Archive for October, 2011

Australasian Companies Prefer Asia for Investments

October 11th, 2011

According to a recent report by professional services organization, Ernst & Young, it seems that these days the most preferred region for Australasian companies to make their investments is in the Asia Pacific region.  The study by the firm was conducted in September 2011, and looked at a thousand business executives around the world.

More than 70 percent of Australasian companies would choose the Asia Pacific region to make their investments, the study found.  Looking internationally, almost half of investors would likewise also choose the same region.  Out of the entire region, the main countries investors choose seem to be: China, India, Malaysia and Singapore.

Investors Priorities

When it comes to what investors are seeking, over half of the companies are focusing on growth (slightly more than a few months ago, when the figure was just under half) and 42 percent are concentrating on preserving stability (this figure has increased 9 percent from April).  Over the same time frame, there has been a decrease in the companies looking for survival (from 18 to 7 percent) which is definitely a good thing since it is indicative that economically things are looking up and that the recession isn’t necessarily paramount on every investors mind these days.  In fact, the 7 percent figure is the lowest it has been since the study began back in 2009; clearly good news for recessional worries.

China Popularity

So why is it so popular – and this has been the case for a long time – to invest in China?  According to an article in Seeking Alpha, there are five main reasons.  First, the country’s huge population (which is almost double of that of America) results in a large customer count. Second, the amount of different types of investments available due to the sheer volume of the companies and businesses there.  Third, the national pride that exists in the country’s companies.  Fourth, the idea of sovereign protection in the country; China is working on encouraging its citizens to increase consumption in the country.  Fifth, the recent appreciation of the Yuan.

So it makes sense that investors are looking towards Asia – and more specifically China – to put their capital.

China’s Golden Week Highly Profitable This Year

October 10th, 2011

Julius Santos, the director of marketing for the Four Seasons Hotel in Macau was pleased with the upsurge in revenue during this year’s “Golden Week” holiday in China.

Santos explained that this year not only was there more tourists occupying hotel rooms, but the average length of hotel stays was also up. In addition, the hotel was able to charge more for hotel rooms per day as a result of the increase in the number of guests.

The celebration of China’s “National Day” is one week long, and a popular place to spend the holiday is in Macau, China’s only area where gambling casinos are legal. The Macau Four Seasons is located on the highly popular Cotai Strip, where Santos said that occupancy of the Four Seasons was “pretty much 100 percent.”

Other hotels in the area reporting equally successful “Golden Weeks” were the Wynn Macau Ltd. and the Mandarin Oriental, which also described full bookings for the week.

Macau is near to Hong Kong, and was under Portuguese rule until Portugal returned the city to China in 1999.

“Business was definitely stronger,” Santos said. “The majority of the city was booked up during Golden Week.”

China’s Political Impact on Washington and Vice Versa

October 10th, 2011

The China Currency Bill – that is set to reach the Senate on October 12, 2011 – would result in tariffs on China and other countries in the Asian region.  The rationale behind this is that their currencies have been depressed in an effort to boost exports.  Thus these countries now have to pay the price. But ultimately, critics say that it would not make sense when analyzing government trade data.   It could negatively impact the American economy, resulting in job loss as well as economic surplus from Chinese trade and business in the country when China stops bringing in its business in revenge.  Everything has its consequences: Washington needs to seriously weigh up everything before reaching a decision.

Asia’s Art Market Expanding

October 10th, 2011

Finally it seems that Asia’s art market has recovered, along with the rest of the world’s art market that was suffering from the recessional issues.  It is Beijing and Hong Kong that is now really enjoying a comeback.  Although it is true that the art market did suffer somewhat, this was relatively minimal compared to other markets that really took their toll during the recession.  However, on this matter there would be disagreement from the European Fine Art Foundation which claimed that indeed the global financial crisis was very influential vis-à-vis the global art market.

According to Artability Art & Collection consultant, Zhan Xuhua, “the credit crunch really affected the art dealing industry.”  He pointed out that consumers even managed to get some famous paintings at discount prices in auctions in 2008-09.  This was paramount throughout the world, from Europe to America as well as Asia (specifically China).

Increased Demand for Art Today

Clearly, one only needs to look at prices of artwork to see how far the market has come.  Art is definitely a luxury once more (fewer sales; higher prices) and the fact that there are way more sales taking places also shows that there is no longer a concern that the global art market is going through a recession these days.

Art as Investment

People often purchase art as an investment.  They will choose to buy a piece of artwork to enjoy, but also as an alternative investment to stocks and bonds, etc.  As well, it is often a “safe bet” as it were as like gold, it gives back a steady return and can gain value over time.  Just last year, the Chinese art market did so well that it became an international runner in top art markets.  During 2010, revenues for fine art auctions totaled $3bn (US), higher than the figure for America for the same time frame.

Oil Tanker Leak Near New Zealand Under Control

October 8th, 2011

A Liberian-flagged ship released oil off the coast of New Zealand after striking a reef on October 5th. A thin film of oil, called sheen, has spread over an area which is now moving westward away from the ship and the northern New Zealand port of Tauranga.

It is believed that oil has stopped leaking from the Rena, a 32-year-old cargo ship which reported carrying 25 unhurt crew members, over 2,000 containers, and some hazardous materials in addition to oil.

Maritime New Zealand announced that the priority at the moment is to remove all the remaining fuel from the disabled ship. Over 500 defense personnel have been called to action along with four naval boats and teams of underwater and aerial experts to assess the overall situation and prepare a cleanup protocol.

The ship struck the reef about 12 nautical miles from the coast of New Zealand, damaging pipes and causing two of the ship’s holds to flood. Although the ship is listing to port, the vessel is stable and the tanks containing the remaining oil were reported as not damaged.

New Zealand’s Green Party is requesting the government to release more details about the materials on board the stricken ship, with special concern for the hazardous goods in transit.