Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) felt like Circuit Breaker

Singapore started Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from 16 May 2021. It has been a month now. I feel that Phase 2 (HA) is similar to how I felt last year during the Circuit Breaker (7 Apr 2020 to 1 Jun 2020). The main reason is that we cannot dine-in at all hawker centres and foot outlets/restaurants. Even when shopping malls are allowed to continue operating during Phase 2 (HA), fewer people were venturing into shopping malls simply because eating at these malls is not allowed. Furthermore there were infection cases who had visited some of these shopping malls and forming active infection clusters.

Working from home is the default now. As a result people using public transports dropped significantly. I see near empty bus interchange where I lived. Taxis are now waiting for passengers. I took a taxi once since Phase 2 (HA) began and no other public transport. I walked around my neighbourhood for buying essential supplies and takeaway cooked food. The advice is to stay at home as much as possible during this period.

During this period, my family took out our takeaway containers and decided what pre-prepared food to buy for our lunches. This is reminiscence of Circuit Breaker period.

Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Covid-19 infections impact STI

Singapore tightened measures to fight against Covid-19 for four weeks starting from Sunday 16 May 2021 through Sunday 13 June 2021. This is termed as Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).

As a result, the Straits Times Index (STI) was down 1.7% at the end of May 2021 from April 2021.

It was announced yesterday that come 13 June, a phased approach to re-opening is necessary. This is termed as Phase 3 (Heightened Alert).

The Multi-Ministry Task Force wanted another week to see whether the community cases are indeed coming down.

The STI for today was 3,157.97 points. This was down 0.2% from end May 2021.

Date STI Change (%) YTD Change
31-Dec-20 2,843.81 NA
29-Jan-21 2,902.52 2.1%
26-Feb-21 2,949.04 1.6%
31-Mar-21 3,165.34 7.3%
30-Apr-21 3,218.27 1.7% 13.2%
31-May-21 3,164.28 -1.7%
11-Jun-21 3,157.97 -0.2% 11.0%

There is a correlation between Covid-19 infections and the STI. Prior to May 2021, the STI was up 13.2% by end April from the beginning of the year. Singapore was doing well during the earlier part of 2021.

Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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Approaching Night

Approaching night is best part of day
Having eaten dinner
Next to shower
Soothe day’s strains and sweat

Cool air and gentle light
Birds fly to announce end of day
Rising and swooping without worry
To find place to rest

People walking purposely to homes
After day’s of labour and stress
To home of calm refuge
To unwind and recharge

Cars rolling on highways
Homeward bound
Not rushing but flowing
In anticipation of evening

Birds are chirping
Scent of Tembusu float by
Light of sun slowly disappearing
Lived another day

Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment
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Winners and losers in STI

For 5 months to 8 June 2021, the Straits Times Index (STI) was up 11.4%.

What constituent stocks in the STI were the ones that raised the STI?

Yangzijiang Shipping was up 53.9%. SembCorp Industries was up 28.7%. OCBC was up 23.8%. DBS was up 19.9%.

Following on were Hong Kong Land, UOB, SIA (+14.5%), SGX, CapitaLand, Jardine Matheson, and Jardine C&C.

One observation: most REITS were right at the bottom of the list below.

SPDR STI ETF was up 10.9% following the rise in the STI (+11.4%).

Stock31/12/202008/06/2021YTD Change
YZJ Shipping0.9551.47053.9%
SembCorp Ind1.712.2028.7%
OCBC10.0612.4523.8%
DBS25.0430.0319.9%
Hongkong Land (USD)4.134.9219.1%
UOB22.5926.3116.5%
SIA4.284.9014.5%
SGX9.2810.5013.1%
CapitaLand3.283.7012.8%
Jardine Matheson (USD)56.0063.1212.7%
Jardine C&C19.5521.8711.9%
DiaryFarm (USD)4.174.374.8%
Wilmar Intl4.654.803.2%
Genting Singapore0.850.8752.9%
Sing Tel2.312.37 cum div2.6%
SATS3.984.051.8%
ST Engr3.823.881.6%
Frasers L&C Tr1.411.420.7%
Mapletree Log Trust2.012.020.5%
Comfort Delgro1.671.670.0%
Venture Corp19.4219.16-1.3%
Keppel Corp5.385.29-1.7%
Mapletree Comm Trust2.132.09-1.9%
Capitaland Int Com Trust2.162.11-2.3%
Ascendas Reit2.982.91-2.3%
City Dev7.977.70-3.4%
Mapletree Ind Trust2.892.78-3.8%
UOL7.717.39-4.2%
Thai Bev0.7350.685-6.8%
Keppel DC Reit2.812.58-8.2%
    
STI ETF2.8933.20910.9%
STI 2,843.81 3,167.1411.4%

Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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Covid Blue

(Japanese Haiku format with 5-7-5 Syllables)


Most days not cheerful
What is case number today?
So many unlinked!



Worried and anxious
PM plans to speak to us
Bearer of bad news?



Angry at others
For not following orders
Put people at risk


Exasperated
Many clusters appearing
When can we close them?


Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment
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Years gone by

Years gone by
Was it just yesterday?
I held you in my arms
Now you hold my arm


I drove you to places
Seated side by side
Many one-to-one talks
About topics of interest


You are good company
A treat to be together
Life lessons flow
Reverse in recent years


Three decades flashed
Where were those times?
Only photographs left
To help me recall


Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment


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Why must it be so hard for people to go green?

We bring our own containers to pack lunch and we will always tell stallholders that we have our own containers. One recent encounter was when I was buying popiah. I passed my container to the stallholder and yet at the final stage she reached out to pick up her Styrofoam to contain the popiah. I had to stop her in time telling her that she had my container. She laughed to indicate that it was her auto-reflex that made her do this. This is common among stallholders. They are normally not too happy that it breaks their flow in preparing food for us. They would rather that we pay for these containers from them.

These containers could be Styrofoam and it is harmful to the environment. Or they could be plastic containers. How often can we use these containers before we dispose them? Where there is demand for these takeaway containers, the more manufacturers will produce them.

Whenever we buy take-away food, we have to keep watchful eyes on food preparers to ensure that they use our containers. Otherwise, their auto-reflex takes over. It is tiring to keep looking out for them. Same can be said about using our own carriers. They would always go for single-use plastic bags.

Singapore introduces the Singapore Green Plan 2030 recently. It is a grand plan and sets the strategies and targets to achieve sustainable developments, to protect the environment and to counter disastrous impact of climate change.

I hate to say this: What is the use of this high-sounding grand plan when people in the society are not environmentally in tune? Let’s tackle this first because this is building block to the execution of the grand plan.

Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Covid-19 – Third week of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)

What is most difficult during this Phase of restrictions is that we cannot eat at hawker centres or food outlets. We can only buy take-away food from them. This is similar to last year’s Circuit Breaker and Phase 1 that ended on June 18, 2020.

For nearly one year, we were able to dine in with just restrictions on numbers like group of 5 or group of 8 (from June 19 and from December 28 respectively). Because of increases in community cases arising from Tan Tock Seng Hospital Cluster and Changi Airport Cluster and then spreading to other parts of Singapore, Singapore imposed Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) lockdown. Dine-in is no longer allowed. This has a knock-on effect on the retail sector that depends on footfalls of diners in eateries nearby. As a result, most shopping malls were quiet.

My feel is that there is complacency and pandemic fatigue after one year of alerts and after a year of wearing face masks. Another is a sense of misplaced confidence in tackling the pandemic since the nation has started vaccination against Covid-19.

It is common to see people not wearing face masks or not wearing them properly. It is also common to see people gathering together and talk or smoke together without regard to safe distancing. It is also common to see people in crowded places like the park connectors, walking trails or nature trails on weekends. All these are sources of transmission of infections, among other settings.

This reminded me of the graphic appearing in The Straits Times (24 June 2020) that shows the Covid-19 risks: The three Cs and one D. 1C is Closed Spaces, 2C is Close Contact Settings with Close-Range Communication, 3C Crowded Spaces, D is Duration and Diversity of Contacts. The probability of virus transmission is heightened when these 4 factors overlap.

One year ago, we were warned. One year on, we are still on heightened alert. To fight this invisible coronavirus, every single one must pull together in the same direction. If this were not the case, we will forever be fighting flare-ups in the future.

Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Reduce usage of single-use plastic bags

One best approach is to bring your own containers to pack food on the go.

By not taking single-use plastic bags, we are helping to protect the environment that reduces land-based litter, marine debris and blockage of storm water.

Plastic bags are not natural part of the Earth. It is man-made for the convenience of human beings. Plastic bags were unheard of before 1960s. It has now become a real problem in our modern society. Now it is getting difficult to wean people off using plastic bags.

For a start, we can bring our own re-useable containers and fabric bags to carry our food and things. This is a small step but a significant mind-shift towards saving this precious Earth. We have only one Earth for you and me. If we do not do something ourselves, who will?

Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment

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Sorry state of affairs of Singtel and SingPost

Two of Singapore icons, Singapore Telecom (Singtel) and Singapore Post (SingPost) made some investment decisions in the past that were now written off due to bad investments.

Singapore Telecom

“Singtel bought US-based digital marketing firm Amobee for US$321 million (S$428 million) in 2012 and completed the acquisition of cybersecurity business Trustwave at a reduced price of US$770 million in 2016.” (Source: Channel NewsAsia)

“The Group recorded impairment charges to the goodwill and other intangibles of Amobee and Global Cyber Security Business during the current financial year.” (Source: Singtel) Amount written off was $924.5 million.

On 6 Feb 2020, its share price started at $3.37. Now Singtel had traded at last price of $2.42. This was a drop of 28.2% in 16 months.

Singapore Post

SingPost acquired US e-commerce logistics companies Jagged Peak and TradeGlobal in FY 2015/16.

Purchase consideration for TradeGlobal = $236.1 m

Purchase consideration for Jagged Peak = $34.0 m

Total paid = $270.1 million

These two investments were sold with impairment charge of $98.7 million for FY 2018/19.

During this period (FY 2018/19), its share price started at $1.37 and ended for the financial year at S1.00. Now SingPost had traded at last price of $0.72. It lost 47% in 3 years.

Shareholders bore the brunt of investment decisions made by managements gone bad some years later.

Copyright © 2021, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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