Archive for April, 2022|Monthly archive page

Talking the Woke

In Corporate governance on 30/04/2022 at 1:47 pm

Results in Walking the Woke

Where once it was enough for bosses to nod to some vague notion of “stakeholder capitalism”, now some investors demand that they present detailed strategies on everything from the environment to racial justice and even abortion. More, too, are highlighting the dissonance between companies’ stated values and their political donations. Shareholders at American firms face a record volume of proposals on environmental and social issues: 576 resolutions as of April 12th, up from 499 last year. In the coming weeks an unprecedented number will be put to a vote.

Not good for investor returns

If managers decide their job is to pursue a long list of social goals, rather than to boost returns, capitalism will grow less efficient.


Buying Netflix in Jan was like catching a falling knife

In Financial competency on 29/04/2022 at 4:47 pm

More on a Netflix trade that went wrong:

Bill Ackman has sold his stake in Netflix at about a US$400mn loss just months after acquiring the position

When assumptions prove incorrect, cut loss quickly.

At the time he bot in January, Netflix’s stock price had dropped more than 40% from an October peak of about US$700 per share. On January 27, it fell more than 20% after the company warned subscriber growth would slow substantially in the first three months of 2022. Its most recent collapse occurred {36% in one day} when it said it lost 500,000 subscribers (not just slower growth as predicted in January) in the first three months of 2022 and was expecting to lose another 2m in this quarter.

Bill Ackmam bot on January because of the scale of its streaming business. He tot Netflix had the potential to attract subscribers (It’s now losing customers). He also tot it could charge them higher prices (It’s now thinking of having a cheaper service that carries ads).

As to his belief that its pipeline of content could allow it to fend off competition and boost margins, its CEO said it had serious competition.

So Bill Ackman sold and lost 36% of his US$1.1bn. If as expected part or more of the US$1.1bn was borrowed, he would have lost a lot more.

Xi and the CCP can’t catch a break

In China on 28/04/2022 at 4:46 am

Recently I reported the mass testing in Beijing: Omicron is making fools of Xi and the CCP. Problem is that mass testing spreads Omicron.

Experts have warned that Omicron could be spreading during mass testing drives (now very common in China) because people are forced to congregate and then wait in less than salubrious environments before being tested. Many have refused to comply with testing orders because they are afraid of getting Omicron. They are right to be afraid.

When central wankers go Woke

In Financial competency on 27/04/2022 at 6:01 am

They let inflation get out of hand: Recession coming sooner than expected?

Note I think they are right to think about digital currencies.

But climate change and inequality? Only when these impinge on monetary policy

Omicron is making fools of Xi and the CCP

In China on 26/04/2022 at 3:56 am

Superiority of the Beijing model of governance: what superiority? LOL

Omicron shows that Xi, the CCP and the Beijing model have feet of plasticine.

While the decadent ang mohs are going on hols overseas, yesterday the FT reported:

Jilin in China’s north has now been locked down for more than 50 days and carried out 40 rounds of citywide Covid-19 testing … nearby industrial city of Changchun has similarly locked down for more than four weeks 

But Jilin still reported 15 new cases on Saturday while Changchun reported 172 new cases.

Since 4 April, Shanghai’s 25 million-strong population has been shut in their homes while officials try to contain the city’s worst Covid surge to date. But the city reported 39 Covid deaths on Sunday, a record for Shanghai, in addition to more than 21,000 new infections.

And in Beijing

The Chinese capital Beijing has kicked off mass testing for millions of residents after a spike in Covid cases.

The Chaoyang district reported 26 cases over the weekend – the highest number so far in Beijing’s latest surge.

Long queues outside supermarkets and shops were seen despite government assurance of a sufficient food supply.

It comes amid fears that Beijing could face a similar situation to Shanghai, which has seen some 25 million people shut in their homes for weeks.

More at China’s oldies are giving Xi a migraine.

Putin has his war on Ukraine. Grandpa Xi has his war Omicron.

Maybe both should declare victory to save face?

“Do you know about the sheep trees?”

In India on 25/04/2022 at 4:42 am

Remember Kee Chiu Chan said cotton wool comes from sheep? The man who many “experts” said would become PM wasn’t joking. He claims he was just talking too fast.

Btw, it’s alleged that he’s very depressed that he didn’t get anointed as PM -in-waiting, twice in a row despite seemingly behaving as though he was a member of the Lee family at LKY’s funeral. Seems he is really hurt that someone from a “lousy” school and uni beat him: “If Lawrence can become a multi-millionaire, so can any ordinary non-elite S’porean”.

Heng at least was from RI and Cambridge.

Seriously, couldn’t help think of him and his failure to become PM when I read this:

“Do you know about the sheep trees?”

It refers to a centuries-old European myth that cotton, which was produced and exported from India, grew on lamb-bearing trees, he explains.

“People were so fascinated that European manuscripts actually had illustrations depicting this!” he says.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ The Vegetable Lamb by Henry Lee


Palm oil prices show how dysfunctional Indonesia is

In Commodities, Indonesia, Malaysia on 24/04/2022 at 3:31 am

Despite Indonesia being the world’s largest producer of palm oil,

Indonesia banned exports of palm oil, which is widely used in cooking and packaged foods, in a move that may well push up global food prices further. The country accounts for more than half of the world’s palm-oil supply. Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, said he wanted to ensure that the cooking oil remains “abundant and affordable” at home, where prices have rocketed.


Time to invest in M’sian consumer shares?  M’sia is the world’s second- largest producer of the commodity after Indonesia.

Will help our tourism? All those country bumpkins coming here.

Where US of A is ahead of China

In China on 23/04/2022 at 8:31 am

And more socialist.

Further to China’s oldies are giving Xi a migraine, the US can distribute money quickly and efficiently to the masses and has done so:

In America fiscal easing took the form of “stimmy” cheques paid directly to households. China does not yet have an equivalent system for distributing government largesse.

But then the US of A cuts taxes while China follows the Pay And Pay’s Hard Truth to take and take.

When assumptions prove incorrect, cut loss quickly

In Uncategorized on 22/04/2022 at 2:42 pm

Bill Ackman has sold his stake in Netflix at about a US$400mn loss just months after acquiring the position, in yet another blow to the streaming company whose market value collapsed on Wednesday following a decline in subscribers.

The New York billionaire investor bought 3.1mn shares in Netflix, the world’s largest streaming platform, in late January at roughly US$360 per share. The shares had tanked but he said this was a good time to buy for the long term. His purchase cost him US$1.1bn.

Ackman’s decision to cut his losses closed a painful 24 hours for Netflix, which lost close to 40% of its market value, a decline of almost US$60bn, after it revealed that its once-blistering subscriber growth had gone into reverse.

China’s oldies are giving Xi a migraine

In China on 21/04/2022 at 5:38 am

Maybe, he should do what Mao, his hero, liked to do?

China’s zero-covid policy has saved millions of lives.

but it will be hard to exit without a wave of cases and deaths because China’s oldies are very reluctant to get inoculated against covid-19.

(See also: Why China has to continue with its zero-Covid policies, lockdowns and all)

This has

has saddled the country with a vulnerable population that could die in large numbers if the government abandons its controversial “zero-covid” policy. But this uncompromising stance, which tries to stamp out any outbreak of the virus, obliges China to impose ruinous lockdowns on some of its most productive cities, including Shanghai, where some unlucky residents have been confined to their homes for over 30 days.

Maybe Grandpa Xi should take a leaf from his hero, Mao? Let the unvaccinated oldies die?

Mao wasn’t afraid of killing people.

Still want to make us PAY And Pay?

In Economy, Public Administration on 20/04/2022 at 10:45 am

The world faces a sharper trade-off between growth and inflation given how it is “almost a certainty” that inflation will be higher for longer, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (Apr 18).

… “the risks for both growth and inflation are weighed significantly on the downside,”


Finance ministers and central bankers from the G20 group of big economies will meet on Wednesday in Washington amid a deteriorating outlook for global growth. America is bracing for sharp rises in interest rates as the Federal Reserve fights inflation—a task that risks pushing the economy into recession. Europe is struggling with high energy prices, which will rise further if the European Union restricts imports of oil from Russia. China is persisting with its “zero covid” strategy by enforcing costly lockdowns in an attempt to suppress an outbreak of the Omicron variant.

Economist’s Daily Briefing

And the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for the global economy, blaming the war in Ukraine for pushing up inflation. Global growth is projected to slow from 6.1% in 2021 to 3.6% in 2022 and 2023. That is 0.8 percentage points lower for 2022 and 0.2 lower for 2023 than its previous forecast, in January.

And he and his fellow millionaire ministers, die die want to raise GST to protect the reserves and their children’s children? OK OK our children’s children also? As he said:

“We are not out of the frying pan, but already into another fire.”

Lawrence Wong

Sembmarine: Feeling lucky?

In S'pore Inc, Temasek on 19/04/2022 at 8:54 am

“Do I feel lucky?”

If you do,  

In a report last week, UOB Kay Hian raised Sembmarine’s target price to 13 cents, citing new order wins in oil and gas and renewables, and the potential upsizing of the company’s capabilities following a merger with Keppel O&M.

It added that, based on a five-year price-book ratio of 1.1 times, the stock prices should be 14.3 cents; while a 10-year price-book average of 1.5 implies a stock price of 18.9 cents.

Fyi, I bot a tiny amount before the shares went ex-rights last year and then applied for a lot of excess rights shares at 8 cents.

In case you don’t know, a merger of Keppel O&M and Sembmarine is being worked out.

Finally Temasek has gotten its way on the merging of Keppel’s and Sembcorp’s offshore marine businesses. Since the recession in the 80s, it’s been trying but Keppel wanted to be top dog because its rig business was bigger and better. Sembcorp didn’t want to lose face.

Now Keppel wants to get rid of the business and Sembcorp cut loose Sembmarine last year. Sembcorp shares are flying. Expect Keppel’s to do the same. I also got Keppel shares.

Touch wood.

Time to make an offering to the deities.

What our MSM doesn’t say about Lawrence Wong or his “anointment”

In Media, Political governance on 18/04/2022 at 5:25 am

“Lawrence Wong to lead PAP’s 4G team: 8 things to know about him”

But the article doesn’t tell us that

Wong married at 28 but divorced his first wife after three years due to “incompatibility” and he has since remarried.

Why is the constructive, nation-building ST so prim and proper, and behind the times? It’s been a while since divorcees couldn’t become ministers or senior civil servants. Or when it meant demotion of ministers or senior civil servants. Now divorce is accepted as “acceptable” in society, though cheating on one’s spouse is not acceptable in the PAP, even if the spouse forgives.

A few yrs ago when a retired M’sian grandee asked me for a briefing on Lawrence Wong when it became public knowledge that he was in the running to be PM, he said “Glad to know that you guys are no longer in the 19th century”, when I mentioned he was divorced.

Did you also know that PM thinks LW s is not ready to be PM? Not if ypu read the headlines or opening paragraphs of articles. But read further down and readers will be told:

Mr Lee however emphasised that the leadership transition will only be done when the identified leader of the fourth generation (4G) team, Finance Minister Mr Lawrence Wong, is ready.

But let’s be fair to our constructive, nation-building media. They did report that there were other ministers who wanted the job:

15 out of 19 leaders consulted chose Lawrence Wong as top pick to succeed PM, with no close second: Khaw Boon Wan

Albeit the spin is

Lawrence Wong not being a unanimous pick for top job a ‘natural outcome’ of more robust, inclusive process: Analysts

Wonder if Kee Chui Chan and Ong Ye Kung are among the ones who tried (And are still trying?) to be PM? The former is a true-blue RI boy, while the latter did do his A levels in RI. RI boys are widely believed by the plebs as ambitious, experts back stabbing plebs Like Lawrence Wong. Even RI boys (think Heng) are supposedly not safe from defenestration from other ambitious RI boys.

But ST etc will never tell us things like this. SAD.

One of Larry’s headaches

In Economy on 17/04/2022 at 2:43 pm

The war will cut growth in goods trade this year by a third from 4.7% to 3%, according to new World Trade Organization forecasts. It also cut economic growth forecasts from 4.1% to 2.8%, with 3.2% estimated for 2023.

Superiority of the Beijing model of governance: what superiority?

In China on 16/04/2022 at 10:46 am

Over the past two years China has had a lower mortality rate from the virus and stronger economic growth than any other big country.  It’s “zero Covid” policy has been hailed repeatedly by the official Chinese media as proof of the superiority of the Beijing model of governance. Grandpa Xi’s mantra has been that the east is rising and the west is in decline.

But as the West is opening up, China is locking down hard, very hard.

A report by Gavekal Dragonomics, a research firm, said that all but 13 of China’s top 100 cities (by GDP) were implementing covid restrictions (see chart). Ten cities are in “severe lockdown”, meaning more than half of residents are confined to their homes. Changchun, Xuzhou and Shanghai were recently in full lockdown. But from the Shanghai chart (above) and the next two charts below, the Covid cases are “peanuts”.

Grandpa Xi’s “zero Covid” policy — hailed repeatedly by the official Chinese media as proof of the superiority of the Beijing model of governance — is now in serious trouble.

Shanghai is in a prolonged and increasingly unsustainable lockdown. Residents are getting upset and KPKBing publicly, some even rioting.

“If Lawrence can become a multi-millionaire, so can any ordinary non-elite S’porean”

In Political governance on 15/04/2022 at 3:53 am

But first LOL.

The right to lead is not inherited. It has to be earned afresh by each generation of leaders

PM on FB

The above will sound a bit rich to those S’poreans (and not only the usual anti-PAP suspects), who tot that our PM was destined to become PM from the day he went to Catholic High.

Seriously, trumpets please: Lawrence Wong: a PM-in-waiting. Written in 2018.

Related post which explains the title: Lawrence Wong, a divorced Katong boy who went to “lousy” schools and uni but still became PM: Why PAP should make Lawrence Wong PM.

Recession coming sooner than expected?

In Economy on 14/04/2022 at 1:26 pm

US inflation came out as expected: Another month of high inflation in the US?

So markets didn’t tank.


But the conventional wisdom is that inflation may be close to or has already peaked in March.

For example, Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, said: “The bottom line is inflation is going to stick around for a while, but we could see it begin to reverse in the summer months, provided we get some cooling off in agricultural and energy prices.”

But inflation is global and earlier today the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) tightened monetary policy on Thursday (Apr 14), the third time in six months, as it aims to “slow the inflation momentum and help ensure medium-term price stability”. the MAS raised its forecast for core inflation, which strips out private road transport and accommodation costs, to rise between 2.5 and 3.5% this year, up from the 2 to 3% projection made in January. Headline inflation is projected to average between 4.5 and 5.5%, up from the earlier range of 2.5 and 3.5%.

The conventional wisdom is that the global economy will slow down as the Fed tightens but that there won’t be a recession until 2024. James Bullard, a top Federal Reserve official and a super hawk, has warned it is a “fantasy” to think the US central bank can bring inflation down sufficiently without raising interest rates to a level where they constrain the economy (other top Fed officals think that they can raise rates and avoid constraining the economy. But even he thinks that the Fed can avoid causing a recession. But can Fed get it that right?

Only last year, we were told by the Fed that inflation was not a problem (Inflation not a threat?). It was transitory.

If there’s a recession later this year, or next, will the PAP millionaire ministers srill say die, die, must raise GST rates?

Btw, trumpets pls. In early Jan last yr, I posted: Akan datang: food inflation

What do Jews, Chinese and Indians have in common?

In Economy, EDB on 13/04/2022 at 10:07 am

The fantastical beast that is the unicorn find them almost as friendly to unicorns as the residents of Silicon Valley, London, Paris or Berlin.

Beijing, Bengaluru, S’pore and Tel Aviv are places where unicorns are bporn and thrive.

And there’s all to play for S’pore

Some 60m South-East Asians, nearly a tenth of the region’s population, became new netizens in the past two years alone, according to Bain, a consultancy. The number of companies in India and South-East Asia generating $100m of annual revenue has jumped by an order of magnitude in recent years,

In S’pore and SE Asia, the unicorns that thrive are those in fintech and consumer.

These adapt existing Western business models (think Uber, Amazon and Airbnb) to local market conditions. as consumers in SE Asia become willing to pay for “technification of services”: a form of ang moh tua kee, methinks.

Another month of high inflation in the US?

In Economy on 12/04/2022 at 12:34 pm

There are many reasons why inflation is roaring ahead. They include policy mistakes and complacency, energy price rises and then there are three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: pestilence, famine (The UN’s food price index has already risen by 24% from a year ago and is set to rise further.) and war.

Sad, dirty secret of why US inflation is at 7.9%

One danger with inflation is that, once unleashed, it gathers momentum. American data for March, due to be released on Tuesday, will highlight that risk. Consumer prices are expected to have increased by about 8.5% compared with a year earlier, the fastest rise in four decades.

Economist Expresso

If it is higher than 8.5%, expect serious falls in equity markets which have pretty resilient despite inflation and three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse on the loose: pestilence, famine and war,

Some analysts think this may prove to be the high-water mark. Prices for used cars, one of the items that led the initial inflationary surge, have fallen in recent weeks. But elevated prices for oil and other commodities will ensure that costs remain a headache for some time.


Investors are betting that the Fed will raise interest rates by a full percentage point over the course of May and June (hence the weakness in govt bonds), suggesting that the only way to rein in inflation is to dampen economic growth. But dampening economic growth could lead to a recession.

Not a good time for the presumptive PM who die, die wants to raise GST.

Didn’t realise this about the US of A

In Uncategorized on 11/04/2022 at 2:45 pm

It’s about the same distance from Europe to the US east coast as it is from the US east coast to the west.

Mamas eat beef and other interesting facts about food in India

In India on 11/04/2022 at 5:29 am

I had always tot that Indian Muslims also don’t eat beef because it’s a rare dish in Indian Muslim eating places here.


[W]hile many upper-caste Hindus do not eat beef, millions of Dalits (formerly untouchables), Muslims and Christians across India do. It’s also a popular meat across communities in the southern state of Kerala where only a minority avoid it for religious reasons.

More interesting is that upper-caste Hindus became vegetarians only during British rule

Dr Bhattacharya says her research shows that brahmins in southern India ate meat at least until the 16th Century. In the north, they gave it up, along with some other upper-castes, only in the late 19th Century.


The most-ordered dish on Indian food delivery platform Swiggy last year was chicken biryani. Indians ordered two plates every second.

S’poreans are lucky that 9th Immortal answered PAP ministers’ prayers

In Energy on 10/04/2022 at 6:32 am

This year’s El Nino is ensuring that we don’t need our aircons for the time being. Last year El Nino’s brought the second highest amount rainfall since 1980, but that didn’t prevent me from switching on my aircon in March. But this year, the air still hasn’t been switched on in the afternoons, let alone in the evenings.

Pretty cool weather: I’m having to wear a tee shirt in the house. Hope this persists given the price of electricity.

Our millionaire ministers must have prayed hard to the 9th Immortal o tensure that we S’poreans don’t have another reason to Pay And Pay.

EU gives Ukraine a chicken wing while giving Russia several chickens

In Energy on 09/04/2022 at 3:45 am

(Update on 10th March 2022 at 8.47am: The European Commission pledged €1bn to a €9.1bn fund to support Ukraine and other states hosting refugees from the war. Another chicken wing.)

EU’s fuel payments to Russia outweigh military aid to Ukraine

The European Union has spent €35bn on Russian fuel since the start of the war, compared to an outlay of just €1bn to Ukraine in arms and weapons, the EU’s foreign policy chief has said.

“We have to help [the Ukrainians] defend themselves… We have given Ukraine €1bn. It might seem a lot but €1bn is what we pay Putin every day for the energy he provides us,” he told the European Parliament.

BBC report

The speaker was Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat. Since then, the amount has been raised by 50% to €1.5bn. To be fair, the NATO countries in the EU are also contributing separately

Btw, an EU official denied that purchases of Russian oil was helping to fund the invasion of Ukraine. This argument made by US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba this week.

A quarter of the EU’s oil imports come from Russia. 60% of Russia’s oil exports go to Europe: Energy: ‘Double double toil and trouble’.

Trumpets please

In Media on 08/04/2022 at 9:50 am

On 30th March, I said We getting our 4th jab soon. Well from today those 80 and above can walk in or make appointments for the booster.

Did the ST or any other constructive, nation-building media publications predict this?

Or did any ass-licking academic or expert predict this?


Sad, dirty secret of why US inflation is at 7.9%

In Economy, Public Administration on 07/04/2022 at 3:45 am

There are many reasons why inflation is roaring ahead. They include policy mistakes and complacency, energy price rises and then there are three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: pestilence, famine (The UN’s food price index has already risen by 24% from a year ago and is set to rise further.) and war.

But the main reason is the shortage of lowest paid workers.

And lowest paid workers are now getting big pay increases in the US.

The Hardest Truth of economics is that productivity must grow in line with this wage increase in order to keep inflation in check. But the signs are that this is not happening, and won’t happen. And neither is the supply of workers increasing.

It is likely, therefore, that in America and elsewhere labour markets will have to be cooled the old-fashioned way: by central banks raising interest rates, making it a little more attractive to save than spend and thereby choking off demand for labour. The Fed has already raised rates by 0.25 percentage points, and is expected to raise them by a total of 2.5 points this year. America may well prove an example of what happens when policymakers respond to a labour market that has become dangerously hot.

The poor have to be satisfied with this promise by Jesus:

Blessed be ye poor: for your’s is the kingdom of God.

Extract from Luke 6:20-21 

But in S’pore, the PAP govt makes sure that there are FTs by the cattle-truck load to ensure that wages remain low. At least that’s what retirees like me should hope happens, what with our millionaire ministers saying die, die must increase GST.

Ingrates like me who don’t for the PAP must remember that we, the well off, get almost first world service and quality while paying (indirectly) third world wages. The plebs who die die vote for the PAP, save us from having to vote for the PAP.

HK still ahead of us by 67%

In Hong Kong, Property on 06/04/2022 at 4:59 am

Despite its Covid-19 crisis and all the bad things int’l media say about HK

How many square meters of prime real estate does US$1,000,000 buy around the world? Didn’t expect Tokyo and Dubai to be so affordable. Surprised that Sydney is so “unaffordable” relative to Shanghai. Source tps://

Indians are confused about the war in the Ukraine

In India on 05/04/2022 at 9:32 am

Indian govt is just as confused but it leans towards Putin.

Why China has to continue with its zero-Covid policies, lockdowns and all

In China on 02/04/2022 at 3:39 pm

Half of China’s elderly population is at higher risk of severe Covid-19 because of the country’s patchy vaccination campaign. China’s homegrown Sinovac vaccine was found to be less effective at preventing death from Covid among the elderly than the BioNTech/Pfizer jab, unless they received three shots. Most Chinese have received either Sinovac or Sinopharm, which also requires a triple dose.


Only about half of over-80s have been fully vaccinated. Less than a fifth have received a booster shot. Some 52m people over the age of 60 have not received two jabs.

Related posts: Mao would be proud and We getting our 4th jab soon

Three cheers for our PAP millionaire ministers

In Economy, Energy on 01/04/2022 at 4:48 am

No not being ironic because SP Group’s electricity tariff for households to rise by almost 10% for April to June period, but because we don’t have a 54% rise in prices from April 1 that UK gas and electricity retail consumers face.

This means higher bills for around 22m of Britain’s 28m households.

Many will struggle. The Resolution Foundation, a think-tank, estimates that 6.3m families in England will face “fuel stress” as they spend more than 10% of their budget on energy, up from around 2m now.


Vote wisely. LOL.