Wuhan Virus Impacts Equity Markets

The S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Index each lost 1.57% overnight. The Straits Times Index (STI) lost 1.81% today!

Now the STI is below last year’s closing by 1.3%! See table below.

Stock Indices 31-Dec-19 28-Jan-20 YTD Change
Shanghai Composite 3,050.12 2,976.53 -2.4%
Nikkei 225 (Japan) 23,656.62 23,215.71 -1.9%
Hang Seng (HK) 28,189.75 27,949.64 -0.9%
STI (Singapore) 3,222.83 3,181.25 -1.3%

All 4 Asian stock markets are now below last year’s closing. The driving force is the fear of economic impacts resulting from the outbreak of Wuhan Virus.

Copyright © 2020, 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.

Posted in Financial Management

Is this time going to be more serious? – Wuhan Virus and SARS

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) started in China in November 2002 and peaked in the first half of 2003. I remember my team and I were involved in the temperature taking of students in 2003. We started with using thermometers to measure body temperature and ended with thermal scanner technology. We had developed a routine for this some 17 years ago.

Now China had this Wuhan Virus, a strain of Novel Coronavirus (nCov), that started towards the end of 2019. History is repeating itself after SARS.

Is this time going to be more serious?

One great comfort is that China and the world are taking notice of the potential disease pandemic at the early stage of the Wuhan Virus outbreak. The SARS experience in 2002/2003 is helping nations to combat the spread of this virus round the globe. Singapore has the protocols and contingency plans to see us through this dreadful virus. I remember Mr Khaw Boon Wan was the face of the government combating SARS. I still remember him asking the nation to “always wash our hands” in Hokkien (常常洗手).The current government and the hospitals have the past experiences to guide them.

Let’s hope that the Wuhan Virus does not get out of control. There will be inconveniences as we go about in our daily lives. Personal hygiene is key to prevent the spread of the virus. People have to take responsibilities for their own health and the health of others around us.

SARS started to tail off towards the second half of 2003. Let’s hope this time round it could be shorter. Panic is not the way to go.

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey

Year of the Rat

2020 is the Year of the Rat. Rat is the first zodiac animal on the Lunar calendar.

This year’s Chinese New Year is different on one account. I went about visiting my relatives using public transport, ie buses and MRT trains. I stopped driving since February last year after the Chinese New Year of that year. The journey had taken longer but it was comfortable. I did not have to worry about the perennial traffic jam along the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) during Chinese New Years since I did not drive. I could even sleep in the bus!

Our extended family starting from our late parents has 34 members. My siblings and I are now the first generation. All in we are 3 generations. Our children have children of their own.

We met on the eve for a reunion dinner at Yan Palace Restaurant just like last year. A major change this year was that we had our first day lunch at my sister’s home. Both occasions allowed us to bond and to strengthen ties especially with the younger members. Without Chinese New Year, we may not have the opportunity to see each other.

Visiting relatives is another thing we do. With each meal together, we would toss Yusheng (shredded vegetables/salads with raw fish/abalone) for luck. We exchanged Mandarin oranges and gave out Hongbao (red packets) to the younger children on this day. We wore bright coloured clothes (red colours would be appreciated). All these are traditions that we still practise.

So for once a year, we would shout Huat Ah to bring in prosperity. 就是发财的含义。

Wishing all a Happy and Prosperous Year!

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey

Those Predictions of the Chinese Zodiac Animals

2020 is the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. Each year, the Feng Shui masters (geomancers) will come up with predictions for each zodiac animal for the whole year. If you were born in a particular animal year, you then see what the coming year would bring you in terms of wealth and health. They also prescribe ways to counter any negative predictions. If you were born in the Year of Rat, it does not mean that you will be fortunate for a good year.

Geomancers come out with different predictions for the year. You can see all these being put up at public places for all to see. Even MediaCorp Lunar New Year programme carried them.

As a family, we have stopped looking at these predictions. We do not believe that our lives are determined by the zodiac signs. In the past, these predictions did not materialise by the end of the year as suggested.

What is more important is to act in the present. This determines our future and not because we were born in that zodiac animal.

Having said that, this is a Chinese tradition in the Chinese New Year. There is no harm done unless one is taken in by the negative or positive predictions of the year ahead.

On this Year of the Rat, I wish all people celebrating Chinese New Year a bountiful year of wealth! 新年快乐! Keep safe and not to worry of the future. It is not here yet. Deal with it when it arrives.

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey

Unforeseen event that affects markets – Wuhan Virus Outbreak

Once in while, an unforeseen event would rattle the stock markets. It was SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus back in 2003.

When we thought the stock markets were going to have a good run towards the end of last year, out of the blue the Wuhan Virus (originating from Wuhan city of China) surfaced at the end of 2019. The global panic started when it was confirmed that human-to-human transmission had taken place. Travel sector is the first line of business to bear the brunt of this coronavirus outbreak. Next comes the country most affected is China, the epicentre of the outbreak.

The Shanghai Composite Index had lost 2.4% since the end of last year. Instead of going on an upward trajectory for 2020, the index lost grounds instead on account of the Wuhan Virus.

Stock Indices 31-Dec-19 23-Jan-20 YTD Change
Shanghai Composite 3,050.12 2,976.53 -2.4%
Hang Seng (HK) 28,189.75 27,862.70 -1.2%
STI (Singapore) 3,222.83 3,234.98 0.4%

The Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 1.2%. The Straits Times Index (STI) is trying to stay above last year’s closing figure.

It is going to take a long while before the world can get back to business as usual. The battle of containing the Wuhan Virus will take some time as the SARS in 2003 showed us.

Copyright © 2020, 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.

Posted in Financial Management

Visit to Yogyakarta (Jogja) from 14 to 21 January 2020

Yogyakarta (Jogja in short) is in Central Java.
We took SilkAir flight directly to Adisucipto International Airport.
We stayed at homestay accommodations at two locations for the 8D 7N stay in Jogja.
Total costs for a family of three came to about S$2,050 all-inclusive.

Food is not expensive. Most common is Masakan Padang (Nasi Padang).
In the city of Jogja, we used Grab cabs to move around. Occasionally, we took Becak, (Rickshaw).

For tours to far-away locations, we hire a driver to take us around. The owner of homestay accommodations recommended us a driver. If not, the owner himself drove us to places.

Be prepared to pay for entrance tickets for almost all tourist sites. More expensive tickets are the ones to UNESCO Heritage sites like Candi Borobudur (Borobudur Temple) and Candi Prambanan (Prambanan Temple).

Do not worry about airport departure tax from Indonesia. These are built into the cost of airline tickets.

People in Jogja are friendly. Kampung living is a way of life. Community bonds are very strong. I would recommend walking trail conducted by a local guide to Kampung living along River Code. We booked this walking trail at ViaVia Jogja (also a restaurant).

Itinerary

5 nights in Jogja city and 2 nights in Magelang (nearest to Borobudur Temple).

At Jogja, visited:

  1. Jalan Malioboro (shopping street)
  2. Sultan’s Palace
  3. Taman Sari (Water Castle or Royal Bath House for the sultans built in year 1758)
  4. Prambanan Hindu Temple (UNESCO Heritage site built in 9th Century)
  5. Walking tour of River Code (understand lives in the Kampung)
  6. Spent a day at Surakarta (Solo) – famous for their batik

At Magelang, visited:

  1. Punthuk Setumbu (a location to see sunrise over Borobudur Temple)
  2. Borobudur Buddhist Temple (UNESCO Heritage site, dated in 8th and 9th centuries)
  3. Dieng Plateau
  4. Candi Arjuna (Hindu temples)
  5. Candi Mendut (Buddhist temple)

Impressions

People at Yogyakarta and Magelang were hospitable and friendly. Drivers and riders on the roads gave way to each other, though it can be a bit messy. But, that is their ways. The temples are ancient (some built in the 8th and 9th centuries) and truly breath-taking. Both Hindu temples and Buddhist temples co-existed many centuries ago. We went to Yogyakarta mainly to visit the Borobudur Temple and the Prambanan Temple.

If you into batik, there are workshops to attend and you can buy some batik home. Visit Jogja to experience the rich culture of kampung living where chickens roam freely in the kampungs. Enjoy the hospitality of the local people. When we went into an A&W Restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised when a staff member opened the door for us to enter and to leave. They wanted to serve our food to our table. Self-service is not a concept they understood!

Copyright © 2020, limkimtong for Living Investment

Prambanan Temple
Prambanan Temple
Prambanan Temple
Taman Sari, Water Castle for the Sultans
Taman Sari, Water Castle for the Sultans
Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple
Dieng Plateau view of houses and terrace farming
Telaga Warna, Coloured lakes
Posted in Travelogue

Living Investment is taking a break

Hope to write again after one week’s time.

Cheers.

Posted in Uncategorized