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3: Malaysia REITs - Looking For My 2nd Durian Runtuh
4: Is Insurance Really Necessary?
5: Everyone Must be A Millionaire

Head to the watch list on the above tab to see my what's on my radar and foreseeable future postings =)

Decided to make adjustments on the way I blog & share due to time constraints and other commitments. In the coming weeks you should see them. Short updates but more frequent & concise.

Monday, December 30, 2013

MYR, The Gohmen, Interest Rates, Property - The Linkages

The ringgit like any other currency is subjected to swings due to capital flows in and out of the country's economy in line with the global supply of cash. While if you try to google you will get tonnes of bla la lala(s) on what makes a currency stronger or weaker relative to others. There is however one simple answer: it depends on the country's economy. The strength or weakness of a currency is what we 'orang tepi jalan' refer to as exchange rate. Weak currencies (undervalued) means per given local currency you can buy more goods locally than the imported ones. It is the reverse for strong currencies. A country usually tries to make their respective currency stable and this is done mainly via maintaining an economy that is productive enough with a responsible central bank that controls inflation. 

1. Being productive enough
-Tight fiscal discipline (balanced budget...not something we have in Malaysia for the last decade) and anti-inflationary monetary policies (also something our govt is clueless about). Before u "tembak-menembak", note the word productive enough, I did not say the country isn't growing. It is but it is the government spending using debt tremendously since 2008 on commercial enterprises to stimulate the economy and too often has been seen as funding large-scale projects that reward political crony capitalists and support their companies. Malaysia will be unable to move ahead into a higher income level while it remains held back by a lack of tertiary industry, an education system that is falling behind in technological expertise (our PISA results look like PIZZA) and a restrictive low-wage economic model. At least with Maths and Science in English, our kids had a fairly decent chance of moving to a higher income economy. That has just gone out the window. Malaysia's dependence on cheap uneducated foreign workers has depressed local wages and productivity growth. This is why moving forward in 2014 & 2015 the government has resorted to sharp subsidy cuts and new taxes in the form of GST as the only means to increase income.

A strong government with a well-established rule of law and a history of constructive economic policies are the type of things that attract investment and thus promote a strong currency. In the case of the U.S. dollar, its strength is further augmented by the fact that commodities are generally traded in dollars, and many countries use the dollar as a reserve currency which makes it strong even though their debt to GDP is 107% while Malaysia is 54.8%. "Someone said the govt leaders are now like "porn stars". They have no sense of value or shame anymore. They can go naked in public and they don't know they are doing something that is abnormal.". While many nations around the world have their own fiscal problems but none unlike Malaysia where we spend 75% of our budget on 'operating' expenditure and 25% on development needs and this trend shows no sign of abating.

2. Central bank that controls inflation 
-High interest rates help promote a strong currency, because foreign investors can get a higher return by investing in that country. A higher interest rate means a better return on bonds and other Government securities and will, therefore, tend to attract financial capital from overseas (this is called capital in flow). So, if Malaysia interest rates go up – or more importantly, are expected to go up – the Ringgit will tend to strengthen against other currencies, and vice versa. However this is a double edge sword for trading nations because a strong currency is bad for the country's export. Your goods are now more expensive and thus less competitive.

MYR performance against key currencies within Asia exc Japan

The Brunei dollar is managed together with the Singapore dollar at a 1:1 ratio by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Singapore is one of Brunei's major trading partners. Without going to much details here's my outlook. Malaysian Ringgit will never catch up with the SGD, in fact it will widen even further as Singapore's moves up the chain from their current manufacturing -> hi-tech manufacturing (telecommunications/satellites/medical equipment). We would be trading sideways between HK/Taiwan/South Korea as these countries are also 1/3 export oriented & trade dependent (similar to Malaysia). I am unsure why we weaken against the Peso but my hunch is due to their outperforming stock market. Indonesia and Vietnam is not surprising as they are gearing up their manufacturing sector for exports and are poised to benefit more from a weaken currency.   

If you are looking to gain from currency the best bet is the Singapore Dollar. Need a vacation? Indonesia and Vietnam are good places for the coming years. And pray that we don't enter an economic malaise (our own lost decade: so we can still be comparable to our other closest economic competitors if not you need to carry your pack on your back.

In fact not all is smooth sailing for the outlook of the Ringgit.
1. We have been lagging behind (not productive enough). Who would invest in the country's stock market if not for the attractiveness & outlook of their economy? Sooner rather than later, we will be overtaken by Indonesia & Thailand in terms of market capitalization.

2005 Market Cap      2013 June Market Cap
Malaysia  184 bn       490 bn  (+166%)

Singapore  227 bn     752 bn  (+231%)
Indonesia 77.6 bn     477 bn  (+514%)
Taiwan  433 bn         754 bn  (+74%)
Shenzhen  125bn    1,190 bn  (+852%)
Philippines  32.4bn    230 bn  (+609%)
Korea  459 bn            3,051  (+564%)
Thailand  122 bn       408 bn  (+234%) 

2. If RM weakens further due to US tapering our central bank might need to raise interest rates later to keep it afloat but this is also difficult as it could potentially pop our debt bubble. But property bubbles do not get pricked so easily. When low interest rates is prevailing and other sectors of the economy are so weak, central banks cannot just raise rates to dampen property speculation as the broader economy will get hurt. This is the MAIN REASON why our budget is putting measures that are property sector specific. E.g. DIBS removal and the RPGT. We have been living on cheap credit for a very long time (causing loans to be growing at amazing rates) which is dangerous and interest rate adjustments were originally meant to be used as a short term financial tool. Our clueless PM... also the finance minister is punishing the devs instead by imposing the above when property seems to be the only growth industry in the country now. The overheating of the property sector is often caused by the Bankers - not the property devs. The Bankers make crazy property loans. It is better to increase the Bankers "prudency" in making property loans. HK and China did it and yes it will correct the house prices to an extent (30-50%) but it will NOT kill the property sector.

3. Our trade reliant country needs a balanced currency because a weaken ringgit also means Malaysian companies have to pay more to import large machines and construction equipment, or so called capital goods. With Malaysian carriers taking deliveries of airplanes and construction companies importing heavy cranes to build new skyscrapers like Warisan Merdeka, the country’s import bill is bloating, which will only swell with a falling ringgit. 

On a side note: Not that I actually believe it in this but have you heard of the
"The Skyscraper Index is a concept put forward in January 1999[1] by Andrew Lawrence, research director at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein,[2] which showed that the world's tallest buildings have risen on the eve of economic downturns.[3] Business cycles and skyscraper construction correlate[4] in such a way that investment in skyscrapers peaks when cyclical growth is exhausted and the economy is ready for recession."

As you can see walk left also wrong, right also wrong, up pun 'salah' down also 'tak betul'. Our narrow based economy has little room to maneuver and because we were one of the best performing currency (together with Thailand as well) when QE started back in 2009, our fall might actually be as bad as the rise. A lot depends on what the US fed will do whether they decide to taper even more. I think our time of cleansing would be happen when interest rates go higher. BNM would do whatever it takes to keep interest rates at current levels for as long as it could with our rm440.8 billion reserves as our only weapon left to fend of a falling Ringgit. No rocket science people...just need to stop playing Dota and catch up a little more on news (US Fed moves, BNM news, Budget announcements and most importantly what's coming out from the mouth of our clueless PM). 2014/2015 are going to be tough years for all of us.

Here is my conclusion: Time to be aware of what is happening

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hohoho Merry X'mas!

Have a happy Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (yeah they go hand in hand) to everyone regardless of race and religion. If you are out celebrating be safe and take care. If you are home with family or loved ones, have a great one!

Holidays are important as they make time for you to be with others when time is limited in today's modern pace. Well less important in Malaysia because we have too many of them (yeah two national days is a Guinness World Record). Just do all the niceties like crapping with each other or catch a Christmas Carol movie or walk the dog longer.

Once again I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Remember Chuck Norris only needs one chopstick to eat his sushi so......

Friday, December 20, 2013

A fool and his gold are soon parted

Precious Metal: Gold

Current Price: $1,236

Target price: $1,100 to $1,150 

Fundamentals: Long Term Outperform (5-year period)
Sentiment: Medium Term Bearish (6-month period)
Risk Level: High

**Outperform: Stock expected to do better than market return; has upside or cheap vs target price. Usually a buy call.
**Market perform: Stock expected to be on neutral, can be + - 3% to 5% either way; Usually a hold call.
**Underperform: Stock expected to do worse than market return; has downside or too expensive to buy vs target price. If fundamentals change a sell call.

It has been slightly more than a year since I've warned about the crazy gold price. Being one of those not going with trend makes it difficult to back your claims especially when you are trying to convince your friends & family. Folks think you are a fool for not banking on the precious metal. Ignorance is the root of many unwise decisions. Feng Shui masters at the end of 2012 are predicting $2000 gold prices after placing a giant stone lion in front of their house. It would be interesting to see what they are going to predict for 2014->Malaysia has good Feng Shui la...our lambang negara (national crest) carries two snarling or roaring tigers. Malaysia is very strong and steadfast as it carries two tigers so our economy & the 'property mart' will always grow as long as the BraiNless rule the country. Err....don't say I never warned you. Nevermind laaa you would call me a fool. 
Not I say one....I only have my Bachelor's Degree..i'm not a Master. 

About the CLSA Feng Shui Index

The CLSA Feng Shui Index began life as a Chinese New Year card for our clients in 1992, with a simple summary of forecasts by a group of feng shui masters and a few views of our own. To flesh it out, we also predicted the performance of the Hang Seng Index based on the omens. No one paid much attention to the contrarian chart, but by year’s end it had correctly called all seven of the Hang Seng’s major turns. Now renowned by investors globally, the CLSA Feng Shui Index took a break during the bull run from 2005 to 2008. Much missed, it was revived in 2009. This year marks our 19th edition.

Back in my Oct 2012 post: "To the disbelieve of ordinary folks, gold is just like any commodity. IT DOES NOT GO UP ALL THE TIME." Here's the original post: The Yellow Fever

October 2012
December 2013
The reason I foresaw is not 'tutup lampu magic', increasing demand does NOT come from jewelry or technology (I consider this a stable form of demand) it is from financial investments (speculative/hedging form of demand). Back in my Oct 2012 post: "Back in 2005 Only 16% of gold's demand went to investment. Now it is a staggering 40%!!" Data from World Gold Council for the Q3'13 report confirms my understanding about gold's demand. 
Look at Investment + Central bank net pruchases (that's a lot of reduction in demand) while Jewellery and Tech has remained relatively stable.

So it is a good time to get gold now? Aunty in ban san 'market' say must buy now. Uncle in kopitiam also said buy house now... Will the same bubble happen back in 1980 that stunned gold investors as prices traded sideways for 20 years? Gold trading sideways is highly not likely scenario this time because the amount of global debt is humongously high compared to 1980. Gold will remain as a safe haven against fiat currency (fiat = paper currency). You can print as much paper money as you can and devalue the currency (add more zeroes to the back) but you cannot make more gold than what your supply has hence the price is supported in the long run. 
More like Chinese hell note
I'll admit that I am not good at predicting how low prices can be because it is very difficult to do so but I am doing OK dissecting trends. While I see that the fair value of gold should be around $800 to $1000 and I not convinced that it will go down below the physiological barrier of $1000. Instead of predicting the price, my experience tells me it is always easier to look at indicators. Equities or stocks are by far the best indicator to look at. It does not correlate with gold prices. E.g. if US stocks fly high, gold prices would be the opposite OR if interest rates goes up, folks would rather invest in cash rather than gold. Explanation is simple: The money has to flow somewhere. Stocks have indeed hit new highs especially after the middle of 2013 but I see limited upside in 2014 as valuations are already higher than average now. The real driver of stock valuation increase would now be solely in the hands of a growing economy and the economy to look at in 2014 is the US economy. I think we will probably see gold trading sideways in 2014 subject to major global events that would rock the financial markets.

I am hording MORE n MORE cash for a "possible" buy of gold in 2014 as prices continue to correct. How to buy? Where to buy? I would leave that for the next posting, for now this precious metal should be kept in view for a buying opportunity :) 

Definition of 'Fool's Gold'

Also known as iron pyrite, fool's gold is a gold-colored mineral that is often mistaken for real gold. Fool's gold is also a common term used to describe any item which has been believed to be valuable to the owner, only to end up being not so. Investments in hot stocks that seemed too good to be true, only to crash and burn, can be referred to as investing in fool's gold.

Disclaimer: The reports, analysis and recommendations in this blog are solely my personal views. I do not link to any investment body or company. As such, I will not be responsible of any of your investment decision. Consult your investment adviser or come to your own conclusions before making any investment decision.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Great But Not So Well Known Violinists

Taylor Davis (born 1987) is an American violinist, arranger, and composer best known for her covers of music from video games featured on her YouTube channel ViolinTay. She also features performances of her own arrangements of music from films and musicals and has begun releasing original music.
During 2012 Davis released two albums and an assortment of singles. The first album, Gaming Fantasy, features tunes from various video games arranged by Davis for violin. Six months later An Enchanted Christmas was released. Game On: 2 Player mode, a collaboration with pianist Lara de Wit (lara6683 on YouTube), was released in January 2013 and Legendary Movie Music was released in July 2013. With the help of a midi keyboard and computer software Davis created all of the orchestral backtracks for these works.
Lindsey Stirling (born September 21, 1986) is an American violinistdancerperformance artist, and composer. She presents choreographed violin performances, both live and in music videos found on her YouTube channel, Lindseystomp, which she introduced in 2007. In 2010, Stirling was a quarter-finalist on America's Got Talent season five, where she was known as the Hip-hop Violinist.
Since 2010, Stirling has released a self-titled album, an EP, and several singles. She performs a variety of music styles, from classical to pop and hip-hop to electronic dance music. Aside from original work, her discography contains covers of songs by other musicians and various soundtracks. Stirling is also a YouTube sensation: her music video "Crystallize" finished as the eighth-most most watched video of 2012, and her cover version of "Radioactive" won Response of the Year in the first YouTube Music Awards in 2013. Her YouTube channel had, as of November 2013, more than three million subscribers and four hundred million total views.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How2 save RM100k in 4-5 years in 'Malaysia'?

Can but tough la .. earn s0 little, expenses s0 high how to save?? I focus on 4 core items based on my observations from typical Malaysian spending habits. Food, petrol, cars & clothing. This is based from my own experience and should not be a definite guide on how to save. Certainly they are many other ways but I'll focus on the four core expenses.

Sometimes the biggest savings you can make is your choices on food. Of course you can BYOF (bring your own food) from home but I myself am not a big fan of this. I would rather eat daily lunches with my co-workers as a chance for bonding and socializing. For kopitiam, order ais kosong or don't order anything, you'll able to slash RM1.00+ per day, that's RM20/month. Try skimp on expensive extras: fried chix, fish, sotong especially mamak places which will cost you a bomb. Based on experience on average, noodles/mee hun/ kuey teow soups are cheaper than other dishes. You can also do it cheap from simple economy rice choices (vege preferably, cheaper) then flavour your rice with other dishes (curry from the fish head curry, etc). It still tastes good without looking cheap.

Fast food places/ restaurants. Again, ask for plain water. These places charge ridiculous prices just for water. So imagine what other drinks would cost you? Get set meals if possible. If go with friends, combine all your foods so you get lots more choices, a lot more satisfying. Yea you get to ninja each other's food for the excuse of (ooi ho chiak la you should try and your friend would do the same for 'paiseh' reasons). If you want to be more 'hardcore', factor in restaurant promotions and discounts. E.g Groupon deals. Savings estimated: RM5000/5years

Petrol. I can hit 475km with just RM65 of Ron95 petrol on my 7 year old 1.3cc MyVi (as of RM2.10/litre price). That's with 60% expressway, 40% city driving. Good news: Petrol prices cost the same AT EVERY PETROL STATION IN MALAYSIA. The government fixes the price. So you don't have to do the added homework of searching around for places selling cheapest petrol, like how they do it in many parts of the world (America, UK, etc). Therefore, the tips on this post are mostly common-sense tips. Don't accelerate quickly unless you have to like avoid an accident. Don't drive too fast, I usually go 2000rpm max regardless of gear. Check tyre pressure, I always top it up when I pump petrol. Dump everything out that is not essential, keep car as light as possible. Avoid rush hour traffic..go to work before 7am and go home before 430pm. And the most underrated tip, stop making circles looking for parking. Park further away and walk. 100-200m won't break your legs. Savings estimated: RM3000/5years

Cars. Malaysians value car a lot because to many it represents status. Fresh grad nak glamour, forking out 90k for Honda City on a 5 year loan. Imagine if you had bought a 2nd hand car say a MyVi for RM40k, that's effectively a RM50k savings stretch over 5 years. That's a lot of money and I mean capital A L O T. Obviously I have long finished paying for my car 2 years ago, I have no intention of changing to another unless it is again as cheap as ~RM40k. Savings estimated: RM50000/5years 

Lastly, clothes will always, ALWAYS look better on the models. Human or non-human. Fact/fakta. You will always tend to have this idea that a certain piece of fabric can turn you into this desirable hottie. It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman. The thing is, fashion sells image. As in, how their clothes can give you the impression that you're part of something better or greater. Wearing Nike makes you feel sporty, no matter the only running you've done all day is running after the bus. Wear Prada and suddenly you're this chic, glamorous, high maintainable girl. Never mind you're actually an ah lian. But, I can agree that whatever it is you want to achieve, you can do it cheaper & lesser. By doing so online and sniffing around a bit. There's loads of promotions, and warehouse sales and you don't have to keep buying a whole lot of them. Just do the mix and match trick. Savings estimated: RM15000/5years

What about a house? I intentionally left that out. Some argue that is cheaper to get it earlier before it gets more expensive but like all economic cycles, there will be periods of busts. While I can agree that asset prices will never go below zero, what I disagree is prices will go up infinitely. If that is wrong, you can basically discredit entire theories of modern economics or Malaysia has found the holy grail of property investing when even Wall Streets fails to figure it out. I took advantage of getting one during the subprime crisis in 2009 so there is no right or wrong, the timing & price-for-value of the purchase is more important.
From Focus Malaysia Issue 053: Dec06-12, 2013.
Still that's only RM73k. Yes and these are savings that come from spending habits. The remaining RM27k comes from your allocated 5%-10% savings per month. Assume a fresh grad earns RM3.2k/month, try saving RM450/month. Doing that you can still spend all your bonuses. Like many other things in life, saving is an endeavour that many find hard to adopt especially in the beginning. To ease yourself into your money-saving journey, you may wish to start off with a moderate amount (say 5-10% of your wages) so that it does not affect your cash flow to the extent of making you give up altogether. Over time, you can try to increase the amount as the act of saving becomes a habit. Don't say later Malaysia later is always never, you dunno meh??

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Aboi's Updates For December 2013

Here's the link for the previous month's market sense: Aboi's Updates for October 2013
For those who find it hard to follow I suggest reading through my previous posting on how I am using technical indicators as a trend seeker.
  1. First Attempt on Tech Analysis Part 1
  2. First Attempt on Tech Analysis Part 2

During my short absence due to exam studies, Bursa has broke the 1800 resistance line. I reiterate what I published during October that "Based on Bursa historical growth rate I think Bursa will only top at most 1800-1850 by year's end (with the former more likely)". Looking at the price-volume trend - increasing price with declining volume is a BEARISH sign + RSI indicator at the overpriced region of 80, I will still hold Bursa between 1800-1850 by year's end. Nothing exciting happening as expected besides the major surge in TNB due to electricity tariff hikes. I am changing my two support lines to 1800 followed by 1750 and a new resistance at 1900. 

I will begin to analyze several US based stocks starting 2014 - even though the bull trend might be on its last legs in the US - doesn't hurt to start researching first. I will maintain my cash level in my Malaysian portfolio for the time being - as I think 2014 might be a tricky year in Bursa so hence some buying opportunity.

Second my portfolio decreased in value ~RM90 is negligible compared to its size. Supermx's gain was offset-ted by Genting's yet again trading sideways @ around RM10 area. Kenanga Fund is doing extremely well for a fund that I invested in only 7 months with a 24.53% total returns so far. The recently added AmDynamicBond is not expected to have +ve results somewhere until the middle of next year so I am not worried. It is better to buy bonds when they are cheaper now as subscription floods it. As usual AMP Capital has a really good compressed weekly information (freely available, no sign ups) on weekly global market & global economic updates. It is usually updated every Monday afternoon so go read it when you have the time. 
Portfolio composition. Equities 50%, Mixed Assets 15%, REITs 10%, Bonds 5% and Cash 20%.
Targets for returns p.a. Equities type 12%, Mixed Assets 8%, REITs 6%, Bonds 5% and Cash 3.75%.

*Revised benchmark from 22.29% to the more accurate current rate of 34.20% 

#1 Portfolio target for third year @ RM128k for April 2013 and fourth year @ RM140k for April 2014. Third year target EXCEEDED! Fourth year has also EXCEEDED but let's wait till April 2014 to declare absolute victory :)
#2 From previous post: Decided NOT to add PARKSON in the end. Would continue to use ICAP as proxy to Parkson to be on the safe side.
#3 On a side note, there is nothing to buy in Malaysia equities, things are expensive nowadays. I am more optimistic about my buying chances in 2014.

Disclaimer: The reports, analysis and recommendations in this blog are solely my personal views. I do not link to any investment body or company. As such, I will not be responsible of any of your investment decision. Consult your investment adviser or come to your own conclusions before making any investment decision.