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Showing posts from May, 2008

New Terminologies Added To Asian Financial Lexicon

I was chatting with the usual bunch of piggy and doggy friends at Fusion Investor, and we were discussing the Vietnam effect. Somehow I managed to coin two new words for the Asian financial players. When you use the following new terms, please attribute appropriately (ahem):

Vietnami (~ tsunami)Definition: Stocks and market sentiment being caught up as collateral damage due to Vietnam's financial implosion.

Vietnamah(~ tnm, cantonese)Definition : When you are actually holding stocks directly impacted by Vietnam's financial implosion. For example, those still holding Gamuda, B Land, WCT, Scomi, Parkson, SP Setia.

photos: Deborah Priya Henry & Hebe/Selina (S.H.E.)

Vietnam, A Repost

This is worth a repost, mark the date down. Global manufacturers streamed into Vietnam, partly to escape rising wage and land costs in China but also to tap a young and industrious work force who saw a glimpse of prosperity after years of war and stagnation. Foreign companies sought approval to invest US$20 billion in the country last year -- a third more than in nearby Thailand -- adding to the inflationary pressure by driving up land costs, skilled-worker wages and office rents.The central bank widened the range in which the dong could trade against the dollar. The idea was to free the local currency from a sliding U.S. currency and to enable Vietnam to better absorb higher oil costs. Some local banks refused to exchange dollars, and local stock prices collapsed as banks held on to their dong and refused to lend money to buy shares. The government in March lowered Vietnam's growth target for 2008 to 7% from 8.5% to help focus the drive against inflation. Since then, a global sp…

Vietnam Calling, Anyone?

It seems some readers may have gotten the wrong message fm my posting... i'm long term very bullish on vietnam (10-15 years out)...i'm very bearish now 1-3 years because there has been way way over-investments into Vietnam which is unsustainable in demand... the reliance on foreign Vietnamese buying is overdone... they have to contend with subprime issues themselves n foreclosures in the US and in Australia the BLR there is 8.5%, they have a huge burden on their own mortgages... there are not that many very cash rich foreign Vietnamese as one would think. The properties are generally 20-30% more expensive than the ones u get in Malaysia now. Hence the majority of the early buyers have been foreigners, mainly Singaporeans (gulp) now brown cow?

If you search Vietnam in my blog you won't find many bullish articles. Let's take stock now. The near euphoria on buildings residential and commercial projects have lured a lot of Singaporean firms and a smattering of Malaysi…

TVB Goes Country

Country Garden (2007) chairman Yeung Kwok-keung has secured a 26 percent stake in Television Broadcasts (0511) by paying Shaw Brothers (0080) - the largest shareholder in the TV station - more than HK$10 billion.The offer trumped that made by competing bidders, US-based private equity groups Blackstone and Carlyle. Sources close to the deal say Run Run Shaw, chairman of TVB, Hong Kong's most popular TV channel, was determined not to sell the company for anything less than HK$10 billion. Another reason the 100-year-old Shaw agreed to the stake sale is that he believed Yeung, who is well-connected in China, would be able to help the company overcome hurdles in penetrating deeper into the mainland market, thus taking it "to a higher level."Yeung has amassed funds for the acquisition with help from Lee Shau-kee, chairman of Henderson Land (0012), who loaned HK$3 billion to Yeung to finance his takeover. Lee stressed that none of his loan to Yeung would be converted into sha…

The New Economic Order

Bubbles and bear markets are cyclical. But what's different this time around? This time, we have the BRIC newcomers to the party. BRIC is the new fangled acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China.BRIC has been playing a highly important role in global economy's growth over the last 7-8 years. This year, Chinese and Indian equities have fallen 30% and 21% in dollar terms respectively. Brazil has gained 7%, Russia matched MSCI world index, falling around 6%.There is some homogeneity among the BRICs.At heart, Russia and Brazil are plays on commodity prices, particularly energy while India and China are plays on the ability of countries with low labour costs to grow market share in services and manufacturing divisions. Still as a group, the BRIC plays a highly important role in reshaping the new global economic frontier. By the way, as it stands, BRIC collectively holds about 35% of total global reserves. No joke.Let's consider a few things they have in common:a) Huge popula…

Everybody Wants To Be Buffett

Lee Shau-kee said his investment strategy will switch to aggressive from defensive in August, and he forecasts the Hang Seng Index to hit 30,000 by that time. "The present moment might not be a good chance to enter the market. As I mentioned before, the right chance to buy more stocks is when [the Hang Seng] is at about 22,000," Lee told reporters yesterday after the annual general meeting of Hong Kong and China Gas.Lee said the market will be "quiet" in summer, when stocks' performance tends to be unsatisfactory. "I will rather be defensive instead of aggressive," he said. Lee expects the blue-chip index will hover around 27,000 in the summer. "The investment environment will improve in August. When opportunities come, I will invest more."Recently, Lee added Datang Power (0991) to his long-term investment portfolio, which also includes CITIC Pacific (0267), Country Garden (2007) and China Overseas Land (0688). "They are not alright [f…

Raiders Of TVB

Country Garden's Yeung Kwok-keung is apparently the front-runner in the bidding for Run Run Shaws indirect stake in Television Broadcasts Ltd (0511), after he secured HK$3 billion in financing from Lee Shau-kee, the Henderson Land chairman and also sometimes known as HK's Warren Buffett, that gives him a clear edge over the other suitors. Yeung has been interested in acquiring Run Run Shaws stake in holding company Shaw Brothers (0080) for at least six months. The Country Garden chairman may have outbid the other potential suitors. Several foreign private-equity firms are said to be vying with Yeung to take over the Shaw Brothers stake, but the chance for their bids to be successful is believed to be slim considering the present market conditionsThere have been rumors in the market for years that various parties had approached Run Run Shaw, who is now 100, about taking control of Hong Kong's most influential media outlet. The deals always fell through because of the high p…

Red Devils' Greats

Coming up with lists will always bring about disagreements. I have to qualify that I followed M.U. from the mid-70s till now, and hence my list of my favourite Red Devils will have to come from that period:

10 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
9 Peter Schmeichel
8 David Beckham
7 Cristiano Ronaldo
6 Gordon Hill
5 Norman Whiteside
4 Paul Scholes
3 Mark Hughes
2 Ryan Giggs
1 Eric Cantona

Once you have done a top ten list, you will find that you have no where to put in Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole, Lou Macari, Brian McClair, Bryan Robson, Rio Ferdinand ... Sigh... but I am sure I can squeeze in Rooney sometime later as he contributes more. Our list may differ, love to hear from Red Devil fans.

p/s photo: Asha Gill

Manchester United

Manchester United
Premier League Champions

The Food Train Wreck - Feed Me Please!

INVESTING SCENTS By S. DALIIn just two months, rice prices have risen 75% globally, while wheat prices are up 120% compared with a year ago.Prices of oil and commodities are another thing. Food is food. Central banks in Brazil and India, seeking to tame inflation, recently took new steps to slow down lending and throttle back growth.India raised the proportion of deposits that banks must hold in reserve, and Brazil boosted its key interest rate for the first time in three years.Last Tuesday, Thailand's central bank said inflation this year could be twice what it was in 2007. Rising global food prices are contributing to high food inflation in many countries (Sri Lanka (34%), Costa Rica (21%), and Egypt (13.5%).China and Vietnam are battling their highest price increases in a decade or more. India, Russia, South Africa and much of Latin America also face a growing threat from rising prices.In a report released earlier this month, the Asian Development Bank said the risk of spiralli…

Chinese get a taste of investing's downside

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
The Washington Post
SHANGHAI, China — When emergency workers found Wang sprawled unconscious after having downed two bags of insecticide, he was still clutching the PDA he had been using to check stock prices. Like a number of other small investors in China, Wang had bet — and lost — his life savings, about $15,000, on the Chinese stock market. The propaganda office and doctors at the hospital where he was treated said the 36-year-old factory worker had been preparing to get married and that he had hoped to use the money to buy an apartment for his fiancée.Wang's attempted suicide and those of other investors are a heartbreaking consequence of China's great experiment in capitalism. In February, Li, a 25-year-old engineer, jumped from the seventh floor of the building where he worked in the city of Chengdu. His company said he had lost a huge amount on the stock market. On March 30, a 39-year-old former ice-cream- shop owner, also named Li, leaped t…

A Temporary Bottom For USD

Although I am a firm believer in USD needing to fall some more, indications are that the USD will recover and stand firm for the next couple of months at least. The USD sentiment boost came from weak Eurozone data and comments by Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig. Hoenig, a non-voting member of the FOMC, said that “serious” inflation problems may lead the Fed to raise interest rates. There is a significant risk that higher inflation will become embedded in the economy and require significant monetary policy tightening to reduce it. There is also a medium to long-term danger of letting rates go lower in an environment of rising food and energy prices. In fact, the short FOMC statement gave hints that the Fed may pause rate cuts for now, something which is a big support for the US dollar.Eurozone retail sales data released this week showed a drop of 1.6% in March compared to a year ago, the biggest fall since the data collection started in 1995. Sales fell 0.4% from the previous …

Fannie & Freddie Sat On A Wall

Following the scare at Bear Stearns, Paulson and Bernanke are now furiously looking at the troubled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two were created by the US government and now hold more than 80% of all mortgages bought by investors in 1Q2008. This was doubled the same period last year.

They are the mortgage financiers of choice nowadays because lending has frozen somewhat in other avenues. Both companies have a combined capital of just US$83bn, but holds US$5 trillion in debt and other commitments. Fannie just announced a US$2.19bn loss for 1Q2008 and Freddie will announce next week.

Estimates range from US$17bn-US$22bn, the additional losses they are now sitting on.Weak and weaker housing prices are gnawing at the value of the debt they are holding. Even if both fail, they should not hurt the equity markets badly (but will drag sentiment down) because they will definitely be bailed out. However, such a move will put further downward pressure on the USD.

The potential of just any one…
Can Someone Help?

I am the biggest fan of Stephen Chow movies. I have regarded his version of A Chinese Odyssey I & II as masterful works of art in comedy. (Btw, my favourite Chow Sing Chi's movie is Out Of The Dark or in Cantonese Wooi One Yea). Anyway, I need help from you guys and gals out there. I absolutely love the songs from the Sai Yau Kei movies.

For the last 10 years, every time I go to HK I would visit the CD shops to try and get the soundtrack of the movies but to no avail. It really frustrating. They all know of the album but its always out of stock. The CD cover is one of the photos in this posting. The songs were all brilliant and I am really dying to get my hands on a copy. I looked into ebay and found someone willing to sell for US$50, would have grabbed it if I had PayPal. This would be the best gift I can receive for Christmas (hint, hint)... lol... If any of you can help, please let me know. Thanks in advance.
Snippets From Berkshire Hathaway AGM

As if we were there yesterday, sourced from WSJ:

With entertainment involving loud music and bright lights kicking off at 6 a.m., Warren Buffett’s legendary “Woodstock for Capitalists” isn’t for slackers or morning dozers. Some 30,000 Berkshire investors are expected to squeeze into the stadium by 9 a.m. central time to hear Mr. Buffett, 77 years old, and his droll sidekick Charlie Munger, 84, hold forth for six hours on just about anything.They came for the serenading Fruit of the Loom minstrels and the limited-edition T-shirts that say, “I’m a Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder!” They came for the Dilly Bars, the Borsheim’s baubles and the 6 a.m. show by artist Michael Israel, who speed-painted a Buffett portrait with Benjamin Moore paints and U2 music blaring in the background. They came for the zeitgeist. As rain the night before forced flight delays and cancellations, some investors chartered private jets (NetJets, natch) while others piled into ren…
Canto Albums

Well, I didn't think many would be interested in Cantopop, but since there were a couple of emails asking for my Canto picks, here are my favs. Cantonese albums are generally inconsistent. They tend to have a couple of big singles and the rest are so-so. Hence many of my fav artists don't get their albums up here (e.g. Sam Hui, Eason, Jacky Cheung, Alan Tam, Sammi, Anita Mui, etc.. to name a few). The following are the few rare ones which I deem as indispensable. There are a few of Danny Chan's which made the grade mainly because he takes a lot of care in putting in everything to producing great albums. Many artists suffer from being uneven. Beyond is too great to miss out but there's not one album alone which do justice, hence their compilation made the cut. Of the entire lot, George Lam's black n' white album, to me, was and still is, the best Cantonese album ever.