China/India, macro economic trends, w/ David McAlvany
Explain your business and clientele
Where do you think this economy is going
China growth is slowing
2.9% projected growth – 2.5% is technically in a recession
Corona virus is impacting growth
Europe lacking main growth indicators
US markets have never been better
How is gold better than mix commodities such as real estate?
So significant issues, significant issues for us to address for our policymakers to address. And as far as I’m concerned, this is not a time to put a tremendous amount of faith in a few guys and gals with PhDs, I think they think they know more than they do. This is
a story about a dude named Lane, he moved to the mainland and bought one place to stay. And then one day he went to try to rent them out. And then he became one
that still makes
us in China, or what the the kind of the leading indicators, right are the big folks in the boat that can potentially tip us over? What are some of the trends domestically that you’re kind of looking at or following?
Yeah, you know, one of the things you know, where we met, one of the things I wanted to highlight in the presentation that I gave you a month ago, is that we’re doing pretty well in the US. In fact, in some respects, by some measures, we’ve never done better. And so what does that mean when you’ve never done better you’ve got household net worth here in the United States at 113 trillion dollars, it’s never been better. I can tell you in the past when things have never been better, that’s usually been the end of a trend, not the beginning of a trend. If you just look at sort of, again, going back to that idea of business cycle, moves from sort of low levels to high levels and kind of oscillating back and forth, you go from employment, like what we have now, if 50 year, records of low employment, this is fantastic. Everybody’s at work, everybody’s being paid more. But it’s important to keep in mind that these things tend to ebb and flow. And it’s been 50 years since things have been this good. What happens generally, when you get to these kinds of points is that they are in fact inflection points where it hadn’t been this good and 50 years networth hasn’t been this good ever and you start seeing reason actually for mean reversion. mean reversion is just a fancy way of saying, We operate according to a law of averages and if things are great, now they’re not always great and They’re they’re typically pretty good. But if they’re super great now, the law of averages and mean reversion suggests that we we’ve got some downside downside in the stock market downside and bonds, you know real estate’s tricky because real estate is tied to interest rates. In many respects, if you follow a real estate portfolio, it’s it’s very similar to a bond portfolio where the cost of capital, the rate of interest is one of the key defining factors in value. If you look at cap rates, we could never have compressed cap rates like we have today, if interest rates weren’t on the floor globally and here in the United States, with rising interest rates comes rising cap rates. And yeah, I think we know what that means in terms of value for the asset as well. So the real challenge in the Americas is will the investor today benefit from Central Bank intervention in the market in order to extend these trends? keep interest rates low not because of a normal natural market? function. But just because by policy edict we want rates low, we’re going to sit on them. You know, when I went to school, the idea was that interest rates were determined by buyers and sellers not by policy edict. Right? This is the nature of the free markets correct. Where interest is is is a component, and it reflects risk, and it reflects the solidity of the borrower. And if you’re not a good borrower, you pay more if you’re a very good borrower, you pay less. Well, today, interest rates are being crushed down to very low levels across the board, by policy edict. So we have a scenario unfolding, where you could see pressure on stocks, bonds and real estate, except that real estate is in this weird category. Where if they’re able to effectively hold interest rates low indefinitely, who knows what happens to the value of real estate, people are clamoring for income people have to have income, our demographic thick, sort of big in the Python so to say is this move of baby boomers towards retirement is you probably know the numbers at least 10,000 a day, who are retiring and guess what they want, they want their retirement assets working for them paying them for something, right. And it used to be that if you had a million dollars and you’re earning 5%, you can have a laddered cd portfolio at the bank, take very little risk, never go into principal and have $50,000 a year supplementing your Social Security income, you can’t do that anymore. Today, if you’ve got a million dollars sitting at the bank, you can buy a few cups of Starbucks throughout the year. That’s it. That’s it. So you know, real estate as it is a very interesting thing. I think there’s some vulnerabilities there. But, you know, as you said, this gets very specific. We’ve talking very macro to do well in real estate, I think is to hone in on the property and try to adjust many of the risk variables by preference preference. For a certain style of property, a certain place for that property, it doesn’t come back to the three words that you think everyone knows about real estate, location, location, location.
I think and, you know, kind of going back to what you’re saying, I think there was a statistic that somebody threw throughout that, that mastermind were very soon there’s gonna be more like 60, people turning 65 and babies born. And they’re going to want to convert their assets that they that they accumulated to this accumulation mentality, which I think is wrong. And finally transition into cash flow, the stuff that we aspire to now, and then kind of going back to your earlier point, in like, as an investor, I don’t care what the interest rates are. Because as an investor, I make money off of the delta between interest rates and cap rates. I think I think you kind of mentioned they kind of float based on one another. They kind of track the same way. I’ll throw out a recommendation For folks listening, and maybe you can do one to David, but, you know, I’ll say like, Look, don’t don’t just stop investing. But if you have equity not doing anything that just went up with the tide, like like that $500,000 in your primary residence not doing anything, I think it’s time to get that out or cash it out or get a new loan and lock in those long term interest rates, especially if you’re going to retire soon and lose that w two documented income. But any other ways you see playing this?
I think in in the years ahead, I would encourage kind of a low debt approach. And, you know, the strongest position to be going into a period of mean reversion is having lots of liquidity and low debt. Right, that gives you lots of opportunity where others are hamstrung and have to play the patient’s game, seeing cap rates at these levels. Again, the cycles run from double digit cap rates down to low single digits, and we’re met the low single digit into the range. We just saw Simon properties gobble up Topman, for, you know, a fairly significant price paid. And it was in the high fours. This is this is retail property, retail property in the high fours in terms of cap rates, in my opinion is paying through the nose that was a good property portfolio. And Simon’s no no slouch when it comes to knowing how to extract more value out of a property. But nevertheless, these are probably some of the lowest cap rates Simon properties ever, ever paid. And I think that’s that’s worth keeping in mind. Maybe they can turn a four and a half into something higher by the magic that they work internally. To me one of the best things that an investor could do today is hedge some of their bets. We like gold, not just because we’ve been in the business for 50 years, but because we see some macro factors which are going to drive more interest in that direction. So both from a game perspective, it’s attractive goals. silver, platinum palladium. These are areas of interest, particularly gold and silver. And so from a growth perspective, very intriguing. You’ve got so many people on one side of the boat, dow and NASDAQ and s&p hitting all time highs in the month of February 2020. And who knows where we go March, April, May. But typically you have a strong run in equities up through April. And this is where you’ve got investors who are contributing to their IRAs and their 401 K’s they’ve got the tax deadline in mind. So there’s a little bit of a push an extra push into the capital markets. And then after April there’s there’s there’s less capital flowing into the stock market. I would guess that after April, we might discover some significant weakness in the stock market. And when you begin to see that mood shift, and there’s not just easy money to be made you buy Tesla today and tomorrow it’s up another $300. I mean, this is this is increasing. Val at this point with some stocks, if that’s not the case, then the whole mindset the whole mood shifts, and this is where gold benefits tremendously when there is any inkling of fear or need to hedge positions in the marketplace people go for the gold so we launched a program called vaulted a year and a half ago. It’s a savings program with the Royal Canadian Mint where you can own physical gold you can buy $5 increments, $5,000 increments $5 million increments and you own kilo bars at the Royal Canadian Mint. If you want them delivered, you can have them delivered to your door. If you want to keep them there, you can buy it and sell it on your computer screen very inexpensively. Best counterparty risk you’ll find Royal Canadian Mint and it’s a very easy to use App takes less than 60 seconds to open an email@example.com. To me that’s an entry way to sort of test the waters with gold get to know the market begin to watch the price and be able to dollar cost average into position in the metals. I do see a significant mood shift beginning to occur and again, we will at something like the Coronavirus, maybe it passes. Maybe by the time you’ve published this, it’s a non issue. Maybe by the time you publish this, it’s five times the issue. I think what I look at on a bigger scale is effect that we’re already in a declining trend in terms of global growth, in part because we’re having a harder and harder time servicing the debts that are already outstanding 250 trillion dollars. trillion with a T is our global stock of debt that’s 320% of global GDP. We don’t have an engine, a global engine and big enough to service this debt, with even a minor uptick in interest rates. So significant issues, significant issues for us to address for our policymakers to address. And as far as I’m concerned, this is not a time to put a tremendous amount of faith in a few guys and gals with PhDs. I think they think they know more than they do. And so the guys at the ECB the pboc the boj All of the acronyms that are for your world central banks, they really think they’re smart stuff. And they are smart stuff. But you have to recognize what you know and what you don’t know. And they don’t know everything. But they pretend to and that’s their policy seem to reflect. We know everything and we’ve got it under control. If they miss even a little bit, and there’s a repricing even a little bit on 250 trillion dollars in debt, you’re talking about making the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 look like shot look like look like child’s play. So I would hedge bets I would certainly continue to invest in income producing property. I’m very interested in that myself but make sure that you have a balanced asset something that is very safe, very stable, under any circumstances. I think gold deserves a place in the portfolio vault it’s a great way to get to get that process started.
Yeah, something I’m kind of looking into also, you know, I think for guys that are it’s it’s a little difficult, right, like these podcasts are free, right? And all kinds of people download these things. I mean, the folks that I kind of work with, and I’m sure you kind of work with, you know, there are mostly accredited investors. And I think, you know, the hard metals definitely have a place in it. But the trouble is when you get these, like 22 year old kids with no money, and they think that they buy gold, and it’s like, dude, like you should go buy a rental property, you know, you don’t have any money to protect, you got to grow it. That’s kind of that that paradigm shift or that paradigm that I think people need to be aware of when you listen to different different folks, you know, I think David and I would kind of cater to the more of the higher net worth folks these days.
Yeah, I mean, I will say that I’ve benefited personally from the real estate market over the last 20 years, but I personally have benefited more from the gold market over the last 20 years. I’ve seen five times increase in my gold position 500% gain, which far outstrips anything you could have had in the s&p or the Dow or the NASDAQ over the last two decades. I think the only place you might have done better is if you’re compounding at a high double digit rate, you know, 15 to 20% a year because you owned the right kind of passive income property. So they’re their places to go off the market. So to say off the publicly traded markets, I think one of the approaches that we take with the precious metals is a growth oriented approach where you know, certain products, gold versus silver, for instance, trade in a historic ratio, a relationship between each other. And today, that ratio is at an extreme at 88. To one the highest it ever gets is 100. The lowest it gets to is 15. If you play this ratio back and forth, you can take a few ounces and multiply those ounces, you know, over a course of time to turn 1000 ounces into 10,000 ounces that can be done that can be done. And so that’s one of the ways that we approach the metals market through our advisory service is to compound ounces. So if any of your listeners are interested, we actually have a great write up on compounding ounces. It’s a very smart way to approach the gold market for someone who wants a long term allocations, either gold or silver may not add any more money to that segment in their portfolio, but still want to see the number of ounces that they control grow. If you could compound square feet, if you could compound acres, we’re doing the same thing with ounces. You just it’s it’s something that’s easy for us to do, because been doing it for 48, almost 50 years love to love to help anybody and for us, it doesn’t matter if people are working to $5,000 or $50 million. I’ll be quite frank, it’s it’s a lot more enjoyable to work with people who don’t have that much money because they don’t think highly of themselves. We have billionaire clients, and generally speaking, they’re a pain in the butt because they do think that they’re like one step away from God, and they’ve forgotten where they came from. Oftentimes, they’ve forgotten what it took to make the money and pride dominates and just as human beings sometimes money doesn’t make you a better person. I have no preference. I have no preference. I like to help people. That’s why with the vaulted program, we Put no minimums on it. I mean, I had my kids in mind if they want to put $5 into gold they can. Zero respecter of persons or net worth in that respect. Don’t get me wrong. It’s it’s not it’s not an unfortunate thing to to write a trade for 50 or 100 million dollars. As a firm, we don’t have to cater to just the superwealthy.
That’s the nice thing about working with private equity folks. And for those who don’t know, private equity is I would call it like, you know, net worth 500,000 to 5 million I guess, but when you get above that 1020 hundred million, you’re more into the family office world and that’s exactly what David’s mentioning, they’re kind of a pain in the butt. Yeah, they can write a check but if they’re all skiing, you’re not doing any deals, whereas the private equity guys are kind of just working professionals get a little bit net worth and you know, they’re most most of my investors pretty appreciative, you know, kind of the work we do so some don’t, and then we, we don’t work with them anymore. But for the most part, got a good working hard folks doing this stuff. And you mentioned earlier, I’m April what’s what’s going on there? For people who aren’t aware,
we’re talking about April and kind of seasonality within the stock market, it’s not uncommon to see your best six months of stock market performance leading into April, there’s been an old phrase on Wall Street, if you’re looking at the stock traders Almanac sell in May and go away is is the phrase, because you’ve got your best six months of growth, which end in April. And again, a part of that dynamic seasonally is because you’ve got a lot of retirement dollars that are being automatically allocated to stocks when money comes into 401, KS and IRAs and whatnot. And it’s just automatically put into the stock market through mutual funds or exchange traded funds or what have you. It ends in April, with that priority being April 15. And the tax deadline you have to make your contribution by April 15. So that’s that’s the way people act. That’s the way people behave and there’s a benefit to those who are on the growth side, but it’s also worth mentioning And I mentioned April, because typically your worst six months began in May. And if you looked at a 10 year period or a 50 year period, or 100 year period, if you were a stock investor, and you just invested in the best six months, and then were in cash for the worst six months or sitting in gold, for the worst six months, your returns would be tenfold better if you just avoided the worst six months and got out of the stock market for the six months. So what is very interesting to me, is we have that timeframe, matching up with non resolution with the Chinese economy. Keep Keep in mind, when we talk about the Chinese economy earlier, this is one of those critical things. You know how important Christmas is for us. If you’re a retailer in the United States, how much of your business is done between Thanksgiving and Christmas 60% 70% of annual sales happen in a short period of time? Well, you have a huge amount of consumption and economic activity that happens around the Chinese Lunar calendar. The new year is when people are giving gifts you actually see a boost in the price of gold every year around the Chinese calendar because people are traveling giving gifts. It’s it’s like our Christmas, okay? It’s it’s a very fascinating thing to see happen this year. Everyone was was acting like a shut in. They didn’t go out for meals, they weren’t buying gifts. They weren’t traveling. They weren’t buying gold. They weren’t doing anything. So again, we factor this into 1.5 billion people who are not spending for one week or two weeks or three weeks duration is a big deal here. The Coronavirus is a big deal or not a big deal as it relates to economic growth in China and for the world based on duration. If people are not getting out and spending and it’s only for a one week period, it’s just no big deal. No big deal. I mean, I’m not I’m not trying to minimize the loss of lives. That is a big deal. But I’m just saying from an economic perspective, the longer this carries on, there’s hesitation to spend, there’s hesitation to buy real estate in China. To buy a new car to go out and eat, and this is going to have a major impact on the global economy and the mood that we have coming into year end 2020
it’s simple passive casual listeners I’m wearing my sleep shirt here because we make our money in our sleep one of those things that I’ve been playing around with this tradeline hacking and if you haven’t heard of that, it’s a great way to make some side cash hundred a bunch of books off each credit card every month to learn more go to simple passive cash flow comm slash trade lines and check out our E course to learn all about this cool way to make some money on the side balance take it out look for the gold section in the the investing menu at simple passive cash flow calm slash menu. And for those of you guys haven’t checked out that page, that’s kind of the starting point to check out any of these types of you know, all these different asset classes you can invest in whatever you want out there. So check that out. But before you go, David real quickly not to get political or anything like that. Who’s gonna win election and what does that mean? is another four years of good times ahead?
Yeah. So many times, you know, we have this idea in the stock market of the there being an efficiency, where prices are reflecting all the knowledge that you can have at a certain point in time. If you look at the stock market today, we are, you know, in the 29,000 range at this recording, and that doesn’t seem to be much of a concern for change. The stock market and its pricing would tell you Trump’s a shoo in Trump, Trump wins. Maybe he introduces even more tax benefits. Maybe he does some major infrastructure spending and taps the fiscal side. While he continues to pressure Jerome Powell on the monetary policy side, to sort of boost the system a little bit into the election and after the election, but today, the stock market would signal to you that Trumps Trump’s gonna win if Bernie Sanders gets the nomination. Elizabeth Warren gets the nomination, then I think you could see the stock market begin to sell off considerably. And if they win, then you’re talking about a 40 to 50%. decline in equities, a total bloodbath, a total bloodbath, because you’ve got some personalities in the Democratic Party, that prize the idea of redistribution of wealth. It’s not about economic growth. It’s about taking a static pie and making sure that some people get a larger slice of it. But I think Trump, generally speaking would say, let’s grow the pie. Let’s grow the size of the pie overall, and then see how it shakes out. Whereas particularly with Sanders and Warren, I don’t get the same impression with a Budaj edge, or I mean, there’s, and certainly with Mike Bloomberg, there’s a more moderate position who gets the nomination I would watch the stock market like a hawk because again, the stock markets going to give you almost like a litmus test of status quo is okay as far as the stock market is concerned, if it’s been good for four years, let’s get another four years just like this. Right? That’s that’s what you see in the state. Stock Market being 29,000 plus the nomination on the Democratic side and ultimately if the democrats do in the only hope that stock investors have of, of being okay is if a Bloomberg is is is the winner. There’s a whole bunch of people in there that between reckless fiscal spending well, frankly, the republicans are just as reckless on the fiscal spending side, they just choose different projects. But in terms of the tax side, the markets will get very, very concerned. And it’s been interesting. It’s been interesting if you’ve if you’ve watched the headway that Sanders is making. He has a lot of grassroots support. A lot of grassroots support. DNC doesn’t like him. the DNC would much rather have a moderate DNC, I don’t think knows what to do with Budaj edge quite yet. Maybe a little young. Sanders is like in his like an animal off the leash as far as the DNC is concerned. They can’t control him enough. He’s too much of an idealist. He’s too much of maybe even a radical, unmolested side who ends I still think Trump wins? Can that extend the growth trends for another four years, we’ve already extended the growth trends to 11. We’re already long in the tooth in terms of what would be normal and expected for the next recession. On a normal timeframe, we should have a recession or should have had a recession over the last year, two years, three years hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. But what has allowed us to go this far? Certainly, money printing has been a part of that. You know, I’ll just leave you with this thought because the fourth quarter of 2018 was very critical. We had the stock market selling off major pressure, if you’re looking at the way insurance was treated against default on some of your large banks like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, tremendous amount of pressure fourth quarter of 2018. Jerome Powell comes out and says, No, no, no, no, we are not going to raise interest rates anymore. We’re going to lower interest rates. So major U turn in the first quarter of 2019. And then of course, they start started their their asset purchase program in September of 2019, which is also a very big deal, expanding their balance sheet. Okay? There’s a reason why there’s peace and calm in the market today. And it’s called excess or ample liquidity from the world central banks. This is not a good position to be in, it really isn’t because the strength we have is artificial strength. It’s like thinking that if I have a 15th cup of coffee, somehow I’m going to go and exercise that much stronger. Come on takes more than caffeine to be nutritious, nutritious and fit and feel good, right? But that’s the way we’re operating on on an intoxicated level in the markets. And it’s on the basis of way too much liquidity flowing from the world central banks, including the Fed all that to say, I don’t know, even if Trump wins, I don’t know that he can hold it together. Maybe more business friendly policies. Maybe in the end, it’s less destruction that occurs in a market correction. But, I mean, I still believe in the business cycle where you have abin flow Have good times and bad times. I think this is one of the reasons why I love what you’re doing with whether it’s the mobile home syndication or the apartments, where you have, you know, assets that are not priced every day in the marketplace, like a stock or a bond, but where you do have consistent and predictable cash flow, that’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. It allows you to take a long, longer term perspective and and that short termism for stock and bond investors is sometimes how they end up hurting themselves overreacting to the market volatility. volatility is normal. volatility is normal. Not afraid of it, but most investors don’t know how to handle it. long winded answer to the Trump question. There is more to the story in terms of economic success, even if he wins.
I’ll tell you how I’m playing the game these days. I mean, I kind of space out when I go into deals and then I go into cash flow deals and I have no stocks, no equity, so I don’t really care. That stuff, but you know, the tide rises all boats and I go into deals that are cash flowing from the get go and when you take over a project, your occupancy will normally dip from like 90%, maybe down to 70 or 80% in the most of the worst cases. So it usually takes about three to six months to get it back up to stabilized. So in that period I try and only have one or two of those out at a time. And then I go into the next one. So that’s kind of been my operating procedure up until the election comes and I don’t know, I mean, what’s your thoughts on this? I think if Trump gets in I might be going in Tuesdays at a time I mean especially because I I’m in dozens of dozens of deals at this point already have that base of stabilized cash flowing class bc assets. That’s just my situation, right like lanes not saying go all in if Trump wins, lane saying that is what I’m doing based on my situation based on my portfolio. What is your thoughts on that? Should I should I Going on chip. Oh, could you fall once he wins?
No, I wouldn’t. Because again, I think my primary concern is that your financial markets are, they’ve got a lot of internal weakness. You know, prices look good. But sometimes just on the surface doesn’t tell you everything. If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. And so that’s basically what we’ve had the world’s central banks putting a lot of lipstick on the financial markets, and I think it looks a little bit better than it actually is. So to go into a recessionary period, I would suggest still sort of some caution. I still like liquidity, I think having cash having metals, you know, these are this this is not so that you are, you know, saying no to deals so that you can say more to deals that are priced even better. There’s this normal thing. I’ve had friends and family friends going back decades, being in the financial world as long as our family has. We’ve had real estate Developers as good friends for a long time, every one of our real estate friends, real estate developers goes broke three, four or five times in their career, because they’re always getting too far out over their skis. They always get too far out over their skis and they hit a minor bump and it’s just a catastrophe total yardsale lose everything start over again. The smartest guy ever knew in real estate was a guy who was selling homes for three to $4,000 a piece in 1935 36 and 37. He took his single family home fortune moved to California, bought 1000 acres in Napa Valley, and ended up building an apartment complex portfolio in San Francisco in the Bay Area, have read about 1000 units as an operator. He’s not reusing anyone else’s cash. This is just him, but he never had any debt. He never had any debt on his real estate. And he go through an economic cycle where you have a recession, and all of a sudden everybody who’s over leveraged and barely cash flowing, their occupancy rates drop and they lose their properties. Guess who was there to buy those properties for 70 cents on the dollar 60 cents on the dollar. What do you think his internal rates of return were on those purchases? When he ultimately as you described, it stabilizes the property. He’s got no debt on it. He had the ability. See, this was his advantage. He had the ability to cut his rents in half in a market downturn, stay 100% occupied and wait for his neighbor to go broke position, a strength baby position of strength. Amazing. There’s a guy who built multiple fortunes. And you know, ultimately, before he passed away, he lived up in Spokane, Washington, and his kids always wanted to know real estate, real estate, real estate, what should we be doing in the year 2000? You know, when he told him go all in on 100% of your assets in gold, that’s what I’ve done. He was completely out of real estate and stayed there until the day he died. Now, I’m not suggesting that that is the ultimate solution. But this is a guy who could see trends, macro trends and said, Yeah, you know what, things were a little crazy. He thought the real estate market It was crazy in 2003, and four and five before it went really crazy and five, six and seven, but he would have been the guy to take several hundred million dollars and put it to work in 2009 10 and 11. And his several hundred billion dollars would be a couple billion dollars today. Again, he he missed that cycle because he died. But he would not have missed that cycle on a strategic basis. He would have been reserved, he would have he would have had cash and been able to buy things for pennies on the dollar. And I again, it’s just 11 years growth, it’s great. Net Worth household that worth has never been this good. It’s beautiful hundred and $13 trillion. That’s amazing. I’m not complaining. We shouldn’t complain. If it bigger if it goes to 120 trillion. That’s great. But these things are cyclical, easy, come, easy go. So if we if we get too enthusiastic on the momentum slide up, then you don’t have enough as much flexibility to do Deal with a normal downside volatility move. And that’s where I think at this point, given the time factor, this is where we should be, we should be adding to cash adding to gold, be a little patient. And wait not on the basis of the election but wait on the basis of value being in front of you saying yes, that’s a great deal, then I would be putting all in I wouldn’t be doubling and tripling quadrupling. I would be, I’m with you. I’m with you. My time sequence might be a little different and it’s not tied to Trump. Now because Trump hasn’t done a decent job with some things in the four years that he’s had. But I think this is a bigger thing is bigger than him. The global markets and the US markets are more than one man.
All right, so if you guys got your Tesla stock, sell that and maybe consider putting into gold, check out the show notes. Simple passive cash flow calm slash menu. Look on that menu for the good section. And thanks for jumping on David be shaded. Yeah, we’ll split this up in a couple of episodes for people.
Tech the later man. Okay great thanks
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