Saturday, April 23, 2011

Catches from the Sea

Went out for a morning today.  It was a pleasant walk along the Strait of Johor, and we saw some guys having their catches from the sea, mainly crabs.

Do you see the happiness in all the people around?  It doesn't matter whether you are the one who got the catches, everybody shares the joy of checking out the catches of the day.  Life is simple.  We don't need a lot of sophisticated gadgets, we just need to live within our means, in harmony with nature, and we will get what we need for our life.  Nature is generous, and we will always get enough for our food, our life, provided we have respect of our mother nature.

It is good to remind ourselves that life is not that complicated, and simple is beauty.

Ichiban Boshi @ NEX

Another colleague's farewell lunch.  This time we went to Ichiban Boshi @ NEX.  It is a small little restaurant tucked in some un-noticed place, I almost missed it right in front of its doorsteps.

I ordered yellow tail sushi (Hamachi).  The sushi looks good, delicious, but when I tasted it, well, it is not really that fantastic.  On the below average side.

My boss ordered the Salmon Set.  It looks pretty ok, and the portion is reasonable.  Not too much, but still filling.

My order, Don-don Wazen, probably is the most value for money set meal.  It comes with two bowls of rice!  The rice with raw salmon is not bad.  They added some kind of oil in the rice, and makes the rice tastes good.  But the unagi with egg is quite a let-down.  They can do better with this.  Two bowls of rice is in fact a bit too much, even for a guy.   If you are going there with your girl friend, maybe you can share one set of Don-don Wazen, and then plus some other smaller dishes.

For me, the food in this restaurant is just average, but the price is reasonable, so it is not too bad if you just want to eat something to get your stomach filled.

My Rating: 3/5

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Best Savings Account Interest in Singapore

The current environment is the super low interest environment.  I have just checked, DBS/POSB, OCBC & UOB, all three local big brothers in banking are offering savers a pathetic 0.1% pa on their savings accounts for their first S$50,000.00, and then slightly higher after that.

Standard Chartered bank offers its e$aver account holders 0.15% pa on their savings accounts, which is 50% higher than all the 3 local banks, sounds good in percentage huh, but not really in absolute terms.

Maybank is offering its savers 0.1875% for the first S$5,000.00, then 0.3% from S$5000 to S$50,000.00.

Then it comes Plus! U, a collaboration between NTUC and OCBC.  This savings account does not offer you any over the counter services, everything is done through internet banking.  As such, this savings account offers you, again, slightly better interest, 0.2% pa for the first S$50,000.00, then 0.4% after that.   The good part about this is that, they also give you a credit card, which you can use as an NTUC link card and membership card.  You can get rebates from your purchases at Fairprice, and ear Link points.

The ultimate best savings account should be CIMB's StarSaver account.  It gives you 0.8% pa if your month-end incremental deposit is S$500 or more; and 0.5% if less than S$500.  This sounds really good, but then the downside is that they only two branches in Singapore, both are far away from me.

Singapore's inflation is going up, ~5% based on January's data.  The core inflation, which excludes private transport and housing costs, is still around 2-3%.  Even at the low core inflation rate, the real saving account interest rate is negative!  You are losing money every single minute you lend the banks your savings.  Singapore always tames inflation by controlling the sing dollar's exchange rate, but not much on the interest rate.  I think it is high time MAS raised the interest rate too, in order not to blow a bubble and penalizing the diligent savers!

As you can see from the savings account interest rates, none of them is even close to what the inflation rate is. This low interest environment is going to force lots people to seek better returns elsewhere, and stock market is one place people can think of.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Redemption of DBS 6% NCPS

As I flipped through Friday's TODAY newspaper, there was this announcement of the redemption of DBS Bank 6% Non-Cumulative Preference Shares.

I have been holding these shares since 2008, at the height of the Singapore stock market.  Subsequently, I saw its descend from S$110 to below S$100, and now back up a bit to ~S$102.  This has been my largest loss-making counter, if the dividends are not counted.  According to the share's prospectus, the dividend rate for this preference share will go down from 6% pa to 2.23% + 3 mth SIBOR after May 2011.  At the current low interest environment, with SIBOR at 0.44%, and bank savings interest at 0.1%, the 2% + interest is still not too bad.  But now even that is not possible.

You can check out more details here.

Good luck to your investments.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Standard Chartered's 24-Month Step-Up Interest Time Deposit

In recent years, the interest rate on savings account has been dismal.  Same goes for fixed deposits.  The prevailing interest rate for savings account is a great total of 0.1% p.a., it looks so pathetic in an environment of 5.5% inflation rate!  

Anyway, good company with good dividends actually can give you much better returns, but if you are the super safe, risk-averse type of person, then maybe you should consider this 24-month step-up time deposit offered by Standard Chartered Bank.  

Basically you need to deposit a minimum of S$10,000.00, then the money will be locked in for 3 months, at an interest rate of 0.5% pa.  Interest will be paid at the end of 3 months.  If you decide to withdraw your deposit within the first 3 months, you have to pay a penalty of S$250.  After the first 3 months, you will be free to withdraw at any time, without paying the penalty (but you may lose your interests earned since the last interest payout date).  

For details, you can take a look at their interest table here.  Please note that if you leave your money in this account for the full 24 months, you will get an effective interest rate of only 1.025% pa.  This is way higher than the savings account interest, but then still way below the inflation rate.  This account will not help you beat inflation, this account is only good for you to park some of your unused funds temporarily, without losing too much to inflation.