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Las Vegas Sands May Resume Macau Work; Shares Rise (Update2)Share | Email | Print | A A A

By Carmen Ng

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Las Vegas Sands Corp., controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, said itmay resume building in Macau this calendar year on optimism casino revenue is picking up. Theshares gained 18 percent.

“We have to get construction back to work as quickly as possible,” Stephen Weaver, Asian regionalpresident, told reporters at a briefing in Hong Kong today. Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore are still“very privileged” locations for the resort business in the long term, he added.

Las Vegas Sands, which lost 94 percent of its market value last year as gamblers stayed awayfrom casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, suspended construction in both cities in November to financethe Singapore resort and a casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Government officials fromGuangdong, Macau and Hong Kong met in February to discuss easing visa controls after Chinarestricted travel by its residents to Macau early last year to curb gambling.

Las Vegas Sands rose 66 cents to $4.40 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The sharesadvanced 24 percent yesterday.

Macau’s gross casino revenue dropped 6 percent last month to 9.5 billion patacas ($1.2 billion) froma year earlier, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported. That compared with a 15.5 percentdecline in February and a 17 percent fall in January.

Las Vegas Sands is on schedule to open its Singapore casino at the end of 2009 in a “fully funded”position, Weaver said. Rental prices at the retail component of Marina Bay Sands, the Singaporeresort now under construction, have been “pulled down to adjust to the market,” he said.

Singapore is counting on the Sands resort and a competing project by Genting International Plcto help the city-state achieve a goal of luring 17 million visitors and tripling annual tourism revenueto S$30 billion ($20 billion) by 2015.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carmen Ng in Hong Kong at [email protected].

Last Updated: April 2, 2009 16:32 EDT

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Taiwan Dollar Has Biggest Two-Day Drop Since 2001; Bonds SteadyShare | Email | Print | A A A

By Carmen Ng and Yu-huay Sun

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s dollar slumped, capping its biggest two-day drop in eight years, asoverseas investors sold the island’s stocks following a seventh straight slide in monthly exports.Bonds were little changed.

The currency fell to a one-week low versus the greenback as global funds cut their holdings of localshares by NT$10.2 billion ($301 million), the most in a month. Shares slumped globally afterinvestors including George Soros said a rally over the last four weeks was unsustainable.

“There’s a clear heightening of risk aversion as equities in the U.S. and Asia both declined,” saidDariusz Kowalczyk, chief investment strategist at SJS Markets Ltd. in Hong Kong. “We are seeingincreased volatility in Taiwan’s dollar because the market data continues to be weak.”

The island’s dollar slipped 1 percent to NT$33.90 against the U.S. currency as of the local 4 p.m.close, according to Taipei Forex Inc. It’s dropped 2 percent in the past two days, the most since May2001. The central bank said the currency was “relatively stable” in a statement released today afterthe close of trading in local financial markets.

The Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) yesterday warned local banks not tospeculate on gains in the island’s dollar, the Commercial Times reported today, citing unidentifiedtraders. It bought between $400 million and $500 million of U.S. dollars yesterday to help drivedown the local currency, the newspaper said.

‘Back to Earth’

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of regional shares fell 2.2 percent today following a 2.4 percent slidein the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Taiwan’s overseas sales shrank 36 percent last month from a year earlier, the finance ministryreported yesterday. Japan, Asia’s biggest economy, today said its exports halved in February andGermany, the world’s No. 1 exporter, reported a fourth decline in monthly shipments.

“The earnings reports ahead would be pretty ugly and it’s time for people to come back to earth andremember the fundamental problems,” said David Cohen, director of Asian Economic Forecasting atAction Economics in Singapore.

Taiwan’s economy contracted 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter, pushing the island into its firstrecession since 2001. The jobless rate climbed to a record 5.6 percent in February.

Taiwan’s 10-year government bonds were unchanged. The yield on the 1.375 percent bond maturingMarch 2019 held at 1.53 percent as of the 1:30 p.m. close in Taipei, according to Gretai SecuritiesMarket, Taiwan’s biggest exchange for bonds.

To contact the reporters on this story: Carmen Ng in Hong Kong at [email protected];Yu-huay Sun in Taipei [email protected]

Last Updated: April 8, 2009 05:25 EDT

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Hong Kong Rugby Sevens Defies Recession With Weekend ofPartyingShare | Email | Print | A A A

By Stan James and Carmen Ng

March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s sports fans andbusiness people won’t be denied their annual festival, defyingthe global recession for a weekend of hard rugby and harderpartying.

The city’s rugby sevens tournament, the world’s premierevent in the shortened version of the game, has matchedincome from last year, said the top official for the sport inHong Kong.

“Sales so far are in line with previous years,” Allan Payne,executive director of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union,

said in an interview. “There’s also an appetite for people to put their financial problems behind themfor the weekend.”

The 33-year-old tournament that kicked off today coincides with co-sponsor Credit Suisse GroupAG’s annual investor conference in the city and is Hong Kong’s biggest annual sports event, drawingsupporters from around the world. Last year’s tournament brought in HK$240 million ($31 million)from visitors to the city, and HK$200 million from Hong Kong residents, Payne said, citing Hong KongTourism Board statistics.

“It’s a forum for both sports and business people,” he said. Credit Suisse hosts 2,000 investorsduring the week and co-sponsor Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. flies in fans from around the world,Payne said.

Some financial companies that have leased corporate boxes at the stadium in the past to entertainclients have either decided to skip the tournament or scale back on hospitality. Still, the union hasno problem in attracting sponsors.

Window of Opportunity

“We’ve been trying to get in as a sponsor for many years,” Steve Leonard, the Singapore-basedpresident of EMC Corp.’s Asia-Pacific operations. “It just so happened that there’s a window ofopportunity this year, so EMC is very committed to join the Sevens regardless of the economy.”

The company expects to be associated with the Sevens for at least five years because “it’s animportant experience with our customers,” he said. “I’ll be meeting at least 60 customers. Somepeople that I can only see once a year. The Sevens is a very special time. I can actually ask a bankerbeside me, “Hey, do you remember we were here three years ago?”

The Excelsior Hotel, which with its English-style Dickens Bar is popular with both fans and teams, isexperiencing the same jump in bookings as in previous years, said Monica Suen, communicationsmanager. She said the hotel doesn’t disclose booking numbers.

The tills at Delaney’s bar in Wan Chai, the Irish-theme pub that’s a key watering hole during the

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Sevens, were twice as busy as normal last night and a full house is on the cards tonight, said NoelSmyth, managing director of the pub-chain group.

Party Time

“When it’s a party, people will go all out to enjoy themselves and spend money,” said Smyth.

The recession is pushing some companies to cut back amid tighter scrutiny of corporate spending.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and American International Group Inc. are among the financialcompanies that will either miss the tournament this year or have scaled back hospitality.

Goldman, the recipient of $10 billion from the U.S. government, sublet its corporate box and won’tbe using it for the first time in more than a decade, spokesman Edward Naylor said this month. Sohas AIG, the U.S. insurer that’s received multiple bailouts, said a spokeswoman who declined to beidentified.

Citigroup Inc. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc plan to scale back hospitality at theSevens festival.

Financial companies that received multibillion-dollar government funds are under increasing scrutinyfrom lawmakers over how they spend their money, prompting some to drop sponsorships and slashentertainment budgets.

Medicine Time

The 49 hospitality suites at Hong Kong Stadium cost HK$450,000 ($58,000) to HK$650,000 annuallyover two or three years, said Leisure Department spokesman Chris Choy.

The game involves seven players per team, compared with rugby union’s 15, and lasts about 16minutes, apart from the final, which is about 20 minutes long. A traditional rugby game is 80minutes long. The winning team earns 30 points, the most of any of the competitions on the globalsevens circuit, and $100,000 in prize money.

For EMC’s Leonard the tournament is about more than the sport.

“In a down market, everybody’s looking for a bright spot,” he said. The Sevens is “almost like amedicine, with all that passion, music, and people networking with old friends. By the day it ends, Istart to think about the next one.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stan James at [email protected]

Last Updated: March 27, 2009 03:33 EDT

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Hong Kong Stocks Decline, Led By Banks; Dah Sing Banking SlumpsShare | Email | Print | A A A

By Hanny Wan and Carmen Ng

April 22 (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong stocks fell, led by banks as a share sale from Dah SingBanking Group Ltd. and job cuts at HSBC Holdings Plc’s private-banking unit raised concernsabout the industry’s earnings prospects.

Dah Sing plunged 12 percent while HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, slid 1.7 percent. Most stocksclimbed in the morning session amid optimism China’s economic growth will support corporateearnings. China National Building Material Co., the nation’s second-biggest cement maker,jumped 6.9 percent after saying profit rose and as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicted China’seconomy will expand 8.3 percent this year, faster than previously forecast.

“The banking industry in Hong Kong will be in gloom this year,” said Kenny Tang, Hong Kong-basedexecutive director of Redford Securities Co. “Recent gains have been clearly led by China-relatedstocks, especially infrastructure shares that are benefiting the most from increased governmentspending.”

The Hang Seng Index slipped 2.7 percent to close at 14,878.45, after rising as much as 0.7percent. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks the so-called H shares of Chinesecompanies, slid 3.5 percent to 8,721.25.

China-related shares also declined on concern regulators will end a seven-month moratorium oninitial public offerings. There have been no new listings on the mainland’s two stock exchanges sinceJiangsu Huachang Chemical Co.’s debut in Shenzhen on Sept. 25.

“There have been rumors of IPOs resuming in May in China,” said Steven Leung, director ofinstitutional sales at UOB-Kay Hian in Hong Kong. “That’s affecting sentiment.”

Job Cuts

Dah Sing slumped 12 percent to HK$5.81. The bank plans to sell 54 million shares at HK$5.60apiece, according to a statement filed to Hong Kong’s stock exchange today.

HSBC slipped 1.7 percent to HK$51.25. The bank said yesterday it eliminated 100 positions at itsprivate-banking department in Hong Kong, which employed 1,200 people.

A gauge tracking financial stocks accounted for 57 percent of the Hang Seng Index’s drop. More thanseven stocks on the 42- member gauge declined for each that climbed. April futures slipped 2.5percent to 14,860.

China National Building jumped 6.9 percent to HK$13.88. The company said yesterday profit lastyear increased 66 percent to 1.51 billion yuan ($221 million) as acquisitions in the country’s biggestcement markets raised sales.

China’s economy will expand 8.3 percent in 2009, from an earlier estimate of 6 percent, GoldmanSachs’ Hong Kong-based economists Helen Qiao and Yu Song wrote in a note today. Growth willquicken to 10.9 percent next year, compared with a previous prediction for a 9 percent expansion,they said.

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Citic Pacific

The Hang Seng Index has gained 31 percent from a four-month low on March 9 as investorsspeculated government stimulus efforts worldwide, including a 4 trillion-yuan ($586 billion) packagein China, will ease the global economic slump. The valuation of companies on the gauge is at 13.3times estimated earnings, down from 18.6 times at the beginning of 2008.

Citic Pacific Ltd., an investment company controlled by China’s cabinet, climbed 3 percent toHK$12.20, the sharpest jump on the Hang Seng Index. Citic Pacific said yesterday it will book aHK$510 million ($66 million) gain from selling its 20 percent stake in North United Power.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hanny Wan in Hong Kong at [email protected].

Last Updated: April 22, 2009 05:06 EDT

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Singamas Container Tumbles Record 38% on Rights Offer(Update1)Share | Email | Print | A A A

By Carmen Ng and Lee Spears

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Singamas Container Holdings Ltd. tumbled 38 percent, the most since its1993 Hong Kong initial public offering, after announcing a HK$492 million ($63 million) rights offer.

The second-biggest maker of sea-cargo boxes dropped 29 cents to 47 cents at the close. HongKong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index rose 2.5 percent.

Singamas plans to sell new shares at 35 Hong Kong cents each, a 54 percent discount to the lasttrading price before today, to repay bank loans and trim interest costs. Demand for cargo-boxes hasplunged as slumping world trade forces shipping lines to park thousands of containers at portsaround the world.

The container-maker will offer investors two new shares for every one held, it said in a Hong Kongstock exchange filing today. DBS Asia Capital Ltd. is underwriting the offer. Strategic Times Ltd., aunit of Singamas’s controlling shareholder, Pacific International Lines (Private) Ltd., is acting assub-underwriter for about 75 percent of the offer. The sale would increase Singamas’s issued sharecapital by more than 50 percent.

Chief Financial Officer Sylvia Tam declined to comment when called by Bloomberg News.

Singamas resumed trading today after being halted on Feb. 27 pending the rights-issue statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carmen Ng in Hong Kong at [email protected]; LeeSpears in Beijing at [email protected]

Last Updated: March 4, 2009 05:25 EST

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French Spiderman Climbs Li Ka-Shing’s Hong Kong Tower


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By Carmen Ng and James Peng

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Alain Robert, a Frenchman who calls

himself “Spiderman,” climbed billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Cheung

Kong Center in Hong Kong, reaching the top to find security

guards waiting for him.

Robert waved to about 70 onlookers and several police officers

at the base of the tower, in the city’s Central business district.

Cheung Kong Center is 270 meters (886 feet) tall, according

to Shirley Lai, a spokeswoman at Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.,

the building’s landlord.

He told reporters after the climb he did the stunt to raise

awareness about global warming and push for cuts in emissions at a global conference being held in

Copenhagen later this year.

“If the world leaders don’t make meaningful and aggressive decisions in the Copenhagen Conference

and reduce the greenhouse emissions by 50 percent, in 100 months, we’ll reach the point of no

return and it will be the end of the world,” he said.

The police won’t press charges because the building is a private property and there’s been no

complaint from the owner, Anne Lam, a Hong Kong police officer, said by telephone.

Robert, who arrived in Hong Kong two days ago, climbs without equipment and has scaled more

than 80 skyscrapers and monuments worldwide in the past 15 years, his Web site said.

Robert, 46, has climbed five Hong Kong buildings since 1996, including the Four Seasons Hotel and

the Cheung Kong Center, the Web site said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carmen Ng in Hong Kong at [email protected]; James

Peng in Hong Kong at [email protected].

Last Updated: February 17, 2009 04:04 EST

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Taiwan Dollar Drops on Technical Indicator Signal; Bonds FallShare | Email | Print | A A A

By Carmen Ng and Yu-huay Sun

March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s dollar fell the most in threeweeks as a technical indicator signaled the currency wouldsnap its rally and after a government report yesterday showedexport orders extended a slump. Bonds fell.

The currency’s 14-day relative strength index against the U.S.dollar dropped below 30 in the last two days for the first timethis year, a level that points to a reversal in direction. Slowingdemand for Asian goods amid the global recession sentTaiwan’s export orders, indicative of shipments in one to threemonths, down 22 percent in February, a fifth month of


“It’s a position adjustment,” said Thomas Harr, a senior currency strategist at Standard CharteredBank in Singapore. “The Taiwan dollar would still be bearish in the coming three to six monthsbecause its economy is in a deep recession. Lots of Asian currencies have been strengtheningperhaps too much last week on optimism even when the market is still in fear.”

Taiwan’s dollar dropped 0.4 percent to NT$33.907 as of 2:19 p.m. local time, according to TaipeiForex Inc. The RSI was 36 after dropping to 29.96 yesterday. A level below 30 or above 70 signalsgains or losses may end for the currency, which rallied for six days to March 23. It has appreciated3.2 percent in March following a two-month loss.

Industrial production plunged 27 percent in February after dropping 43 percent a month earlier, agovernment report showed yesterday. The jobless rate climbed to an unprecedented 5.6 percent lastmonth as manufacturers and banks fired workers, according to a statistics bureau report on March23.

Bonds Fall

Declining demand for Taiwan’s electronics goods and weaker consumer spending resulted in an 8.4percent contraction in gross domestic product last quarter, tipping the economy into recession forthe first time since 2001.

Taiwan’s 10-year government bonds fell for a fifth day on speculation the central bank may refrainfrom cutting interest rates further at a policy meeting tomorrow.

Ten of 14 economists surveyed before the release of yesterday’s exports report, predicted theCentral Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) would lower the discount rate on 10- day loansto banks by a quarter-percentage point to 1 percent. Three forecast no change and one a reductionto 0.875 percent.

Export orders declined 22.27 percent in February from a year earlier, slowing from January’s record41.67 percent plunge, the economic ministry said yesterday.

Policy makers lowered the benchmark rate to 1.25 percent from 1.5 percent on Feb. 18, the seventh

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reduction since late September.

“Some people are cutting bond holdings before the board meeting,” said Kevin Tseng, a bondtrader at Yuanta Securities Co. in Taipei. “The central bank should stop cutting borrowing costs asthe downbeat mood on the economy has eased.”

The yield on the 1.375 percent bond maturing in March 2019 climbed half a basis point to 1.538percent, according to Gretai Securities Market, Taiwan’s biggest exchange for bonds. Its price fell0.0434, or NT$43.4 per NT$100,000 face amount, to 98.5058.

To contact the reporters on this story: Carmen Ng in Hong Kong at [email protected];Yu-huay Sun in Taipei [email protected]

Last Updated: March 25, 2009 02:30 EDT

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Real Gold Mining May Raise HK$1 Billion in Hong Kong OfferingShare | Email | Print | A A A

By Carmen Ng

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Real Gold Mining Ltd., a Chinese bullion producer, plans to raise as muchHK$1.03 billion ($133 million) in an initial public offering in Hong Kong to fund acquisitions.

The gold producer is selling 165 million shares for between HK$4.35 and HK$6.25 apiece, accordingto a company statement today. About 90 percent of the offering will be sold to institutional investorsand the rest to small investors, it said.

The price of gold has surged 23 percent in the past three months as investors seek a safe havenasset amid the global financial turmoil. Real Gold joins other producers like Newcrest Mining Ltd. inselling shares to take advantage of investors’ interest.

“There are a lot of opportunities for acquisitions,” Qiu Haicheng, chief executive officer, said at apress conference today. The company will “benefit from the future rising gold price,” he said.

Proceeds will be used mainly to fund acquisitions of gold resources in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang andother regions, Qiu said. A gold producer listed in Hong Kong has already made “a significant order”for the shares, he said, without identifying the company.

Citigroup Global Markets Asia Ltd. and Macquarie Capital Securities Ltd. are managing the sharesale.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carmen Ng in Hong Kong at [email protected]

Last Updated: February 9, 2009 05:28 EST

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Yen, Taiwan Dollar, China’s Yuan, Rupiah: Asia Currency Preview

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By Carmen Ng

April 6 (Bloomberg) -- The following events and economic reports may influence trading in Asian

currencies today. Exchange rates are from the previous session.

Japanese yen: Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura will hold media briefings at 11 a.m. and 4

p.m. in Tokyo.

The Bank of Japan starts its two-day policy meeting and economists estimate the central bank will

leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.1 percent.

The yen traded at 100.25 against the dollar at 7:21 a.m. in Sydney.

Taiwan dollar: Consumer prices dropped 0.6 percent from a year earlier in March after sliding 1.3

percent the previous month, the biggest decline in six years, according to a Bloomberg News survey

of economists. The inflation data is due at 4 p.m. today.

The government will release a separate report on Taiwan’s wholesale prices for March at the same


The Taiwan dollar was at NT$33.38.

Chinese yuan: The People’s Bank of China may release as early as today details of foreign-

exchange reserves for March. The holdings, the world’s biggest, stood at $1.95 trillion at the end

of December.

The yuan was at 6.8348.

Indonesian rupiah: Bank Indonesia may release its wholesale prices index for February and

consumer confidence index for March as early as today. Wholesale prices slumped 29 percent from a

year earlier in January and consumer confidence was the highest since 2007 in February.

The rupiah was at 11,465.

Malaysian ringgit: A statistics department report on April 9 may show industrial production shrank

13.1 percent from a year earlier in February, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

That would follow a 20 percent drop in January and be the sixth straight decline.

The ringgit was at 3.5803.

To contact the reporters on this story: Carmen Ng in Hong Kong at [email protected]

Last Updated: April 5, 2009 17:31 EDT

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