Saturday, 17 January 2009

Greenlight, but only a third take IPO plunge in KL

Only a third of companies approved for public listing last year by Malaysia’s securities watchdog did so, with the remainder deciding that weak market conditions were too dicey to chance.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Crests, Troughs for China’s First PE Wave

A new CEO is steering the Bohai investment fund, but disputes over government involvement and management continue.

Mid-East Role Marks China’s Desire for Global Play

Almost two decades ago, China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping issued a series of instructions regarding the orientation of Chinese foreign policy, in which he emphasised the need for Beijing to keep a low profile and never take the lead.

Will 2009 See a Repeat of 2000-2002’s Privatisations?

Most stock market observers know that 2008 was a pretty bad year as far as new listings were concerned - only 30 companies went public last year compared to 61 in 2007, which in turn meant funds raised plunged 77 per cent to just US$1.2 billion versus US$5.3 billion the year before.

Rescue Mulled as Car Sector Loses Steam

Vehicle sales on the mainland are expected to grow only 5 per cent this year after recording the lowest sales growth in a decade last year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Keys to Power Breed Corrupt Aides

Their titles may not be impressive, and they may operate behind the scenes, but they hold the keys to the corridors of power. They are the most valued connections businessmen and officials want to cultivate - and bribe.

Indicators Show China’s Economy Breathing Easier

With the central government pumping big money into the economy, as much as 100 billion yuan by the end of 2008, indicators ranging from industrial production to credit show a slowing of the recent economic slide. Expectations are building for Plan B.

Harder Knock Seen for Property Prices

Citigroup, Goldman downgrade most of real estate stocks covered to ‘sell’

Foreign Banks Back in China Interbank Market

Chinese lenders less nervous, market flush with funds

Financial Woes Stall Mainland Projects

Funding squeeze leads to missed payments

Financial Trading Success? It’s All in the Fingers

In the testosterone-fuelled world of financial trading, it appears that hormones do rule and size really does matter, British researchers said on Monday.

Chinese Exports and Imports Continue to Shrink

China’s exports and imports shrank at an accelerating rate last month, a trend likely to set off more job losses in the country’s export-oriented coastal regions.

Can the US Repay its Debts?

The chances of the world’s richest economy defaulting remain pretty remote, but remote does not mean impossible

Beijing Office Sector Seeks Aid

Vacancies in grade A offices in Beijing rose to within touching distance of historic highs in the final quarter of last year.

Surge in Thefts and Robberies in Dongguan

Dongguan in the Pearl River Delta may be in the grip of a crime wave, as its once-booming manufacturing sector struggles amid the global financial crisis.

Shenzhen Airlines to Launch New Carrier in Yunnan

Shenzhen Airlines, China’s fifth largest airline group, said it will soon launch a new carrier based in Kunming, Yunnan province.

Shagang Chairman Shen Wenrong Iinsists on Expanding and Going Public as Prices Fall

A current winter chill for the global steel industry is not as cold for Shen Wenrong, chairman of Jiangsu Shagang Group, China’s largest private steelmaker. While other steel companies are downsizing, Shen leads a company that’s actively exploring the capital and raw material markets, and planning further expansions based on low-cost advantages.

Recovery in Blue Chips Running Out of Steam, Analysts Warn

The battered blue chips of 2008 have pulled off a strong turnaround so far this year, but analysts caution that the trend may have started to run out of steam as bargain-hunting interest tapers off.

Reaching for their Roots

Chinese once called the US “The Gold Mountain” because of the economic opportunities it promised. Now the tide is turning, with waves of overseas Chinese returning to cash in on China’s rapid economic development.

Japanese Retailers Cutting Down Imports from China

Japan’s major retailers are stepping up purchases from suppliers in Asia other than their traditional source, the mainland, as labour costs there continue to climb, a report said on Monday.

Factories Shut as Downturn Grips Dongguan

But, as the global economic downturn began to eat into the country’s exports, the jaunty job offers vanished and in their place now hang banners offering “factories to let”.

Expanding Shagang Steel Pledges Fast Pace

As the new owner of a copper manufacturer and an Australian iron ore mine, Shagang appears closer than ever to a stock listing.

Converting Crisis into Opportunity

Some of the domestic outsourcing companies may have almost got knocked down in the aftermath of the global economic meltdown, but they can’t be knocked out, for sure. If anything, they are now gearing themselves to fight back the ill-effects of the recessionary tendencies by constantly reinventing and upgrading themselves.

CIC Funds Idle Amid Investment Strategy Review

China Investment Corp (CIC), the mainland’s US$200 billion sovereign wealth fund, is in a dilemma.

Carrier Could Trigger Arms Race

Beijing’s decision to build its first aircraft carrier battle group may trigger a “carrier race” in Asia, military experts say.

How China Could Scupper US Naval Power

Some analysts claim China already operates over-the-horizon radar installations to detect and track ships far out to sea and is backing this up with maritime surveillance using its own satellites in space. They say that China will soon test an ASBM.

Hospitals to End 15pc Surcharge on Medicines

Reform plan for public health care

9/11 Caused the US Financial Crisis, Not a “Saving Glut” in China

Do not forget the principle that every transaction has a supply side and as well a demand side. Do not forget the principle that every economic argument has its counter balance “on the other hand.”

Stripped of Halo, Taiwan’s Chen Awaits Fate

Chen Shuibian’s reputation for battling corruption is in tatters now that prosecutors say the island’s former leader was a thief.

Anthony Soh Counter Sues OCBC

In a twist to a legal dispute between a local bank and a prominent investor, Dr Anthony Soh has countersued OCBC Bank for allegedly causing him to suffer loss in a botched takeover of Catalist-listed Jade Technologies.

Justice is Truly Blind for Guangdong Bosses

Guangdong officials say they are willing to look the other way if key businesspeople and technical personnel are accused of minor crimes, in an effort to help the province ride out the economic downturn and maintain social stability.

Graduates Learn to Master Household Chores

Desperate graduates, facing grim job prospects amid slowing economic growth, are clamouring to find posts as nannies and domestic helpers for the rich in Guangdong, state media reported yesterday.

Foreign Banks May Regret Giving up Hard-Won Stakes in China

In the scramble to unload their stakes in Chinese banks, international lenders are hurrying out a door that took years to pry open and may be shut more tightly against them in the future.

MAS Begins Civil Proceedings in Two Cases of Securities Violations

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has begun civil penalty proceedings in two separate cases in the High Court. Today understands this is the first time the financial regulator is using the courts to impose civil penalties under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA).

Vehicle Makers Slump Despite Stimulus Plan

If yesterday’s lacklustre stock performance of mainland carmakers says anything, it would be that investors doubted the effectiveness of Beijing’s 15 billion yuan (HK$17 billion) support measures and concessions to arrest the decline of the vehicle sector.

Party Boss Admits Shanghai Hit Hard by Financial Crisis

Shanghai has been badly hit by the global financial crisis and the government’s revenue is likely to drop sharply this year, the city’s Communist Party chief has admitted.

Why You Shouldn't Be Investing in Stocks

Steve Jobs Can't Be Trusted, But 'Real Crime' by Board, Nocera Says

Chinese Officials Gamble, and Their Luck Runs Out

Many of the biggest losers have been sent to prison and at least 15 have been executed. Some have committed suicide. The scandals have become a source of deep embarrassment for the Chinese government, which has now begun cracking down on travel visas for Macao.

DTZ Says Home Values to Stage Recovery in 2011

Home prices on the mainland will not recover until 2011 after they have fallen to a reasonable level, according to property consultant DTZ.

Gym Refunds Ex-Client After Bailiff Turns Up

True Fitness has six centres here including outlets at Great World City, Parkway Parade and VivoCity. It is part of the True Group, which was set up in 2004 by Mr. Patrick Wee, and also offers spa and yoga facilities here as well as in Thailand, Malaysia, India and Taiwan.

Sharp Import Decline More Worrying than Export Fall

Worries are greater over imports. According to China Customs, the decrease of overseas orders will affect processing trade demand. This, together with the big decline of international raw material prices and the domestic economic slowdown, means import decline will be more damaging than export decline in a short period.

Shall We Go For a Drink?

Thought process...

I Told You So – Karl Marx?

“Owners of capital will stimulate working class to buy more and more of expensive goods, houses and technology, pushing them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of banks, which will have to be nationalized, and State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism.”

Karl Marx, 1867

By Lee Wei Ling

In 2007, in an end-of-year message to the staff of the National Neuroscience Institute, I wrote: ‘Whilst boom time in the public sector is never as booming as in the private sector, let us not forget that boom time is eventually followed by slump time. Slump time in the public sector is always less painful compared to the private sector.’

The Price of JPMorgan’s Deal-Making

JPMorgan Chase is beginning to realize that some of the bargain basement purchases it made last year were cheap for a reason.

How the West must wish its banks were as seemingly pliant as those in China

No such problem in China, where the top banks remain majority or wholly state-owned. Beijing’s large fiscal stimulus package needs bank lending support, and it is getting it. But this support is going to come at a cost – namely, in an increase in nonperforming loans.

How to Stop Men Smoking

But at the expense of more women smokers.

Bad News is no News? Think Again

Given all this, it’ll take a brave man to really argue that stock prices have fully priced in the bad news. Stocks are cheap, but they can be cheaper. Think about it this way: there could be a whole year’s worth of bad news waiting for stocks - and there really is no need for any hurry to jump back into the market.

Fund to Repay Investors in Securities Not Cash

GoldenTree Asset Management, a credit hedge fund, is offering in­vestors who want to withdraw money securities instead of cash, triggering protests from those who in many cases lack means to dispose of such instruments.

Ponzi Case Raises Death Penalty Questions

Do financiers tied to all sorts of investment fraud, ‘underground banking’ and private borrowing deserve to be executed?

CSRC Said to Launch Growth Market in 2009

The State Council approved the growth market proposal, giving way for smaller IPOs.

Abu Dhabi Wealth Fund Lost $125 Billion, Council Says

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority may have lost $125 billion last year, pushing the sovereign wealth fund to second place behind Saudi Arabia after the global credit crisis cut asset prices, economists at the Council on Foreign Relations said in a report.

Super Bear Warns on US, China Risks

The US economy is likely to enter into a depression and the “implosion” of the Chinese economy will cause disastrous consequences for the whole world, Societe Generale strategist Albert Edwards said.

Down We Go Again: Faint Hope Vanishes on Wall Street

So you thought Wall Street might be out of the woods? Think again.


We can be happy, even with very little in our lives, but the minute we’re given something bigger and better, we want even more! We lose our sleep, our happiness, we hurt the people around us; all these as a price for our growing needs and desires.

Citigroup Goes To Sleep

A sharp reader corrected me as follows “Banks like Citigroup are not failing banks, they are failed banks. If your only source of funds are the politicians handing out taxpayer money, you’ve already failed, you’re bankrupt.”

Websites Still Offering Fake Notes

Mainland websites offering high-quality fake banknotes were still operating yesterday despite regulators promising a crackdown before the Lunar New Year, when cash transactions typically peak for the year.

A Flowering of Activism Poses Problems and Solutions for China

“NGOs will eventually push democratic change,” he said. “Whatever the Chinese government thinks about that, it will happen eventually.”

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Commodity Bubble Bursts: Blame the Speculators, or Falling Demand?

Chill Winds Cool CNY Spirits

But the chill winds blowing through the global economy are putting a damper on this Chinese Lunar New Year, especially for the millions of migrant workers who toil in factories and building sites, and who only get to go home this time each year.

US Auto Sector

According to the sector report by GS, auto sector should be avoided. Neutral on Toyota and Honda but Suzuki may be a better performer given its higher growth potential, particularly in India.

Investment Slows in Shanghai Property Market

The gloomy performance of Shanghai’s property market has discouraged investment in the sector, say local experts.

Auto Sector Gets a Shot in the Arm

Sales tax on vehicles with engines of less than 1.6 liters will be halved and exchange of old vehicles for new ones with smaller engines subsidized to boost the auto industry.

Stimulus Plan for China Autos

China has issued a stimulus package for its auto sector, including a tax cut, the first in a series of policies to boost key industries in the midst of the global crisis, state media said on Thursday.

Not the Time to Flaunt Your Riches

A high-ranking civil servant’s account about spending RM110,124 for him, his wife and son to learn fine French cooking has blown up in his face.

Some Singapore Homes Valued at 54% Less Than Price, Today Says

Bank valuations for Singapore homes are as much as 54 percent lower than sellers’ asking prices, leading to fewer sales in the property market amid an economic crisis, Today reported.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Policy Measures Starting to Show Results: Wen

Premier Wen Jiabao says China’s efforts to break out of an economic slump amid global turmoil are starting to show results, with the economy performing better than expected in December, state radio reported.

Pay-Interest-Only Deal for Cash-Short Home Owners

DBS scheme eases borrowers’ burden for six to 18 months

Recent Stock Rally Could Trigger Hedge Fund Selling

Madoff affair sparks wave of applications for withdrawals from hedge funds

Commodities Tumble as Recession Erodes Grain, Energy Demand

The Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index of 19 prices slid 4.1 percent. Corn, soybeans and wheat plunged the most allowed by the Chicago Board of Trade, crude oil fell below $38 a barrel and gold declined the most in six weeks.

Citi to Close China Private Banking Unit

Citigroup Inc will close its about three-year-old private banking unit in China, where the third-largest U.S. bank by assets once tried to attract money from fast growing millionaires, sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

China Could Miss 8pc Growth Goal says PBOC Chief

Just a week before the release of macroeconomic data for 2008, People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan has said the mainland could miss its target of 8 percent economic growth this year.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Iran Laundered Billions via US Banks

Some money may have been used to fund Iran’s nuclear, missile programmes

US Faces Longest Recession Since WWII

The US recession will probably be the longest since World War II and could worsen without heavy government spending, according to a closely watched survey of economists released last Saturday. The Blue Chip Economic Indicators poll of 52 economists from top financial firms, major companies and academia found that most expected a tepid recovery to begin later this year, with growth returning to more normal levels in 2010.

2008 Most Active Year for Buyers, Least Active for Sellers Since 2001

2008 was a very challenging year for directors as the market plunged to a five-year low of 1,600 in the fourth quarter, ending the year down by more than 49 per cent to 1,761.56. The steep fall in the market resulted in the most active year for buyers and the least active year for sellers, since 2001.

As Always, an Overvalued Wall Street is the Main Problem

Last week’s column strongly advised investors to be sceptical about the year-end rally and to sell into strength at every opportunity, or risk getting caught in yet another bear trap.

3G Licences Drive Up China Telecom-Related Stocks

Longcheer, Sinotel among companies expected to benefit from new business

NEL Goes From Model Company to Debacle

It won a governance award but is now in round-tripping case

Corporate Fraud Scandals Can Happen Anywhere

The approach recognises that while in developed countries, outright bribery may be less prevalent, companies can sometimes benefit from ‘legal corruption’ by achieving undue influence over regulation and policymaking. In such an environment, lax oversight and corporate scandals can be expected.

Stellar Chinese Art Market Faces Correction

Two steps forward, one step back: This painting titled 'Mao I: From the Masses, To the Masses' by Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi is valued at over HK$30 million. Market players say in the end, the Chinese market will emerge healthier and more locally focused

2008 Auto Sales Record Slowest Growth Since 1999

Auto sales in China rose 6.7 percent in 2008 from a year earlier, the first non-double digit growth since 1999, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said on Monday.

China’s Art Auction Market Still on Downturn Spiral

China’s artworks auction market continued to slow sharply in the second half of 2008, a report says.

Disney to Submit Shanghai Park Plans to Beijing

The Walt Disney Co. entertainment giant said Monday it is preparing to submit plans to Beijing to build a theme park in Shanghai, but stressed no deal had been agreed with the Chinese government.

Kuwait’s Global Investment House defaults on debt

Shares of Global tumble over 80% in London; Fitch cuts its rating to D

Boot Camp! China’s Answer to Web Addiction

Push-Ups, Leg Lifts, Military Drills Pack Days of Teens Who Couldn’t Stop Clicking

Global Mergers to Remain Subdued After 28% Fall in 2008

Venture capital and private equity deals also in the decline

Singapore Government Still Fearful of Political Film

Looking Good Versus Doing Well

The Enron and Satyam scandals prove that it isn’t enough to have a star-studded board of directors. In fact, it can be counter-productive