Tag: Taiwan

January 26, 2018

Perspective

statista – Is Airbnb Really Cheaper Than A Hotel Room? – Niall McCarthy 1/24

Visual Capitalist: TitleMax – A Decade of Grocery Prices for 30 Common Items – Jeff Desjardins 1/24

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

Bloomberg – Dalio Says Bonds Face Biggest Bear Market in Almost 40 Years – Nishant Kumar and Erik Schatzker 1/24

CNNMoney – Here’s how much money Americans think you need to be wealthy in 10 major US cities – Kathleen Elkins 1/24

Economist – Why armed intervention is Venezuela is a bad idea – Bello 1/18

NYT – Apple Can’t Resist Playing by China’s Rules – Chen Guangcheng 1/23

  • This is in regard to providing its users’ (in China) data to Big Brother.

WSJ – GE Looks Ugly in Its Underwear – Spencer Jakab 1/24

  • “GE’s new transparency is welcome, but a focus on cash shows the company is probably no bargain even after its swoon.”

Markets / Economy

WSJ – Daily Shot: Central Bank Net Asset Purchases 1/25

WSJ – A Shortage of Trucks Is Forcing Companies to Cut Shipments or Pay Up – Jennifer Smith 1/25

Cryptocurrency

CNBC – Ratings firm issues first grades on cryptocurrencies, sparking outrage online and a cyberattack – Evelyn Cheng 1/24

WSJ – Hedge Funds Grow Wary of Cryptocurrency Mania – Gregor Stuart Hunter and Laurence Fletcher 1/24

Tech

FT – Germany threatens curbs on Facebook’s data use – Guy Chazan 1/24

  • “Antitrust investigation puts social network’s business model under scrutiny.”

Environment / Science

Economist – How China cut its air pollution 1/25

  • “The biggest polluters are state-owned, so government efforts to reduce concentrations of the smallest polluting particles have been effective.”

Health / Medicine

Economist – Obesity: not just a rich-world problem 1/24

  • YouTube video

Shipping

WSJ – A Brief History of Shipping – Costas Paris, Thomas Di Fonzo, and Liliana Llamas 1/24

  • Video

Britain

FT – ‘Sixty per cent of older buy-to-let loans will become loss making’ – James Pickford 1/24

  • “Tax relief changes will have a huge impact on landlords’ mortgages, report finds.”

China

Economist – China is getting tougher on Taiwan – Banyan 1/18

South America

WSJ – Daily Shot: Buenos Aires Stock Exchange Merval Index 1/24

  • Reforms in Argentina have been working.

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January 17, 2018

Perspective

A Wealth of Common Sense – Updating My Favorite Performance Chart For 2017 – Ben Carlson 1/14

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

A Teachable Moment – The Power of Fee Shaming – Anthony Isola 1/15

Yahoo Finance – Business Insider: China is heading toward a debt crisis that will throw into question everything we think we know about its economy – Pedro Nicolaci da Costa 1/15

Markets / Economy

Bloomberg – The Stock Market Never Goes Down Anymore – Elena Popina 1/12

  • “Up eight times in the first nine days of 2018, the S&P 500 has broken away from a trend line, its 200-day moving average, with a velocity unseen since 2013, the best year for equities in a generation. The benchmark now sits more than 11% above the level, putting it in the 92nd percentile of momentum, data going back 20 years show.”
  • “Something has changed in equities. If 2017 was a slow but steady slog, 2018 has been off to the races, with shares rising at four times last year’s daily rate on the back of Donald Trump’s tax package and gathering signs of economic strength. Forty seven companies in the S&P 500 are already up at least 10% this year, compared with just two down as much.”
  • “Fear of missing out is rampant not just on Wall Street but worldwide. Globally, stock funds saw a $24 billion inflow in the five days through Thursday, the sixth largest weekly total ever.”
  • “The average of 23 strategists predictions is for the S&P 500 to reach 2,914 at year-end. If stocks were to maintain the same upward trajectory they’ve exhibited in the last nine days, it would take roughly two more weeks to reach the strategists’ target.”
  • “At 3.4 times its book value, the S&P 500 trades at the most expensive level since 2002, while its 14-day relative strength index reached a level unseen since 1996. The S&P 500 rose 1.6% to 2,786 this week, pushing the spread between the gauge and its 200-day moving average to 11.5%, the widest in five years.”
  • “To Walter Todd, Greenwood Capital chief investment officer, the optimism over earnings growth could continue to propel the stocks even higher.”
  • “’The fundamentals for the rally are strong, though the higher it goes, the higher the risk of a correction, and the higher the risk that the correction will be steep,’ Todd said by phone. ‘For now, fear of missing out is prompting investors who’ve stayed on the sidelines to jump in, as people say, ‘we missed the rally last year, we’re not going to miss on it again’’.”

NYT – BlackRock’s Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support – Andrew Ross Sorkin 1/15

  • “Laurence D. Fink, founder and chief executive of the investment firm BlackRock, is going to inform business leaders that their companies need to do more than make profits — they need to contribute to society as well if they want to receive the support of BlackRock.”
  • “Mr. Fink has the clout to make this kind of demand: His firm manages more than $6 trillion in investments through 401(k) plans, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds, making it the largest investor in the world, and he has an outsize influence on whether directors are voted on and off boards.”

Real Estate

WSJ – Daily Shot: Vanguard REIT ETF 1/12

  • “REITs broke out to the downside on higher bond yields.”

Energy

FT – Gas and oil producers among hardest hit by US tax reforms – Ed Crooks 1/15

  • “US oil and gas producers are among companies hit hardest by new restrictions on tax relief for interest payments, an analysis of the impact of the reforms has shown.”
  • “The sweeping overhaul of the US tax system signed into law by President Donald Trump just before Christmas cut the main rate for corporations sharply, but will still mean higher bills for some businesses because it sets limits on deductions for interest payments.”
  • “The new law will put pressure on heavily indebted companies to reduce their borrowings, and could push over-burdened companies into steeper decline if their earnings fall.”
  • “Companies in industries including oil and gas, coal mining, casinos and trucking are among those likely to be most affected, according to Greensill Capital, a trade finance firm.”

WSJ – Daily Shot: Brent Crude 1/15

Finance

WSJ – Trouble Ahead for the Treasury Market – Justin Lahart 1/15

  • “Inflation, less central bank bond buying, an increase in supply – there are plenty of reasons for Treasury yields to go a lot higher this year.”

Cryptocurrency

Bloomberg Gadfly – Can Hedge Funds Handle a Bitcoin Bust? – Lionel Laurent 1/16

MarketWatch – Bitcoin tumbles to 6-week low as top cryptocurrencies all sell off – Victor Reklaitis 1/16

TechCrunch – Researchers find that one person likely drove Bitcoin from $150 to $1,000 – John Biggs 1/15

  • “Researchers Neil Gandal, JT Hamrick, Tyler Moore, and Tali Oberman have written a fascinating paper on Bitcoin price manipulation. Entitled ‘Price Manipulation in the Bitcoin Ecosystem’ and appearing in the recent issue of the Journal of Monetary Economics the paper describes to what degree the Bitcoin ecosystem is controlled by bad actors.”
  • “The manipulation happened primarily via two bots, Markus and Willy, that seemed to be performing valid trades but did not actually own the bitcoin they were using. During the Mt. Gox hack a number of these bots were able to create fake trades and make off with millions while manipulating the price of BTC.”
  • “’As mainstream finance invests in cryptocurrency assets and as countries take steps toward legalizing bitcoin as a payment system (as Japan did in April 2017), it is important to understand how susceptible cryptocurrency markets are to manipulation. Our study provides a first examination,’ write the researchers.”

Environment / Science

South China Morning Post – China builds ‘world’s biggest air purifier’ (and it seems to be working) – Stephen Chen 1/16

  • “A 100-meter (328-foot) high air purification tower in Xian in Shaanxi province has helped reduce smog levels in the city, preliminary results suggest.”
  • “The head of the research, Cao Junji, said improvements in air quality had been observed over an area of 10 square kilometers (3.86 square miles) in the city over the past few months and the tower has managed to produce more than 10 million cubic meters (353 million cubic feet) of clean air a day since its launch. Cao added that on severely polluted days the tower was able to reduce smog close to moderate levels.”
  • “The experimental facility in Xian is a scaled-down version of a much bigger smog tower that Cao and his colleagues hope to build in other cities in China in the future.”
  • “A full-sized tower would reach 500 meters (1,640 feet) high with a diameter of 200 meters (656 feet), according to a patent application they filed in 2014.”
  • “The size of the greenhouses could cover nearly 30 square kilometers (11.6 square miles) and the plant would be powerful enough to purify the air for a small sized city.”

China

FT – China disrupts global companies’ web access as censorship bites – Yuan Yang and Lucy Hornby 1/16

  • “China is plugging the last holes in its ‘Great Firewall’ internet censorship apparatus, hampering global groups’ ability to operate in the country.”
  • “China aggressively censors the internet, cutting off locals’ access to Facebook, Google, YouTube and much more, to control what news and facts reach its population. A study by Freedom House, a US state-funded non-profit organization, in November ranked China last in the world for internet freedoms, for the third year in a row.”
  • “Multinationals have historically used software known as virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass censorship and protect their communications from hacking and government surveillance. But in recent months, the companies said, they have had difficulty using their custom-built VPNs.”
  • “At the same time, regulators have been pushing multinationals to buy and use state-approved VPNs. The state-approved versions can cost tens of thousands of dollars a month and expose users’ communications to Beijing’s scrutiny.” 
  • “’This is a significant ramp-up from previous measures,’ said Carly Ramsey, associate director of consultancy Control Risks in Shanghai. ‘The Xi administration has prioritized control over all information flows within China, and in and out of its borders’.”
  • “’This is not just about tightening access, but also giving the government more visibility and control over cross-border connections. The government now has many new tools to make cyber space ‘secure and controllable’ on their terms,’ said Samm Sacks, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank.”
  • “’In a society where the government wants to control the flow of communications and information, secure communications and encryption are certainly an ‘enemy’,’ said Sunday Yokubaitis, chief executive of VPN provider Golden Frog.”

FT – China reprimands companies calling Tibet and Taiwan independent – Emily Feng and Edward White 1/15

  • “Chinese regulators have publicly reprimanded a string of foreign corporations, including Qantas, Zara and Marriott, for labelling Tibet and Taiwan as independent countries, in online drop-down menus.” 
  • “’We welcome foreign corporations’ investment and operation in China,’ said Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the ministry of foreign affairs, at a regular press briefing last week. ‘Meanwhile, they should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China’s laws and respect Chinese people’s national feelings.’ Officials in Taipei said that China’s actions did not help Beijing earn the trust of Taiwanese people.”
  • “’Taiwan is undoubtedly a country,’ a spokesperson for President Tsai Ing-wen told the Financial Times. ‘Wiping out the name of Taiwan off the internet will not wipe out our existence in the world.’”

WSJ – China’s Hot Housing Market Begins to Cool – Dominique Fong 1/16

  • “While China has seen brief property downturns before, the high debt levels that fueled the boom makes this slump a particular risk for China’s economy and the policy makers trying to manage it.”
  • “Home prices fell 0.3% in November from a year earlier In Beijing and Shanghai, the most recent official data show. It was a small drop but a striking reversal from double-digit price surges that lasted more than a year.”
  • “Prices of advertised new Shanghai homes decreased 8% from October through mid-December, according to Brandon Emmerich at Granite Peak Advisory, a New York research firm that analyzed over 20,000 daily listings from Anjuke, a Chinese property-listing platform.”
  • “Though China’s Housing Ministry has said that property controls won’t be relaxed, the dangers of the downturn are lessened by the government’s ability to reboot demand by lifting restrictions—and Beijing has held off on introducing an anticipated property tax that could curb speculation but damp prices.”

 

June 14, 2017

Perspective

Economist – Climbing without ropes 6/8

  • “A series of remarkable feats increases the appeal of a niche sport.”

FT – Diplomatic victory for China as Panama ditches Taiwan – Ben Bland 6/13

  • “Panama has cut ties with Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with China, as Beijing intensifies efforts to isolate the self-governing island, which it considers Chinese territory.”
  • “Isabel Saint Malo, Panama’s foreign minister, signed a communiqué with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday in Beijing to formalize the switch, leaving Taiwan with just 20 diplomatic allies.”
  • “Juan Carlos Varela, the president of the central American nation, said that signing up to Beijing’s ‘One China’ principle would generate ‘great potential in all areas’ including investment and job creation.”
  • “Beijing has tightened the squeeze on Taiwan since the election last year of President Tsai Ing-wen and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive party.”
  • “Panama’s defection is the latest diplomatic coup for Beijing, which is capitalizing on the uncertainty surrounding President Donald Trump’s foreign policy by exerting its influence from Southeast Asia to South Korea.”
  • “’China is exercising smart power more often, while the US is retreating from mainstream international politics,’ said Huang Kwei-bo, a professor of diplomacy at National Chengchi University in Taipei.”
  • “Taiwan still has expansive political and economic relations with many countries that do not formally recognize it, including the US, Japan and China itself, which consumes about 40 per cent of Taiwan’s exports.”

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

Economist – America is no longer a force for stability in the Gulf 6/10

NYT – ‘No Such Thing as Justice’ in Fight Over Chemical Pollution in China – Javier Hernandez 6/12

Real Estate

WSJ – The Mall of the Future Will Have No Stores – Esther Fung 6/12

  • “Some landlords plug empty spaces with churches, for-profit schools and random enterprises while they figure out a long-term plan. Others see a future in mixed-use real estate, converting malls into streetscapes with restaurants, offices and housing. And some are razing properties altogether and turning them into entertainment or industrial parks.”
  • “In all, retailers have announced 2,880 store closings from January to April 6 of this year, more than twice as many as in the same period a year earlier, according to Credit Suisse . For the full year, the investment bank anticipates more than 8,600 stores to close. Analysts predict that 400 or so of the roughly 1,100 malls in the U.S. will close in the coming years.”
  • “Many mall owners are trying to liven up the experience, bringing more dining and entertainment tenants and eschewing the traditional mix of middling food courts, fashion retailers and department stores.”
  • “In GGP’s holdings of more than 130 shopping centers, apparel takes up half of the portfolio by gross leasable area. Food has risen to 13% from 6% and is projected to go to 20% by 2025, said GGP Chief Executive Sandeep Mathrani in a recent earnings call. Apparel will fall by another 10% or so by the fall, and stabilize at around 40%, he said.”

China

Economist – China’s rockiest environmental problem: its soil 6/9

  • “Cleaning filthy soil is much harder than cleaning foul air.”

FT – China drive to relocate millions of rural poor runs into trouble – Tom Hancock 6/12

  • “Villagers return home after struggling with lack of jobs in urban apartments.”

FT – China accuses 2 more provinces of faking data – Lucy Hornby 6/12

  • “Corruption watchdog cites concerns over figures from Jilin and Inner Mongolia.”

FT – Anbang confirms chairman detained by Chinese government – Tom Mitchell and Lucy Hornby 6/13

Japan

FT – Japan Inc’s silence over Toshiba sends chill across Tokyo – Leo Lewis and Kana Inagaki 6/12

  • “For almost 70 years, Japan Inc, a support network of invisible corporate allegiances, binding investments and unwritten understandings, has stood behind the nation’s companies as the ultimate guarantor of stability.”
  • “But for Toshiba, one of its famous industrial names, corporate Japan has gone missing in its darkest hour of need.”
  • “The failure of Japan Inc to bail out Toshiba is not only a shock for the embattled group — it suggests the framework that has previously helped rescue troubled megabanks and distressed electronics makers may be disintegrating.”
  • “’The deal of Japan Inc was: ‘I will help you when times are tough’,’ says Jesper Koll, head of fund manager WisdomTree Japan, pointing to the diminishing grip of the ‘keiretsu’ — the business groupings whose closeness and mutual support underpinned Japan’s postwar economic growth.”
  • “The Japan Inc concept, say economic historians, evolved over decades to remedy precisely the problem thrown up by Toshiba. It is an unwritten code that demands that, even if the result is unsuccessful, an all-Japanese solution will not only be attempted but will receive broad support from big business, banks and government.”
  • “So far, say people involved in the talks, not a single Japanese company has submitted a bid for the chip division even though business leaders have voiced dismay at the prospect of Toshiba’s technology falling into the hands of Asian rivals.”
  • “Thinning financial ties have contributed to the unravelling of the Japan Inc structures. A long-term trend, accelerated under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s governance push, has been the unwinding of the cross-held share stakes between friendly companies.” 
  • “According to Nomura Securities, the ratio of holdings of Japanese stocks by listed Japanese banks and non-financial companies was 10.3% at the end of the financial year that ended in 2015. At its height in 1990, the ratio was 34%. Nomura optimistically predicts Japan’s megabanks will reduce their shareholdings in Japanese companies over the next few years by 20-30% from current levels.” 
  • “The question remains, according to Mr Koll, whether it is still meaningful to talk about Japan Inc, as the Toshiba situation has clearly shown that the old safety nets are gone.”
  • “The chief executive of a large Japanese company, who is close to top METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) officials, adds that it is not just a lack of willingness to help. ‘I don’t know if you would call this the ‘end of Japan Inc’ but it is certainly true that the task of resolving the Toshiba problem has taken everyone here by surprise because of its difficulty,’ he says.” 
  • “’I think it has been a wake-up call for METI and Japan for what they can really do in a crisis. Less than they thought, is the frank answer.’”

South America

WSJ – Daily Shot: Caracas Stock Exchange 6/12

  • “Venezuela’s stock market was up another 10% on the day.”

WSJ – Daily Shot: Venezuelan Black Market value for one US dollar 6/12

  • “This rally has little to do with the stock market and everything to do with the collapsing Venezuelan bolivar. It takes over 7k bolivares to buy one dollar on the black market.”

Other Links

WSJ – Daily Shot: Tax Foundation – U.S. Beer Taxes by State 6/13