Saturday, 24 January 2009

US Rhetoric won’t Help China Ties

There are potential hiccups but pragmatism rules the day for now

Asia braces for tough tourism year

Across Asia, hotels, airlines and tourism operators are bracing for another tough year as the financial crisis sees long-haul visitors remain at home, and regional travellers tighten purse-strings with shorter, budget trips.

China Responds Tartly to U.S. on Currency

Whether it was a shot across the bow or a simple restatement of his boss’s views, Timothy Geithner’s assertion that China “manipulates” its currency has complicated a crucial front in President Barack Obama’s efforts to improve relations with the world.

Property slump to aggravate Asian economic slowdown

Slumping Asian property markets could intensify the region’s economic downturn this year, further undermining consumer and investor confidence and prompting homeowners to tighten spending.

China warns of long-term ills

China must do more to ease public distress as it battles a slowing economy and rising unemployment, a leadership meeting said, warning officials the global slowdown was colliding with the nation’s reckless mode of growth.

Private housing supply shrinking as prices fall

Developers delay projects’ expected completion dates to beyond 2011

Membership prices of top clubs plunge

Mid-tier golf clubs hold firm and prop up BT Golf Index

Why a near-term rally may not be in the stars

Astrologers and fung shui experts have given investors hope that the market may improve during the Year of the Ox and stocks could bottom out in the summer months, like a cow’s bulging belly!

China Factor Tipped to Worsen Stock Fall

Experts say slowdown to be felt worldwide

Shanghai prepares reit launch to bolster sluggish property market

Shanghai, the mainland’s financial hub, was set to launch a real estate investment trust this year to boost the slumbering property market, a senior city official said.

Geithner claim over yuan seen as just rhetoric

State economist plays down remarks

Little secrets of ‘out-of-business’ sales

Do ‘closeout’ sales mean the lowest prices? Not always. And where did all that extra merchandise come from?

KepLand’s bleak results may set tone for industry

But measures announced during the Budget will help alleviate some of the burdens of property developers.

CapitaLand yet to make decision on fund-raising

Firm has received various such proposals, which include rights issues

Commercial rents feel the slowdown

Leases and prices of industrial and office space fall in Q4 2008 after years of steady gains

Subtle shifts expected in US policy on Taiwan

But overall, Mr. Obama’s administration remains uncertain on this issue and is unlikely to issue a comprehensive policy statement on Taiwan. Several experts on US-Taiwanese relations do not expect much to change, even though they hope he will promote relations among the US, the mainland and Taiwan that will benefit all parties.

Freezing weather hobbles holiday travel

The freezing weather that has gripped much of the mainland in the past few days - disrupting the plans of hundreds of thousands of travellers rushing home for the Lunar New Year - will last for another day or two and continue to move south, meteorologists say.

Theme park dreams are built on sand

Netizens on the mainland have been up in arms over the plan by Maanshan to rebrand itself as China’s “City of Bathing”. Maanshan’s officials decided in December that they could turn the city, in Anhui province, into a tourist destination by touting the delights of its many bathhouses - as if Maanshan was one of the English spa towns founded by the Romans, instead of the steel manufacturing hub it actually is.

Step up action on fake notes, banks told

The central bank has warned commercial banks and financial institutions on the mainland to watch out for counterfeit banknotes ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Sanlu just a scapegoat in scandal, says lawyer

Sending top Sanlu executives to jail and executing milk middlemen does not resolve the deep-seated problems in the country’s dairy industry and food-safety regulation system, experts say.

Suspect's home searched

Haiyang Zhu is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Xin Yang.

Virginia Tech Police were trying to verify the authenticity of a posting on a Chinese-language blog earlier this month under the name Haiyang Zhu that expressed frustration over problems including stock losses, Chief Wendell Flinchum said Friday.

Beijing relaxes property rules

Restrictions on foreigners buying property in the Chinese capital have been relaxed for 2009, state media reported Saturday, as Beijing moves to stimulate a sluggish housing market.

DPP allies urge Chen to admit corruption

Political heavyweights in Taiwan’s pro-independence camp have turned against former president Chen Shui-bian, urging him to plead guilty to corruption charges.

Australia’s richest woman seeks Chinese partners for mine projects

Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has a team in China seeking partners to finance her second iron ore project and a coal mine, betting the Asian nation will succeed in engineering a recovery.

Dongfeng targets 6pc growth in vehicle sales

Dongfeng Motor Corp, the state-owned parent of Dongfeng Motor Group, has set a lower target for vehicle sales growth of 6.06 per cent this year, compared with the 16.12 per cent expansion last year, as a slowing economy crimps demand.

Analysts see second-half market recovery as valuations hit bottom

The Hong Kong market is bracing for strong headwinds in the first half of this year, but may be positioned for a rebound in the second half as valuations bottom out and draw in bargain hunters, according to forecasts from leading investment banks.

Chiang back in favour at hall

Taiwan has decided to restore the name of a memorial hall dedicated to late leader Chiang Kai-shek after it was renamed the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall more than a year ago.

Friday, 23 January 2009

US Trade War with China?

US president Barack Obama has set the stage for a possible trade war with China by branding the Asian giant a currency manipulator, a term his predecessor George W. Bush had skilfully avoided despite pressure from lawmakers.


Xin Yang, a 22-year-old graduate student from Beijing, was decapitated by a fellow Chinese student

Grand Master Yap: Hard times ahead

“Money is the king in these bad times. The worse is yet to come. The years 2009 until 2012 will be bad,” he said, adding that the economy would only bounce back in 2013.

How to use KE CFD


Hard Landing vs. Stimulus by Andy Xie

The market will come back only when China and the U.S. have completed sufficient structural reforms to create a sustainable growth cycle.

No Time for Backsliding on Bank Reform

The grumbling that followed foreign investor pullouts must not weaken China’s resolve to continue banking reform.

Fitch: China Can't Avoid a Hard Landing

The much feared hard landing of the Chinese economy is actually underway, says James McCormack, MD & head of sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings, as he expects 2009 GDP to rise just 6%. He tells Cheng Lei & CNBC's Amanda Drury more.

Carmakers Clutch Wheel as Market Slides

Growth rates are slipping for China’s auto industry, but domestic and global manufacturers remain committed to the huge market.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Windows 7 Beta in 10 Video Lessons


CLSA fung shui index points to more trouble in Year of the Ox

Investors looking forward to a fresh start have been counting the days until the Year of the Ox kicks off, but the zodiac signs point to more trouble ahead, according to CLSA’s fung shui index released yesterday.

China lawyers to block sale of Qing bronzes

A planned Paris sale of two Qing Dynasty bronzes from the late French designer Yves Saint Laurent’s art collection is raising the ire of Chinese patriots who say they may sue auction house Christie’s International because the items were stolen from China.

Global retailers forced to re-strategise as China slows

Some have been over-extended as their home markets collapse

How Asia can profit in the long term

Changing the pattern of investment will get capital flowing in the region again

Some advice for Geithner

Bear in mind that the interest of the country does not necessarily coincide with the interest of the banks

Temasek's Losses

Temasek lost almost US$2 billion of a badly-timed US$3 billion in Shin Corp at a peak of 49.25 baht(Shin shares are now trading at around 15 baht) in 2006.

This state-linked investment company committed S$401 million in ASX -listed ABC Learning Centres at near the peak price of A$7.30 and then averaged down at between A$1.20 and A$4.00, bringing its commitment to over S$500 million. That investment is now essentially worthless although Temasek has yet to write it down.

The company also bought 19% of LSE- listed Standard Chartered in 2006 only to see the market value of that stake melt 55% by November 21st.

More fiascos include a 975 million pound stake in Barclays Bank bought at the peak of 740 pence(with a further 100 million to subscribe for a rights issue at 282 pence), which have now sunk over 70% at 138 pence.

Most heinous of all is its US$6.88 billion stake in Citigroup bought with a minimum conversion price of $31.34. Citigroup has since plunged 88% to $3.71, singlehandedly delivering S$9.11 billion of red ink to Temasek’s books.

Overall, the paper loss on these bank investments has exceeded S$35 billion as of October 21st.

America needs to re-create self-sustaining spending

Franklin Roosevelt’s popularity with the voters was all-important for America’s conquest of the Depression. Pray that Mr. Obama’s emerging critics will not delay and jeopardise the return of prosperity by 2012 or sooner.

What a small city can teach Beijing about fighting corruption

One cannot fault the mainland leadership for not trying hard enough to combat corruption, something they admit could spell the end of the Communist Party’s rule.

New era beckons for M&A lending

Domestic and foreign banks in China are welcoming a change in regulations that will create a new market for merger and acquisition lending to mainland companies and their offshore special-purpose vehicles.

Chinese banks may not be as solid as they look

As a fresh attack of the jitters shakes the world’s financial system, the stocks of mainland banks listed in Hong Kong have held up relatively well. Unfortunately, their apparent stability could prove an illusion.

Cheaters use spy gear on China’s civil service exam

More than 1,000 applicants were caught cheating on China’s civil servant exams, with some using spy technology such as micro-earpieces and wireless transmitters, state media reported Monday.

Asian-Americans Make a Mark

When three newly elected Chinese-American city supervisors climbed on stage in Chinatown, flanked by dragon dancers and lit up by camera flashes, they were hailed for making history in a city their forebears have shaped since the Gold Rush Days.

200 thugs stop judges executing court order

A gang of 200 thugs successfully prevented 10 judges and court marshals from executing a court order in Hebei province on Saturday, dealing another severe blow to the country’s frail rule of law.

China’s Flagging Economy - Strong as an Ox?

China’s annual GDP growth falls to 6.8%. How much worse can it get?

Ex-Citibank Relationship Manager Fined

The first of seven ex-Citibank employees who took clients’ information before leaving to join rival UBS was fined a total of $173,000 on Thursday.

Chinese Truffle ‘Impostors’

Sold for a 20th of the price, the Chinese truffle looks so similar to the prized French delicacy, the Perigord black truffle or tuber melanosporum, that only experts can tell them apart.

Nightmare train journeys have dream New Year destination

Si Yuefeng was exhausted as he stumbled off a decrepit train after 28 hours of standing up, yet he was happy as the nightmare journey had finally brought him home for the Chinese New Year.

Mainland’s urban-rural wealth gap widens

Mainland’s yawning urban-rural wealth gap widened further last year even as income growth slowed, lending statistical support to concerns that the economic slump and rising unemployment could spark social tensions.

Mainland’s urban-rural wealth gap widens

Mainland’s yawning urban-rural wealth gap widened further last year even as income growth slowed, lending statistical support to concerns that the economic slump and rising unemployment could spark social tensions.

Taiwan ex-leader urged to face justice after relatives plead guilty

“Stop lying. It’s time to honestly face justice,” she said.

Two sentenced to death over tainted milk

A mainland court on Thursday sentenced two men to death for their role in the production and sale of melamine-tainted milk that killed at least six children and made nearly 300,000 ill.

Police detain two over Myanmar kidnap scandal

Police in north China have detained two people allegedly linked to the Myanmar-based kidnapping of at least 50 teenagers whose parents were sent ransom demands, state media reported Thursday.

Britain urges China to play ‘full role’ in world

London urged Beijing on Wednesday to play its part on the world stage by helping to tackle the global financial crisis and to combat climate change.

Shanghai police detain Chinese Internet porn sensation Huang - ‘Kappa Girl’

The Chinese Internet sensation known as “Kappa Girl” has been detained by police in Shanghai after attempting to cash in on her popularity as an online porn star by selling off interviews for big bucks.

‘Kappa Girl’ fired for sex video

A 12 minute long sex video of a female employee working at the Kappa store in the east building of the Shanghai No.1 Department Store on Nanjing Lu has recently been spreading like wildfire on the Chinese internet...

Chinese Developer Sued by Casino over Loan

An Australian casino has sued Shanghai property developer Yan Liyan - one of the mainland’s richest people - over allegations that she failed to repay loans totalling HK$42.5 million.

Workers Will Have to Contribute in Pension Scheme Revamp

Pension funding shortfalls are causing mainland authorities to slash future retirement payouts for millions of government employees working for non-profit institutions and to force the workers to make contributions.

SGX Proposes Tighter Rules for Married Deals

Higher threshold of $500,000 and earlier reporting meant to enhance transparency

Rural Power Network Ready for Unravelling

The days may be numbered for disputes over who owns the power grids built throughout rural China over the past decade.

Jade, E3: Market Victims - or Bad from the Start?

I say it was a con job right from the beginning.

In China, Corporate Buyers Now Beware

Once bitten, twice shy.

Former CAO Boss Returns to China

Chen Jiulin was granted an early release from Changi Prison for good behaviour

Feng Shui Masters See Calmer Markets in Year of the Ox

Stock investors reeling from last year’s market mayhem may take some solace from practitioners of the ancient Chinese art of feng shui, who predict a calmer, if subdued, performance in the coming Chinese Year of the Ox.

CBRC: No ‘Great Leap’ for 2009 Lending

Bank regulators, seeking to balance development and risk control in tough times, have set new goals for commercial lenders.

Australian Winemakers Facing Export Slump

Global demand hurt by financial crisis; shipments down 18% by value in 2008


(XFN-ASIA) - Singapore-listed Guangzhao Industrial Forest Biotechnology Group Ltd said it will report a loss for the fourth quarter and full-year 2008 because of a decline in timber prices as the result of the weak economy in China.

Teens Tell of Kidnap, Torture in Myanmar

Teenagers Zhang Bo and Li Bin have told of the horror of being kidnapped and taken to Myanmar, where they were tortured until, as one said, “I felt like dying”.

Chen’s Son Pleads Guilty

The son and daughter-in-law of ex-president Chen Shui-bian yesterday pleaded guilty to money-laundering in the latest twist in one of Taiwan’s biggest corruption scandals.

China Sells US Long Term T-bills in Fear of Capital Outflow and Deficits

China is increasing holding of short-term US treasury bills and reducing long-term bills out of the concern over capital outflow and more bond issuance brought by increasing deficit due to Obama’s economic rescue plan.

Can Guangdong Save Its Role Model Status?

Switching to a services economy from a labour-intensive industrial base won’t be easy, but Guangdong Province has little choice.

Architectural Scavenger Finds Treasures from Disappearing Old Beijing

Li Songtang at his museum in Beijing, where he displays relics saved from demolition sites in the rapidly modernizing city

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Credit Suisse Predicts 300,000 Jobs on the Line Here

A new Credit Suisse report has predicted that an astonishing 300,000 jobs could be lost in Singapore this year and next.

Former CAO Head Released

My best wishes to Chen Jiulin. I know some things are not what it appears to be.

Chen Shui Bian's Kins Plead Guilty

Three relatives of Taiwan’s former president Chen Shui-bian on Wednesday pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering, as part of a massive corruption case in which the ex-leader has been implicated.

World Demand Collapse, Bonds Next!

The US Fed can buy US treasury bonds directly if it wants, but that is effectively monetizing the debt. Even so, the US dollar has held up better than many people thought. But that cannot last indefinitely.

The End of Banking as we Know it

The rip-roaring performance of financial sector firms isn’t likely to return anytime soon

The Very Expensive Cooking Course by Civil Servant

For a holiday with a difference, a civil servant learns to cook at the famous Le Cordon Bleu in Paris with his family

Sterling’s finished, says Soros partner as the pound plunges to new low

Jim Rogers, who made his fortune when he founded the Quantum Fund with billionaire George Soros, warned investors they should start dumping the pound.

He said: ‘I would urge you to sell any sterling you might have. It’s finished. I hate to say it, but I would not put any money in the UK.’

Monday, 19 January 2009

‘Free Booty’ in Carparks

They pitch their wares as free or going cheap, then ask for a ‘donation’

CJ’s Remarks Upset Lawyers

He said Senior Counsel clock less time in court than those overseas

Diamond Firm May Wind Up

Royal Diamond Industries faces court action over $586k it owes supplier

Downturn Likely to Hit Chinese Workers Hardest

The economic crisis is set to hit workers harder in China than in any other big economy, with a leading scholar predicting 50 million Chinese people could be out of work this year.

More Hedge Fund Frauds

“Scary, isn’t it but more cockroaches are now forced into the open by the continuing redemptions requests and these fraudsters are unable to borrow anymore to cover their frauds. Besides rising bankruptcies, we are also expecting to see more blood on the street. This is what I called the start of the capitulation. It may sound cruel but it is a process that we have to go through in order to purify the sickness in the financial market. Once the purification is over (I do not know when), it may be time for true investors to re-enter the market again”

Smart Money Should Wait for Wall Street to Fully Capitulate

As a result, the smart thing to do is stay away from stocks until the ranks of optimists thin significantly, the ranks of pessimists swell appreciably, and above all, much clearer signs of capitulation appear - especially in the US, because it can only be a matter of time before this occurs.

Can You Spot Your Boss?

Prepare For Many More Madoffs

Get ready for investigators to uncover dozens of more possible Bernard Madoff style frauds.

China Equity Strategy Views by CSFB

Profit warnings shall cap any significant near-term rebound in Chinese stocks

HSBC may need to issue rights

HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank, may need to sell shares in the U.K.’s biggest ever rights issue to shore up its capital position, said investment group and shareholder Knight Vinke Asset Management LLC.

CS Cuts SembMarine to Underperform; S$0.95 Target

Credit Suisse downgrades SembMarine to Underperform from Neutral on worries over major customer Petromena; cuts target to S$0.95 from S$2.15. Broker says Petromena facing US$300 million funding gap on its three rigs under construction at SembMarine’s Jurong yard; “if Petromena cannot raise an incremental US$100 million to take delivery of Petrorig 1 by 30 April, it would trigger a default.” Broker estimates Petromena and its related company LOG Rig jointly owe more than US$1.2 billion to SembMarine, which represents 20% of net order book; “until Petromena’s workout is successfully completed” it may overshadow SembMarine shares, which now +1.8% at S$1.69.

STI Technical Analysis by DB

After a bullish breakout from a symmetrical triangle pattern, the STI has corrected back below the breakout area last week and closed below horizontal support at 1,711 on Thursday. Further downside towards 1,638 seems likely as long as the index does not recapture last week’s high at 1,807 decisively. A break below 1,638 could pave the way down towards the trough at 1,474. As long as prices remain below 1,807, short-term traders may thus consider taking short-positions, especially on a close below 1,638. Aggressive traders should look for a close above 1,807 before taking new long-positions.

HSI - Technical Analysis by DB

Last Tuesday’s breakdown below the lower confine of a congestion zone changes the short-term neutral bias to a negative one. The HSI thereby closed below the intermediate-term uptrend line as well. It would take a decisive recapture of the 14,200/14,300 area to negate the negative outlook and identify this recent drop as a false break and bear trap. Minor resistance is seen at 13,675. Next potential downside targets are 11,815 and 10,676. Investors may await a close above 15,781 before considering taking or adding to long-positions. Short-term traders may sell rallies as long as prices remain below 14,300 on a closing basis.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

When to Start Work after CNY?

How a High-Flying Fraudster Fell to Earth After Plane Death Hoax Failed

Yet unknown to his neighbours the dashing investment advisor faced fraud charges, financial ruin, furious clients and a marriage that was in tatters - and he tried to escape them all by faking his own death in a plane crash. His attempt very nearly succeeded - but was sabotaged by two crucial miscalculations in the air, investigators believe.

Instead of Relying on Police, We Must Help Ourselves, Women Say

Ease Curbs on Sex Workers, say Activists, experts

Laws fail prostitutes, critics argue

Looks like another financial tsunami is coming - just look at...

The deterioration in economic and corporate data continues. I believe that the market has not fully discounted the extent of this deterioration and when it does this will lead to another big wave of selling - another financial tsunami!

Hard Landing Possible, Warn Ratings Agencies

The mainland economy could suffer a “hard landing” this year with a growth rate half its normal pace and face a rising risk of social unrest, international rating agencies warned yesterday.

Israel Faces Questions of War Crimes in Gaza

Your unit, on the edges of Jabaliya, has taken mortar fire from the crowded refugee camp nearby. You plot the launch and go to return fire, and perhaps you notice - or perhaps you don’t, even though it’s on your map - that there is a United Nations school just there, full of internally displaced Gazans. You know that international law allows you to protect your soldiers and return fire, but also demands that you ensure that there is no excessive harm to civilians. Do you remember all that in the panic?

Fortunes Change for Nine Dragons

Firm under pressure after aggressive expansion

Dealers Caught Cheating in Test for SGX Product

Exam questions leaked; exchange fines a brokerage, makes remisiers re-sit exam

CIC Snaps Up Stocks in Three Major Lenders

Move to bolster confidence in banks

In Once-Booming Tea Region, a Bitter Reality

Before American real estate prices deflated, before the stock market nose-dived and before the Ponzi-madness of Bernard Madoff, there was the Pu’er Tea Debacle of Menghai County.