Saturday, 28 March 2009

Uncertainty as deadline to pay for bronzes passes

Uncertainty over the fate of two bronze animal heads, looted from Beijing in the 19th century and recently offered for auction in Paris, heightened after the deadline passed for payment by the winning bidder.

When private schools fail

Students get short end of the stick; oversight isn’t keeping pace with growth

Messages are mixed on China’s economy

Chinese exports plunged by a record 25.7 percent last month, but investment spending surged as the country’s economic stimulus program took hold, the Beijing authorities said Wednesday, providing conflicting signals about the health of the Chinese economy.

Friday, 27 March 2009

How do you say goodbye?

The technology has gotten ahead of the etiquette when it comes to the farewell e-mail

Drug mules: Surge in Singapore women nabbed

12 arrested in 4 months; CNB warns against being fooled by foreign gangs

Delegates to call for renminbi to be made legal tender in HK

Forty 40 members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference are issuing a joint call to make renminbi legal tender in Hong Kong.

Congress chairman rejects calls for reform based on western models

Beijing flatly rejected calls for political reform yesterday, with its parliamentary chief insisting that China would not copy western models of democracy.

Collapsing asset values hit Asia hard

ADB finds open economies suffer more now, but they gain in the long run

Co-accused ‘unaware’ of tracts’ content

A woman who mass-mailed evangelical tracts that the authorities have found objectionable claimed in her defence yesterday that she did not know what was in them.
Fucking Liar!

Chongqing’s party boss dazzles with forthright maverick charm

Chongqing has long been famous for its spicy hotpots and beautiful girls - so perhaps it was only fitting that the municipality’s party secretary, Bo Xilai, appeared to publicly endorse this image on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress at the weekend.

Changes ruled out to Labour Contract Law

Top lawmaker denies legislation is placing a significant cost burden on businesses

Call to prevent officials fleeing

Mainland political advisers have joined hands to call for action over a growing exodus of bureaucrats allegedly fleeing overseas with tens of millions of yuan in embezzled public money every year.

Top 10 Red Wine under RMB100 in China

1. Cedar Creek (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon) 2008, Australia / Top Cellar, RMB92
2. Callia Alta (Shiraz, Malbec) 2007, Argentina / Torres, RMB72
3. Santa Carolina (Cabernet Sauvignon) 2007, Chile / Aussino, RMB98
4. Las Condes (Cabernet Sauvignon) 2008, Chile / EMW, RMB86
5. (tie) Leopard’s Leap: The Lookout (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cinsault) 2006, South Africa
/ Aussino, RMB95 AND Concha y Toro Frontera (Cabernet Sauvignon) 2008, Chile /
Summergate, RMB79
7. Michel Torino (Malbec) 2007, Argentina / Palette, RMB98
8. Domaine du Landeyran AOC St. Chinian (Grenache, Syrah) 2005, France / BJ Winestore,
9. Foot of Africa (Pinotage) 2006, South Africa / Torres, RMB99
10. Catena “Retamo” (Bonarda, Malbec) 2007, Argentina / Summergate, RMB8

Soros Says Commercial Property Values Will Fall 30%

Billionaire investor George Soros said U.S. commercial real estate will probably drop at least 30 percent in value, causing further strains on banks.

‘Sex surrogates’ put personal touch on therapy

Despite dubious legality, some counsellors still prescribe practice to patients

Sentencing can’t be led by public opinion: CJ

He also stresses need to explain sentencing policies to the public

World financial reform needed: China minister

Global crisis has exposed some pitfalls of the present system

Tighter checks, please: SM to Chinese

The Chinese authorities should maintain ‘stringent supervision’ over their companies that list in Singapore, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said yesterday.

Hold ‘experts’ accountable for their predictions

Ever wonder how financial experts could lead the world over the economic cliff? One explanation is that so-called experts turn out to be, in many situations, a stunningly poor source of expertise. There’s evidence that what matters in making a sound forecast or decision isn’t so much knowledge or experience as good judgment - or, to be more precise, the way a person’s mind works.

Opportunities from forced sales

Such sales by distressed owners will help to establish pricing benchmarks for potential investors and their lenders

Opportunities from forced sales

Such sales by distressed owners will help to establish pricing benchmarks for potential investors and their lenders

Private Equity Starts Seeing Bear Market Opportunities

Private equity risk appetite is beginning to build after months of extreme caution, say industry players, who see opportunities even as the economic climate appears bleak.

China’s Consumers Are Still Spending

There are some reasons for optimism: Chinese banks opened their spigots and increased lending to an astounding $237 billion in January and another $157 billion in February. The stock market has rebounded 35% since the beginning of the year, and February sales grew 25% after the government announced tax breaks for cars with small engines. But the weak export sector continues to hurt the economy.

Kunming Carnival to celebrate girls, beer, cars

‘Gather in Carnivalesque Kunming, Experience Colorful Yunnan’ will be the theme of this year’s Kunming International Cultural Tourism Festival - Kunming Carnival, which will run May 1-3.

Technicals - 4 consecutive up gaps in 3 weeks on the FSSTI

The FSSTI has formed 4 consecutive up gaps over a space of 3 weeks. There is no historical precedence for this since 2007. Today, the index has gapped up and it appears to be an exhaustion gap. The gap at 1761-1765 is in the process of being covered. The next gap is at 1664, which preceded a sharp rally. We would label this as a runaway gap. Prices typically move to cover runaway and exhaustion gaps. In fact, since the beginning of the year, all gaps on the FSSTI have been covered. We see no reason as to why it will be any different, this time. We also note that RSI at current levels is higher than that during the previous peak at 1960.

Another reason to be cautious stems from the fact that the FSSTI has retraced 62% (a key fibonacci retracement ratio) of the decline from 1960-1454. The volatility on the rebound is significantly higher than during the decline suggesting that the rebound is not sustainable.

We peg first support at 1664, the first gap level, and the next at 1616, a 50% retracement level.

K Ajith

Geithner calls for major overhaul of financial rules

The Obama administration on Thursday detailed its wide-ranging plan to overhaul financial regulation by subjecting hedge funds and traders of exotic financial instruments, now among the biggest and most freewheeling players on Wall Street, to potentially strict new government supervision.

It’s time to buy, the oracle of Hong Kong says

The oracle of Hong Kong has spoken. His message: It is time to consider buying stocks and real estate.

Best-seller lashes ‘mafia don’ America

China’s sparring with the west has inspired its own angry best-seller, lashing foreign targets and the country’s own elite with scorn popular with some readers but worrying for a government wanting to tether nationalism.

Beijing fears hostile use of GPS by visitors

Mapping devices can log targets for missiles, authorities believe

Foreign GPS users risk arrest

Foreigners using GPS devices on the mainland risk being detained by police or national security agents if they suspect them of conducting illegal mapping.

More than 220,000 foreigners studying at mainland campuses

The number of foreigners studying on the mainland exceeded 200,000 for the first time last year as more students were drawn by the country’s growing economic clout and government publicity campaigns.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Top hedge fund managers still making pots of money

The financial crisis may have turned much of Wall Street’s wealth into dross, but a select group of hedge fund managers has managed to maintain a golden touch that might make King Midas blush.

Is it time for a bull run? Yes, but...

Markets have bottomed out but spectacular gains unlikely

Another S-chip company’s books queried

Yet another China-based company listed on the local bourse has fallen short in its corporate governance.

2,600 workers housed poorly

MOM issues warnings after checks uncover unapproved dormitories

750 screened for jobs at Marina Bay casino

About 750 job seekers showed up yesterday at a session to start winnowing through the thousands who have applied for Marina Bay Sands’ 4,500 casino jobs.

Technology giants bet on IR windfall

Contracts from IRs could give IT players a billion-dollar boost

Outsider may head Hong Leong one day

Mr Kwek: It is good to have as the group chairman a family member...(but) if we don't have the right person, we may appoint someone outside the family

Solid dose of financial good sense from China

Now, it’s up to the IMF to stop being a stooge of the West - and back Beijing’s proposal

To avoid lost decade, US needs extreme stimulus

It is a worthwhile exercise to ask the question seriously: Could Obama’s America have the kind of lost decade that Japan has suffered?

Bear market rally unlikely to last

So on most counts, the worst is far from over for US banks and by extension, the global economy. But there will be rallies in bear markets. In the past, these have ranged from 13 per cent to 61 per cent and lasted one to seven months. Investors might enjoy them while they last, but should not mistake them for the start of a bull market.

For the wealthy, it’s now all about safety, protection

Most opt for lower risks, returns, say private bankers

Loss of secrecy won’t hurt banks in Singapore

The Republic and Switzerland will still be attractive private banking centres

China moves to protect dollar assets

‘China is a hostage,’ said Andy Xie, an independent Shanghai-based analyst who was formerly Morgan Stanley’s chief Asia economist. ‘China is America’s bank and America basically says there’s nothing you can do to me. If I go down, you don’t get paid.’

Teledata auditor raises issues of concern

Teledata’s ability to continue as a going concern may be in doubt, according to KPMG, its auditors.

Ocean International risks losing status as a going concern

Yet another S-chip has found itself in troubled waters.

Woman Driver

A sports car and a van were wrecked in a collision outside Tanglin Mall last night.

Most popular foreign husbands among Chinese women:

1. Australia
2. Canada
3. New Zealand
4. Singapore
5. United States
6. South Korea
7. France
8. Netherlands

Foreign husbands? Chinese now say I don’t

Free-spending culture in rich societies worries them, survey shows

China Sun asks for share suspension

It appoints KPMG to review finances after PwC says it can’t complete audit

Corruption trial of Taiwan’s ex-president starts

Taiwan put former president Chen Shui-bian on trial Thursday for corruption, the first of several charges that could jail him for life - and that he calls a witch-hunt driven by his tough stance on China.

Insight: The signals for recovery

The current economic environment will eventually improve. Pent up demand will one day seek out cheap assets, hopefully assisted by easily available credit; while run down inventories will need to be re-stocked.

A Road Map for Yuan Internationalization

From practical and monetary policy perspectives, rising use of the Chinese currency for international trade makes sense.

Trading of China Sun Bio-chem Tech’s shares suspended

China Sun Bio-chem Technology Group has asked the SGX to suspend the trading of its shares. The move comes two days after the group asked for a trading halt on Mar 23. On Mar 21, the group’s independent auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers had informed the board that it had faced difficulties during the course of the FY2008 audit, and that it would not be able to complete the audit.

SASAC Cracks Down on Speculative Derivatives Deals by SOEs

It is now apparent that Wall Street and its investment banks is not the only place where squirrely financial dealings have gotten out of hand. It has been revealed that even Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have gotten themselves involved some very speculative financial derivative transactions, to the tune of billions of yuan in losses.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009



Straits Asia

Warming Up to China’s Economic Stimulus

Beijing’s faith in 8 percent GDP growth for 2009 is grounded in a 4 trillion yuan stimulus package now starting to gel.

Property Market Getting Warmer

New home purchases are on the rise and analysts are optimistic about China’s property market.

Untangling the Hedging Morass at SOEs

Where to draw the line between hedging and speculation? That's a key question now facing China's state-owned enterprises.

Big mainland IPOs may be a thing of the past

The initial public offering market in Hong Kong will be largely played out in the next two or three years since most of the mainland’s large, quality companies have already sold shares in the 16 years since the door to overseas listings opened, according to Henry Cai, the chairman of investment banking in Asia at UBS.

Sales surge in Beijing but analysts still cautious

The weather is warming up in Beijing but it will be a while before the same can be said with any confidence for the property market in the capital.

Stimulus spending has to be transparent, Wen warns officials

Premier Wen Jiabao has demanded regional governments be transparent in their plans to spend the country’s 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.54 trillion) stimulus package to avoid opportunities for corruption.

Illegal firearms to be confiscated across mainland

Gun campaign appears linked to killing of soldier in Chongqing

Why Venture remains a safe bet

Technology counters don’t always come to mind as storm shelters for investors but market watchers seemed to have made an exception in the case of Venture Corporation.

Why Venture remains a safe bet

Technology counters don’t always come to mind as storm shelters for investors but market watchers seemed to have made an exception in the case of Venture Corporation.

Nissan’s China sales up 38% as global sales slip

Compact vehicles demand gives car maker needed boost

Going-concern issues raised on 2 more S-chips

Focus this time falls on China Enersave and Sino-Environment

Regulation of property agents under review

Fresh details emerged in Parliament yesterday of a review that is now under way, which is aimed at regulating Singapore’s housing agents more effectively.

5 things British tourists complain about while on holiday

1) A tourist staying at an African game lodge who saw a visibly aroused elephant complained that the sight of the beast ruined his honeymoon by making him feel “inadequate”.

2) A woman threatened to call police after complaining that she’d been locked in by staff. She mistook the “do not disturb” sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in the room.

3) One tourist was unhappy that the sand he saw on the beach was “not like the sand in the brochure”. The beach shown in the brochure had yellow sand, but the tourist said his beach had white sand.

4) An enquiry from a prospective client: “The brochure stated: “No hairdressers at the accommodation”. We’re trainee hairdressers - will we be OK staying here?”

5) A tourist was upset that while it took “us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England, it took the Americans only three hours to get home”.

LTA - fined $130 for dropping someone off at or near the BUS STOPS

LTA has contracted six traffic wardens from a private company at $34,000 a year to take down the licence plate number, make and colour of vehicles that intrude into bus lanes at peak hours. (They are incognito with camera in hands, so don’t expect to see a TP, etc.)

Kevin Scully on S-Chips listed in Singapore

Going concern issue raised at China Enersave and Sino Environment, they join the ranks of Celestial Nutrifoods, so are S-Chips a complete avoid now?

The Future of Hedge Funds (Part Two)

High fees pushed hedge fund expansion and brought in talent during the bull market. Contraction is likely on all fronts now that the tide has turned.

Shanghai Aims to Become International Finance and Shipping Center

The State Council is expected to approve Shanghai’s proposal to turn itself into global economic hub.

China urges new money reserve to replace dollar

In another indication that China is growing increasingly concerned about holding huge dollar reserves, the head of its central bank has called for the eventual creation of a new international currency reserve to replace the dollar.

Drama on China’s high seas casts U.S. as adversary

Still, the two countries disagree on international law governing a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone extending into the ocean from coastal nations’ shores. The United States says its military surveys don’t require Chinese permission; China says they do. Analysts note that the United States would never allow similar activity off its coast.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Celestial auditors highlight going concern issue

Risk of bondholders seeking early redemption of convertible bonds

China’s Forex Reserve Exposed to Huge Risk by Fed’s Debt Purchase

The US Federal Reserve announced on March 18 it would acquire $300 billion of long-term US national debt in the coming six months and is planning to buy another $850 billion of agency debt. Although preparation for the announcement had been laid for the move, the scheme was still beyond expectations and influenced the market. The return rate on 10-year US bonds dropped by 51 basis points to 2.51%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up 100 points within several minutes of the announcement. On the other hand, the S&P GSCI rose 6% and crude oil 7% on the same day, showing investors’ concern over future inflation risk.

Chocolate - the darker side to healthy eating

Many people forget that chocolate comes from a plant - just like all the fruits and vegetables recommended for a healthy heart.

Companies must reveal more in financial results

The earnings reporting season is a key event for shareholders as this is their opportunity to know and evaluate the companies’ performance and outlook. This is even more so in the current challenging business environment where stockholders need greater clarity and assurance from companies on their business operations.

Is American-style capitalism doomed?

It has flourished despite various legislative curbs and remains enormously adaptable

Keppel in talks to build ‘knowledge city’ in China

Feasibility study on Guangzhou project’s commercial viability is in the works

SGX mulls switch to faster trading engine

It hopes to attract more high-speed traders with new Genium platform

Shanghai’s Korean exodus

Shanghai is rapidly losing its previously significant Korean population as Korean businesses withdraw from China due to the Korean economic crisis and the falling value of the won. The Korean consulate estimates that more than 10,000 Koreans have left Shanghai since the beginning of 2008, according to Danwei’s translation of an article that appeared in CBN weekly. In Beijing, the numbers are closer to 20,000.

‘Son of Taiwan’ prepares to stand trial

Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian goes on trial on Thursday on corruption charges that he insists are politically motivated - but which could help put him behind bars for life.

Thailand’s PTT in bid for Straits Asia

Thai energy group PTT Public Company - the company that evolved from the privatisation of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand - is looking to acquire Straits Asia Resources.

UBS may lay off 100 private bankers here

Dept heads tell staff to brace themselves as current climate require cuts: sources

US Treasuries still key to China investment

Treasury bonds to remain main vehicle for Beijing's forex investments: official

Photographs that look like Chinese paintings


Bank of America’s Bernstein Says Sell Bank Stocks After Rally

Investors should sell bank stocks after they rallied 12 percent today because the Treasury Department’s plan to buy toxic assets won’t stop profits from dropping, Bank of America Corp.’s Richard Bernstein said.


How time flies, one year passed, but the sour feeling of injustice remains...

Huge Capital Outflow Likely in 2008 Second Half

“China maintained double surplus in balance of payments in 2008,” claims the People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank, in a report on the 2008 international financial market, but there may be strong disagreements surfacing over that judgment in the coming months. The details will only become clear after the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) releases balance of payments statements for 2008 as a whole.

Stimulus Plan Recovery Looks to Be Short Lived, Jobless

Despite some statistical improvement, China’s overall economy is continuing to decline. With most of the funds from the government’s 4 trillion yuan stimulus package already invested in infrastructure construction and state-owned enterprises, analysts worry that, due to a lack of investment from the public and particularly from local governments, any rebound and creation of new employment may not last long.

DBSV Restricted Margin List

Please be informed that the following counters have been moved into the restricted margin list (RML) with immediate effect and with no new position in the margin account.

1. MTQ Corp
2. Fuxing China Group Ltd.
3. Fung Choi Media Group Ltd.
4. China Kangda Food Company Ltd.
5. Sky China Petroleum Services Ltd.
6. C & O Pharmaceutical Technology Holdings Ltd.
7. China Sports International Ltd.
8. China Essence Group Ltd.
9. Foreland Fabrictech Holdings Ltd.
10. Celestial Nutrifood

Suspension of stocks - CIMB

The following counters are suspended by CIMB with immediate effect:

- Fibrechem Tech
- Oriental Century
- FM Holdings
- TMC Edu
- Hongguo Int'l
- Sun East

Clients who wish to trade for these counters will have to contact their respective TRs & TRs will need to execute orders through GL.

Time to Say Goodbye to the Bear?

A savvy market watcher, who has been correctly bearish on stocks, says the next bull market will likely start soon -- and it should be a big one.

Monday, 23 March 2009

They pay money to learn to make money

Financial training courses in demand despite volatile markets; experts warn against get-rich-quick mindset

Key players’ roles in averting fraud

The recent spate of corporate scandals involving outright fraud, poor disclosure and absence of corporate governance has prompted the Singapore Exchange to put directors and audit committees on notice.

Bull-Market ‘Rally Has Begun, Templeton Asset’s Mobius Says

The next “bull-market” rally has begun, Templeton Asset Management Ltd.’s Mark Mobius said, refuting predictions that the equities meltdown will continue.

Curbing leakage - Mission impossible?

With many parties sewing up deal, it’s tougher for big firms

Concerns raised over pledged-share disclosure

Some call it invasion of privacy, but others say it would improve corporate governance

Celestial Nutrifoods Auditor Warns Of Going Concern Doubt

Celestial Nutrifoods Ltd.’s (C56.SG) auditor said Monday that the company faces risks to continuing as a going concern if it is unable to raise financing to cover the possible early redemption of some convertible bonds.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Chinese square off with Europe in space

In the latest of a series of setbacks for the Galileo navigation satellite project, a European bid to create an alternative to the U.S. Global Positioning System, China is set to claim a frequency that the European Commission wants to use for a security-oriented portion of the service.

China chooses car and steel makers to dominate

China will concentrate more power in the hands of fewer automobile and steel companies, the government has said in unveiling its most concrete plans yet for reform of the two industries.

The great COE dilemma

Car lovers divided on renewing COE as prevailing quota premiums crash

Twist in the tale of 2 companies

Why did NOL get rapped while CapitaLand did not?

Not such a good idea to ‘buy and hold’ now

Stay with cash in these volatile times till clearer picture emerges as other options entail much risk

How to prepare for the stock market’s coming rebound

It is difficult to think about the good times to come when the stock market is getting pounded day after day. But a savvy investor knows that overestimating the permanence of today’s conditions is a dangerous habit. Such reminders typically come when markets are climbing, but the concept is equally important when the atmosphere is dismal.

Market Mood

Facing the most serious financial and economic crisis in more than 70 years, most investors believe that cash is king and are waiting for the best time to re-enter the market.

It takes knowledge to ride the market’s ups and downs

Bonds are strongest in the reflation phase (when the economy is being stimulated by increasing the money supply or by reducing taxes) as interest rates are cut and inflation expectations plummet. Equities perform best in the recovery phase as economic growth and profits surge. Commodities take the lead in the overheating phase as breakneck growth and supply shortages push their prices ever higher.

US ship risks new China flashpoint

Sea floor survey mission needs Beijing’s permission, say experts - but it hasn’t

Expatriates still heading for HK despite the recession

Number of foreigners moving to the city is rising

Out-of-work expats sit out slump at resorts

Expatriate professionals in the city who have lost their jobs because of the recession are putting their possessions in storage and heading off to beaches and low-cost regional destinations to sit out the slump.

Firm offering back-door entry to HK still operating

The Guangzhou company that claims to be helping dozens of mainlanders gain back-door entry into Hong Kong by posing as African investors is still operating.