Friday, 18 August 2017

Gold's Bull Market Final Technical Resistance - Part 4

When i wrote part 3 of this 4-part series (on 6 June 2017), i said it was the final part in this series. It turned out not to be. Well, i did say that maybe i was making this call too hastily. I wrote the article on the day when the price finally poked up the 6 year downtrend line. What i should do was to wait for a few more days to see how prices play out, and the breakout turned out to be a false breakout.

Gold prices showing 2 breakouts from the long term downtrend line.
Gold prices showing 2 breakouts from the long term downtrend line.

The green horizontal line marks the previous as well as height for YTD. Gold prices tested this horizontal green line and went back into the long term downtrend line after i wrote part 3. So how is this latest breakout different than the previous false breakout in June?

There're 2 things.

1.  Gold prices didn't drop back below the long term downtrend line, instead, it retests the downtrend line and bounces off.

2.  While the June breakout pokes its head briefly above the downtrend line in the daily chart, but if you look at its weekly chart, there was no breakout at all. See weekly chart below,

Weekly chart of spot gold from 2011 to 2017 showing breakout
Weekly chart of spot gold from 2011 to 2017 showing breakout

While it's a very positive development for gold bulls with this very eagerly long-awaited breakout of the long term downtrend, the next important level to watch is clearly the green horizontal line of around $1295 level. If we could convincingly break above this level, preferably $1300, and proceed to stay above $1305, which is the November high last year.  Once this target is clear, we'll once again having the kind of bullishness that we experienced in the 1st half of 2016.

Now that we've seen the technical reason for gold's bullishness, there's also a positive support from its fundamental driver. As i mentioned in last previous article Reflection of Reflation Trade? and argue that reflation is good for gold prices, and how both the copper and gold was trapped under similar 6-year downtrend. We have just seen a rather convincing and sustained breakout of Dr. Copper from its 6 year downtrend line for 2 months. Zinc prices, too, are doing something similar. All these bode well for gold prices going forward.

Monthly copper price chart from 2010 to 2017 showing breakout from 6 year long term downtrend
Monthy copper price chart from 2010 to 2017 showing breakout from 6 year long term downtrend

And ah yes, gold is now, for the 1st time since 2011, is entering bull market territory, based on this long term downtrend line. All that occurred in 2016 was nothing but a relief or bear rally (again, from this long term downtrend point of view). Although the best name for the rally in 2016 is Sucker Rally because it sucks many eager bulls into the rally that keep falling since its peak in Aug 2016. Many bulls that bought it in Aug and Sep 2016 are still losing money.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Funny Caption 50: President Trump's Sound of Fury

"How about 'fire and brimstone' ?"

"How about 'bing bing bing bong' ?"

"What about adding a trade war with China ?"

"What about a rapid-fire of tweets like the world has never seen?"

"...full of sound and fury, signifying Trump presidency."

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Funny Caption 49: QE2's Dominion

queen Elisabeth II

"I love headgear. This one is my favourite."

"Yes dear, I own Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc, etc, etc..."

"Let me assure you, Illuminati or the Rothschilds are nothing to be afraid of..."

"Despite having dominion over 1/6 of the world landmass, I still have no control over what comes out of the mouth of the Duke of Edinburgh..."

"And the next country goes to..."

Monday, 7 August 2017

Inaniwa Yosuke (稲庭養助): The Silkiest Udon I've Eaten (in Singapore)

435 Orchard Road  #04-45
Wisma Atria Shopping Centre, 
Singapore 238877

 The Place 

It's located in Japan Food Town in Wisma Atria shopping mall. It's the 1st time i visited there, although Ada reminded me that i've been there before. I take her words for it. The Japanese establishments here are in general more upmarket and its bill-of-fare consists of high priced dishes. This is why lowly foodie like myself frequent there in low frequency. Hence my strange familiarity of the place. The 50% off have lured me there today like bee to honey (or candy to kids or white powder to 17th century French visconte or Japanese geisha). We booked it through the eatigo app.

Inaniwa Yosuke, Singapore

Inaniwa Yosuke, Singapore

According to their literature, their secret Inaniwa udon secret recipe was developed in 1665 (just a year before the Great London Fire) only to serve the imperial court members. It wasn't until 1860 that the udon went public. So a lowly (but extremely humble) pleb like myself feel doubly (because of the half price) honoured to taste their udon today.

Below is a poster on their wall.

Inaniwa Yosuke, Singapore
Look up the's a's a's ramen!
I too love to play with food. Does it play Sakura, my fave Japanese folk song?

 The Food 
Inaniwa Yosuke, Singapore

Inaniwa Yosuke restaurant, Singapore
From top left to bottom right: soup base with ingredients, the famous udon, raw egg, garnishes, peanut desert, and extra soup

I ordered the Beef Tsuke Nabe Udon. The udon didn't disappoint. It's the silkiest udon i've ever sampled, in Singapore (i emphasized Singapore because i did taste smoother noodles in Osaka, if my memories served as well as the Japanese waitress. Flying to Osaka for a good udon is bad for wealth). So no head is rolled today (if we're living in 1665 - 1855). The soup is delicious, but slightly sweet for my taste buds (which prefer bitterness. Like owner like palate). It could be described as "I'm sophisticated, but modest and understated because i'm Japanese." Take a bow(l).

The beef - while it's not from the wagyu cows that received massage (probably an urban a countryside legend) - it's still nice enough. I actually much prefer these leaner beef over the fat brown cows any day. Of course, if they put wagyu beef into the soup, my wallet will lose a lot of weight after eating the fatty beef. Call me crazy, i love a fat wallet.

The desert is mildly familiar, but kept me in suspense as to its ingredient. Since i don't have peanut allergy, i can't wear to its existence.

If they keep up the half price, i'll keep up twice the visits.

Overall score: 8 / 10.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Transport Index IYT Finding Support Soon?

Dow theory occupies an important place for many investor. I don't believe it (well, not worshiping it), and i've seen evidence to the contrary (that's for another article). This is for those who believe in Dow Theory. Who wants to argue with the market? I don't.

After a quick run-up in May 2017, it deteriorates rapidly since July 2017. We're now testing the 200 DMA.

IYT etf showing price around 200 DMA
IYT etf showing price around 200 DMA

But if we fail this we have an even more critical and longer term IYT/SPY ratio support coming up. This ratio is on a steady up trend since IYT comes to existence.

IYT/SPY ratio from 2004 to 2017
IYT/SPY ratio from 2004 to 2017
(click to enlarge)

So IYT may still have a bit more downside (based on the ratio chart), which has ridden both bull and bear cycle, and remains uptrend for more than a decade. If the support of the ratio chart fails, i would be worry.  Believer or not.

UPDATE (3 Aug): IYT tested, held and bounces off 200DMA nicely today. Bought some good corrected airlines and other transport stocks for quick swing trades.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Is the Trump Rally Over? Part 3

When i wrote "Is Trump Rally Over?" Part 1 and Part 2, i argued that the Trump euphoria was priced into the market initially from Nov 2016 to Feb 2017, and then it gradually being drained out of the market. I showed this in terms of prices of various growth sectors in the share market.

Here's a Gallup Poll's showing the sentiment towards the Trump administration based on Economic Confidence Index covering from Nov 2016 to July 2017.

Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index

It's obvious that the steep rise of this index from a low of -11 Nov to a high of 16 (a huge 27 points increase) is due entirely to the newly ushered in Trump administration. This couldn't be just an amazing coincidence. It has declined since its peak to a low of 4 as Trump administration is being seen as dysfunctional because nothing has been accomplished some 7 months since inauguration.

Still, the index = 4 is higher than pre-election of -11. The global growth picture is much more positive. And the improving U.S. company earnings are keeping the bull market climbing a wall of worry.

As this index trends lower, the market continue to trend higher because this index clearly links with D.C. while market looks towards improving company revenues, and earnings, and improving markets outside the U.S. The dovish Fed and falling dollar wouldn't hurt.

As i mentioned before, i won't argue if some small measure, like 10%  (20% at most) of Trump's growth agenda is being priced into market. This poll clearly shows much of the positive Trump sentiment is being revised downward.

I see this poor Economic Confidence Index as a positive thing because if confidence is low, meaning expectation is also low. Anything that Trump can deliver, anything at all, is a good boost for confidence, and therefore the market.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Crude Oil Price Bottom for 2017 ?

As i said in my article Resumption of the Reflation Trade? last week that the crude oil was probably in the midst of a bottoming process. Just an after thought on that article, this resumption of commodity reflation may simply be due to the falling dollar. Regardless of the causes, crude prices seem to be putting in a bottom based on XLE.

XLE price chart from Sep 2016 to 19 July 2017 showing breakout,  double bottom and bullish divergences
XLE price chart from Sep 2016 to 19 July 2017 showing breakout,  double bottom and bullish divergences
(Click image to enlarge)

The price has broken out of the XLE downtrend for the 1st time since 12/12/2017. The downtrend is consisted of a series of lower lows, and it has just put in a double bottom. This is a reversal signal (short term or otherwise).

I may have spoken a little early. If i were to be careful, i shouldn't be excited about one day breakout because this could very well be a false breakout. But if all 3 technical indicators show bullish divergences since March (for MACD) and since May (for Twigs Money Flow), and the forming of a double bottom, this gives me more confidence for this breakout. The large green bar and above average volume is also supportive of this breakout price action.

XLE or other crude oil related ETFs tend to lead crude oil prices. So it's possible that crude oil may fall for awhile from here before heading up. But then, maybe not. It has been trending up since 21/06/2017. You could argue that the XLE confirms this crude oil's rise. In the last 2 crude relief rallies, XLE remains firmly in downtrend.

APC (Anadarko) chart from Sep 2016 to 19 July 2017 showing double bottom and bullish divergences
APC (Anadarko) chart from Sep 2016 to 19 July 2017 showing double bottom and bullish divergences
(Click image to enlarge)

APC is showing similarly the 3 bullish technical divergences and double bottom (close enough). It hasn't broke out of the downtrend (shown in light purple). I'll be getting into this stock quite soon. I won't wait until it breaks out of the downtrend. An entry around this level provides a good risk to reward ratio (it has fallen 36% YTD), at least for a short term tradable or oversold bounce. Wait for a breakout from the centreline of the downtrend channel (indicated by dash -----) for a trade entry, and a stop loss @ $43.

Be careful that this may just be a tradable bounce, and not a longer lasting reversal. Will just have to wait and see how it plays out.

As i said before that this crude rally is helped (but not determined) by the falling dollar. If DXY is staging a come back, crude could weaken somewhat. But don't expect precise negative correlation between DXY and crude.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Singapore Airline's Premium Economy Class

The airline industry may rank the 2 ME airlines, either Emirates or Qatar Airways, ahead of SIA (Singapore Airlines) from time to time. I'm probably biased, to me, SIA is still the best in the world. In any case, SIA has never really strayed far away from the top 3 spot for many years.

It's interesting that the best airlines in the world come from countries that have no domestic airline because they're so small. I supposed that they're countries that are considered as transportation hubs in their regions. It's certainly true for Singapore and UAE (Singapore also has the best airport in the world, for the same reason).

1 of the reason that SIA is 1 of the top airline to me is their product / service offerings. I'm talking about their newly introduced Premium Economy Class. (They also one of the 1st airline to use the gigantic jumbo-jet Airbus A380. And the 1st flight they operate with it is in fact the flight from Singapore to Sydney. The other 2 airline that use it is Emirates and Lufthansa. Well, A380 is a German plane, mostly).

Singapore Changi Airport

We took the opportunity of our 7+ hours flight from Singapore to Sydney to check out their Premium Economy Class. This is a long enough flight to shell out extra cash for the extra comfort. While we can't justify to spend on Business Class that cost some 400% over the standard Economy Class, but a 20% extra for the Premium Economy is within the budget on this trip, which we took on 21 June 2017.

Having experienced the Premium Economy Class, i have to say that it had given me more bang for my bucks.

Singapore airlines seats in Premium economy class
Seats with fat armrests

The extra legroom and butt-space are of course welcoming for a long flight. But the large elbow rooms is a blessing while in the sky. In a typical economy, the 2 adjacent passengers share a narrow bar that we call armrests, where we typically have to fight over. An added discomfort to crammed space. If the 2 neighbouring passengers are strangers, then the sharing of that little stick becomes an embarrassing encounter. There has never been an instruction manual that explains the social etiquette of armrest sharing. The best we usually end up with is some uncomfortable faux pas.

With the long flight, having a decent in-flight entertainment could also save the day. And with bigger seats, it also accompanies with larger HD screen (13.3 inch, a typical PC laptop monitor), which is considerably larger than the ones in the standard economy class. It comes with proper earphones instead of earplugs to reduce noise better. The touchscreen monitor is also a nice touch (no pun intended), free of wiring, instead of fiddling with a handset control.

3 Likes and a blow kiss  from me.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Resumption of the Reflation Trade ?

Right off the bat of Trump Election victory on 8 Nov 2016, the market immediately put in place the so-called Trump Reflation or Trumpflation Trade, aka Trump Rally or Trump Bump. It's a stunning price rises of the whole industrial metal complex, and 10 year T-Note yield, which carries the financials higher.

You can read my article Trump Victory and the Market's Roller Coaster Ride for the explanation of this Trumpflation Trade.

But by sometimes in mid-Feb 2017, the whole Trumpflation is being questioned, and a repricing or correction has started. To read in-depth about this Trump Dump, you can read my article Is Trump Rally Over ?.

It appears that the Trump Dump is over, and the Reflation Trade can now resume in earnest.

Let's look at the evidences for this Reflation resumption.

XLF peaks on 1 March and bottoms on 13 April, and breaks out of the downtrend in 7 June
XLF peaks on 1 March and bottoms on 13 April, and breaks out of the downtrend in 7 June this year

Copper ETF peaks on 13 Feb and bottoms on 8 May, and breaks out of the correction on 8 May this year
Copper ETF peaks on 13 Feb and bottoms on 5 May, and breaks out of the correction on 19 May this year

SLX ETF peaks on 21 Feb and bottoms on 18 May, and breaks out of the correction on 26 June this year
SLX ETF peaks on 21 Feb and bottoms on 18 May, and breaks out of the correction on 26 June this year

The general trend is clear. Trump Bump starts on Nov 2016 and peaks in sometimes from mid to late Feb 2017, and then the Trump Dump starts and finishes sometimes in May 2017. By June 2017, financials, and the industrial metal complex (starring Dr. Copper) have resumed its upward trend.

Bear in mind that the financials and the industrial metals have been in the bull market since early 2016. As i explained in  Is Trump Rally Over ?. The Trump Bump is simply a transient 2-month spike within this ongoing reflation theme that started in early 2016. What happened between Feb and June 2017 is simply a correction within the context of this ongoing reflation trade. It looks like that correction is over last month, and the industrial metals and financials are in their upward path again.

Even the uranium, which isn't an industrial metal, but it's part of the commodity complex, has followed similar path. It has corrected the most, but has broken its downtrend, put in a bottom in June 2017. It has now resumed its upward path. Its bottom in June 2017 is still higher than its bottom in Nov 2016, which coincides with the election day. In fact, you could say that URA has completed its inverse head and shoulder, which is a reversal pattern.

URA ETF peaks on 15 Feb and bottoms on 22 June this year
URA ETF peaks on 15 Feb and bottoms on 22 June this year

Initially, i thought that crude oil (WTI) has further to drop until it gets bellow $40, perhaps finds a bottom in around $38. But having looked at the whole commodity complex from industrial metals to uranium, all seem to have bottomed and reversed course, i'm now thinking that crude is also doing the same thing. If you look at this chart below, the crude prices have never done this since its peak on 23 Feb this year; it seems to be trying to consolidate, rather than bouncing straight up and down between channel's edges.

WTIC ETF peaks on 23 Feb and bottoms on 21 June this year 2017
WTIC ETF peaks on 23 Feb and bottoms on 21 June this year

As a trader, i don't really need any explanation as to why this is happening. I only need to know what is happening. But if i'm pressed to label it, i'll call this the Xi Reflation Trade (as supposed to Trump Reflation, which, as far as the market goes, is dead in the water. Even CNBC has stopped using the "Trump Rally" slogan for some months). Whenever you see rising commodity prices, you can safely assume that it's driven by China.

Ah yes, the Fed, which is the architect of the ongoing reflation trade, is sounding more dovish again. Let's call this the resumption of the Fed-China Reflation Trade. Leave Trump out of it. The market does fine without him (although he insists that he's responsible for this bull market that predated his election for 9 months). He has delivering nothing so far except D.C. dramas aplenty. Treat it as white noise (or is it Whitehouse noise? Or is it orange noise?).

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake and The Japanese Alley

Uncle Tetsu's Japanese Cheesecake,
501 George St
Sydney, Australia

 The Place 

This establishment wasn't here when I visited Sydney last time 2 years ago (things are changing fast especially when you're not looking).

Kitchen, Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake, Sydney, Australia
Chicken view from the front counter

This shop is at the start of a shopping arcade (more accurately shopping lane) on George St, located next to Town Hall Station. I would like to christen this shopping lane, if I may, "The Japanese Alley" (if you want to call it "The Japanese Street" to make it sounds bigger, feel free, i won't hold it against you).

Japanese Alley, Sydney, Australia

Another reason why I call it "Japanese Alley" (I always make sure I've more than 1 reasons) is how it reminds me of those narrow alleys in Japanese cities, especially the modern parts of ancient capital of Kyoto.

Apart from the odd Malaysian out hawker-style restaurant called Sedap, nearly all the businesses are Japanese (the last time i check).

I stayed in Fraser Suites, where the lobby can be accessed from Kent St. Unless i want to go to Chinatown, i always exit Fraser Suites in their backdoor on level 10, which connects to "The Japanese Alley" to get to George St.

Japanese Alley, George St, Sydney, Australia
The Japanese Alley, the view i see when leaving Fraser Suites through the backdoor.

Japanese Alley, George St, Sydney, Australia
This ramen place is rather busy most of the time i passed by

While Korean food and culture - the K wave - has swept throughout SE Asia in the last decade or so. The Japanese food scene has been growing in Sydney in the last 2 decades, threatening to overtake Chinese cuisine as the most popular Asian (possibly all ethnic) dishes. At least in Sydney. Ironically or logically (depending how you look at it), it's the 2nd generation Chinese immigrants (from all parts of SE Asia) that spur this growth of Japanese food. After all, it isn't such a cultural shocking palate move for the Chinese diners to dive into Japanese food with gleeful abandonment.

 The Food 

While they have a large variety of pastries to choose from, but their cheesecakes and cheesetarts seem to be their trademark choices. I must fess up that while I eat cheeses of many kinds, i'm not a big fan of cheesecake. But i won't spit it out if one is inserted into my month gingerly. That's just a show of respect for my mouth (sorry, Mr. Mouth to me. You can call it Mouthy. It will take offense if you call it "Big Mouth").

Making cheesetarts, Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake, Sydney, Australia
A lovely kitchen staff catching cheesetarts that were spit out of  the cheesetart making machine

Making cheesetarts, Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake, Sydney, Australia
Say "cheese" ! (or "cheesetarts")

We ordered the cheesecake (the cheesetarts looked too cheesy), original flavor, of course. Always stick with the original.

Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake, Sydney, Australia
Original flavour Uncle Tetsu cheesecake

The texture is as smooth as a baby's bottom (just an expression, I don't eat baby bottoms), and not too sugary or too cheesy (which cheeses me off). The downside? There's such a thing as too moist.

Actually, the part near the top is just right (that's burnt to golden brown). The bottom part is more soggy (as i said before, the downside, or down under, is too moist. Who like a wet bottom? Ask any parent, and the answer is a definitive "eww no!". In short, the cake wasn't too evenly baked with bottom slightly under cooked. I guess it just needs a slower heat. Well, you can't hurry good food.

Overall score: 7.5 / 10. It's worth trying it out, especially if you can't pass up a cheesecake. Nice snack to go with a quick shot of espresso or a slow oolong tea (or Japanese green tea if you must stick to authenticity). I may try their other delectable next time.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Ivanhoe Mines (IVN): Breakout of Cup and Handle

 Fireworks for Ivanhoe on the Eve of 4th July 

I stumbled upon Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN, OTCQX:IVPAF) when i researched for platinum miners because i wanted to have some exposure in platinum play back in early 2016. While it isn't a platinum miner (although it has some of it, or else i would never find it in my search), i was so glad to have found it. A perfect example of trading serendipity.

I listened to all, but believed in none (well, only a few exceptions). Rick Rule is one of such commentators that i would have some faith in putting my money to work on his stock pitch. He's a shareholder and has a lot of positive thing to say about IVN. For 1 thing, the company has the world's largest copper deposit, but when i looked at the price at the time of research, it was $0.85. I immediately knew it was very cheap. But then in early 2016, every miner on earth was in deep discount (because nobody wanted to touch commodity. That was of course the best time to back up your truck). Today (3 July 2017), it closed at $4.17.

Ivanhoe (IVN) price chart showing ATH and breakout
(Click image to enlarge)

I have traded it in and out of this stock 5 times since. I can't say i had perfectly timed trades. A few times, i bought and sold a bit early. Even so, i'm quite happy with my performance because this is my most profitable stock in 2016 because if i couldn't make money during the last 18 months incredible run of this stock, i should give uptrading. I just regret i didn't put all my money into it. But then, hindsight is 20 / 20. I don't put all my eggs in the Ivanhoe basket or any other basket. And Mr. Rick Rule never says he put all his money into this company. But we both should.

After a stunning run throughout 2016 and until mid-April 2017, it has reached an ATH = $5.40. This is followed by a 10-week bullish falling wedge / flag. It had just broken out of this flag today (3th July). While i would like to see large volume to convince me of this breakout, but i'm convinced enough that this is a real rather than a false breakout for the following reasons. As usual, i can be wrong.

1.  The $3.80 support has been holding up or basing for 4 weeks.
2.  The price is up today by an impressive $7.75% (Eve of 4th July fireworks). Largest green bar for awhile.
3.  It has already attempted a breakout a day before.
4.  Bullish technical divergences have been in place for a month.
5.  Copper prices (COPX, JJC) has been basing and recovering since May this year. IVN is just playing catch-up. It's actually 1 month late, meaning the catch-up will need to be fast and furious.

 A Steaming Cup of Hot Price Action 

While i can give you the next few short term approx price targets of $4.30, $4.70 and ATH of $5.40. However, i'm more interested in showing you the target of the cup and handle for this stock chart.

Ivanhoe (IVN) price chart showing cup and handle formation
The entire (weekly) price chat of IVN from Oct 2012 to 3th July 2017.
(Click image to enlarge)

Without much imagination, this is clearly a cup and handle pattern with ATH price being the rim of the cup. After running from a ATL (All Time Low) of $0.54 to ATH of $5.40, it's only natural and healthy to have a price consolidation in the form of a handle from the top of the cup.

It's then no coincidence that IVN starts this consolidation at the ATH of $5.40. Oh, by the way, the ATH / ATL ratio = 10x (approx). If you're the genius or lucky investor who bought at ATL and has been holding it, congratulation for owning a 10 bagger. It blew the Bitcoin parabolic rise out of the water in the last 18 months.

Depending where you want to measure the price target of this cup and handle formation. Some technicians measure this C&H price target by adding the height of this cup (CH = ATH - ATL = $5.40 - $0.54 = $4.86) to the Cup Rim (which is also ATH). Others determine the target by adding the height of the cup (CH = $4.86) to the point of breakout ($4.0 on 3th July).

So the 2 possible price targets for this C&H development are,

Price target 1 = CH + ATH = $4.86 + $5.40 = $10.26
Price target 2 = CH + Breakout = $4.86 + $4.0 = $8.86

C'mon, does it matter if it end up in $8.86 or $10.26? But i have a feeling that it would reach the target of approx $10 (which is somewhere between the 2 targets, and a nice round number that market loves).

The volume in this stock has increased considerably in the last 12 months, showing the growing interest in this stock. This also increases liquidity, which makes trading less jarring. The falling flag also accompanied by declining volume, another positive sign.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Massage World - Sydney

World Square
Suite 17, Level 1, 650 George St
Sydney Australia

I didn't plan to have a massage in my 10 days visit to Sydney. But when Ada complained about stiff neck, and wanted a massage, as usual, I let her pick the place.

 The Place 

The Sydney clinic (the term it prefers to use), is located next to a dentist in the convenient World Square.

Office front, Massage World Sydney, Australia

The interior decor doesn't look like your typical Chinese TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine, even though their masseuses are trained in that field). The place gives their customers an impression of more of a Western style clinical feel that reminiscent of chiropractor practice that's right down to the mechanically adjustable beds. But the mirrors that you see in the many Chinese restaurants that create an optical illusion of spaciousness make their appearance here...tada!  (as you know, many magic illusions are done with smokes and mirrors. No smokes are involve here though). Of course, the mirrors are also doubled up for grooming your hair after the mess left behind in a scalp massage (for some, the head massage left their hair looking like after waking up from a night of tossing and turning of nightmarish REM sleeps).

Massage room, Massage World Sydney, Australia
I cast no reflection in the mirror...

Because it's in an office level (as supposed to the shops in a shopping mall, it's quiet. I doubt that you think you can hear the dentist drills next door. When i was there, the dentist office was in the middle of renovation).

 The Massage 

The 2 masseuses who tenderized us are in their 50s (read experienced). Ada let me have the younger masseuse (in her early 50s) because she knows i like a strong enough pair of hands (that could bend a metal pipe) to repair my stiff body. And i wasn't disappointed with the strength.

The older masseuse is experienced in feeling out places of tension in the form of muscular knots. When she finds it, she would apply extra pressure. If i squirm or scream with pain, she knows she hits the spot and would put extra pressure on it to untie the knot.

One of my dentists (not the one next door) told me that during teeth brushing, if i find a spot that causes pain, don't skip it, brush it harder. This is certainly the principle that most experienced TCM would follow. The pain is an indication of tension and calcification of muscle, the kneading is supposed to - as TCM practitioners would call it - open it up, meaning untie the knot. The masseuse is in the art of inflicting pain - a sadist, and i'm in the joy of receiving pain - a masochist. A perfect match made in TCM heaven.

I have to say i don't enjoy all pain, i imagine most customers too only 'enjoy' a certain type of pain. The type that associates acupressure like deep tissue massage. But not skin surface pain like rubbing or cupping, which she applied with a pump suction cup. I told her to stop the use of cup.

Most people associate massage with the feet, especially in in touristy places. But the rest of the time outside travelling, different professions suffer issues from the use of their hands. The tennis players suffer from tennis elbows, writers get writer's cramp. In the digital age, writers / bloggers suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome on the palm area from years of slaving the digital mouse (who's slaving whom?). I don't have that affliction, probably because of my regular massage of my tired palms.

During this visit, my masseuse was able to inflict so much pain to just the right area on my palm that i screamed, which i rarely do. She knew she hit the spot and so she inflicted maximum pain. This is the fleshy area on my palm near the wrist that touches the mouse-pad when i grab my mouse.

I could tell you that after the screaming massage on that part of my palm, the mobility of my hands have improved in the following days. I'm credited her for discovering just the right spot. I thought i know every muscle in my body like the back of my hand. As it turns out, there's a muscle that's very close to the back of hand that escapes me.

Overall Score: 8.5 / 10.
If you're interested in the more sensual or relaxation massage, this is not the place for you. Its decor is telling you that. If you're interested in alleviating specific muscular tension, the experienced masseuse do a decent job. It's very much a body repair workshop. You go there for tune-ups.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Rise of Ethereum and the Fall of Bitcoin, and My 1st Ether

 Spikes Big and Small 

I sold half of my Bitcoin to buy some Ether on Aug 2016 when it was priced around $10. (Actually, the reason why i bought my 1st Bitcoin was because i wanted to buy my 1st Ethereum. At that time, it was easier to buy Ether once i own a Bitcoin.  Ethereum is way too new to have its own exchange. This is described in my post Bought my 1st Bitcoin, The Halvening and Bitfinex Hacking, just go to the end of that post). I was thinking that in the early days of Bitcoin, its price could shoot up 10 times in a few months because its market cap and supply was tiny, and risks was huge. Such ten-bagging isn't possible in Bitcoin today.

While it's true that Bitcoin soared from $1300 to $3000 in less than 2 months (from April to June 2017) due to the Japanese legalization, but it did a massive moonshot from $100 to $1000 in less than 2 months (from Oct to Nov 2013) after the U.S. Congressional Hearing.

As stunning as the recent rise of more than double in Bitcoin price in less than 2 months this year, it's not even in the same league when comparing to the spike of 10 times in price in the mother of all spike in Bitcoin price that transpired in Dec 2013. This is because the market cap and supply no longer allows such ridiculous spike in price today.

What The Fork ! 

When i bought Ether at $10, i thought such spike like 10 times in price rise is still possible with Ethereum. After holding it for a few months, i started to lose patience as the price of Ether drifting from $10 to $8, and at the same time, Bitcoin price was soaring.

ethereum logo

But it wasn't just the price drop that caused me to lose patience, it was the whole hard fork business when Ethereum was split into 2 Ether coins. So i thought i just got out of Ethereum altogether and sit on the sideline and watched these 2 forks of Ethereum fighting it out and see which would emerge victoriously. Who know, i thought to myself, there were going to be another hard fork? And the same thing might happen to Bitcoin in the next few months.

 Bitcoin 2.0 

Ethereum has been coined Bitcoin 2.0. In many ways, Ethereum is the next generation of Bitcoin. When Bitcoin first started, the people who tried to pitch the virtues of Bitcoin by pointing out the blockchain technology. In fact, they screamed 'blockchain' as the greatest invention, and because Bitcoin is built on top of blockchain, Bitcoin must deserve the public's respect. In short, these early supporters tried to sell Bitcoin to the public by pitching the concept of blockchain.

Well, the blockchain technology has certainly won the world over. In fact, its widespread applications has far surpassed Bitcoin. So the people who tried so hard to sell the Bitcoin with blockchain technology is probably regretting it now, big time. Among other things, blockchain is also enabled the world to create other cryptocurrencies (among many other things), and the best crypto contender for Bitcoin is Ethereum.

In fact, it's entirely possible that one day Bitcoin would vanish from the world and blockchain will live on. I'm not saying Bitcoin will die. I don't know. Nobody knows (anyone who tells you they know about the future is lying to you). But i'm far more certain of blockchain's survival than Bitcoin's existence because blockchain has been taken up by every financial institution and their dogs.

You can think of blockchain as the engine of cryptocurrencies. And if blockchain is an engine, then cryptocurrency is a car, and Bitcoin is a brand of car. Ethereum is another (newer) brand of car. You can put an engine into a car, boat, train, plane, lawn mower, etc. Engine and blockchain is far more universal than any brand of car or cryptocurrency. And indeed, blockchain could be used for services that are totally unrelated to cryptocurrencies, just as engines could be put into machines other than cars.

Bitcoin and ethereum coins

Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is built on top of blockchain, but with extra bells and whistles like smart contract. Ethereum is a more versatile and more programmable version of Bitcoin. And naturally hold more promise than Bitcoin. This is why it receives the backing from large multinational companies the likes of Microsoft, Intel, J.P. Morgan, etc. This was what attracted me to Ethereum in the 1st place.

The early Bitcoin supporters should have kept their mouths shut about the blockchain technology (if it was possible). Perhaps, they thought that Bitcoin and blockchain was inseparable, and didn't realize that blockchain has such universal appeal and applications outside Bitcoin. No, Bitcoin has no monopoly on blockchain technology. In fact, with the blockchain technology, an upgrade like Ethereum (or something even better in the future) would one day come and replace Bitcoin. Would it? That would remain to be seen. Bitcoin is just the 1st cryptocurrency in a long line of evolution of cryptocurrency. One thing about technology is that is never standing still. Being the oldest and and the 1st isn't a good thing when it comes to technology. Think vacuum tubes, cassette tapes, diskettes, etc. Don't know what they're? Exactly! All these inventions have served their useful purposes, but technology moves on.

 Ethereum Today: The Bitcoin of 2014 

Ethereum wasn't launched until mid 2015. In term of stage of development /evolution, the present Ethereum is equivalent to the Bitcoin in 2014. I.e. it just had a huge price spike after its 1st official recognition. Something akin to the U.S. Congressional Hearing for Bitcoin.

I knew about the backing of Ethereum by U.S. multinationals, but i didn't realize that when i bought my 1st Ether in Aug 2016, the EEA (Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) hadn't been formally announced until March 2017. So when i gave up on Ethereum a few months after my 1st purchase, i took my eyes off the Ethereum radar. And when i checked it a few months later, the ETH price went from $8 to today's price of $370 from March to June 2017. Just when i was out of it for a few months, it rose more than 45 times in price without me. I expected this massive spike to appear in Ethereum, and yet, i still managed to miss it. Things are happening at breakneck velocity in the digital world in general, and cryptocurrencies in particular, and i blinked. Perhaps, the better explanation was that i was impatient. I just needed to put it in the bottom draw, and forgot about it for another 4 or 5 months. This impatience is my biggest bane. What can i say? D'oh! I supposed.

Don't forget to kick yourself as well for blinking...

No point crying over spilled milk or missed opportunity of 45 times increase in value of my 1st Ethereum holding. If i think today's Ethereum is in the same development stage of Bitcoin in early 2014, i should expect far higher price rises than Bitcoin going forward.

Remember too that Ethereum is backed by Fortune 500 companies while Bitcoin isn't. Of course, Bitcoin wasn't associated with any company or government, and that is its strength and weakness (depending how you look at it). While Ethereum is backed by a consortium of large companies, that is also its strength and weakness. You could argue that Bitcoin is an ideological cryptocurrency while Ethereum is a commercial cryptocurrency.

 Switching Wagon 

Today (13 June 2017), i decide to sell 80% of my Bitcoin and took the proceeds to buy Ethereum. This is not only because the price of Ethereum can grow faster than Bitcoin, but Bitcoin starts to look tired as it reaches $3000. There will be a sizable correction in Bitcoin price coming.

The following chart showing all signs that pointing to a down turn in prices in the short term. The tops are getting closer, suggesting it's losing momentum. The technical indicators are showing bearish divergence. And its prices are getting too far from the averages. The few pullbacks in the last 2 months are outweighed by more price rises, it needs to have to deeper correction to have a healthy chart. Also, i think the coming scaling business would cause higher volatility (most likely to the downside). I expect Bitcoin price to have a healthy correction to $2200 to $2500 in the short term.

Bitcoin price chart

I suspect many would jump onto the Ethereum wagon either to benefit to its higher growth trajectory, or to shelter from the price drop in Bitcoin, or simply being viewed as the next Bitcoin, or to diversify their cryptocurrency holding.

In term of ETH price growth's projection, many already believe its market cap will surpass Bitcoin's market cap by the end of 2017. The Ethereum community (Ethereumian or Etherer?) even give this event a name, 'The Flippening' (remember The 'Halvening' for Bitcoin ?).

This anticipation of the Flippening by the end of year isn't entirely ludicrous. When i bought my 1st ETH in August 2016, the Ethereum to Bitcoin market cap ratio was about 1:10 (about 1 and 10 billion respectively). Today, the ratio is about 8:10. Bitcoin is only ahead of Ethereum market cap by a nose. So, the Flippening will occur soon. End of year isn't at all a bold call.

Bitcoin and Ethereum market caps as of 13 June 2017
Bitcoin and Ethereum market caps as of 13 June 2017

I'm interested in the development of Ethereum as much as Bitcoin. With this purchase, it's forced me to pay as closer attention to Ethereum as i have for Bitcoin.

Could ETH price repeat the BTC's 50 - 60% price drop in Dec 2013? Certainly. But then, i tend to think that history doesn't repeat exactly, especially if the situation isn't identical. For one thing, cryoptocurrency (in this case, Bitcoin) wasn't anywhere as well known or as we widely accepted as it's today. Secondly, the ETH chart looks better than BTC chart. Lastly, Ethereum isn't as widely known as Bitcoin. As i said before, Ethereum is like Bitcoin in 2014, nowhere near as well known as Bitcoin today.

Short term (days, weeks), ETH is just as overvalued as BTC, but medium term (months) ETH is better. As for long term (years), nobody knows. Clearly, i switch to ETH for the medium outlook.

Short term, sitting in fiat currencies is the best option. But i'm just not that smart, and i wish to cultivate a bit more patience.