Saturday, 7 March 2009
China should gradually reduce its dollar holdings and invest the money in foreign resources, gold, and other currencies.
Beijing will not launch a long-expected growth enterprise market or resume initial public share offerings unless officials are convinced this year’s stock gains are sustainable, sources close to regulators said.
Media that are not designated “official” should operate according to a market-oriented model, with official media remaining as propaganda mouthpieces and performing ideological control functions, said the chief of the mainland’s press and publications watchdog.
Liberalising gambling laws could help the mainland survive the global economic downturn, sports officials said at the annual meeting of parliament this week.
The State Administration of Cultural Heritage has pledged to heed public calls for a better strategy relating to lost Chinese relics overseas after it was criticised for failing to be more active in opposing the controversial auction of two bronze animal heads at Christie’s in Paris last month.
Faced with the threat of a change in shareholder control, Sino-Environment Technology is seeking the advice of nTan Corporate Advisory Pte Ltd on all implications and the measures needed to keep its business going.
Three independent directors of Guangzhao Industrial Forest Biotechnology Group have resigned with immediate effect. Lew Syn Pau, Yong Wan Hong Jean and Ong Kian Min have also given up their respective appointments as chairman and members of the audit, nominating and remuneration committees.
Stock prices have tumbled to their lowest levels since 2003. On the property front, asset writedowns and landbank provisions have begun. The job market is facing its worst crisis in years. And the global financial market and system remain in meltdown mode.
Mr. Ong indicated that any deal would have to be at some premium to Straits Asia's current share price
Friday, 6 March 2009
The price of a Citigroup share on Thursday fell below $1 in a sign that investors are losing confidence that the lender, which operates in more than 100 countries, can be restored to health after $37.5 billion of losses in the 15 months ended December 31.
Warning that China faces “unprecedented difficulties and challenges,” Prime Minister Wen Jiabao outlined a barrage of construction, increased subsidies and economic measures Thursday aimed at continuing his nation’s modernization despite the world financial crisis.
After months of breathtaking declines, this is what Wall Street has come to: Blue-chip companies, once considered safe investments and cornerstones of the U.S. economy, are akin to penny stocks.
One Merrill Lynch trader apparently gambled away more than $120 million in the currency markets. Others seemingly lost hundreds of millions on tricky credit derivatives.
GIC officials 'are looking at all options on how to limit the damage,' said one person familiar with the matter. 'I wouldn't be surprised if they cut their stake to avoid a huge loss through dilution, but there is no decision yet.' A Citigroup spokesman in Hong Kong declined to comment.
A former investment analyst poured out his grievances before the Chief Justice yesterday during his appeal against the four years in jail and eight strokes of the cane he got for slashing and stabbing his wife.
Once again, hours after Washington issued a report condemning China’s human rights record, Beijing retaliated by issuing one deploring the situation in the United States.
Despite hopes for economic recovery, China’s exporters failed to get much encouragement this week from a major trade fair where deals fell nearly 40 percent from a year earlier, with bigger drops for some industries.
As trade withers around the world and freighters sit empty, some of the most vulnerable economies are proving to be small, international crossroads like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan - and that is prompting a rethinking of their economic development strategies.
China’s hopes for a speedy export recovery from the global crisis could be undermined by the weakest links in its powerful supply chain - smaller companies too damaged by the downturn and credit crisis to get goods to market.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Amazing striped icebergs
Icebergs in the Antarctic area sometimes have stripes, formed by layers of snow that react to different conditions.
Blue stripes are often created when a crevice in the ice sheet fills up with melt water and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form.
When an iceberg falls into the sea, a layer of salty seawater can freeze to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a green stripe.
Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked up when the ice sheet grinds downhill towards the sea.
Also out of date: “FILTH,” which stood for “Failed in London, try Hongkong,” using an old British spelling for Hong Kong. A long list of U.S. and European investment banks have been trimming staff in Hong Kong as well, although not on the same scale as in Europe or the United States.
Warning that China faces “unprecedented difficulties and challenges,” Premier Wen Jiabao outlined a barrage of construction, increased subsidies and economic measures on Thursday aimed at continuing his nation’s modernization despite a world financial crisis.
Wall Street’s multimillion-dollar bonuses have long roused the populist ire. Bankers routinely defended their excessive pay saying it simply amounted to exceptional rewards for exceptional performance. The implication was that if you cut bonuses, you’d cut performance. My research suggests otherwise. Very large bonuses actually can cause job performance to deteriorate. Super-sized pay can take executive’s minds off their jobs and onto their bonuses.
Now, with the financial crisis showing no signs of bottoming out, the opportunity for Paris and Berlin to promote unity should have been ideal. Instead, they have adopted opposing tacks over how Europe should respond to the global meltdown.
But people who drink wine are generally different from those who drink beer and liquor, experts noted. They tend to come from higher income brackets and to be more educated, and it is hard for researchers to know whether it is the wine or some other aspect of their lifestyle that protects their health.
At opposite ends of the spectrum in this regard are China and Japan. While China’s proactive and aggressive strategy of spending on infrastructure and other public works projects seems to be paying off, a devastated and supine Japan makes only feeble gestures towards economic stimulus and pines for a return to the status quo ante
International crude palm oil (CPO) prices have plunged from their record high of US$1,400 a tonne last year to below US$600 now, and the Q4 results of listed stocks such as Golden Agri and Indo Agri have not been encouraging either.
Some leading Chinese economists have suggested that the government drastically reduce its purchase of Treasury bills from the United States. The advice comes within days of Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, urging Chinese leaders to continue buying Treasury bills.
China turned up the heat on France yesterday over the controversial sale of two bronze animal heads, with National People’s Congress spokesman Li Zhaoxing warning that the auction might have compromised the perception of Paris as the world’s heritage capital.
Premier Wen Jiabao assured on Thursday that mainland will achieve 8 per cent growth this year despite a deepening financial crisis, setting out export support and spending programmes to shore up the economy.
A Couple who successfully sued estate agency ERA Realty Network for flipping their apartment has got back the money that the agents made on it, with interest.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index is the only index in the Asia ex-Japan group now trading below its October 2008 trough. But with other economies in the region faring at least as badly as Singapore, if not worse, that looks somewhat unfair.
Credit Suisse reiterates Underweight call on Singapore banks, warns available-for-sale securities (AFS) related destruction in book value likely to continue. Says shareholders’ equity hit last year by mark-to-market losses on AFS, which is key as banks are valued on their book value. Notes AFS securities are 123% of DBS’s (D05.SG) shareholders’ equity, 194% of UOB’s (U11.SG), 158% of OCBC’s (O39.SG); estimates that if corporate bonds marked down by another 10%, equities by 20% with government bonds unchanged, DBS’s book value will drop 6%, 13% lower for UOB, 8% for OCBC. Rates all 3 banks Neutral but says DBS top pick with S$9.50 target price; has S$5.00 target for OCBC, S$12.00 target for UOB. DBS +0.3% at S$7.21, OCBC +0.5% at S$4.27, UOB +1.0% at S$9.23. (KIG)
Disappointment to the market expectation, there is NO new stimulus package announced by Premier Wen’s government working report today. The government still targets 8% GDP growth and CPI controlled under 4% in 2009. Although no new stimulus package is announced today, it does not mean less support from the government to boost the economy.
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
One in five U.S. homeowners with mortgages owe more to their lenders than their properties are worth, and the rate will increase as housing values drop in states that have so far avoided the worst of the crisis, a new study shows.
As China’s government doles out $586 billion to stimulate its ailing economy, critics inside and outside the Communist Party have pressed for details about the secretive spending plan and demanded the right to follow the money.
The banks need another bailout and countless homeowners cannot handle their mortgage payments, but one group is paying its bills: the dead.
All eyes inevitably turn to China, with its huge population, high savings rate, low debt and fantastic headroom for growth. An independent economist, Andy Xie, estimates that current income of $3,300 per capita could triple within two decades through a combination of growth and currency appreciation. But two decades is a long time, and in the meantime we have to survive the next two years.
Beijing should legislate to prohibit the sale of national relics in foreign countries, a National People’s Congress member from Hong Kong has suggested.
Two ministers in charge of economic affairs voiced caution on the economy yesterday, with one saying that the goal of maintaining an 8 per cent growth rate this year would be difficult and hinting that the central government would need further stimulus measures.
Much-touted cost-cutting efforts at this year’s session of the CPPCC were barely apparent to members at the meeting.
Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian, tainted by allegations of graft, will remain in detention until at least May 26.
China’s main stock index surged over 6 percent on Wednesday, posting its biggest gain since November, after the government said it would expand its fiscal spending plan and data supported hopes for an early economic recovery.
Too few audit committee members for listed companies have formal qualifications or experience, says the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS). It fears this may affect Singapore’s goal to become a global financial centre.
It’d be fair to say that brokers, underwriters and placement agents are generally reluctant to disclose too much when it comes to details of their business, preferring the ‘less is best’ approach to corporate governance.
In October 1996 the S&P 500 rose above 700 for the first time and by December of that year had gained 21 per cent. That prompted Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman at the time, to talk of irrational exuberance unduly escalating asset values.
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Judges should have more say when it comes to handling criminal cases and be allowed to vary sentences in appropriate cases, lawyers here have said in their feedback to the proposed changes to the Criminal Procedure Code.
It’s good to be a Saudi prince. And it’s good to be an investment company backed by the government of Singapore, or a former Citigroup chief executive. For that you get favoured treatment from Citigroup Inc.
Monday, 2 March 2009
The mysterious bidder for two prized Chinese sculptures surfaced Monday, saying it was his patriotic duty to refuse to pay the $40 million winning bid.
The State Council will set up a new, centralised commission to supervise the country’s much-criticised food industry after a string of embarrassing scandals that have left hundreds of thousands of people sick and tarnished China’s international image.
Lawyers for former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian yesterday spent hours questioning the credibility of testimony used by prosecutors in the graft charges against the ex-leader.
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Singapore’s iconic Merlion statue, a popular tourist attraction, was damaged by lightning on Saturday afternoon during a thunderstorm, according to reports.
In ancient China, natural disasters are usually an omen of a change in the “mandate of heaven.” A devastating earthquake flattened the Chinese city of Tangshan in 1976 just a month before Mao Zedong’s demise.
Is heaven signaling that time is up for someone who has been in power for more than half a century?
For the first time, an aviation company closely tied to the military will be looking to hire overseas talent for management roles.
The ruling Communist Party and the State Council jointly issued a notice yesterday requiring all party organs and government bodies to cut unnecessary and wasteful spending in what has been officially labelled as the “most difficult year”.
Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi yesterday broke her silence on last year’s internet sex-photos scandal - using a TV interview to launch a blistering attack on the star at the centre of it, Edison Chen Koon-hei.
A high-speed rail network linking cities in the Yangtze Delta took a step closer to completion this week when Shanghai started work on a line to Hangzhou.