Saturday, 14 March 2009

High Loan Growth Alone Can’t Revive Economy

Such easy lending cannot be sustained, particularly if enterprises are not ready to absorb it with a pipeline of viable projects.

The Future of Hedge Funds

Hedge funds took a beating last year, in their books but also in the press where they were lambasted for their opaque business practices.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Madoff pleads guilty to all charges

Day of reckoning: Madoff (centre) being escorted by federal agents into Federal Court in Manhattan yesterday

Raffles Education needs to tighten checks on investments

The accounting scandal at Oriental Century Ltd has undoubtedly struck a blow at Raffles Education, which owns a 29.9 per cent stake in the China-based education provider.

Lenders demand Beauty China to pay up

Beauty China has been slapped with a statutory demand from its syndicated lenders to repay the entire principal and interest outstanding on a loan of HK$134 million (S$26.54 million).

Accounting scandal rocks another S-chip

Oriental Century CEO ‘cooked books’; biggest shareholder Raffles Education awaits inquiry result

Better-armed MAS to go after errant FIs

Regulator proposes wider powers to rap culprits, help investors get compensation

Motorcycle Producers Feeling the Crunch

Even government subsidies may be unable to rescue motorcycle makers in the face of falling exports, Indian rivals and urban trends.

How to Save the Export Sector

Trade expert Song Hong provides his vision of how China can bolster its ailing export sector.

How Large Is the Stimulus Really?

The central government is relying on banks to fund much of its stimulus package, making it hard to tell where all the money is going.

Hong Kong Exchange Scraps Closing Auction Following HSBC Trades

Hong Kong’s stock exchange scrapped its end-of-day trading processes following a 24 percent tumble in HSBC Holdings Plc’s shares earlier this week.

Local Govt Bond Issues a ‘Special Arrangement’

Local governments will be authorized to issue bonds, but the central government will exert control over the funding process.

Squawking at ‘Iron Rooster’ Fund Managers

Open-end fund managers who refuse to pay dividends are under pressure from unhappy investors, lawyers and regulators.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

SARS hero demands apology for detention

A military surgeon who blew the whistle on China’s Sars cover-up in 2003 and asked the Communist Party to reassess its 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen protesters has asked the government to apologise for detaining him.

Bungled auction renews debate over dubious lots

The Christie’s sale of two disputed Qing dynasty bronzes has renewed a debate in art circles on the moral and legal issues of auction houses selling controversial items, including those that some nations regard as loot.

Is Beijing playing a no-win game?

The leadership is waiting for the Dalai Lama to die - a risky strategy

Refusal to pay for bronzes has a price

Art dealer may have to close his auction firm

Tuesday surge sparks talk of market bottom

Some money managers think it’s time to raise their allocation to stocks

China shocks with 26% export plunge

But capital spending picks up in response to massive stimulus

Alarm bells as SGX says it will probe leaks

Recent fund-raisings come under the spotlight as info may have been leaked

Managing risk in a defensive way

Internal audit is the last internal line of defence, so it is imperative it is effective and operates at the correct level

EU will come to the rescue in east Europe

Western Europe can’t abandon its neighbours: it owns most of the east’s banks

Time to get the Keynesian animal spirits moving again

One of the most frightening things about the world financial and economic crisis (apart from the very fact that it has now become a global affair) is the awful lack of certainty about what caused it and what can be done about it. Just how did things collapse so badly, and with such alarming rapidity, compared to previous economic downturns - and can they be fixed?

Bernanke calls for change in accounting standards

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday advocated changing accounting methods that he said have exacerbated the financial crisis.

SGX lowers age limit to open CDP account

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has lowered the minimum age limit for opening a Central Depository (CDP) account to 18 years, following a move by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) to lower the minimum contractual age. With effect from March 9, those 18 years old and above can apply for a CDP account at SGX customer service counters. But an undischarged bankrupt will be disqualified from applying.

Ferrochina Financial Chief Resigns To Pursue Other Opportunities

Soh Wai Kong’s resignation is effective immediately, the company said in a statement.

Fundamentals offer little cheer for China-based firms

Analysts see high double-digit year- on-year decline in earnings for S-chips

More Temasek-Linked Companies seen making cash calls

UOB-Kay Hian cites KepLand, NOL, CitySpring and Mapletree Logistics

China expands yuan trade with Asian, African nations

Move is a test drive before turning the yuan into a global currency

Risk this week’s stock low was another false bottom

The bounce in share prices over the last two days, which has seen the Hang Seng Index rebound 5 per cent from Monday’s close, is raising hopes that the equity market might finally be primed for a sustainable rally.

Beijing eases FDI rules, makes approvals easier

Under the new rules, normal merger deals with a price tag below US$100 million only need approval from local commerce authorities, rather than the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.

Mainland’s industrial output up, retail spending weaker

Mainland’s industrial output rebounded in February as a massive government stimulus effort took effect but consumer spending weakened, highlighting the challenge of reviving growth in the world’s third-largest economy.

Consumer confidence dips in five major cities

“Nervous” consumers in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Guangzhou are cutting back on their household and entertainment budgets following the Lunar New Year, according to a tracking study released yesterday.

Tibetan exiles stand at bitter crossroads

They discussed whether to carry on talks with Beijing or to pursue Tibetan independence. But one key figure who was missing was their revered spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama.


Housing Market Faces Huge Inventories, Unrecouped Funds, and No Buyers

“The central government must clearly order local government to focus on housing trade volume and force developers to cut prices, by use of policy incentive tools such as new land approval and development contracts for economic housing and low-rent housing. Whether the price cut is 20% or 30% is up to them!” said Li Daokui, director of the Center for China in the World Economy, at a session of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). A “traffic jam” has emerged in the real estate market, he says, affecting the promotion of internal demand for building materials, home appliances and insurance.

China demands end of US Navy surveillance

China’s Defence Ministry has demanded that the U.S. Navy end surveillance missions off the country’s southern coast following a weekend confrontation between an American vessel and Chinese ships.

Singapore to be added to OECD list of non-cooperative tax centres: La Tribune

Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria and Hong Kong will be added to the OECD’s list of non-cooperative tax centres, French newspaper La Tribune said yesterday, without giving details of its source, according to Reuters.

Merrill Misled Congress on Bonus Decisions, Filing Says

Merrill Lynch may have misled Congress in representing last November that it planned to pay out bonuses at year end, when in fact it decided to accelerate those payouts, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

Mark Mobius - a very bullish scenario for assets of any kind

Pessimism too high, time to buy
Top regional picks are China and Brazil
Now is time to gradually buy emerging market stocks
Extreme pessimism a buy signal
MSCI emerging market stock index could rise 20% in 2009
US$ over-valued

S-Chips Drop; Hit by Another Governance Issue

Latest China play to run into difficulty is education firm Oriental Century (5II.SG), whose shares have been suspended following claims former chief executive inflated sales, cash balances.

China Stocks Suspended:
Zhonghui (S)
Guangzhao IFB (S)
China Print Dye (S)
Ferrochina (S)
Fibrechem (S)
Oriental Century (S)
Beauty China (S)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

China navy officers harangue U.S. over sea spat

“If the United States still insists on unfettered access, this could still escalate,” he said.

“If that happens, how will the government explain to people here why we still keep lending them money? ... Nobody wants to see that.”

Police veteran caught wearing fishnet stockings and little else

An off-duty policeman was arrested for indecent exposure after being found wearing fishnet stockings in a park in Tai Po early yesterday.

S-Chips’ Fall Stings Singapore

But a little more discrimination would have served the exchange, and stock investors, better. In its battle with Hong Kong for listings, Singapore got more than its share of Chinese leftovers.

The financial crisis explained in simple terms

Finally a simple explanation…

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Taiwan on track to end conscription

Taiwan is aiming to have a professional military force in five years. The military restructuring is expected to reduce troop numbers from the current 250,000

Investor Jim Rogers buys farmland, bets on agriculture

Commodities are still the best play for the long term, legendary investor Jim Rogers said and he’s put his money where his foot is, by buying farmland.

Forced selling by investors seen in next 12-18 months: GIC

A Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) official said today he expects more forced selling of assets by investors in the next 12-18 months as the “de-leveraging” in financial markets continues, reported Reuters.

Big China carmakers heed Beijing’s calls to woo small rivals

Government wants consolidation of auto industry

Beijing will beat recession ahead of others: Rogers

China’s stimulus spending will help its economy overcome the global recession sooner than the US and other countries, investor Jim Rogers said.

Family businesses in strong position to survive downturn

Family businesses are well placed to weather the economic crisis, a Barclays executive said yesterday.

Fed setting things up for a big fall: Jim Rogers

Investor Jim Rogers said the US Federal Reserve will probably start buying Treasuries to keep borrowing costs down, staving off a bear market.

Wharton loses top spot in undergrad survey

McIntire School rated to have best undergrad business programme in US

China canal project sparks eco debate

Some environmentalists question the human and ecological costs of the US$62b project

Big gap in what Obama says and what he really does

To those who believe that Barack Obama is a different kind of politician - more honest, more courageous - please don’t examine his administration’s budget. If you do, you may sadly conclude that he resembles presidents stretching back to John Kennedy in one crucial respect.

Behind the Curve - Paul Krugman

Yet many economists, myself included, actually argued that the plan was too small and too cautious. The latest data confirm those worries - and suggest that the Obama administration’s economic policies are already falling behind the curve.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Stocks Could Skyrocket After March 12th

Investors such as Jon Najarian are hopeful that stocks could soar next week. They say we could see an explosion to the upside after a meeting scheduled for March 12th.

‘US to recover in five years’

Billionaire Warren Buffett says the US economy could recover in five years, likening the current battle against prolonged recession as a Pearl Harbour-like situation during World War II.

The Bank Behind China’s Overseas Growth

Give credit to the China Development Bank for China’s new Russian energy, Brazilian oil and Australian mine investments.

Bellwether Wenzhou reports signs of recovery

The city of Wenzhou in eastern China, an export-oriented manufacturing mecca, is experiencing an economic recovery thanks to Beijing’s stimulus measures and the capacity of privately owned local firms to address challenges.

Experts question programmes of Confucius Institutes

The nation’s plan to foster soft power through its network of Confucius Institutes around the world amid a Chinese language-learning fever has been criticised as propaganda by cultural experts.

British hedge fund eyes mainland real estate

But as property prices retreat to reflect falling demand from top-paid earners, a new breed of value investors are being lured to town.

Optimists and pessimists both wrong on China

Depending which view you ascribe to, the failure of Premier Wen Jiabao to announce a major new economic stimulus programme last week was either promising news or a decidedly ominous sign.

Charm offensive takes a cultural leap

In the last of a four-part series, Minnie Chan reports on Beijing’s softly, softly approach to global image-building

Carmakers brace for industry revamp in economic uncertainty

Whether the latest policy directive to consolidate the car industry is old wine in a new bottle, the central government could not have chosen a better moment to remind the domestic industry that the tough economic times offer potential takeover opportunities.

Sale of private homes to foreigners slips to 24%

As foreigners retreated from the Singapore property market in the face of the global financial meltdown, their share of private home purchases eased to 24 per cent last year from the high of 26 per cent in 2007, according to DTZ’s latest analysis of caveats.

Stocks look cheap but expect more selling

Wall Street is expecting more declines despite a deeply oversold market. Traders looking at companies sporting clearance sale price tags on their shares are saying that while investors are ready to fire at the first sign of a break in the doleful market psychology, a persistent fear of unknown losses lurking in companies’ ledgers continues to outweigh the cheap valuations.

Subsale deals pick up as investors bail out

Trend likely to persist as over 10,000 private homes are due for completion this year

Handsome rewards could await for those with the stomach to buy

Meantime, thousands of stock investors will be nursing millions of their dollars in paper losses. But anyone with the foresight, savvy and stomach to buy into good companies over the coming months could potentially reap some handsome rewards somewhere down the road.

Time to disclose pledged shares?

Margin calls and forced selling of pledged shares have been sweeping the market of late, causing some drastic declines in share prices.

Cash flow tops CFOs’ concerns

But long-term profitability still important, despite focus on survival

Property stocks fall to below previous trough

Analysts split on whether it is time to go bargain-hunting

Beijing rules out free shopping vouchers

China has no plan to issue national vouchers as part of its economic stimulus plan, but Vice-Finance Minister Liao Xiaojun encouraged local governments to use them to help spur consumption, the Beijing News reported yesterday.

China ‘has to keep investing overseas’

China, the world’s No. 3 economy, has to keep making overseas investments, although it should avoid financial assets for the meantime, an influential former Chinese lawmaker, Cheng Siwei, said.

China ‘holding’ a second stimulus package for now

Measures unveiled so far won’t push fiscal deficit beyond 3%: ADB economist

Volatility index subdued despite market falls

Investors may be resigned to bear market, say analysts

Ban players from pawning shares

S-chip cases highlight need for a tighter leash on major shareholders

Brokerages expanding

Several firms are hiring remisiers to gear up for a market turnaround

Hard times make marital woes worse

Cracks in the economy are showing up fissures at home, as more couples head to court and women to help lines over marital problems.

Imported wives left in the lurch

China national Chen with her lawyer Cheng Kim Kuan. She was allegedly abandoned by her Singaporean husband

Gloom and boom at international schools

Expat schools in Singapore losing students while local ones are growing

China stimulus – Dreamworld

In this unfolding global crisis investors are being given yet another golden opportunity of a market and sectors to short or underweight. Underweight China equities and short stocks of commodity producers and infrastructure equipment companies. This is another false dawn in the mistaken belief that government’s can somehow overwhelm needed private sector consolidations.

Wall Street: Ripe for a rally?

With little on the economic docket and the Dow and S&P 500 at 12-year lows, stocks may be gearing up to surge but it may not last.

DJIA touched and rebounded off the lower downtrend line last Friday to form a Bullish Harami candlestick.

California to borrow $US1.5bn to stay afloat

California plans to borrow $US1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) to meet state payments for the balance of the fiscal year ending June 30.

Caution advised as cashed-up China eyes global asset fire sale

As the global financial crisis brings banks, insurers, carmakers and resource companies in the United States and Europe to their knees and sends asset values plunging, mainland leaders and executives have been inundated with proposals about picking up bargains in the great fire sale.

Career women join lonely hearts’ club as downturn bites

They’re intelligent, well educated and financially independent, but an increasing number of mainland women are struggling to find a partner and turning to professional matchmakers to bag a husband and improved security amid the global financial crisis.

Public blamed for sacking of abusive official

A top maritime official has criticised netizens and “improper public opinions” that forced authorities to sack his subordinate last year over a child molestation claim.

‘No words to describe the bitterness in my heart’

Parents of children killed in their Sichuan classrooms during the May 12 earthquake said they had lost all confidence in the provincial government, accusing authorities of trying to hide the real reason for the deaths - shoddy school buildings.

Still no official toll of students killed in quake

Ten months after Sichuan disaster, authorities refuse to give estimate

Still no official toll of students killed in quake

Ten months after Sichuan disaster, authorities refuse to give estimate

China’s Economic Downturn: Employment is The Critical Issue

The economic slowdown in China started in the second half of 2007: well before the effects of the subprime crisis in the United States began to be felt internationally