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Showing posts from January, 2011

Why Japan's Debt Is A Non-Issue

On January 27, 2011, S&P lowered Japan's long-term sovereign debt rating for the first time in nine years to AA- from AA. According to S&P, the government "lacks a coherent strategy" to tackle Japan's debt load, which could lead government debt ratios to peak only in the mid-2020s. Japan's gross-public-debt-to-GDP ratio, which was 189.3% in 2009, is the highest among developed economies.



Though a sovereign debt crisis like that of Greece is not imminent, without increasing the national tax burden—which is relatively low compared to other major economies—Japan will not be able to sustain public spending without incurring more debt. Japan's aging population and underfunded pensions exacerbate this burden. Issuing more debt to finance public expenditures is easier for Japan compared to other European countries with high debt because Japan benefits from low debt-servicing costs in part due to chronic deflation. Unlike Greece, Japan maintains …

Another TVB Drama In The Making

By Shai Oster and Kate O'Keeffe, Wall Street JournalHONG KONG—A behind-the-scenes power struggle for control of one of the world's greatest casino empires has burst into the open, revealing deep fissures in the family of ailing 89-year-old billionaire Stanley Ho. Opposing members of Mr. Ho's sprawling family publicly accused each other of trying to seize Mr. Ho's controlling 18% stake in SJM Holdings Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed operator of his flagship Macau casinos. The stake is estimated to be worth $1.7 billion. Lawyers who said they represent SJM Chairman Stanley Ho challenged the announcement of his succession plans, saying family members "hijacked" his assets. WSJ's Andrew LaVallee and Peter Stein discuss the latest development in the saga. On Tuesday, rival family representatives released personal communications from Mr. Ho and his four families to prove their cases in the fight to gain a controlling stake in Lanceford Co., a vehicle that h…

Roubini On Malaysia

Malaysia's policy makers have been forced to confront the factors blocking the country’s rise to high-income status. Facing higher labor costs, the economy has been unable to maintain a growth model based on low-value-added manufacturing that was largely successful for the 30 years prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.



One of the most noticeable manifestations of this so-called middle-income trap has been the secular decline of Malaysia’s once-dominant electronics and electrical products (E&E) sector, examined in “Still Not a Tiger: The Decline of Malaysia’s Electronics Sector,” available exclusively to clients. At the sector’s height in 2000, E&E accounted for more than one-third of the country’s total value added in manufacturing, over 70% of revenue from manufacturing exports and almost 4% of world E&E exports. Since then, Malaysia’s E&E sector has witnessed dramatic deceleration in productivity, stagnation in exports and deterioration in its glo…

Early CNY For The Market?

The question on everyone is asking is what the hell happened to the market over the last three days? Suddenly, it went to sleep, its like all the syndicates went to play golf. OK, that is not a fair comment but the market momentum kinda got sucked out for no apparent reason. There is no bad market news, nothing politically negative. Ask a remisier or dealer they will dig deep to give you an answer, and that answer will be "Aiyah, investors pulling out money from the market la for CNY".

What kind of b.s. reasoning is that? Is this the first year we are having CNY?? It seems to me that its a healthy correction but nobody seems to think it is one. We see popular stocks dropping 2-3% a day, nothing major, we see volume on popular stocks dropping by 50% or more, but nothing major. If you check back to volume traded last week, it was quite substantive. The fact that we are seeing only mild pullback now is a great bullish sign.

If one still has fresh funds, getting back in now is a g…

Market Outlook 2011 / DB

Let's see which research house is most bullish. Got my hands on Deutsche Bank's prognosis for 2011. My comments in colour.Off to a strong start (3.9% YTD); transformation underway In an ASEAN context, Deutsche Bank is positive on the Malaysian market in 2011. Confounding the skeptics, Malaysia is (finally) delivering on its ambitious transformation plans and this is increasingly being recognised by the market. Food and fuel subsidies are gradually being abolished (kerosene +4.2% since November, diesel +8.6%). This is a bold political move given decades of hefty subsidies. (Yes, they are bold moves, and necessary as well. Will that hit their political hopes to get a bigger majority? Probably not as the overall economy is still chugging along, property is still up, stocks are up, when there is +++ in the wallets, not many will complain. Will there be harsher moves on subsidies after the election? Maybe, a GST is likely, which is good really for the longer term. To be fair to the…

Tokyo Trip

I have tons of photos on my camera, my iPhone, my friend's iPhone ... its so hard to get organised. I could be posting for a few days straight on this trip alone. Not my first time to Japan, but it was well organised. Now that AirAsiaX flies to Haneda, there is no need to join a tour, just take a similar itinerary as below free and easy:

Day 1: Asakusa, Sensoji temple, the rows of traditional snacks cooked on the spot delicious, just remember that you should not be eating as you walk, stay in one corner and finish your snack. Walk around Asakusa and then drop by Ginza.

Day 2: Roam Roponggi, esp Roponggi Hills, a modern architecture marvel. Move to Shinjuku, take in the x-rated dvd shops. Drop by Harajuku on the weekend as well.


the sumo wall outside the kokugikan

robouchon, good stuff

the takanawa street @ harajuku, madness

Day 3: Full day tour to Mt Fuji, Lake Ashi cruise, and cable car ride up the mountain. Then get to take bullet train back.

Day 4: Spend whole day at Omotesando, forg…

On My Way Back

Its been a tiring 8 days in the Land of the Rising Sun ... now stuck at Changi on my way back to KL. Read The Straits Times and thought it was very funny to see UOB Kay Hian circulating a memo to thier staff on "how to do self exclusion" from the 2 integrated resorts. You can actually apply to have yourself barred from entering the two casinos, or your parents or spouse could do that for you as well, provided there are sufficient proof that you are a problem gambler.

Now, why would a top local broking house do that? Its a bit embarressing. A gentle reminder? Or do you already know of problem gamblers within your midst? Must be some over-power-hungry HR staffer trying to win brownie points.

As if you didn't already know that stocks investing is almost like going to the casino - except that we don't yell picture picture loudly ... we do yell profanities though, whether they are going up or down. Or is it that the broking house knows that more money lost at casinos will t…

Tokyo Rising Day 1 & 2

In Tokyo for now ... Pierre Gagnaire is a 2 Michelin star chef. Its pattserie is at the lobby. Will be trying its degustation menu later on Saturday. Life is too short.
I must say, his tart was pretty mind blowing.























Days 1 and 2 at Tokyo ... had to rush back to Shinjuku Washington to get the Nagasaki beef .. the Manhattan Table serves very good Miyago Prefecture beeft and Nagasakui tenderloin. They are not your Kobe beef or wagyu beef type ... more like great OZ or NZ material, but much softer yet flavourful.


The yolky, chicken don at Roponggi.















The unexpected Shiseido Gallery building selling sweet stuff @ Ginza. Pretty good macarons.














TT Pierre Gagnier, the 2 Michelin star chef's pattiserie @ ANA Intercontinental Hotel.
Green tea and strawberry mousse.