Thursday, January 17, 2013

Depression in Bangkok!

I just got back from Bangkok and I was rather sad. I am working on a Bangkok IPO and things are getting very interesting over there. There is a wave of interest in investing in South East Asia and countries like Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand are benefitting. Given their young populations and natural resources, it is no wonder that the dogs of the Asian financial crisis are now darlings of the market again.

Khao Pad Poo
I am a fan of Khao Pad Poo. Nothing fancy, just fried rice with crab meat. I walked into a coffee shop and ordered my dish, turned out to be yucky. What was interesting however, the waiter turned out to be Singaporean. Surprise, surprise. He is a youngish chap of about 30 and was selling vegetables in the former Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market. He just found it too competitive in Singapore, sold his HDB and is now waiting for his payout. He has no long term visa and is making monthly trips to Cambodia to stamp his passport. He can only take on odd jobs and is competing with the likes of the Burmese and other low cost labour.

There is a generation of Singaporeans who are not in tune with the changes of the Singapore economy. This reminded me why I studied Economics as a major in the first place. To help with any countries advancement economically! That was my lifelong ambition. I suppose I am doing my part given the hundreds of people my companies are employing in Singapore and thousands internationally.

I certainly wish my own countrymen well in this new era and hope the government can do more for this segment. However, what they can do must go in tandem with the iron will of our people. Many seem to be disillusioned and I hope all the best for them.

Your Friend,
Andy Ong

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

As predicted in November!!! More cooling measures…

Hi guys! In the last gathering at the Spring auditorium, I shared with you that more cooling measures is not a matter of if but rather when. Well, the government announced its seventh round of cooling measures. I know it is rather obvious this time around but let me gloat a bit occasionally. This time around, the measures are more draconian but many analysts are shrugging them off. I chided one of the bank’s property analysts for predicting a 15 to 20% decline in mass market home prices when the government put in its 4th round. We are in a new world order and things are a little different. Singapore is in great shape economically and our unemployment numbers are negligible.

However, this time round, I do see this round of measure do taking effect because of one crucial factor. Singaporeans will find it very difficult to finance a second property given the low loan quantum and they will also have to pay rather punitive ABSD. Prices will not come down by that much as holding power is there given the low holding costs, courtesy of low interest rates. However, I expect volumes will be impacted. When the full force of the record supply of mass market properties hit the market in 2014, things will get more interesting.

In the meantime, for those who are holding premium property will be hit most. This is because the cooling measures are structured to remove that element of demand from foreigners. They are also the pillar supporting your prime property. Given the more aggressive downsizing of international banks and other firms, less people will be interested in buying and even the rental market will be definitely impacted. And the bottom-line? We are in an era of margin compression given the lower rental and higher prices. Watch any signs of interest rate movement. Once it moves north, be careful. In fact, be very careful.

Your Friend,
Andy Ong

Thursday, January 3, 2013

China rises…don’t complain…ride the wave!

China has been growing from strength to strength, that is undeniable. Their growth in stature economically and politically has made many uncomfortable. The 1.4 billion Chinese population’s search for better lives have led them to many parts of the world. Their presence have also unsettled many countries’ citizens as they are viewed with suspicion that they are stealing jobs and causing social problems.

I was watching a movie the day before yesterday about Chen Zhen (traditional Chinese: 陳真; simplified Chinese: 陈真), a martial arts exponent who lived pre 2nd World War days. The Japanese were after the wealth of China. At that point of time, they called the Chinese the ‘Sick men of East Asia’. It was a sad point in Chinese history. After years of isolation with the mindset of superiority, they lost out. They were also sabotaged by the Western powers, who were very concerned about the balance of trade position. 

The West has nothing China wanted, whilst the West wanted Chinese tea, silk and all the other produce. So what did the West do? They sold opium, yes drugs! It weakened China to its knees. The Qing dynasty emperors ceded land after land. Even though China was on the winning side of WW1, it still had to cede QingDao (Chinese: 青岛) to the Japanese!!!!!

China is now retaking its role as a world power after years of decline. Ride the wave, ladies and gentlemen. It is not too late.

Your Friend,
Andy Ong

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Property Market in 2013.

Hi guys, I have been traveling the world in the past month going to 7 countries just in the month of December. Many Singaporeans do not appreciate what they have at home. Whilst Singapore is not perfect, it does have many things going for it. We complain about the most ridiculous of things, what’s wrong with announcements in Mandarin in our MRT stations? The Taiwanese has the announcements in 4 languages including Hokkien. For goodness sake, we are trying to be a cosmopolitan city, we need to have far bigger hearts and be truly international in our mindsets. Enough of that.

Our property prices have gone from highs to highs in the last few years causing many to panic that they are losing out on the bull run. The cooling measures in the residential sector have caused a potential bubble in the commercial sector. I am not complaining as the year 2012 has been a fantastic year for me till the blips I encountered at the end of the year. I have seen my equity values go up multi-fold, and the wealth that was created was nothing short of amazing. I am looking forward to my hotel opening in the first quarter of this year and I feel good great as it will be a labour of love bearing fruits.

The year 2013 will be a year of extreme caution. Please be very careful of the investment moves you are about to make as this year can make or break your financial futures. There are developers who are talking up the market so be very careful of what you are getting into. I just gave up on a deal recently as I cannot get clearance from the relevant authorities. Well, you win some, you lose some.

I am starting to look abroad more aggressively as I am a bottom feeder as I explained to you many a times. I look for value and I am finding it tough to look for bargains. I will share more in the weeks ahead.

Your Friend,
Andy Ong

Year 2013 is here and I’m back!!!

Hi guys, apologies that I have been MIA for the last few weeks.

I have been dealing with issues that been crippled my thought processes. Many apologies that I could not answer your emails, but I was really down in spirits. On reflection, it was my own doing as I was too nice to friends. If I had been my normal self, all the issues I am dealing with would not have even occurred. From now on, business is business and friends have to respect that or I will rather not do business with them.

It is a new year. I just got back from a relatively long break from Taipei and I am feeling much better. I am rested and I hope to have a change in the new year. I am going to be tough, tougher than ever before. For those of you who think I am tough, you have not seen anything yet. I have always had a soft side but now no more, no more self inflicted wounds. 


Your Friend,
Andy Ong