atans1

Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

A fertility gift for next yr’s baby packs

In Humour, Japan on 31/07/2014 at 4:30 am

Something for the parents: packets of secretly punctured condoms.

a local official in Aichi prefecture set out a daring proposal. Tomonaga Osada suggested that the authorities could distribute secretly punctured condoms to young married couples, who would then get to work boosting the birth rate. His unorthodox ploy won few supporters, yet it reflects a gathering concern about Japan’s demographic plight. Last year just over 1m babies were born, far fewer than the number needed to maintain the population, which is expected to drop from 127m to around 87m by 2060. – See more at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/07/economist-explains-16#sthash.N9pg7bk9.dpuf
Now the serious stuff. The article also points out that in Japan: “the rising cost of child-rearing often imposes a de facto one-child policy.”
This is the problem here too, something that the govt here refuses to acknowledge. I have yet to meet a parent who  doesn’t say  the govt’s allowances for them doing NS in the bedroom is peanuts.
Banyan also points out also points out that job insecurity in Japan is making it hard for young married couples to decide to start families. Again this would apply here especially since young PMEs are more expensive than their FT counterparts.
Banyan suggests, “If companies gave greater protections to new, young hires in return for lessening the privileges of other employees, young couples would have a more stable basis on which to marry and raise families.” Well this would help here too.

BTW, Jap economists say immigration is the only way to tackle Japan’s old age problem.

Update at 6.20am: How parenting has changed in half a century in the US. Do watch this info-grahpic

Why Japs smarter than Singkies

In China, India, Japan, Vietnam on 21/06/2014 at 5:18 am

http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/c272b0ac-d4f9-11e3-adec-00144feabdc0.img.

By 2050, elderly (65 and over) almost 40% of population

Next to Japan only. But no robots here, only FTs.

Japs smarter than us in avoiding the problems that FTs bring, like pushy Pinoys, wanting to change PM from Prime Minister to Pinoy Minister and SPF to S’pore Pinoy Force. But then they have friends like William wan, Kirsten Han, AWARE and Maruah. Their only public opposition is Gilbert Goh and Goh Meng Seng.

The govt should remember that when the Pinoys burnt our flag in the 1990s and it protested, the Pinoy govt gave the S’pore govt the finger, telling it nothing wrong with burning our flag.

 

S$, Baht & Rupiah looking gd

In Currencies, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia on 13/02/2014 at 4:43 am

Given that a senior cabinet minister and NTUC chief, and a jnr minister from NTUC is giving the PAP govt a bad name, maybe it’s time to remind S’poreans that the PAP govt is not all full of NTUC clowns. On Tueday I reported that Khaw and MoM Tan had the developers concerned, and today I’ll remind S’poreans that PM’s economic team (headed by Tharman) are keeping int’l investors onside (too bad about TOC, TRe readers, but then they can take comfort that locals like me too like a strong S$.)

(4 Feb) – Recent alarmist commentary may have stirred up concerns about Singapore’s economy, but in the midst of the emerging market rout, safe-haven seekers’ faith appeared unshaken as they scooped up its currency.

“We have noted its safe-haven status within the Asian region is getting stronger in past years. So when you have a broad risk off, in general the Singapore dollar will outperform,” said Ju Wang, senior foreign-exchange strategist at HSBC.

Earlier this week, global markets largely sold off, but the Singapore dollar strengthened, with the U.S. dollar fetching as little as 1.2666 on Tuesday, compared with around 1.2790 Friday. Against the currency of its neighbor Malaysia, the Singapore dollar has touched its highest level since 1998.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101390521

But To be sure, it isn’t clear the Sing’s climb is sustainable or would withstand a more extended market rout.

“When people want to take money off the table, the safe-haven tag may not be helpful,” Song said. “We can’t avoid spillover from contagion in Southeast Asia.”

Now that would have TOC, TRE readers happy, ’cause they can blame it on the govt.

BTW, here’s an interesting article on the flows in and out of Indonesia and the other Fragile Five. http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2014/02/emerging-markets. Actually the rupiah has done relatively better than most other emerging markets currencies against the US$. So has the the Thai baht despite the political problems.

But the currencies of  Thailand Indonesia, M’sia  and the Philippines have fared worse against Japan’s yen than they have against the US dollar. This means that Japanese financial ,institutions may slow down their investments in the region: investing here could be like catching a falling knife. So, they’ll likely wait.

 

Tan Kuku for tsunami of Jap $ in 2014

In Japan on 10/12/2013 at 5:42 am

When the BOJ under governor Haruhiko Kuroda launched its monetary base-doubling quantitative and and qualitative easing (QQE) policy in April, there were strong expectations that a “tsunami” of Japanese funds would rush into Southeast Asia in search of higher yields.

So far, that has not happened even though Japanese institutional and individual investors are said to be eager to increase their exposure to Southeast Asian markets. A principal reason for their hesitancy, officials say, is Japanese investors’ fear of being exposed to exchange rate risk.

As a result, there is “intense discussion going on now between Japanese and Asean officials on ways to improve and enlarge the (currency) hedging markets” in Asean, according to Iwan Aziz, head of the Office of Regional Economic Integration at the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB).– BT report last week

Well can tan kuku for an agreement. Asean officials more noted for talking cock than doing something, anything.

And anyway, this region will not be flavour of the month early next yr. The West is. Don’t count on a wall of Jap money.

Japan keeps Asean’s economies motoring along

In Indonesia, Japan, Private Equity, Vietnam on 27/07/2013 at 5:26 pm

Asean round-up

Gd summary from FT on Japan’s reemergence in region

China’s slowdown and the prospect of less easy US money have sent a chill through southeast Asia. Benchmark indices in Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila have lost almost half of the one-fifth gains they had made this year to mid-May. The real economy is weakening, too. Last week the Bank of Thailand cut its growth forecast below 5 per cent and recent comments from Bank Indonesia suggest it accepts growth will slip below 6 per cent. Hardly a disaster then, but nor is it what these countries or their followers are used to. Enter Japan and, crucially, its direct investment. In terms of trading with the region, Japan’s significance has slipped over the past decade as its economy stagnated, but at a shade over $200bn it commands the same share as China. Its FDI of $60bn into the region over that period, however, is 10-times greater than its giant neighbour, according to HSBC. Japan is either the largest or second-largest investor in each country.

 During the past two months, Japanese banks and insurers have spent almost $6bn buying stakes in their southeast Asian counterparts. More deals are expected as they try to escape a weak and ageing home market.

Background

Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co is expected to acquire a 15% stake in Thai Life Insurance Co. in what would be one of the biggest investments ever in Asia by a Japanese life insurer With the planned investment worth about ¥70 bn (US%700bn), Meiji Yasuda wants to make the major Thai insurer into an equity-method affiliate and dispatch executives, the sources said.

Like other Japanese insurers, Meiji Yasuda is looking to expand overseas earnings, especially in Asia, amid sluggish business at home due to the aging of society.

Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. has made a ¥28 bn investment in Vietnam’s top insurance group, while Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. in June announced a ¥34.3 bn investment in Indonesia. Sumitimo which lost out to Yasuda is now looking to Indonesia where Bank Negara is looking to sell up to 40% of its life business for up to $800m, according to the FT.

Japanese banks have been active too. http://atans1.wordpress.com/?s=Mitsubishi

Cambodia’s growing

Low labour costs and Cambodia’s proximity to key markets such as China and other emerging economies in South East Asia are attractive to foreign investors.

And with wages in countries such as Thailand and China on the rise, Cambodia is likely to become even more attractive.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23429693

Vietnam R private equity

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2013/07/18/vietnam-is-back-in-the-game-for-buyout-firms/

Jappo banks step up presence in ASEAN region

In Banks, Japan, Vietnam on 29/12/2012 at 10:09 am

This week:

– Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFJ), Japan’s biggest bank, bought a 20%  stake worth US$743m  in state-owned VietinBank, the largest-ever merger or acquisition deal in Vietnam’s banking sector. The deal aims to boost “support for Japanese companies operating in Vietnam”, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ president Nobuyuki Hirano said, and to tap South-east Asian markets; after seeing its profits tumble this year, like other Jappo banks.

The Japanese bank last month reported profit in the six months to September dived 58 per cent year on year to US$3.6 billion, due partly to declines in stock holdings.

VietinBank, or Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade, said State Bank of Vietnam will still own the majority of its shares. For the record, it is Vietnam’s second largest bank by asseys.

– SMFG said it plans to expand its consumer finance business to target the growing middle classes in South-east Asia.

The new Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere?

BANZAI!

No ASEAN round-up this hols week.

Jap stocks cont’d trading below book value

In Accounting, Financial competency, Japan on 17/09/2012 at 7:06 am
On Wednesday last week “the broad Topix index closed at 0.89 times book value, a whisker away from its widest discount to the MSCI World for five years, and near its lowest level relative to the S&P 500 for almost eight years,” reported the FT.
 
What is cheap can stay cheap. But do remember that in the 1950s and 1960s, a few ang mohs bot Jap stocks because they were very cheap by Western standards. They became investment legends.

Saizen Reit

In Japan, Property, Reits on 06/06/2012 at 1:28 pm

 This article (“Residential properties have been the most popular among investors based on its stable return,” said Ishinabe. “Since last year, investors have expanded their interest into other types of properties such as office buildings and commercial facilities.”) on two bulls in Jap commercial property despite supply a’coming reminded me of u’m post on Saizen Reit that tot me the basics of this residental property Jap Reit. 

http://singaporeanstocksinvestor.blogspot.com/2012/05/saizen-reit-to-buy-or-not-to-buy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ASingaporeanStockmarketInvestorassi+%28A+Singaporean+Stockmarket+Investor+%28ASSI%29%29

 

Buy yen: pros & cons

In Japan on 21/05/2012 at 6:04 am

“The idea that the yen is a safe haven is about the most unsafe safe haven I’ve ever heard of. This is a country whose fiscal arithmetic makes Greece look like Switzerland,” independent strategist David Roche told CNBC.

But Eisuke Sakakibara, Japan’s former vice finance minister, also known as “Mr. Yen” said that while it was true that Japan’s government debt was 180% of gross domestic product, its household financial assets were about 240 percent of GDP.

“We will not have a financial crisis for another four-five years”.

While many “experts” say the market was likely to try to push the yen higher to test the Japanese authorities’ willingness to intervene, as the Swiss central bank did when it believed the Swiss franc’s strength was hurting exports. But Sakakibara said Japanese exporters could survive with a yen around 80 for the dollar and 100 for the euro, and only if it appreciated in the low 70s or 60s against the dollar would it become a problem.

“I don’t think it will go down to 72, but it is likely that the yen-dollar rate will go into the 70s and probably will hover around 78, 79 for a while and that wouldn’t be a major blow to the Japanese exporting companies,” he said.

“Japan is a much bigger country than Switzerland and we cannot do what Switzerland has done,” Sakakibara said, adding that intervention was unlikely to take place at the rate of 78-79 to the dollar but only if the yen goes as high as 72.

Heck, still to S$.

French discount, Japanese premium

In Japan on 09/06/2011 at 6:24 am

Renault’s market capitalisation is currently around €11.7 billion (US$16.8 billion). Nissan’s is ¥3.7 trillion (US$45.3 billion). Renault’s 43% stake in Nissan, at US$19 billion, is worth more on paper than Renault itself.

Innovative Japanese

In Japan on 21/05/2011 at 5:40 am

Japan’s carmakers have agreed to close their factories on Thursdays and Fridays.  They will work over the weekend and use energy at off-peak times, helping to avoid power shortages.

Japan has lost some of its capacity to generate electricity as a result of the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March.

Wish you had friends like these?

In Japan on 26/03/2011 at 8:56 am

There are reports that The Tokyo Electric Power Company, whose nuclear plant was badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, is negotiating for loans of as much as 2 trillion yen, or about $25 billion. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, the power company’s main bank, is trying to organise the syndicated loan, and said it planned to provide “the maximum support possible.”

The FT reports that in the 1998 financial crisis when Sumitomo Mitsui was facing difficulties, Tokyo Energy (triple A rating) borrowed cheaply US$2bn from Western banks and deposited the money with Sumitomo Mitsui.

Apple and the Japanese earthquake

In Japan on 24/03/2011 at 6:07 am

Critical parts of iPhones, iPAds and iPad2s made in the area where the earthquake and tidal wave struck.

Article

Why share prices of luxury brands fell

In Japan on 18/03/2011 at 5:53 am

Japanese buyers make up 11% of the global luxury goods market, dominated by firms such as Hermes, Burberry, LVHM, Richemont, Tiffany and Coach. Japan’s rich and well-off would be cautious about treating themselves at a time when others are suffering.

A bull on Japan

In Japan on 16/03/2011 at 6:21 am

Antidote to the doom and gloom.

The markets tend to over-react when there are natural disasters.. There is a loss of  economic activity is followed by a recovery in later quarters as reconstruction takes place. The problem here is that steady drip of bad news about the nuclear reactors.

Only after we know what happens there, can we assess the damage.

Side-effect of Japanese reconstruction

In Economy, Japan on 15/03/2011 at 6:40 am

Higher US (and global) interest rates are in the offing as Japanese govt and investors sell US treasuries to raise funds for reconstruction. Remember Japan is the second largest investor in US government paper. China is the largest.

Reasoning.

If so, S’pore’s interest rates could go up. What with Mah Bow Tan building more HDB flats and plenty of private supply coming on-stream, we could be in for some interesting times. And all these before factoring-in a possibility of a US recession as interest rates rise,

“Events, dear boy, events”

In Japan on 14/03/2011 at 10:43 am

This was what a British prime said when he was asked why sumething went wrong.

Applies to investing. I recently blogged that value fund managers were buying Japanese stocks because the stocks were looking undervalued.

Well with this earthquake, share prices have fallen and it will take some time to assess whether there is still value in the undervalued stocks.

Take thy good fortune, and thy bad withal;

Know for a surety each must play his game,

As from heaven’s dice-box fate’s dice chance to fall.

Grieve not at coming ill, you can’t defeat it,

And what far-sighted person goes to meet it?

Cheer up! bear not about a world of grief,

Your fate is fixed, and grieving will not cheat it.

Why buy Japanese? II

In Japan, Uncategorized on 28/02/2011 at 6:33 am

Hedge funds are.

Why buy Japanese?

In Japan on 23/02/2011 at 7:19 am

If one is a value investor of the school that believes in buying stocks trading below book, then look East to Tokyo.

Prices are so depressed that, at the end of December, nearly two-thirds of the 1,700 companies listed on the Tokyo exchange’s main section had price-to-book ratios below 1. That means, in effect, if one of those companies was dismantled and sold off for its parts, it would fetch more than its market value.

“These stock prices are saying there’s no hope whatsoever for Japanese companies, and that’s simply not true,“ said Tony Roberts, who manages a $2 billion-dollar Japan fund for London-based Invesco Perpetual. “There are lots of great companies in Japan that add a lot of value,“ he said.

NYT article

 

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