Finance Sharing 2023

31 December 2023
Looking at my portfolio report card, it showed a clear trend i.e on the up. Every category improved in absolute terms from crypto, CPF, cash to stocks. Although there was a drop in value held under the Tiger platform, it's due to a withdrawal of floating cash rather than investment losses. Therefore, I'm very pleased to say that the overall result is a 25% increase, as compared to end 2022, surpassing my initial 15% target. As for my savings goals, there was unexpected increase into Investment category due to SSB amount ballooning. No complains there as it was deliberate to have long term passive income. There was zero investment made this month. My eyes will be kept on oil, Reits, yen and bonds in the coming year. Moving on to 2024!

30 November 2023
My focus of the month fell on the Dec SSB. Given the good yield, I squeezed out what I could through a series of actions including redeeming the Singlife savings, withdrawing partial cash from Tiger and moving funds between my bank accounts. Just to put together $20k and amazingly hit the bullseye. The opportunity cost was that other investments had to take a backseat. There was slight relief as portfolio value climbed a little due to stock market improvements. My feel for the macro environment was that all Central Banks stood resilient and will remain so for quite some time. The upcoming implications were continued high inflation, edgy job situation and more guesses among the bulls and bears. There's no visible trend, so it's better to drip invest into solidly safe products. Meanwhile, time to start planning for next year.

31 October 2023
We live in a world facing many challenges and there's been an absence of a long period of peaceful development. To add fuel to fire, the Hamas group chose to attack Israel who inevitably mounted a response. It appears the Israeli resolution to obliterate the enemy is tough and real. Thus, we are in for another fight which brings more uncertainty to the investing market. For a brief moment, I thought the market was pretty resilient, then a sharp selloff came towards the end of the month, followed by rally spikes. Bond yields probably had a big part to play. As I saw my portfolio got washed in the topsy turvy movement, the Reit opportunity started to appear. I gathered some courage and began nibbling some. To balance (also to enjoy promotional rates), some funds were diverted to fixed deposit and money market funds. These should achieve at least 3.5% returns and I'm positive to squeeze out more in the next two months. Till date, I have over achieved in terms of investment fund goal, resulting in liquid cash dwindling. Good news is I have more chips in hand, ready to stake on the table.

30 September 2023
Cost of living issues will make headlines in the next few months. As mentioned in July, we are already trying to manage food related price increases. Next comes higher water tariffs and GST. People will be conditioned gradually to accept the eventuality. We have no choice but there are ways to mitigate. I think the best way is to build up various income streams. Be it investments, a side job or any other means, the point is to be active and manage the outcome. For me, the SSB yields are trending upwards and it's time to release some idle funds into the next few tranches, provided they are not below 3.3%. The latest T bill broke the 4% yield resistance mark. It's come at the right time as I run out of options to achieve good and safe returns. My portfolio was rather unexciting this month. Some losses were incurred but partially covered by dividends received.

31 August 2023
Real estate was the standout theme even as companies completed the earnings report season. It's not just Reits being targeted due to interest rate fears, there were other newsworthy items as well. Singapore launched a massive blitz against money laundering and seized close to S$1b assets, mostly comprised of properties. Separately, new HDB classification and rules were announced. In China, one of its biggest names, Country Garden, is battling a bond default as of today. This came after another illustrious (now notorious) developer, Evergrande, saw its share price plunged 87% after trading resumed. The Forest City project in Malaysia was brought into the spotlight after it gained "special zone" status, a face saving measure after years of neglect and snail development pace. To make matters confusing, US 30 year mortgage rate rose to about 7.3%, a new high since 2001. I think those are signs of an uncertain investor market, like trying to move along a Monopoly board but having to clear obstacles as the big money decides where to settle down. This could be betting on a nondescript area in Australia's bushland, a posh condominium in Thailand or maximizing rent seeking activity via a Japanese office building. Its main objective is a simple one; avoid "Go to Jail". My portfolio can be summarized as such: "Not much changed".

31 July 2023
The more the stock market rally, the more defensive I get. While inflation is real, it seemed to be brushed off by most as if it's already an accepted outcome and just move on. There are several areas that could exacerbate the current situation. I think food prices have further upside due to supply effects from the Ukraine war, extreme weather patterns and oil cartels maintaining high floor price. International tourism activity should remain robust as revenge travel continues along with working nomads looking for countries to settle in. Many governments face social unrest issues such as France, United Kingdom, India, China etc. They mostly relate to unemployment, salary demands, working hours and injustices. Major economies are under pressure to deliver jobs with better benefits. The irony is if this is successful, we face sustained inflation. That's why I believe high interest rate will be kept intact for the time being, minimally till 1Q next year. So I'm positioning to lock in on short term market instruments to generate quick returns and use it to invest for the longer term when hopefully the market corrects eventually.

30 June 2023
The weather got hotter towards month end, matching the equally scorching run by the US stock market. That's even after Fed chief gave clear hints on his next move to continue raising rates. Surely something got to give way at one point. Could it be the musical chair game of bankruptcy is about to start? I'm not referring to some banks or big conglomerates but rather on a country level. Those poorer nations with high debts or low foreign reserves present real risks of default. To be prepared, I have gone on a expense busting mode, reducing expensive purchases and eating more at home. There was not much investment done, just subscribing to $6000 worth of T bill and trying out Pimco GIS Income fund with $1000. Still, I'm waiting for the chance to pick up some shortlisted stocks. 

31 May 2023
It's a happy month as I received my bonus for FY2022. With that, I paid off the taxes and exchanged $16k worth of SGD to AUD at 0.895 which I believe will appreciate back to equilibrium by next year. In a sense, it's like a hedge on commodities and for a big Australian economy full of agricultural and mineral produce, its intrinsic value is likely understated to investors. It looks like the inflation monster has slowed to a pedestrian pace and all that's needed is to keep interest rate levels constant. It's still anyone's guess whether a recession may happen. I personally hope so as consumer price increases are just madness. Either way, small businesses probably suffered the most as they face material and labour pressures. As we head into the half year mark, things had been going nicely for me such that I'm at the crossroads on whether to be conservative in my investment approach or not for the rest of 2023.

30 April 2023