Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dinner with three ambassadors last Saturday night. And about the volatility of global stock markets.




On my second night back in Manila, living a #Travelife, I attended a most enjoyable dinner hosted by the Ambassador of Mexico for friends, including two ambassadors of great importance to the Philippines: the Ambassador of China and the Ambassador of Singapore.

As with all of Mexican Ambassador Julio Camarena's wonderful dinners, Saturday night was a most eclectic group, which made for a lively evening of good food, excellent company and terribly stimulating conversation.

Ambassador Camarena, who has held many important positions in the government of Mexico, always hosts very nice evenings, combining friends and contacts from different industries, sectors and walks of life.

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SEATED NEXT TO
THE AMBASSADOR OF CHINA

Although last Saturday night was billed as a relaxed dinner, it was formal seating, and I was placed next to the Ambassador of China, who is a most eloquent diplomat who hails from Manchuria and whose training is in economics.

The evening was full of candid conversations which really made me think about the current state of things in Asia and in the world.



IN THE ARCTIC,
AS THE GLOBAL STOCK MARKETS DROPPED

Then, of course, as I know the good ambassador from China is an economist by training, I recounted to him how I was in the Arctic a few weeks ago at the exact time that there was mayhem in the stock markets worldwide.

First there was the uncertainty of Greece, followed by a drop of unprecedented proportions in the major stock markets of China, ending with an unexplained gitch in the systems of the New York stock market.

The latter could not have been more impeccably timed to cause panic among some investors, particularly those who have not been in the market long enough to understand that this is panic market territory and to gauge objectively what should be done during such a roller coaster of a week.

The answer is basically to do nothing, unless you are heavily leveraged or you have a cash flow situation.

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Join us on July 22nd for a wonderful Italian evening...

http://www.travelifemagazine.com/2015/06/laperitivo-italiano-on-july-22-at-seda.html

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DO SOMETHING ELSE IN A STOCK MARKET PANIC

As for me, I've seen quite a few of these roller coasters in my life, so my general philosophy when something like this happens is to go out and do anything else but look at Bloomberg or CNN on my laptop or on the television.

Of course, you need a strong stomach to ignore the drops as it will feel like a stone in your gut, but I think panic at a time like this is generally unhelpful.

Easier said than done, of course. But in fact, the most seasoned investors actually move in for the kill once the dust settles and pick up all the stock that others have been selling off at great losses.

WALKING BY THE SEA IN THE ARCTIC,
LIVING A TRAVELIFE....



So when I saw this very significant drop in Chinese stock markets, followed by falls everywhere else, in the news on my laptop somewhere in the Arctic, living a #Travelife, I recalled to the Ambassador of China how I'd muttered a four letter word to myself and then promptly unplugged my laptop and went for a long walk by the sea in the desolate Arctic.

Then I avoided looking at global markets for the next few days, although I have to admit that it certainly dampened my enthusiasm for some shopping in the expensive Arctic.



STABILITY FOR NOW

Back in Asia now, it seemed things have stabilised for now, although one never really knows what's happening next with such volatility in the world -- unless one has access to a crystal ball.

And wouldn't we all want one of those?

WORDS OF WISDOM

I was then reminded of something a good friend of mine in Singapore, a very successful hedge fund manager with the smarts to succeed and enough of a healthy ego to want to be the best in his field, said to me.

I rang him up back in January from a holiday in Vietnam, of all places, to discuss the world markets in 2015.

I still remember what he said to me with no hesitation or room for misinterpretation. And this is why I like asking his opinion a lot versus any of my other hot-shot hedge fund manager friends around the world -- as my private world is pretty much surrounded by these fund managers -- who never give straight answers.

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This is exactly what he said: "The first half of 2015 will be an upper trajectory in general. But we're in for a very bumpy ride in the second half because of so many variables like the Chinese economy and its emotional stock markets."

Thinking now about this conversation over six months ago,  I can't help marvelling at how right he was. But this just makes everything more interesting, in a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.



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