Author: Kean Chan

Trade Deal? The Chinese may not fold yet

The Fourth of May is commonly known in modern day pop culture as ‘Star Wars Day’. It is a catchphrase among Star Wars fans and geeks, and they greet each other with the longer phrase ‘May the Fourth be with you‘, using ‘Fourth’ as a pun for ‘the Force’, which is the name of the metaphysical power in the Star Wars universe. To many of us then, the Fourth of May may be a fun and light-hearted day, but not to the Chinese policy-maker. About a century ago in May 1919, massive protests broke out in China’s capital of...

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These reasons are getting me interested in the energy sector

A change in the Narrative Among the many eyebrow-raising, bizarre, and interesting developments (zero-interest rate policies, negative yielding bonds, rise of populism) that have occurred since 2010, one of them that really defined this current decade is the death of the ‘peak-oil’ narrative. Remember those days when people were talking about how there could be a day when we would reach the maximum rate of petroleum extraction and following that, face diminishing returns? Remember those energy experts and forecasters calling for crude oil to reach US$ 200 per barrel? Remember how well-known investor Jim Rogers wrote in his book...

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This Horse-racing gambler earned almost a billion – here’s what he can teach us

One of the best articles that I’ve read in 2018 was a Bloomberg piece I opened while commuting in the subway on a rainy weekday. Kit Chellel’s ‘The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code’ was simply breath-taking. It chronicles the life of Mr Bill Benter, a swashbuckling horse-racing gambler born in Pittsburgh in the United States, who originally started as a professional blackjack player in the colourful casinos of Las Vegas. According to the article, Benter created algorithms to win bets at horse races, which led him to win close to a billion dollars in terms of accumulated gains...

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The Fed did not make a U-Turn

Last week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in the U.S. took the financial community by storm as its January policy update were seen by investors and market observers as an outright ‘U-Turn’. However, it may not be so. The most talked about was the change in the middle portion of the Fed’s statement during its release, with the words ‘will be patient‘: ‘In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to...

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Reviewing 2018, & what’s next?

It’s time for a review of 2018, and I have to say that I managed to protect my capital (which is great and am fortunate) but I did not capitalise aggressively on opportunities that I was aware of. But for both Wall Street and Main Street and for investors who have to be invested from the long side, it’s generally a really tough year as every major asset class recorded negative year-to-date performance: In fact, every major investible asset class in the public markets failed to outperform inflation rates this year, with the median return of major asset classes...

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Trade deal or no trade deal? It does not matter…

‘We, the Chinese nation, after fifty years of sanguinary revolutions and five and a half years of sacrifice in the War of Resistance, have finally transformed the history of a hundred years of the Unequal Treaties of sorrow into a glorious record of the termination of the Unequal Treaties’ ~ Chiang Kai-Shek, January 1943 Somewhere near the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, China’s capital city, lies a large and beautiful park that contains a couple of ruined rubble on its outskirts that may resemble classical Greek architecture to any onlooker. Most foreigners know little about this ruined area and...

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If there’s one thing to know soon, it’s MMT

MMT stands for ‘Modern Monetary Theory’, and it may be the next must-know term to know and understand before it becomes mainstream. OK, but what exactly is Modern Monetary Theory? The Roosevelt Institute published an article about it eight years ago, and it simply describes a school of thought in macro-economic thinking that revolves around fiat currency and how sovereign governments issue them: ‘They insist that the notion of “fiscal sustainability” or “solvency” is not applicable to a sovereign government — which cannot be forced into involuntary default on debts denominated in its own currency. Such a government spends...

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‘Less about fundamentals, more about risk management’ ~ podcast with Mark Dow

I follow a couple of macro investors out there and Mark Dow of ‘Behavioral Macro‘ is worth following. Dow was an economist with various stints in Wall Street institutions and even the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He currently manages a family office based out in Southern California. Futures Radio Show interviewed Dow at the beginning of the year and released their podcast interview with him here. [embedded content] Here’s some of my takeaways from the interview: There are many who are good at reading patterns and understanding market rhythms, but they are not skilled in taking risk when the...

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