Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Chungking Mansions, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong

I was on my way to The Intercontinental hotel for dinner buffet. After getting off at Central Station, i thought i would drop into Chungking Mansions to check out the money exchange rates.

Chungking Mansions, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
36-44 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong


If you want to see where the immigrants are in HK, you needn't go further than Chungking Mansions, located right in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. This building is also known to the locals as Chungking Jungle, which has some rather unflattering connotation. The name isn't stood for "concrete jungle" because all buildings have that connotation. Besides, "concrete jungle" isn't a common Chinese expression. The term 'jungle' is used in the sense that "it's a jungle out there". Or in this case, "it's a jungle in there", implying the place is rather wild and lawless. I suspect the word "Jungle" may have racist overtone. But that's my interpretation.

I'm in no position to say whether the place deserves this name.

Chungking Express movie poster


The most critically acclaimed HK director Wong Kar Wai directed an art-house flick named Chungking Express (1994), in which this building provides the backdrop for the story. The Chinese title for this movie is in fact Chungking Jungle (重慶森林). Side-note: This film has the highest rating on IMDB for HK cinema.

Does the name Chungking Jungle comes before or after the film? Dunno (i suspect after). Arts and reality imitates each other, and these days, the line between the 2 blurs so much, it isn't easy to separate them. This film enhances the building's notoriety.

I thought i would do a Wong Kar-Wai moment (not a Kodak moment) with my video recording of the shops on the ground floor. Good enough to win some kind of cinematography award...not!



Anyhoo, this place is like a one stop shop for the immigrants, and with natural extension to tourists with shopping needs like money changers, phone cards, wire transfers, travel goods, etc. The place has many Indian money changers that give competitive rates. The Indian dominates money changer industry in SE Asia that spans from HK to Singapore. That's why i'm here: to swap some Singapore dollars for HK dollars. Yes, they do have better rates than elsewhere.




Monday, 11 December 2017

The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin

The Bitcoin prices are fueled by news of positive developments. As long as the positive news keep flowing, it keeps rising.

Smaller positive news have smaller price impact while bigger news have bigger price impact. That's a no-brainer. But exactly how much is tricky.

 The 3 Bitcoin's Developmental Stages 
And there're really no bigger development than these 3 milestones shown in this chart, and the Bitcoin prices reflected their importance.

I consider the 2 listings of the Bitcoin futures contracts on 2 separate exchanges of CME and CBOE as a singular developmental milestone because they're just more of the same things. Ans what's more, they occur closely in time. From a historical or public perception point of view, they're really one unique Bitcoin development.

Bitcoin milestone developments from 2013 to 2017
The 3 most important Bitcoin milestones (prices in log scale).
(Click image to enlarge)

When a Bitcoin milestone news has run its course, its prices start to decline until the next important news event.

If we look the the chart using liner scale - which we all tend to use - then the latest price rises in 2017 seem excessive because its prices has gone up by tens of thousand of dollars while the prices in 2013 (the 1st milestone event) has only gone up by hundreds of dollars.

As stunning as the run-up in prices in 2017, it's still no match when comparing with the 1st milestone event of U.S. Congressional Hearing in terms of percentage increase. If you plot this chart in linear scale, you only see a tiny blip shown on the chart for this 1st milestone, and that's misleading when looking at Bitcoin price history when prices cover 3 orders of magnitude (100s, 1000s, and 10,000s).

Linear scale is fine for looking at short time-frame for trading purposes. To look at prices at the correct historical perspectives, log scale should be use.


The larger (and largest) price spike in Nov 2013 makes sense because its market cap is very small, and so its volatility tends to be greater. Also this 1st event should consider the most significant because it's the 1st, and at a time when Bitcoin community is still very small, and Bitcoin has close to zero credibility on Wall Street. This is an endorsement that could be considered as make or break event for Bitcoin.

In general, these 3 milestones are all significant endorsements from major mainstream bodies. The 1st two are from governments, and the last one is from Wall Street.


 The Year the Bitcoin's Voice Price Broke 
So this year can be considered as the coming of age or coming out of Bitcoin because after the 1st milestone, nearly 4 years has elapsed without another milestone or much public gaze until 2017. This lack of milestone development news have caused prices to decline from over $1000 to a low of just over $200.

But when Bitcoin has not one but two milestone developments in 2017. Not only that, or because of that, Bitcoin is thrusting into the public consciousness. It's a year when it becomes mainstream.

Even as late as 2016, CNBC only mentioned Bitcoin occasionally. In middle of this year, CNBC reported far more about Bitcoin than gold. Sometimes gold is only get talked about because of Bitcoin as Bitcoin is considered digital gold. In the last few weeks, Bitcoin gets more attention on CNBC than Apple or Amazon.

CNBC Bitcoin coverage


This year of the breakout isn't just a figure of speech for the news headlines and public awareness, but an actual technical breakout that can be clearly seen from the chart. From a technical point of view, 2017 should be a year when prices should run up strongly after breaking out of a 3-year base (which wouldn't matter if we use linear or log scale). This is indicated by the horizontal line that marks the price peak of the 1st milestone event.

If no further milestone event continues to emerge, i expect prices starting to fizzle out as they did in the past, until the next milestone event come forth. To time all these would be extremely difficult. Next few months would be very interesting for the development of Bitcoin prices.




Monday, 4 December 2017

BaoFeng Lake (宝峰湖), ZhangJiaJie, Hunan, China

After our visit to the Red Stone Forest National Geological Park with Wing On Travel this morning, we stopped at Hibiscus Town (Furongzheng 芙蓉镇) for lunch.

Berths, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Baofeng Lake and berths

While this town has some nice scenery (like a couple of beautiful waterfalls), it isn't included in Wing On's itinerary because it isn't well known outside China. Indeed, it isn't known inside China if it wasn't because of the film that bears that name of the town. In fact, the English name "Hibiscus Town" was born due to the movie Hibiscus Town (1986).

Hibiscus Town movie poster
Hibiscus Town movie poster
Starring China's noted actor / screenwriter / director Jiang Wen

This film receives critical acclaim because it touches on the politically touchy subject matter of Cultural Revolution. What adds to the film's allure and profile is its government's ban.

When a film is banned, it enhances its popularity. To the dismay of art-house audience, the ban was lifted later. You can confirm it by entering the film name 芙蓉镇 into Baidu, the Chinese Google. Or go to douban website, which is the Chinese equivalence of IMDB. If the film is banned, you won't find an entry in either of these 2 major Chinese websites. Chinese government has gradually eased on the censorship and increasingly allowing more and sensitive politically subjects to be explored. Of course, the unfettered political discourse of the 3 T's - Taiwan, Tibet and Tiananmen Incident - are still not yet ready. It's okay to talk about official corruption - in fact, a very popular topic for public discourse, thanks to Xi's official crackdown on corruption (partly for his power consolidation).

Hibiscus Town,  Hunan, China
A building opposite the restaurant where we had lunch and bears the name of the town

The town is actually quite old, going back to the 3 Kingdoms Period - circa 220 B.C. (around the time of Hannibal of the Carthage in the West), which is unexpected. It's known as one of the 4 famous historical town. If i'm not travelling with Wing On, i would likely to give this town a visit with so much history in it. Also known as Little Nanjing, which was served as capitals of several ancient Chinese dynasties (Nanjing, not this town).

Hibiscus Town, Hunan, China
China Mobile shop. This brickworks are commonly seen in this town.
Around Hunan, this type of basket can be seen everywhere.
They sometimes used for carrying baby, and (s)he looks rather comfy.


This tofu below is the local specialty. In Hibiscus Town, the female lead makes and sells tofu for a living. And our tour guide ordered this dish to complete the movie experience. There's only one word to describe it - "Salty".

Tofu, Hibiscus Town, Hunan, China
Local tofu of Hibiscus Town


We headed for Baofeng Lake after lunch. This is a fresh water reservoir (for irrigation purpose) in Zhangjiajie (張家界) that was created by damming a gorge. The shapes of mountains are not too dissimilar to those we're going to see in the next 2 days (albeit less impressive. But for the hydrophile,  this is probably more attractive. Unfortunately, i'm a hydrophobe after 2 near drownings). We admired the lake by a slow boat cruise.

We bought some Chinese local candy from a stand at the front of entrance.

Candy stand, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Traditional candy

It's quite nice with something like a soft toffee center with crunchy rice and peanut crust. Eat those from freshly made, warm and nice. The candy hardened after awhile, making it a teeth cracker.

Candy stand, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Ask for tasting sample before buying.


The following photos of the lake were all taken from the boat.

Berths, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Berths


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Do you think it looks like a camel ? Maybe not so much from this angle.


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Motor boat for Communist cadre
One of the perk of being the member of the Chinese Communist Party

Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Does B&W pic makes it look more like a traditional Chinese painting?


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China

Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
The rocks now looking a bit more like a camel from this angle, doesn't it ?


Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China



At the end of the boat ride is a park with a waterfall and koi pond.


Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China Plaque, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Koi / carp pond


Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China


Spray, Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Spray of the waterfall

Koi or carp pond, Waterfall, Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China
Baofeng Pond Mother & Son Co.



Wednesday, 29 November 2017

My Latest Bitcoin Trade and Next Downside Targets

I keep saying not to trade Bitcoin because i'm only here to study it, not making money. But then, the trader in me couldn't help it. Naughty!

Also when i started in 2014, the amount was play money. Now, it's getting to be serious money. I need to keep a closer eye.

I don't look at BTC chart every day. But when i look at it and it looks like there's a trade opportunity, i'll pull the trigger. Today is one of such day.

Bitcoin Price Chart from June to November 2017 with trend line and Pullback targets
5 month chart of Bitcoin price
(Click image to enlarge)

When i check the price today, it looks like one of those blow-up top day. And the technical is quite stretched (not to mention a bearish divergence in the Money Flow indicator). Of course, it may go up a few days from here (if at all). But the downside is more likely. So i decide to sell it.

When you get about 100% gain in about a month, why not locking in the gains? As they say, you can't grow poor by taking a profit.

Poloniex Trade History screen
Trade History in my Poloniex account (Bought @ $5530, sold @ $11250)

I expect the price to pull back from here (or the next few days at the most) towards the trend line in the chart above. But if it fails (quite likely), the next logical target would be about $8000 - $8200. And the 3rd logical price target would be ~$7500. I doubt it would pull back much lower than that.

I keep my eye for entry into one of these 3 targets.

But if it falls below $5500, an extended correction will take place. In that case, i would just sit and wait until the dust settles before considering a re-entry.



Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Gold Price and US Dollar Index (DXY) Triple Tops - Part 3

When one is looking at the LT monthly US Dollar Index (DXY) chart from 2003 to 2017, we see a cup and handle (C&H) pattern.

Simply put, the cup is the basing from period of 2003 to 2015. As they say, "the longer the base, the higher the space".

No matter how you look at it, this is a bullish DXY chart, meaning it's bearish for gold.

Or is it?

Monthly US Dollar Index (DXY) price chart from 2003 to 2017
Monthly US Dollar Index (DXY) price chart from 2003 to 2017
(Click image to enlarge)


Now, let's extend the period that we cover from 1986 to 2017. It looks like 2 cup and handle patterns being played out back to back. And the previous C&H pattern is almost identical to the current C&H pattern. But the previous C&H handle fails at the handle after completing a triple tops.

Evidently, the 16 years base building in the USD from 1986 to 2003 ends miserably. It's a head fake, not a handle.

Monthly US Dollar Index (DXY) price chart from 1986 to 2017
Monthly US Dollar Index (DXY) price chart from 1986 to 2017
(Click image to enlarge)


The previous C&H pattern takes a total of 16 years (from 1987 to 2003) to complete.

The current C&H pattern has been developing for 13 years (from 2004 to 2017).


So there're technical arguments for both the bullish and bearish case. Is the last few years in DXY forming a handle for further upside or head fake for further downside?

I can't decide which. But we could be at the critical junction here. If DXY price is falling below the handle (under 90 on the chart), then i would say with some confidence that this is bearish for USD (and bullish for gold). This scenario simply repeats the outcome of the previous technical chart pattern. We don't have to wait for more than a few months to confirm this.

If DXY prices continue to match upward from here, we will have to wait longer (maybe much longer) to confirm bullish or bearish outcomes.

One additional important thing to note is that DXY is in secular bear market as the current base is lower than the previous base, and the current "handle" is lower than the previous "handle". It's the bear who has the upper hand in the dollar. In other words, it's the dollar bulls who need to prove themselves.



Monday, 27 November 2017

Red Stone Forest National Geological Park (红石林国家地质公园), Hunan, China

This is our 2nd day of Wing On Hunan trip.

Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


As we were heading for Zhangjiajie (張家界) from Fenghuang Old Town (凤凰古城) that i visited yesterday, located almost exactly half way between these 2 places is the Red Stone Forest National Geological Park. We stopped here for a brief visit.

Sign, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


According to geologists, this red stone forest was formed about 450 ± 3 millions years old (what's 3 million years between friends, eh ?).

Ladies and gentleman...It's now a perfect time for  A Brief Joke Break ! 
A tour guide tells his tour that a geological structure is 3 million and 24 years old. One of the tour member asks how he could be so precise about the dating of the structure. He replies that he was told that the geological structure was 3 million years old when he saw it the 1st time, and he has been working there for 24 year.
Plenty of applause please. Don't stop. Feel free to yell "bravo!" and things of that nature.

Ok, back to the more serious business of holiday.

During the Ordovician Period = beginning 488.3 million years ago and ending 443.7 million years ago, most of the area above tropics was in the ocean, including here. After millions of years in the sculptor hands of erosion, corrosion and weathering to form these wondrous carbonate karst formations.

Sign, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


While there're similar karst structures around China, this is the only red karst because of its iron-rich content (i'm thinking about the grey stone forest in Kunming). If you see red colour in rock or sands, chances are, they're rich in iron (not because they're angry or shy). Iron rust is red in colour. Same principle applies here.

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China
(Click to enlarge)

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


The Australian center is noted for its red desert sand and rock (Uluru), and not surprisingly Australia is the largest exporter of iron ore. This is well known, but what's lesser know is that China is in fact the largest producer of iron ore. Because China is also the largest consumer of iron ore (with all that buildings of buildings and infrastructures in the last 3+ decades), they simply couldn't dig up iron ore fast enough to keep up demand. Hence China exports little and imports a lot of iron ore. Since Australian population is only 1.7% that of China, so there's easily a few hundred times less demand for iron ore in Australia compare to that of China. So Australia has plenty of iron ore to spare to sell it to China.


Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China
If i'm not mistaken, this used to be a lake. The water level may depend on rainy season.
But looking at how overgrown the plants are, the water has been dried up for quite awhile.

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China
A rod or "handle" formed at the rock face
Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China
A cul-de-sac
Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China
An unusual erosion of the rock that form a rod or column.
The water flows into (instead of over) the rock surface to form a deep, nearly vertical groove, leaving a column in front.

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China
Human gives you an idea of scale

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Some low level canyons or ravines.

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Some stairs are built into the up-sloping gaps of ravine to facilitate walking.

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China


Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China
The obligatory pose of Thousand-Armed Guanyin (千手观音), whom are usually depicted by 12  ± 16 arms.
The hearing-impaired dancers who perform the Thousand-Armed Bodhisattva is very popular in China.
While these tourists may attempt to emulate the Guanyin, they look more like centipede that falls on its back.



These structures were buried in soil before they were accidentally discovered a few decades sago. These carbonate karst were unearthed literally to reveal their existence. These karsts next to the the carpark are still partially buried, waiting to be unearthed (or not) to see the light of day.

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China

Karst, Red Stone Forest National Geological Park, Hunan, China