Monday, 13 September 2010

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

My new blog

I have shifted to my new blog at Wordpress

For a quick post summary, click on the dates or the archives.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Big Dead-Cat Bounce

Disastrous as that would be, if the alternative is chosen and Washington’s printing presses beget hyperinflation, that would probably be worse. In a serious deflation, those who have saved for a rainy day can make it through okay. In hyperinflation, which unconstrained further spending could easily bring on, everyone loses.

‘Greatest bubble’ in the making

The mainland is in the midst of “the greatest bubble in history”, a former general counsel of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) says.

ADB chief warns of asset bubbles in China

It is one of the risks threatening Asia’s V-shaped recovery

China Drawing High-Tech Research From U.S.

For years, many of China’s best and brightest left for the United States, where high-tech industry was more cutting-edge. But Mark R. Pinto is moving in the opposite direction.

DBS ties up with PayPal to spur online payments

Online payments facilitator, PayPal yesterday announced plans to ramp up Singapore operations with more hires and a tie-up with DBS Bank which would make it easier and more secure for the latter’s customers to shop online.

Management of Sino-Environment’s China units seek 20% stake

In the latest twist at Sino-Environment, the key management of its subsidiaries in China have pledged their support to help restart business operations.

Stanley Ho has ‘extensive links’ to triads, says US report

New Jersey casino regulators said overnight on Wednesday that they have evidence Stanley Ho, the Asian casino magnate, has extensive ties to organised crime in mainland.

Let the yuan rise, World Bank tells China

The World Bank yesterday urged China to let its currency rise to contain inflation and stop the economy from overheating, predicting that growth will gallop ahead at 9.5 per cent this year. ‘Strengthening the exchange rate can help reduce inflationary pressures and rebalance the economy,’ the World Bank said in its latest quarterly update on the world’s third-largest economy.

Rise in yuan would be disastrous, say exporters

A rise in the yuan would be a disaster for labour-intensive mainland exporters, a semi-official trade group said on Thursday, as frictions grow with the US and other western powers over Beijing’s stable currency policy.

China official warns of risk from yuan rise

A Cabinet official said a further rise in China’s currency risks driving exporters out of business, a newspaper reported Friday, as Beijing stepped up a war of words with Washington over its exchange rate controls.

History shows that yuan appreciation won’t help

If you don’t believe that, just look at the example of Japan in the 1980s, when a rapidly appreciating currency simply fuelled the excesses of the bubble economy and led ultimately to the crash of the early 1990s and Japan’s subsequent lost decade.

Rio Tinto, Chinalco, strike major deal for Guinea iron ore

Mining giant Rio Tinto and China’s Chinalco Friday signed a 1.35 billion US dollar deal to develop a huge African iron ore field, renewing close ties after a major deal collapsed last year.

SOEs told to quit property market

Scores of state-owned enterprises have been ordered to get out of the property market and concentrate on their core businesses.

China monetary tightening won’t crimp metals - SocGen

Monetary tightening in China, the world’s largest metals user, will have little impact on consumption and the country will continue to drive metals demand for years, David Wilson of Societe Generale said on Friday.

Key property developers to gain from SOE order

Mainland’s move to ask some state firms whose core business is not property to exit the sector will likely benefit major developers by helping consolidate the industry, analysts said on Friday.

Net produces new generation of China activists

Lin Xiuying believes her daughter bled to death after being gang-raped two years ago by a group of thugs that had ties to the police in their southern Chinese town.

Most S-chips being frozen out by analysts

Analysts are giving most Chinese firms listed in Singapore the cold shoulder amid a series of scandals and mediocre profit results that have brought the once-high fliers down to earth.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

How a school designed for 1500 pupils ends up with 5315

“Live in famous house, study in prestige school” is the real estate advert that attracted Li Lin to buy an apartment in this “famous” Zhongbo Community 4 years ago. After the spring festival, he planned to transfer his son to the promised prestige school but almost got rejected because the school is severely overcrowded.


Sexual repression of the stay at home women in China’s rural areas

Not long ago, Dr. Zhang Hongyan encountered an embarrassing moment at the hospital emergency room: a woman dressed in rags was sent to the hospital with her lower body attached to her pet dog’s genital.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Romanian probe ‘must be thorough’

Law Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday he expects Romania to ‘seriously consider’ the evidence from a recently concluded coroner’s inquiry into a fatal road accident that allegedly involved former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu.

State enterprises moving in on global real estate

China’s government-backed enterprises have widened their investment targets from finance to real estate assets around the world, and their shopping sprees are picking up pace as their financial muscle increases and overseas property prices drop, analysts say.

Thai Prime Minister rejects protesters’ call for new elections

Thailand’s prime minister, backed by a formidable military force, rejected an ultimatum to dissolve Parliament on Monday as tens of thousands of red-shirted protesters vowed to splatter the seat of government with their own blood if their demands weren’t met.

Thai Prime Minister rejects rally’s election ultimatum

Thailand’s prime minister on Monday rejected an ultimatum by tens of thousands of protesters who had besieged the army barracks where he was holed up to demand immediate elections.

The curious case of Jardine & the STI

Throughout all of last week, sharp rises in Jardine Matheson (JM), Jardine Strategic (JS) and Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C) to new all-time highs helped push the Straits Times Index significantly higher on five successive days.

US embassy staffer flees South Korea amid fraud probe

A US embassy staffer in South Korea has fled the country amid an investigation into claims that he swindled a local widow out of 220 million won (194,000 dollars), police said Monday.

Wen vows to tackle income gap

Coupled with inflation, it may spark social unrest and weaken state power

Monday, 15 March 2010

Heed Keynes’ advice about tightening

John Maynard Keynes wrote during the Great Depression that only ‘fools and madmen’ will tell you ‘the path of escape is to be found in strict economy’. Several countries have now started ‘strict economy’, or fiscal tightening, after the biggest financial crisis since World War II.

Record prices eyed for West Coast condo

The Vision units to be priced mostly at $1,000-$1,200 psf during preview

Officials see thorny path to law on declaring assets

Conditions are not ripe to require officials to publicly declare their assets, a top legislating official said yesterday on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress.

Silence loud on police raids over PCCW’s failed privatisation

Strangely, there is no word on the swoop on the homes and offices of Richard Li and others connected with attempt to take company private

The threat posed to Beijing by bad debts

Former president Jiang Zemin, according to diplomatic lore, once boasted about his knowledge of finance by reciting “assets equal liabilities plus equity” to his bemused US counterpart Bill Clinton. The joke, it seems, is that this basic accounting formula should be common knowledge and so it’s absurd to show off with it. But, as people fret about China’s financial position today, it may be good to remind them of this formula to see the big picture.

Why is Uncle Sam’s credit rating higher than China’s?

Moody’s Investor Services warned last month that the triple A credit rating of the highly geared US economy should not be taken for granted.

Yuan may not follow China trade bounce

China’s better than expected trade results, released yesterday, prompted speculation that a revaluation of the currency may come soon but analysts have warned that this may not be the case.

Import surge shrinks China’s trade surplus

China’s trade surplus shrank to the lowest level in a year last month as a surge in imports signalled the nation may start to outshine the United States as a destination for the world’s goods.

Ex-diplomat’s account does not tally with evidence

Car not stolen outside Romanian embassy, as claimed by him

Class action suits may cost Toyota US$3b

Toyota owners claiming that massive safety recalls are causing the value of their vehicles to plummet have filed at least 89 class action lawsuits that could cost the Japanese auto giant US$3 billion or more, according to an Associated Press review of cases, legal precedent and interviews with experts.

Even professionals can’t afford new flats in China

The luxury apartment buildings Yang Xuhua passes on her way to work are a daily reminder of her own frustrated efforts to buy a home. Prices for even modest apartments in Shanghai have soared, putting home purchases out of reach for white-collar workers and professionals.

China Tightens Land Purchase Rules, Bans Villas

China is requiring a down payment for land purchases equal to 50 percent of a plot’s price and prohibited the supply of land for villas as the government sought to increase affordable housing.

Bubble talk drowns out the champagne music

The bubbly enthusiasm that many analysts express about the Chinese economy reminds me of the old-time US variety show host Lawrence Welk, who banished worries each week with soothing sounds from his “Champagne Music Makers”.

Arbitrage potential in Swissco takeover

Every now and then, market imperfections throw up arbitrage potential from corporate activity. One such opportunity may just be emerging in the ongoing takeover of offshore services specialist Swissco International by Catalyst-listed C2O Holdings.

A China bust? No way; better worry about West

Doing things its own way has helped China to be where it now stands economically

Obama is using old-fashioned ‘containment’

A top Chinese diplomatic adviser has accused the Obama administration of reviving a cold war tactic in its recent dealings towards China.

Thousands of protesters gather in Bangkok, seek polls

Tens of thousands of protesters converged in Bangkok on Sunday to give Thailand’s military-backed government an ultimatum: either call elections or face more pro-democracy demonstrations over the coming week.

Thai anti-government protesters rally in Bangkok

Tens of thousands of red-shirted supporters of deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra were rallying amid tight security in Bangkok Sunday to demand the government’s resignation.

New PR limits may hit Indian flat sellers

Pool of buyers could shrink despite higher quotas for Indians, say property agents

Door narrows for foreign workers in Singapore

Construction workers from Bangladesh, hotel staff from the Philippines, waitresses from China, shipyard welders from Myanmar, technology professionals from India -- Singapore has them all.

Door narrows for foreign workers in Singapore

Construction workers from Bangladesh, hotel staff from the Philippines, waitresses from China, shipyard welders from Myanmar, technology professionals from India -- Singapore has them all.

HSBC says warning signs of coming general correction are unmistakable

Global financial markets are yet to bottom and investors should hold cash, investment-grade debt or defensive stocks to ride out a coming “general correction”, according to HSBC Holdings.

Cross-strait fast-rail link on agenda

Not content with criss-crossing the mainland and much of Asia with high-speed rail lines, Beijing plans an even more eye-popping route - under the sea to Taiwan.

Shanghai’s new-look airport ahead of World Expo

Shanghai this week will unveil a brand-new airport terminal -- the latest mega-infrastructure project to be completed as the Chinese city prepares to welcome tens of millions of visitors to Expo 2010.

Sex-scandal official held over graft

A Guangxi tobacco official was arrested yesterday on corruption charges, days after his diary describing sex with women and bribe-taking was leaked online and caused a national outcry.

Open letter demands governor step down

At least 210 journalists and intellectuals have signed an open letter calling for the impeachment and resignation of Hubei governor Li Hongzhong, who hit the headlines last week for snatching a recorder from a journalist on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress.

Premier: China’s yuan to remain ‘basically stable’

China’s premier rejected foreign pressure over its exchange rate controls and said Sunday the Chinese currency will be kept “basically stable.”

Chinese Leader Firmly Defends Currency and Trade Policies

Premier Wen Jiabao sharply defended China’s currency and trade policies on Sunday against what he called foreign “finger-pointing,” charging instead that the developed world seeks to force unfair changes in those policies “just for the purposes of increasing their own exports.”

China’s Wen gives no ground on calls for yuan rise

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday that external calls for yuan appreciation were unhelpful and even a form of trade protectionism, vowing that Beijing would stick to its own course for currency reform.

China: World might face ‘double dip’ recession

China’s premier says the world might face a “double dip” recession due to continued high unemployment and risks in financial systems.

China faces tough year, Wen rejects yuan pressure

China faces a difficult year as it works to maintain economic growth and spur development, but it will not be bullied into changing its exchange rate policy, Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday.

China alleges diplomatic snub at Copenhagen summit

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said he was snubbed at last year’s Copenhagen climate change conference and fired back Sunday at critics who accuse China of arrogance.

Better auditing behind arrest of TVB five

New management and tighter internal auditing were the key changes at broadcaster TVB which lead to the arrest of the station’s flamboyant general manager and prominent host on corruption charges, insiders say.

Australia defends mandatory Internet filter

Australia Sunday defended its plan to block some Internet content, such as that featuring child sex abuse or advocating terrorism, after a media rights watchdog warned it may hurt free speech.

A long way to go to clean up deep-rooted corruption

Meetings of the nation’s parliament are ritual affairs. But because China is a one-party state, the annual sessions of the legislative and political consultative bodies also amount to a political-party conference. As such, they give the ambitious a rare opportunity to make an impression among the elite and rank and file. The duller the proceedings, the better for attention-seekers.

No red carpet for S-chips in Taiwan

Bourse rule barring firms with over 30% Chinese shareholders is a hurdle

How a US giant covered up US$50b debt

It is the Wall Street equivalent of a coroner’s report - a 2,200-page document that lays out, in new and startling detail, how Lehman Brothers used accounting sleight of hand to conceal the bad investments that led to its undoing.

Findings on Lehman Take Even Experts by Surprise

For the year that it took the court-appointed examiner to complete his report on the demise of Lehman Brothers, officials from Wall Street to Washington were anticipating it as the definitive account of the largest bankruptcy in American history.

COE supply: Jams ahead?

Cut could result in what it is aimed at preventing - wild fluctuations

As Its Arms Makers Falter, Russia Buys Abroad

Once-legendary Russian weapons are suffering embarrassing quality-control problems. Algeria, for example, recently returned a shipment of MIG jets because of defects.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A turn for the worse

Beijing’s foreign-policy hubris and the need to appease nationalists may explain the cooling of Sino-US relations

Will foreign students close the ‘Asia gap’?

Australia, a country shaped by migration, is again being challenged to define itself by a new wave of migration from its giant Asian neighbours. How Australia deals with the new and different influx from China and India will also affect its political and strategic relations.

Revealed at last: the true purpose of the World Expo

Suddenly, the true purpose of expos becomes a lot clearer. Judging from their track record, they are nothing more than a device used by corrupt but self-aggrandising officials to siphon vast amounts of money out of the public purse and into their own pockets and those of their business cronies.

IPO is just the start of the journey

Companies need to take certain considerations into account before embarking on the listing process

Graft-buster calls for officials’ kin to disclose assets

Ex-audit chief targets ‘grey income’

Foreign investment in south China to fall

Foreign investment in south China is expected to fall 4.9 per cent this year, with firms facing the challenge of labour shortages and rising wages, according to a survey by the region’s American business chamber.

Chinese zoo blamed for death of 11 Siberian tigers

Eleven rare Siberian tigers have died at a wildlife park in a startling case that activists say hints at unsavoury practices among some zoos and animal farms in China: They are over breeding endangered animals in the hopes of making illicit profit on their carcasses.

Chinese official plan revamp for college exams

China plans to revamp its university admissions system, allowing students to take subject-specific tests and introducing other measures besides the exam to ease the stress millions of students undergo as they compete for a coveted few spots in colleges.

China Warns Google Again After C.E.O.’s Remarks

One of China’s top Internet regulators warned bluntly on Friday that any move by Google to stop censoring its Chinese search engine would be “irresponsible” and would draw a response from the Beijing government.

China ousts US as Bordeaux’s top client outside Europe

China’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for wine has ousted America as Bordeaux’s number one client outside Europe, latest figures showed Friday.

Beijing defends ‘indigenous’ procurement rules

Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman on Tuesday defended rules that foreign companies claim lock them out of the multibillion dollar market for selling computers and office equipment to government departments.

Better-paid workers key to mainland’s progress

There are few constants in business, but the law of supply and demand is one of them. With business picking up and labour short, migrant workers in Guangdong province are increasingly choosy about what jobs they take - and not surprisingly so.

Out of touch

China’s central bankers cannot just ignore the political side of their massive US debt holdings

Beijing land ban on Richard Li firm

Richard Li Tzar-kai’s property arm has been banned from buying or selling land in Beijing as part of government efforts to crack down on perceived land speculation.

China to bid on US high-speed rail projects

China plans to bid for contracts to build U.S. high-speed train lines and is stepping up exports of rail technology to Europe and Latin America, a government official said Saturday.

Google “99.9 pct” sure to shut China search engine

Talks with China over censorship have reached an apparent impasse and Google, the world’s largest search engine, is now “99.9 percent” certain to shut its Chinese search engine, the Financial Times said on Saturday.

Guangdong’s diamond factories polish their act

The mainland is the world’s second-largest processor of small diamonds, after India, and is keen to establish an industry that encompasses not just manufacturing but trading, designing and retailing. This won’t happen until there is more interest by mainlanders in owning diamonds.

Hundreds sent to boot camps in soccer drive

Hundreds of mainland soccer officials, referees and coaches were sent to “anti-corruption rectification education camps” in Beijing and Guangdong yesterday as the authorities seek to clean up the sport.

Rescue tipped for banks overexposed to local government losses

China may be forced to rescue banks that made loans for local government projects under the unprecedented stimulus programme revealed in 2008, according to Citigroup and an academic from Northwestern University.

Pay-TV operators lose ‘exclusive content’ card

Cut-throat bidding wars may be a thing of the past as govt tells operators to share content with each other; M1 may enter pay-TV market but content providers could lose out

SingTel or StarHub, just one box needed

One set-top box - that is all you need to watch cable TV programmes from either StarHub or SingTel.

Streamline stockpiles to get rid of ‘scrap’ gear, PLA commander says

A PLA deputy to the National People’s Congress has called for a major shake-up of the way that the military sources and maintains equipment stockpiles, to prevent stores being filled with outdated gear that is “only good for scrap”.

China’s new generation picky about factory jobs

But another key reason is the changing labour force: More than half of China’s working-age population is made up of labourers such as Chen, young people born in the 1980s and 1990s.

Protesters surge into Bangkok wanting new election

Thousands of red-shirted protesters surging into the Thai capital from impoverished rural areas Saturday gave the government an ultimatum to “return power to the people” or face mass marches in key locations.

Marc Faber: Don't Expect Another Crash ... Bernanke Won't Allow it

"I would rather be lightening up on positions in the next couple of weeks than heavily buying in here," says Marc Faber, editor of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report.

Faber and Mish: We're Doomed and Washington Can't Do Anything About It

"It's beyond repair -- it's too late," to avert fiscal disaster, Faber declares.

Mish agrees: "The day of reckoning has arrived. The question is how long it takes to play out."

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Charismatic Bo shakes the leadership stakes

Chongqing Communist Party chief Bo Xilai has appeared triumphant in Beijing this past week, easily stealing the limelight at the otherwise dull and ritualistic annual parliamentary session.

Beijing tightens rules on foreign funding of NGOs

The central government has tightened restrictions on overseas donations to independent domestic non-governmental organisations in a move that experts and NGO workers fear will threaten the survival of the mainland’s fledgling civil society.

Pacific Century barred from land deals in Beijing

Beijing municipal authorities on Friday suspended permission for Pacific Century Regional Developments Ltd, chaired by Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li Tzar-kai, to buy and sell land in China’s capital.

NGOs in China say threatened by new donor rules

Aid groups working in China said Friday they feel threatened by new requirements that make it harder to accept overseas donations, and said the central government appeared wary of their work and motivation.

Shanghai police arrest 47 child trafficking suspects

Railway police in Shanghai say they have detained 47 suspects and rescued 21 babies in a month-long crackdown on child trafficking.

Verdict soon on Wen Qiang but penalty unlikely to be maximum

The fate of Wen Qiang, the biggest catch in Chongqing’s crackdown on organised crime, may be known as soon as the end of this month, and if convicted, he is unlikely to get the maximum penalty, the city’s justice chief said.

Watchdog plans register to curb insider trading

Beijing plans to set up a registration system to help monitor people with knowledge of merger and acquisition transactions in listed companies, an effort to curb insider trading.

Xi stresses Japan ties amid protocol flap

Vice President Xi Jinping in Japan on Tuesday stressed the importance of good ties between the Asian giants as his hastily arranged royal audience sparked a political row in the host nation.

Astonishing growth in Chinese oil demand: IEA

China is experiencing “astonishing” growth in oil demand this year to match its economic rise while consumption in developed economies is falling, the International Energy Agency said on Friday.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Yen slips amid monetary easing expectations

The yen slipped yesterday, giving back recent gains, amid increasing expectations that the Bank of Japan will adopt further easing measures, while the pound sterling fell on persistent credit and economic concerns.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Governance lapses, missing millions in E3

Auditors could not trace at least half of $26m investments

Lowdown on China stock markets

China’s stock market is now bigger than the bourses in London and Tokyo and has become the second largest in the world after the United States. Some of the largest firms in the world are also now listed in China. Yet, not enough is known about the behaviour and reasons for the rapidly rising stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Chinese search for love online

Jiang Hui hasn’t dated a girl since graduating from college four years ago, but the 26-year-old Beijing office worker hopes the Internet will make this Valentine’s Day different.

Court rejects appeal of 10 insider traders

Ten people involved in one of the city’s biggest insider dealing cases yesterday lost an appeal against their conviction but will escape an HK$8.78 million fine because the now defunct tribunal set up to punish offenders had no power to levy the penalty.

How China may deal with inflation

Looking back at a bit of history can shed some light on how the Chinese may proceed in cooling a heating economy

Insider trade watchdog a toothless old hound

Insider trading may now be a serious criminal offence, but up until recently, many seemed to have regarded it as being no more serious than a parking ticket or littering fine.

Medisave use in hospitals abroad allowed

From March 1, Singaporeans and permanent residents will be able to use their Medisave to pay for hospitalisation overseas, starting with two providers - Health Management International (HMI) and Parkway Holdings.

Rio ‘very concerned’ as executives face trial

Mining giant Rio Tinto voiced concern Thursday after China said it would try four employees on industrial espionage and bribery charges, reviving jitters over doing business with Beijing.

Singapore office rents down 46.2% in Q4 ‘09

It’s biggest fall in Asia-Pac, widening Singapore’s rental gap with Hong Kong, Tokyo

Wall Street Helped to Mask Debt Fuelling Europe’s Crisis

Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.

Big Money Stays Invested Despite New Year Shocks

Investors have not yet given up on the 11-month-old world markets recovery and there is little evidence so far this year of a retreat to safe-haven bunkers in the face of mini-shocks from Greek debts, China’s monetary tightening and U.S. regulatory threats.

‘Worker ants’ pose socio-economic challenge for Beijing

They sleep in boxy rooms crammed into dingy low-rises and spend hours commuting to work on crowded buses as part of a trend of poorer white-collar workers being forced to the fringes of China’s wealthiest cities.

Snowstorms fail to blow away Fed chief’s exit strategy

There are some novel tools in Bernanke’s plan. But how effective will they be?

Farewell to arms

Sino-US antagonism may be eased, ironically, by a common need to cut defence budgets

Ambitious Hainan ‘ugly and tasteless’

Hainan faces significant obstacles in its drive to become the international holiday Mecca that Beijing has planned, according to government officials, tourism experts and recent visitors.

Boom time in Hainan

Property, stock prices soar with plans to turn it into China’s answer to Hawaii

Is South China Sea bubble about to burst?

Is the latest property bubble in tropical Hainan about to burst? Or will prices for high-end properties keep on rising as the island builds the tourism infrastructure needed to meet Beijing’s goal of turning it into a world-class destination?

Raids in PCCW probe may have come too late

Whistle-blower questions timing of police search of Richard Li’s home

Four words you never hear: ‘I got it wrong’

Has anyone ever heard a CEO say that the company’s problems are his fault? The general message that gets sent when the company is doing well is that it is a vindication of the management’s strategy. But when things go pear shaped it tends to be blamed on problems like “unforeseeable market factors” or “industry-wide issues”. You don’t tend to hear “we got it wrong” very much.

Dividends await on the investment horizon

A longer-term perspective can be a thing of beauty, with planning and good advice

Yuan revaluation tipped as China struggles with monetary policy

Jim O’Neill is on the lookout for the great Chinese revaluation of 2010, and he’s not alone.

Web of secrecy for Apple’s suppliers

Firm goes to great lengths to protect products

Stricter tax regimes can benefit Singapore

Nation should allow interest deduction for share investments with economic substance

Asian ‘tiger primed and ready to pounce’

Rising from the ruins of war, Cambodia is becoming a hot real estate investment market

China developers turn to PE funds for capital

Capital-hungry Chinese developers are turning to real estate private equity funds this year as big domestic banks tighten lending to help Beijing curb property prices, a top concern for most Chinese.

China’s exporters fret over labour shortage

Huada is one of thousands of companies in China’s coastal exporting belt now grappling with a massive labour shortage, just one year after the economic crisis put some 20 million migrant workers out of work.

Editor punished for bold editorial on household registration

A newspaper editor said he has been punished for co-writing a bold editorial demanding reform of the unpopular household registration system on the mainland, which critics say discriminates against farmers and other rural poor.

Envoy called driver 3 times in 30 minutes

Driver sleepless with worry after Ionescu told him car had been stolen

Ex-staff of Deutsche Bank planning hedge fund

The ex-Asia head of Deutsche Bank AG’s Saba proprietary trading desk is planning a hedge fund seeking to profit from mispricing of securities in Asia’s equity and credit markets, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

Mainlanders save 45pc of income to be No. 1

Mainlanders saved money to provide their family with a more comfortable life whereas most Hongkongers, Koreans and Indians said they saved to provide for their retirement. Malaysian, Singaporean and Taiwanese people saved for “a rainy day”.

Provinces aim to make an impression at Shanghai World Expo

A river of liquor, a robotic version of a famous emperor and fighting Shaolin monks - China’s provinces are going all-out to woo tourists and investors at Shanghai World Expo next year.

Rules on short selling must be calibrated

Short-selling, or the selling of stock not owned with a view to buying back later after prices have fallen, has suddenly sprung into regulatory focus in many countries in the past few weeks.

Saudis give assurance of cooperation over ‘assault’

The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia yesterday offered its full cooperation to the authorities here looking into a magistrate’s complaint against one of its diplomats.

Zhongsheng slashes size of IPO by half

Zhongsheng Group Holdings, a Dalian-based car dealer, has halved the size of its Hong Kong initial public offering to US$500 million.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Genting Singapore's Feng Shui

My friend’s sister is a feng shui master. He said RWS’s casino is full of ‘feng shui’ arrangement that it’s very strong to trap anyone’s money when going into the casino. From the moment you enter (if u asked the cab to drop u at casino entrance), you will see the lobby has one strange sculpture - the elephant.

British national sentenced to 2 months’ jail for voluntarily causing hurt

A district judge has sentenced a British national to two months’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt to a taxi driver.

Duo lived it up before firm made money

The director and the financial controller of an investment company splurged on BMWs and condominium apartments for themselves - even before their company had made any money.

Japan lifts lid on Cold War nuclear pacts with US

Japan’s new centre-left government lifted a veil of secrecy Tuesday surrounding nuclear and military deals struck with the United States, formally abandoning decades of denials over the Cold War pacts.

Romanian embassy driver testifies that Ionescu told him black Audi had been stolen

The Romanian driver of former charge d’affaires Silviu Ionescu gave his side of the story on Tuesday at the Coroner’s Inquiry into the death of a pedestrian linked to his embassy car last December.

Some Aussie schools rip off foreigners

A review of Australia’s international education sector released Tuesday calls for tougher national accreditation and improved protection for foreign students who may be financially or otherwise exploited.

Noted economists surprise with view China may devalue yuan

Economists, financial pundits and politicians the world over, except in China, are agreed the yuan is way undervalued, perhaps by as much as 25 per cent to 40 per cent.

China May Raise Rates ‘Within Weeks’ as Prices, Exports Climb

China’s inflation probably accelerated and exports climbed in February, according to surveys of economists, increasing the likelihood of the central bank raising interest rates from a five-year low.

China gets Sea of Japan foothold in North Korea

North Korea has agreed to lease a port on its northeastern coast to Jilin province for 10 years, giving China a directly controlled foothold on the Sea of Japan for the first time in more than a century.

Tibetans struggle to find normality amid smothering security

Two years after the city erupted in a riot that set off anti-government protests across Tibetan areas of China, heavy security is now normal. Helmeted paramilitary police stand guard behind spiked barriers at some street corners. Men on rooftops train binoculars on the square and streets in the Barkhor, the heart of the old city that surrounds a holy temple.

Shenzhen bars Hong Kong woman wedding policeman

A Hong Kong woman has sought the help of a national lawmaker after being told that she was not allowed to marry a Shenzhen police officer in his city because of a dated regulation that banned civil servants from marrying “foreigners”.

Glass half-full or half-empty, the yuan will still strengthen

There are two ways of reading Saturday’s comments from People’s Bank of China boss Zhou Xiaochuan about Beijing’s exchange rate policy.

Minister admits feeling pressure on home prices

The central government has admitted it is under enormous pressure to rein in housing prices in the next two decades amid concerns that the high prices could lead to social instability.

China to Nullify Loan Guarantees by Local Governments

China plans to nullify all guarantees local governments have provided for loans taken by their financing vehicles as concerns about credit risks on such debt increases.

Cheaper fares on fast trains to come

Another set of high-speed trains will eventually be introduced on the mainland that will run more slowly and offer lower fares, according to a top rail expert.

Warning after strong mainland property growth

Beijing’s super-loose monetary policy and unprecedented stimulus measures boosted investment in the mainland’s real estate industry to a record 3.6 trillion yuan (HK$4.1 trillion) last year.

Spending on infrastructure to decline to 212b yuan

Spending by Beijing on infrastructure - mainly railways, roads and airports - will drop 2.7 per cent to 211.8 billion yuan (HK$240.4 billion) this year, but the shortfall, especially for railways, is likely to be made up by non-government sources, experts say.

Airline chief warns of railways threat

The mainland’s ambitious high-speed railway programme will deal a “devastating blow” to its airlines and could even kill off short- to medium-haul routes, the chairman of China Eastern Airlines warned yesterday.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Soccer scandals resonate beyond world of sport

Nexus of power and business breeds graft in Chinese football, experts say

The brave may well ride the metal tiger

After the ups and downs of the stock markets and the economic woes of 2009, “volatile” is a word most investors would rather not hear in predictions about the Year of the Tiger.

Hacking Inquiry Puts China’s Elite in New Light

With its sterling reputation and its scientific bent, Shanghai Jiaotong University has the feel of an Ivy League institution.

The real victims of Greek tragedy

The crisis risks EU’s expansion into Eastern Europe and the prospects of the euro as an international reserve currency

US pinpoints code writer behind Google attack

US government analysts believe a mainland man with government links wrote the key part of a spyware programme used in hacker attacks on Google last year, a British newspaper reported on Monday.

A building boom of towering heights

Huaxi township in the Yangtze River Delta is a symbol of how Chinese communists embraced capitalism to lift 300 million people out of poverty during the past three decades.

China launches strict new Internet controls

China’s technology ministry moved to tighten controls on Internet use Tuesday, saying individuals who want to operate Web sites must first meet in person with regulators.

China tells schools to shun British agency Oxfam

China is telling schools to shun the international relief agency Oxfam and bar their campus recruitment efforts, accusing the group’s Hong Kong branch of having a hidden political agenda.

Dalai Lama’s foreign backers seek to destabilize China

In his five decades of exile, the Dalai Lama has never stopped plotting to seek “Tibet independence” through allying with foreign forces to internationalize the so-called “Tibet issue” and press the Chinese government.

Home prices scary, bank chief says

The head of state-owned conglomerate China Everbright Holdings has warned of the dangers of rising property prices on the mainland and said that because of market volatility the group would be cautious about investing in the sector this year.

How long can the U.S. dollar defy gravity?

The only time the U.S. dollar ever took a serious shellacking in the marketplace, the wounds were almost entirely self-inflicted.

Israel Sees Fallout as Mossad Blamed for Dubai Hamas Hit

It’s always possible that someone besides Mossad carried out the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a top Hamas military commander, in a Dubai hotel in January. Israel has refused to comment; on Monday Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman explained the silence by saying there is “no proof” Israel was responsible. But the Dubai police insist they are “99%” certain that Israel’s famed intelligence agency did the deed.

Married ladies play dangerous game, lie about wedlock

Some young married Chinese women lead a secret life. They take off their wedding rings before leaving for work and put them back on when they get home at night. They don’t put any family pictures on their office desk or chat with colleagues about love and family.

Some practical pointers on using market research

While most people have some sense of what market research involves - e.g. ‘do a survey’ or ‘run focus groups’ - they do not always understand what research can or cannot do.

Which economy is No. 2 misses point about life at the grass roots

News headlines during the slack Lunar New Year time proclaimed that Japan is still the world’s second-biggest economy ahead of its giant neighbour China. The figures for gross domestic product for 2009 showed Japan with US$5.085 trillion, against China’s US$4.91 trillion.

China’s Appetite for Overseas Coal Roaring in the Year of Tiger

Entering the Year of Tiger, enterprises in the world’s largest coal producer, China, are more and more seeking overseas coal. The unexpectedly massive onslaught of snow and ice in the country’s northern reaches has caused coal shortages in the southeast and is strengthening the determination of Chinese firms to go after overseas resources. As transportation from inland mines to the southeast coastal areas is also seriously short and coal prices are higher in domestic than in international markets, in the next few years economically developed areas in southeast China will be increasingly importing their coal.

Is the Stock Correction Over? Market May Seesaw for Months

The correction that investors thought had finally arrived is beginning to fade as the stock market settles into a pattern likely to continue for months.

Kindergarten costs more than college - if you can get a place

Beijing residents are finding it costs more to send children to kindergarten than to put them through college.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Why do foreigners date Chinese women?

Many foreigners in Beijing have Chinese girlfriends or wives. Why do they date Chinese women? Sexual need, curiosity, or love?

Euro ‘May Not Survive’ Deficit Crisis, Soros Says

The euro is being “severely tested” and “may not survive” the Greek deficit crisis, billionaire investor George Soros said.

A decoupling from Wall Street?

Which came first - the loss of upward momentum, or a feeling that stock markets have probably outrun their fundamentals?

China PLA officer urges challenging U.S. dominance

China should build the world’s strongest military and move swiftly to displace the United States as the global “champion,” a Chinese PLA officer says in a new book reflecting swelling nationalist ambitions.

Chinese bubble-wrap

Fears about an overheated mainland economy triggering a collapse seem premature at best

Communist Party Needs to Loosen Its Grip in China

Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, and the Chinese Communist Party is not exactly itching to release its iron grip on society and the economy.

High cost of rebalancing is a necessary evil

In the past two months, the news about wage pressure has been relentless. China’s largest exporting provinces have raised minimum wages. Hong Kong capitalists are desperately worried about labour shortages in mainland factories. Newspapers warn of a scramble for workers in China’s eastern provinces. Everyone seems to be concerned about rising labour costs.

Investors mark time as stocks see-saw

Market appears no closer to climbing out of same band of range-bound trading

Leading sports brand posts sound growth

Sports goods retailer 361 Degrees International reported sound growth in the six months that ended on December 31, proving that the brand is strong enough to maintain its position as one of the leading sports enterprises on the mainland despite the financial downturn.

Look into creating a new reserve currency: IMF chief

The head of the International Monetary Fund said on Friday that it would be ‘intellectually healthy to explore’ the creation of a new global reserve currency to reduce dependence on the US dollar.

Time for Goldman to Come Clean

Even mighty Goldman Sachs makes mistakes. The Wall Street bank’s decision to help Greece keep some of its debts hidden from public view in 2001 was one of them.

Forget US Stocks – Buy Gold Every Month ‘Forever’: Faber

Investors should buy some gold every month “forever” or look to emerging market stocks rather than US shares, Marc Faber, editor of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, told CNBC.

Assault: MFA in touch with Saudi official

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has been in touch with the Saudi Ambassador here over the case of an alleged assault by a Saudi Arabian Embassy official on a condominium resident.

‘I only agreed to be AG for two years’

A day after news broke that he was leaving office after completing a single term as Attorney-General (AG), Professor Walter Woon said he had always known that he would return to teaching.

‘I only agreed to be AG for two years’

A day after news broke that he was leaving office after completing a single term as Attorney-General (AG), Professor Walter Woon said he had always known that he would return to teaching.

China faces new pressure to let currency rise

China faces mounting pressure from trading partners to loosen currency controls and is giving signs it might raise the value of the yuan to ease strains on its fast-growing economy.

City Harvest paying $310m to become Suntec co-owner

Amid cheers from the congregation, City Harvest Church (CHC) yesterday announced that it will pay $310 million to become a co-owner of Suntec Singapore, a prime piece of downtown real estate.

Japan to unveil secret Cold War pacts with US

Japan’s new centre-left rulers plan to lift the lid soon on secret Cold War nuclear and military pacts with the United States that were denied for decades by previous conservative governments.

Religious leaders must speak up

A Cabinet minister yesterday appealed to religious leaders to speak up if a leader within their own religion makes comments that are offensive, dangerous or divisive.

New centre teaches online trading

California-based Online Trading Academy (OTA) - a worldwide network of financial education centres that focuses on teaching the art of trading - has opened a new campus in Singapore.

Fair rules needed to tackle insider trading

Some argue that insider trading is a victimless crime. Yet a person who unwittingly buys shares from an insider who knows of pending poor results is no different from, say, a homebuyer who purchases a flat from a planning official who knows the block is going to be demolished. In both cases a person is exploiting a position of advantage to prey on a member of the public.

Tables turn for migrant workers

The tables have turned with an acute labour shortage in the so-called “factory of the world” meaning workers like Liu now call the shots. Even the lure of three times the normal pay and perks such as air conditioning, basketball courts and television is not enough to get workers to sign up.

Populist measures, but Wen lacks fresh ideas

Premier Wen Jiabao, who is entering his final years as the principal manager of the world’s third-largest economy, gave an annual report to the National People’s Congress on Friday mostly noted for its heavy dose of populist measures aimed at promoting social equity and spreading wealth.

Ore price hikes to hit China steel mills hard

Chinese steel mills are facing massive difficulties during this year’s annual iron ore benchmark talks with big price hikes set to push many of them into the red, the head of China’s third biggest steel firm, Wuhan Iron & Steel Group, said yesterday.

Investors shun futures over high entry cost

Mainland investors have given the cold shoulder to the pending launch of the country’s first equity-based derivative, put off by the high entry threshold and complicated registration procedure.

Dr. Love figures out the maths of matchmaking

Looking for love online? Forget romance, forget psychological theory, forget the fact that hearts even beat. Just sit down with a calculator, and work it out.

Price too high for ‘leftover’ women

Still looking for that special Mr. Right who’s taller, richer, older, stronger

Home-grown sportswear a rising consumer trend

Nike and Adidas are the top two sportswear retailers on the mainland, with a combined 33.7 per cent market share in 2008. Li Ning holds 11.1 per cent, followed by Anta Sports Products with 8.6 per cent, according to marketing firm Frost & Sullivan.

China’s US$2.4 trillion foreign-exchange riddle

Where exactly is China investing its US$2.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves? Most economists agree that a substantial chunk, and perhaps the majority, of those reserves are invested in US Treasuries - debt issued by the US government to finance its spending.

China’s coal demand likely to underpin world prices

China’s appetite for imported coal will provide a solid floor for global prices of the commodity this year, but its imports may miss last year’s peak as price-sensitive buyers shy from recovering prices.

China plans Asia-Europe rail network

China is negotiating to extend its high-speed railway network to up to 17 countries, a mainland rail expert who has taken part in every major express line project said yesterday.

Blind eye to billions in bad debts

Mainland officials tolerating failed companies rather than risk loss of local jobs

Base metals may face more volatility

If China is the factory for the world’s manufactured goods, then base metals are the key raw materials needed for their industrial production.

A clash of views on China investment boom

In recent months, dozens of prominent commentators from New York hedge fund manager James Chanos to Harvard University professor and former International Monetary Fund chief economist Kenneth Rogoff have sounded warnings about the danger. They argue that last year’s credit-fuelled investment boom has exacerbated China’s existing industrial overcapacity and inflated a dangerous bubble in the property market.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Dual personality

Some commentators like to say that Hong Kong is suffering from an identity crisis. They ask: Is Hong Kong international or Chinese? The thought that Hong Kong is becoming “just another Chinese city” is a worrying proposition. We have always been both international and Chinese, and we will continue to prosper only if we remain so.

JP Morgan close to getting partner in securities venture on mainland

Gaby Abdelnour, JP Morgan Chase Asia-Pacific chief executive, slaps the table three times as he spells out his ambition to end the firm’s five-year wait to enter China’s securities market: “I told everyone, I want to do a JV this year.”

Mainland’s mutual funds battered by brain drain

The mainland’s mutual fund sector has suffered a huge brain drain as nearly 200 fund managers left their posts last year, dimming the outlook for the industry despite its breakneck growth in the past few years.

Days of “special” yuan policy numbered - China

China flagged on Saturday it will let the yuan resume its rise at some point as it unwinds the super-loose policies it has been pursuing to prop up the world’s third-largest economy.

China wants yuan in SDR in 2015

China is pushing for the yuan to be added to the basket of currencies that comprise the IMF’s special drawing rights, aiming for its inclusion in 2015, Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun said on Saturday.

End hukou system call earns rebuke

Editors at The Economic Observer, the newspaper which initiated a joint editorial published on Monday criticising the mainland’s hukou (household registration) system, have been punished for their bold action as other participating media confirmed a government order to remove the editorial from their websites.

No concrete measures to rein in rising house prices

Soaring housing prices in the past year have made home ownership a more distant dream for most mainlanders and Premier Wen Jiabao’s work report yesterday did little to address their hopes for fresh, concrete measures to rein in the boom.

Younger couples opting out of costly parenthood

They are young, smart and well-educated members of a post-1980 generation who enjoy all the varied attractions of city life in Shenzhen. And although they love children, they decided against having any of their own because of insufficient social welfare protection for child care, health, education and housing, as well as the lifelong reality of harsh competition from preschool to the job market.

China says it will move cautiously on currency

China’s central bank governor acknowledged Saturday that Beijing is using its controversial exchange-rate controls to cope with the global economic crisis and said it will be cautious about retreating from the policy.

Beijing to tighten the credit tap

Beijing will sharply slow bank lending this year and reduce new construction, even though it intends to maintain a proactive fiscal policy and moderately loose monetary policy.

Can Goldman win back its good name?

Bashing Goldman Sachs Group has been elevated from a national pastime to something far more serious: a bona fide threat to the company’s operations.

Big money a thing of the past for top stars

Movie stars, who not so long ago vied to make US$20 million or even US$25 million a picture, have seen their upfront salaries shrink in the last several years as DVD sales fell, star-driven vehicles stumbled at the box office and studios grew increasingly tight-fisted.

Bulls may extend rally from March 2009 lows

Bulls may get more room to run next week on the anniversary of the March 2009 lows -- if U.S. stock investors see more signs of stability after Friday’s rally on smaller-than-expected job losses.

Hong Kong businessmen take grievances to Beijing

City’s residents persist year after year in petitioning authorities for justice and compensation

No room to relax

Beijing’s tightening measures will have little effect on the property bubble without credible reforms

Market Defies Fear of Real Estate Bubble in China

The spacious duplex comes with crocodile-skin bedposts, hand-carved bronze doors inlaid with Swarovski crystals — and a $45 million price tag.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Ex-British army homes may become Singapore hedge-fund hub

Singapore is planning to create its own hedge-fund capital modelled after Greenwich, Connecticut, in a cluster of ex-British army homes called Nepal Hill, a 15- minute cab-ride from the city-state’s main banking district.

Shanghai leaves Hong Kong behind in size of the economy in 2009

Shanghai’s economy exceeded the size of Hong Kong’s for the first time in at least three decades after stimulus spending helped China skirt the global crisis and lead the world out of recession.

How PM Lee can boost the productivity rate of his own PMO

“Salaries for political appointments – ministers, ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries – are estimated to be $58.28 million, or 8.8 per cent higher than last year.”


Why is an Independent Judiciary an importance part of a liberal democracy?

“The judiciary (also known as the judicial system or judicature) is the system of courts which interprets and applies the law in the name of the sovereign or state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the judiciary generally does not make law (which is the responsibility of the legislature) or enforce law (which is the responsibility of the executive), but rather interprets law and applies it to the facts of each case.


Separation of Powers

Even though Singapore is a Democratic Country, I am concerned that there little if not, no concept of Separation of Powers, which is a very critical but common trait of any democratic country. Please allow me to quickly introduce the concept to you and the basis of my concerns with application to my homeland, Singapore.

Continue reading

Friday, 5 March 2010

Second-tier cities offer growth potential

Where does one invest in China, which is such a vast market? One of Mapletree Investment’s strategies is to focus on second-tier cities with good growth potential, where it can find better value in real estate. And where growth has not fully taken off.

Head for China’s western frontier

Looking to invest in China? Go west, to Chongqing in central western China. Or head for Xian in the central north-west region. Both cities are on a new economic frontier that China is opening up.

A banking tale of tortoise and hare

Twenty years ago, if you had asked any equity investor which bank’s shares were destined to outperform over the next two decades - HSBC or Standard Chartered - he would have laughed in disbelief at your question. The answer was obvious: HSBC, of course.

And if you were to ask almost any investor which of the two stocks is most likely to outperform over the coming years, they would stare at you in amazement and answer “StanChart, of course.”

Contra trading hurts equity derivatives’ growth: SGX chief

Contra trading is here to stay but it is hurting the growth of equity derivatives here and will probably need to be re-priced, the new chief executive of the Singapore Exchange said yesterday.

Growth for whom, asks Sylvia

Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim cautioned yesterday that as Singapore pursues economic growth, the average citizen must also feel that he gains.

Law firms hike salaries, slice bonuses

Singapore’s largest law firms have upped the monthly salaries of their lawyers significantly, as they brace themselves for the onslaught of competition from the foreign law firms, amid the liberalisation of the legal industry here.

Chinese youth accused of not being fighting fit

China must urgently address the physical fitness of the nation’s youth or run the risk of raising a generation incapable of fighting the Japanese in a future war, the head of the country’s top sports university said Thursday.

China’s Wen Blocked by Politics From Fixing ‘Unstable’ Economy

Premier Wen Jiabao calls China’s economic growth path “unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable.” This week’s annual parliament session may prove he is unable to change its course.

New A-G regarded as one of world’s top arbitrators

Lawyers who are familiar with Senior Counsel Sundaresh Menon, who takes over as Singapore’s Attorney-General in October, yesterday described him as a man with many qualities that make him the perfect choice for the job.

Navy declares war on villagers encroaching on bases

The People’s Liberation Army Navy is facing countless potentially fatal accidents at their bases, where boats and nets are illegally placed by fishermen, the PLA Daily said yesterday.

No evidence to suggest car was stolen

It is unlikely that the black Audi A6 driven by former diplomat Silviu Ionescu had been stolen, as he had claimed to the Singapore authorities.

Night of revelry with wine and tequila

With Korean singing teacher Jeong Ae Ree - a woman he had met just days earlier - former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu went on a night of revelry on Dec 14 last year.

Teledata names Howard Kim new MD

IT company Teledata (Singapore) has appointed Howard Kim, who has more than 20 years of experience in the communications business, as its managing director.

China overtakes US in commercial real estate

China replaced the United States as the world’s largest commercial real estate investment market last year and is likely to retain that position as global money flows improve as the country’s economy grows, according to a report by property consultancy Cushman & Wakefield.

A Miniature World Magnifies Dwarf Life

Chen Mingjing’s entrepreneurial instincts vaulted him from a peasant upbringing to undreamed-of wealth, acquired in ventures ranging from making electric meters to investing in real estate. But when he was 44, the allure of making money for money’s sake began to wane. He wanted to run a business that accomplished some good.

Google China Hackers Stole Source Code From Staff PCs

The hackers behind the attacks on Google and dozens of other companies operating in China stole valuable computer source code by breaking into the personal computers of employees with privileged access, a security firm said on Wednesday.

China Drafts Rules to Rein in Local State Borrowing

China’s Ministry of Finance is taking the lead in drafting new rules to control fund-raising by local governments’ special purpose vehicles, a banking regulator said on Thursday.

Web of deceit lands party young gun in hot water

A deputy secretary of the Communist Youth League committee in Shijiazhuang has been sacked and handed over to prosecutors for allegedly fabricating her age, resume and identity to win promotion and inherit a huge estate that her billionaire lover left to his daughter.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Are you or your Chinese friends 小资

Read webpage

China property beckons even in poorer cities

With savings earning paltry returns and inflation rising, property is seen as best bet

Four Rio Tinto employees to face trial in China

China has charged four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto including an Australian national with violating bribery and trade secret laws, the state news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.

First Heavy shares fall on trading debut despite lower offering price

China First Heavy Industries fell on its debut after raising US$1.67 billion in the mainland’s biggest initial public offering this year, as investors baulk at the high valuations pinned on a steady stream of new listings.

EU nations’ reality: Greece’s woes are theirs, too

Wealthy European nations are moving closer toward swallowing a bitter pill: rescuing Greece from its overspending before its debts drag down the euro and stock markets all the way to Wall Street.

Crackdown on internet gambling announced

The mainland has launched a six-month campaign to stamp out internet gambling as it presses ahead with it crackdown on online crime.

China on buying spree of US stocks

Beijing’s appetite for corporate America has expanded rapidly with the nation’s sovereign wealth fund holding investments of US$9.63 billion in 60 United States-listed companies, including icons such as Coca-Cola, News Corp and Apple.

Black Hawk down - but the rest?

Many doubt Beijing’s push to curb hackers

The Crisis is Not Over

Is the financial crisis over? Is the recovery for real and, if not, what are Americans’ prospects? The short answer is that the financial crisis is not over, the recovery is not real, and the U.S. faces a far worse crisis than the financial one. Here is the situation as I understand it:

Singapore has the lowest wages and domestic purchasing power among the Asian Tigers

The worldwide study conducted and released by UBS lately, titled “Price and Earnings 2009″ has some unflattering results for Singapore.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

High-speed rail doesn’t add up, planner says

A researcher with the powerful National Development and Reform Commission has openly questioned China’s ambitious high-speed rail plan, saying it is not economic.

Auditor raises alarm over Beijing-Shanghai rail link

The Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway, which wants to raise up to 50 billion yuan in one of the world’s biggest initial public offerings this year and bring in strategic investors, has been hit by findings of financial irregularities by the national auditor.

Magistrate’s Complaints and non-seizable offences

Senior executive A. Jaafar reported to the police on Jan 10 that he was assaulted, but was told by the police that he should make a Magistrate’s Complaint instead.

Man alleges condo attack by diplomat

Police have been directed to investigate an alleged assault by a Saudi Arabian Embassy official on a condominium resident.

Dismantling the hukou system requires care

China has weathered the global economic crisis better than other nations, but a significant proportion of the people are nonetheless suffering. About 23 million migrant factory workers lost their jobs as a result of Western demand for imports drying up. Their plight now, amid government concern about the widening gap between the urban rich and rural poor, has become the focus of a campaign in the media and policymaking circles to abolish the outdated residency permit system. National People’s Congress lawmakers should heed the calls and begin a concerted programme of reforms.

The real reason China retains its old pass laws

On Monday, 13 mainland newspapers called for the abolition of China’s hukou household registration laws, slamming them as inequitable and corrupt.

Migrants’ children shut out of schools

Two days into the new school semester, hundreds of children of migrant workers in Beijing are still searching desperately for new schools after their previous ones were marked for demolition.

Bans no big deal yet for Shanghai smokers

Shanghai’s partial smoking ban has produced a lacklustre response, with widespread confusion over how far it extends and who should enforce it.

Night out with singer

Dr Ionescu (left) had been drinking the night before the accident, according to Ms. Jeong (right).

Online ‘beats newspapers’ in US

Online news has become more popular that reading newspapers in the US, according to a survey.

Profit-driven regulator? Competition is the key

Although it’s been around for about 10 years now, it would be fair to say that the idea of a profit-maximising market regulator like the Singapore Exchange (SGX) has not gained widespread acceptance with a sceptical local public, because of the inherent conflict of interest in such an arrangement.

Coming to grips with S-chips’ cash positions

It is no surprise that China firms listed here have a yawning credibility problem, given the antics over the past 12 months. But what does amaze is their lack of effort in trying to improve their tattered image.

Singapore economy: advanced or not?

While its per capita GDP is relatively high, it lags behind on value-added per worker

Turning old CBD offices into prime new homes

As Marina Bay financial district takes shape, developers are making exciting plans

What companies should know before going for an IPO

Many ambitious enterprises have dreams of going for a public listing. However, they may be clueless about how to prepare for the journey, or even when they should start to think about it.

Unwinding of US$ carry trades, if it comes, may disrupt global markets

The recent rise in the US dollar - a carry trade currency - bears a haunting resemblance to the sharp appreciation in yen in early 2007, which left stock market carnage in its wake on fears of the unwinding of the yen ‘carry trade’.

What warrants an arrest?

While it is good to know that the police are investigating the matter despite defining the matter as a non-seizable offence, it is disturbing to note that the man-in-the-street would not be accorded this privilege in the normal course of events.

When bankrupts sue for defamation

When bankrupts want to take a person to court, they first have to seek permission from the Official Assignee’s (OA) Office, which oversees their affairs.

Beijing in confident mood, but some hard choices loom

Premier Wen Jiabao should be more upbeat than a year ago when he delivers China’s version of the state of the union address at the opening of the legislature’s annual session on Friday and then faces the media at its close.

Brokers fight for the right to contra trade

Any move to remove contra trading will be resisted by brokerages, which have recently had informal chats on the subject with the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

Chongqing blitz on triad crime ends with 3,348 snared

Bo repeatedly drew attention to the reported support of Zhou Yongkang, head of the Central Commission of Political Science and Law, during the campaign, but he seemingly failed to secure any new endorsement of the sweeping crackdown from the central government in Beijing. Apart from Zhou, there have been no state media reports of any of the other eight members of the top decision-making Politburo Standing Committee either visiting the city or voicing support for Bo over the past eight months.

Editorial calls for abolition of hukou system

A joint editorial in 13 mainland newspapers has called on the nation’s top legislative body to abolish the hukou system - strict population controls that have split the country into rural and urban areas for decades.

Ex-envoy to offer ‘moral compensation’

Former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu said he would offer compensation to the victims of the hit-and-run accident on Dec15, but declined to attend a coroner’s inquiry that starts tomorrow.

FibreChem unveils US$50m lifeline

On Feb 22, FibreChem entered into an investment agreement with Prima Andalan Sentosa for the latter to invest up to US$50 million via subscription of new shares. Prima is owned by Patrick Soetanto, a member of the Soetanto family of Indonesia that is involved in textile and fibre businesses.

Miners buying up rich farm land in Australia to feed China growth

Mining groups are on a collision course with Australia’s farmers in a battle for some of the country’s richest agricultural land, putting at risk its status as the one of world’s top producers of best-quality wheat.

Oil, natural gas, coal to stay top energy sources

The 3 fossil fuels will account for nearly 80% of global needs up till 2030

Scottish investors expect sterling to plunge

While the world focuses on Greece’s debt crisis, investors in Edinburgh are busy preparing for the UK to be next.

Shanghai declares indoor smoking ban ahead of Expo

Restaurants and office buildings in China’s commercial capital Shanghai are scrambling to set up non-smoking areas as the city bans lighting up in indoor public spaces ahead of the World Expo.

Sino-Env CEO on why nTan services were terminated

As part of its cost-cutting measures, troubled S-chip company Sino-Environment has terminated the services of its independent financial adviser nTan Corporate Advisory with effect from Feb 18.

Tales of the Shanghai market

I have a personal dislike for the term “perfect storm”, because it is rarely accurate. However, the Spring Festival holiday break included some announcements and actions that bring together a previously loose collection of events into something that is perhaps more significant — an almost- perfect storm.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

China prepares for Arctic melt

China is starting to prepare for the commercial and strategic opportunities arising as global warming melts the polar ice cover in the Arctic, an international peace research group said Monday.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Mossad regularly faked Australian passports: ex-agent

Israel’s Mossad has regularly faked Australian passports for its spies, an ex-agent said, as anger grew over the use of foreign travel documents for an alleged assassination.

NGOs say they adapt to survive in China

While it is becoming clearer that Oxfam Hong Kong has fallen foul of the mainland’s education departments, crucial questions remain unanswered, including what the charity has done to deserve such treatment and what it means for other NGOs on the mainland.

S&P predicts China property correction by mid-year

The mainland property market will see a correction this year due to slower demand, higher supply, tightening liquidity and the effects of government measures to cool speculation, according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

Some hospitals in Malaysia prepare to welcome patients from Singapore

Some hospitals in Malaysia are preparing to welcome more patients from Singapore. One has even tied up with tour operators to attract medical tourists from across the causeway.

Workers’ no-show alarms factories

Labour shortage in delta worsens after holiday

Hired thugs held over attack on arts centre

Beijing police have detained 18 people for attacking a handful of artists to evict them from an art zone to make way for a property development.

Thai Court Seizes $1.4 Billion From Ex-Premier

Thailand’s Supreme Court on Friday confiscated $1.4 billion in frozen assets from the nation’s fugitive former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, after finding him guilty of illegally concealing his ownership of a family company and abusing his power to benefit the companies he owned.

Romanian envoy not likely to return for inquiry

Former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu is unlikely to return to Singapore for a coroner’s inquiry into the death of Mr Tong Kok Wai, which begins on Wednesday.

Sincere by name and philosophy for 110 years

Sincere Department Store is well known for selling expensive handbags and clothing, but few people know it had its origins in a far more humble product.

Malls make life hard for department stores

Brand-crazy mainland tourists and locals drift away from old-style shopping centres

Young Chinese lose their mother tongue in ‘English’ seduction

It strains credulity that a Chinese university would require an applicant to be tested in English, but not Chinese, to demonstrate knowledge of the humanities.

Shanghai City fires up anti-smoking law

The city’s first law to ban smoking in public places takes effect today with offenders facing fines from 50 yuan (US$7.32) to 200 yuan.

Thaksin verdict raises more questions

Landmark case in Thai courts could have impact in political circles, trigger more lawsuits

More Often Than Not, the Insiders Get It Right

Corporate insiders are sending fairly positive signals about the market.

Focus back on currencies after stock turmoil

This year, currency investment is back in favour after last year’s stock market turmoil. Central banks are also widely expected to raise rates, further fuelling activity.

Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride

Your Money took these questions to some of the smartest financial minds in the market to see if we can borrow a page from their playbook for the coming months. The experts we talk to are Marc Faber, editor of the Gloom Boom & Doom report, billionaire investor Jim Rogers, Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management, and Peter Elston, chief Asia strategist at Aberdeen Asset Management. Here is their take:

Chain on a little boy a potent symbol of an unjust system and two-tier society

The upsetting photo published around the world just before the Lunar New Year of two-year-old Chen Jingdan chained to a tree in Beijing was loaded with as many misconceptions as it was with shock, desperation, sadness and pity.

Blast at wealthy family’s fireworks show kills 20

It was meant to be a show of wealth and to bestow good fortune in the Year of the Tiger. But a wealthy family’s firework display in a village in Guangdong went tragically wrong, triggering a huge explosion that killed at least 20 people, including children, and left nearly 50 injured, some critically.

Anatomy of a good home buy

The key to making a savvy property purchase lies in these seven common sense basics

70 sign up for first Taoist cultural course

About 70 students have enrolled for the one-year course. It covers areas such as Taoist philosophy, history, scriptures, rituals and liturgy, as well as Chinese calligraphy.

To stop diarrhoea

When you got diarrhoea, no matter how serious, keeping you running to the toilet every moment, try this:

A can of warm 100 plus and teaspoon of salt, drink it all in and you will stop going to the toilet immediately.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

World Leaders' vs Lee Hsien Loong's Salary

Crime on rise and social stability at risk

The mainland’s crime rate is on the rise for the first time since 2000, a government think tank warned this week, adding that maintaining social stability will remain a big challenge.

Goggle-eyed at Google Singapore

It did not bode well for Google’s trendy upstart image at first, finding out that its Singapore office is located in the steel cuboid jungle of Shenton Way - a sprint away from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, no less.

Thaksin supporters denounce Thai court verdict

Supporters of populist former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra denounced a court order to seize $1.4 billion of his assets, and vowed Saturday to pursue a nonviolent struggle for what they said would be a people’s democracy.

New law spells out military powers in time of war

China has passed a new law formally granting the military the power to control banking, energy and foreign-invested factories on the mainland in times of war or major disaster.

Tibetan-Han mix more complex than it seems

Tibet’s politics may have grabbed headlines for decades, but the relationship between Tibetans and the dominant Han is far more complex than public arguments suggest.

Muslim enclave in security spotlight

As Expo looms, eyes turn to trading hub of Yiwu and its Islamic population

Half of Americans foresee a ‘Chinese century’

Around half of Americans believe the US will play a smaller role in global affairs in coming decades, with many predicting a “Chinese century”, a poll said on Thursday.

Australia dissatisfied with Israeli response over fake passports

Australia stepped up pressure on Israel Saturday over fake passports linked to the murder of a top Hamas commander, saying it was yet to receive a satisfactory explanation.

Apple Finally Owns up to iMac Monitor Yellowing

Apple is finally officially acknowledging its iMac yellowing problem after almost five months of silence. Some customers receive three or more consecutive units with the defective yellow tinting.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

China to hold yuan stable to help exports

Official says US must not blame Beijing’s currency policy for its economic ills

China may be hiding US Treasury bond purchases

China, a top owner of US government debt, appears to be secretly buying bonds via third locations to hide its importance as a major creditor to Washington, experts told a congressional forum Thursday.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Clarification to misleading remarks Pastor Rony Tan made on Buddhism

I like to thank Rony Tan for his public apology to the Buddhist community for the insensitive things he said. However, as a Buddhist I am still concerned. Due to the hype surrounding this incident, many people have watched the video clips where Rony Tan belittled Buddhism. Numerous remarks made against Buddhism were misleading and untrue. If not corrected, this could lead to greater confusion in the general public regarding what Buddhists really believe.

Tok Meng Haw

Thou shalt nots - for China’s public officials

The Chinese Communist Party’s new anti-corruption code bans 52 practices, which include these five:

# Throw a grand wedding, funeral or similar functions
# Undertake ‘image projects’ to look good
# Pocket public funds or properties
# Accept money or gifts under different names
# Favour family members, or staff members

No sympathy from Toyota’s Japanese suppliers

As Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda faces American lawmakers, his company will be facing something else here in Japan’s auto manufacturing heartland: an unprecedented level of opprobrium.

Ex-cop sentenced to 9 months’ jail, S$3,000 fine

David Lim Kay Heng, a 37-year-old former police staff sergeant, has been sentenced to nine months’ jail for accepting a bribe from a man believed to be an operator of illegal gambling outlets. He was also fined S$3,000.

Horizon Towers lawsuits headed for trial

The latest legal tussle involving Horizon Towers looks set to go into full swing, with the High Court having dismissed the action by the two defendants to strike out the lawsuits filed against them.

How China grows economically

Its alternative financing and governance mechanisms overcome weak legal and financial systems