Tuesday 30 April 2024

Month of April 2024

School just started for my eldest son at SIM. He's enrolled in the Management Foundation Study program which would eventually lead to a diploma and degree. For now, he's keen to get into accountancy. I recall my own study journey with fond memories and wish to be of help later on in finance related topics. The student mix is rather interesting; at least 50% foreigners from a variety of nationalities and they usually have to enroll for a language course previously. For the local males, they had either completed NS or ITE. So, that makes my son the youngest in the cohort. Talk about a small fish in a big pond! Good luck boy, may you prosper in the environment and enjoy the experience.

Was it a surprise when Singapore announced the PM transition decision? My sensing is, the timing is appropriate which gives the incoming PM options to explore. Therefore, depending on internal and external environmental factors, the ruling party could call an election a) as soon as possible if something major happens eg war events escalating to a severe level or b) after the National Day rally and up until next year if required. Meanwhile, the list of candidates to fill the various ministerial positions will be deliberated and careful considerations on which voting areas to deploy them. The objective is surely to win all seats but strategic actions must be taken to account for potential losses to opposition parties. This will be one of the earliest and important tests the incoming PM and his team must pass.

On a drizzly morning, I was on usual duty to send the kids to school. We were travelling on a downward sloping portion of CTE when the car in front of me braked suddenly. In response, I did the same and there was adequate safety distance to prevent a collision. But the driver behind didn't manage to do. My bumper got damaged as it sustained several cuts and scratches. Fortunately, none of us was injured. The next two days, I was trying to negotiate a private settlement with the other party but unable to reach a compromise after a series of checks with our workshops. So I had to file an insurance claim and it's now pending settlement.

In between my business travels, I managed to find time to visit some restaurants. This month, I tried lunch at Capasso and Ling Ling, afternoon drinks at Orh Gao Taproom and dinner at Dosukoi X Donpachi and Kura Oyster Highball Bar. Perhaps it was a lucky month as all of them were really good in their domain. Now, I have a few more places to go during odd hours such as 2pm or even 2am!

Tip: Almaviva 2017, herbaceous fruity notes, decent length, already good yet can wait a few years

Monday 15 April 2024

Finance Investment Movement 44

I met a friend whose job is to monitor global properties and be involved in his company's decision on whether to invest eventually. It's a national topic of interest and our conversation started and ended without mentioning Singapore in between. So where's his radar pointing towards? First off, we agreed to write off China in the short term as the domestic economy is in a heap of trouble. Next, he felt that Australia's valuation was too high and couldn't justify capital yield returns. The focus moved to Europe and due to its expansive landscape, we spoke mainly on two countries. Germany is a no go. It had missed the opportunity to ride ahead of its neighbours. Since Brexit, this was the place where many financial headquarters were supposed to relocate but didn't materialize. Covid dealt a further blow where the tourist and exhibition sectors got hit hard and still not recovered yet. The car industry, where the Germans are arguably the continental kings, had fallen behind the electric vehicle trend. The top brands were out-competed by the Chinese and Japanese. Unless there's a drastic cut in production costs, it's difficult to see how Das Auto can retaliate effectively. What's left in Europe then is England. The economy is generally seen to be chugging nicely, the Pound is weak and the education industry could always depend on that few branded names. Therefore, it was concluded that London is an investible place and specifically only in student accommodation. Finally, my friend gave a vote of confidence to Japan as well, mainly because the Yen is very attractive and a property asset can be used as a hedge against inflation while borrowing cost will remain low for quite some time.

It so happened that I was asked to go look at industrial property in Johor as my company thought about moving to save cost. To my surprise, prices have increased at least double from my last recollection. Swathes of land were being cleared and there seem a buzz in the area. I met a few agents and the information collaborated. Maybe the Agong effect is about to be showcased.

Tip: Mondot 2019, bushwood with flowers, wakes slowly then presents a medium bodied bouquet