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Thoughts On The Market Series #1 - The New Normal?

Market Outlook: What to Make of This “New Normal”

By ****\*
March 16, 2020
After an incredibly volatile week – which finished with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallying over 9% on Friday – I suppose my readers might expect me to be quite upbeat about the markets.
Unfortunately, I persist in my overall pessimistic outlook for stocks, and for the economy in general. Friday’s rally essentially negated Thursday’s sell-off, but I don’t expect it to be the start of a sustained turnaround.
We’re getting a taste of that this morning, with the Dow opening down around 7%.
This selloff is coming on the back of an emergency interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve of 100 basis points (to 0%-0.25%) on Sunday… along with the announcement of a new quantitative easing program of $700 billion. (I will write about this further over the next several days.)
As I have been writing for many weeks, the financial bubble – which the Fed created by pumping trillions of dollars into the financial system – has popped. It will take some time for the bubble to deflate to sustainable levels.
Today I’ll walk you through what’s going on in the markets and the economy… what I expect going forward and why… and what it means for us as traders. (You’ll see it’s not all bad news.)

Coronavirus’ Strain on the Global Economy

To start, let’s put things in perspective: This asset deflation was coming one way or another. Covid19 (or coronavirus) has simply accelerated the process.
Major retailers are closing, tourism is getting crushed, universities and schools are sending students home, conventions, sporting events, concerts, and other public gatherings have been cancelled, banks and other financial service firms are going largely virtual, and there has been a massive loss of wealth.
Restaurant data suggests that consumer demand is dropping sharply, and the global travel bans will only worsen the situation.
Commercial real estate is another sector that looks particularly vulnerable. We are almost certain to see a very sharp and pronounced economic slowdown here in the United States, and elsewhere. In fact, I expect a drop of at least 5% of GDP over the next two quarters, which is quite severe by any standard.
Sure, when this cycle is complete, there will be tremendous amounts of pent-up demand by consumers, but for the time being, the consumer is largely on the sidelines.
Of course, the problems aren’t just in the U.S. China’s numbers look awful. In fact, the government there may have to “massage” their numbers a bit to show a positive GDP in the first quarter. Europe’s numbers will also look dreadful, and South Korea’s economy has been hit badly.
All around the world, borders are being shut, all non-essential businesses are being closed, and people in multiple countries are facing a lockdown of historic proportions. The coronavirus is certainly having a powerful impact, and it looks certain that its impact will persist for a while.
Consider global tourism. It added almost $9 trillion to the global economy in 2018, and roughly 320 million jobs. This market is in serious trouble.
Fracking in the U.S. is another business sector that is in a desperate situation. Millions of jobs and tens of billions of loans are now in jeopardy.
The derivative businesses that this sector supports will be likewise devastated as companies are forced to reduce their workforces or shut down due to the collapse in oil prices. This sector’s suffering will probably force banks to book some big losses despite attempts by the government to support this industry.
In a similar way, the derivative businesses that are supported by the universities and colleges across America are going to really suffer.
There are nearly 20 million students in colleges across the U.S. When they go home for spring vacation and do not return, the effect on the local businesses that colleges and university populations support will be devastating.
What does this “new normal” mean going forward? Let’s take a look…

New Normal

The new normal may become increasingly unpleasant for us. We need to be ready to hunker down for quite some time.
Beyond that, the government needs to handle this crisis far better in the future.
The level of stupidity associated with the massive throngs of people trapped in major airports yesterday, for example, was almost unimaginable.
Instead of facilitating the reduction of social contact and halting the further spread of the coronavirus, the management of the crowds at the airports produced a perfect breeding ground for the spread of the virus.
My guess is that more draconian travel restrictions will be implemented soon, matching to some extent the measures taken across Europe.
This will in turn have a further dampening effect on economic activity in the U.S., putting more and more pressure on the Fed and the government to artificially support a rapidly weakening economy.
Where does this end up? It is too early to say, but a very safe bet is that we will have some months of sharply negative growth. Too many sectors of the economy are going to take a hit to expect anything else.
The Fed has already driven interest rates to zero. Will that help? Unlikely. In fact, as I mentioned at the beginning of this update, the markets are voting with a resounding NO.
The businesses that are most affected by the current economic situation will still suffer. Quantitative easing is hardly a cure-all. In fact, it has been one of the reasons that we have such a mess in our markets today.
The markets have become addicted to the easy money, so more of the same will have little or no impact. We will need real economic demand, not an easier monetary policy.
It won’t help support tourism, for example, or the other sectors getting smashed right now. The government will need to spend at least 5% of GDP, or roughly $1 trillion, to offset the weakness I see coming.
Is it surprising that the Fed and the government take emergency steps to try to stabilize economic growth? Not at all. This is essentially what they have been doing for a long time, so it is completely consistent with their playbook.
Next, I would anticipate the government implementing some massive public-works and infrastructure programs over the coming months. That would be very helpful, and almost certainly quite necessary.
But there’s a problem with this kind of intervention from the government…

What Happens When You Eliminate the Business Cycle

The Fed’s foolish attempt to eliminate business cycles is a significant contributing factor to the volatility we are currently experiencing.
Quantitative easing is nothing more than printing lots and lots of money to support a weak economy and give the appearance of growth and prosperity. In fact, it is a devaluation of the currency’s true buying power.
That in turn artificially drives up the prices of other assets, such as stocks, real estate and gold – but it does not create true wealth. That only comes with non-inflationary growth of goods and services and associated increases in economic output.
Inflation is the government’s way to keep people thinking they are doing better.
To that point: We have seen some traditional safe-haven assets getting destroyed during this time of risk aversion. That has certainly compounded the problems of many investors.
Gold is a great example. As the stock market got violently slammed, people were forced to come up with cash to support their losing positions. Gold became a short-term source of liquidity as people sold their gold holdings in somewhat dramatic fashion. It was one of the few holdings of many people that was not dramatically under water, so people sold it.
The move may have seemed perverse, particularly to people who bought gold as a safe-haven asset, but in times of crisis, all assets tend to become highly correlated, at least short term.
We saw a similar thing happen with long yen exposures and long Bitcoin exposures recently.
The dollar had its strongest one-day rally against the yen since November 2016 as people were forced to sell huge amounts of yen to generate liquidity. Many speculators had made some nice profits recently as the dollar dropped sharply from 112 to 101.30, but they have been forced to book whatever profits they had in this position. Again, this was due to massive losses elsewhere in their portfolios.
Is the yen’s sell-off complete? If it is not complete, it is probably at least close to an attractive level for Japanese investors to start buying yen against a basket of currencies. The major supplies of yen have largely been taken off the table for now.
For example, the yen had been a popular funding currency for “carry” plays. People were selling yen and buying higher-yielding currencies to earn the interest rate difference between the liability currency (yen) and the funding currency (for example, the U.S. dollar).
Carry plays are very unpopular in times of great uncertainty and volatility, however, so that supply of yen will be largely gone for quite some time. Plus, the yield advantage of currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Canadian dollar, and Australian dollar versus the yen is nearly gone.
In addition, at the end of the Japanese fiscal year , there is usually heavy demand for yen as Japanese corporations need to bring home a portion of their overseas holdings for balance sheet window dressing. I don’t expect that pressure to be different this year.
Just as the safe-haven assets of yen and gold got aggressively sold, Bitcoin also got hammered. It was driven by a similar theme – people had big losses and they needed to produce liquidity quickly. Selling Bitcoin became one of the sources of that liquidity.

Heavy Price Deflation Ahead

Overall, there is a chance that this scenario turns into something truly ugly, with sustained price deflation across many parts of the economy. We will certainly have price deflation in many sectors, at least on a temporary basis.
Why does that matter over the long term?
Price deflation is the most debilitating economic development in a society that is debt-laden – like the U.S. today. Prices of assets come down… and the debt becomes progressively bigger and bigger.
The balance sheet of oil company Chesapeake Energy is a classic example. It’s carrying almost $10 billion worth of debt… versus a market cap of only about $600 million. Talk about leverage! When the company had a market cap of $10 billion, that debt level didn’t appear so terrifying.
Although this is an extreme example for illustrative purposes, the massive debt loads of China would seem more and more frightening if we were to sink into flat or negative growth cycles for a while. The government’s resources are already being strained, and it can artificially support only so many failing companies.
The U.S. has gigantic levels of debt as well, but it has the advantage of being the world’s true hegemon, and the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency. This creates a tremendous amount of leverage and power in financing its debt.
The U.S. has been able to impose its will on its trading partners to trade major commodities in dollars. This has created a constant demand for the dollar that offsets, to a large extent, the massive trade deficit that the U.S. runs.
For example, if a German company wants to buy oil, then it needs to hold dollars. This creates a constant demand for dollar assets.
In short, the dollar’s status as the true global reserve currency is far more important than most people realize. China does not hold this advantage.

What to Do Now

In terms of how to position ourselves going forward, I strongly recommend that people continue with a defensive attitude regarding stocks. There could be a lot more downside to come. Likewise, we could see some panic selling in other asset classes.
The best thing right now is to be liquid and patient, ready to pounce on special opportunities when they present themselves.
For sure, there will be some exceptional opportunities, but it is too early to commit ourselves to just one industry. These opportunities could come in diverse sectors such as commercial real estate, hospitality, travel and leisure, and others.
As for the forex markets, the volatility in the currencies is extreme, so we are a bit cautious.
I still like the yen as a safe-haven asset. I likewise still want to sell the Australian dollar, the New Zealand dollar, and the Canadian dollar as liability currencies.
Why? The Bank of Canada, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand have all taken aggressive steps recently, slashing interest rates. These currencies are all weak, and they will get weaker.
Finding an ideal entry for a trade, however, is tricky. Therefore, we are being extra careful with our trading. We always prioritize the preservation of capital over generating profits, and we will continue with this premise.
At the same time, volatility in the markets is fantastic for traders. We expect many excellent opportunities to present themselves over the coming days and weeks as prices get driven to extreme levels and mispricings appear. So stay tuned.
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Hourly News Update

🤖 Mean Polarity = 0.09 | Mean Subjectivity = 0.2
SPX 3205.5| NASDAQ 10580.25| DOW 26643.0| OIL 43.4
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200 achievements of Modi Govt

  1. Fragile five to Fastest growing economy - India
  2. 11th largest to the 5th largest economy - India
  3. Share of world GDP from 2.43% in 2014 to 3.08% in 2018
  4. Average GDP 7.3% against 6.7% in previous regime
  5. Forex reserves from 300 bn USD in 2014 to 420 bn USD in 2018
  6. Doubling of FDI inflow from 36 bn USD in 2014 to 66 billion USD in 2018
  7. Inflation less than 2.3 % (Nov 18) against 10.1% in 2014
  8. Growth of sensex from 24,121.74 in 2014 to 36,395.03 on 12 Feb 19 (50.88%)
  9. Fiscal deficit under control
  10. Per capita income increased by 45% from Rs 86,647 in 2014 to Rs 1,25,397
  11. IT exemption from 2 lakh in 2014 to 5 lakh (effectively 9.85 lakh with home loan)
  12. Restaurant bills tax reduced from 18% in 2014 to 5%
  13. Transaction charges through card down from 1% to 0%, domestic money transfer fee down from Rs 5 in 2014 to zero
  14. Financial inclusion (32 crore bank accounts with 260 billion worth deposits). Almost 100% coverage from earlier 50%
  15. DBT (savings of 83000 crores @ 15000 crore annually), No of govt schemes DBT applied to increased from 34 in 2014 to 433, 2.7 lakh fake mid-day meal students, 3.3 crore fake LPG connections, 87 lakh fake MNREGA job cards, 3 crore fake ration cards eliminated
  16. Zero IT for businesses with turnover upto 60 lakhs
  17. GST exemplifying cooperative federalism, rates of 83 items down from pre-GST rates, out of 1211 items only 35 items in above 18% slab, 39% reduction of cost of basic household items. Average 1 lk crore monthly revenue through GST collection. Exempted for business upto 40 lk
  18. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, constitution of NCLT, 3 lakh crores of NPAs recovered, 66 cases resolved, 260 cases liquidated, resolution of stressed assets, 2100 companies pay back 83000 crore to banks settling their pending loan repayments
  19. 75 billion $ or Yen to Rupee exchange agreement with Japan
  20. 1 lakh shell companies deregistered, FCRA licenses of 4800 NGOs cancelled
  21. Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, properties of economic fugitives seized and auctioned
  22. 1.9 lakh km of rural roads. Rural road connectivity at 91% from 55%
  23. 36 new airports, from 65 in 7 decades to 106, all states now in air connectivity map
  24. Effective international diplomacy following 59 visits to nations, 38 single, 10 double, 3 triple and 2 quadruple visits by PM.(Seen during Airstrikes,No Country opposed India)
  25. Benami Act for action against Money Laundering
  26. Rural sanitation coverage 95 % up from 39% (8.8 crore toilets)
  27. Solar energy capacity increased 8 fold from 2.63 GW to 22 GW, 19. 8.5 GW of biogas grid installed.
  28. Ganga waterway transportation, usage by shipping giant Maersk, cost of transportation reduced from 10/ton (road) / Rs 6/ton (rail) to Re 1/ton
  29. More than 2.4 crore households lit up, rural electricity coverage to households up from 70 to 95%, only 19836 homes remain (in Chhatisgarh) out of 2,48,09,235
  30. Electricity accessibility rank jump from 99 in 2014 to 26 in 2019
  31. 7 crore new gas connections to 3.5 crore households u/69000 conections per day, coverage 90% from 55%, 82% return for refill, 42% beneficiaries Dalits
  32. 14.4 crore mudra loans worth Rs 7 lakh crore disbursed
  33. 18000 remote villages connected with electricity
  34. 2.92 lakh km of optical fibre laid, 0.02% to 50% gram Panchayat connectivity
  35. Swachh bharat mission has saved, according to WHO, 3 lakh lives and will save 1.5 lakh lives per year.
  36. IT filers increase from 3.79 crore to 6.08 crore, enterprises registered for indirect tax up from 64 lk to 118 lakh
  37. Entry of India in global regimes Missile Technology Control regime (MTCR), WA (Wassenaar Arrangement) and Australia Group
  38. 17 crore soil health cards
  39. 1.5 crore houses built, 91.37 crore in rural areas and 13.5 lakh in urban areas against 25 lakh houses built between 2010-2014. House for all target year is 2022.
  40. 1,78,346 houses built in NE over existing 2875 houses built till 2014
  41. Home loan interest rate down from 10.3 % in 2014 to 8.4% in 2018, annual savings of Rs 47,160 for 30 lakhs over 30 years, no GST on affordable housing, 5% on remaining
  42. Trading agreement in rupee with Iran and UAE
  43. Common service centres up from 84k to 3 Lakh
  44. OROP implemented after 43 years, 35000 crores disbursed to 8 crore veterans
  45. India's vaccination programme Indradhanush amongst 12 best practices of world
  46. 5035 Jan Aushadhi and - 1054 medicines under price control (60-90% discounts).
  47. More than 150 Amrit stores, reduction of cost of cromium cobalt Knee implant from 1.58-2.5 lakh to 54,720 and high flex implant from Rs181728 to 56490 (69%), 85% reduction in cardiac stent price to Rs 28000
  48. 87% reduction in 400 cancer drugs
  49. Rate of Interest on higher education loans dropped from 14.75 in 2013 to 10.88% in 2019, savings of 1.18 lakh on 10 lakh loan over tenure of 60 months, Rs 2000 savings on EMI
  50. Data revolution: Cost of 1 GB $0.26 in India against $12.37 in US, $6.66 in UK and $75.2 in Zimbabwe. Unlimited mobile+ 45 Gb data = Rs 150 against Rs 1000 in 2013; annual savings of 10,200
  51. Katra rail line work completed after 16 years
  52. Dhola Sadiya bridge work completed after 16 years
  53. Sardar Sarovar Dam work completed after 15 years
  54. Aadhaar act
  55. Pakyong airport completed after 10 years
  56. Chennai Nashri Tunnel after 10 years
  57. Assam NRC after 40 years
  58. National War Memorial after 50 years
  59. NE cpas after 60 years
  60. Kollam bypass after 43 years
  61. Indo-Bangladesh enclaves after 42 years
  62. Bansagar canal project after 40 years
  63. Bogibeel bridge after 23 years
  64. Western peri expressway after 15 years
  65. Kota Chambal bridge after 11 years
  66. Maibang-Lumding Stretch completed
  67. Delhi Meerut Expressway completed
  68. Ganga Expressway project (world's longest) underway
  69. Metros in Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Jaipur, Lucknow, Washermenpet
  70. All umanned level crossings eliminated
  71. Ayushman Bharat: annual 5 lakh health care to every family, 15.05 lakh hospital admissions for secondary/ tertiary treatment, 2.4 crore e-cards generated as on 10 Mar 19 in 170 days. Target 50 crore people.
  72. 59minutes loan portal: 92,000 loan applications of MSME amounting to 30,000 crores approved, 6000 crores sanctioned till Nov 18
  73. 87% of farming house (owning land of 2 hctrs) or 12 cr ppl to get kisaan sammaan nidhi of Rs 6000 pr year. Rs 5215 cr transferred directly to 2.6 crore farmers in 37 days (for households with holding less than 0.01 hectares incm per month so far was Rs 8136 agnst exp of 6594
  74. 1.5 million electric rickshaws
  75. Procurement of 36 Rafale on Government to Government Basis avoiding middlemen
  76. 05 billion$ S 400 Triumf air defence missile system deal with Russia
  77. 145 M777 howitzer deal
  78. 22 Apache AH 64E multi-role combat helos
  79. 200 KA-226T helicopters
  80. 56 EADS CASA C-295 transport aircraft
  81. 15 CH 47 Chinook tactical transport helicopters
  82. 2.3 lakh Bullet proof jackets
  83. 1.6 lakh Bullet-proof helmets
  84. 777 mn USD Barak 8 LRSAM contract
  85. 5 bn USD S-400 air defence systems
  86. 10 Heron TP armed drones
  87. 4 additional P8I MR aircraft
  88. 40 units of Laser sensor border fence installed
  89. 72,400 Sig Sauer Assault rifles
  90. 100 self-propelled K9 Vajra howitzers
  91. 700000 AK-103 Kalashnikov assault rifles indigenous facility
  92. Surgical strikes in Myanmar, across LoC and in Pakistan. Only Country to bomb a Nuclear Powered Country
  93. 240 million visitors at Kumbh Mela 2019, cost 4236 crores @ Rs 177 per tourist, revenue 1.2 Lakh crores
  94. 833 teraflop supercomputer Param Shivay by IIT BHU at Rs 32.5 crores
  95. Divisional status to Ladakh
  96. 470 bed ESIC hospital in Ennore
  97. 100 bed ESIC hospital in Tiruppur
  98. Namami Gange - Ganga is 30% cleaner, 83 out of 97 ganga towns and 4456 villages achieved ODF status, 08 out of 16 drains emptying 16 crore l sewage into Ganga tapped. Target date Mar 2020
  99. 5,45,122 ODF villages, 598 ODF districts, 27 ODF states/ villages
  100. RERA implementation
  101. Udaan scheme - flight cost down from Rs 5000/1000 km in 2013 to 3400/1000 km in 2018, 34 airports operationalised, small towns connected, all states on aerial
  102. Preventive conservation of 39275570 folios, curative conservation of 3656863 filios, digitisation of 2.83 lakh manuscripts consisting of 2.93 crore pages
  103. India is now world's largest 2-wheeler manufacturer, 2nd largest smartphone manufacturer (94% of mobiles sold now made in India), 4th largest automaker, 2nd largest steel producer
  104. 5100 m Mandvi Bridge in Goa in 3.5 years
  105. Ease of doing Business ranking jump from 134 in 2014 to 77 in 2019
  106. Therubali - Singapur Bridge No 588
  107. Restoration of Asurgarh Fort, Kalahandi
  108. GeM portal with 731431 product categories, 180,862 registered sellers and 32114 govt buyers
  109. 10% EWS reservation
  110. 40% of ongoing 700 NH projects completed, adding 40,039 km between 2014-18 against 91,287 km between 1947-2014
  111. Highway construction rate jumped from 12 km/day in 2014 to 27 km/day in 2019
  112. 101 terrorists and 11 offenders extradited
  113. 90,000 ex-partite Indians evacuated
  114. Chabahar port, Sittwe port and Duqm port
  115. Military installation in Seychelles
  116. International logistics agreements with US, France and Singapore
  117. Work underway on 25 MLD ZLD Common Effluent Treatment Plant at Gujarat Eco Textile Park and will save 25 million litres of water per day
  118. Beautification of 65 railway stations, all stations fitted with LED lights, wi-fi, multi-brand food centres, kiosks, executive lounges, lifts (445 from 97 in 2014), escalators (603 from 199 in 2014), travellators and ramps
  119. Record number of foot over bridges built
  120. 871 new train services
  121. 180 new rail lines
  122. Dedicated railway freight corridor - 2 sections completed
  123. 100% electrification of railways underway, first solar powered railway station (Guwahati). First solar powered train (world's second), savings of Rs 40 Lakhs and 90,000 ltrs diesel per year
  124. Make in India semi-high-speed trains - Tejas, Gatiman and Vande Bharat
  125. Humsafar and Antodaya trains, Deen Dayalu and Anubhuti coaches, UDAY double decker, glass dome Vistadome coaches
  126. Project Swarn and Project Utkrisht to upgrade Rajdhani/Shatabdi and Mail/Express respectively
  127. Largest coach production in world at ICF, Chennai
  128. No more human extreta on railway tracks. Installation of 1.37 lakh out of 2.5 lakh completed in Jun 18.
  129. 400 wi-fi railway stations (Aug 18)
  130. 80% reduction in rail accidents
  131. 10 high speed rail corridors underway, target date 2025-26
  132. Export of world class customised coaches from MCF, Rae Bareli
  133. LIC and Air India register profit
  134. 2300 km rail tracks constructed, speed jumped from 4.1 km/day in 2014 to 6.53 km/day in 2018
  135. Neem coating of urea
  136. Gokul mission - record 160 million ton milk production
  137. Online availability of CBSE and NCERT books
  138. 10 crore LED bulbs distributed, 5000 crore savings
  139. Investment in urban infrastructure jumped from 157703 crores to 795500 crores
  140. Statue of Unity to commemorate Iron Man of India
  141. Rs 2509 crore sales in Khadi
  142. 482.36 million digital transactions worth Rs 74,978 crores in Oct 2018 against 0.3 million transactions worth Rs 90 crores in Nov 2016
  143. 30% increase in ATMs, 208% increase of PoS machines from 10.81 lakh in May 14 to 33.32 lakh in Aug 18, 111% increase in credit cards from 1.94 crore in May 14 to 4.10 crore in Aug 18, 144% increase in debit cards from 40.17 crore to 98.02 crore
  144. Ease of Doing Business Index 142 (2014) to 100 (2018)
  145. Ease of getting electricity index 99 (2014) to 26 (2018)
  146. UN's e-govt index 118 (2014) to 97(2018)
  147. Globalisation index 112 to 107 (2018)
  148. Innovation index 76 to 60 (2018)
  149. Competitiveness index 71 to 39
  150. Logistics performance index 54 to 35
  151. Global peace index 141 to 137
  152. DBR ranking 100 to 77
  153. India ranks 3rd in global start up ecosystem
  154. 06 crore jobs in MSME sector based on CII data
  155. 448 million formal jobs based on EPFO, NPS and PPF data
  156. 10 crore jobs in entrepreneurship via mudra and other schemes
  157. 80% increase in tax payers, 51.3 % increase in gross tax revenue
  158. Black Money report card - Voluntary income declaration scheme (Rs 65250 crore), IT search and survey operations (35,460 crore), Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana(5000 crore), Benami transactions Act (4300 crore), Black Money and Imposition of Tax Act (4100 crore)
160 Rs 6000 financial assiatence for pregnant women
161/1 . Sagarmala: port capacity increase from 8 to 14.7 lakh ton, cargo up from 89 to 116 MMT 8 new national waterways including ganga waterway NW-1 and Brahmaputra waterway NW-2.
161/2. domestic cruise service between Mumbai and Goa, ro-ro services on Ghoga-Dahej reducing travel distance from 294 to 31 km
161/3. New international cruise terminals at Chennai and Goa, railway line between Haridaspur and Paradip underway, LNG import terminal at Kamarajar port, Oil berth ai Jawahar Dweep,Coal berth at Mangalore port
161/4 . deep draft Iron ore berth at Paradip berth, JNPT SEZ, Kandla and Paradip smart industrial port city, largest dry dock and international ship repair facility at CSL, modernisation of 17 fishing harbours
  1. 800 km Delhi-Mumbai Expressway underway
  2. Replacement of bio-toilets with upgraded vacuum bio toilets in trains underway. Order for 500 placed on experimental basis.
  3. No terror strikes in hinterland
  4. 103 new KVs
  5. 62 new Navodaya Vidyalayas
  6. 6 new IITs against 16 in previous 57 years
  7. 6 new IIMs against 13 in previous 57 years
  8. 7 IIITs against 7 in previous 57 years
  9. 02 new IISER
  10. 12 new AIIMS against 7 in previous 57 years.
  11. 141 new universities against 30 in previous 57 years
  12. 01 new NIT
  13. Life Insurances @ Rs 12 annual and @ Rs 12 monthly premiums
  14. Atal Pension Yojana
  15. Pension to 42 crore people of unorganised sector
  16. Ambedkar memorial
  17. BHIM application for digital payments
  18. Khelo India Initiative for tracking of athletes' development, Rs 5 lk per annum scholarship for 1000 budding athletes per year for eight years each; monthly Rs 50000 out-of -pocket exptr, 2000 PETs, salary cap of coaches doubled from Rs 1-2 lk per month, target 15 yrs
  19. Special Task Force for Olympics
  20. RERA Act
  21. Bullet train maiden project
182/1. Rs 6.92 lakh crore Bharatmala project, 44 economic corridors with 9000 km road, 2000 km port connectivity, 9000km roads to connect district HQs with NH,
182/2. 2000 km road with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, opening up of 185 choke points, road development to char dham, 12 greenfield expressways spanning 1900 km
  1. 36 murtis retrieved and brought back to India in 2014-2019 under India Pride Project against 02 between 2000-2013, 02 in 90s, 03 in 80s, 01 in 70s and nil in 50s and 60s
  2. Unemployment rate 3.8% against 13.8 % in 2013
  3. India is a less-cash society now
  4. Develpment of Trincomalee and Columbo port while checkmating China's Hambantota by taking operations of near by (15 km away) Mattala Rajapaksha International Airport
  5. Plugging the 'double taxation avoidance' black money loophole through a new tax agreement with Mauritius
  6. Deal with Switzerland for automatic tax data sharing from 01 Jan 2019
189/1 Varanasi - Varanasi ring road phase 1 completed, phase 2 underway, inland waterways terminal, Babatpur airport highway, 140 MLD Dinaput STP, facelift to railway station, big cow shelter for stray cattle, BPO centre, piped gas project, Varanasi-Balia rail project,
189/2. Vande Bharat Express, Kashi Vishwanath temple - Ganga Ghat corridor project, renovation of all bathings ghats, LED illuminations of ghats and major roads, underground electricity cabling,
189/3. new sewage plants, 02 cancer treatment facilities, 65th to 29th rank in swachhata sarvekshan (2016), 90% ODF district.
  1. Creation of 100 Smart cities, 100 crore per year per city for 05 years, 500 acres for retrofitting, 50 acres for redevelopment, 250 acres for green field projects, 10% of energy from renewable resources, 80% of green building construction, special purpose vehicles.
191/1 Development of 500 AMRUT cities underway, urbanization project of rejuvenation and transformation which includes beach front development, prevention of beach erosion, improvement of water supply, replacement of pipelines,
191/2. New sewerage connections, greenery and open spaces, digital and smart facilities, e-governance, LED streetlights, public transport, storm water drainage projects in a phased manner, Target date 2022
  1. Increase in Child Sex Ratio (CSR) in 104 BBBP (Beti Bachao Beti Padhao) districts, anti-natal care registration in 119 districts and institutional deliveries in 146 out of total 640 districts as in Mar 18. CSR of Haryana increased from 871 to 914.
  2. International Yoga Day
  3. Aspirational Districts Programme: 115 'backward' districts placed under 'prabharis' and for competitive development on the basis of 49 performance indicators, target year 2022.
195/1. Make in India: 16.4 lakh crore investment committments, 1.5 lakh crore investment inquiries, 60 bn USD FDI, 26 sectors covered, 23 positions jump in World Bank's Doing Business Report (DBR), 32 places in WEF's Global Competitiveness Index (GCI),
195/2 19 places in Logistics Performance Index, 42 places in Ease of Doing Business index, schemes include Bharatmala, Sagarmala, dedicate freight corridors, industrial corridors, UDAN-RCS, Bharat Broadband Network, Digital India.
  1. 251 Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) and Post Office Passport Seva kendras (POPSKs) against 77 till 2014, target of one PSK every 50 km across India.
  2. Unanimous election of Justice Dalveer Bhandari to ICJ forcing UK to pull out own nominee Christopher Greenwood, demonstrating India's clout in international arena.
  3. India Post Payments Bank: India's biggest banking outreach with 1.55 lakh post offices (2.5 times banking network) linked to IPPB system
  4. Philip Kotler award, Seoul Peace prize, Champion of the Earth Award, Grand Collar of the State of Palestine, Amir Abdulla Khan Award, King Abdulaziz Sash award, Amir Amanullah Khan award.
  5. 1900 gifts and memorabilia received by Modi auctioned and 11.7 crores added to Namami Gange fund, 1.4 c of Seoul Peace award also to Nammami Gange.
New Adds
  1. Removal of article 370 and thereby also 35a after several decades.
  2. Giving citizenship to persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan through passing of CAA.
  3. Trust for creation of Ram Mandir underway.
  4. Abolishment of Haj subsidy.
  5. Abolishment and criminalization of instant triple talak.
  6. Deal with Bodo community.
  7. Getting Maulana Masood Azhar listed as an UN designated terrorist.

Source - https://www.reddit.com/IndiaRWResources/comments/bgkus6/200_achievements_of_modi_govt/

List more achievements in the comment section and lets make the list bigger, a big thank you to our fallen kar sevak u/Alive_Firefighter
submitted by justchillar to Chodi [link] [comments]

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL)


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Download PDF of this article here: https://docdro.id/6eLgUPo
In light of the recent fall in oil prices due to the Saudi-Russian dispute and dampening demand for oil due to the lockdowns implemented globally, O&G stocks have taken a severe beating, falling approximately 50% from their highs at the beginning of the year. Not spared from this onslaught is Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (Hibiscus), a listed oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P) company.
Why invest in O&G stocks in this particularly uncertain period? For one, valuations of these stocks have fallen to multi-year lows, bringing the potential ROI on these stocks to attractive levels. Oil prices are cyclical, and are bound to return to the mean given a sufficiently long time horizon. The trick is to find those companies who can survive through this downturn and emerge into “normal” profitability once oil prices rebound.
In this article, I will explore the upsides and downsides of investing in Hibiscus. I will do my best to cater this report to newcomers to the O&G industry – rather than address exclusively experts and veterans of the O&G sector. As an equity analyst, I aim to provide a view on the company primarily, and will generally refrain from providing macro views on oil or opinions about secular trends of the sector. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Stock code: 5199.KL
Stock name: Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad
Financial information and financial reports: https://www.malaysiastock.biz/Corporate-Infomation.aspx?securityCode=5199
Company website: https://www.hibiscuspetroleum.com/

Company Snapshot

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL) is an oil and gas (O&G) upstream exploration and production (E&P) company located in Malaysia. As an E&P company, their business can be basically described as:
· looking for oil,
· drawing it out of the ground, and
· selling it on global oil markets.
This means Hibiscus’s profits are particularly exposed to fluctuating oil prices. With oil prices falling to sub-$30 from about $60 at the beginning of the year, Hibiscus’s stock price has also fallen by about 50% YTD – from around RM 1.00 to RM 0.45 (as of 5 April 2020).
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While the company is domiciled in Malaysia, its two main oil producing fields are located in both Malaysia and the UK. The Malaysian oil field is commonly referred to as the North Sabah field, while the UK oil field is commonly referred to as the Anasuria oil field. Hibiscus has licenses to other oil fields in different parts of the world, notably the Marigold/Sunflower oil fields in the UK and the VIC cluster in Australia, but its revenues and profits mainly stem from the former two oil producing fields.
Given that it’s a small player and has only two primary producing oil fields, it’s not surprising that Hibiscus sells its oil to a concentrated pool of customers, with 2 of them representing 80% of its revenues (i.e. Petronas and BP). Fortunately, both these customers are oil supermajors, and are unlikely to default on their obligations despite low oil prices.
At RM 0.45 per share, the market capitalization is RM 714.7m and it has a trailing PE ratio of about 5x. It doesn’t carry any debt, and it hasn’t paid a dividend in its listing history. The MD, Mr. Kenneth Gerard Pereira, owns about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Reserves (Total recoverable oil) & Production (bbl/day)

To begin analyzing the company, it’s necessary to understand a little of the industry jargon. We’ll start with Reserves and Production.
In general, there are three types of categories for a company’s recoverable oil volumes – Reserves, Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources. Reserves are those oil fields which are “commercial”, which is defined as below:
As defined by the SPE PRMS, Reserves are “… quantities of petroleum anticipated to be commercially recoverable by application of development projects to known accumulations from a given date forward under defined conditions.” Therefore, Reserves must be discovered (by drilling, recoverable (with current technology), remaining in the subsurface (at the effective date of the evaluation) and “commercial” based on the development project proposed.)
Note that Reserves are associated with development projects. To be considered as “commercial”, there must be a firm intention to proceed with the project in a reasonable time frame (typically 5 years, and such intention must be based upon all of the following criteria:)
- A reasonable assessment of the future economics of the development project meeting defined investment and operating criteria; - A reasonable expectation that there will be a market for all or at least the expected sales quantities of production required to justify development; - Evidence that the necessary production and transportation facilities are available or can be made available; and - Evidence that legal, contractual, environmental and other social and economic concerns will allow for the actual implementation of the recovery project being evaluated.
Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources are further defined as below:
- Contingent Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets discovered volumes but is not (yet commercial (as defined above); and) - Prospective Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets as yet undiscovered volumes.
In the industry lingo, we generally refer to Reserves as ‘P’ and Contingent Resources as ‘C’. These ‘P’ and ‘C’ resources can be further categorized into 1P/2P/3P resources and 1C/2C/3C resources, each referring to a low/medium/high estimate of the company’s potential recoverable oil volumes:
- Low/1C/1P estimate: there should be reasonable certainty that volumes actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimate; - Best/2C/2P estimate: there should be an equal likelihood of the actual volumes of petroleum being larger or smaller than the estimate; and - High/3C/3P estimate: there is a low probability that the estimate will be exceeded.
Hence in the E&P industry, it is easy to see why most investors and analysts refer to the 2P estimate as the best estimate for a company’s actual recoverable oil volumes. This is because 2P reserves (‘2P’ referring to ‘Proved and Probable’) are a middle estimate of the recoverable oil volumes legally recognized as “commercial”.
However, there’s nothing stopping you from including 2C resources (riskier) or utilizing 1P resources (conservative) as your estimate for total recoverable oil volumes, depending on your risk appetite. In this instance, the company has provided a snapshot of its 2P and 2C resources in its analyst presentation:
https://preview.redd.it/o8qejdyc8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=b3ab9be8f83badf0206adc982feda3a558d43e78
Basically, what the company is saying here is that by 2021, it will have classified as 2P reserves at least 23.7 million bbl from its Anasuria field and 20.5 million bbl from its North Sabah field – for total 2P reserves of 44.2 million bbl (we are ignoring the Australian VIC cluster as it is only estimated to reach first oil by 2022).
Furthermore, the company is stating that they have discovered (but not yet legally classified as “commercial”) a further 71 million bbl of oil from both the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, as well as the Marigold/Sunflower fields. If we include these 2C resources, the total potential recoverable oil volumes could exceed 100 million bbl.
In this report, we shall explore all valuation scenarios giving consideration to both 2P and 2C resources.
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The company further targets a 2021 production rate of 20,000 bbl (LTM: 8,000 bbl), which includes 5,000 bbl from its Anasuria field (LTM: 2,500 bbl) and 7,000 bbl from its North Sabah field (LTM: 5,300 bbl).
This is a substantial increase in forecasted production from both existing and prospective oil fields. If it materializes, annual production rate could be as high as 7,300 mmbbl, and 2021 revenues (given FY20 USD/bbl of $60) could exceed RM 1.5 billion (FY20: RM 988 million).
However, this targeted forecast is quite a stretch from current production levels. Nevertheless, we shall consider all provided information in estimating a valuation for Hibiscus.
To understand Hibiscus’s oil production capacity and forecast its revenues and profits, we need to have a better appreciation of the performance of its two main cash-generating assets – the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field.

North Sabah oil field
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Hibiscus owns a 50% interest in the North Sabah field together with its partner Petronas, and has production rights over the field up to year 2040. The asset contains 4 oil fields, namely the St Joseph field, South Furious field, SF 30 field and Barton field.
For the sake of brevity, we shall not delve deep into the operational aspects of the fields or the contractual nature of its production sharing contract (PSC). We’ll just focus on the factors which relate to its financial performance. These are:
· Average uptime
· Total oil sold
· Average realized oil price
· Average OPEX per bbl
With regards to average uptime, we can see that the company maintains relative high facility availability, exceeding 90% uptime in all quarters of the LTM with exception of Jul-Sep 2019. The dip in average uptime was due to production enhancement projects and maintenance activities undertaken to improve the production capacity of the St Joseph and SF30 oil fields.
Hence, we can conclude that management has a good handle on operational performance. It also implies that there is little room for further improvement in production resulting from increased uptime.
As North Sabah is under a production sharing contract (PSC), there is a distinction between gross oil production and net oil production. The former relates to total oil drawn out of the ground, whereas the latter refers to Hibiscus’s share of oil production after taxes, royalties and expenses are accounted for. In this case, we want to pay attention to net oil production, not gross.
We can arrive at Hibiscus’s total oil sold for the last twelve months (LTM) by adding up the total oil sold for each of the last 4 quarters. Summing up the figures yields total oil sold for the LTM of approximately 2,075,305 bbl.
Then, we can arrive at an average realized oil price over the LTM by averaging the average realized oil price for the last 4 quarters, giving us an average realized oil price over the LTM of USD 68.57/bbl. We can do the same for average OPEX per bbl, giving us an average OPEX per bbl over the LTM of USD 13.23/bbl.
Thus, we can sum up the above financial performance of the North Sabah field with the following figures:
· Total oil sold: 2,075,305 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 68.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 13.23/bbl

Anasuria oil field
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Doing the same exercise as above for the Anasuria field, we arrive at the following financial performance for the Anasuria field:
· Total oil sold: 1,073,304 bbl
· Average realized oil price: USD 63.57/bbl
· Average OPEX per bbl: USD 23.22/bbl
As gas production is relatively immaterial, and to be conservative, we shall only consider the crude oil production from the Anasuria field in forecasting revenues.

Valuation (Method 1)

Putting the figures from both oil fields together, we get the following data:
https://preview.redd.it/7y6064dq8br41.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=2a4120563a011cf61fc6090e1cd5932602599dc2
Given that we have determined LTM EBITDA of RM 632m, the next step would be to subtract ITDA (interest, tax, depreciation & amortization) from it to obtain estimated LTM Net Profit. Using FY2020’s ITDA of approximately RM 318m as a guideline, we arrive at an estimated LTM Net Profit of RM 314m (FY20: 230m). Given the current market capitalization of RM 714.7m, this implies a trailing LTM PE of 2.3x.
Performing a sensitivity analysis given different oil prices, we arrive at the following net profit table for the company under different oil price scenarios, assuming oil production rate and ITDA remain constant:
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From the above exercise, it becomes apparent that Hibiscus has a breakeven oil price of about USD 41.8863/bbl, and has a lot of operating leverage given the exponential rate of increase in its Net Profit with each consequent increase in oil prices.
Considering that the oil production rate (EBITDA) is likely to increase faster than ITDA’s proportion to revenues (fixed costs), at an implied PE of 4.33x, it seems likely that an investment in Hibiscus will be profitable over the next 10 years (with the assumption that oil prices will revert to the mean in the long-term).

Valuation (Method 2)

Of course, there are a lot of assumptions behind the above method of valuation. Hence, it would be prudent to perform multiple methods of valuation and compare the figures to one another.
As opposed to the profit/loss assessment in Valuation (Method 1), another way of performing a valuation would be to estimate its balance sheet value, i.e. total revenues from 2P Reserves, and assign a reasonable margin to it.
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From the above, we understand that Hibiscus’s 2P reserves from the North Sabah and Anasuria fields alone are approximately 44.2 mmbbl (we ignore contribution from Australia’s VIC cluster as it hasn’t been developed yet).
Doing a similar sensitivity analysis of different oil prices as above, we arrive at the following estimated total revenues and accumulated net profit:
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Let’s assume that the above average of RM 9.68 billion in total realizable revenues from current 2P reserves holds true. If we assign a conservative Net Profit margin of 15% (FY20: 23%; past 5 years average: 16%), we arrive at estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion. Given the current market capitalization of RM 714 million, we might be able to say that the equity is worth about twice the current share price.
However, it is understandable that some readers might feel that the figures used in the above estimate (e.g. net profit margin of 15%) were randomly plucked from the sky. So how do we reconcile them with figures from the financial statements? Fortunately, there appears to be a way to do just that.
Intangible Assets
I refer you to a figure in the financial statements which provides a shortcut to the valuation of 2P Reserves. This is the carrying value of Intangible Assets on the Balance Sheet.
As of 2QFY21, that amount was RM 1,468,860,000 (i.e. RM 1.468 billion).
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Quite coincidentally, one might observe that this figure is dangerously close to the estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion we calculated earlier. But why would this amount matter at all?
To answer that, I refer you to the notes of the Annual Report FY20 (AR20). On page 148 of the AR20, we find the following two paragraphs:
E&E assets comprise of rights and concession and conventional studies. Following the acquisition of a concession right to explore a licensed area, the costs incurred such as geological and geophysical surveys, drilling, commercial appraisal costs and other directly attributable costs of exploration and appraisal including technical and administrative costs, are capitalised as conventional studies, presented as intangible assets.
E&E assets are assessed for impairment when facts and circumstances suggest that the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount. The Group will allocate E&E assets to cash generating unit (“CGU”s or groups of CGUs for the purpose of assessing such assets for impairment. Each CGU or group of units to which an E&E asset is allocated will not be larger than an operating segment as disclosed in Note 39 to the financial statements.)
Hence, we can determine that firstly, the intangible asset value represents capitalized costs of acquisition of the oil fields, including technical exploration costs and costs of acquiring the relevant licenses. Secondly, an impairment review will be carried out when “the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount”, with E&E assets being allocated to “cash generating units” (CGU) for the purposes of assessment.
On page 169 of the AR20, we find the following:
Carrying amounts of the Group’s intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO are reviewed for possible impairment annually including any indicators of impairment. For the purpose of assessing impairment, assets are grouped at the lowest level CGUs for which there is a separately identifiable cash flow available. These CGUs are based on operating areas, represented by the 2011 North Sabah EOR PSC (“North Sabah”, the Anasuria Cluster, the Marigold and Sunflower fields, the VIC/P57 exploration permit (“VIC/P57”) and the VIC/L31 production license (“VIC/L31”).)
So apparently, the CGUs that have been assigned refer to the respective oil producing fields, two of which include the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. In order to perform the impairment review, estimates of future cash flow will be made by management to assess the “recoverable amount” (as described above), subject to assumptions and an appropriate discount rate.
Hence, what we can gather up to now is that management will estimate future recoverable cash flows from a CGU (i.e. the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields), compare that to their carrying value, and perform an impairment if their future recoverable cash flows are less than their carrying value. In other words, if estimated accumulated profits from the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are less than their carrying value, an impairment is required.
So where do we find the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields? Further down on page 184 in the AR20, we see the following:
Included in rights and concession are the carrying amounts of producing field licenses in the Anasuria Cluster amounting to RM668,211,518 (2018: RM687,664,530, producing field licenses in North Sabah amounting to RM471,031,008 (2018: RM414,333,116))
Hence, we can determine that the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. But where do we find the future recoverable cash flows of the fields as estimated by management, and what are the assumptions used in that calculation?
Fortunately, we find just that on page 185:
17 INTANGIBLE ASSETS (CONTINUED)
(a Anasuria Cluster)
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for Anasuria Cluster during the current financial year. In the previous financial year, due to uncertainties in crude oil prices, the Group has assessed the recoverable amount of the intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO relating to the Anasuria Cluster. The recoverable amount is determined using the FVLCTS model based on discounted cash flows (“DCF” derived from the expected cash in/outflow pattern over the production lives.)
The key assumptions used to determine the recoverable amount for the Anasuria Cluster were as follows:
(i Discount rate of 10%;)
(ii Future cost inflation factor of 2% per annum;)
(iii Oil price forecast based on the oil price forward curve from independent parties; and,)
(iv Oil production profile based on the assessment by independent oil and gas reserve experts.)
Based on the assessments performed, the Directors concluded that the recoverable amount calculated based on the valuation model is higher than the carrying amount.
(b North Sabah)
The acquisition of the North Sabah assets was completed in the previous financial year. Details of the acquisition are as disclosed in Note 15 to the financial statements.
The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for North Sabah during the current financial year.
Here, we can see that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field was estimated based on a DCF of expected future cash flows over the production life of the asset. The key assumptions used by management all seem appropriate, including a discount rate of 10% and oil price and oil production estimates based on independent assessment. From there, management concludes that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field is higher than its carrying amount (i.e. no impairment required). Likewise, for the North Sabah field.
How do we interpret this? Basically, what management is saying is that given a 10% discount rate and independent oil price and oil production estimates, the accumulated profits (i.e. recoverable amount) from both the North Sabah and the Anasuria fields exceed their carrying amounts of RM 471m and RM 668m respectively.
In other words, according to management’s own estimates, the carrying value of the Intangible Assets of RM 1.468 billion approximates the accumulated Net Profit recoverable from 2P reserves.
To conclude Valuation (Method 2), we arrive at the following:

Our estimates Management estimates
Accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves RM 1.452 billion RM 1.468 billion

Financials

By now, we have established the basic economics of Hibiscus’s business, including its revenues (i.e. oil production and oil price scenarios), costs (OPEX, ITDA), profitability (breakeven, future earnings potential) and balance sheet value (2P reserves, valuation). Moving on, we want to gain a deeper understanding of the 3 statements to anticipate any blind spots and risks. We’ll refer to the financial statements of both the FY20 annual report and the 2Q21 quarterly report in this analysis.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll only point out those line items which need extra attention, and skip over the rest. Feel free to go through the financial statements on your own to gain a better familiarity of the business.
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Income Statement
First, we’ll start with the Income Statement on page 135 of the AR20. Revenues are straightforward, as we’ve discussed above. Cost of Sales and Administrative Expenses fall under the jurisdiction of OPEX, which we’ve also seen earlier. Other Expenses are mostly made up of Depreciation & Amortization of RM 115m.
Finance Costs are where things start to get tricky. Why does a company which carries no debt have such huge amounts of finance costs? The reason can be found in Note 8, where it is revealed that the bulk of finance costs relate to the unwinding of discount of provision for decommissioning costs of RM 25m (Note 32).
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This actually refers to the expected future costs of restoring the Anasuria and North Sabah fields to their original condition once the oil reserves have been depleted. Accounting standards require the company to provide for these decommissioning costs as they are estimable and probable. The way the decommissioning costs are accounted for is the same as an amortized loan, where the initial carrying value is recognized as a liability and the discount rate applied is reversed each year as an expense on the Income Statement. However, these expenses are largely non-cash in nature and do not necessitate a cash outflow every year (FY20: RM 69m).
Unwinding of discount on non-current other payables of RM 12m relate to contractual payments to the North Sabah sellers. We will discuss it later.
Taxation is another tricky subject, and is even more significant than Finance Costs at RM 161m. In gist, Hibiscus is subject to the 38% PITA (Petroleum Income Tax Act) under Malaysian jurisdiction, and the 30% Petroleum tax + 10% Supplementary tax under UK jurisdiction. Of the RM 161m, RM 41m of it relates to deferred tax which originates from the difference between tax treatment and accounting treatment on capitalized assets (accelerated depreciation vs straight-line depreciation). Nonetheless, what you should take away from this is that the tax expense is a tangible expense and material to breakeven analysis.
Fortunately, tax is a variable expense, and should not materially impact the cash flow of Hibiscus in today’s low oil price environment.
Note: Cash outflows for Tax Paid in FY20 was RM 97m, substantially below the RM 161m tax expense.
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Balance Sheet
The balance sheet of Hibiscus is unexciting; I’ll just bring your attention to those line items which need additional scrutiny. I’ll use the figures in the latest 2Q21 quarterly report (2Q21) and refer to the notes in AR20 for clarity.
We’ve already discussed Intangible Assets in the section above, so I won’t dwell on it again.
Moving on, the company has Equipment of RM 582m, largely relating to O&G assets (e.g. the Anasuria FPSO vessel and CAPEX incurred on production enhancement projects). Restricted cash and bank balances represent contractual obligations for decommissioning costs of the Anasuria Cluster, and are inaccessible for use in operations.
Inventories are relatively low, despite Hibiscus being an E&P company, so forex fluctuations on carrying value of inventories are relatively immaterial. Trade receivables largely relate to entitlements from Petronas and BP (both oil supermajors), and are hence quite safe from impairment. Other receivables, deposits and prepayments are significant as they relate to security deposits placed with sellers of the oil fields acquired; these should be ignored for cash flow purposes.
Note: Total cash and bank balances do not include approximately RM 105 m proceeds from the North Sabah December 2019 offtake (which was received in January 2020)
Cash and bank balances of RM 90m do not include RM 105m of proceeds from offtake received in 3Q21 (Jan 2020). Hence, the actual cash and bank balances as of 2Q21 approximate RM 200m.
Liabilities are a little more interesting. First, I’ll draw your attention to the significant Deferred tax liabilities of RM 457m. These largely relate to the amortization of CAPEX (i.e. Equipment and capitalized E&E expenses), which is given an accelerated depreciation treatment for tax purposes.
The way this works is that the government gives Hibiscus a favorable tax treatment on capital expenditures incurred via an accelerated depreciation schedule, so that the taxable income is less than usual. However, this leads to the taxable depreciation being utilized quicker than accounting depreciation, hence the tax payable merely deferred to a later period – when the tax depreciation runs out but accounting depreciation remains. Given the capital intensive nature of the business, it is understandable why Deferred tax liabilities are so large.
We’ve discussed Provision for decommissioning costs under the Finance Costs section earlier. They are also quite significant at RM 266m.
Notably, the Other Payables and Accruals are a hefty RM 431m. What do they relate to? Basically, they are contractual obligations to the sellers of the oil fields which are only payable upon oil prices reaching certain thresholds. Hence, while they are current in nature, they will only become payable when oil prices recover to previous highs, and are hence not an immediate cash outflow concern given today’s low oil prices.
Cash Flow Statement
There is nothing in the cash flow statement which warrants concern.
Notably, the company generated OCF of approximately RM 500m in FY20 and RM 116m in 2Q21. It further incurred RM 330m and RM 234m of CAPEX in FY20 and 2Q21 respectively, largely owing to production enhancement projects to increase the production rate of the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, which according to management estimates are accretive to ROI.
Tax paid was RM 97m in FY20 and RM 61m in 2Q21 (tax expense: RM 161m and RM 62m respectively).

Risks

There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious risks that one should be aware of before investing in Hibiscus. We shall not consider operational risks (e.g. uptime, OPEX) as they are outside the jurisdiction of the equity analyst. Instead, we shall focus on the financial and strategic risks largely outside the control of management. The main ones are:
· Oil prices remaining subdued for long periods of time
· Fluctuation of exchange rates
· Customer concentration risk
· 2P Reserves being less than estimated
· Significant current and non-current liabilities
· Potential issuance of equity
Oil prices remaining subdued
Of topmost concern in the minds of most analysts is whether Hibiscus has the wherewithal to sustain itself through this period of low oil prices (sub-$30). A quick and dirty estimate of annual cash outflow (i.e. burn rate) assuming a $20 oil world and historical production rates is between RM 50m-70m per year, which considering the RM 200m cash balance implies about 3-4 years of sustainability before the company runs out of cash and has to rely on external assistance for financing.
Table 1: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and exchange rates
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The above table shows different EBITDA scenarios (RM ‘m) given different oil prices (left column) and USD:MYR exchange rates (top row). Currently, oil prices are $27 and USD:MYR is 1:4.36.
Given conservative assumptions of average OPEX/bbl of $20 (current: $15), we can safely say that the company will be loss-making as long as oil remains at $20 or below (red). However, we can see that once oil prices hit $25, the company can tank the lower-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 50m (orange), while at RM $27 it can sufficiently muddle through the higher-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 70m (green).
Hence, we can assume that as long as the average oil price over the next 3-4 years remains above $25, Hibiscus should come out of this fine without the need for any external financing.
Customer Concentration Risk
With regards to customer concentration risk, there is not much the analyst or investor can do except to accept the risk. Fortunately, 80% of revenues can be attributed to two oil supermajors (Petronas and BP), hence the risk of default on contractual obligations and trade receivables seems to be quite diminished.
2P Reserves being less than estimated
2P Reserves being less than estimated is another risk that one should keep in mind. Fortunately, the current market cap is merely RM 714m – at half of estimated recoverable amounts of RM 1.468 billion – so there’s a decent margin of safety. In addition, there are other mitigating factors which shall be discussed in the next section (‘Opportunities’).
Significant non-current and current liabilities
The significant non-current and current liabilities have been addressed in the previous section. It has been determined that they pose no threat to immediate cash flow due to them being long-term in nature (e.g. decommissioning costs, deferred tax, etc). Hence, for the purpose of assessing going concern, their amounts should not be a cause for concern.
Potential issuance of equity
Finally, we come to the possibility of external financing being required in this low oil price environment. While the company should last 3-4 years on existing cash reserves, there is always the risk of other black swan events materializing (e.g. coronavirus) or simply oil prices remaining muted for longer than 4 years.
Furthermore, management has hinted that they wish to acquire new oil assets at presently depressed prices to increase daily production rate to a targeted 20,000 bbl by end-2021. They have room to acquire debt, but they may also wish to issue equity for this purpose. Hence, the possibility of dilution to existing shareholders cannot be entirely ruled out.
However, given management’s historical track record of prioritizing ROI and optimal capital allocation, and in consideration of the fact that the MD owns 10% of outstanding shares, there is some assurance that any potential acquisitions will be accretive to EPS and therefore valuations.

Opportunities

As with the existence of risk, the presence of material opportunities also looms over the company. Some of them are discussed below:
· Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
· Inclusion of 2C Resources
· Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Increased Daily Oil Production Rate
The first and most obvious opportunity is the potential for increased production rate. We’ve seen in the last quarter (2Q21) that the North Sabah field increased its daily production rate by approximately 20% as a result of production enhancement projects (infill drilling), lowering OPEX/bbl as a result. To vastly oversimplify, infill drilling is the process of maximizing well density by drilling in the spaces between existing wells to improve oil production.
The same improvements are being undertaken at the Anasuria field via infill drilling, subsea debottlenecking, water injection and sidetracking of existing wells. Without boring you with industry jargon, this basically means future production rate is likely to improve going forward.
By how much can the oil production rate be improved by? Management estimates in their analyst presentation that enhancements in the Anasuria field will be able to yield 5,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 2,500 bbl/day).
Similarly, improvements in the North Sabah field is expected to yield 7,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 5,300 bbl/day).
This implies a total 2021 expected daily production rate from the two fields alone of 12,000 bbl/day (current: 8,000 bbl/day). That’s a 50% increase in yields which we haven’t factored into our valuation yet.
Furthermore, we haven’t considered any production from existing 2C resources (e.g. Marigold/Sunflower) or any potential acquisitions which may occur in the future. By management estimates, this can potentially increase production by another 8,000 bbl/day, bringing total production to 20,000 bbl/day.
While this seems like a stretch of the imagination, it pays to keep them in mind when forecasting future revenues and valuations.
Just to play around with the numbers, I’ve come up with a sensitivity analysis of possible annual EBITDA at different oil prices and daily oil production rates:
Table 2: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and daily oil production rates
https://preview.redd.it/jnpfhr5n9br41.png?width=814&format=png&auto=webp&s=bbe4b512bc17f576d87529651140cc74cde3d159
The left column represents different oil prices while the top row represents different daily oil production rates.
The green column represents EBITDA at current daily production rate of 8,000 bbl/day; the orange column represents EBITDA at targeted daily production rate of 12,000 bbl/day; while the purple column represents EBITDA at maximum daily production rate of 20,000 bbl/day.
Even conservatively assuming increased estimated annual ITDA of RM 500m (FY20: RM 318m), and long-term average oil prices of $50 (FY20: $60), the estimated Net Profit and P/E ratio is potentially lucrative at daily oil production rates of 12,000 bbl/day and above.
2C Resources
Since we’re on the topic of improved daily oil production rate, it bears to pay in mind the relatively enormous potential from Hibiscus’s 2C Resources. North Sabah’s 2C Resources alone exceed 30 mmbbl; while those from the yet undiagnosed Marigold/Sunflower fields also reach 30 mmbbl. Altogether, 2C Resources exceed 70 mmbbl, which dwarfs the 44 mmbbl of 2P Reserves we have considered up to this point in our valuation estimates.
To refresh your memory, 2C Resources represents oil volumes which have been discovered but are not yet classified as “commercial”. This means that there is reasonable certainty of the oil being recoverable, as opposed to simply being in the very early stages of exploration. So, to be conservative, we will imagine that only 50% of 2C Resources are eligible for reclassification to 2P reserves, i.e. 35 mmbbl of oil.
https://preview.redd.it/mto11iz7abr41.png?width=375&format=png&auto=webp&s=e9028ab0816b3d3e25067447f2c70acd3ebfc41a
This additional 35 mmbbl of oil represents an 80% increase to existing 2P reserves. Assuming the daily oil production rate increases similarly by 80%, we will arrive at 14,400 bbl/day of oil production. According to Table 2 above, this would yield an EBITDA of roughly RM 630m assuming $50 oil.
Comparing that estimated EBITDA to FY20’s actual EBITDA:
FY20 FY21 (incl. 2C) Difference
Daily oil production (bbl/day) 8,626 14,400 +66%
Average oil price (USD/bbl) $68.57 $50 -27%
Average OPEX/bbl (USD) $16.64 $20 +20%
EBITDA (RM ‘m) 632 630 -
Hence, even conservatively assuming lower oil prices and higher OPEX/bbl (which should decrease in the presence of higher oil volumes) than last year, we get approximately the same EBITDA as FY20.
For the sake of completeness, let’s assume that Hibiscus issues twice the no. of existing shares over the next 10 years, effectively diluting shareholders by 50%. Even without accounting for the possibility of the acquisition of new oil fields, at the current market capitalization of RM 714m, the prospective P/E would be about 10x. Not too shabby.
Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating
Hibiscus shares have recently been hit by a one-two punch from oil prices cratering from $60 to $30, as a result of both the Saudi-Russian dispute and depressed demand for oil due to coronavirus. This has massively increased supply and at the same time hugely depressed demand for oil (due to the globally coordinated lockdowns being implemented).
Given a long enough timeframe, I fully expect OPEC+ to come to an agreement and the economic effects from the coronavirus to dissipate, allowing oil prices to rebound. As we equity investors are aware, oil prices are cyclical and are bound to recover over the next 10 years.
When it does, valuations of O&G stocks (including Hibiscus’s) are likely to improve as investors overshoot expectations and begin to forecast higher oil prices into perpetuity, as they always tend to do in good times. When that time arrives, Hibiscus’s valuations are likely to become overoptimistic as all O&G stocks tend to do during oil upcycles, resulting in valuations far exceeding reasonable estimates of future earnings. If you can hold the shares up until then, it’s likely you will make much more on your investment than what we’ve been estimating.

Conclusion

Wrapping up what we’ve discussed so far, we can conclude that Hibiscus’s market capitalization of RM 714m far undershoots reasonable estimates of fair value even under conservative assumptions of recoverable oil volumes and long-term average oil prices. As a value investor, I hesitate to assign a target share price, but it’s safe to say that this stock is worth at least RM 1.00 (current: RM 0.45). Risk is relatively contained and the upside far exceeds the downside. While I have no opinion on the short-term trajectory of oil prices, I can safely recommend this stock as a long-term Buy based on fundamental research.
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What is Forex?

Forex is the short way of saying “Foreign Exchange”. This means the global market for exchanging international currencies, also known as the FX market. When someone prices or exchanges a currency against another, the exchange rate is best on the particular forex trading pair (i.e., both currencies involved in the pair).
Currency pairs are typically priced out to four decimal places, depending on the currency denomination, where one ten-thousandth of a unit of currency is known as a pip (i.e., 0.0001 unit), which is the smallest price increment (in addition to fractional-pips).
The EUUSD, which is the most widely-traded forex pair, is an example of the Euro (EUR) currency against the US dollars (USD) currency.
When trading one unit of EUUSD, you can calculate the price in USD (i.e., a price of EUUSD 1.3000 indicates $1.30 per euro). Conversely, when exchanging the USD/EUR, each unit of USD (i.e. each dollar) will have the prace of a specific number of euros (i.e., a USD/EUR price of 0.7700 indicates €0.77 per dollar).
A speculator expecting the price of the EUUSD to go up. He will buy the EUUSD pair long (buying a pair to open a trade can be a bullish or long position). Whereas, a speculator anticipating a drop in the price of the EUUSD may sell the pair. (bearish or short position: selling to open a trade).

Largest international market Globally

The forex market is decentralized across the globe. It consists of dealers such as central banks, private and public banks, non-bank intermediaries, brokerages, and large corporations such as insurance giants and other participants engaged in international finance.
The Foreign Exchange market is the largest globally, with nearly $6 trillion in average daily volume traded as of April 2019, according to the latest BIS Triennial Survey of Central Banks.
The FX market suffers the influence mainly by each government’s monetary policy, the supply, and demand of the global economy. As well as international trade agreements, and users and suppliers of currencies (hedgers), in addition to speculators.

Market integrity and progress

While there have been cases of forex market manipulation by the biggest banks and dealers in the past, the amount of influence any one entity can have on the prices of major currencies is negligible. This resistance to serious manipulation risk is due to the enormous amount of trading and resulting liquidity available.
The FX Market itself has high price integrity. Because it is an electronic market, efficient and with a certain size. Participants must still adhere to best practices.
Efforts such as the Global FX code were launched to encourage forex dealers to uphold the best-execution where the best price available is given to traders.
These efforts are why the spreads and trading commissions continued to improve over the years, as the FX market evolved. In addition, regulators have competed to increase local market integrity and efficiency by creating more strict regulations. These come from the top-tier financial centers such as the US, UK, Singapore, Japan, Australia, among other advanced economies.

Investing and trading in the forex market

As an asset class, Forex is well-established and offered by many regulated brokerages from within a margin account.
The use of leverage is what makes forex trading more risky than non-margin investing.
Margin-based trading used by investors as well as self-directed traders and fund managers, thanks to the range of risk-management tools available within forex trading platforms (mobile, web, and desktop software). Wiseinvest provides trading signals with risk-management.

Forex market research and analysis

There are two primary ways for traders to assess and identify trading opportunities in the forex market.

Advanced forex trading strategies and algorithms

The foundation of successful trading in the forex market is having a trading strategy. It’s based on a specific methodology that best suits your trading needs. Strategies could be manual, automated, or a combination of both.
Over the past decade, there has been a proliferation of automated trading strategies made available for retail traders.
And while there are many serious traders with established track records for their trading systems, there are many more low-quality trading systems falsely marketed as high-quality by overly eager affiliates, making it harder for investors to navigate the market for trading signals.
There has also been an increase in the social copy trade. Where an operator can mimic other operators’ businesses in real time.
Whether using a copy-trading platform or an automated trading system, in almost all cases, this type of investing is considered self-directed and doesn’t require a power-of-attorney or another third-party money manager to handle your account.
Unlike other copy and social trading platforms, Wiseinvet’s AI has the ability to execute a huge set of market data. It does by combining technical and fundamental analysis. This strategy can increase the accuracy of trading signals.

Self-directed forex investors

Compared to investing in a managed fund, there is greater responsibility. Traders put it on self-directed traders who use trading systems. A self-directed trader should conduct more detailed due diligence. It can avoid falling for the countless low-quality trading systems that exist on the internet.

There are no guarantees that a strategy will perform well. But conducting proper due diligence can help traders assess various trading systems. They consider using them to aid their trading or investment strategy.
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Trump Didn’t Kill the Global Trade System. He Split It in Two.

This article is taken from the Wall Street Journal written about nine months ago and sits behind a a paywall, so I decided to copy and paste it here. This article explains Trump's policies toward global trade and what has actually happened so far. I think the article does a decent job of explaining the Trade War. While alot has happenedsince the article was written, I still think its relevant.
However, what is lacking in the article, like many articles on the trade war, is it doesn't really explain the history of US trade policy, the laws that the US administration is using to place tariffs on China and the official justification for the US President in enacting tariffs against China. In my analysis I will cover those points.

SUMMARY

When Trump entered the White House people feared he would dismantle the global system the US and its allies had built over the last 75 years, but he hasn't. He has realign into two systems. One between the US and its allies which looks similar to the one built since the 1980s with a few of quota and tariffs. As the article points out
Today, Korus and Nafta have been replaced by updated agreements(one not yet ratified) that look much like the originals. South Korea accepted quotas on steel. Mexico and Canada agreed to higher wages, North American content requirements and quotas for autos. Furthermore, the article points out Douglas Irwin, an economist and trade historian at Dartmouth College, calls these results the “status quo with Trumpian tweaks: a little more managed trade sprinkled about for favored industries. It’s not good, but it’s not the destruction of the system.” Mr. Trump’s actions so far affect only 12% of U.S. imports, according to Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In 1984, 21% of imports were covered by similar restraints, many imposed by Mr. Reagan, such as on cars, steel, motorcycles and clothing. Protectionist instincts go so far in the US, there are strong lobby groups for both protectionist and freetrade in the US.
The second reflects a emerging rivalry between the US and China. Undo some of the integration that followed China accession to the WTO. Two questions 1) How far is the US willing to decouple with China 2) Can it persuade allies to join.
The second is going to be difficult because China's economic ties are greater than they were between the Soviets, and China isn't waging an ideological struggle. Trump lacks Reagan commitment to alliance and free trade. The status quo with China is crumbling Dan Sullivan, a Republican senator from Alaska, personifies these broader forces reshaping the U.S. approach to the world. When Mr. Xi visited the U.S. in 2015, Mr. Sullivan urged his colleagues to pay more attention to China’s rise. On the Senate floor, he quoted the political scientist Graham Allison: “War between the U.S. and China is more likely than recognized at the moment.” Last spring, Mr. Sullivan went to China and met officials including Vice President Wang Qishan. They seemed to think tensions with the U.S. will fade after Mr. Trump leaves the scene, Mr. Sullivan recalled. “I just said, ‘You are completely misreading this.’” The mistrust, he told them, is bipartisan, and will outlast Mr. Trump. both Bush II and Obama tried to change dialogue and engagement, but by the end of his term, Obama was questioning the approach. Trump has declared engagement. “We don’t like it when our allies steal our ideas either, but it’s a much less dangerous situation,” said Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute whose views align with the administration’s more hawkish officials. “We’re not worried about the war-fighting capability of Japan and Korea because they’re our friends.”
The article also points out unlike George Kennan in 1946 who made a case for containing the Soviet Union, the US hasn't explicitly made a case for containing the Soviets, Trump's administration hasn't, because as the the article explains its divided Michael Pillsbury a Hudson Institute scholar close to the Trump team, see 3 scenarios
Pillsbury thinks the third is most likely to happen, even though the administration hasn't said that it has adopted that policy. The US is stepping efforts to draw in other trading partners. The US, EU and Japan have launched a WTO effort to crack down on domestic subsidies and technology transfers requirement. US and Domestic concerns with prompted some countries to restrict Huawei. The US is also seeking to walloff China from other trade deals. However, there are risk with this strategy

ARTICLE

Trump Didn’t Kill the Global Trade System. He Split It in Two.

INTRODUCTION

My main criticism of this article is it tries like the vast majority of articles to fit US trade actions in the larger context of US geopolitical strategy. Even the author isn't certain "The first goes to the heart of Mr. Trump’s goal. If his aim is to hold back China’s advance, economists predict he will fail.". If you try to treat the trade "war" and US geopolitical strategy toward China as one, you will find yourself quickly frustrated and confused. If you treat them separately with their different set of stakeholders and histories, were they intersect with regards to China, but diverge. During the Cold War, trade policy toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc was subordinated to geopolitical concerns. For Trump, the trade issues are more important than geopolitical strategy. His protectionist trade rhetoric has been fairly consistent since 1980s. In his administration, the top cabinet members holding economic portfolios, those of Commerce, Treasury and US Trade Representative are the same people he picked when he first took office. The Director of the Economic Council has changed hands once, its role isn't as important as the National Security Advisor. While State, Defense, CIA, Homeland Security, UN Ambassador, National Security Advisor have changed hands at least once. Only the Director of National Intelligence hasn't changed.
International Trade makes up 1/4 of the US economy, and like national security its primarily the responsibility of the Federal government. States in the US don't implement their own tariffs. If you add the impact of Treasury policy and how it relates to capital flows in and out of the US, the amounts easily exceed the size of the US economy. Furthermore, because of US Dollar role as the reserve currency and US control of over global system the impact of Treasury are global. Trade policy and investment flows runs through two federal departments Commerce and Treasury and for trade also USTR. Defense spending makes up 3.3% of GDP, and if you add in related homeland security its at most 4%. Why would anyone assume that these two realms be integrated let alone trade policy subordinate to whims of a national security bureaucracy in most instances? With North Korea or Iran, trade and investment subordinate themselves to national security, because to Treasury and Commerce bureaucrats and their affiliated interest groups, Iran and the DPRK are well, economic midgets, but China is a different matter.
The analysis will be divided into four sections. The first will be to provide a brief overview of US trade policy since 1914. The second section will discuss why the US is going after China on trade issues, and why the US has resorted using a bilateral approach as opposed to going through the WTO. The third section we will talk about how relations with China is hashed out in the US.
The reason why I submitted this article, because there aren't many post trying to explain US-China Trade War from a trade perspective. Here is a post titled "What is the Reasons for America's Trade War with China, and not one person mentioned Article 301 or China's WTO Commitments. You get numerous post saying that Huawei is at heart of the trade war. Its fine, but if you don't know what was inside the USTR Investigative report that lead to the tariffs. its like skipping dinner and only having dessert When the US President, Donald J Trump, says he wants to negotiate a better trade deal with other countries, and has been going on about for the last 35 years, longer than many of you have been alive, why do people think that the key issues with China aren't primarily about trade at the moment.

OVERVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE ORIENTATION

Before 1940s, the US could be categorized as a free market protectionist economy. For many this may seem like oxymoron, how can an economy be free market and protectionist? In 1913, government spending made up about 7.5% of US GDP, in the UK it was 13%, and for Germany 18% (Public Spending in the 20th Century A Global Perspective: Ludger Schuknecht and Vito Tanzi - 2000). UK had virtual zero tariffs, while for manufactured goods in France it was 20%, 13% Germany, 9% Belgium and 4% Netherlands. For raw materials and agricultural products, it was almost zero. In contrast, for the likes of United States, Russia and Japan it was 44%, 84% and 30% respectively. Even though in 1900 United States was an economic powerhouse along with Germany, manufactured exports only made up 30% of exports, and the US government saw tariffs as exclusively a domestic policy matter and didn't see tariffs as something to be negotiated with other nations. The US didn't have the large constituency to push the government for lower tariffs abroad for their exports like in Britain in the 1830-40s (Reluctant Partners: A History of Multilateral Trade Cooperation, 1850-2000).
The Underwood Tariffs Act of 1913 which legislated the income tax, dropped the tariffs to 1850 levels levels.Until 16th amendment was ratified in 1913 making income tax legal, all US federal revenue came from excise and tariffs. In contrast before 1914, about 50% of UK revenue came from income taxes. The reason for US reluctance to introduced income tax was ideological and the United State's relative weak government compared to those in Europe. After the First World War, the US introduced the Emergency Tariff Act of 1921, than the Fordney–McCumber Tariff of 1922 followed by a Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930. Contrary to popular opinion, the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 had a small negative impact on the economy, since imports and exports played a small part of the US economy, and the tariffs were lower than the average that existed from 1850-1914.
Immediately after the Second World War, when the US economy was the only industrialized economy left standing, the economic focus was on rehabilitation and monetary stability. There was no grandiose and ideological design. Bretton Woods system linked the US dollar to gold to create monetary stability, and to avoid competitive devaluation and tariffs that plagued the world economy after Britain took itself off the gold in 1931. The US$ was the natural choice, because in 1944 2/3 of the world's gold was in the US. One reason why the Marshall Plan was created was to alleviate the chronic deficits Europeans countries had with the US between 1945-50. It was to rebuild their economies so they could start exports good to the US. Even before it was full implemented in 1959, it was already facing problems, the trade surpluses that the US was running in the 1940s, turned to deficits as European and Japanese economies recovered. By 1959, Federal Reserves foreign liabilities had already exceeded its gold reserves. There were fears of a run on the US gold supply and arbitrage. A secondary policy of the Bretton woods system was curbs on capital outflows to reduce speculation on currency pegs, and this had a negative impact on foreign investment until it was abandoned in 1971. It wasn't until the 1980s, where foreign investment recovered to levels prior to 1914. Factoring out the big spike in global oil prices as a result of the OPEC cartel, it most likely wasn't until the mid-1990s that exports as a % of GDP had reached 1914 levels.
Until the 1980s, the US record regarding free trade and markets was mediocre. The impetus to remove trade barriers in Europe after the Second World War was driven by the Europeans themselves. The EEC already had a custom union in 1968, Canada and the US have yet to even discuss implementing one. Even with Canada it took the US over 50 years to get a Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA was inspired by the success of the EEC. NAFTA was very much an elite driven project. If the Americans put the NAFTA to a referendum like the British did with the EEC in the seventies, it most likely wouldn't pass. People often look at segregation in the US South as a political issue, but it was economic issue as well. How could the US preach free trade, when it didn't have free trade in its own country. Segregation was a internal non-tariff barrier. In the first election after the end of the Cold War in 1992, Ross Perot' based most of independent run for the Presidency on opposition to NAFTA. He won 19% of the vote. Like Ross Perot before him, Donald Trump is not the exception in how America has handled tariffs since the founding of the Republic, but more the norm.
The embrace of free trade by the business and political elite can be attributed to two events. After the end of Bretton Woods in 1971, a strong vested interest in the US in the form of multinationals and Wall Street emerged advocating for removal of tariffs and more importantly the removal of restrictions on free flow of capital, whether direct foreign investment in portfolio investment. However, the political class embrace of free trade and capital only really took off after the collapse of the Soviet Union propelled by Cold War triumphalism.
As mentioned by the article, the US is reverting back to a pre-WTO relations with China. As Robert Lighthizer said in speech in 2000
I guess my prescription, really, is to move back to more of a negotiating kind of a settlement. Return to WTO and what it really was meant to be. Something where you have somebody make a decision but have it not be binding.
The US is using financial and legal instruments developed during the Cold War like its extradition treaties (with Canada and Europe), and Section 301. Here is a very good recent article about enforcement commitment that China will make.‘Painful’ enforcement ahead for China if trade war deal is reached with US insisting on unilateral terms
NOTE: It is very difficult to talk about US-China trade war without a basic knowledge of global economic history since 1914. What a lot of people do is politicize or subordinate the economic history to the political. Some commentators think US power was just handed to them after the Second World War, when the US was the only industrialized economy left standing. The dominant position of the US was temporary and in reality its like having 10 tonnes of Gold sitting in your house, it doesn't automatically translate to influence. The US from 1945-1989 was slowly and gradually build her influence in the non-Communist world. For example, US influence in Canada in the 1960s wasn't as strong as it is now. Only 50% of Canadian exports went to the US in 1960s vs 80% at the present moment.

BASIS OF THE US TRADE DISCUSSION WITH CHINA

According to preliminary agreement between China and the US based on unnamed sources in the Wall Street Journal article US, China close in on Trade Deal. In this article it divides the deal in two sections. The first aspects have largely to do with deficits and is political.
As part of a deal, China is pledging to help level the playing field, including speeding up the timetable for removing foreign-ownership limitations on car ventures and reducing tariffs on imported vehicles to below the current auto tariff of 15%. Beijing would also step up purchases of U.S. goods—a tactic designed to appeal to President Trump, who campaigned on closing the bilateral trade deficit with China. One of the sweeteners would be an $18 billion natural-gas purchase from Cheniere Energy Inc., people familiar with the transaction said.
The second part will involve the following.
  1. Commitment Regarding Industrial Policy
  2. Provisions to protect IP
  3. Mechanism which complaints by US companies can be addressed
  4. Bilateral meetings adjudicate disputes. If talks don't produce agreement than US can raise tariffs unilaterally
This grouping of conditions is similar to the points filled under the 301 investigation which serve the basis for initiating the tariffs. I have been reading some sources that say this discussion on this second group of broader issues could only be finalized later
The official justifications for placing the tariffs on Chinese goods is found under the March 2018 investigation submitted by the office of the President to Congress titled FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO CHINA’S ACTS, POLICIES, AND PRACTICES RELATED TO TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, AND INNOVATION UNDER SECTION 301 OF THE TRADE ACT OF 1974. From this investigation the United States Trade Representative (USTR) place US Tariffs on Chinese goods as per Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Here is a press release by the USTR listing the reasons for placing tariffs, and the key section from the press release. Specifically, the Section 301 investigation revealed:
In the bigger context of trade relations between US and China, China is not honoring its WTO commitments, and the USTR issued its yearly report to Congress in early February about the status of China compliance with its WTO commitments. The points that served as a basis for applying Section 301, also deviate from her commitments as Clinton's Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky paving the way for a trade war. Barshefsky argues that China's back sliding was happening as early as 2006-07, and believes the trade war could have been avoided has those commitments been enforced by previous administrations.
I will provide a brief overview of WTO membership and China's process of getting into the WTO.
WTO members can be divided into two groups, first are countries that joined in 1995-97, and were members of GATT, than there are the second group that joined after 1997. China joined in 2001. There is an argument that when China joined in 2001, she faced more stringent conditions than other developing countries that joined before, because the vast majority of developing countries were members of GATT, and were admitted to the WTO based on that previous membership in GATT. Here is Brookings Institute article published in 2001 titled "Issues in China’s WTO Accession"
This question is all the more puzzling because the scope and depth of demands placed on entrants into the formal international trading system have increased substantially since the formal conclusion of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in 1994, which expanded the agenda considerably by covering many services, agriculture, intellectual property, and certain aspects of foreign direct investment. Since 1994, the international community has added agreements covering information technology, basic telecommunications services, and financial services. WTO membership now entails liberalization of a much broader range of domestic economic activity, including areas that traditionally have been regarded by most countries as among the most sensitive, than was required of countries entering the WTO’s predecessor organization the GATT.
The terms of China’s protocol of accession to the World Trade Organization reflect the developments just described and more. China’s market access commitments are much more far-reaching than those that governed the accession of countries only a decade ago. And, as a condition for membership, China was required to make protocol commitments that substantially exceed those made by any other member of the World Trade Organization, including those that have joined since 1995. The broader and deeper commitments China has made inevitably will entail substantial short-term economic costs.
What are the WTO commitments Barshefsky goes on about? When countries join the WTO, particularly those countries that weren't members of GATT and joined after 1997, they have to work toward fulfilling certain commitments. There are 4 key documents when countries make an accession to WTO membership, the working party report, the accession protocol paper, the goods schedule and service schedule.
In the working party report as part of the conclusion which specifies the commitment of each member country what they will do in areas that aren't compliant with WTO regulations on the date they joined. The problem there is no good enforcement mechanism for other members to force China to comply with these commitments. And WTO punishments are weak.
Here is the commitment paragraph for China
"The Working Party took note of the explanations and statements of China concerning its foreign trade regime, as reflected in this Report. The Working Party took note of the commitments given by China in relation to certain specific matters which are reproduced in paragraphs 18-19, 22-23, 35-36, 40, 42, 46-47, 49, 60, 62, 64, 68, 70, 73, 75, 78-79, 83-84, 86, 91-93, 96, 100-103, 107, 111, 115-117, 119-120, 122-123, 126-132, 136, 138, 140, 143, 145, 146, 148, 152, 154, 157, 162, 165, 167-168, 170-174, 177-178, 180, 182, 184-185, 187, 190-197, 199-200, 203-207, 210, 212-213, 215, 217, 222-223, 225, 227-228, 231-235, 238, 240-242, 252, 256, 259, 263, 265, 270, 275, 284, 286, 288, 291, 292, 296, 299, 302, 304-305, 307-310, 312-318, 320, 322, 331-334, 336, 339 and 341 of this Report and noted that these commitments are incorporated in paragraph 1.2 of the Draft Protocol. "
This is a tool by the WTO that list all the WTO commitment of each country in the working paper. In the goods and service schedule they have commitments for particular sectors. Here is the a press release by the WTO in September 2001, after successfully concluding talks for accession, and brief summary of key areas in which China hasn't fulfilled her commitments. Most of the commitments made by China were made to address its legacy as a non-market economy and involvement of state owned enterprises. In my opinion, I think the US government and investors grew increasingly frustrated with China, after 2007 not just because of China's back sliding, but relative to other countries who joined after 1997 like Vietnam, another non-market Leninist dictatorship. When comparing China's commitments to the WTO its best to compare her progress with those that joined after 1997, which were mostly ex-Soviet Republics.
NOTE: The Chinese media have for two decades compared any time the US has talked about China's currency manipulation or any other issue as a pretext for imposing tariffs on China to the Plaza Accords. I am very sure people will raise it here. My criticism of this view is fourfold. First, the US targeted not just Japan, but France, Britain and the UK as well. Secondly, the causes of the Japan lost decade were due largely to internal factors. Thirdly, Japan, UK, Britain and France in the 1980s, the Yuan isn't undervalued today. Lastly, in the USTR investigation, its China's practices that are the concern, not so much the trade deficit.

REASONS FOR TRUMPS UNILATERAL APPROACH

I feel that people shouldn't dismiss Trump's unilateral approach toward China for several reasons.
  1. The multilateral approach won't work in many issues such as the trade deficit, commercial espionage and intellectual property, because US and her allies have different interest with regard to these issues. Germany and Japan and trade surpluses with China, while the US runs a deficit. In order to reach a consensus means the West has to compromise among themselves, and the end result if the type of toothless resolutions you commonly find in ASEAN regarding the SCS. Does America want to "compromise" its interest to appease a politician like Justin Trudeau? Not to mention opposition from domestic interest. TPP was opposed by both Clinton and Trump during the election.
  2. You can't launch a geopolitical front against China using a newly formed trade block like the TPP. Some of the existing TPP members are in economic groups with China, like Malaysia and Australia.
  3. China has joined a multitude of international bodies, and at least in trade, these bodies haven't changed its behavior.
  4. Dealing with China, its a no win situation whether you use a tough multilateral / unilateral approach. If the US endorse a tough unilateral approach gives the impression that the US is acting like the British during the Opium War. If you take a concerted Western approach you are accused of acting like the 8 Powers Alliance in 1900.
  5. Trump was elected to deal with China which he and his supporters believe was responsible for the loss of millions manufacturing jobs when China joined the WTO in 2001. It is estimate the US lost 6 Million jobs, about 1/4 of US manufacturing Jobs. This has been subsequently advanced by some economists. The ball got rolling when Bill Clinton decided to grant China Most Favored Nation status in 1999, just a decade after Tiananmen.
  6. China hasn't dealt with issues like IP protection, market access, subsidies to state own companies and state funded industrial spying.
To his credit, Trump has said his aim was not to overthrow authoritarian governments, and that even applies to the likes of Iran. The Arab spring scared Russia and China, because the US for a brief moment placed the spread of democracy over its security interest.

UNDERSTANDING HOW THE US MAKES DECISIONS REGARDING CHINA

At this moment, China or the trade war isn't an area of great concern for the American public, among international issues it ranks lower than international terrorism, North Korea and Iran's nuclear program.
According to the survey, 39 percent of the country views China’s growing power as a “critical threat” to Americans. That ranked it only eighth among 12 potential threats listed and placed China well behind the perceived threats from international terrorism (66 percent), North Korea’s nuclear program (59 percent) and Iran’s nuclear program (52 percent). It’s also considerably lower than when the same question was asked during the 1990s, when more than half of those polled listed China as a critical threat. That broadly tracks with a recent poll from the Pew Research Center that found concern about U.S.-China economic issues had decreased since 2012.
In looking at how US conducts relations foreign policy with China, we should look at it from the three areas of most concern - economic, national security and ideology. Each sphere has their interest groups, and sometimes groups can occupy two spheres at once. Security experts are concerned with some aspects of China's economic actions like IP theft and industrial policy (China 2025), because they are related to security. In these sphere there are your hawks and dove. And each sphere is dominated by certain interest groups. That is why US policy toward China can often appear contradictory. You have Trump want to reduce the trade deficit, but security experts advocating for restrictions on dual use technology who are buttressed by people who want export restrictions on China, as a way of getting market access.
Right now the economic concerns are most dominant, and the hawks seem to dominate. The economic hawks traditionally have been domestic manufacturing companies and economic nationalist. In reality the hawks aren't dominant, but the groups like US Companies with large investment in China and Wall Street are no longer defending China, and some have turned hawkish against China. These US companies are the main conduit in which China's lobby Congress, since China only spends 50% of what Taiwan spends lobbying Congress.
THE ANGLO SAXON WORLD AND CHINA
I don't think many Chinese even those that speak English, have a good understanding Anglo-Saxon society mindset. Anglo Saxons countries, whether US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are commerce driven society governed by sanctity of contracts. The English great philosophical contributions to Western philosophy have primarily to do with economics and politics like Adam Smith, John Locke, David Hume and Thomas Hobbes. This contrast with the French and Germans. Politics in the UK and to a lesser extent the US, is centered around economics, while in Mainland Europe its religion. When the Americans revolted against the British Empire in 1776, the initial source of the grievances were taxes.
Outside of East Asia, the rest of the World's relationship with China was largely commercial, and for United States, being an Anglosaxon country, even more so. In Southeast Asia, Chinese aren't known for high culture, but for trade and commerce. Outside Vietnam, most of Chinese loans words in Southeast Asian languages involve either food or money. The influence is akin to Yiddish in English.
Some people point to the Mao and Nixon meeting as great strategic breakthrough and symbol of what great power politics should look like. The reality is that the Mao-Nixon meeting was an anomaly in the long history of relations with China and the West. Much of China-Western relations over the last 500 years was conducted by multitudes of nameless Chinese and Western traders. The period from 1949-1979 was the only period were strategic concerns triumphed trade, because China had little to offer except instability and revolution. Even in this period, China's attempt to spread revolution in Southeast Asia was a threat to Western investments and corporate interest in the region. During the nadir of both the Qing Dynasty and Republican period, China was still engaged in its traditional commercial role. Throughout much of history of their relations with China, the goals of Britain and the United States were primarily economic,
IMAGINE JUST 10% OF CHINA BOUGHT MY PRODUCT
From the beginning, the allure of China to Western businesses and traders has been its sheer size I. One of the points that the USTR mentions is lack of market access for US companies operating in China, while Chinese companies face much less restrictions operating in the US.
This is supported by remarks by Henry Paulson and Charlene Barshefsky. As Paulson remarked
Trade with China has hurt some American workers. And they have expressed their grievances at the ballot box.
So while many attribute this shift to the Trump Administration, I do not. What we are now seeing will likely endure for some time within the American policy establishment. China is viewed—by a growing consensus—not just as a strategic challenge to the United States but as a country whose rise has come at America’s expense. In this environment, it would be helpful if the US-China relationship had more advocates. That it does not reflects another failure:
In large part because China has been slow to open its economy since it joined the WTO, the American business community has turned from advocate to skeptic and even opponent of past US policies toward China. American business doesn’t want a tariff war but it does want a more aggressive approach from our government. How can it be that those who know China best, work there, do business there, make money there, and have advocated for productive relations in the past, are among those now arguing for more confrontation? The answer lies in the story of stalled competition policy, and the slow pace of opening, over nearly two decades. This has discouraged and fragmented the American business community. And it has reinforced the negative attitudinal shift among our political and expert classes. In short, even though many American businesses continue to prosper in China, a growing number of firms have given up hope that the playing field will ever be level. Some have accepted the Faustian bargain of maximizing today’s earnings per share while operating under restrictions that jeopardize their future competitiveness. But that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it. Nor does it mean they aren’t acutely aware of the risks — or thinking harder than ever before about how to diversify their risks away from, and beyond, China.
What is interesting about Paulson's speech is he spend only one sentence about displaced US workers, and a whole paragraph about US business operating in China. While Kissinger writes books about China, how much does he contribute to both Democrats and the Republicans during the election cycle? China is increasingly makING it more difficult for US companies operating and those exporting products to China.

CONTINUED

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Here's why you'll NEVER make money in Forex. The Forex Cycle of Doom... Learn to Trade Australia - YouTube the best forex brokers in Australia Forex Broker 2020 Forex Trading secrets revealed Australia Forex Trading Strategy & Signal - YouTube

The forex market is the largest and most liquid market in the world, representing every global currency with trading conducted 24 hours a day, five days a week. To trade forex, you need an online broker. Trading with a trusted forex broker is crucial for success in international currency markets. The API is there to support everything related to CFDs and trading forex and includes trading history and market data. The Smart Trader Tools package consists of 28 trading apps available for MT4 and MT5 trading platforms to help optimise your trading strategy and risk management for the better. It doesn’t take a genius to use, install and How Big Is The Forex Market. The Forex market is the largest financial market in the world in terms of trading volume, liquidity and value.Operating 24 hours a day, the global forex industry is valued at 1.9345 quadrillion dollars while turnover is 53 times bigger than the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) 1.When compared to other financial markets, the forex market is a staggering 12 times Trading forex (currencies) in Australia is popular among residents and international traders seeking an Australian-based broker. Before any fx broker in Australia can accept forex and CFDs traders, they must become authorised by the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) , which is the financial markets regulator in Australia. Forex Trading Australia. The Foreign Exchange Market, or better known as the Forex Market, is the largest financial market in the world by trading volume. Over 6.6 Trillion USD is traded daily by participants across the globe. In Forex trading, market participants are trading the price volatility by buying and selling currencies around the

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Here's why you'll NEVER make money in Forex. The Forex Cycle of Doom...

the best forex brokers in Australia Forex Broker 2020 ★★Top Trusted Forex Brokers List★★ Trusted Forex Brokers Click Here to join: Exness: https://bit.ly/2D... Learn more about Forex trading and Global Trading Army at https://globaltradingarmy.com Visit our Telegram chatroom to meet other ... University of South Australia Recommended for you. 40:24. Beginner guide to Australia Forex trading and how to create a new Forex exchange trading account. You can use the account to trade US stock market and Bitcoin as well. The Forex cycle of doom is all about how you find a strategy, trade it, experience some losses, dump it and then find it a new strategy. It's the main reason why you'll never make money in Forex. Learn to Trade’s CEO and founder, Greg Secker, explains why the Forex market is the path to financial freedom, as well as the wealth of opportunities and choices this can provide you.