Archive for the ‘Financial competency’ Category

S;pore stocks: Juz right for oldies?

In Financial competency, Financial planning, S'pore Inc on 28/05/2023 at 3:36 am

good dividend yields, stable earnings, and attractive valuations,

Remember that LKY, and Dr Goh and the other Old Guards helped create this stable environment. We have to make sure Lee Jnr and the 4th G PAP millionaire leaders keep things this way. So far they don’t seem to be doing a good job: B-


Value stocks are really trash?

In Financial competency on 18/05/2023 at 9:33 am

Growth tech stocks are gold? Technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite index is up a fifth this year.

Should have bot a US ETF

In ETFs, Financial competency, Financial planning on 14/04/2023 at 10:03 am

In 2019, I had a conversation with a savvy investor in M’sian stocks.

I asked if he had a good run. He said he should have just bot an EFT that passively tracked the US.

Time to cheong again?/ “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable” J K Galbraith

In Financial competency on 12/04/2023 at 3:48 pm

 The IMF projects the weakest global medium-term growth prospects for over 30 years.

The agency expects the world economy to grow just 3% in 2028, the weakest medium-term forecast since 1990, according to projections released Tuesday. Even worse, the IMF’s economists see the world continuing to fall behind its pre-pandemic trajectory. The shortfall between actual growth and expected growth reached 1 percentage point in 2022. That gap is expected to widen to 2.7 points by 2026.

But look past the likely recession and in the medium term things look good according to a range of confidence indicators

Someone is wrong.

Where the smart money is going?

In Financial competency on 09/04/2023 at 4:02 am

Out of the US and into China and Europe.

Paper investors/ traders

In Financial competency on 22/03/2023 at 8:28 am

I’m sitting this one out. Was catching falling knives in 2020.

Accepted Boustead Projects takeover (daylight robbery) because I’d rather have the cash than own illiquid shares in a construction co in a tightening economy: Boustead Projects: NAV is a lot of BS Cont’d

Might even get chance to buy Boustead S’pore at bargain basement price (below 70cens) later this year. Poetic justice for screwing me.

Cognitive Dissonance

In Energy, Financial competency on 20/03/2023 at 8:35 am

SGX-listc, Rex International Holdings, an oil and gas exploration company leads the FT’s 2023ranking of 500 high-growth Asia-Pacific companies with an impressive 630.17 per cent compound annual growth in revenue over the three years to 2022, Energy prices helped

But it’s a stock market dog over the last three years. LOl

Why the US had to rain on Michelle Yeoh’s parade

In Financial competency on 15/03/2023 at 3:52 am

It’s not because the mamas asked the US to spoil the East Asians’ triumph but because

How to stop worrying whether we in bull or bear market

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 05/03/2023 at 6:20 am

[T]hink of sectors you’d want to be invested in whether markets turn bearish or bullish”.

FT’s Adventurous Investor aka David Stevenson

Now this is the really difficult part. He advised investing in the healthcare.

Anything else?

Almighty dollar

In Financial competency on 03/03/2023 at 4:01 pm

“Our dollar, your problem,” a US Treasury Secretary said in the 1970s. Obviously the world is happy to have the $ as a problem.

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

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.

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.


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.

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.)

End of US dominance in sight?

In Financial competency on 25/01/2023 at 8:59 am

High Tech: the new value stocks

In Financial competency on 23/01/2023 at 5:29 am

Microsoft, Amazon and Meta are among the five largest weights in the S&P 500 Value index, alongside the likes of Cisco Systems, Salesforce, Netflix, IBM, Intel and PayPal.

Not all of them are classified under IT. Some are under Communication Services and Consumer Discretionary.

CNY tot

In Energy, Financial competency on 22/01/2023 at 6:34 am

Investing ain’t easy

When everybody is digging for gold, it’s good to be in the pick and shovel business.

Attributed to various famous people

Ain’t that easy. There’s a rush to invest in hydrogen related activities because of its green energy credentials.

But investors in this maker of electrolysers that separate hydrogen from water have lost $. It’s no start-up (founded in 2001) and it has strong backers: German industrial gas group Linde and British construction equipment manufacturer JCB

ITM Power has issued a third profit warning in eight months maker of electrolysers that separate hydrogen from water

Temasek trying very hard to make our reserves go further?

In Financial competency, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 19/01/2023 at 8:32 am

Or there are some FT financial engineers there trying very hard to show the private equity funds that they should employ them as financial engineering specialists who know how to borrow up to hairline.

Feeling bullish? Here’s some supporting data

In Financial competency on 17/01/2023 at 4:45 am

Since its inception in 1957, there have only been two occasions in which the S&P 500 fell for two (or more) consecutive years. The index posted back-to-back declines in 1973 and 1974, and it fell for three consecutive years between 2000 and 2002.

The former is particularly noteworthy because inflation started trending upward in early 1973, and it peaked at 12.2% in November 1974. The S&P 500 then mounted a recovery in 1975. Something similar has played out over the past two years. Inflation began rising in early 2021, and it peaked at 9.1% in June 2022. That trend, assuming it continues, could trigger a bull market rally in 2023.

Spin the wheel, roll the dice: “Them’s the breaks”.

Buffett sayings

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 10/01/2023 at 3:50 pm

A now ex-Tai Tai (she now poor) because she disagreed with these tenets. She can conduct a masterclass on how to to marry an elderly ATM machine and end up poor. How tai tai got poor: Tai tai forgot this amd Tai tai keeps losing money

Bah Humbug: Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

In Economy, Financial competency, Financial planning on 25/12/2022 at 5:33 am

The real world is far away from pre-Covid-19 levels

And we have serious inflation problems resulting in central banks raising rates which in turn means global recession.

But in S’pore, our PAP millionaire ministers die die want to raise GST rates from 1 January 2023.

Brave new world: higher interest rates and scarcer capital

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 17/12/2022 at 4:23 pm

One of the world’s better investors,  Howard Marks of Oaktree. thinks interest rates will not come back down to the levels of 2007 to 2021. He’s surely is going to invest on the basus of higher inflation and higher interest rates? But he says, “Oaktree’s investment philosophy doesn’t prohibit having opinions, just acting as if they’re right.”

This year’s US market in historical perspective

In Financial competency on 01/12/2022 at 2:43 pm

Cos unable to produce cars more valuable than those churning them out

In Financial competency on 25/11/2022 at 5:42 am

World turned upside down for the world’s largest manufacturers like Toyota, luxury makers like Mercedes and BMW, and even EV maker Telsa.

Who else trusted FTX?

In Cryptocurrency, Financial competency on 23/11/2022 at 3:28 am

Referring to Why Temasek should not have punted on FTX, let’s give Temasek and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan a break?

Even hedgies, the mortals who became masters of the universe because they are uber-cynical, trusted FTX:

Hedge funds have billions stranded on FTX, the collapsed crypto exchange, and may face a years-long wait to recover assets, my colleagues report. The direct exposure of crypto-focused hedge funds to FTX Group and FTT, the exchange’s token, amount to around $2bn. Around 25-40 per cent of specialist crypto hedge funds may have some exposure. Including firms such as Genesis Trading and BlockFi, exposure could be as high as $4bn-5bn. Many had trusted FTX to be among the industry’s most reliable operators. Oops.

FT newsletter

Compared to them Temasek’s executives are GCT’s “mediocrities”

Why Temasek should not have punted on FTX

In Cryptocurrency, Financial competency, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 22/11/2022 at 3:27 am

Temasek has written off its US$275mn stake in cryptocurrency company FTX, saying its trust in former chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried appeared “misplaced”.

Much has been written by PAP and anti-PAP paper warriors and investors.

Talking about two Canadian pension funds losing $ in two crypyo investments (one of which was FTX) this year, the FT pronounced (or should it be” pontificated”?)

Pension funds have no business investing customers’ retirement savings in a market as volatile as crypto.

FTX’s $8bn crunch exposes a dog-eat-dog cryptosphere

While Temasek is not a pension fund, I think that given the way the PAP govt treats our reserves (Die, die must raise GST to protect the reserves: Reason why die die must have GST rise in January to replenish our reserves? ), this principle should apply to Temasek and GIC.

Btw, while Temasek took its time admitting the cock-up, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan disclosed almost immediately that the US$95mn investment in FTX FTX collapse will have ‘little impact’ on its performance. “Naturally, not all of the investments in this early-stage asset class perform to expectations,” loss on this investment will have limited impact on the Plan, given this investment represents less than 0.05% of our total net assets.”

What black hole?

In Financial competency on 18/11/2022 at 4:49 am

The UK’s chattering, political and investing classes are all worked up about public debt and how to screw the poor to make the UK solvent.

Right on cue. the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, delivered a budget including spending cuts and tax rises that by 2027-28 will be worth £62bn ($73bn), or 2.1% of GDP. 

Club Med countries have bigger public debt holes than the UK but are not so worked up. It’s all mind tricks.

Check out these East Asia Income Investment Trusts

In Financial competency, Financial planning, Investments on 12/11/2022 at 8:58 am

There are three London-based investment trusts that invest in East Asia that have very decent long term records for increasing dividends. See below

One is trading at a huge discount to NAV, compared to the other two. That may be a warning sign. All three are managed by pukka fund managers.

LOL: Millionaire PAP ministers are really looking after the plebs

In Banks, Economy, Financial competency, Financial planning, Investments, S'pore Inc on 07/11/2022 at 5:39 am

Look at this and you’ll see that with the exception of the Chinese banks (Communism at work?) and DBS (Remember that POSB was the people’s bank?), at least $10,000 is needed for FDs. Quite a number (including OCBC and UOB) have a minimum of $20,000.

So it’s nice to know that the millionaire PAP ministers are helping the plebs to get good interest rates on fair terms via Singapore Savings Bonds.

Plebs only need to invest $500 (Same like the Commie bank, ICBC. Need $1000 at DBS) in the the Singapore Savings Bonds. The minimum one can invest in SSBs is $500 — and this can increase in multiples of $500 — but the total amount of such bonds one can hold at any one time cannot exceed $200,000. (Btw, in 2020, when the interest rate on SSB was 0.96 per annum for the first few years and S’pore was being locked down and I got very lucky, I applied for 200k and was filled. It can’t happen nowadays. The allocation is 10k nowadays. Fine by me as I don’t have $200,000 needing to find an urgent home. Btw2, I redeemed the lot in batches in 2021 and very early 2022.)

Returns on the Singapore Savings Bonds hit record highs for the second straight month, with the latest December issue offering a 10-year average return rate of 3.47 per cent. Better still, the first-year interest rate of 3.26 per cent is also the highest ever, beating the record set in the previous issue. I’ll be applying.

And there’s more:

Safe and flexible bonds for individual investors. Enjoy returns that increase over time and redeem in any month without penalty

“[W]ithout penalty”: remember that FDs can only be “broken” by foregoing the interest. But SSB only have a $2 fee when redeeming. Interest is paid up to redemption date. Pretty fair.

More at

Do remember that the govt is tightening money supply via SSBs and other interest-bearing securities. this to to try to keep inflation in check. There’s a reason for its generosity. But its also keeping the banks honest.

Property exposure of local banks

In Banks, Financial competency, Property, Reits, S'pore Inc on 05/11/2022 at 1:51 pm

Further to The kind of FT turned citizen that S’pore needs, I tot I’ll share this so that someone overseas can KPKB about our banks very, very large exposure to the local property sector.

DBS estimates that approximately 44%-50% of Singapore banks’ loan books are exposed to Singapore properties via residential mortgages and via lending to REITs or other private vehicles may be captured under “financial institutions, investment and holding companies”

As the PM’s Mrs made me $ (Tempting fate but thanks again Ho Ching), and I’m not one of those PAP running dogs from our constructive, nation-building media who turn on the PAP like hyenas and jackals once they no longer get paid (Another running dog turned self-appointed tribune of the HDB plebs ), I’ll just keep quiet and look at my bank statement.

I also got exposure to UOB and UOL (via Haw Par: Haw Par: Rediscovered yet again) and Reits.

I’ve never voted for the PAP. But to quote the FT minister, “I’m invested in S’pore”and that is the way I show my appreciation of what the PAP does to keep me in prosperity.

The kind of FT turned citizen that S’pore needs

In Banks, Financial competency, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 04/11/2022 at 4:03 am

Gupta makes DBS Great. Previous ang moh or pseudo ang mohs made it a laughing stock. CEOs Btw, he’s another Citibanker

Our other two banks are also looking good. Eat your heart out, the overseas based anti-PAP paper warrior. U should bot into them.

Which reminds me of a clueless tai tai (Tai tai’s luck runs out, heading for Woodbridge?/ Tai tai forgot this ), sold her SPH shares her elderly husband gave her when they married in the 90s, sold them and bot DBS when she panicked in 2020. She then sold DBS because she said UOB paid more in dividends (What an ass). Then sold UOB to buy SPH when it spiked from 1.20 to 1.90 last year, then sold out in panic when it weakened before it rebounded

. Her husband told her to buy back the UOB because it was cum dividend and there was 80 cents in it.

She didn’t sitting on cash. Then going into Hang Seng and Chinese techs: Tai tai keeps losing money

Tempting fate but thanks again Ho Ching

In Energy, Financial competency, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 03/11/2022 at 3:40 am

This reminded me that I forgot (Thank you Ho Ching) to also thank her for another Temasek special (massive rights issue at a huge discount to the existing price) that’s looking good.

Sembcorp Marine announces change in terms of Keppel O&M transaction

The share price tanked last year (It was already sick because of a previous Temasek special in 2020, followed by a really bad results) when Temasek did another special.

As I wanted good quality TLC penny stock exposure to the offshore marine and energy sectors, I bot a few shares and then applied for lots of rights shares at $0.08. I got filled to the gills.

The shares have been on a wild run: up to $0.138 and then back down to -$0.11 recently. I regretted not selling out at +$0.13. But I was going for $0.16 or more. After the above announcement, they are back to +$0.13. Riding the tornado like Pecos Bill: GameStop in charts: Riding the tornado

Usually when Temasek does a special, shareholders or new investors who participate make $. It’s money for jam. The downside is finding the cash to fund it. Not like Temasek. Need $, make a call to MoF and PMO if dividend income not enough.

Not always, Sembcorp Marine did an earlier rights issue at $0.20 in 2020. Everyone lost $ when it had a really bad set of results. Hence the 2021 rights issue. At that time I didn’t want exposure to the offshore marine and energy sectors, so I missed a bullet. Praise the Supreme Being. And yes, I made a charitable donation.

But I really shouldn’t be counting my chickens, tempting fate or the gods. Not taken profits. And no immediate plans to. I’ll ride the whirlwind on this ($0.19 says a broker) and hope to come out alive or belter still smiling. Why Wall St is a cowboy town.

Minority shareholders (those who participated in 2020 Temasek special) might reject the deal (one reason why the terms were changed).

And pray that I remain lucky. I’ll be getting more SembCorp Marine shares via Keppel distribution. Might sell these.

Investing tip: back Temasek’s corporate moves. More on this soon. Meanwhile think SATS: SATS: Temasek gives away another free lunch?

More on SATS from the archives: SATS — More Dividends or a Rights Issue?

When investors fall out of love with biz models

In Financial competency, Internet on 01/11/2022 at 10:11 am

The movers, streamers and creeper ,,, all turn out to face the same main pitfalls: a misplaced faith in network effects, low barriers to entry and a dependence on someone else’s platform.

Thank you Ho Ching

In Airlines, Financial competency, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 30/10/2022 at 4:08 am

SIA redeems outstanding zero coupon MCBs worth $3.5 bil

Edge magazine headline

reminded me that she retired from Temasek on 1 November last year.

It also reminded me that my mum and I made decent $ on SIA shares and MCBs.

My mum once had 900+ SIA shares. Why this odd number I don’t know and neither does she. It’s been there for decades.

Anyway I never got round to selling this when she transferred her shares to me for me to manage a few years ago. She’ll be 99 next year.

So when 2020 came and SIA did a “Temasek Special” (Massive and deeply discounted rights issue), I applied for excess shares and MCBs. Ended up with 3,000 shares and 3,000 MCBs.

(Applying was a massive headache because I had to use PayNow. But it was Covid time, so no-one to blame except self for being unfamiliar with this payment mode. First and last time I used it.)

And in 2021, we got another 6,000 MCBs.

I’ll get round to selling the SIA shares one day soon. And buy into SATs. There’s another pending Temasek Special that is upsetting minority shareholders.

Meanwhile an additional $3,000+ to pay for the groceries. There’ll be $100 early next from the PAP govt using our money.

But never say can lose money

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 25/10/2022 at 5:28 pm

People like these guys should be regulated.

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Better than CPF rate

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 24/10/2022 at 5:15 pm

Ordinary account that is.

S’pore Savings Bond better for amounts up to $10,000 (likely to get full allocation). Coming issue pays 3.08% for first year. Last day for applications 26 October 2023. $2 to apply.

And if want to redeem $2.

US treasuries yields at record highs

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 21/10/2022 at 5:16 pm

Yields on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury climbed above 4.25% for the first time since June 2008 rising as much as 0.05%age points to 4.272%, while the two-year US Treasury yield climbed as much as 0.03%age points to a new 15-year high of 4.639 per cent.

Equity markets are queasy.

Reason why die die must have GST rise in January to replenish our reserves?

In Accounting, Financial competency, GIC, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 19/10/2022 at 4:48 am

This despite inflation not abetting in this quarter, something that our millionaire ministers said would happen earlier this here.

In early July, I wrote about looming markdowns to private assets referencing the comments of Temasek’s CIO defending Temasek’s investments in private assets: Was Temasek’s CIO whistling in the graveyard? Note that GIC is also big investor in private assets.

Recently, the managers of Harvard University’s $51bn endowment have warned of substantial markdowns to come in its private equity and venture capital portfolio, predicting heavy losses for institutional investors.

Trumpets please.


Bucking broncos on Wall St

In Financial competency on 14/10/2022 at 4:26 am

Rodeo riders need on Wall Street

What a wild ride. Down 2% at the open on not so good inflation numbers, then 2% up at the close.

Bring Pecos Bill and friends to trade the S&P: Why Wall St is a cowboy town and Cowboys riding the S&P and NASDAQ broncos

We one of one of two Asia Pac markets in +ve territory

In Financial competency on 10/10/2022 at 10:19 am

Christmas came early/ But so did the Gringe?

In Financial competency on 09/10/2022 at 1:20 pm

In late September, I pointed out that Goldman Sachs year end target (3600) for the S&P was coming early: S&P 500: Last chance to buy the dip.  On September 30th the S&P closed at 3,586, a month in which the index of large American stocks fell by almost 10%. 

Then in October it rebounded fast. But a rout on Friday erased most of the gains of an early-week rally, albeit markets still ended the week higher by 1%. 

The Gringe is the America’s labour market, It slowed slightly (but probably not enough to satisfy the Fed) in September as aggressive rate rises aimed at reining in inflation have cooled the economy. Official data recorded 263,000 new jobs, which was fewer than the 315,000 positions added in August, but this was better than expected. This may mean further tightening from the Fed at its next meeting on November 2nd. Hence the reversal on Friday.

The mighty S$

In Currencies, Financial competency on 06/10/2022 at 5:41 am

As a S’porean, I’m surprised that M$ is doing pretty well against the US$. It’s not a banana currency.

Seriously, I’m surprised that the rupiah is so firm. Likewise the rupee.

Once upon a time the Russians were buying US$

In Currencies, Energy, Financial competency on 04/10/2022 at 3:00 pm

Shows that Putin is a lousy chess player.

Hwa Hong: When losing is really winning

In Financial competency, Property on 02/10/2022 at 6:36 am

It’s sweet revenge for the hapless and clueless Ongs who lost out to another family member, Ong Choo Ong: Hwa Hong: Ongs have no stomach for Mexican standoff.

Ong Choo Eng and private equity friends are now in a bad place because of the problems in the UK: volatile sterling and rising interest rates. When he was MD, Choo Eng was always adding to Hwa Hong’s property portfolio UK (mainly London) residential property: Thinking of London property? Think Hwa Hong?. Written in 2014.

The useless Ongs (and me) are looking at our bank statements and smiling.

Meanwhile Ong, Asia Dymon and his other allies will be contemplating higher financing costs and collapsing property prices in the UK. And their clueless M&A adviser and financing bank must be wondering what they all got themselves into.

But don’t need to cry for the winners and their bank: they bot the shares at a 25% discount from its RNAV: Reported NAV is a lot of BS. At the time, it was a good deal for them and a fair deal for me.

Now they need that buffer not to collapse too much, so as not to lose money. UK residential property prices are expected to fall by at least 10%.

SATS: Temasek gives away another free lunch?

In Airlines, Financial competency, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 01/10/2022 at 4:02 am

Big opportunity to make serious money by buying into SATS if they have rights issue.

Buy “small” amount of shares cum and apply for excess (lots).

Those who did this for SIA and Semb Marine (last round) still sitting on good profits if they didn’t cash out already.

Temasek usually prices its rights “right” to make easy $, post rights for those buying into its rights issues.

But it got it wrong in earlier Semb Marine rights.

But whoever said share investing is riskless is an idiot.

S&P 500: Last chance to buy the dip

In Financial competency on 26/09/2022 at 2:42 pm

On Friday, the S&P 500 closed below its previous year low after it didn’t manage to break thru the 4,231 level in August. That would ended the post January bear market ( S’pore: Home of paper generals and paper traders).

Back in bear territory.

The good news is that Goldman Sachs last Thursday cut its year-end forecast for the S&P 500 index to 3,600. Only 2.5% from Friday’s close.

Still three months+ from 31 December 2022.

The New Year rally coming early?

Our central bank is really Mickey Mouse

In Cryptocurrency, Financial competency, S'pore Inc on 25/09/2022 at 6:14 am

(Explanation: When Chris K was a tua kee swinging big dick, MAS was known as Mickey Mouse, according to him. Don’t know about now)

Several months ago, former US treasury secretary Larry Summers, made an acerbic remark, taking issue with central bankers’ growing focus on climate-related risks. Comparing them with children neglecting their homework for the sake of extracurricular activities, Summers said: “Maybe you don’t get to take on global climate change when you’re having double-digit inflation rates.”

This remark about the consequences of not focusing on one’s reason for existence while doing BS came to mind recently: firstly when I read

A South Korean court issued an arrest warrant for Do Kwon, the co-founder of collapsed cryptocurrency operator Terraform Labs, over alleged violations of capital market rules after the $40bn implosion of the terra stablecoin.

The South Koreans said he was in S’pore, though the S’pore police deny he is here. Whatever, the five other individuals connected to the case that the Koreans want to arrest are here.

Meanwhile MAS is trying to clean up its act by cracking down on crypto firms. It had encouraged them to come here.

Secondly, Chris K, now a pensioner who is managing his money like a hedgie is KPKBing:

Ofcos the supertalents missed inflation surge earlier this year. They were in the transitory bandwagon even at the time the central bankers were getting cold feet whether it was after all transitory. And don’t worry, the inflation rate will moderate in the 2nd half of this year, the minister(s) cooed. Ofcos none of that happened, they were offside by a long yard …

Chris K on Facebook

All in all, MAS’s cockups on crypto and inflation (Remember that it’s part of the Pay And Pay ecosystem) show that paying millions doesn’t mean not getting monkeys.

2022 forecasted interest rate rises: S’pore’s very aggressive

In Currencies, Economy, Financial competency on 24/09/2022 at 2:04 pm

Policy rates are rising in advanced economies. Only the US of A, NZ and Canada are forecasted to be more aggressive than us for 2022.

Policy rates at the end of the year, %, countries ranked by policy rate

We way ahead of East Asian and Asean countries.

Do remember that

As Singapore’s monetary policy is centred on the exchange rate and its capital markets are open, domestic interest rates are largely determined by global interest rates and foreign exchange market expectations of the Singapore dollar.’s%20monetary%20policy%20is,expectations%20of%20the%20Singapore%20dollar.

MAS and MTI have kept their CPI-All Items inflation range at 5.0%-6.0% while MAS Core inflation is projected to average between 3.0%-4.0%. (added on 1 October 2022 at 2pm)

Go buy T-bills? Auction next Thursday

Leveraged to yr eyeballs with housing loan etc: go to church or mosque or temple and pray hard for divine help.

Go buy SSB? Last day to apply for October issue next Wednesday Tuesday (Amended on 26 September 2022 at 1 pm.

The Fed’s reasoning for a soft landing

In Financial competency on 22/09/2022 at 9:29 am

Jay Powell refuses to rule out US recession after third 0.75% rate rise

Fed chair warns ‘chances of soft landing are likely to diminish’

FT headline just now

So why did he until recently argue that the Fed could engineer a soft landing? Disagreeing with many media, and sell and buy side pontificators?

This extract from a BBC article published only yesterday explained his (and the Fed’s reasoning)

[T]here are plenty who believe a “soft landing” – a moderate economic slowdown, instead of a full-on recession – is still possible. Under such a scenario, you might see slower growth without the upheaval associated with a full-blown downturn.

Driving that optimism is America’s strong job market. Employers added 315,000 new workers in August. That’s hardly a sign of a sputtering economy, according to US Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller.

In a recent speech in Vienna, he dismissed recession fears, saying: “The robust US labour market is giving us the flexibility to be aggressive in our fight against inflation.”

The Fed has said it won’t hesitate to keep interest rates high, for as long as it takes to drive down inflation. With the US central bank preparing to show it won’t flinch in its resolve to lower prices, the process is unlikely to be smooth. If it raises rates by too much, the economy could plunge into recession. Raise them by too little and inflation continues to soar.

Powell now accepts what the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic accepted “was a difficult high-wire act to pull off”, saying recently that a soft landing is “a very hard thing to do”.

Markets are tanking.

But ever tot he could be wrong in changing his mind?

Whatever, there’s money to be made. Just where, I don’t know.

Economic theory that is problematic in a crisis

In Financial competency on 21/09/2022 at 5:37 am

Following the good, sound economic theory of marginal costing, European electricity markets price the cost of power each hour is set by the most expensive power plant that is needed to meet demand. This is common practice in developed free market countries.

And power plants which generate electricity using gas are the most flexible and able to fill gaps in power generation. So it is gas-powered plants which are setting the price of energy in many European (and other developed countries. The system usually works well.

But the present refusal of Russia to supply gas to the EU is causing the price of gas to go ballistic.

Worse high gas prices are coinciding with shortfalls in nuclear-power generation, as many reactors are closed for repair, and in hydroelectric-power generation, due to drought.

The result is very high prices for electricity. And very high profits even for those energy companies whose costs have not increased, such as those using nuclear, solar, hydro or wind. The EU proposes to cap the revenue that firms can receive on the market at €180 per megawatt hour (MWh). (The market price before the crisis was around €50 per MWh in Germany.)

Revenues above the cap will be collected by grid operators to be redistributed, perhaps in the form of cash handouts to households. The €180 cap is actually generous to energy companies according to the experts.

But there’s another complication. The renewable energy companies often have fix price arrangements so the headline “profits” may not be there.

Meanwhile consumers are KPKBing and governments are trying fixes that good sound economic theories disapprove of like capping the price of electricity or borrowing more without increasing revenue.

HDB tells us flats are juz affordable or unaffordable?

In Financial competency, Financial planning, Property, Public Administration on 01/09/2022 at 3:51 am

HDB posted this infographic on FB without comment. Is some subversive working in the HDB (and who does not wish the PAP well) illustrating how unaffordable or barely affordable are HDB flats?

ISD must investigate

“Cost of flat up by 44 times while household Income up by 9 times between 1971 & 2021.”.

Gold extracted, peanuts given

In Financial competency, Public Administration on 31/08/2022 at 10:24 am

And it’s from our own pocket: How we fund our SWFs from 2010

MU: Don’t stereotype the Jewish owners

In Financial competency, Footie on 23/08/2022 at 5:04 am

Further to MU finances: Owners v fans, the critics i.e. the fans KPKB that more than £1bn has gone on interest payments, debts and dividends under the ownership of the Glazers. There has been mutterings about the stinginess and greed of the Jewish (and Zionists) owners.

But the Glazers have not been mean in spending on players. They have been very unJewish (OK, OK I’m stereotyping the Jews) in their spending. The club spent £1.35bn on players in the past 10 years, according to Transfermarkt. MU is the fifth biggest spender in Europe and third highest in the Premier League. In that time the club has recorded a negative balance of £971mn in the transfer market, easily the worst in Europe.

The money was just spent foolishly.

Results do matter. As recently as 2018, United sat at the top of Deloitte’s financial league table of European football in terms of revenue. Now it is in in fifth.

But to be fair to the fans, the Glazers leveraged MU to the eyeballs. They used very little of their not inconsiderable wealth in the investment.

Fyi, I worked in Rothschilds who are very proud of their Jewish heritage. Have happy memories of time there.

Check this out at Cynical Investor’s takes on S’pore’s History: Memoirs of Harry’s administration secretary.

MU finances: Owners v fans

In Financial competency, Footie on 19/08/2022 at 3:47 am

The Glazers have

saddled Man Utd with debt and taken cash out of the club. The gross cost of servicing borrowings and paying dividends has totalled about $140 million over the past three financial years, according to Breakingviews calculations.

But the maths of fans are US$140m

That’s enough to buy Liverpool’s star Mohamed Salah, according to Transfermarkt’s valuations.

No wonder there is speculation that the Jewish owners want to sell.

And there’s a billionaire fan prepared to buy.

“If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer,” the 69-year-old’s spokesperson told The Times.

At the right price of course: he made billions buying unloved assets. Read the above BBC link.

S’pore: Home of paper generals and paper traders

In Financial competency on 15/08/2022 at 4:02 am

Traders are watching the 4,231 level for the S&P 500. Hitting that would mean the benchmark index will have recouped half the losses logged since the drop from its January high.

If it hits that level, it means the recent bear market is over

“Since WWII, every time the S&P recovered 50% of the bear market price decline, while the 500 may have re-tested the prior low, it never set a lower low,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, said.

Another bang-the-balls moment for S’poreans who were waiting to buy into the bear market of 2022? They were KPKBing that the present rally is a bear trap. And were keeping their powder dry.

These are the same S’poreans who missed the 2020 turnaround and who were screaming that the 2020 turnaround was a bear trap. They went quiet when the market went to make new highs.

Every rally is a bear trap to them: until the market makes new highs. Then they wait for market to correct. Tan ko ko.

They are paper traders or investors. Plenty of them in S’pore, the home of paper generals. Real investors and traders know that at market turning points, there’s no ringing of the bell. You take your chances. And pray you got it right if you are margined.

But the rewards of getting it right is worth the risk. Even conservative investors who get it half right can buy good income stocks at very unfair prices (in hindsight of course).

But waiting for the right signal is delusional. The bell doesn’t ring when the rally begins. It’s just another bear trap until investors and traders keep on buying.

Jialat says DBS

In Economy, Financial competency, Financial planning on 03/08/2022 at 5:13 am

Income not keeping pace with inflation for four in 10 people: DBS study

Sadly the ST report is full of propaganda attempting to make the bitterness sweet.

But the u/m graphic from the the constructive, nation-building ST Lite is shocking. I’m sure the editor will be asked to explain why he was less than constructive, and nation-building.

And there’s more from ST Lite

  • A study by DBS bank has found that overall monthly expenses for its customers grew 22.2 per cent in May 2022 compared to May 2021 
  • This was twice that of their income growth of 11.1 per cent in the same period
  • The study also found that income for 40 per cent of its customers grew less than 5 per cent in the past year
  • This was slightly below the country’s average consumer price index inflation of 5.2 per cent in the first half of 2022
  • A senior economist said that inflation will go on for the next two to three years and the lowest-income group will continue to feel the strain if it stays high

And die die GST must go up?

Btw, the piece from ST Lite reminds me of Wormtongue. He turned on his evil master, killing him. He couldn’t stand the abuse he was getting.

Hwa Hong: Ongs have no stomach for Mexican standoff

In Corporate governance, Financial competency, Property on 28/07/2022 at 12:36 pm

They raised the white flag and will tender their 29.26% stake in Hwa Hong to the consortium led by Ong Choo Eng, a previous MD of Hwa Hong.

So I’ve tendered all my shares.

Without the Ongs block, the consortium faced the probability of failing to achieve a stake of more than 50% in the company. And even if they succeeded, there would be about minority shareholders of about 40%. Hwa Hong: Mexican standoff in the offing/ Must be Asia Dymon again.

As it is, the bidders are likely to be able to take the co private.

So I tendered my shares.

Can’t really complain as the shares appreciated 42% since June. And I had collected a 1 cent dividend in May.

Double confirm: Study shows “Pay millions, still get monkeys”

In Financial competency, Political governance, Public Administration on 27/07/2022 at 8:43 am

We were also interested to read this new study on corporate pay, from Ossiam and Proxinvest. It found that the more executives and directors are paid, the worse a company’s share price performs.

Moral Money, an FT newsletter

Relevant extracts

Board Remuneration (-2.6%): our results suggest that high board remuneration consistently
penalises equity performance. In fact, if the fee paid by the company to the member as
compensation for being on the board is significant in relation to the member’s net worth, it can
become a subconscious factor affecting their judgment.


CEO Total Compensation (-3.1%): companies with low CEO total compensation significantly
outperformed companies that award their CEO with large total compensation packages. This
finding could suggest that excessive compensation signals an agency problem in a weak
governance structure that could negatively affect the company’s performance.
• Senior Management Bonus Cap (-4.7%): the result suggests that a lower bonus cap
arrangement can be a highly effective tool and hence contributes significantly to equity
performance. Setting and maintaining an appropriate bonus cap for senior managers can play an
important role in controlling management’s attempts to misappropriate company resources by
paying excessive bonuses.
• Compensation Package (Base Salary (-1.6%), Annual Bonus (-2.0%), Long-Term (-2.1%) and Other
Compensation (-2.3%)): our results show that whether we consider the base salary, the bonus,
long-term or other types of compensation, companies that have a more parsimonious
compensation policy and award relatively less to their senior managers tend to perform better.
Interestingly, the biggest gap is observed for the Other Compensation pillar, which tends to be
company-specific and may eventually hide sub-standard practices in CEO compensation policies.
• Compensation relative to Total (Base Salary (+2.8%), Annual Bonus (-1.0%), Long-Term (-0.9%)
and Other Compensation (+0.6%)): a clear pattern emerges from our results: companies that pay a
more significant part of CEO total package in the form of base salary show better performance.
Meanwhile, when an annual bonus or other form of compensation represents a significant
proportion of total compensation, equity performance tends to lag. This confirms the intuition that a
high base salary proportion of the total package can serve as well-deserved compensation to
effectively motivate the CEO, while avoiding managerial short-termism linked to inherently shortterm incentives (such as a bonus), which possibly has harmful effects on the company’s long-term

Actually no need for study. Juz look at the performance of PM, Tharman, Lawrence Wong, Kee Chiu, Queen Jos and the other millionaire ministers: die die must raise GST.

Want a wild ride on SGX?

In Financial competency on 26/07/2022 at 6:43 am

There’s iFast. Go check it out punters and FTs working in SGX. It’s been on a wild ride. Think Sea and Grab.

No need for SGX’s FTs to try to get Grab and Sea to list here to give us locals the thrills and spills of a wild, guts spilling ride on a tornado.

Singapore seeks tech listings boost
Singapore is lobbying its largest tech companies to relist in the city-state, arguing it is their “national duty” in an escalation of the financial hub’s bid to boost the appeal of its stock market. Over the past year, exchange officials have intensified attempts to persuade Singapore-based companies, including tech conglomerate Sea and superapp Grab, to return after completing IPOs in the US.

FT newsletter

Btw, the actions of SGX’s FTs show that they don’t know what’s here.

Something on iFast soon.

Was Temasek’s CIO whistling in the graveyard?

In Accounting, Financial competency, Private Equity, S'pore Inc, Temasek on 25/07/2022 at 5:33 am

He was very bullish in his remarks about Temasek’s unlisted assets: see below. Wondering out loud, because maybe being super KS (a PAP Hard Truth) now requires Temasek’s unlisted assets valued as at 31 March 2022 to be marked down by 30% to reflect present day reality?

No I’m not being anti-PAP or alarmist. I just read the international financial media and extrapolate what I read into the S’pore context. Something our constructive, nation-building media don’t do because they are constructive, and nation-building.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

A typical example of how our our constructive, nation-building media reported Temasek’s results:

Temasek Holdings’ net portfolio value reaches record S$403 billion, made up of mostly unlisted assets for first time

Going by the usual definition of “unlisted assets”, Temasek’s unlisted assets include investments in private equity, venture capital. property and infrastructure. Btw, the differences between these categories are often very thin. One category can morph into another and then another.

‘Mapletree Investments (property), the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) (infrastructure), and the Singapore Power (SP) Group (infrastructure) are examples of unlisted assets.

In the past decade, this segment of the portfolio has generated returns over 10% per annum through IPOs, trade sales or from the performance of the businesses. The value of these unlisted assets has risen nearly four-fold from S$53bn to S$210bn. It was money for jam to invest in unlisted assets:

 Cheap debt is a red rag to private-equity bulls: around half a typical buy-out is paid for using debt, magnifying the returns to investors’ capital. It has played a critical role in each buy-out boom period; the present one can trace its genealogy directly to rate cuts by central banks during the global financial crisis.

So when interest rates rise, valuations fall.

Below is part of Chris Kuan’s FB post on Temasek’s unlisted assets. Read how Temasek’s CIO bullishly (Or defensively for cynics like me?) pictures what Temasek’s unlisted assets are doing for our reserves, and Chris K’s retorts. My take, if so good why die die must raise GST in the face of inflation?

But before you read it, here’s some analyses from the Economist and the FT on private equity investments (Remember the lines between the various categories of unlisted assets are often very thin).

If they are revalued today, they be marked could down around a third. Do remember that Temasek’s unlisted assets are valued as of as 31 March 2022.

The analyses of the FT and Economist are premised on the view that public markets are a useful window on the future of unlisted assets. The view on that premise is ugly, very ugly.


One index, which maps private-equity portfolios to their public stockmarket equivalents, is down by 37% this year.

Secondly, in the UK, investment trusts that invest in private equity are now trading at big discounts to their reported net asset valuations (NAVs), reports the FT. The average being currently well over 30%. The reason? Investors expect the value of a lot of the holdings will soon be written down in line with price falls in listed markets.

Unlisted assets benefit

from a fig leaf of illiquidity, resulting in a delay between real and reported fund valuations. In the absence of a liquid market to price investments, private-equity funds assess the current “fair value” of their portfolio based on the price an investment would realise in an “orderly transaction”, which should look similar to the valuations of comparable companies in the public markets.

But to be fair to Temasek, the situation is not be that bad for some (Or maybe most?) of its unlisted assets. The FT explains that “not all private equity trusts invest in the kind of early-stage growth businesses that are collapsing in value”. It goes on, “Some are focused on mature businesses and focused on profits and cash flows.” These should not see the same writedowns.

PSA, and SP Group are good examples “of mature businesses and focused on profits and cash flows” that should not see huge writedowns.

And do note that in the recent quarter, Blackstone (tua kee in unlisted assets: it started life in private equity) marked down its US$276bn portfolio of corporate private equity investments by 6.7%. And some funds tied to real estate and credit investments were also marked down. One fund had had virtually all of its investment gains wiped out. So maybe a 30% markdown is alarmist?

Let’s hope the bulk of Temasek’s unlisted assets are like PSA and SP Group, but as Chris K KPKBs, we juz don’t and won’t know. 

The CIO may wax lyrical about the “liquidity”, “steady dividends” and “insights” derived from unlisted assets, the fact that unlisted assets comprised the majority means Temasek’s portfolio is more illiquid, hence higher risk. The more fully owned assets it has, the more difficult it will be for the company to sell assets at a pinch and at a reasonable price. Add in the issue of price discovery for assets that has no ready market, you can see how risks have gone up. This is the asset liquidity issue raised by S&P a few years ago when the rating agency gave a much lower standalone credit rating that is apart from the implicit guarantee from the Republic (which by implication means Temasek’s AAA rating is undeserved if it were not for the implicit state guarantee).

Now becos unlisted assets are illiquid any asset manager investing in them needs to price in the illiquidity premium….. which is to say if the expected total return from a listed asset is 10%, that of an equivalent unlisted assets should be higher in order to compensate for the risk that it is difficult to sell and the price discovery is poorer. The CIO says the unlisted assets in Temasek more than compensate for the illiquidity premium but beyond words, no picture no sound. Here is the problem with unlisted or private assets – the manager of these assets have ample opportunity to fudge asset values. It is a well known trait among such managers, i.e. the private equity funds, to be slow in marking down asset values when stock market fall like presently but quick to mark them up when markets are rising. A clear example of the fudge can be seen when private equity assets have not been marked down or marked down little in comparison to the stock price of listed investment companies holding private credit assets which had been hammered (there is little difference between private equity and private credit). So what are the board of directors got to say about this – they obviously approve but are the returns justified by the increased risks and the increased non transparency of asset values. Someone did pontificate that Temasek generate “good risk adjusted returns” some years ago and yours truly wonder if the term “good risk adjusted returns” is really understood.

Chris Kuan

Having read this post, maybe you will share my very cynical tots that the CIO was defensive (rather than bullish)? And maybe he was whistling in the graveyard? He’s hoping not to write the obituary of unlisted investments in next year’s annual report. We should hope not. LOL.

GST at 15% to save our reserves from being the investments in unlisted assets?


Hwa Hong: Mexican standoff in the offing/ Must be Asia Dymon again

In Corporate governance, Financial competency, Property on 24/07/2022 at 8:32 am

Further to Reported NAV is a lot of BS, here’s more on the unfriendly takeover bid at Hwa Hong.

The current Ong directors and their immediate families, who hold 29.26% of the total number of issued shares, do not intend to accept the Offer. Going by precedent, they won’t be allowed by the authorities to change their minds.

The Ong that is part of the takeover bid was the MD of the company from 1989 to 2021. He was the guy responsible for the good payouts I talked about in Reported NAV is a lot of BS. But his brothers and half brothers didn’t want him handing over the running of the co to his son. They wanted their sons to run the co. Typical Chinese family squabble. Btw, there are those who think that the row between LHL and LSY is a typical Chinese family row along similar lines. LSY’s eldest son’s public comments seem to give credence to the allegations that he thinks as a PES5 Brianac he should be a future LEEder even if the other Brianac Lee did his NS (and is an officer).

Coming back to the bid, the bidders control enough shares to make their offer mandatory. But it remains conditional (more than 50% of shareholders must accept) and it’s hard going because of shareholders like me who are ambivalent about the bid. The bidders are buying in the market at 0.40 cents. Those selling want to take the 40 cents (less commission) and move on.

I tendered 58% of my holdings but I won’t be very unhappy if the takeover fails and my tendered shares get rejected.

Because then there’ll be a Mexican standoff.

The bidders will own anywhere between 30% to a shade under 50%, the other Ongs 29.26% and people like me the balance. A very unstable situation and all to play for.

Even if the bid becomes unconditional, the winners have a Mexican standoff albeit one where they have 50%+ of the votes. They have to contend with critical minority shareholders who will have at least 35% of the votes.

Interestingly, Asia Dymon is part of the bidding consortium. I own shares in Penguin Int’l which Asia Dymon and the MD tried to privatise in 2020. Although they now control the co, they can’t take it private because of people like me. We tot that they should have bid 15% higher. The illiquid shares trade above the takeover price. They stopped the dividend for two years but reinstated it recently at a higher level because presumably they need to finance their loans. A dividend yield of 3.31% is not to be sneered at even if S’pore Savings Bonds now yield 3%.

Asia Dymon never learnt that being a cheapskate is problematic.

Coming soon, never use OCBC to be your adviser when bidding. They can’t even communicate the facts to shareholders.

Reported NAV is a lot of BS

In Accounting, Corporate governance, Financial competency on 16/07/2022 at 9:54 am

I own some Hwa Hong shares, the bulk of the shares since the early 1990s. It paid good dividends: regularly there were special dividends as the co sold off some or other asset. For the last 11 years, I’ve been collecting decent but unexciting dividends. Juz waiting for something to happen.

Hwa Hong is now the target of an unfriendly takeover orchestrated by a former MD.

The book net asset value as at Dec 31, 2021 stood at $0.2852 based on historical valuations. I always assumed that NAV was a lot higher, probably at least $0.37. Btw, the NAV has been around that mark for a long time.

So when the ex-MD, a member of the Ong family controlling the co and some outsiders bid for the co at $0.37, I wasn’t too surprised.

The bidders soon raised their bid to $0.40.

The independent adviser reported that the fair value surplus of these investment properties of $97.4 million represents approximately $0.1492 per share, which would result in a revalued NAV per share of $0.4344. Again I didn’t find this too surprising.

All the usual accounting smoke and mirrors. Nothing to get upset about.

But that isn’t all. Based on information provided by the management (who include other members of a member of the Ong family is an executive director, and other Ongs also happen to be directors: there’s only one independent director), Provenance says the adjusted RNAV as at Dec 31 is $0.5052. [Note this paragraph was amended for clarity on 20 July at 5am)

This is 77% more than the book net asset value as at Dec 31, 2021 of $0.2852. This I found amazing. Something is really wrong with the accounting profession which allows such vast discrepancies in what should be an objective, hard number. They shouldn’t be helping write fiction.

Hence this grumble.

This issue isn’t new here: Hyflux fiasco shows why “book value” is BS. There the shareholders also found out that the NAV was fiction. And so did the directors including Oliver Lum the founder and major shareholder. At least Hwa Hong minority shareholders can laugh all the way to the bank.

Coming back to the takeover, Provenance recommends that the offer is “fair and reasonable”, a call I can’t argue against.

More on the takeover soon.

Yesterday it was Three Arrows, today it’s Vauld

In Cryptocurrency, Financial competency, Media on 05/07/2022 at 5:05 am

Another bad day in the office for the MAS, and our millionaire ministers.

Another crypto business based in supposedly well regulated and crypto-friendly S’pore tanks.*

Vauld, a S’pore-based crypto lender halted withdrawals and trading on its platform, int’l media reports. It said was looking at all options, including restructuring. It was offering clients annualised returns of up to 40% to lend out their crypto tokens, said clients had yanked almost US$200mn from its platform in the past three weeks as high-profile failures panicked investors. Doubtless our central bank allowed it to operate here because Coinbase exchange and billionaire investor Peter Thiel.

Let’s see if our constructive, nation-building media reports this breaking story. Remember this: Did our constructive, nation-building media report this?

*This sentence was added hours after first publication.

Inflation expectations: Wisdom of the crowds or irrational heuristics at work?

In Financial competency on 26/06/2022 at 2:58 pm

Consumer prices across the rich world are rising by more than 9% year on year, the highest rate since the 1980s. Worryingly, there is growing evidence that the public is starting to expect consistently high inflation. Figures suggesting that Americans’ medium-term expectations of inflation had risen helped set off the market turmoil of last week, which culminated in the Federal Reserve raising interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point.

But the crowd nay be wrong. Heuristics are general cognitive frameworks humans rely on regularly to quickly reach a solution. They

are mental shortcuts that can facilitate problem-solving and probability judgments. These strategies are generalizations, or rules-of-thumb, reduce cognitive load, and can be effective for making immediate judgments, however, they often result in irrational or inaccurate conclusions.

Bear market? What bear market?

In Financial competency on 21/06/2022 at 9:09 am

Still 60% up.

If one had bot into the S&P 500 in early March 2020 at its nadir, one would still be up 60% despite the market falling 22% from its January high.

Why M’sia is no longer popular with ang moh investors

In China, Financial competency, Malaysia on 20/06/2022 at 4:51 am

No not because Tun M is running the show.

No it’s because of China.

When the MSCI EM index — the benchmark for many equity funds — was launched in 1988, Malaysia was the biggest EM, with more than a third of the index. M’sian equity specialists like me were minting it. Even though I was based here, I didn’t do “S’pore”. It was boring and a waste of time. Btw, it’s still boring but S’pore stocks (and reits) now pay good dividends. Just the thing for me today.

China only joined the index in 1996, with a weight of just 0.46%.

Chinese equities now make up more than 30% of the MSCI EM, followed by Taiwan, India, South Korea and Brazil.

I told my ex-boss yesterday that he and his pals Tun and Anwar were in a sweet spot.

Bear facts

In Financial competency on 19/06/2022 at 3:18 am

The current bear market (S&P 500 idown 22%) has lasted over 160 days. That is a lot longer than the 33 days in the bear market of February and March 2020. In the Great Financial Crisis, the S&P was in bear territory for 517 days: from October 2007 to March 2009.

Fyi, a bear market is a fall of 20% or more from the most recent peak.

Did our constructive, nation-building media report this?

In Cryptocurrency, Financial competency, Media on 18/06/2022 at 5:06 am

Worries about cryptocurrency contagion coalesced around Three Arrows, a crypto-based hedge fund in Singapore. The Financial Times reported that it missed margin calls at the weekend, even before Bitcoin plumbed an 18-month low.

Economist’s The world in brief

Ecommerce carnival is over

In Financial competency on 17/06/2022 at 10:09 am

Even before, last night’s S&P’s massacre, Amazon’s share price had fallen back to its pre-pandemic level.


that track the ecommerce sector have done even worse:the Amplify Online Retail ETF is 20 per cent below where it stood when Covid-19 hit.


Go check out price of SEA.

Chinese don’t do risk management

In China, Financial competency on 16/06/2022 at 3:07 pm

Never heard of diversification of risk?

Talking about Chinese parents

In a highly competitive environment where education is prized as the route to success, many parents would rather spend their money securing a bright future for one child than spread their resources across several.

What happens if the child is not that bright or has mental issues?

Having two kids sounds a safer bet.

Black Moday: It’s official, US in bear market

In Financial competency on 14/06/2022 at 6:24 am

S&P 500 fell 4.3% in New York to close at its lowest level since January 2021. Index is more than 20% below its January 2022 all-time high.

The two-year Treasury yield, which tracks shorter-term interest rate expectations, rose 0.27 percentage points to  3.33%, its biggest one-day rise since June 2009.

Our local banks will keep falling. A recession in the US means bad times for S’pore.

As usual Spore Inc plays catch up when world moves on

In Financial competency, S'pore Inc on 09/06/2022 at 2:39 pm

Whatever happened to the Spacs that were going to list on SGX and make SGX Great Again? Three listed and are trading below their issue price.

Spacs are now taboo on Wall Street with investors nursing big losses because many of the companies that listed through Spacs have seen their shares slide. Spacs have raised US$12.7bn this year: “peanuts” compared to the US$166bn raised last year.

“The product is dead. There’s no more Spacs,” said one lawyer at a firm that created its own Spac team to capitalise on the boom.


Why the bulls are bullish

In Financial competency on 05/06/2022 at 2:18 pm

[F]inancial markets have done a lot of the Fed’s heavy lifting for it. Since the start of the year, bond yields have risen sharply; mortgage rates have surged; spreads on corporate bonds have widened; the dollar has climbed; and share prices have slumped. In a counter-factual world in which financial markets had shrugged off the Fed’s two interest-rate increases so far, the risks of a hard landing for the economy would, paradoxically, be greater. Inflation pressures would keep building. But as things stand, interest rates may not have to go quite as high as they otherwise might have.

Who is bigger tua kee? China or US?

In China, Financial competency on 01/06/2022 at 4:26 am

China holds more than $3tn in foreign currency reserves, while the US holds almost none. 

FT’s Martin Wolf

By our millionaire ministers’ standards China must be more tua kee than the USA. So why is PM not licking Xi’s ass?

Because, the USA

can print them … The ability of the US and its allies to freeze a large proportion of Russia’s currency reserves shows what this power means.

FT’s Martin Wolf

Happy shareholders/ PR BS at work

In Energy, Financial competency on 30/05/2022 at 5:14 am

Europe’s biggest oil companies reported record profits for the first quarter of the year. That has put them in the crosshairs of politicians, many of whom advocate windfall taxes on a bounty which they deem indecent at a time of economic pain. That would harm the planet, energy firms retort: we are recycling our extra cash into low-carbon projects.

Not quite. European majors are indeed refraining from splashing out on fossil fuel. Rather than going into low-carbon ventures, however, the bulk of their enormous profits is being handed to investors. BP, for example, has allocated 60% of its surplus cash this year to buying back shares. The sums that they are investing in green projects remain puny. Shell aims to spend $3bn on low-carbon investments in 2022—out of a capital-spending budget of $23bn-27bn. Last year BP spent less than 10% of its budget on green ventures. Hardly a taxing amount.

The world in Brief (Economist)

What has God against Christians on Wall Street and those who trust them?

In Financial competency on 29/05/2022 at 2:03 pm

Bill Hwang and Cathie Woods profess their Christian faith very publicly.

Bill Hwang, founder of collapsed family office Archegos Capital Management, was recently arrested by US authorities and charged with racketeering, fraud and market manipulation.

But to be fair to God, how did Wall Street’s so-called risk controls allow it to lend billions of dollars to the alleged fraudster? God made Wall Street too greedy?

Archegos defaulted last year, causing banks including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Nomura Holdings to lose more than $10bn. Hwang is likely to have been wiped out financially.

It’s a surprise thar the banks were dealing with him because he had gotten into trouble with the SEC. He settled with the SEC.

Cathie Wood’s flagship ARK Innovation ETF has (I think) given up all the outperformance it once enjoyed against the S&P 500 Index.

Wood’s strategy of picking stocks involved in “disruptive innovation” is a victim of the tech meltdown as investors flee high-priced growth shares because of rising interest rates and high inflation.  She specialised in companies with negative cashflows that need the grace of equity or debt investors to stay alive.

She and those retail investors who followed her prioritised growth over cash flows, confident that cash flows would emerge in time. If you think these investors are dumb, think Amazon and Tesla.

God helped her by making retail investors greedy.

ESG: “We charge you more for lower returns”

In Financial competency on 27/05/2022 at 10:29 am

But first, what ESG really means.

Not the very wokeish: Environment, Social and Governance.

ESG funds marketed themselves as “save the world and get rich”. They invested in tech stocks and not energy stocks. Now energy stocks are outperforming and tech stocks are dogs with fleas on them. NASDAQ is in a bear market.

ESG now means Energy Shortage Guaranteed?

Seriously, ESG fund managers are calling for disclaimers on ‘climate-friendly’ products: clients should be warned that explicitly ‘green’ investments can have lower returns

“We want you to be aware that we charge you more for lower returns” is the message. ESG funds can charge higher fees hence fund managers love to market them.

European govts doing the most to tackle energy bills

In Financial competency, S'pore Inc on 26/05/2022 at 3:49 am

Notice that they are all reducing VAT/ energy taxes. No-one is planning to raise GST ie VAT to protect the reserves.

Another bucking bronco day

In Financial competency on 21/05/2022 at 9:04 am

The S&P 500 fell as much as 2.3% dragging the index down more than 20 % from its January high, the common definition of a bear market. 

But it closed up 0.01%, down 18.7% from its record peak in early January.

Worse than NASDAQ bear market

In Cryptocurrency, Financial competency on 21/05/2022 at 4:54 am

Among the most dramatic downturns has been in the world of crypto-currencies. Investors in crypto are used to great swings of fortunes, so perhaps they won’t worry too much.

On May 13, Luna, the sister token of controversial stablecoin* TerraUSD (UST), plunged to $0 marking a collapse of the cryptocurrency that was worth more than US$100 ($139).

The sell-off came after the US$18 billion algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD lost its peg to the USD, wiping out the price of its support coin Luna which has now lost almost 99% of its value, according to a report by Forbes.

Further complications also emerged as the Terra blockchain which underpins UST and Luna stopped processing transactions twice in less than 24 hours, according to a report by CNBC.


  a type of cryptocurrency that is pegged to another currency, sometimes a conventional one like the dollar. These are part of the plumbing of the crypto system: they act as a bridge between conventional banks, where people use dollars, and the “on-blockchain” world, where people use crypto. It is stablecoins’ interaction with traditional finance that has led regulators to fret about the impact they could have on financial stability.

Gentle reminder on markets R recessions

In Financial competency on 20/05/2022 at 5:13 am

That towering figure of finance and economics, Paul Samuelson, in1966 joked that the stock market had predicted nine of the past five recessions.

He wasn’t wrong.

Why yesterday’s fall in NY matters

In Financial competency on 19/05/2022 at 8:47 am

Last night, the S&P 500 fell 4% (165.17 points) to 3,923.68.

Target and Walmart are proving “old economy” shares can crash on bad news, just like tech stocks. 

FT’s Lex

Fear is everywhere.

Tech: “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

In Financial competency on 19/05/2022 at 4:04 am

 Or “Bubble Bubble, Toil, and Trouble” to misquote Shakespeare.

Following another bad day for tech stocks, after a couple of good days, I tot these might interest.

Recession? What recession?

In Financial competency on 18/05/2022 at 6:31 am

Persistently high inflation across many economies continues to spread gloom. Stagflation is happening, recession may follow. On Sunday, Lloyd Blankfein, the senior chairman of Wall Street investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, said there is a “very, very high risk” of recession in the US, the world’s biggest economy.

Markets are (were?) reflecting that anxiety. Last month and this month have been downbeat for investors. Among the most dramatic downturns has been in the world of crypto-currencies.

But analysts at JPMorgan suggest that global equity markets had priced in too much recession risk, saying stocks “stand to recover if a recession doesn’t come through, given already substantial multiple derating, reduced positioning and downbeat sentiment”.

Last Friday, T Rowe portfolio manager David Giroux said “Markets are pricing in a very high probability of a very bad event playing out; if it doesn’t, some of those cyclical stocks will massively re-rate higher, and if it does happen they’ve already priced a lot of that in.” and “If you wait for certainty to return, for the all-clear, you’re going to be buying things that are already up 30 per cent.”

Charts from the latest of the Economist published last Friday.


What a wild roller coaster ride/ SEA and iFast also like that?

In Financial competency on 12/05/2022 at 9:08 am

A wild roller coaster ride or a bucking bronco ride: choose the analogy. And on stationary bike. Peloton was valued at US$8.1bn when it went public in September 2019 and its market capitalisation almost reached US$50bn in late-2020 before sinking below US$4bn on Tuesday. It fell further on Wednesday.

Vomit inducing stock.

Will SEA and iFast deflate like Peloton?

SEA closed last night at US$57.11. Before its ride up to US$372.70 in November 2021 on 13 March 2020 it was “only” at US$44.51.

iFast was at S$0.78 on 20 March 2020. In late Oct last year, it peaked at S$10.10. It closed at S$4.82 yesterday. Unlike SEA, it’s profitable. It even pays dividends.

Why our millionaire ministers deserve their salaries?

In China, Commodities, Economy, Financial competency, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia on 11/05/2022 at 4:58 am

This year, NASDAQ in bear market (more than -20%) and S&P in correction (more than -15%). HK and China have been in bear markets since last year.

STI up 3% this year. And if palm oil keeps on flying, and Covid is under control in the region, expect the tourists from Indonesia and M’sia to come in.

BS that data informs decision making

In Financial competency, Uncategorized on 07/05/2022 at 5:10 am

“At the moment, bad data is bad and good data is also bad,” says a fund manager quoted by the FT. The person was saying market sentiment was generally bearish.

This leads me to remember this gem from either the FT or Economist

Monetary policymakers everywhere are promising that their decisions will be “data-dependent”, but how they interpret incoming data is what matters.

This in turn reminds me that our technocratic millionaire ministers interpret data and other facts from the perspective of Hard Truths.

Wimin power

In Financial competency on 01/05/2022 at 1:43 pm

A large portion of private wealth is set to shift in the coming decade from the joint control of baby boomer couples into the sole charge of women, setting up a challenge for the historically male-oriented wealth management industry.


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.

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

Chances of dying from Covid

In Financial competency on 21/03/2022 at 3:46 am

28 out of 100 if seriously ill.


Update on Bitcoin

In Financial competency on 18/03/2022 at 5:43 am

Bitcoin is now closer to US$41,000.

Related post:

Bloodbaths galore this week/ BS about Bitcoin

Sell Gold, Buy Bitcoin?

S&P 500 hit a death cross on Monday

In Financial competency on 17/03/2022 at 6:24 am

But Tuesday’s recovery is continuing: +95.41 (2.24%) last night, despite “(or because?) of hawkish signals by the Fed. It raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a range between 0.25% to 0.5%, and hawkishly signalled six more rate increases in 2022.

Powell added fuel to the rally saying he saw the US economy as being in strong shape and that the probability of a recession was “not particularly elevated”.

Coming back to the “death cross”. It’s when the index’s 50-day moving average falls below the 200-day number. It’s usually read as a very, very bearish sign.

Time to panic? Time to cut losses? Time to sell into a rally? Time to buy the big dip? Time to sit tight?

Read this piece (and the comments) from Barron’s:

The comments are just as interesting as the article.

May the Force be with you. Make money but don’t cherish it:

Dr. John ‘Doc’ Holliday I’m a gambler. Money’s just a tool of my trade.

Wyatt Earp Of course, you will guarantee you won’t lose.

Dr. John ‘Doc’ Holliday I never lose. You see, poker’s played by desperate men who cherish money. I don’t lose because I have nothing to lose, including my life.

British Buffett: From hero to zero

In Financial competency on 12/03/2022 at 6:28 am

Apposite to Buffett trumps S&P again after having lost his way for years, is Terry Smith.

He’s another value investor like Buffett and has sometimes been described as the British Warren Buffett. His investment policy is “buy good companies, don’t overpay, do nothing”. “Do nothing” refers to minimising portfolio turnover to keep down costs.

He tends to focus more on faster-growing companies, even if they are often more expensive than the bargains that cheap skate Buffett likes.

This got him into trouble.

Different attitudes to risk: fund manager playing Russian roulette and gunslinging gambler

In Financial competency on 11/03/2022 at 6:33 am

H2O’s chief executive Bruno Crastes: “There is a very simple rule in investment: if you are not able to get poor, you will never get richer.” and “When you don’t want to lose, you will never make money.”

Its flagship Multibonds fund is now down 40% from the middle of February, having lost 9.5% in a single day on Monday, because of a massive bet on the Rouble.

And H20 is suffering massive outflows in the wake of repeated scandals over the last few years.

Its funds are open to retail investors but it takes big hedge fund bets.

Maybe Bruno Crastes should think like this fellow gambler?

Dr. John ‘Doc’ Holliday I’m a gambler. Money’s just a tool of my trade.

Wyatt Earp Of course, you will guarantee you won’t lose.

Dr. John ‘Doc’ Holliday I never lose. You see, poker’s played by desperate men who cherish money. I don’t lose because I have nothing to lose, including my life.

Sounds like Bruno Crastes and H2O cherish money.

Energy: ‘Double double toil and trouble’

In Energy, Financial competency on 10/03/2022 at 3:45 am

‘Fire burn and cauldron bubble’.

The turmoil in energy markets explained in three charts

Oil at US$300? Taz what the Russians say if they cannot or don’t export oil to the rest of the world.  Opec’s sectary general says ,“no capacity in the world at the moment that can replace 7mn barrels [a day] of exports” from Russia.”. For Germany, Russian petrol makes up 30% of imports.  A quarter of the EU’s oil imports come from Russia. 60% of Russia’s oil exports go to Europe.

Russia has EU by the balls (Related article: (Why Russia has the EU by the balls). Moscow said it could cut natural gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in response to western sanctions. 

See the gap between US and EU prices. US LNG producers are shipping all they can. And if Moscow cuts gas to Europe, prices will really fly.

Buffett trumps S&P again after having lost his way for years

In Financial competency on 28/02/2022 at 3:55 pm

He’s returned to the Promised Land after wondering in the Wilderness.

Old economy stocks wot did it for him.

Putin only hinting of going nuclear, the West has gone “nuclear”

In Financial competency on 28/02/2022 at 5:54 am

Putin only puts Russian nuclear forces on high alert, after the West has already gone “nuclear”.

What a wimp.

The US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the European Commission are blocking Russia’s central bank from using its roughly US$630bn stockpile of foreign reserves. This will make it difficult for the bank shore up the economy and shield it from the costs associated with its attacks on Ukraine.

It can only easily access its reserves of yuan.

What’s the point of reserves if access to them is blocked?

Putin a genius? He’s just another Trump, a Putin fan.