Saturday, February 27, 2021

Golden Sands or Sandpaper?

 There has been a few sand mining projects announced by listed companies. However, if you know the industry a bit better, you will surmise that not all projects are the same. Some may be resting on a lot of IFs; some may be poorly funded; some may have dubious buyer partners; some haven't even got the necessary permits along the whole logistics chain of production and delivery.

Let's not look into why most of the other projects aren't as "desirable". Let's focus on the Vivocom's announcement of RM3.8bn sand mining project. It has a firm contract signed with Zhen Hua CC, a joint venture company which has been tasked to undertake the construction of the third HK airport/runway. This is important as its a DIRECT supply contract with the main contractor. Too many "projects" have been flying around town that has agents upon brokers upon license holders etc...

The export buying side safe and secured. Looking at the supply and lock partners. It has signed with Malaysian Energistik Solutions Sdn Bhd a firm contract for them to extract and supply sand. MESSB is also an approved permit holder to export sand. The approval has been obtained on 7 October 2019 from the Sabah government. The export license is quite critical and a key license requirement to do sand export. Many have seen "delays" and further waiting period upon further verification ... just to get the license.

It also appears that the site to be dredged and mined has been identified and secured, which is in Sandakan. Logistics wise it more tenable and viable as it is much closer logistically to China. Hence West Malaysian operators have a disadvantage here. The other quibble is that sand mining is more impactful on the environment for those located in the Peninsula for obvious reasons, just ask the Penang state government.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, not all sand mining projects are equal. You can just go along the logistical chain of supply till export and noter the various licenses required. Then there is the issue of capital, experience and approved permits. Then there is the "buyer's credibility". Securing the site is another critical factor. 

All in, looking at Vivocom's project, it appears to have ticked all the right boxes.


p/s This is an opinion piece and not a call to buy or sell. Please contact your dealer/remisier before acting, and always do your own research.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The GameStop Effect - Bad or Good

This is an opinion piece which assumes that you already know the basics of what's been happening in the US markets - in particular, where hedge funds which specialise i shorting stocks have had their hands burned beyond belief by the herd effect of groups of retail players.

Let's get the jargon right .. GameStop is a silly stock that a few months back was less than USD20 and now can be over USD300, Reddit is a thread (byline, headline, topic being connected with comments and passed on) ... Robinhood is an app that appeals to retail players.

The SEC has had tons of complaints. Is this manipulation, fraud or something else. The SEC has not said much because it is very difficult to prosecute - first, whom to prosecute and then secondly, how to catch the right perpetrators. But even before that, the SEC has to verify that what has happened was illegal under the law.

What is a syndicate, it is not something sinister until they plan to do something together (collude) to "falsify markets by manipulating orders", "make pretensions about the attractiveness or otherwise of a stock" ... I do not think the first one is in question here as the buying and selling have been genuine.

Can you regulate chatrooms, group chats in Telegram, Facebook market sharing groups. When do they become illegal, when is it acceptable sharing of stocks' information. We will all LIKE or DISLIKE certain trends or counters or even rubbish certain charting style - is that illegal? Of course not. Freedom of speech. 

When you hear rumours from your friends or colleagues, you act upon it, is your friend LIABLE - of course not, ... you did not pay for any services, and your friend did not make himself/herself out to be a licensed investment advisor. Even if he/she was licensed, you have to be considered a "client" or paying for his/her services as an expert ... only then can you sue for his/her misinformation/appalling misjudgment/major errors/intention to deceive ... and even then he/she has to have PROFITED from making those claims.

Stock markets are a MAN-MADE thing. It is not a science where there are absolutes. You draw a new line and call it a rule. Of course even new rules CANNOT go against prevailing "higher laws" confirmed and protected by the constitution.

A bourse could ban short selling and that would make it illegal. Same if they legalise short selling. So short selling can and is regulated. What has happened is DISRUPTION ... and when there is disruption in any economic business model or transactional business model, THERE WILL BE UPHEAVALS but in the end its the DISRUPTORS who will see the bulk of their "new ways" being accepted.

An example as a disruptor: Electric Vehicle (lithium battery life); online commerce; payment via smart phones ... you can resist the changes but they will win out eventually.

Am I to say that the "Robinhood members" are RIGHT? No. ... I can understand parts of it might appeal tremendously to normal investors. For the first time in a fucking long time, the small potato has the POWER - consumers in general have been 'raped', 'trapped', 'deceived', 'marginalised', 'stomped on', 'ridiculed', ... (fill in your own) ... by the big boys. Retail rarely get "better pricing", "access to research and analysts", etc... Retail money has always been referred to as "stupid money"... while institutions and insiders' moves as "smart money". OK, who is smart NOW!!!

So on the one hand you can appreciate the "rise of people's power", "the mobilisation of the masses effect" .. on the other we can also see that it can and will lead to certain MARKET DISTORTIONS.

Market mis-valuations happen ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY even. Thats why you buy or you sell. The market is a machinery that ALLOWS everyone of DIFFERING VIEWS to put their stake into whichever company they want. If they don't put money into certain stocks (when you think they should), or when they put a lot of money into certain stocks (which you don't should be the case) - and you DISAGREE... aren't you another Koon???

The regulators here is more concerned over MARKET DISTORTIONS, and is putting investors' protection as a prime consideration. CAN YOU REALLY PROTECT INVESTORS? You can only hope to "provide a somewhat safe, reliable and functioning exchange". You are not paid to make "valuation judgments" on what is perfectly called MARKET PRICES - they are determined by the markets.

Protect Investors??!! Somehow you need to be 18 or 21 before you can drink, you need to pass a driving test before you can drive legally ... but you got money and zilch brains.. welcome to my stockmarket or casino!!! Apa logic ini? When you do not "control at the entrance" as a gatekeeper ... why the need to talk about investor protection when they are swimming with sharks already??!!

"provide a somewhat safe, reliable and functioning exchange" : limit ups, limit downs, circuit breakers .. are all to ensure a proper functioning market that is not susceptible to over zealousness or herd mentality effects. Regulators should approach GameStop/Reddit/Robinhood effects with the same strategy.

Knowing how hard it is to control the GAMESTOP effect or the Robinhood effect, regulators can only warn the chat group leaders, social media leaders to be very careful. When does sharing becomes collusion?

Things have a way of equalising out. Very soon some of those hedge funds which have lost money shorting, will be going with the retail forces. Just switch sides till all things equalise because there's little solid justification for one side or the other.

Have to be careful: you are not receiving benefit or subscriptions or fees for your groupings. If you find yourself in one, be careful. Your opinions have "speech that exhorts or rally cries or a call to action in droves" for specific counters - then you should be careful.

I think SC will throw the book at a few groupings' leaders who accept fees and they themselves are unlicensed. Just to mean business and calm things down in Malaysia.


On a broader picture: the GAMESTOP effect will cause new ways to understand and play the stockmarket. The mobilisation of masses treatise will be a new phenom which regulators everywhere will have to contend with and find ways to accept. Sites that are properly channeled to investors forums and stock information dissemination WILL RISE exponentially in value.

The GameStop effect, the Reddit platform or Robinhood app effect were all evolved from the rise of technology into the stockmarket trading platforms. To me this is the needed EQUALISER to shift the balance of powers back to retail. Look at ALL THE MANAGED FUNDS in the world, pick any study for the past 30 years - more than 90% underperforms the index. The institutions mainly 'raped' the consumer of fees and returns. Power back to the people. Just because you are in a suit may only means you are a better dressed criminal.


Friday, November 06, 2020

Goodbye XX%##X

 Well, I am trying damn hard to write something about Trump without using foul language. How about a nice cartoon. I absolutely detests those buggers who said "well the half of population of USA who voted for Trump were not voting for him, but they were voting against the system, the status quo of things"... To that I say, FUCK YOU, there are plenty of other ways to do that, you do not bring an imbecile to such an important position just to say "fuck you to the rest of the world".  ... goodbye XX##%&xx...




Tuesday, October 27, 2020

DILBERT@malaysia ...


This was done by yours truly back in 2010 when the Dilbert website still allowed visitors to do their own mashups of Dilbert comics. Sigh... nearly 10 years already, many things have changed, in particular the reference to Leeds United lol.








 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Tommy le Baker: When Passion, Tenacity, Integrity & Quality Triumphs

Cannot believe its been 10 years for Tommy le Baker. I still remember the hard slogging days when all he had was a hole in the wall (literally). But what stood out was his passion for bread making, his tenacious approach to doing it right and his way. Even when those early days was tough, barely making ends meet .. he soldiered on. He had his small but growing group of supporters and friends, but small nonetheless. You have to swallow your tears when he said in an interview that he knew many of them were patrons just to support his venture. Last thing we want is pity but they are also laced with genuine empathy.



It was always going to be an uphill climb for Tommy. Malaysians are so used to eating "air" and sugar and preservatives ladened bread - they had to be soft and last for a week at least. But that's not real bread. Herein lies his integrity, he does not ever want to "lie" to get better sales for his craft. He could have gone the Lavender or Breadstory way easily and made money and open branches.


As an artiste (musician or baker), your goodwill and followers are slowly accumulated. True talent usually doesn't garner overnight recognition. Jason Axian featured Tommy in 2 magnificent episodes a few years back. It was heart warming yet gut wrenching to trace his journey. Surely Tommy would have had greater success earlier - but it is bread we are talking about, ... not satay, curry laksa or bkt. We are talking of serving a small proportion of the public, and at the same time trying to get the majority to try and realise what real bread tastes like (its vvvg by the way).


So, here I am today at his new place in Kg Attap. A much bigger shophouse. Thankfully he didn't go modern and swanky. Its an old shoplot with no renovation. Please keep it that way. Most of us came for the bread and pastries and sandwiches and coffee. Let's not invite the social media hunters with instagram uploads as their mantra.


Its packed, and be prepared to wait ... wait for tables, wait to order... its worth it. Just as the breads went through proper and long fermentation... we can wait, its not fast food, its slow food done with integrity and superb quality. We can wait ... we should wait... we must have long conversations over coffee. Proper food done slow, we all should slow down and enjoy ... and when you know more of his journey, tenacity and values ... you appreciate the whole thing a lot more.

The handwritten menu.. and everything else tells us a lot about the man and his values: it's me, integrity, passion .. all that you see ... it's me, unvarnished, warts and all, and I am that good.

Now he has a snazzy website that does delivery as well... check it, in particular should MCO be reimposed:

https://tommylebaker.oddle.me/en_MY/


the courtyard...



love the banana muffin


toasted steak sandwich on sourdough

The original posting:

https://malaysiafinance.blogspot.com/2012/06/peut-etre-le-best-breadmaker-in-country.html


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Countries Stock market's Capitalisation As A % Of GDP

 Why is the figure important ... if you can strip out foreign listings and non related listings (inclusive of SPACs) and maybe some REITs that are foreign or regional in nature, you get a good grasp of how much of your economy is listed. 


The higher the figure, the higher the importance of the stockmarket in feeling and shrinking economic activity. IN a super bull, Malaysian domestic economy would flourish as most people will see a lot of funds swishing around, the same when its a bear market when restaurants business dwindles sharply. The higher the figure, the more attention will the central banks and authorities pay to major fluctuations in share markets.

China, though has a lowly figure of GDP that is listed, is climbing rapidly. HK has a figure higher than 1000% because we have to strip out their China stocks listed on HKEX. If only Hongkongers realise how dependent their financial centre reputation (and business transactions) on mainland China.

Singapore has an awful lot of "foreign component REITs, and that's how their government has shaped their future.

Malaysia, is highly interlinked to our GDP... every time we see a business makes RM4-5m a year, we will try to get them listed. Though now that profit figure hurdle is higher (around RM10m a year), we are still very linked. The vibrancy of our economy has a lot to do with the vibrancy of our stock market. 


148.3 %
United States's Market Capitalization accounted for 148.3 % of its Nominal GDP in Dec 2018, compared with a percentage of 164.8 % in the previous year.



Stock market capitalization as percent of GDP, 2019 - Country rankings:

 The average for 2019 based on 58 countries was 83.64 percent.The highest value was in Hong Kong: 1338.48 percent and the lowest value was in Belarus: 0 percent. The indicator is available from 1975 to 2019. Below is a chart for all countries where data are available. 


p/s images of Candy Law Lam, 55 year old actress

















Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Why We Need Testosterone (a message from this site's sponsor)

Why do we need testosterone?

Last updated Wed 6 February 2019 By Markus MacGill Reviewed by Daniel Murrell, MD






What is testosterone? Imbalances Testosterone levels and aging Treatment Outlook

Testosterone is the key male sex hormone that regulates fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, and red blood cell production.
When levels of testosterone drop below levels that are healthy, they can lead to conditions like hypogonadism or infertility. There are, however, sources from which people with low testosterone can boost their levels.

Low testosterone is becoming more and more common. The number of prescriptions for testosterone supplements has increased fivefold since 2012.

This article will explore what testosterone does and whether men should worry about decreasing levels of the hormone as they grow older.

Fast facts on testosterone
- Testosterone regulates a number of processes in the male body.
- Levels of testosterone tend to drop as men age.
- Prohormone supplements do not have any effect on testosterone levels.
- Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is also available. However, this can carry side effects and risks.





What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the male sex hormone.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. Hormones are chemical messengers that trigger necessary changes in the body. Females also produce testosterone, usually in smaller amounts.

It is a type of androgen produced primarily by the testicles in cells called the Leydig cells.

In men, testosterone is thought to regulate a number of functions alongside sperm production. These include:

- sex drive
- bone mass
- fat distribution
- muscle size and strength
- red blood cell production

Without adequate amounts of testosterone, men become infertile. This is because testosterone assists the development of mature sperm.

Despite being a male sex hormone, testosterone also contributes to sex drive, bone density, and muscle strength in women. However, an excess of testosterone can also cause women to experience male pattern baldness and infertility.

The brain and pituitary gland control testosterone levels. Once produced, the hormone moves through the blood to carry out its various important functions.



Testosterone imbalances
Testosterone test
Testosterone decreases naturally with age. It is important to receive tests to determine whether any imbalances are due to an active condition.
High or low levels of testosterone can lead to dysfunction in the parts of the body normally regulated by the hormone.

When a man has low testosterone, or hypogonadism, he may experience:

reduced sex drive
erectile dysfunction
low sperm count
enlarged or swollen breast tissue
Over time, these symptoms may develop in the following ways:

loss of body hair
loss of muscle bulk
loss of strength
increased body fat

Chronic, or ongoing, low testosterone may lead to osteoporosis, mood swings, reduced energy, and testicular shrinkage.

Causes can include:

- testicular injury, such as castrationi
- infection of the testicles
- medications, such as opiate analgesics
- disorders that affect the hormones, such as pituitary tumors or high prolactin levels
- chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, kidney and liver disease, obesity, and HIV/AIDS
- genetic diseases, such as Klinefelter syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, - hemochromatosis, Kallman syndrome, and myotonic dystrophy

Too much testosterone, on the other hand, can lead to the triggering of puberty before the age of 9 years. This condition would mainly affect younger men and is much rarer.

In women, however, high testosterone levels can lead to male pattern baldness, a deep voice, and menstrual irregularities, as well as:

- growth and swelling of the clitoris
- changes in body shape
- reduction in breast size
- oily skin
- acne
- facial hair growth around the body, lips, and chin

Recent studies have also linked high testosterone levels in women to the risk of uterine fibroids.

Testosterone imbalances can be detected with a blood test and treated accordingly.


















https://andropausesuccor.com


Testosterone levels and aging
Testosterone levels naturally decrease as a man ages.

The effects of gradually lowering testosterone levels as men age have received increasing attention in recent years. It is known as late-onset hypogonadism.

After the age of 40, the concentration of circulating testosterone falls by about 1.6 percent every year for most men. By the age of 60, the low levels of testosterone would lead to a diagnosis of hypogonadism in younger men.

About 4 in 10 men have hypogonadism by the time they reach 45 years old. The number of cases in which older men have been diagnosed as having low testosterone increased 170 percent since 2012.

Low testosterone has been associated with increased mortality in male veterans. Late-onset hypogonadism has become a recognized medical condition, although many of the symptoms are associated with normal aging.

The following are symptoms of late-onset hypogonadism:

- diminished erectile quality, particularly at night
- decreased libido
- mood changes
- reduced cognitive function
- fatigue, depression, and anger
- a decrease in muscle mass and strength
- decreased body hair
- skin changes
- decreased bone mass and bone mineral density
- increase in abdominal fat mass

As well as sexual dysfunction, late-onset hypogonadism has also been associated with metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease.

The degree to which testosterone levels decline varies between men, but a growing number of men experience the effects of reduced testosterone levels. Life expectancy has increased, and many men now live beyond the age of 60 years.

As a result, a higher number of men see the effects of age-related testosterone depletion.

Treatment
Administering treatment for hypogonadism as the result of a disease differs from treating late-onset hypogonadism in older men.

Testosterone supplements
One proposed treatment for low testosterone comes in the form of testosterone supplements.

One type of testosterone supplement, methyltestosterone, has received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, guidelines advise doctors not to prescribe this supplement due to the speed with which the liver metabolizes testosterone.

This can lead to liver toxicity. While doctors can legally prescribe the supplement, they generally try to avoid this.

Until stronger evidence is available to support the benefits and safety of testosterone supplementation, only older adults with severe clinical symptoms of low testosterone should be candidates for these supplements.

The FDA have advised that testosterone supplements are not suitable to treat late-onset hypogonadism, and a doctor should only prescribe them for an identifiable cause.

Testosterone replacement therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can help restore some affected functions of low testosterone.


Current research is conflicting. Additional studies into testosterone replacement are necessary for physicians to fully understand its potential risks and benefits, and to identify the individuals that may see the most benefit.


Outlook
For men, testosterone levels are important to maintain, but they naturally decrease over time. If symptoms of severe or chronic low testosterone are showing, the hormone deficiency may be caused by an active disease or condition.

Treatment can lead to unwanted side effects, so it can be crucial to balance the expected benefits of testosterone supplementation with the risks of the treatment. Often, low testosterone levels come without harmful physical effects and do not require treatment.

Speak to a medical professional, and confirm if treatment is required.

Golden Sands or Sandpaper?

 There has been a few sand mining projects announced by listed companies. However, if you know the industry a bit better, you will surmise t...