Archive for February, 2023|Monthly archive page

2022 was a terrible year for bonds

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 28/02/2023 at 1:02 pm

Further to Bonds in 2023: a roller coaster ride, more on why I’m an equities person.


Bonds in 2023: a roller coaster ride

In Financial competency on 27/02/2023 at 4:38 am

Where young S’poreans and Japanese think alike

In Uncategorized on 26/02/2023 at 9:39 am

Singapore’s total fertility rate hit a historic low of 1.05 in 2022, down from 1.12 in 2021

Constructive, nation-building media

And both govts have the same answer, offer more money. But money not enough. Literally because the $ on offer are “peanuts”. And there are other non-monetary reasons.

Boustead Projects: NAV is a lot of BS Cont’d

In Financial competency on 25/02/2023 at 3:36 pm

I’ve KPKBed a lot about about the reported NAV of listcos: Hyflux fiasco shows why “book value” is BS and Reported NAV is a lot of BS.

There’s an unconditional and final takeover offer from Boustead S’pore (majority shareholder) at 95 cents Takeover was originally at 90 cents.

Boustead Spore chairman and group chief executive Wong Fong Fui has a deemed interest of 74.2 per cent in Boustead Projects, as he also controls 43.1 per cent of BS. He is also deemed interested in a 19.3 per cent stake of BS held through nominees.

He is acting in concert with BS to take Boustead Projects private. The offer does not extend to his 19.3 per cent stake.

I bot Boustead Projects in the market collapse of March 2020. The throw of the dice paid off because it paid a special dividend of 14.5 cents in 2021 following a much anticipated restructuring that BS and other shareholders thought would unlock value. The share price flew from about 89 cents to 1,38 after the announcement but collapsed to below $1 after the dividend was paid out.

In 2022 the price was between 80- 89 cents. As at Sept 30 2022, the company, had a net asset value of $1.265.

CGS-CIMB analyst Ong Khang Chuen, in his Feb 7 note, gives Boustead Projects a revalued NAV of $1.79 per share,

The restructuring did not result in a rerating of the company. Hence the takeover offer.

I’ll sit tight for the time being. The free float will shrivel even if the BS fails to delist the co.

Watch and wait to see the level of acceptances.

MNCs creating new Co-prosperity Sphere

In China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam on 24/02/2023 at 4:25 pm

As workers earn more in China (Chinese labour costs escalate and the US of A tries to contain China, MNCs are creating new supply chains that by-pass China.

No single country offers China’s vast manufacturing base. Yet taken together, a patchwork of economies across Asia presents a formidable alternative. It stretches in a crescent from Hokkaido, in northern Japan, through South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh, all the way to Gujarat, in north-western India. Its members have distinct strengths, from Japan’s high skills and deep pockets to India’s low wages. On paper, this is an opportunity for a useful division of labour, with some countries making sophisticated components and others assembling them into finished gadgets.

HK v S’pore

In Uncategorized on 23/02/2023 at 4:16 am

This year HK residents will each get HK$5,000 (US$637) in vouchers. Last year they got HK$10,000.

Very generous compared to the crumbs our millionaire ministers throw our way. Maximum a S’porean (elderly and very poor) can get is S$750 (US$560)

From an MoF press release

Community Development Council (CDC) Vouchers, GSTV – Cash (Seniors’ Bonus) and Assurance Package MediSave

6       On top of the GSTV – U-Save and S&CC rebates in January 2023, eligible Singaporeans will receive the following benefits in the upcoming months of January and February 2023.

  1. On 3 January 2023, every Singaporean household will receive a total of $300 CDC Vouchers. This comprises $200 CDC Vouchers under the AP and $100 CDC Vouchers from the $1.5 billion Support Package announced in October 2022. The CDC Vouchers can be used at participating heartland merchants and hawkers, and supermarkets. More details will be announced by the CDCs soon. 
  2. In February 2023, lower-income senior Singaporeans aged 55 years and above will receive up to $300 cash, under the GSTV – Cash (Seniors’ Bonus).
  3. In February 2023, eligible senior Singaporeans aged 55 years and above, and Singaporean children aged 20 years and below will receive $150 in their CPF MediSave Account under the AP MediSave.

Chinese labour costs escalate

In China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam on 22/02/2023 at 12:55 pm

making Indian and Asean costs look attractive.

Rising property prices NOT sign of our virality

In Economy, Property on 21/02/2023 at 5:24 am

Our local PMETs suffer because our PAP millionaire ministers wanted to lower wage costs because they wanted to grow the economy. Rising wage costs is seen as a problem. Hence the flood of FTs.

Maybe they should have have lowered property prices?

There is recent research that

attributes many long-standing economic ills to land. It explores how high and rising land prices affect lending, investment and ultimately productivity, and much of it looks closely at China’s long property boom. The worrying conclusion is that high and rising property prices can also have damaging economic effects, by crowding out productive investment and leading to a misallocation of capital. In the most extreme cases, inflated land prices may already be the cause of a protracted slowdown in productivity growth.

Why millionaire PAP ministers should focus on rent costs

In Financial competency, Financial planning, Public Administration on 20/02/2023 at 4:28 am

Came across an interesting discussion on the monetary effects of having to wait six years for a BTO flat.

In my case, rented a HDB flat from a condo-residing church friend while waiting for BTO. Kid was born in my friend’s flat. All in all, I invested $80,000 in rent all those years, would have been more if he didn’t offer a friendship price. Even if I were to sell my BTO, I’d make $120,000 more and minus the rent and housing loan interest, I don’t actually earn.

FB discussion

He’s saying, “Asset appreciation? What asset appreciation?”

He went to say

if one has to wait for 6 years for bto to be completed and go into rental. One would have to spend almost 200k for the 6 years of rent. And that figure is very Conservative given current market.

FB discussion

Another S’porean added

rent is now hitting 4.2k even in far flung places like Punggol, so that is over 300k assuming worse case scenario of a 6 year wait. Even if MND can bring the wait down to 3 years, this is 150k flying way from a couple’s nest egg and not coming back. I am not keen on the idea of young couples having to do this, because that money is honestly better spent on their kids. A dollar spent there benefits not only them, but the nation at large much more.

FB discussion

Our PAP millionaire ministers better take note that time is money, There’ll be a lot of unhappy S’poreans if the PAP doesn’t change their policies on when and how flats are built.

They are barking up the wrong tree by focusing on the “subsidy” BTO owners (and others) get. Focus on getting the BTO flats into the hands of voters ASAP.


Double confirms what I always tot about Starbucks coffee

In Uncategorized on 19/02/2023 at 4:16 pm

I always tot that Starbucks coffee lacked the caffeine kick. I wasn’t wrong. According to a UK consumer survey, Starbucks coffee is caffeine challenged (OK lite) compared to other high street coffee retailers .

  • Costa had the strongest medium cappuccino with 325mg of caffeine – equal to four cups of tea
  • A Starbucks cappuccino contained the least at 66mg – less than the 75mg in a single tea bag
  • Greggs and Pret a Manger had the second and third-strongest cappuccino at 197mg and 180mg respectively
  • Pret‘s single espresso was strongest at 180mg
  • Starbucks espresso was bottom of the table at just 33mg
  • Pret topped the list for the most caffeinated filter coffee at 271mg a cup
  • Greggs was a close second at 225mg
  • Starbucks was again the least caffeinated at 102mg

Source: Which?

BBC article:

God believes in symmetry

In Uncategorized on 19/02/2023 at 3:18 am

The wealthiest 1 per cent, according to the most recent global wealth report by Credit Suisse, own about 50 per cent of global wealth, while  the poorest 50 per cent own about 1 per cent.

PAP govt at work

In Political governance on 16/02/2023 at 6:42 am

Budget BS

In Media on 15/02/2023 at 8:42 am

Today’s papers are flooded with propaganda on the Budget. For example we will not be told that the deficit doesn’t exist if we follow international formats of reporting.

This coming flood reminded me that I recently read a BBC article

Review of BBC economic coverage finds concerns but no systematic bias

“For example… we think too many journalists lack understanding of basic economics or lack confidence reporting it. This brings a high risk to impartiality. In the period of this review, it particularly affected debt.”Some journalists seem to feel instinctively that debt is simply bad, full stop, and don’t appear to realise this can be contested and contestable.”
Several such assumptions “seem to lurk like this either unnoticed or uncorrected”, they added. “Others that outsiders observed in BBC coverage were: ‘more public spending is good’ and ‘tax cuts are good.'”


More on oil majors

In Energy on 14/02/2023 at 5:29 am

Shareholders are just being rewarded for keeping the faith,

But they should give thanks to Putin’s special military operation.

When an oil major goes Woke

In Energy on 13/02/2023 at 3:21 am

Shareholders are unhappy.

BP loves renewables and wanted to cut oil and gas production by 40% by 2030.. It’s share price is far behind those of US rivals ExxonMobil and Chevron, which are a lot less green.

It’s now repenting and planning to pump out more oil, something foreshadowed in Oil: Who is right?.

Property owners: Thank the PAP govt

In Economy, Property on 12/02/2023 at 5:21 am

Our millionaire ministers deserve their $?

Kate Spade Tin and PAP HQ blame each other for omnishambles

In S'pore Inc on 11/02/2023 at 8:45 am

I don’t know what to say. In army if boy, she garbra and sabo king.

She threw the PAP mgt under the bus by telling us that she cleared it with HQ.

They then pulled her under the bus by saying that she didn’t give details. They implicitly said that they assumed she knew the rules about lobbying when she raised the matter.

Prediction, she won’t be standing in next GE. Will she be in Grab after making way for PAP new blood? ‘My retired PAP MP friend resigned from a senior private sector job when he had to make way for new blood. Go figure it out. But I very cynical.

Adrian Tan comment on FB

PAP FB statement

Employment of Ms Tin Pei Ling by Grab Singapore

In September 2022, Ms Tin Pei Ling informed the Party that she would be taking up the post of Public Affairs and Policy at Grab Singapore (“Grab”), and the nature of the job. The Party noted this and did not object. Earlier this month, following public comments about Ms Tin’s appointment, we discussed the matter with her again to understand better the scope of her duties. It then became clear to the Party that she would be expected to engage regularly with Government ministries and agencies on public policy issues on behalf of Grab. While she would make it clear that she was engaging in her private capacity and not as a PAP MP, there could still be challenges in carrying out these responsibilities, especially under the current circumstances.

Ms Tin has since discussed the matter with Grab and informed the Party that her role in Grab has been changed to Director (Corporate Development). In this role, her primary duties will not involve Government relations in Singapore.

The PAP holds itself and its Members of Parliament to high standards of propriety and integrity. Most PAP backbench MPs have private careers. This keeps them in touch with our economy and society and enables able and committed people from many professions and walks of life to serve as MPs, raising the quality of MPs in Parliament. However, it is essential that MPs rigorously separate their public role as MPs from their professional and commercial interests in their private careers.

Under the “Rules of Prudence” issued to every PAP MP, MPs are expected to conduct themselves in their duties and responsibilities with utmost propriety, to uphold the reputation of the Party and the integrity of the Singapore system. In no circumstances are they to abuse their status as MPs, or their access to ministers, civil servants, and government agencies, for private or commercial gain. While performing their MP duties, they are expected to declare potential conflicts of interest, and recuse themselves as appropriate from decisions, discussions and positions where there is a risk of such a conflict arising.

The Party wishes Ms Tin Pei Ling success in her new role in Grab, and is confident that she will continue serving residents of MacPherson as their MP effectively.

All reactions:


He didn’t listen to Buffett

In Financial competency on 10/02/2023 at 4:18 am

He did the opposite. See what happens.

Warren Buffett advised investors to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful. SoftBank Group’s Masayoshi Son is doing the exact opposite. Son and his largely ethnic Indian dealmakers spent big when tech valuations were super hot and then went quiet as prices slumped. Its Vision Funds invested just US$300mn in two companies, compared to US$9.6bn during the same quarter in 2021.

Son is personally liable for more than U$5 billion on side deals as the funds losses mount.

He “borrowed” $ from the funds to fund his personal investments into the funds. That’s Mamas’ and Son’s idea of financial engineering.

S’poreans punching above their weight

In Tourism on 09/02/2023 at 4:38 am

I didn’t realise we were such great spenders.

Must be all that cash that S’poreans “save” because of the HDB subsidies,

Thank the PAP govt, not grumble.

Vote wisely.

Tale of two cities during Covid pandemic

In Economy, Hong Kong on 08/02/2023 at 3:18 am

Xi locked down HK, while the PAP govt imposed lighter restrictions.

Goh Meng Seng will never admit that the PAP govt got things right.

In 2023, HK’s GDP numbers will be a lot better than ours. Wait for Meng Seng’s “HK got it right”.

China owns the sun

In China, Energy on 07/02/2023 at 10:41 am

OK, OK, China dominates solar pv manufacturing capacity.

China controls 79% of the production of polysilicon used for solar panels, 97% of the production of solar wafers, 85% of solar cells and 75% of the manufacturing process to assemble cells in modules, according to an International Energy Agency report published in July 2022.

Indian capitalism and democracy make Chinese communism look great

In China, India on 06/02/2023 at 4:25 am

OK, OK, there’s no such thing as Chinese communism. It’s socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Oil: Who is right?

In Energy on 05/02/2023 at 6:13 am

Who is likely to be more correct, Exxon or BP? These are very different views of the future of crude coming from within the small crop of western oil supermajors — and underscores the companies’ very different strategies.

Exxon (and other US energy cos are continuing to focus on oil and gas) while BP (and other European energy cos are hedging their bets by going into renewables.)


BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney plans to dial back elements of the oil giant’s high-profile push into renewable energy, people familiar with recent discussions said to the Wall Street Journal in an article published on Feb. 1. Looney has said he is disappointed in the returns from some of the company’s renewable investments and plans to pursue a narrower green energy strategy, the people said.


I’m betting (via my shares in penny stock Sembcorp Marine) that Exxon is right about oil demand.

US$ decline ended?

In Uncategorized on 04/02/2023 at 3:25 pm

Bullish 2023 mkts in context

In Financial competency, S'pore Inc on 04/02/2023 at 7:07 am

2022 was a bad year.

Our market’s been pretty stable.

This year’s rises (Added at 7.15am after publication.)

Why America is great again

In Accounting, India on 03/02/2023 at 4:20 am

A very tiny American research firm and short seller, Hindenburg, issued a very critical report about the Adani Group, one of India’s biggest conglomerates. A pulled secondary share sale of US$2.5bn and a rout in the markets shows that a pal of PM Modi, and India Inc are no match for a tiny American short seller.

Risk On

In Uncategorized on 02/02/2023 at 1:51 pm

And this chart came out the Fed chief said last night that he’s relaxed about bullish markets. Game on until April. A perma bear says the markets will keep on rising until April before correcting. Jeremy Grantham is a perma bear whose calls on market rallies are better than the average bear, or even bull.

Thanks Temasek for CSE ang pow

In Temasek on 02/02/2023 at 3:24 am

My Spring Festival ang pow from Temasek came before chap gor mei. I didn’t expect any $ from Temasek’s CSE Special until Easter.

Yesterday, I broke even on my CSE shares post rights slightly more than one month after being allocated excess rights. If I include the dividends that I got since the original purchase, I’m comfortably ahead.

See CSE Global: Another Temasek present (Christmas)? for the background and why taking part in TLCs’ rights issues are no brainers. OK, OK things did go badly wrong in Sembcorp Marine’s 2020 Temasek Special. But nobody’s perfect.

CI says Temasek rocks.

Vote wisely.

China is hot (cont’d)

In China on 01/02/2023 at 2:37 pm

China is hot

In China on 01/02/2023 at 8:52 am