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Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN’

StanChart: New CEO (“inspired choice”*) lacks Asian experience

In Banks, Emerging markets, Telecoms on 03/03/2015 at 1:14 pm

But this lack of Asian experience shows that the directors think that the main priorities for the bank are to shore up capital (rights issue coming) and mending ties with US regulators. He has great credentials for these tasks. Temasek seems to agree. it welcomed Mr. Winters, who “brings with him considerable experience, as well as an excellent reputation for building good teams.”

(*Btw, “inspired choice” is FT’s description)

Still the lack of Asian experience could become a major issue because there is expected to be an exodus of experienced managers. He may find replacements but changes will be disruptive if not problematic.

STANDARD CHARTERED OVERHAULS LEADERSHIP The British bank Standard Chartered responded on Thursday to shareholders’ calls for change, announcing a sweeping management overhaul including the departure of its chief executive, its chairman, the head of Asian markets and several directors, Jenny Anderson and Chad Bray write in DealBook. In a move that surprised many, it named William T. Winters, the 53-year-old former head of JPMorgan Chase’s investment bank ‒ who was once seen as a candidate to succeed Jamie Dimon ‒ to take the helm.

Mr. Winters, who will join the bank on May 1 and become chief executive in June, will succeed Peter Sands, one of the longest-serving chief executives in British finance. He will receive a base salary of 1.15 million pounds, or about $1.8 million, as well as a pension and other benefits. As the bank’s leader, Mr. Winters will not have it easy. The bank has been hurt in recent years by regulatory fines and investigations and by its focus on emerging markets. It has slashed thousands of jobs, closed its stock trading and underwriting unit and is looking to cut $400 million in costs. Impairments for bad loans, including in the mining sector, have soared.

But Mr. Winters, an American, appears up to the task. In a call with reporters, John W. Peace, the chairman, said that Mr. Winters had “great respect among regulators, clients and the market” and a solid understanding of the global regulatory environment. Temasek Holdings, which owns almost 18 percent of Standard Chartered, declined to comment on whether it had pressed for management changes. But it said that it welcomed Mr. Winters, who “brings with him considerable experience, as well as an excellent reputation for building good teams.”

NYT’s Dealbook

Related article: http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/02/26/stanchart-board-clearout-is-only-the-first-step/

 

Iskandar: Hoping for Chinese buyers? Dream on

In Malaysia on 28/02/2015 at 4:48 am

Funny people M’suan developers. They miss fears of a property glut in Iskandar http://business.asiaone.com/property/news/housing-glut-worries-over-johors-mega-projects saying that the Chinese from China (not S’pore) will buy the properties.

Well there is a very influential group of Malays in UMNO (the top dog in the ruling National Front) that has a problem with local Chinese. They’d freak out over an influx of real Chinese buyers living in Johor. They are likely to view such buyers as a fifth column for the Chinese enclave off Johor>

And for the developers to assume that the potential buyers are clueless about the racial tensions is an assumption too far.

HEADACHES AT HSBC

In Banks on 25/02/2015 at 6:03 pm

The British bank HSBC is facing battles on multiple fronts. Already forced to apologize for helping clients hide their income from tax authorities, the bank also had to explain on Monday why its chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, went to lengths for years to hide his bonus, at least from his co-workers, Jenny Anderson writes in DealBook. On top of all that, HSBC, which generates much of its income from Asia, reported abysmal results for 2014, saying that its profit fell 15 percent, to $13.7 billion, compared with $16.2 billion in 2013.

The Guardian newspaper reported late Sunday that Mr. Gulliver held at least 5 million pounds, or $7.7 million, in a Swiss account through a Panamanian company until 2003. Mr. Gulliver said on Monday that the account was legal and that he had paid all the required taxes, but his maneuvers nevertheless compound a problem for the bank’s reputation, which is still dealing with the fallout from efforts by its Swiss private banking arm to help wealthy clients evade taxes, Ms. Anderson writes.

Mark Gilbert of Bloomberg View writes: “The cascade of recent revelations suggests HSBC still hasn’t learned its lesson and is more of a social menace than a social good. Mr. Gulliver’s personal tax arrangements may not be illegal, but they are surely ill-advised and inappropriate.” Unless Douglas Flint, HSBC’s chairman, “pulls off an Oscar-worthy performance at Wednesday’s parliamentary hearing, HSBC will only have itself to blame if the authorities decide the bank is too big to regulate and respond by seeking its dismemberment.”

NYT Dealbook

Update on 26 Feb 2015 at 6.30 am

More than a tax problem : http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31590613

Major shareholders getting cranky: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31618032

Short S$ long Rupee, US$/ Strong Asean currencies

In India, Emerging markets, Currencies on 23/02/2015 at 12:50 pm

Morgan Stanley is recommending going long on the US dollar against the Singapore dollar, the Thai baht and the South Korean won and a long position in the rupee against the Singapore

Of course MS’s assumption is that US raises rates. Didn’t happen lasy yr when that was conventional wisdom.

But India looks pretty good: As Rivals Falter, India’s Economy Is Surging Ahead Long considered a laggard, India is seeing a lift in its stock market as multinational companies look to expand operations there or start new ones, The New York Times reports.

And according to Credit Suisse, India is a major bet for global EM managers these days. Funds on average hold over 15% of their portfolios in Indian companies, double the benchmark weighting. Gd for them: in USD terms, India’s up 41%

The Indian rupee, the Philippine peso, Thai baht and Taiwanese dollar have strengthened against the US dollar, making repayment of dollar debt easier in these places.

Btw, still long Ascendas India Trust.

S’pore’s GDP growth: Third lowest in Asean

In Economy on 21/02/2015 at 4:45 am

Pay ministers millions for this type of economic management?

What do you think?

Smelling the haze

In Indonesia, Uncategorized on 14/02/2015 at 6:07 am

Don’t know about you, but I could smell the haze in the early morning. today. First time in February, though there vwere quite a number of days in January that I smelt it.

Smell disappears after the sun starts shines.

Indonesia it seems is still burning. Or is it the smoke from Parly? Plenty of smoke from both sides these last few days.

Why Pinoys should go home but don’t: S’pore that great meh?

In S'pore Inc on 07/02/2015 at 4:58 am

Below is an extract from a FT report in late January on the sterling performance of Pinoyland. And the low price of oil means that it’s likely to do better. So gd that “The Philippines’ economic resurgence, driven by domestic demand and economic reforms, has led to renewed interest from Singapore as well as Singapore-based companies,” said Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang. “As the Philippine economy continues to grow, demand for consumer goods and infrastructure development in sectors such as transportation and housing will rise in tandem.”* (CNA 4 th February)

Yet the Pinoy PMETs still prefer to come here. Tells us a lot doesn’t it?

The Philippines has defied regional trends by recording a pick-up in growth in the fourth quarter, as a bounce in government spending gave a fresh boost to one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.

The Southeast Asian country grew at an annualised pace of 6.9 per cent in the final three months of the year, far ahead of the 6 per cent expected by most analysts. The quarter-on-quarter figure of 2.5 per cent was the highest in almost two decades, according …. Barclays.

A rebound in government spending was a key driver of the higher growth rate. Exports also proved strong, with manufacturing growing 10.7 per cent year on year, while the agricultural sector also performed above expectations.

The Philippines has been among the brightest economic stars in Asia since … 2010. Although the annual growth figure of 6.1 per cent is the lowest since 2011, the economy remains one of the fastest-growing in the world.

The acceleration in growth last quarter contrasts with a slowdown in many regional economies, including India, Indonesia and China.

Investors have given the Philippines a clear endorsement in both the bond and equity markets this year. The Manila index briefly rose above 7,700 points for the first time on Thursday, having clocked up a string of record highs in recent days.

This month the Philippines became the year’s first sovereign issuer in the US dollar bond market, selling $2bn of 30-year debt while paying a record low yield. Unlike Indonesia, all three major international rating agencies now regard the Philippines as investment-grade.

Investor demand has helped make the peso the best-performing currency in Asia in the past three months, during which time it has risen 1.5 per cent against the dollar. No other currency in the region has strengthened against the dollar over that period.

The Asian Development Bank expects the Philippine economy to grow 6.4 per cent this year, the highest in the region after China.

Philippine growth

However, some analysts say lower oil prices and the unexpected uptick shown in the latest data suggest the economy may grow even faster.

Research from Capital Economics highlights the country as the world’s biggest beneficiary of the lower crude price.

“The outlook for the rest of the economy is promising. Consumer spending should remain strong on the back of falling oil prices, which will boost consumers’ purchasing power,” … Capital Economics 

——

*More: Bilateral trade between the Philippines and Singapore hit S$15 billion last year – a 2-per cent increase from 2013. For the Philippines, Singapore is its fourth largest trading partner worldwide and top trading partner in ASEAN.

IE Singapore said there is great potential for Singapore companies to partner both the Philippine government and private sector, especially in developing infrastructure.

Under the Public-Private Partnership Programme introduced by the Philippine government in 2010, several projects have been successfully tendered by Singapore firms such as SMRT and MSI Global.

IE Singapore also said local firms are starting to explore opportunities beyond the capital city Manila into regions such as Cebu and Clark. 

“Singapore at the moment is our second largest investor in investment projects. It’s also the third largest in terms of direct portfolio investments,” said Mr Guillermo Luchangco, the Philippine co-chair of the Philippines-Singapore Business Council. “We do have a very active investment incentive programme. Depending on the type of industry you bring in, it can get a lot of tax incentives and there is ease of bringing in people.”

The Philippines also has one of the highest household consumption expenditure in ASEAN, with a population of 96 million people. This offers considerable opportunities in consumer sectors, across the F&B, fashion and retail categories.

 

StanChart: Gay Portuguese in running to be CEO

In Banks, Corporate governance, Temasek on 03/02/2015 at 1:34 pm

The CEOs of Llyods and HSBC UK are reported to be hot favourites according to Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-28/lloyds-hsbc-executives-seen-as-favored-for-stanchart-ceo-role. Both are Portuguese. And the latter is gayhttp://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/18/hsbcs-antonio-simoes-says-being-gay-was-key-to-career-success .

Wespac’s CEO is also in the frame.

Another report says that our very own Gupta (FT turned new citizen) is also a possible candidate.

Given that StanChart is big in M’sia, Hk, India and Indonesia, and wants to be big in China, I somehow don’t think appointing a gay is on the cards

FT’s Lombard thinks that “ex-StanChart guy Alex Thursby” will get the nod.

Alex Thursby, who went on to run ANZ’s Asian businesses and is now the CEO of National Bank of Abu Dhabi. In his current role, he is trying to drive a bank that will become multinational by following trade within the emerging world – what he calls the West-East corridor. But when asked if this looks a lot like a StanChart model, he says: “I think this has similarities with the Standard Chartered of old. The Stanchart model has changed over the years since I was there, and whether it’s changed for better or worse is for others to make a judgment on.”

Thursby’s words are carefully chosen but he’s clearly referring to StanChart’s ventures into financial markets businesses that it used to leave to the pure-play investment banks. And it is notable that the financial markets business is the one that is causing the problems in the bank today; the warning today says that division is the “main challenge” facing the bank and that everything else is in line with expectations. The head of that business, Lenny Feder, is to take a 12 month sabbatical for personal reasons, the bank says, and will not return to that role afterwards.

The financial markets business in StanChart parlance includes some things that others might consider mainstream, like foreign exchange, but it also houses equities and commodities, among other things. Peter Sands, speaking about the reduced performance, said today that the business was being hit by falling volumes in rates, squeezed margins, regulatory changes, and the fact that less business is done in a low-rate environment.

None of which would have had much impact on the Standard Chartered model of old. Which raises a further question: perhaps this most storied and reliable of institutions should get back to doing what it’s good at. It might be boring. But it works.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswright/2014/06/26/is-the-standard-chartered-model-broken/

It jus shuttered its cash equity biz, if you must know.

Why I’m smiling

In Economy on 31/01/2015 at 4:39 am

As the charts below show, real interest rates here are still +ve (juz), and deflation is a’coming. Retirees should love a bit of deflation. But if got mortgage https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/why-oil-price-falls-bad-for-mortgagees/

Change a’coming at StanChart

In Corporate governance, Hong Kong, Temasek, Uncategorized on 26/01/2015 at 3:07 pm

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Temasek and Aberdeen (between them they hold 30% of StanChart) had told chairman Sir John Peace that he must find a replacement for Mr Sands within months or stand down himself.

FT reports the bank is looking to replace Peter Sands this year and has hired a headhunter to look for a successor ASAP. It says that Temasek and Aberdeen hold him responsible for not responding fast enough to a reversal of StanChart’s fortunes.

How many Waterfront cities will eventually be built?

In Malaysia on 24/01/2015 at 4:44 am

After all neither the PRC developers nor their M’sian partners have good reputations for reliability. And then there is the issue of escalating tolls. I heard an interesting story that M’sia raised its tolls (which led S’pore to follow) because the federal govt wanted to send a message to the sultan of Johor to behave. Remember the row when there was an attempt to extend his executive powers? There was a plan to allow him personally senior officials of a Johor state agency invvolved in land development.

The latest is on the east side of Causeway http://business.asiaone.com/news/new-jb-waterfront-city-facing-spore

Here’s a good ST graphic of the various projects

All built on sand: an interesting take on the importance of sand http://www.harvarddesignmagazine.org/issues/39/built-on-sand-singapore-and-the-new-state-of-risk

Other problems for M’sia, Thailand/ Bull pt for Indons, Pinoys and Viets

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 18/01/2015 at 4:24 am

Malaysia … have to cope with lower tax revenue from energy, minerals and other commodities. In Thailand, the central bank is hoping for a lift in public spending to revive growth; but the military-backed government is finding it hard to spend the 2015 budget.

Thailand will need monetary stimulus this year. 

—–

Relatively young countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines drag down the average age.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/01/16/asias-big-demons-debt-deflation-demographics/

 

Debt + deflation: Problems for S’pore, M’sia Thailand

In Economy on 17/01/2015 at 6:07 am

[T]he private sector in Asia-Pacific now owes 1.5 times the region’s combined annual output, according to the Bank for International Settlements. As a big chunk of the borrowing is in the opaque shadow banking system, particularly in China, the debt could be even larger. Either way, servicing the loans requires incomes to increase quickly. Yet, real GDP growth is slowing almost everywhere in the region.

AM1.jpg

The threat of slowly rising consumer prices slipping into outright deflation is making things worse. Producer prices are sliding across Asia-Pacific. Falling energy costs provide a convenient excuse for margin-starved employers to skimp on pay hikes, just as they did in the late 1980s. That makes the situation harder for borrowers in Malaysia, Korea, Thailand and Singapore, all of which have high household leverage. Persistent lowflation will leave borrowers with higher debt burdens than they expected.

L

Demographics aren’t helping. Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand are ageing rapidly.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2015/01/16/asias-big-demons-debt-deflation-demographics/

 

Only in M’sia?

In Malaysia, Uncategorized on 10/01/2015 at 3:37 pm

Homeless people who attended a government-run event in Malaysia were given household appliances as gifts, it’s reported.

Munirah Abdul Hamid, founder of the Pertiwi Soup Kitchen in Kuala Lumpur, …”Some of them came up to me and asked if I would like to buy the appliances as money would have been more valuable to them,” she says, adding that food or clothing would have made better gifts. The federal territories minister, Tengku Adnan, concedes the event wasn’t perfect, describing it as a “trial-and-error experience”, and doesn’t mind if people sell the gifts for money. “They can do as they please,” he says. “Next year, we will improve and give something else to the homeless.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-30727794

M’sia, Thailand among 7 best places to retire

In Malaysia, Uncategorized on 10/01/2015 at 4:24 am

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20141231-the-worlds-best-places-to-retire

(Panama sounds interesting)

And given the strong S$ and the value of property here*, we S’poreans got options to move on and yet remain nearby. Yet people like Goh Meng Seng and Andrew Loh die die want S’poreans to live and die here. They should let S’poreans decide, not insist that real s’poreans sgould stay home.

—–

*Surely the PAP administration has shumething to do with these?

Pinoy and PRC diplomatic behaviour contrasted

In Uncategorized on 09/01/2015 at 4:58 am

(Or “Pinoy Pride at work: OK for Pinoys to threaten, insult S’poreans but not vice versa)

The Filipino embassy told a Filipino nurse to be “extra careful with his social media usage”*, days after the nurse, Edz Ello, made some insulting and threatening comments about S’porean on social media. He has alleged that he did not post the comments, alleging that he was hacked.

An intelligent TRE poster (glad to see more of them posting: too many fools talking cock posting rubbish) pointed out the difference between the official Pinoy response and the official Chinese response when a PRC juz flamed S’poreans:

Sunny Day: During dog incident, one of PRC embassy staff Madam Zhou gave stern rebuke to Sun Xu, had asked him to apologize to Singaporeans, NUS, his teachers and friends and everybody. So contrary to Pinoy govt response. You can be sure that Filipino govt soft action means they don’t disagree with ezo ello totally.

I’d add that China is a regional power and is seen by the US as threatening its regional and global hegemony; yet its officials knows how to behave towards a host country. So unlike the Pinoy officals here, whose country has to run crying and grovelling to the US whenever the Pinoy govt threaten China and get kicked in the face by China for their threats against China. And they still wanted in 2012 Chinese tourists to come gamble in Manila?  Btw, Chinese said the country is not safe.

What accounts for the arrogance of the diplomats and Ello here? They think they own the place juz because they think the first “P” in the “PAP” stands for “Pinoy”?

Whatever it is, we know where people like Ello get their inspiration: their diplomata, who refuse to condemn threatening and insulting behaviour when made by Pinoys but are quick to KPKB about“the few Singaporeans” who have lashed out, and condemned the blog that suggested abusing Filipinos.

“I think it was unfair and racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the blogger had still not been identified.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28953147

(My take on the interview https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/)

Well shouldn’t he condemn the language used in Ello’s Facebook (even if Ello alleged it wasn’t him), by saying that guests must respect their hosts? Instead the embassy merely tells Ello to be “extra careful with his social media usage”: this could simply mean “keep yr threats and insults about S’poreans among the Pinoy community”?

Maybe the diplomats are like this

We Filipinos are famous for being onion-skinned or easily slighted at perceived insults. While it’s perfectly normal for us to taunt and criticize others, we can’t handle the same when it’s being hurled back at us. Incidents showcasing our extra-sensitivity to insults usually involve a foreigner making either a bonafide racist remark or a humorous jab at us Filipinos. True to form, our reactions would range from righteous indignation to excessive grandstanding. While it is alright to feel incensed, throwing a fit in front of the world would inevitably do us no good at all.

http://www.filipiknow.net/negative-traits-of-filipinos/

—-

*The Philippine embassy in Singapore has told a Filipino nurse to be “extra careful with his social media usage”, days after disparaging remarks about Singaporeans appeared on his Facebook account, which he said was hacked.

The Facebook post called Singaporeans “loosers” (losers) and expressed hope that “disators (disasters) will strike Singapore”. The Tan Tock Seng Hospital nurse has reported to the police that his account was hacked.

The Philippine embassy added that it has reiterated its previous advisories on the use of social media.

“Since the matter is under police investigation, the embassy advised the person concerned to cooperate fully with the SPF (Singapore Police Force).”

Tan Tock Seng Hospital has said it is working with the police on the investigation.

ziliang@sph.com.sg

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/philippine-embassy-reminds-tan-tock-seng-nurse-watch-his#xtor=CS1-10

 

Ello Ello: Pinoy ambassador has nothing to say?

In Uncategorized on 06/01/2015 at 5:31 am

Double standards of the Pinoy leader in S’pore?

The Philippines ambassador to Singapore, Antonio A Morales … expressed concern about “the few Singaporeans” who have lashed out, and condemned the blog that suggested abusing Filipinos.

“I think it was unfair and racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the blogger had still not been identified.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28953147

(My take on the interview https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/)

Well, how about the ambasador expressing concern and condemning the fact that Pinoy Ello Ello wants to drive out S’poreans from S’pore and replace them with Pinoys? Or at least since Ello Ello is alleging he was hacked, to remind Pinoys here that they are guests here, not the governing master race, and behave appropriately.  The fuuny thing is that in their home country, the American military are the governing master race: their dollars talk.

But let’s not be too unkind to the Pinoy leader here, when we have someone like William Wan:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/no-nmp-for-600000-sporeans/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/wah-lan-fts-getting-their-very-own-nmp/

Given the PAP administration love of FTs, one wonders why he never was made NMP. Maybe PAP found his love of FTs over S’poreans a tad too much with an election pending?

Ello, Ello thinks we are stupid?

In Uncategorized on 05/01/2015 at 4:57 am

When S’poreans complained to Tan Tock Seng Hospital that a Pinoy radiologist there had ranted about S’poreans on his Facebook page, the hospital reported on Facebook, “Dear all, the staff concerned is one of our nurses. He has reported to the police that his Facebook account has been hacked. We are cooperating with the police on the investigation. Thank you for the alerts and concern.”

Three points about the alleged hacking:

— So easy to hack Facebook meh? My understanding is that Facebook’s defences against hacking are pretty robust and only sophisticated hackers could do such a hacking.

— So why would a sophisticated hacker waste his or her time on an unknown Pinoy FT? Making it seem as though he was insulting S’poreans?

— Seems that anti-S’porean comments have been posted on the now “hacked” FB page in the past. You mean Ello the Pinoy never reads his own FB page? So page has been “hacked” and Ello only juz realised it. He is as clueless as a certain drum-major* from Cathoic High, whose band is alleged to have ignored him because they knew he was wrong, not them?

Seems to me that Ello the Pinoy would be more believable if he had claimed, “Not my page. I’m being fixed.”

Seems to me the Pinoy ambassador who talks provocatively of Filipinos … moving into more sectors of employment at a time when there is mounting concerned that FTs are favoured over locals in the job market has a lot to answer for: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/pinoy-tua-kee-gives-the-finger-to-govt-meng-seng-2/

Pinoys will undoubtedly play the victim, citing fear. Let me remind these professional victims and theit allies like Kirsten Han: there are no goons with guns here. That is the Pinoy way, not the S’porean way.

2015: FT thinks PinoyLand safe haven

In Emerging markets on 04/01/2015 at 9:55 am

An Indian FT loves PinoyLand. Why doesn’t he relocate to Manila instead of living here? Maybe no goons with guns here, no traffic jams?

Where can investors hide if emerging markets get into trouble? 

In Asia, the country that comes closest to a sanctuary is the Philippines. Growth is rapid, and government finances are in much better shape than before. In a 2015 beauty pageant, the Philippines might lose out to some larger economies which could reap a reform-led bounty. Still, India and Indonesia are risky bets, while South Korea is flirting with deflation.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2014/12/30/where-to-hide-in-an-emerging-market-rout/

But he has a point: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/three-asean-mkts-in-top-10-performing-mkts-of-2014/

More on why emerging markets can get into trouble in 2015

Emerging markets follow the biblical rule of seven lean years followed by seven rich ones, according to Harvard University economist Jeffrey Frankel. Every fifteen years, a crisis erupts.

By that measure, a rout is almost due. Developing economies have seen six years of brisk credit growth, fuelled by cheap global money. Private and public debt has ballooned. Since the end of 2007, the surge has been 90 percent of GDP in China, 30 percent in Brazil, and 40 percent in the Czech Republic.

These types of excesses typically stop abruptly. Seven years of frenzied petrodollar recycling in Latin America ended with a debt debacle in 1982. A seven-year boom preceded the 1997 Asian crisis. The trigger for the next rout could be an uncontrolled rise in U.S. bond yields, leading to an exodus of capital from developing nations.

 

Three Asean mkts in top 10 performing mkts of 2014

In Indonesia on 03/01/2015 at 4:40 am

Global markets 1

The Pinoys should go home if they really are proud of their country. Maybe coups are gd for the stock market (Egypt, Thailand)

Pinoy tua kee gives the finger to govt & Meng Seng

In Economy on 01/01/2015 at 5:49 am

Remember earlier this yr, when GMS, Gilbert Goh and various anti-PAP paper warriors were proclaiming victory when the Pinoys called off their “trespass” (taz how GMS spun a Pinoy plan to hold a party at a public space in Orchard Rd)?

They were cock-a-hoop, trumpeting their “victory”. Pinoy pride was badly hurt.

Very recently, the Philippines’ ambassador to Singapore Antonio A Morales says that Filipinos are moving into more sectors of employment

The estimated number of Filipinos working in Singapore tripled in the past decade to about 167,000 as of 2013, according to Philippines census data.

,,,

Filipinos are willing to take on jobs for lower salaries, with working conditions unacceptable to Singaporeans.

The trend has made Filipinos “easier to exploit”, disadvantaging both them and Singaporeans, said migrant rights activist Jolovan Wham.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28953147

And this at a time when the PAP adminitrastion is saying that it,s tightening FT employment rules. If so how come Pinoys are are moving into more sectors of employment

So it seems the Pinoy colomisation of S’pore continues despite what the PAP administration and Meng Seng says.

What do you think?

Btw here’s more about the PAP administration love of FTs, and Pinoys sliming us. I wrote this in July 2014 but decided not to publish it as I didn’t want to come across as anti-Pinoy (I like being served by Pinoy service staff), nor did I want to be associated a man who helped ensure the PAP’s preferred candidate won the presidential election (I had no issues with the Pinoys partying at Orchard Rd if they could meet the requirements).

But since the ambassador is raising the temperature with his comments (the embassy has form in this respect), I’ll add my my two-pence worth on the issue of Pinoys sliming us and the PAP’s administration love of FTs.

Pinoys vilify us

The education minister said last week [week before 26 July] it is important to go beyond understanding the “main races”.in embracing diversity.

“Singapore has thrived because of our openness to international trade flow, knowledge and cultures, all of which have brought us opportunities and progress. As Singapore moves towards a more diverse landscape, it is important that we continue to embrace diversity,” said Mr Heng.

“We also need to go beyond understanding the main races to respecting all people regardless of race, language or religion, who live and work in Singapore – for the happiness, prosperity and progress of our nation.”

Given that there are about 200,000 Pinoys working here, the largest group outside the “main races”, one can only assume, he is trying to tell us to be nice to the Pinoys.

No wonder there are Pinoys who think that the PAP stands for “Pinoy Action Party”.

It’s the Pinoys in PinoyLand who should learn to understand S’poreans.

Two recent examples of Pinoys defaming us.

Singaporean officials* has assured the Philippines their government is taking steps to address the hate campaign on Filipinos working there.

The assurance was made by the Singapore delegation who participated in Informal Consultations on the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan (PSAP).

[Source via TRE]: http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/world/item/1432-singapore-vows-to-address-hate-campaign-on-filipinos]

Hate campaign against Pinoys meh?

So how come they were laughing and chatting away last week-end at Lucky Plaza. And Goh Meng Seng is still in HK, and quiet? Juz like Gilbert Goh. Surely if there is a hate campaign, these two men would be shouting themselves hoarse?

What more Pinoys in PinoyLand want? An excuse to burn our flag in PinoyLand and then give us two fingers? They not happy no get visas to come here to earn money and live in a place without fearing goons with guns. Are they being stirred by Pinoys here unhappy that what they tot were the Pinoy Action Party, Pinoy Minister, Pinoy Minister’s Office and Pinoy Police Force they make sure that Pinoys could party in a busy shopping area on a Saturday afternoon. https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/pinoys-still-ng-kum-guan-about-8-june-fiasco/

And this vilification of us is only the latest. A few weeks ago, former ambassador Roy Seneres said the OFW Family party-list will file a protest with the International Labor Organization for violations of relevant ILO conventions relative to the right of workers to decent work and to be treated as human beings not as slaves and/or chattels.

Seneres, founder of the party-list, was reacting to reports that Filipino service workers in Singapore are being put on display in malls in the city-state to attract prospective employers.

Singapore must come out with a clear-cut statement that they have stopped the despicable practice or else the OFW Family party-List will file a protest with the [ILO]” on the matter.

http://www.manilatimes.net/singapores-treatment-of-filipina-workers-hit/109168/

He obviously doesn’t read the newspapers or if he does, doesn’t trust what a S’pore-based diplomat said, or the S’pore govt.

This report appeared a day earlier in the same newpaper.

The Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said a Filipino diplomat in Singapore cast doubt on an online news report that Filipina household workers were being displayed for sale at some of the city-state’s malls.

In a statement, MOM responded “to recent Filipino media reports, based on an online Al Jazeera story, about the treatment of Filipino foreign domestic workers (FDWs) while they are placed with employment agencies (EAs) in Singapore.”

The statement said “we note that when contacted by The Straits Times, the Filipino labor attaché in Singapore, Mr. Vicente Cabe, was quoted as saying that based on his observations, the online article ‘doesn’t seem to have basis’ and that while he saw some FDWs sitting on one side of a room at some agencies, waiting to be interviewed by clients, “ . . . it seems a bit exaggerated to say that there is anything wrong with that.”

The MOM said it visited the EAs in the two shopping centers concerned and did not find any inappropriate “displays of FDWs.”

Its statement added that “the Al Jazeera story also mentioned that some FDWs could be seen demonstrating household or care giving chores within the premises of EAs. As some EAs have training facilities in the same premises as their front offices, it is not unreasonable for FWDs to be performing such chores at the EA’s premises.”

Furthermore, “the same story also suggested that some FDWs were not treated well while in their EA’s care. MOM’s rules are clear that EAs have to ensure the well-being of FDWs in their case.”

The ministry said “inappropriate display of FDWs” at EAs’ premises or advertising them as being “available for hire at cheap or discounted prices” are unacceptable practices. MOM requires EAs to be responsible and accord basic respect in their practices to both their clients—the employer and the FDW—and expects them to exercise sensitivity when marketing their fees or services.”

http://www.manilatimes.net/singapore-ph-attache-denies-maids-sold-in-malls/108832/

Btw,  S’poreans don’t go round decribing mixed-parentage S’poreans as mongrels. Pinoys call mixed race Pinoys “mongrels”.

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/27168/this-azkal-barks-i-am-100-percent-pinoy

Juz go home pls: Bank president Jim Yong Kim has described the Philippines as the next “Asian miracle” and a global model in fighting corruption, as it emerges from decades as a regional economic laggard.

Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/event-planning-pinoy-style/

*I pass no comment on whether our officials agreed there was a hate campaign. I sincerely hope that our officials will always defend S’pore and S’poreans against such comments.

 

Another clueless Asean PM

In Malaysia on 29/12/2014 at 12:00 pm

Golfing while his country is flooding: PM Najib was criticised as photos emerged of him playing golf with President Obama on Christmas Eve.Obama and Razak playing golf on Christmas eve 2014

Our PM and Najib are sons of PMs who are highly regarded as effective, strong leaders. But, they bit like this guy? The grandson of another effective, strong leader?

An undated handout picture released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 27 April 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) looking at a computer screen along with soldiers of a long-range artillery unit at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

Stranger than fiction intro

Worse than oil/ Do it the Pinoy way

In Commodities on 27/12/2014 at 5:26 am

Shortview

The Pinoys got it right when exporting. it exports people, not exhaustible resources. For full-year 2014, total remittances are likely to hit a record-high USD 23bn. – See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/economy/asia/philippines%E2%80%99-overseas-foreign-workers%E2%80%99-remittances-reach-79#sthash.bKDMWDaQ.dpuf

Still want to buy property in M’sia especially Iskandar?

In Malaysia on 21/12/2014 at 4:24 am

Getting cheaper by the day: both prices and M$*.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/tough-times-ahead-iskandar-malaysia-properties-153737651.html

Soon Fandi will beable to afford to retire in M’sia. But he might find the tolls too expensive: S$13.10 to JB and S$12.40 at Tuas, and another S$7.70 (M$20) from next yr according to M’sian govt.

*Updated at 5.45pm

The Singapore dollar continued to weaken against the US dollar on Friday (Dec 19). While currency strategists are anticipating the downward trend to continue – with the US Federal Reserve expected to hike interest rates – they also see the Singapore dollar maintaining a strong position against some of its regional counterparts.

The US economy is showing strong signs of recovery as indicators like growth and jobs continue to gather momentum – that is helping to drive up the greenback as the US Federal Reserve tightens its monetary policy.

The Singapore dollar has been on a steady downward slide in recent months and currency strategists expect it to end the year fairly stable at around S$1.31.

Mr Khoon Goh, a senior FX strategist with ANZ, said: “For the Singapore dollar, we are expecting it to be fairly stable going into the year-end. Based on current levels, it will probably end at around the S$1.31 level. Heading into the next year, we are expecting a further depreciation of the Singapore dollar. We are forecasting a year-end 2015 target of 1.33. 

“This is a fairly modest depreciation against the US dollar, and that is partly because we expect the Monetary Authority of Singapore to continue to maintain its policy of a modest and gradual appreciation of the SGD NEER basket. Against other regional currencies, however, I think that is where the SGD is set to outperform.”

Against regional currencies, the Singapore dollar has hit historical highs against the Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah. It has also gained ground on the yen due to monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.

“In that sense, the Singapore dollar has held up quite well against these currencies, but the Singapore dollar has also underperformed against the likes of the Thai baht, Philippine peso and Chinese currency,” said Mr Sim Moh Siong, director and FX strategist at the Bank of Singapore.

“The ‘middle of the pack’ ranking will likely stick as we head into next year. If you look at the Singapore dollar relative to its basket, it has been pretty stable, even amidst the emerging market turbulence led by the big drop in the Russian rouble and oil price decline,” he added.

Amid current volatility linked to oil price declines, the Singapore dollar has been relatively stable compared to currencies of oil exporting economies. With its strong fundamentals, it is being seen as a safe haven among regional and emerging market currencies. Therefore, market watchers said that it remains attractive to investors in times of financial market uncertainty.

CNA

Aberdeen Asia Smaller Cos Inv Trust

In Uncategorized on 20/12/2014 at 5:57 am

Aberdeen Asia Smaller Companies Investment Trust

In November this yr, mgr was quoted as saying the fund was looking expensive.

Double confirm StanChart’s rogue bank & PAP apologist is a fool

In Banks, Hong Kong, Temasek on 10/12/2014 at 11:10 am

Remember a “PAP is always right” man KPKBing when StanChart was charged that the reulator was a “rogue regulator”. StanChart then made the dean of LKY School look dumb, really dumb, by pleading guiltyy

Double confirm that StanChart is a rogue bank and the PAP apologist is a fool because now: The management of Standard Chartered is facing renewed pressure after being placed under fresh scrutiny by US regulators.

Two years after being fined more than £400m for breaching US sanctions towards Iran, the bank revealed that a two-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that was imposed at the time was being extended for three years.

The US authorities are now investigating whether Standard Chartered breached its sanctions rules beyond 2007, the period when the previous offences for which the bank was penalised took place.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/10/standard-chartered-management-us-regulators-investigation-sanctions

Looks like Santa didn’t bring Ho a nice Christmas present, giving her a turd instead. Juz look at share price chart from FT. [Chart added at 11.30 am]

Standard Chartered share price

Help out Singkie investors, retire to Malacca or Penang

In Malaysia on 06/12/2014 at 4:36 am

Unlike me, a friend’s friend has done his research on retiring in M’sia. Renting a place is the biggest expense (like me he doesn’t believe in buying in M’sia*) and the cheapest place to rent in a near-to-S’pore urban environment is Malacca or Penang.

This is because S’poreans who invested in apartments there have serious problems renting them out. They forgot that land is plentiful even in Malacca and Penang.

So do yr fellow S’poreans and yrself a favour, go retire in Penang or Malacca. And there is the added advantage of easy access to first-world medical treatment at M’sian prices.

Btw, he calculates that a couple can live in Penang or Malacca very comfortably at S$2,500 a month. To retire to Cameron Highlands (my fav) is more expensive (S$3,500). Rent is expensive there as development is controlled.

Btw2

Singapore took a tumble on the list of 50 Most Inspiring Cities in the World, down from number two last year to number 21 this year.

The GOOD City Index describe itself as a celebration of the 50 cities around the world that best capture the elusive quality of possibility.

The index looked at eight areas; hub for progress, civic engagement, street life, defining moment, connectivity, green life, diversity, and work/life balance.

Hong Kong took the top spot on the list this year, climbing up from the 24th position last year.

Other regonal cities on the top 50 list include Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo.

https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/spore-no-longer-second-most-inspiring-city-090840888–sector.html

—-

*latest example of capriciousness of M’sia’s rulers: the Malacca state govt is planning to seize property that the Portuguese, Dutch and British handed out.

Offshore & Marine: Calls, dogs and TLCs/ Whither oil?

In Energy on 03/12/2014 at 2:52 pm

Below is a piece from a broker on smaller cap O&M plays.. My view is don’t play, play. Buy two of Temasek’s Fab 5 and ride the upswing and sleep peacefully if oil prices remain low for a long time.

according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sembcorp Marine Ltd. (SMM), the world’s second-biggest oil-rig maker, is down 29 percent this year, the index’s worst-performing stock.

Keppel Corp. Ltd. (KEP), which earned 69 percent of its revenues from the offshore and marine sectors in the quarter through September, is down 20 percent, the third-worst performer.

Many of the stocks in report posted by a friend on Facebook cannot survive prolonged period of oil at present levels.

OFFSHORE & MARINE (OVERWEIGHT)

OSK Report

Could Yesterday Be Capitulation?

Singapore oil and gas (O&G) stocks dropped 5-16% yesterday when Brent crude
fell 2% intra-day to USD67.50/bbl. A capitulation? We see at worst a 10-15%
short-term oil price downside from here before bumping up against marginal
deepwater costs, which form the oil price floor from a fundamental
perspective. The market’s fear is palpable, creating a positive environment
for mid-term returns for investors who can ride out the volatility.

What’s the downside? Today, global oil production stands at c.92m
barrels/day, c.70% onshore, c.20% shallow water and c.10% deepwater. Oil
demand is still growing 1.5% annually, while US shale supply has exceeded
forecasts. To maintain this production level to meet demand, deepwater
sources with marginal costs at USD40-80/barrel (bbl) must remain
profitable. Using the range’s mid-point, prices could go 10-15% lower in
the short term before a physical supply crunch. Oil traders know this and
will likely not extend shorts beyond USD60/bbl.

The oil market is heavily-speculated, too. Investors tend to forget that
the oil market is a human one too, prone to overreaction to peaks and lows.
Oil-related stocks now appear to be swinging in response to oil traders’
moves, which completely ignore company fundamentals.

What is made can be unmade. Cheerful media articles are now talking about
oil going to the USD36/bbl range (financial crisis low) or the USD12/bbl
range (in the 1980s when Saudi Arabia last defended market share). They
ignore the fact that the financial crisis low was caused by a global credit
crunch, forcing traders to take liquidity out from any source. The 1980s
environment was that of a global recession when oil demand fell 10%
cumulatively and when 90% of the oil was produced onshore. Such conditions
do not exist today. The recent price fall was more or less engineered by
the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) decision to
maintain production, which takes a simple production cut to undo.

Our Top Picks at USD70/bbl oil. Oil prices at this level will hit
ultra-deepwater hard, but shallow-water fields (at USD25-50/bbl) remain
strongly profitable and production-related work are unlikely to be
significantly affected. We continue to like selected Singapore O&G stocks
that entered this correction with starting valuations already low, which
have since become 35% lower. Our Top Picks are Giken Sakata (GSS SP, BUY,
TP: SGD0.65), Ezion (EZI SP, BUY, TP: SGD2.65), Nam Cheong (NCL SP, BUY,
TP: SGD0.61), Pacific Radiance (PACRA SP, BUY, TP: SGD1.55) and Marco Polo
Marine (MPM SP, BUY, TP: SGD0.60). They have strong 12-month earnings
growth and low valuations, unique industry positions and a focus on
shallow-water operations that can lead to a strong re-rating when the
market stabilises. We are negative on Vard (VARD SP, SELL, TP: SGD0.57) and
PACC Offshore Services (POSH SP, NR) for their deepwater exposure.

And watch out.

Swiber and Ezra Holdings Ltd. are scheduled to repay S$720 million ($552 million) of notes within the next two years, or three-quarters of the borrowers’ market value, after funding expansion.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-27/singapore-wealthy-stung-as-crude-rout-sinks-bonds-asean-credit.html

Swiber, with a market value of about $150 million, has raised the equivalent of $289 million in four bond sales this year, three in Singapore dollars and one in offshore yuan. The October 2016 notes issued at par in April traded at 92.99 cents Nov. 27, while the June 2016 bonds sold in May were at 94.65.

Swiber had negative operating cash flow of $5.3 million in the quarter through September, according to its latest results, and total bonds and loans climbed to $1.23 billion at Sept. 30 from $837.7 million at the end of 2013.

“The company is aware of current market concerns surrounding the oilfield services sector as a result of the recent weakness in oil prices,” a Swiber spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “Swiber has developed good longstanding and supportive relationships with its banks, and is confident of its ability to meet existing debt obligations when these come due.”

Ezra Holdings’ total liabilities were $2.2 billion at the end of August, a 22 percent leap from a year earlier. Its 2016 bonds issued in March dropped more than two cents in as many months, Bloomberg compiled prices show.

Oil’s correction should be temporary as a lack of substitutes will ensure strong demand, said Eugene Cheng Chee Mun, chief financial officer of Ezra Holdings.

“We are proactively looking at refinancing options,” said Cheng Chee Mun. The company is at the peak of the capital expenditure cycle and should start increasing free cash flow next year and hence start to deleverage, he said.

Backgrounder from NYT’s DealBook dated Monday

Oil prices have come under pressure as global output of crude oil exceeded demand this year. In particular, domestic oil production has soared more 70 percent over the last six years, to roughly nine million barrels a day. The country is still a net importer, but with production growing by more than a million barrels a day every year, it is importing less and less almost every month. Imports from OPEC producers have been cut by more than a half in recent years, forcing increasing competition among Saudi Arabia and other exporting countries seeking to replace the American market with Chinese and other Asian markets. The tumbling price in oil has produced economic hardship and potential political problems for OPEC producers like Venezuela and Iran.

How low can oil prices go? Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust, told Reuters, “Crude seems to have no floor right now, and we could easily see the price drop into the low $60s.” Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup, told The Wall Street Journal, “There’s lower prices ahead.” On Monday morning, benchmark futures in New York and London slumped as much as 3.7 percent, before making up some of those losses. “It’s clear that a production war is on and it will be survival of the fittest,” Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said in an email to Bloomberg News.

Big StanChart shareholder still likes stock

In Banks, Emerging markets, Temasek on 02/12/2014 at 4:17 pm

The second biggest shareholder in Standard Chartered (after Temasek with around 27%) is standing by the embattled Asia-focused bank, continuing to buy the stock and insisting that nothing is “fundamentally wrong” with the company.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, said that funds run by his company have been “buyers of the stock in a fairly modest way,” despite a series of profit warnings that have sent Standard Chartered’s share price down 33% this year.

“We do not think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the bank,” said Mr. Gilbert, during a call to discuss Aberdeen’s results. He said that revenue growth had slowed but added that he would prefer the bank’s existing management team, headed by chief executive Peter Sands, to “sort it out” rather than looking for a replacement: “They have to really get on with it, I would say, and have a look at the costs.”

Aberdeen owns 7% of the bank, according to Factset, and, as of Oct. 31 2014, that had not changed since last year. Some Aberdeen funds have “topped up” their positions this month however, according to an Aberdeen spokesman.

The value of Standard Chartered shares held by the emerging markets-focused fund manager slid from a peak of $5.1 billion in February last year to $2.6 billion in October, according to Factset data. Part of that was due to an 8% reduction in the size of Aberdeen’s stake at the end of last year, but most was due to the bank’s falling share price.

http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/12/01/aberdeen-asset-management-stands-by-embattled-standard-chartered/

Temasek is one of the shareholders pressing for a change of mgt, other reports claim.

 

StanChart credit rating downgraded! First time in 20 years!

In Banks, India, Indonesia, Temasek on 29/11/2014 at 10:20 am

But no need to panic or curse Temasek*: Standard & Poor’s says bank is going through times but it still among world’s most creditworthy commercial lenders.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/28/standard-chartered-credit-rating-downgraded

It has some big exposures to heavily indebted clients, such as India’s Ruia brothers, who control the Essar Group, and Indonesian billionaire Samin Tan.

Honest mistakes.

—-

But the facts won’t stop Philip Ang, TOC’s and TRE’s star analyst, from cursing and ranting: he’s so bad that in a piece on a GIC, London investment, he left out the rental yields out of his calculation because he said that the income was “peanuts” (my word, not his). Well commercial property yields are a gd 6%, and have been as high as 8% in some yrs recently.

 

Lesson for paper generals: How an economy fares after a coup

In Economy, Uncategorized on 29/11/2014 at 4:14 am

OK it’s Thailand but given the performance of ex-genewrals like BG Yeo, NOL’s CEO and SMRT’s CEO (still can’t fix security issues, let alone get the trains to run on time), if SAF stages a coup after a freak election, we’ll be like Thailand in no time..

Six months after the military coup in Thailand

The latest GDP figures have eked out small increases, leading the government’s economic forecasting agency to predict growth of just 1% this year.

Worryingly, since the coup, tourist numbers have fallen by 20% as travel warnings issued by governments have deterred some visitors.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30225826

StanChart bosses apologise to shareholders

In Banks, Temasek on 13/11/2014 at 1:48 pm

Top bosses at Standard Chartered admitted the bank’s performance had been disappointing as they announced plans to close 100 branches in a $400m (£250m) cost-cutting drive to win back support from disgruntled investors.

The admission was made as the bank’s top management team began three days of presentations to investors, who have endured a 30% drop in share values. There are also concerns about whether the bank has enough capital.

At the start of the three-day presentation, the new finance director, Andy Halford, said: “We recognise our recent performance has been disappointing and are determined to get back on to a trajectory of sustainable, profitable growth, delivering returns above our cost of capital.”

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/11/standard-chartered-bosses-bid-calm-investor-fears

HORRORS: S’pore next to bottom in Asean ranking?

In Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam on 08/11/2014 at 7:18 am

 

Real GDP growth forecasts

 

The Thais can blame the political problems there. Govt here blames the “deft” locals for insisting that govt cuts back on its uber liberal immigration policy? To be fair, we’ve the only developed country in Asean, so lower growth rates are par for the course. Tell that to TRE ranters and other anti-PAP paper warriors: they blame the PAP for everything that isn’t “right” here. .

 

Asian economies GDP chart

Things go better with Coke in Indonesia

In Indonesia on 08/11/2014 at 4:44 am

Coca-Cola to Buy Stake in Indonesian Unit for $500 Million. Coca-Cola will come to the aid of its Australian affiliate Coca-Cola Amatil by taking a 29 percent stake in a struggling Indonesian business for $500 million, Reuters reports. The deal effectively values the Indonesian unit at $1.7 billion.

Chart: Quenching Indonesia's thirst

StanChart directors to push for chief’s succession plan

In Banks, China, Corporate governance, Emerging markets, Hong Kong, Temasek on 01/11/2014 at 11:06 am

Above is FT’s headline for today.

Ho, Aberdeen, Blackrock and L&G baring their fangs? TRE ranters and other anti-PAP paper activists, pls note that Temasek has been pushing for a succession plan for some time.

Standard Chartered data

But they can rejoice ’cause  sharesclosed at £9.39 on Friday – down from £18 less than two years ago.

They will be celebrating.

Related:

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/lousy-set-of-results-from-stanchart/

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/stanchart-gives-ho-more-problems/

 

Sentosa: Better value in Asean/ Bali sounds value for $

In Uncategorized on 01/11/2014 at 5:20 am

Last Saturday, Today triumphantly proclaimed

For the second year running, Sentosa has been named Southeast Asia’s most expensive island destination by TripAdvisor in a cost comparison report.

The TripIndex Island Sun Report 2014 by the world’s largest travel site looked at the cost of an overnight stay in a four-star hotel, dinner for two, beers, a one-hour massage for two, and bicycle and kayak rentals at 16 popular island destinations across South-east Asia in its study.

 In comparison with Bintan, the second-most expensive island on the index, a day out for two on Sentosa island would set visitors back by S$1,005.53, almost twice the amount it would cost in Bintan, which totalled S$694.70.

 A massage for two costs S$315.33 on Sentosa, three times more than Boracay in the Philippines (S$93.11) and six times more than Phu Quoc, Vietnam, where it costs S$50.67. Bicycle rental on Sentosa for two costs S$90, but only costs S$10.94 in Lombok and S$5.29 in Bali.

Hotels were the most expensive item on the list, making up about half of the total cost for most islands.

scan0001

It then realised that this wasn’t putting Sentosa in a gd light and swerved, as bwfits a constructive, nation-building newspaper, The Singapore island had a very different value proposition from the other South-east Asian islands and that TripAdvisor’s findings did not give a full and accurate representation of its value-for-money offerings.

“A two-course meal for two with drinks can be had for less than S$50 at some of the dining venues on the island. Guests to Sentosa can also enjoy good value through our PlayPass, which gives them the flexibility to choose from various attractions on the island at affordable rates,” he said.

“Locals who sign up for our Islander membership programme also get to enjoy unlimited entry to Sentosa all year round, in addition to many other discounts and privileges.”

And spun on, TripAdvisor also noted in its report that Sentosa offered world-class attractions, despite the higher cost in comparison with the other more affordable islands, and that it was home to a diverse selection of themed attractions and leisure experiences that appeal to guests with different interests and of any age group.

Those attractions included Singapore’s first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa, which operates South-east Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park, the S.E.A. Aquarium, Maritime Experiential Museum and the Adventure Cove Waterpark, said the travel site.

Universal Studios Singapore and the S.E.A. Aquarium were also given 2014 Travellers’ Choice awards.

The value propositions are, At the other end of the spectrum were Gili Trawangan (Indonesia), Bali (Indonesia) and Koh Samui (Thailand) — the three most affordable islands in the region. Gili Trawangan offered the best value for money, costing travellers no more than S$300 for a day on the island.

.

StanChart gives Ho more problems

In Banks, China, Corporate governance, Hong Kong, Temasek on 31/10/2014 at 10:12 am

Is StanChart a rogue bank?

Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) fell for a fourth consecutive day in London after U.S. prosecutors reopened investigations to determine whether the bank, which entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in 2012, withheld evidence of Iran sanctions violations.

The U.S. Justice Department, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, are all reopening their original inquiries into the London-based lender to determine whether it intentionally withheld information from regulators before the 2012 settlements, according to two people briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the probes are confidential.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-30/standard-chartered-bank-of-tokyo-said-getting-new-review.html

Temasek wants clear succession plan at stanChart

https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/lousy-set-of-results-from-stanchart/

Lousy set of results from StanChart

In Banks, China, Corporate governance, Emerging markets, Hong Kong, Temasek on 29/10/2014 at 2:23 pm

Standard Chartered has announced a 16% fall in operating profit because of a restructuring of its South Korean business and an increase in bad loans.

The Asia-focused lender said pre-tax profits fell to $1.5bn (£930m) in the July-to-September quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

Standard Chartered also warned full-year earnings would fall because of weak trading activity.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29797961

FT reports that some of the major shareholders have been pressing for the CEO to be sacked if things don’t improve soon. It also reports that Temasek  is “pressing for a clear plan of succession”.

Standard Chartered data

 

 

What S’pore, Vietnam, Cambodia have in common?

In Casinos, Private Equity, Vietnam on 25/10/2014 at 5:10 am

No, not authoritarian govts always “fixing the Oppo.

After all, M Ravi, the go-to, kick-ass, take-no-prisoners constitutional lawyer for a drug mule who think the world owes him a living, hooligans who think human rights is the right to disrupt YYMCA activities and tell lies, and a gay that homely gays don’t want to be associated with,  said recently that S’pore is a “democratic society”. No I’m not joking, M Ravi said recently, “We are instructed to place on notice our client’s profound sense of regret that in a democratic society like Singapore, her Constitutional rights and freedoms have been curtailed so drastically on a premise that in her submission is flawed, and all her rights are reserved.”

Coming back to the title, seriously what S’pore, Vietnam and Cambodia have in common is that citizens are by and large banned from gambling in casinos in their own country.

And why isn’t Cambodia studying the laws on allowing locals into Cambodian casinos. After all the Oppo-fixing PM admires our very own LKY.

Ros Phirun, the government’s spokesman on gambling and casinos, says no new decision have been made that would allow Cambodian citizens to wager in Cambodian casinos. He does offer however that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has been studying legislation in America, the Philippines, Vietnam and China, as it prepares to draft new laws to improve casino governance. With better laws, there might be less harm done in letting Cambodians gamble away their savings. “In general, our management of the gambling industry has not been thorough because we have not had the right laws in place …

S’pore’s rules don’t work in a poor country.

One suggestion is to follow the Singapore model. Casinos there charge residents who wish to enter a casino a cover fee of about $80 per day. Alternatively they may buy annual passes for  about $1,600 each … But the same pay-to-play fee structure would be ludicrous in Cambodia, a country where the minimum wage is stuck at about $100 a month and mean disposable income is not greater than $120 per month.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/10/casinos-cambodia

Interestingly, the blog says of S’pore’s law: Dubious thinking has it that only those Singaporeans who can afford to gamble in the first place will be willing to pay the entrance fee.

FYI, btw,

Vietnam Spearheads Frontier Market Investing With a young population and a growing middle class, Vietnam is a popular market for private equity investors, The Wall Street Journal writes.

First Iskandar, now Penang: Harry’s having the last laugh?

In Malaysia on 18/10/2014 at 4:30 am

Next stop Selangor?

LKY’s Operation Trojan Horse” of owning M’sia via the DAP is coming thru? Huat Ah!

Let me explain. Sometime back,  I pointed out that S’poreans own Iskandar. True the Johor state govt and federal govt are messing us up. Even Johor’s royalty is joining in.  But at least the founding father of the DAP is now MP of much of Iskandar.

And his son, Penang’s chief minister now says, Penang is vying to become the next hub for Singapore companies’ regional expansion, with the state government open to more opportunities for bilateral partnerships, its Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Tuesday (Oct 14).

“We are putting ourselves on the map – that Penang is open for business, and you can set up your plants here at very attractive rates,” said Mr Lim, who was in Singapore to unveil BPO Prime, a S$500 million mixed-use development project led by Singapore investment giant Temasek Holdings and Penang Development Corp (PDC) – the state’s development agency.

“We can complement the role played by Singapore. We have a technology and electronics cluster, and I believe you should use our core competencies in manufacturing to grow your services sector. The key is convergence,” he said.

“Singapore’s investment into Penang jumped from RM61 million (S$23.8 million) to RM622 million between 2012 and 2013. We feel there is room to grow – and what better way to grow than working together? That’s why we have asked Temasek to come in, not just as an investor but also as a player,” …

BPO Prime and Penang International Technology Park (PITP), the two Penang projects outlined in a memorandum of understanding that Temasek and PDC signed in May, will have a total development value of about S$4.4 billion.

The developments will be funded via a joint venture that is 49 per cent owned by Temasek.

BPO Prime will break ground in the first half of next year and construction will take two to three years. When completed, it will offer 1.6 million sq ft of residential and commercial space. The commercial element will focus on business process outsourcing.

“Penang’s outsourcing sector saw more than a 20 per cent increase in revenue last year. BPO Prime is a priority project that is part of the state government’s plans to transform Penang into an international outsourcing hub,” Mr Lim said.

Penang can be a sound alternative for Singapore companies to expand in Malaysia at a time when all eyes are on the nearby Iskandar region, said Mr Philip Yeo, chairman of Economic Development Innovations Singapore (EDIS), the project’s master development manager.

“I’m looking for skilled workers, in which case Penang has a better advantage … Iskandar is near enough – but I’ll go where the skill is,” Mr Yeo said, citing his own experience as a chairman of aerospace component manufacturer Accuron, which is planning to grow its workforce of 800 to 1,000 in Penang.

“I believe talent will be a strong selling point for Penang, where spaces such as BPO and PITP will be ideal for high-end activities from Singapore and elsewhere,” he said. CNA

Btw, it’a fact that Penang became a DAP state, the xchief minister came down to S’pore to brief LKY. He said so in a seminar I attended.

Maybe, S’pore’s hegemony over Iskandar and Penang is the real reason why LKY’s Merger radio talks were reprinted. A subtle joke that he’s having the last laugh.

Another week another view on the best Asean mkts

In Malaysia on 11/10/2014 at 1:59 pm

Ilan Solot, EM currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, lists three variables to look for: currencies that have levelled off after devaluation; low inflation; and large exports. Asian economies such as the Philippines, Malaysia and South Korea fit the bill. (FT on Monday)

Last Sunday, I reported reported https://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/spore-msia-not-attractive-indonesia-is/

S’pore, M’sia not attractive, Indonesia is

In Indonesia, Malaysia on 05/10/2014 at 4:37 am

In a late Sept report, FT reported that the Barings Fund mgr managing an Asean fund is cautious about topping up his exposure to Singapore and Malaysia due to fears about their economic growth prospects.
Mr Lim has large underweight positions in both countries via his $592.4m Asean Frontiers fund, which targets members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Singapore makes up almost 30 per cent of the portfolio, compared with 33.7 per cent within the benchmark MSCI South East Asia index. The manager has just over 19 per cent in Malaysia, against the index’s 26.5 per cent.
In July, data showed the Singaporean economy had contracted on a quarterly basis for the first time in two years, while Malaysia is going through a process of budget deficit reduction and may miss its 2014 target.

“Singapore and Malaysia are more developed than the rest of the Asean countries … This makes them more expensive and in the long term they don’t have as good growth potential.

“In terms of size, Malaysia is much smaller than the countries we favour, such as Indonesia, so it is less likely to expand rapidly.”
Mr Lim said he can still find selective opportunities in Malaysia, but ones which do not necessarily rely on the domestic economy. Tune Insurance, an online travel-insurance provider based in the country, is one of the latest additions to his portfolio.

“Tune allows us to access the tourism market without investing in airlines, which have to deal with a lot of regulation and are [involved] in price wars,” he said.

In general, he finds growth companies in Indonesia and the Philippines more enticing.

Baring ASEAN frontiers … holds a 3 per cent overweight position in Indonesia. He is confident 2015 will be a strong year for the country, given that the macroeconomic environment has improved.

Investors had been wary of Indonesia as they awaited the results of presidential elections in July. However, as Joko Widodo has been elected and interest rates are expected to rise next year, Mr Lim said there is now a positive outlook.

… had mixed feelings about Thailand, which makes up 15.1 per cent of his portfolio. This is in line with the benchmark.
“Thailand has a higher risk than the rest of the countries in the region, as there remains a lot of political uncertainty around the constitution,” …

In July, Thailand adopted an interim constitution ahead of the October 2015 elections. This constitution preserves the military-led government, called the National Council for Peace and Order.

PRCs in Iskandar (con’td) and other M’sian property tales

In Malaysia, Property on 04/10/2014 at 7:36 am

There are media reports that Sichuan Sanjia is trying to sell its project site in Iskandar. This follows news that PRC developers and buyers are wrecking the condo market in Iskandar.  http://business.asiaone.com/news/concern-over-china-firms-launches-iskandar

After complaining that the PRC developers and buyers are spoiling the condo mkt in Iskandar, FD Iskandar, president of Malaysia’s national organisation of developers, the Real Estate & Housing Developers Association (Rehda), tried to spin the story in favour of buying M’sian property.

But Iskandar is bigger than Nusajaya or Danga Bay, he said, adding that demand for landed homes still “looks very strong”.

Mr Iskandar noted that many Singaporean buyers prefer to buy from Singapore developers or reputable Malaysian developers.

There has also been much interest from Singaporean investors in industrial as well as commercial properties.

Meanwhile, other hot property spots in Malaysia such as Penang and Greater Kuala Lumpur are likely to be shielded from the supply glut in Iskandar as strong population growth in these areas is still supporting fundamental demand for housing, according to Mr Iskandar.

[Qn: what happens if PRC developers start moving into Penang and KL? Sure spoil mkt?]

Kuala Lumpur’s population is six million and could grow to 10 million by 2020 through demographic growth, urbanisation and intra-state migration.

Mr Iskandar estimated that this would translate to some 170,000 homes to be built each year, based on the assumption of four persons per household.

Investment yields from residential properties in Penang and Kuala Lumpur are likely to hold up in the region of 5 to 8 per cent while commercial properties could reap higher yields, Mr Iskandar projected.

The retail segment has also emerged as a strong component, with Kuala Lumpur being ranked by global news network CNN as the fourth-best city in the world for shopping after New York, London and Tokyo.

With the upcoming high-speed rail between Singapore and Malaysia expected to cut travelling time from 51/2 hours to just 90 minutes, both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will benefit from greater inter-city travelling and cross-border investments, Mr Iskandar said.

Still, he is not asking potential buyers to completely snub Iskandar that he believes to be a “highly investable location”.

But Mr Iskandar has a piece of advice: “Please look at the quality of the developers. Be savvy investors. If it’s for owner-occupation, there’s no worry whatsoever but if it is for investment, you need to do due diligence before buying.”

 

‘Cause of FTs, Thailand pips us

In Uncategorized on 27/09/2014 at 6:10 am

When I started work in broking in the late 80s, ex-Japan, HK and S’pore were the leading stock mkts. Today, we are not even the leading exchange in SE Asia. Thailand has a bigger exchange despite its political, economic woes.

I note SGX is led by two FTs, an ang moh and and Indian Indian. any surprise if “S’poreans hate Foreign Trashes to pieces”.

Don’t overlook these high SGX highish yielders

In Indonesia, Japan, Reits on 20/09/2014 at 6:28 am

LMIR Trust to acquire Jakarta mall for 3.6 trillion rupiah

Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust (LMIR Trust) plans to bulk up its portfolio by acquiring a five-storey shopping centre in southern Jakarta, Indonesia, for 3.6 trillion rupiah (S$385.7 million) which it plans to pay with cash and new units.

The acquisition of Lippo Mall Kemang (LMK) from PT Almaron Perkasa – a company incorporated in Indonesia which is 92 per cent indirectly owned by the trust’s sponsor PT Lippo Karawaci – could potentially raise the trust’s portfolio by 27 per cent from S$1.42 billion as at end-June to S$1.8 billion.

LMIR Trust’s manager, LMIRT Management, has proposed to issue up to 301.37 million new units to PT Almaron Perkasa, which under the conditional sale and purchase agreement signed on Sept 14 will receive 3.18 trillion rupiah in cash and 420 billion rupiah in units for LMK.

The firm deemed the deal to buy LMK, which enjoyed a high occupancy rate of 93 per cent as at June this year, a “strategic acquisition of a prominent retail mall” located close to residential apartments, a hotel, a wedding chapel, a school and a country club. LMK also serves as the podium of the proposed JW Marriott Hotel, Pelita Harapan school campus, a planned hospital and three condominium towers. (BT this week)

And

From now till end-March 2017, acquisition strategies will be executed in full swing by Accordia Golf Trust (AGT).

The first Singapore-listed business trust with golf course assets in Japan, and also Asia’s first golf trust, AGT currently manages 89 golf courses in Japan, with a combined value of about 160 billion yen (S$1.89 billion).

Together with its sponsor company, Tokyo-listed Accordia Golf, they own 133 golf courses in Japan, and they are the largest golf operator in Japan, with a 5.5 per cent share of the market.

In a media briefing on Monday, chief executive officer Yoshihiko Machida said the trust is now poised to acquire an additional 50 billion yen worth of golf assets, with a preference for 19 golf courses currently owned by Accordia Golf, of which AGT has the first call options right to purchase. (BT this week)

I own a bit of the former and and still thinking of the latter. The issue with these is the strong S$. (Yen was at an all time low against S$ this week).

Equity mkts: India, Indonesia & Pinoyland looking gd/ Don’t forget S’pore

In ETFs, India, Indonesia on 13/09/2014 at 4:34 am

Examining recent price trends, India has stabilized in dramatic fashion following its dismal performance in 2013.  With superior demographics, a skilled work force, and pro-business leadership, India could prove to be an excellent growth engine over the coming decade.  However, investors should also bemindful of the higher than normal price volatility and look to hold any new investment with a long-term viewpoint.

Circling the globe and focusing in on to the Pacific Rim, Indonesia has had a stellar year following a major decline of over 20% in 2013.  The Market Vectors Indonesia (IDX) is currently up 26.5%, yet appears to still have a lot of room to run to reach its all-time highs.  This ETF is weighted primarily towards large and mid-cap financials, consumer staples, and consumer discretionary stocks.

Indonesia stands to build on excellent GDP growth rates that exceed 5% on a year over year basis. Two thirds of their economy is driven by domestic consumption, which could continue to perform well given their stable democracy and large middle class.  Indonesia also boasts one of the lowest debt to GDP percentages in greater Asian region, which should allow the government to continue its key investments in infrastructure.

Finally, stocks in the Philippines are beginning to show signs of life, with a year to date return of 23.4%.  The iShares MSCI Philipines (EPHE) is dominated by 42 large cap stocks primarily centered around the financial, industrial, and telecom sectors.

Although the Thai protests last year pushed the region into a state of disarray, the Philippines has managed to overcome those fears and has held up relatively well.  The Filipino economy is poised to continue its 2014 run on the back of robust economic growth, increased tourism, and a strong fiscal balance sheet.

In addition, the Filipino peso has been very strong relative to the U.S. dollar and other emerging market currencies.  As a result, GDP growth has exceeded 6.5% over the last two years. These two factors bolster EPHE’s chances of trending higher in the near-term, even despite the country’s moderate levels of wage inequality and foreign investment restrictions.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/082914/these-little-known-emerging-market-countries-are-star-performers.asp?utm_source=newstouse&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=NTU-9/5/2014

Three-month flows into Singapore exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are on course to reach the most since Markit Ltd began tracking the data in 2009. Investors took money out of the stock and bond funds for five straight quarters through June, the Markit data show. The benchmark Straits Times Index has rebounded 13 per cent from this year’s low on Feb 5 and Singapore’s sovereign debt returned 3 per cent this year.

Singapore shares are the most attractive among Asia ex-Japan and emerging-market equities, beating Hungary, Chile and China, according to a Morgan Stanley study using measures from earnings to corporate governance and technical indicators. The investment bank predicts companies in the South-east Asian city-state will beat consensus earnings forecasts after the economy expanded at a quicker-than-expected pace in the second quarter.

“The Singapore market is somewhat undervalued for a pretty strong growth environment with positive earnings revisions,” said Jonathan Garner, Hong Kong-based head of Asia and emerging-market strategy at Morgan Stanley. “We also like the fact that the market scores very highly in terms of our political risk and corporate governance model.” BT on Tuesday)

Thai coup leader alleges black magic

In Uncategorized on 07/09/2014 at 4:17 am

Hmm maybe our anti-PAP cyber warriors should take a leaf from Thai oppo.

Thailand’s military leader and premier, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, has accused critics of using black magic against him, it’s reported … Prayuth addressed his critics: “If you still want to fight on and go underground, bring it on. If you resort to performing rituals, just bring it on.” … Magical symbolism has long played a role in Thai politics. During the last big wave of protests in 2010, anti-government demonstrators splattered buckets of their own blood outside the PM’s residence as priests cast a curse on the authorities. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29075681

Maybe anti-PAP cyber-warriors need to splatter their own blood, given that their curses posted on TRE etc don’t have any effect. But then they don’t even bother to turn up at their heloos’ rallies.

SIA boleh, MAS tak boleh

In Airlines, Malaysia on 31/08/2014 at 4:50 am

Malaysia Airlines’ 19,500 staff operate a fleet of 108 aircraft, while SIA operates 103 aircraft with 5,000 fewer employees. The result is that over the past nine years the Malaysian carrier has lost a net Rm3.56bn ($1.1bn), while Singapore Airlines has made S$8.86bn ($7.1bn) without a single year of losses.

Says a lot about how S’pore Inc and M’sia Inc do things.

 

Durian diplomacy is apt name for S’pore, M’sia ties

In Malaysia on 30/08/2014 at 4:29 am
On Thursday, BT reported,
Agrobazaar opens in Kampong Glam – with durian diplomacy
Malaysian PM Najib gives PM Lee the spiky fruit; both sides affirm strong ties
Just as they did at their last retreat in Putrajaya in April, the leaders of Singapore and Malaysia engaged in a dose of durian diplomacy on Wednesday.
This time, it was at the official opening of an agro-food outlet called Agrobazaar Malaysia, located at Sultan Gate in the historic Kampong Glam district. The 464 sq m bazaar, which sells Malaysian produce such as fruit, sauces and coffee, is Malaysia’s first overseas branch of Agrobazaar.
During the opening ceremony, visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak presented his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong with a gift of durians, specifically the popular “musang king” variety, as well as an oil painting of them enjoying the spiky fruit during the April retreat.
Well the durian is a smelly, with a coating of thorns, and relations between the two countries are prickly and can stink: forever rowing.
Earlier in the week BT reported:

The arbitration process to settle a dispute between Singapore and Malaysia over development charges on certain parcels of former Malayan Railway land in Singapore has reached its final stage…. a spokesman from Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) revealed that the decision of the arbitration tribunal was expected “in a few months”.

This paves the way to potentially settle an outstanding issue in the Points of Agreement (POA) on whether Malaysia needs to pay Singapore a development charge on three parcels of land in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands.

This charge is a tax that is payable to the Singapore government to change the use of a land parcel. Singapore believes this tax must be paid, while Malaysia has argued otherwise.

The matter was eventually referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, after Singapore and Malaysia reached an arbitration agreement in 2012.

Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to accept the arbitration award as final and binding. They also agreed that the decision would not affect the implementation of the POA …

 

 

Tourism potential of Indon, Vietnam & Burma

In China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam on 24/08/2014 at 4:58 am

Number of foreign visitors received in 2013

  • Thailand – 26.5 million
  • Malaysia – 25.7 million
  • Hong Kong – 25.6 million
  • South Korea – 12.1 million
  • Japan – 10.3 million
  • Indonesia – 8.8 million
  • Vietnam – 7.5 million
  • Myanmar – 2 million

I’m surprised that Indonesia has only 8.8m visitors given the popularity of Bali.

Still Mynamar is the place to invest in the tourism biz. Opportunities there from recent BBC article.

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