbroglio.

Rating downgrade a credible threat for India

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(Rajiv Deep Bajaj is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Capital Ltd. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Indian stock markets have hardly gone anywhere since June, with the Nifty hovering in the 8-9 pct range. But the coming months may see a breakout of this range as volatility, as measured by the India VIX index, seems to be rebounding from four-year lows, after having fallen for three months in a row. A short-term break, out of the range, on the downside seems more probable.

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