Category Archives: Trend Review & Foresight

US Housing Markets Cooling Off

US National Home Price NSA Index has gone up 45% from January 2020 to June 2022.  Since Fed increased interest rates seven times 2022, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage became 6-7%. Sales of existing homes have fallen (Timiraos, 2022, December 25).

Particularly, according to US Census Bureau data, US household percentage of the entire population has been steady and entire population over age 16 seems to grow very low or lower than before the Pandemic (see figure 5). This offers some background picture of house ownerships (FEDS notes, 2022, May 06). As single ownership increased during the Pandemic, this may be related to the behavioral change. For example, professionals working remotely may have purchased a residential place.

Recent Wall Street Journal said that some mortgage banker warned that the full effects of high interest rate have yet to be felt (Timiraos, 2022, December 25).

Attempting to Rein Inflation in US

Price of goods became high under Covid -19 Pandemic when people got cash support and purchased items online. That is a demand side picture of US inflation.  Chinese lockdown and US port bottleneck strains (Berger, 2022, January 28) brought supply chain disruption (Shih, 2022, July 22), which is a supply-side picture to price increase and inflation.

There has been increasing worries including Senator Elizabeth Warren and economist John Cochrane, saying Federal Reserve is not fully equipped with a right tool in this new type of inflation (Varadarajan, 2022, February 19). Mr. Cochrane pointed out that softening demand with high interest may have limit as compared to supply expansion. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren blamed Putin’s invasion to Ukraine for US inflation (Warren, 2022, July 24). She described as US could have been in a full economic recovery until Fed began to increase interest rate. Oil price has been a big contribution to inflation, which she highlighted. She warned that one medicine in kitchen cabinet does not cure all illnesses, meaning high interest is not a remedy in this type of inflation. She was looking at supply side of inflation.

As Wall Street Journal correspondent for Federal Reserve described in the newsletter (Sparshott, 2022, November 5), Jerome Powell emphasized price stability prior to soft landing or even recession in this juncture. Thus, Jerome Powell implied that there will be longer tightening with lower hikes, possible half percentage point. Fed has a tool to tame demand side of inflation.

If Putin ends war in Ukraine and China loosens its lockdown policies for Covid spread, will everything go back to normal? Maybe. Realistically, however, this may result in long inflation as there is no coordinated efforts to tame inflation, at least not materialized yet.

Provided with The Blue Ocean Asset Management Partners, LLC. Further information, please contact us

Driverless Technology

Driverless cars would be majority in US cities by 2025, according to John Zimmer, co-founder of Lyft said in 2016 (Michaels & Elliott, 2022, October 27). This week driverless technology is hotspot for different reasons.

On Wednesday, October 26, Mobileye offered its initial public offering price at $21 per share. However, Mobileye made a better than expected IPOs and landed at $28.97 on Wednesday. There was worrisome due to current US stock market’s cooling off. In addition, standing alone business model for driverless technology was viewed as unsustainable according to Daniel Morgan, a senior manager at Synovus Trust co. (Driebusch & Higgins, 2022, October 26). Also, other competitors are better funded, for example, Waymo by Alphabet Inc. and Zoox by Amazon.com.

On the other hand, US Justice Department and Securities regulators are investigating Tesla if it may have misled consumers and investors (Michaels & Elliott, 2022, October 27). Tesla’s Autopilot system is most popular and highest driving assisting system on the roads, whether it may overstate its functions. 

Driverless technology or autopilot technology is, fully or partially, applied for most new cars, as Intel’s CEO, Mr. Gelsinger, observes. We are just witnessing Mobileye going alone in public equity markets this week. US car industry is going driverless, which might be slower than the expectation. Still, it seems going that way.

Provided with The Blue Ocean Asset Management Partners, LLC. Further information, please contact us

Not a Good Time for Experimental Economic Policies

UK had 45 days of Liz Truss as a Prime Minister and Kwasi Kwarteng, chief of Treasury and a new experimental economy policy. That ended when Liz Truss resigned in Thursday, October 20 (Luhnow, Hannon & Dulaney, 2022, October 20). They announced UK growth plan by cutting taxes and subsidies at the same time. In addition, they said to cap energy prices to support families. All sounded great. Where will they get money? UK government will borrow more money. This shocked markets as global economies are worried about inflations. Then, markets tumbled, and UK currency dropped lowest points. 

This year might not be a right time to do experimental things in real economy, particularly related to UK pensions with 11 million Britons (Authers, 2022, October 21). The Truss economic plan was not well prepared for its funding, no clarity in that regards, and not well coordinated with economic activity participants, particularly UK central banks. 

Provided with The Blue Ocean Asset Management Partners, LLC. Further information, please contact us

NVDA at its Bottom

Due to cooling off in video game sector after Pandemic frenzy, NVidia has gone down by 57% in 2022. This is a harder fall considering that iShares Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) fell 42%. Nvidia had to close Russian market and taper off China market due to US sanctions against two countries.

Today, Thursday Oct 20, Piper Sandler reaffirms its Overweight rating at $200 as Barron’s reported (Kim, 2022, October 20). According to Harsh Kumar, the analyst of Piper Sandler, Nvidia will continue to make new models and generations of graphic cards as it did with Ada Lovelace that was developed from the architecture of RTX4090 card. This new model was launched in September and showed strong demand. So, Nvidia will start growing in 2023 and 2024.

Some anticipate that markets will fall another 10% when US Fed reserve reduce its balance sheet soon. For long term value investors, this might be a good time to pick up good companies like Nvidia at good price, around $125.59 or 10% lower.

Provided with The Blue Ocean Asset Management Partners, LLC. Further information, please contact us

Lithium Battery on the Move

Lithium became a hot commodity since Tesla launched its electric vehicles using it (Horner, 2021, March 10). Tesla (TSLA) announced that it would build its own battery cells in 2022 and triple its lithium production  at its mega factory in Nevada desert (Higgins & Somerville, 2020, September 23).   

Lithium prices have been rising and will be on the rise due to high demand for electric vehicles that use lithium-ion batteries between 7% to 10% (Hoyle & Winning, 2021, April 19).  Though depending on battery chemistry and product diversification, lithium industry is ready for the bumpy ride by gearing up for margin squeezing competitions and global market volatility.

For example, Lithium Americas Corp, is a Canadian mining company who raised $400 million in 2021 January to fund a Nevada project to take lithium out of clay deposits. Albemarle spent more than $30 milion dollar to assess the area and invested $30 to $50 million to produce lithium in Nevada (Patterson & Ramkumar, 2021, March 9). Other two: Piedmont Lithium and Livent also moved fast to catch up with market demand and competitions.

On the other hand, Orocobre Ltd. Agreed to buy its rival Galaxy Resources Ltd in all stock deal to be one of the world’s biggest lithium producer. This new miner would be the fifth-largest global lithium miner valued at USD $3.06 billion (Hoyle & Winning, 2021, April 19).

As Biden Administration has placed its heart in renewable energy infrastructure including electric vehicles, all eyes have been on lithium and lithium battery technology for a while. In addition, it might be wise to figure out what is going to be a wonderful industry in the future.

Cite this as follows:

Rachel Kim (2021, May 2). Lithium Battery on the Move, The Blue Ocean Management.com, retrieved from: https://theblueoceanmanagement.com/2021/05/02/lithium-battery-on-the-move/

References:

Higgins, T. & Somerville, H. (2020, September 23). Tesla ‘Battery Day’ Spotlights Elon Musk Plan for $25,000 Electric Car, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-battery-day-elon-musk-shareholder-meeting-11600802500

Patterson, S. & Ramkumar, A. (2021, March 9). America’s Battery-Powered Car Hopes Ride on Lithium. One Producer Paves the Way, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-battery-powered-car-hopes-ride-on-lithium-one-producer-paves-the-way-11615311932

Hoyle, R. & Winning, D. (2021, April 19). Lithium Miners Ink $3 Billion Merger as Demand for Electric Vehicles Booms,Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/lithium-miners-ink-3-billion-merger-as-demand-for-electric-vehicles-booms-11618827032

Horner, W. (2021, March 10). Booming Electric-Vehicle Demand Supercharges Lithium Prices, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/booming-electric-vehicle-demand-supercharges-lithium-prices-11615391390

Relief at least for Now in Chinese Bonds Market

For the quick update on the previous article, China Huarong Asset Management Co. redeemed 600 million Singapore dollar bond, US$453 million dollar that matured on April 27, 2021.

When Huarong Asset Management Co. did not release its earning report at the end of March, there was grave concerns about the firm and its coming bonds due. Until now, April 28, there was no performance report except they said overall net income plunged 92% to $32 million. Fitch Ratings lowered its investment-grade credit ration on Huarong to BBB from A, three notch down.

Reference:

Ping, C.K. (2021, April 27). Chinese Bad-Debt Manager Huarong Repays a $453 Million Bond, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-bad-debt-manager-huarong-repays-a-453-million-bond-11619514012

Autonomous Air Defense Industry

Autonomous Electric Vehicle makers have enjoyed US markets overwhelming enthusiasm in 2020 (Yergin, 2021, April 23). However, the other sector that has heavy investment on autonomous operation and backed by the US congress is the US Air Defense industry, which is largely overlooked. 

The US congress passed the $740 billion defense authorization bill in 2021 January, which expanded automation and promotion of autonomous operations across all the services area: in the air, on the ground, and under water (Pasztor, 2021, February 13).

For example, the US Marines had Kaman Corp. to devise ways to use autonomous choppers to deliver supplies to remote outposts, which was needed in Afghanistan combat due to the height.

With the US Defense Department’s primary research arm, Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Sikorsky unit has worked on autonomous helicopters for various missions (Pasztor, 2021, February 13)

The US Navy admirals plans to have 120 vessels that operate without crews, as US Congress gives a easy pass. In addition, US Navy wants to run autonomous undersea vehicles to carry cargo, divers and to run intelligence to gather mines. They have worked with Boeing and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (Pasztor, 2021, February 13).

The US Air Force has autonomous jet fighter paired with a traditional ones, which shows the advantages in mock dogfights. It also has autonomous areal tankers operating soon above the Earth operating without crews. Lastly, the US Army is updating Bradley fighting vehicle that transport ground troops to operate without human inside. It was 1980s version (Pasztor, 2021, February 13).

The US defense has made great effort on automation indeed and seems to stay that way for a long time even Biden administration, considering all noises from Ukraine border and the Southwest sea where Russia and China has flexed their military muscles.

Cited as:

Rachel Kim (2021, April 23). Autonomous Air Defense Industry, The Blue Ocean Management.com, retrieved from: https://theblueoceanmanagement.com/2021/04/23/autonomous-air-defense-industry/

Reference:

Pasztor, A. (2021, February 13). Forget Self-Driving Cars—the Pentagon Wants Autonomous Ships, Choppers and Jets, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/forget-self-driving-carsthe-pentagon-wants-autonomous-ships-choppers-and-jets-11613212200

Yergin, D. (2021, April 23). How Electric, Self-Driving Cars and Ride-Hailing Will Transform the Car Industry, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-electric-self-driving-cars-and-ride-hailing-will-transform-the-car-industry-11619189966

NVIDA’s Acquisition Deal of Arm Holdings in Doubt & Hostility in UK

Nvida Corp.(NVDA) proposed $40 billion deal to buy Arm, British chip designer company, which seems to face regulatory challenge around the world. For now, that starts with British government (Woo & Sylvers, 2021, April 19). When SoftBank bought it  in 2016, it made promise to keep jobs in Britain (Woo. & Dou, 2016, July 18). For the same reason, Labour Party is against Nvida’s acquisition as it sees potential job losses.

Nvida is founded in 1993Santa Clara, CA, in 1993 by Jensen Huang and becomes one of the biggest chip designer for graphics for videogames, data analytic and automation with artificial intelligence (Fitch & Woo, 2020, September 13).

Arm Holdings is one of the global semiconductor companies, who designs and licenses  90% of smartphone chips worldwide. Particularly, it is known for its least energy consuming chip designing. It has partnership with Samsung Electronics Co., Qualcomm, and others. As  Arm Holding had been working with global chip producers as a supplier, it announced its “A Shared Purpose” that would not have exclusive relationship with any partner. SoftBank Group Corp bought it at $32 billion and sold it at $40 billion to Nvida (Fitch & Woo, 2020, September 13). 

This deal offers a great position to Nvida to compete against Intel and to be able to work with smartphone producers including Apple. Particularly in early 2021, there are great attention to chip makers between China and USA. We will see how this plays out in turbulent global politics.

Please cited as :

Rachel Kim (2021, April 22). NVIDA’s Acquisition Deal of Arm Holdings in Doubt & Hostility in UK, The Blue Ocean Management.com, retrieved from: https://theblueoceanmanagement.com/category/theblueoceanmanagement-com/market-trend-foresight/game-industry/

References:

Woo, S. & Dou, E. (2016, July 18). SoftBank to Buy ARM Holdings for $32 Billion, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/softbank-agrees-to-buy-arm-holdings-for-more-than-32-billion-1468808434

Fitch, A. & Woo, S. (2020, September 13). What Are Nvidia and Arm? And Why Are They Combining?, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/who-are-nvidia-and-arm-and-why-are-they-talking-about-getting-together-11599938641

Woo, S. & Sylvers, E. (2021, April 19). Nvidia’s $40 Billion Deal for Arm Faces U.K. National-Security Probe, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-starts-national-security-probe-of-nvidia-s-40-billion-deal-to-buy-arm-11618837683

Chinese Bond Market Jittery

When China Huarong Asset Management Co. missed its March deadline when it planned to release its 2020 financial results, investors sold off its bonds and placed them below face value. China Huarong Asset Management Co. sold off its owned US dollar bond. Huarong Asset Management is mostly owned by China’s Ministry of Finance and one of the big four asset management in Beijing since its inception at the late 1990 (Yu & Ping, 2021, April 15).

Huarong had 1.73 trillion yuan of assets that are roughly equivalent of $265 billion. In addition, it has $22billion of international bonds outstanding, which worries many investors. That international bonds are issued by offshore units without direct guarantee by Huarong Asset Management Co. Three quarters of Huarong’s global bonds are covered by Keepwell agreements only (Yu & Ping, 2021, April 19).

Considering that Huarong is the largest holder of Chinese bad-debts in the late 1990s, it seems that Chinese government stops backing off Chines State owned institution and forces restructuring its debt structure. For example, in 2019, Baoshang Bank Co. was seized to reduce offshore credits and showcased it (Yu & Ping, 2021, April 15).

Some analysts including Chang Wei Liang at DBS Bank, see long headwinds for Huarong who needs to restructure its complex book. By contrast, others see overreaction in market selloffs. For example, Shujin Chen in Jefferies said Huarong is too big to fail considering its direct ownership of Chinese central government (Yu & Ping, 2021, April 19).

Overseas investment needs multiple scenarios where investors are fully prepared for, including political climate change to credit market as Chinese government seems to ponder if it shall continue or discontinue its full hearted supports.

Cite this as:

Rachel Kim (2021, April 21). Chinese Bond Market Jittery, The Blue Ocean Management.com, retrieved from: https://theblueoceanmanagement.com/2021/04/21/chinese-bond-market-jittery/

Yu, X. & Ping, C.K. (2021, April 15). Chinese Asset Manager Suffers Bond Selloff After Delaying Results, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-asset-manager-suffers-bond-selloff-after-delaying-results-11618496945

Yu, X. & Ping, C.K. (2021, April 19). Chinese Asset Manager’s Bonds Recover After Selloff, Wall Street Journal, retrieved from: https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-asset-managers-bonds-recover-after-selloff-11618826324