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Former investment bank FX trader: some thoughts
Hi guys, I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert. I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning. When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions. The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts Part I
Why it matters
Using stops sensibly
Picking a clear level
Why it matters
The first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.” You have to keep it before you grow it. Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around. The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices. Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.
Capital and position sizing
The first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose. Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market. A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples. So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000. We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be? We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator". https://preview.redd.it/y38zb666e5h51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=26e4fe569dc5c1f43ce4c746230c49b138691d14 So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital. You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk. Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later. The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work. As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you. Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints. For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly: https://preview.redd.it/q2ea6rgae5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=4332cb8d0bbbc3d8db972c1f28e8189105393e5b To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you. Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown. It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance. Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k. Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money. Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.
If you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number? The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round. This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet. Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin. Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips. Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds. Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this: Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically. If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss. So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%. Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit! With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not. Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account. Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see. This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders. Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
How many live trades have you done? Often they’ll have done only a handful of real trades and the rest are simulated backtests, which are overfitted. The model will soon die.
What is your risk-reward ratio on each trade? If you have a take profit $3 away and a stop loss $100 away, of course most trades will be winners. You will not be making money, however! In general most traders should trade smaller position sizes and less frequently than they do. If you are going to bias one way or the other, far better to start off too small.
How to use stop losses sensibly
Stop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them. A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter. The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’. This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK. Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty. You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter. Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders. A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not. Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”. It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong. Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.
Picking a clear level
Where you leave your stop loss is key. Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible. If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200. The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up. Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD. https://preview.redd.it/moyngdy4f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=91af88da00dd3a09e202880d8029b0ddf04fb802 If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend. So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level. There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section. There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high. https://preview.redd.it/ygy0tko7f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=34af49da61c911befdc0db26af66f6c313556c81 Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument. Here are some guidelines that can help:
Use technical analysis to pick important levels (support, resistance, previous high/lows, moving averages etc.) as these provide clear exit and entry points on a trade.
Ensure that the stop gives your trade enough room to breathe and reflects your timeframe and typical volatility of each pair. See next section.
Always pick your stop level first. Then use a calculator to determine the appropriate lot size for the position, based on the % of your account balance you wish to risk on the trade.
So far we have talked about price-based stops. There is another sort which is more of a fundamental stop, used alongside - not instead of - price stops. If either breaks you’re out. For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.
Coming up in part II
EDIT: part II here Letting stops breathe When to change a stop Entering and exiting winning positions Risk:reward ratios Risk-adjusted returns
Coming up in part III
Squeezes and other risks Market positioning Bet correlation Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits *** Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
This thread is the direct continuation of my previous entry, which you can find here. I have the feeling my rambles may be long, so I'm not going to repeat anything I already said in my previous post for the sake of keeping this brief. What is this? I am backtesting the strategy shared by ParallaxFx. I have just completed my second run of testing, and I am here to share my results with those who are interested. If you want to read more about the strategy, go to my previous thread where I linked it. What changed? Instead of using a fixed target of the -100.0 Fibonacci extension, I tracked both the -61.8 and the -100.0 targets. ParallaxFx used the -61.8 as a target, but never tried the second one, so I wanted to compare the two and see what happens. Where can I see your backtested result? I am going to do something I hope I won't regret and share the link to my spreadsheet. Hopefully I won't be doxxed, but I think I should be fine. You can find my spreadsheet at this link. There are a lot of entries, so it may take a while for them to load. In the "Trades" tab, you will find every trade I backtested with an attached screenshot and the results it would have had with the extended and the unextended target. You can see the UNCOMPOUNDED equity curve in the Summary tab, together with the overall statistics for the system. What was the sample size? I backtested on the Daily chart, from January 2017 to December 2019, over 28 currency pairs. I took a total of 310 trades - although keep in mind that every position is most often composed by two entries, meaning that you can roughly halve this number. What is the bottom line? If you're not interested in the details, here are the stats of the strategy based on how I traded it.
Extended: 223.46 R of return, 2.34 of profit factor, 0.72 R of expected value, 46.13% winrate. The average win is 2.72 R while the average loss is -1.00 R.
Unextended: 172.20 R of return, 2.19 of profit factor, 0.56 R of expected value, 53.23% winrate. The average win is 1.92 R while the average loss is -1.00 R.
The highest drawdown for both systems was 18 R. This seems like a lot, but remember you're splitting risk in half.
Here you can see the two uncompounded equity curves side by side: red is unextended and blue is extended. Who wins? The test suggests the strategy to be more profitable with the extended target. In addition, most of the trades that reached the unextended target but reversed before reaching the extended, were trades that I would have most likely not have taken with the extented target. This is because there was a resistance/support area in the way of the -100.0 extension level, but there was enough room for price to reach the -61.8 level. I will probably trade this strategy using the -100.0 level as target, unless there is an area in the way. In that case I will go for the unextended target. Drawdown management The expected losing streak for this system, using the extended target, is 7 trades in a row in a sample size of 100 trades. My goal is to have a drawdown cap of 4%, so my risk per trade will be 0.54%. If I ever find myself in a losing streak of more than 8 trades, I will reduce my risk per trade further. What's next? I'll be taking this strategy live. The wisest move would be to repeat the same testing over lower timeframes to verify the edge plays out there as well, but I would not be able to trust my results because I would have vague memories of where price went because of the testing I just did. I also believe markets are fractals, so I see no reason why this wouldn't work on lower timeframes. Before going live, I will expand this spreadsheet to include more specific analysis and I will continue backtesting at a slower pace. The goal is to reach 20 years of backtesting over these 28 pairs and put everything into this spreadsheet. It's not something I will do overnight, but I'll probably do one year every odd day, and maybe a couple more during the weekend. I think I don't have much else to add. I like the strategy. Feel free to ask questions.
I've been thinking a lot about my own trading and have come to some harsh conclusions. It's time we discuss some hard truths about technical analysis, mechanical trading, and psychology I think many of us don't want to accept.
I've had a rough week and it sounds like I'm not the only one. This week has wiped out my gains since July 1st, and I'm finding myself ever-so-slightly in the hole this month so far. I've made money every other month I've traded, so I'm not writing myself off as a failure, but nevertheless, I've done some digging to try and figure out what I'm struggling with. I hope the following observations about my own trading resonate with some of you and can help us all become better traders. First off: Fundamental/technical analysis. Since I started with forex a few years ago, I've put 100% of my time and effort into studying technicals. I think many traders, myself included, are drawn to technical analysis because we fall into the trap of thinking "If I just figure out what combination of indicators/chart patterns/algorithms work for me, trading will be smooth sailing." Being able to take a formulaic approach is incredibly appealing because it's much easier to simply check off a list of criteria than it is to interpret more nuanced information. For me, I found success drawing supply and demand zones, using Bollinger Bands to visualize market structure, and confirming reversal patterns with stochastics to trade from one zone to the next. I even studied the math behind those indicators to make sure I fully understood how they worked so I could identify their limitations, and for the most part, the strategy made money. Nevertheless, if I had a dollar for every time I take what I think is a perfect setup, then the market takes me on a wacky-ass ride of unexpected "crazy bullshit" that stops me out, I wouldn't be trading for a living. After some introspection, my conclusion is that those moments are not "crazy bullshit", but rather are the results of factors that fall outside of the (actually very narrow) scope of technical analysis. This has been hard to accept, as I previously learned technical analysis was perfectly viable as a sole perspective. I was taught that the market can be predicted based on analyzing past behavior. It seems obvious now, but when I think about it, no combination of chart patterns or indicators can predict next week's unemployment figures, interest rates, or what announcements (or blunders) world leaders are going to make on the global stage. Technicals work, but they only work when the market is reacting to fundamental factors, and as soon as a new fundamental change comes along, every bit of technical analysis used until that point becomes obsolete. What I'm trying to say is, at the very least, I need to be able to understand when, why, and how the game is going to change if my technicals are going to serve me. As such, I need to stop shirking fundamental analysis. It's time I start paying attention to that economic calendar and put in the effort to learn what each event means and how to interpret the results to figure out how the market will react. It's simply not as easy as looking at the technicals. It should be obvious that there's no magic formula to trading, but many of us try hard to avoid coming to terms with the fact that there's a lot more to "analysis" than just price action, risk management, and indicators. The problem is we as traders want trading to be easy. It's a career that society glorifies, and even if we tell ourselves we know it's not a get-rich-quick scheme, we still want to "figure it out" so we can spend a few hours a week scribbling on our charts and making simple black and white decisions while we kick back and "live comfortably". And so we try to trick ourselves into thinking it is easy by endlessly parroting mantras like "Risk management is all that matters" and "Trading is 100% psychology" and "All you need to do is find the strategy that works for you and stick to it." The first two are certainly pieces of the puzzle, but there's so much more to the big picture. The last mantra isn't even remotely true, and brings me to my second point, which thankfully is something I figured out early in my career, but it's too related to the previous topic to not mention: Mechanical strategies. The sentiment that you need to clearly define a precise, detailed strategy and always stick to it is another lie to make trading seem simpler than it really is. Even when I was just starting to demo trade, I was finding trades that would tick all the boxes outlined by my strategy, but my gut would hesitate. Long after I identified that problem, I also began to notice that I'd be forcing myself to hold onto trades, even if they were not moving as fast or far as I initially thought they would. Once I decided to leave room for my own instinct and discretion, I became much more successful. It's important to understand your strategy is a set of rules you yourself made up. If your strategy does not line up with your own professional opinion of the situation based on your personal experiences and observations, you need to find out why. Yes, you absolutely should draw on your past experiences and be consistent in how you examine the market, how much you risk, and what tools you use, but give yourself enough credit to form your own opinions. The market is not consistent. Do not expect to succeed by applying one cookie-cutter set of rules to different currencies, at different times, during different events. Long-term success in any other line of work is dependent on critical thinking and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing world, and forex is no different. It's not simple, it's not easy, and you will have to make difficult decisions. This wound up being longer than I anticipated, so thanks for reading. I'm eager to hear everyone's thoughts on these topics, so please share them.
T3 Newsbeat Live is run by Mark Melnick, a 20-year veteran trader from New York. According to him, he made his first million at the age of 19 during the dot-com boom back in the late 90s. He claims that his trading room is the fastest growing trading room at T3 and also the Wall Street’s #1 trading room. You can see this in the description of his videos on Youtube. He is a big proponent of reaching the highest win rate possible in trading. He openly shares some of his trading strategies in free videos and claims that some of his strategies are batting over 70% or even 80 %. He also often says that some of the members enjoy a win rate over 90% using his strategies. I will let you be the judge of this. Self-Promotion He makes a lot of videos to attract new people into his trading room. His daily videos are uploaded on Facebook and Youtube almost daily even on Weekends (mostly excluding Friday evening & Saturdays). In so many videos you’d hear him talking about how his trading room has an edge over other trading rooms while bashing other trading rooms as a whole. He often talks about how his trading room bought stocks/options at the near bottom or shorted at the near top using his “algorithmic analysis” which can be applied to all markets (stocks, future, forex, crypto). Piques your curiosity, right? In fact, that’s how I got to give his trading room a try. “Who in the hell wouldn’t want to catch the top & bottom in the markets, right?” So, you would think people in his room and himself are making a killing using his algorithmic analysis? Not so fast… (in fact, his algorithmic analysis is just drawing trendlines and identifying the most probable support and resistance) When it works (of course, nothing works 100% of the time), you are able to catch just few cents off the top and bottom when it works if you follow his trade. However, you have no idea how long you’d have to hold your position. Mark doesn’t know either. So, he usually goes for nickels and dimes and rarely holds a position longer than 5 minutes. Even if he’s good at picking bottoms and tops, you’d often risk more than nickels and dimes just to make nickels and dimes. Make sense, right? ……. ……. ……. Also, because he gets out of his positions fast, he misses out on riding some potentially big trades. Oh, how I wish stay in that position a bit longer. He doesn’t say but one can surmise that he often leave too much on the table. Of course, it’s important to take your profit fast when you scalp but you consistently leave too much on the table like he does, one has to wonder if he has any system for taking profits (otherwise, it’s all discretionary guessing). This type of bottom/top picking is not his main strategy, though. The strategy that makes him the most amount of money might surprise you. I will get to this later. How Mark Trades (Mark’s Trading Setups and Strategies) Mainly, he scans the market in the morning for earnings reports, analysts’ upgrades/downgrades and other catalysts that have potential to make moves in the market. He openly shares his mockery or insult of analysts, calling certain analysts “idiots” or “imbeciles”. He puts on his first trade(s) early in the morning (from 9:30AM to 10:00AM Eastern Standard Time) when the market move is the most volatile. Some of his strategies use market order during this period of volatile time using options. You can see why this can be very risky and especially on thinly traded options with side spread. He does point out this but sometimes you hear people in the room stuck in an options position that they can’t get out. Just like his trades from calling the top/bottom of a stock, he gets in and gets out of a position within minutes if not seconds while going for nickels and dimes while staring at 1minute and 5-minutes charts. That applies to most, if not all of his strategies. (Yes, sometimes he does catch bigger moves than nickels and dimes.) When you trade during the most volatile time in the morning, you’re subjected to wild moves in both directions. If you’re overly prudent or inexperienced in trading, your stop (unless very wide), has a very high chance of hitting. A lot of times it might stop you out and go in the direction that you predicted. So, when you’ve been trading during this time, you’d probably don’t set a stoploss order or a hard stop to avoid getting fleeced. You do have to be proactive at cutting your loss as quickly as possible. Otherwise you’d find yourself scrambling to get out your position while the bid keeps dropping. I have to say that Mark is very cautious and he does get out of trades very fast if he has doubt. A lot of times he lets out exhausting, heavy sighs and even murmurs some swear words when things don’t seem to go the way he wants in a trade. Besides calling certain analysts, “imbeciles” and “idiots”, this is quite unprofessional but no one in the room has the gut to point things out like this. The irony is that he is the “head of trading psychology” at T3 and it doesn’t seem like that he doesn’t have much control over his trading psychology and let alone his emotion. People in trading chatrooms, like a herd of sheep, as a whole exhibit herd mentality. Even in an online chatroom, you don’t often see someone ruffling feathers and say what they really want to say. This is probably because of the certain amount of people believing whatever he says without questioning the validity and quality of his comments. He has several strategies and according to him all of them have win rate over %70. However, he also comes up with new strategies as often as every month. He either comes up with new strategy or tweaks his existing strategies. According to him, the reason is that the market is always evolving and you need to constantly adapt yourself to the ever-changing market environment. What do you think? Does this sound like someone with an edge? And for someone who scalps for nickels and dimes, he claims to have the highest Sharpe Ratio that he has ever seen in the industry. I’m NOT making this up. He often utters remarks like “My Sharpe Ratio is one of the highest I’ve seen in my twenty-year trading career.”, “I want to create a of traders with a very high Sharpe Ratio. How can you achieve a high Sharpe Ratio when you scalp all the time? And let’s not even talk about commissions generated from frequent scalping. Who cares about commissions when you can be a scalper with high Sharpe Ratio? Now, I want to talk about something controversial about his most profitable strategy. Chatters According to him, he makes the most amount of money using what he calls “Chatters”. He admits he bets on this kind of trades heavily. His chatter trades are based on the “newsflow” of big funds making a move in certain stocks and piggybacking on the same trade before others catch on. No one knows how he exactly gets his “newsflow” and he doesn’t give a straight answer when asked. Maybe he pays a lot for this kind of information or maybe it’s given to him for free. Who knows? But it makes sense. The name of the room is Newsbeat Live. Without this the name wouldn’t be the same. This is probably the only real edge that he has and it’s understandable that he doesn’t want to reveal how he get this kind of newsflow and from where. By joining his trading room he’ll make a callout on these trades for you to take advantage of. In order to do this kind of trade, you have to be very quick on your trigger finger. Almost always the initial move is done within a couple of minutes, if not seconds. If you get in late, you find yourself a sucker buying at or near the top. Also, because you want to get in as soon as you hear his “chatter” announcements, he advised people to get in within 5 seconds of each chatter announcement and use market order to get in. He said that if he had a small account, he’d bet 100% on this kind of “high-octane” chatter trades and get in and get out fast for “easy” money. This was how chatter trades were done …Until one they when many people got burned badly. Back in September or October of 2019, a lot of people in the room lost a lot money because they market ordered call options contracts on a chatter trade. The spread on that trade was something like BID: 0.5 ASK: 5.00 few seconds after he announced it. I didn’t take that trade. No way, I’m going to buy something that has a spread like that. If you’ve been trading options you know that this kind of spread can happen. Many people that day in the room marketed-in on the trade, taking the offer at ASK. They found themselves buying at $5.0 per contract when someone probably bought the same contract at $0.40 or $0.50 just few seconds ago. Someone walked away with decent profits on that trade. This was the biggest trading chatroom fiasco I’ve ever seen. People in the room grieving and throwing numbers of how much they had just lost. 10K, 20K, 30K and even $60K. Could it be also that someone who lost more and didn’t want to talk about it because it’d hurt too much? And how embarrassing to talk about such a loss. I give credit to people who spoke up about it. People were obviously distressed and what did Mr. Mark Melnick do at this moment? Initially, he didn’t say much. But what he said he was going to walk away from the trading desk to clear his mind. It took a while for him to come back and he mentioned that it hurt him a lot that people lost a lot of money and encouraged people not to hesitate to contact him. I don’t think he ever said anything about that he made a mistake insinuating to load up on chatter trades. No apology since everyone who took the trade did it at their own risk. He advised people to reach out to their broker and do whatever it takes to get their trades annulled because the market makers in that trades were despicable crooks and evil. But let’s get one thing clear. Perhaps the cold hard truth. Since Mark is the one who announces chatter trades. he basically frontruns everyone who gets in on these trades after him. There were times when he doesn’t take his own chatter trades and lets the room have it. But when he does, it’s a guarantee win for him. He has some sycophantic followers in his trading room and these people are always hungry for chatter plays. I can imagine drooling over the idea of next chatter trades. It’s human to naturally seek the least path of resistance and this type of trade requires no skill but having fast trigger finger and a platform that allows fast execution. By taking his chatter trades, you are most likely to make money as long as you act fast to get in and get out. The thing is, you don’t know when it’s exactly the next chatter trade is going to happen. If you take a bathroom break, you just miss it. If you take a phone call or answer a door bell, you just missed it. So, it requires you to be glued to your monitor(s) if you want to make the most of your subscription. So, we went over Mark’s most profitable strategy. But wait we haven’t yet to talk about his overnight swing trades. Mark’s Swing Trades His overnight swing trades jokes. Yes, jokes. A lot of his overnight trades are done just before earnings announcements when implied volatility is at the highest. You’ve ever bought a call option just before earnings, predicted the right direction but only to find out that you still lost money next morning? This is because of the implied volatility crush post earnings. A lot of people new to options don’t know this and get taken advantage by veterans this way. I don’t know if Mark knows or not but I witnessed him buying options this way. I think he understand the concept of implied volatility but why he gets on such trades is a mystery. I haven’t exactly checked the result of all of his swing trades but I wouldn’t be surprised if people lost more money following his swing trades than anything in the room. Final Word Mark offers “free-consultation” on the phone for people who struggle in their trading. He said that he takes a lot of phone calls but often you’d get the feeling that he is distracted, unable to give an undivided attention for his consultation. “How would you like to get on a free consultation with a millionaire scalper who can take your trading to the next level?” Appealing isn’t it? But would you want to get on the phone with someone who is going to give a consultation, even if he or she is distracted? Oh, it’s a free consultation. Ok, why not? What do I got to lose? In his videos, you’d hear him saying that he cares for everyone in his trading room and considers them as part of his family. And he runs the trading room out of his good heart and intention more than making money. Besides he says that he makes more money from his trading than running the room. My suggestion is that you have a look and you’d be the judge. He does hold “open house” for his trading room from time to time. Also, I believe that if you try his trading room for the first time, you try it for a month for about $50. As for me, he’s just another front runner using his trading room to profit with a bad sense of humor and exaggeration that make you cringe.
Immediate Aftermath : The more data we collect and analyze, the clearer the picture becomes.
This is the updated first part of the list that has recorded the notable events as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. [2nd Part] ― The LINKS to events and sources are placed throughout the timeline. ------------------------ The More Data We Collect and Analyze, the Clearer the Picture Becomes. Someone threw a stone in a pond a long way away. And we're only just feeling the ripples. — Fukuhara from Giri/Haji, Netflix series ------------------------ On Jan 30, Italian PM announced that Italy had blocked all flights to and from China. While Italy has banned people from air-travelling to China, however according to IATA data, there's no measurement implemented for air-travellers from China into Italy till the Mar 07. Especially for Chinese people who have EU passports. On Jan 31, the US announced the category-I travel restrictions, barring all foreigners who have been in China for the past 14 days, with measures including the refusal of visas and mandatory quarantine. • "Because the US focused on China and didn't expect the infected people's entry from Europe and the Middle East, the Maginot Line was breached from behind. And so little of credible data at the beginning made the US government to miscalculate its strategic response to the virus." — Dr. Zhang Lun, currently a visiting scholar at Harvard (economics & sociology), during the interview with ICPC on Mar 29. Also on Jan 31, the WHO changed its tune and declared the coronavirus outbreak a Global Public Health Emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Decisions on a PHEIC always involve politics .... West African countries discouraged a declaration in 2014 after they were hit by the largest Ebola virus outbreak on record, mainly because of concern about the economic impact.
------------------------ On Feb 02, regarding the US category-I travel restrictions, Kamala Harris, the former Democratic presidential candidate, declared on Twitter:
Since 2017, Trump’s travel bans have never been rooted in national security—they’re about discriminating against people of color. They are, without a doubt, rooted in anti-immigrant, white supremacist ideologies. This travel ban is no different.
On Feb 03, criticizing Trump for his travel restrictions continues. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (华春莹), a Peking University professors James Liang (梁建章), New York Times, the Nation, OBSERVER, the Boston Globe, Yahoo, and Daily Kos were saying, it's a "panicky" decision and "racist" or it's "cruel and callous," he's stoking fear for political gains, and the president is "inappropriately overreacting." And professors Liang even said the US ban "will hurt goodwill and cooperation [with China] in the future."          Also on Feb 03, Mr. Tedros of the WHO said there's no need for travel ban measure that "unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade" trying to halt the spread of the virus.
China's delegate took the floor ... and denounced measures by "some countries" that have denied entry to people holding passports issued in Hubei province - at the centre of the outbreak - and to deny visas and cancel flights.
Also on Feb 03, China is expected to gradually implement a larger stimulus packages (in total) than a USD $572 billion from 2008. — We'd never find out but my guess is that the fund will probably go to Shanghai clique. On Feb 04, The FDA has given emergency authorization to a new test kit by the CDC that promises to help public health labs meet a potential surge in cases.
The speed ... pushing through a new diagnostic test shows just how seriously they’re taking the potentially pandemic threat of 2019-nCoV. It’s also a sign that the world is starting to learn how to deal with an onslaught of new pathogens.
Also on Feb 04, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS, Chief Chen Wei belongs to) have jointly applied to patent the use of Remdesivir. Scientists from both institutes said in a paper published in Nature’s Cell Research that they found both Remdesivir and Chloroquine to be an effective way to inhibit the coronavirus. On Feb 06, Jamestown Foundation, a Washington-based research & analysis unit, noted that with State Council of PRC praising his performance of containing the pandemic situation, the council expanded Li Keqiang's political control over Politburo Standing Committee of CCP. (Li Keqiang = Communist Youth League = Shanghai clique) Also, on Feb 06, as the US evacuation planes leave China, the wave of the US evacuees have arrived who are met by the CDC personnel at the quarantine sites for screening, and those who were suspected of infection will be placed under quarantine for 14 days. Also, on Feb 06, a CDC-developed lab test kit to detect the new coronavirus began shipping to qualified US laboratories and international ones. — However, on Feb 12, the CDC said some of the testing kits have flaws and do not work properly. The CDC finally ended up shipping the working test kits for mass testings on Feb 27. This was three weeks later than originally planned. On Feb 07, China National Petroleum has recently declared Force Majeure on gas imports. They are trying to create a breathing room for their foreign exchange reserves shortage. China's foreign exchange reserves fell to mere USD $3.1 trillion in Oct. 2019. On the same day, Bloomberg reported that PetroChina has directed employees in 20 countries to buy N95 face masks and send them home in China. The goal is to get 2 million masks shipped back. You can also find YouTube videos that show Overseas Chinese are scouring the masks at the Home Depot to ship them to China (the video in Korean). Also Chris Smith is pissed. On Feb 09, Trump renews his national emergency on its southern border, and Elizabeth Goitein from the Brennan Center for Justice, published an opinion article on New York Times titled "Trump Has Abused This Power. And He Will Again if He’s Not Stopped." On Feb 10, Dr. Tedros said that an advance three-person team of the WHO arrived in Beijing for a joint mission to discuss with Chinese officials the agenda and questions. Then, the joint mission of about 10 international experts will soon follow, he said. — Those WHO experts ended up visiting Chinese epicentre for the first time on Feb 24. On Feb 12, the US targets Russian oil company for helping Venezuela skirt sanctions. The US admin seemingly tried to secure leverage against Russia after noticing something suspicious was up. On the same day, Trump told Reuters "I hope this outbreak or this event (for the US) may be over in something like April." — Dr. Zhong Nanshan (钟南山), China's top tier SARS-hero doctor, also said "the peak of the virus (for China) should come in mid to late February, followed by a plateau or decrease," adding that his forecast was based on on mathematical modelling and data from recent events and government action. On Feb 13, Tom Frieden who is a former US CDC chief and currently the head of public health nonprofit Resolve to Save Lives, said:
As countries are trying to develop their own control strategies, they are looking for evidence of whether the situation in China is getting worse or better. [But] We still don't have very basic information. [since the WHO just entered China] We hope that information will be coming out.
On the same day, the CDC reports that the 15th case in the US was confirmed. The patient was a part of group who were under a federal quarantine order at the JBSA-Lackland base because of a recent trip to Hubei Province, China. By Feb 13, China hasn't accepted the US CDC's offer to send top experts, and they haven't released the "disaggregated" data (specific figures broken out from the overall numbers) even though repeatedly been asked. On Feb 14, CCP's United Front posted an article on its official website, saying (Eng. text by Google Translation):
Fast! There is no time difference to raise urgently needed materials! Some Overseas Chinese have used their professions in the field of medicine in order to purchase relevant materials Hubei province in short of supply (to send them to China). .... Some Overseas Chinese took advantage of the connection resources, opened green transportation channels through our embassies and consulates abroad, and their related enterprises, and quickly sent large quantities of medical supplies (to China), making this love relay link and cooperation seamless.
On Feb 18, Reuters reports that 3M is on the list of firms eligible for China loans to ease coronavirus crisis.
There is no indication from the list that loans offered will necessarily be sought, or that such firms are in any financial need. The Bank of Shanghai told Reuters it will lend 5.5 billion yuan ($786 million) to 57 firms on its list.
On Feb 21, Xi Jinping writes a thank-you letter to Bill Gates for his foundation’s support to China regarding COVID-19 outbreak. On Feb 24, China was rumoured on Twitter to delay the phase one trade deal implementation indefinitely which includes the increase of China's purchasing American products & services by at least $200 billion over the next two years. Also on Feb 24, S&P 500 Index started to drop. Opened with 3225.9 and closed 3128.2. By the Mar 23, it dropped to 2208.9. Also on Feb 24, China's National Health Commission says the WHO experts have visited Wuhan city for the first time, the locked-down central Chinese city at the epicentre, inspecting two hospitals and a makeshift one at a sports centre. On Feb 26, IF the picture that has been circulated on Twitter were real, then chief Chen Wei and her team have developed the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine within time frame of a month. On the same day, the CDC's latest figures displays 59 people in the US who have tested positive for COVID-19. Also on Feb 26, the Washington Post published an article that says:
.... the WHO said it has repeatedly asked Chinese officials for "disaggregated" data — meaning specific figures broken out from the overall numbers — that could shed light on hospital transmission and help assess the level of risk front-line workers face. "We received disaggregated information at intervals, though not details about health care workers," said Tarik Jasarevic of the WHO. — The comment, in an email on Feb 22 to the Post, was one of the first instances that the WHO had directly addressed shortcomings in China's reporting or handling of the coronavirus crisis.
On Feb 27, after missteps, the CDC says its test kit is ready and the US started to expand testing. On Feb 28, China transferred more than 80,000 Uighurs to factories used by global brands such as Apple, Nike, & Volkswagen & among others. Also on Feb 28, the WHO published the official report of the WHO-China joint mission on coronavirus disease 2019. (PDF) On Feb 29, quoting Caixin media's investigation published on the same day, Lianhe Zaobao, the largest Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper, published an article reporting the following:
Dr. Li Wenliang said in the interview with Caixin media; [in Dec 2019] another doctor (later turned out to be Dr. Ai Fen) examined and tried to treat a patient who exhibited SARS-like symptoms which akin to influenza resistant to conventional treatment methods. And "the family members who took care of her (the patient) that night also had a fever, and her other daughter also had a fever. This is obviously from person to person" Dr. Li said in the interview."
------------------------ On Mar 01, China's State Council super tighten up their already draconian internet law. On the same day,Princelings published an propaganda called "A Battle Against Epidemic: China Combating COVID-19 in 2020" which compiles numerous state media accounts on the heroic leadership of Xi Jinping, the vital role of the Communist Party, and the superiority of the Chinese system in fighting the virus. Starting on Mar 03, the US Fed has taken two significant measures to provide monetary stimulus. It's going to be no use as if a group of people with serious means are manipulating the markets to make sure MM will have liquidity concerns when they need it most. On Mar 04, Xinhua News, China's official state-run press agency posted an article "Be bold: the world should thank China" which states that
If China retaliates against the US at this time, it will also announce strategic control over medical products, and ban exports of said products to the US. ... If China declares today that its drugs are for domestic use only, the US will fall into the hell of new coronavirus epidemic.
On Mar 05, Shanghai Index has recovered the coronavirus loss almost completely. On Mar 07, Saudi's Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and Muhammad bin Nayef were arrested on the claims of plotting to overthrow King Salman. — Ahmed bin Abdulaziz is known to have very tight investment-interest relationship with Bill Gates, Bill Browder, Blackstone, & BlackRock: One common factor that connects these people is China. On Mar 08, the Russia–Saudi oil price war has begun. The ostensible reason was simple: China, the biggest importer of oil from Saudi and Russia, was turning back tankers while claiming that the outbreak forced its economy to a standstill. On Mar 10, the Washington Post published the article saying that the trade group for manufacturers of personal protective equipment urged in 2009 "immediate action" to restock the national stockpile including N95 masks, but it hasn't been replenished since. On Mar 11, the gentleman at the WHO declares the coronavirus outbreak a "Global Pandemic." He called on governments to change the course of the outbreak by taking "urgent and aggressive action." This was a full twelve days after the organization published the official report regarding the situation in China. On Mar 13, the US admin declared a National Emergency and announced the plan to release $50 billion in federal resources amid COVID-19. Also on Mar 13, China's Ministry of Commerce states that China is now the best region for global investment hedging. On Mar 15, Business Insider reports that Trump tried to poach German scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine and offered cash so it would be exclusive to the US. The problem is the official CureVac (the German company) twitter account, on Mar 16, 2020, tweeted the following:
To make it clear again on coronavirus: CureVac has not received from the US government or related entities an offer before, during and since the Task Force meeting in the White House on March 2. CureVac rejects all allegations from press.
On Mar 16, the fan club of European globalists has published a piece titled, "China and Coronavirus: From Home-Made Disaster to Global Mega-Opportunity." The piece says:
The Chinese method is the only method that has proved successful [in fighting the virus], is a message spread online in China by influencers, including many essentially promoting propaganda. ... it is certainly a message that seems to be resonating with opinion leaders around the world.
On the same day, unlike China that had one epicentre, Wuhan city, the US now overtakes China with most cases reporting multiple epicentres simultaneously. Also on Mar 16, the US stocks ended sharply lower with the Dow posting its worst point drop in history. But some showed a faint hint of uncertain hope. On Mar 17, according to an article on Chinese version of Quora, Zhihu, chief Chen Wei and her team with CanSino Biologics officially initiated a Phase-1 clinical trial for COVID-19 vaccine at the Wuhan lab, Hubei China, which Bloomberg News confirmed. — Click HERE, then set its time period as 1 year, and see when the graph has started to move up. Also on Mar 17, China's state media, China Global TV Network (CGTN), has produced YouTube videos for Middle Eastern audiences to spread the opinion that the US has engineered COVID-19 events. Also on Mar 17, Al Jazeera reported that the US President has been criticized for repeatedly referring to the coronavirus as the "Chinese Virus" as critics saying Trump is "fueling bigotry." • China's Xinhua News tweeted "Racism is not the right tool to cover your own incompetence." • Tucker Carlson asked: "Why would America's media take China's side amid coronavirus pandemic?" • Also, Mr. Bill Gates: "We should not call this the Chinese virus." On Mar 19, for the first time, China reports zero local infections. Also on Mar 19, Al Jazeera published an analysis report, titled "Coronavirus erodes Trump's re-election prospects." On Mar 22, Bloomberg reports that China's mobile carriers lost 21 million users during this pandemic event. It's said to be the first net decline since starting to report monthly data in 2000. On Mar 26, EURACTV reports that China cashes in off coronavirus, selling Spain $466 million in supplies. However, Spain returns 9,000 "quick result" test kits to China, because they were deemed substandard. — Especially the sensibility of the test was around 30 percent, when it should be higher than 80 percent. ------------------------ On Apr 03, Germany and other governments are bolstering corporate defenses to address worries that coronavirus-weakened companies could be easy prey for bargain hunting by China's state owned businesses. On Apr 05, New York Times says "Trump Again Promotes Use of Unproven Anti-Malaria Drug (hydroxychloroquine)." On Apr 06, a Democratic State Rep. Karen Whitsett from Detroit credits hydroxychloroquine and President Trump for "saving her in her battle with the coronavirus." On Apr 07, the US CDC removed the following part from its website.
Although optimal dosing and duration of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 are unknown, some U.S. clinicians have reported anecdotally different hydroxychloroquine dosing such as: 400mg BID on day one, then daily for 5 days; 400 mg BID on day one, then 200mg BID for 4 days; 600 mg BID on day one, then 400mg daily on days 2-5.
------------------------ ☞ If there were ever a time for people not to be partisan and tribal, the time has come: We need to be ever vigilant and attentive to all kinds of disinformation & misinformation to see it better as well as to be sharp in our lives. — We really do need to come together. ☞ At first, I was going to draw up a conspiracy theory-oriented list focused on Team-Z, especially Mr. Gates. However, although it's nothing new tbh, recently many chats and discussions seem overflowing with disinformation & misinformation which is, in my opinion, particularly painful at a time like this. Hence, this post became a vanilla list that's just recorded the notable events. — We all are subject to misinformation, miscalculation, and misjudgment. But the clearer the picture becomes the better we can identify Funkspiel. ------------------------ ☞ Immediate Aftermath pt.2.a ------------------------ ☞ Feasible Timeline of the Operation ------------------------ ☞ Go Back to the Short Story. ----
https://preview.redd.it/gp18bjnlabr41.jpg?width=768&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6054e7f52e8d52da403016139ae43e0e799abf15 Download PDF of this article here:https://docdro.id/6eLgUPo In light of the recent fall in oil prices due to the Saudi-Russian dispute and dampening demand for oil due to the lockdowns implemented globally, O&G stocks have taken a severe beating, falling approximately 50% from their highs at the beginning of the year. Not spared from this onslaught is Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (Hibiscus), a listed oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P) company. Why invest in O&G stocks in this particularly uncertain period? For one, valuations of these stocks have fallen to multi-year lows, bringing the potential ROI on these stocks to attractive levels. Oil prices are cyclical, and are bound to return to the mean given a sufficiently long time horizon. The trick is to find those companies who can survive through this downturn and emerge into “normal” profitability once oil prices rebound. In this article, I will explore the upsides and downsides of investing in Hibiscus. I will do my best to cater this report to newcomers to the O&G industry – rather than address exclusively experts and veterans of the O&G sector. As an equity analyst, I aim to provide a view on the company primarily, and will generally refrain from providing macro views on oil or opinions about secular trends of the sector. I hope you enjoy reading it! Stock code: 5199.KL Stock name: Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad Financial information and financial reports: https://www.malaysiastock.biz/Corporate-Infomation.aspx?securityCode=5199 Company website: https://www.hibiscuspetroleum.com/
Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL) is an oil and gas (O&G) upstream exploration and production (E&P) company located in Malaysia. As an E&P company, their business can be basically described as: · looking for oil, · drawing it out of the ground, and · selling it on global oil markets. This means Hibiscus’s profits are particularly exposed to fluctuating oil prices. With oil prices falling to sub-$30 from about $60 at the beginning of the year, Hibiscus’s stock price has also fallen by about 50% YTD – from around RM 1.00 to RM 0.45 (as of 5 April 2020). https://preview.redd.it/3dqc4jraabr41.png?width=641&format=png&auto=webp&s=7ba0e8614c4e9d781edfc670016a874b90560684 https://preview.redd.it/lvdkrf0cabr41.png?width=356&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f250a713887b06986932fa475dc59c7c28582e While the company is domiciled in Malaysia, its two main oil producing fields are located in both Malaysia and the UK. The Malaysian oil field is commonly referred to as the North Sabah field, while the UK oil field is commonly referred to as the Anasuria oil field. Hibiscus has licenses to other oil fields in different parts of the world, notably the Marigold/Sunflower oil fields in the UK and the VIC cluster in Australia, but its revenues and profits mainly stem from the former two oil producing fields. Given that it’s a small player and has only two primary producing oil fields, it’s not surprising that Hibiscus sells its oil to a concentrated pool of customers, with 2 of them representing 80% of its revenues (i.e. Petronas and BP). Fortunately, both these customers are oil supermajors, and are unlikely to default on their obligations despite low oil prices. At RM 0.45 per share, the market capitalization is RM 714.7m and it has a trailing PE ratio of about 5x. It doesn’t carry any debt, and it hasn’t paid a dividend in its listing history. The MD, Mr. Kenneth Gerard Pereira, owns about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares.
Reserves (Total recoverable oil) & Production (bbl/day)
To begin analyzing the company, it’s necessary to understand a little of the industry jargon. We’ll start with Reserves and Production. In general, there are three types of categories for a company’s recoverable oil volumes – Reserves, Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources. Reserves are those oil fields which are “commercial”, which is defined as below: As defined by the SPE PRMS,Reservesare “… quantities of petroleum anticipated to be commercially recoverable by application of development projects to known accumulations from a given date forward under defined conditions.” Therefore, Reserves must be discovered (by drilling, recoverable (with current technology), remaining in the subsurface (at the effective date of the evaluation) and “commercial” based on the development project proposed.) Note that Reserves are associated with development projects. To be considered as “commercial”, there must be a firm intention to proceed with the project in a reasonable time frame (typically 5 years, and such intention must be based upon all of the following criteria:) - A reasonable assessment of the future economics of the development project meeting defined investment and operating criteria;- A reasonable expectation that there will be a market for all or at least the expected sales quantities of production required to justify development;- Evidence that the necessary production and transportation facilities are available or can be made available; and- Evidence that legal, contractual, environmental and other social and economic concerns will allow for the actual implementation of the recovery project being evaluated. Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources are further defined as below: -Contingent Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets discovered volumes but is not (yet commercial (as defined above); and)-Prospective Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets as yet undiscovered volumes. In the industry lingo, we generally refer to Reserves as ‘P’ and Contingent Resources as ‘C’. These ‘P’ and ‘C’ resources can be further categorized into 1P/2P/3P resources and 1C/2C/3C resources, each referring to a low/medium/high estimate of the company’s potential recoverable oil volumes: - Low/1C/1P estimate: there should be reasonable certainty that volumes actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimate;- Best/2C/2P estimate: there should be an equal likelihood of the actual volumes of petroleum being larger or smaller than the estimate; and- High/3C/3P estimate: there is a low probability that the estimate will be exceeded. Hence in the E&P industry, it is easy to see why most investors and analysts refer to the 2P estimate as the best estimate for a company’s actual recoverable oil volumes. This is because 2P reserves (‘2P’ referring to ‘Proved and Probable’) are a middle estimate of the recoverable oil volumes legally recognized as “commercial”. However, there’s nothing stopping you from including 2C resources (riskier) or utilizing 1P resources (conservative) as your estimate for total recoverable oil volumes, depending on your risk appetite. In this instance, the company has provided a snapshot of its 2P and 2C resources in its analyst presentation: https://preview.redd.it/o8qejdyc8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=b3ab9be8f83badf0206adc982feda3a558d43e78 Basically, what the company is saying here is that by 2021, it will have classified as 2P reserves at least 23.7 million bbl from its Anasuria field and 20.5 million bbl from its North Sabah field – for total 2P reserves of 44.2 million bbl (we are ignoring the Australian VIC cluster as it is only estimated to reach first oil by 2022). Furthermore, the company is stating that they have discovered (but not yet legally classified as “commercial”) a further 71 million bbl of oil from both the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, as well as the Marigold/Sunflower fields. If we include these 2C resources, the total potential recoverable oil volumes could exceed 100 million bbl. In this report, we shall explore all valuation scenarios giving consideration to both 2P and 2C resources. https://preview.redd.it/gk54qplf8br41.png?width=489&format=png&auto=webp&s=c905b7a6328432218b5b9dfd53cc9ef1390bd604 The company further targets a 2021 production rate of 20,000 bbl (LTM: 8,000 bbl), which includes 5,000 bbl from its Anasuria field (LTM: 2,500 bbl) and 7,000 bbl from its North Sabah field (LTM: 5,300 bbl). This is a substantial increase in forecasted production from both existing and prospective oil fields. If it materializes, annual production rate could be as high as 7,300 mmbbl, and 2021 revenues (given FY20 USD/bbl of $60) could exceed RM 1.5 billion (FY20: RM 988 million). However, this targeted forecast is quite a stretch from current production levels. Nevertheless, we shall consider all provided information in estimating a valuation for Hibiscus. To understand Hibiscus’s oil production capacity and forecast its revenues and profits, we need to have a better appreciation of the performance of its two main cash-generating assets – the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. North Sabah oil field https://preview.redd.it/62nssexj8br41.png?width=1003&format=png&auto=webp&s=cd78f86d51165fb9a93015e49496f7f98dad64dd Hibiscus owns a 50% interest in the North Sabah field together with its partner Petronas, and has production rights over the field up to year 2040. The asset contains 4 oil fields, namely the St Joseph field, South Furious field, SF 30 field and Barton field. For the sake of brevity, we shall not delve deep into the operational aspects of the fields or the contractual nature of its production sharing contract (PSC). We’ll just focus on the factors which relate to its financial performance. These are: · Average uptime · Total oil sold · Average realized oil price · Average OPEX per bbl With regards to average uptime, we can see that the company maintains relative high facility availability, exceeding 90% uptime in all quarters of the LTM with exception of Jul-Sep 2019. The dip in average uptime was due to production enhancement projects and maintenance activities undertaken to improve the production capacity of the St Joseph and SF30 oil fields. Hence, we can conclude that management has a good handle on operational performance. It also implies that there is little room for further improvement in production resulting from increased uptime. As North Sabah is under a production sharing contract (PSC), there is a distinction between gross oil production and net oil production. The former relates to total oil drawn out of the ground, whereas the latter refers to Hibiscus’s share of oil production after taxes, royalties and expenses are accounted for. In this case, we want to pay attention to net oil production, not gross. We can arrive at Hibiscus’s total oil sold for the last twelve months (LTM) by adding up the total oil sold for each of the last 4 quarters. Summing up the figures yields total oil sold for the LTM of approximately 2,075,305 bbl. Then, we can arrive at an average realized oil price over the LTM by averaging the average realized oil price for the last 4 quarters, giving us an average realized oil price over the LTM of USD 68.57/bbl. We can do the same for average OPEX per bbl, giving us an average OPEX per bbl over the LTM of USD 13.23/bbl. Thus, we can sum up the above financial performance of the North Sabah field with the following figures: · Total oil sold: 2,075,305 bbl · Average realized oil price: USD 68.57/bbl · Average OPEX per bbl: USD 13.23/bbl Anasuria oil field https://preview.redd.it/586u4kfo8br41.png?width=1038&format=png&auto=webp&s=7580fc7f7df7e948754d025745a5cf47d4393c0f Doing the same exercise as above for the Anasuria field, we arrive at the following financial performance for the Anasuria field: · Total oil sold: 1,073,304 bbl · Average realized oil price: USD 63.57/bbl · Average OPEX per bbl: USD 23.22/bbl As gas production is relatively immaterial, and to be conservative, we shall only consider the crude oil production from the Anasuria field in forecasting revenues.
Valuation (Method 1)
Putting the figures from both oil fields together, we get the following data: https://preview.redd.it/7y6064dq8br41.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=2a4120563a011cf61fc6090e1cd5932602599dc2 Given that we have determined LTM EBITDA of RM 632m, the next step would be to subtract ITDA (interest, tax, depreciation & amortization) from it to obtain estimated LTM Net Profit. Using FY2020’s ITDA of approximately RM 318m as a guideline, we arrive at an estimated LTM Net Profit of RM 314m (FY20: 230m). Given the current market capitalization of RM 714.7m, this implies a trailing LTM PE of 2.3x. Performing a sensitivity analysis given different oil prices, we arrive at the following net profit table for the company under different oil price scenarios, assuming oil production rate and ITDA remain constant: https://preview.redd.it/xixge5sr8br41.png?width=433&format=png&auto=webp&s=288a00f6e5088d01936f0217ae7798d2cfcf11f2 From the above exercise, it becomes apparent that Hibiscus has a breakeven oil price of about USD 41.8863/bbl, and has a lot of operating leverage given the exponential rate of increase in its Net Profit with each consequent increase in oil prices. Considering that the oil production rate (EBITDA) is likely to increase faster than ITDA’s proportion to revenues (fixed costs), at an implied PE of 4.33x, it seems likely that an investment in Hibiscus will be profitable over the next 10 years (with the assumption that oil prices will revert to the mean in the long-term).
Valuation (Method 2)
Of course, there are a lot of assumptions behind the above method of valuation. Hence, it would be prudent to perform multiple methods of valuation and compare the figures to one another. As opposed to the profit/loss assessment in Valuation (Method 1), another way of performing a valuation would be to estimate its balance sheet value, i.e. total revenues from 2P Reserves, and assign a reasonable margin to it. https://preview.redd.it/o2eiss6u8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=03960cce698d9cedb076f3d5f571b3c59d908fa8 From the above, we understand that Hibiscus’s 2P reserves from the North Sabah and Anasuria fields alone are approximately 44.2 mmbbl (we ignore contribution from Australia’s VIC cluster as it hasn’t been developed yet). Doing a similar sensitivity analysis of different oil prices as above, we arrive at the following estimated total revenues and accumulated net profit: https://preview.redd.it/h8hubrmw8br41.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=6d23f0f9c3dafda89e758b815072ba335467f33e Let’s assume that the above average of RM 9.68 billion in total realizable revenues from current 2P reserves holds true. If we assign a conservative Net Profit margin of 15% (FY20: 23%; past 5 years average: 16%), we arrive at estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves ofRM 1.452 billion. Given the current market capitalization of RM 714 million, we might be able to say that the equity is worth about twice the current share price. However, it is understandable that some readers might feel that the figures used in the above estimate (e.g. net profit margin of 15%) were randomly plucked from the sky. So how do we reconcile them with figures from the financial statements? Fortunately, there appears to be a way to do just that. Intangible Assets I refer you to a figure in the financial statements which provides a shortcut to the valuation of 2P Reserves. This is the carrying value of Intangible Assets on the Balance Sheet. As of 2QFY21, that amount was RM 1,468,860,000 (i.e. RM 1.468 billion). https://preview.redd.it/hse8ttb09br41.png?width=881&format=png&auto=webp&s=82e48b5961c905fe9273cb6346368de60202ebec Quite coincidentally, one might observe that this figure is dangerously close to the estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion we calculated earlier. But why would this amount matter at all? To answer that, I refer you to the notes of the Annual Report FY20 (AR20). On page 148 of the AR20, we find the following two paragraphs: E&E assets comprise of rights and concession and conventional studies. Following the acquisition of a concession right to explore a licensed area, the costs incurred such as geological and geophysical surveys, drilling, commercial appraisal costs and other directly attributable costs of exploration and appraisal including technical and administrative costs, are capitalised as conventional studies, presented as intangible assets. E&E assets are assessed for impairment when facts and circumstances suggest that the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount. The Group will allocate E&E assets to cash generating unit (“CGU”s or groups of CGUs for the purpose of assessing such assets for impairment. Each CGU or group of units to which an E&E asset is allocated will not be larger than an operating segment as disclosed in Note 39 to the financial statements.) Hence, we can determine that firstly, the intangible asset value represents capitalized costs of acquisition of the oil fields, including technical exploration costs and costs of acquiring the relevant licenses. Secondly, an impairment review will be carried out when “the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount”, with E&E assets being allocated to “cash generating units” (CGU) for the purposes of assessment. On page 169 of the AR20, we find the following: Carrying amounts of the Group’s intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO are reviewed for possible impairment annually including any indicators of impairment. For the purpose of assessing impairment, assets are grouped at the lowest level CGUs for which there is a separately identifiable cash flow available. These CGUs are based on operating areas, represented by the 2011 North Sabah EOR PSC (“North Sabah”, the Anasuria Cluster, the Marigold and Sunflower fields, the VIC/P57 exploration permit (“VIC/P57”) and the VIC/L31 production license (“VIC/L31”).) So apparently, the CGUs that have been assigned refer to the respective oil producing fields, two of which include the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. In order to perform the impairment review, estimates of future cash flow will be made by management to assess the “recoverable amount” (as described above), subject to assumptions and an appropriate discount rate. Hence, what we can gather up to now is that management will estimate future recoverable cash flows from a CGU (i.e. the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields), compare that to their carrying value, and perform an impairment if their future recoverable cash flows are less than their carrying value. In other words, if estimated accumulated profits from the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are less than their carrying value, an impairment is required. So where do we find the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields? Further down on page 184 in the AR20, we see the following: Included in rights and concession are the carrying amounts of producing field licenses in the Anasuria Cluster amounting to RM668,211,518 (2018: RM687,664,530, producing field licenses in North Sabah amounting to RM471,031,008 (2018: RM414,333,116)) Hence, we can determine that the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. But where do we find the future recoverable cash flows of the fields as estimated by management, and what are the assumptions used in that calculation? Fortunately, we find just that on page 185: 17 INTANGIBLE ASSETS (CONTINUED) (a Anasuria Cluster) The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for Anasuria Cluster during the current financial year. In the previous financial year, due to uncertainties in crude oil prices, the Group has assessed the recoverable amount of the intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO relating to the Anasuria Cluster. The recoverable amount is determined using the FVLCTS model based on discounted cash flows (“DCF” derived from the expected cash in/outflow pattern over the production lives.) The key assumptions used to determine the recoverable amount for the Anasuria Cluster were as follows: (i Discount rate of 10%;) (ii Future cost inflation factor of 2% per annum;) (iii Oil price forecast based on the oil price forward curve from independent parties; and,) (iv Oil production profile based on the assessment by independent oil and gas reserve experts.) Based on the assessments performed, the Directors concluded that the recoverable amount calculated based on the valuation model is higher than the carrying amount. (b North Sabah) The acquisition of the North Sabah assets was completed in the previous financial year. Details of the acquisition are as disclosed in Note 15 to the financial statements. The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for North Sabah during the current financial year. Here, we can see that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field was estimated based on a DCF of expected future cash flows over the production life of the asset. The key assumptions used by management all seem appropriate, including a discount rate of 10% and oil price and oil production estimates based on independent assessment. From there, management concludes that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field is higher than its carrying amount (i.e. no impairment required). Likewise, for the North Sabah field. How do we interpret this? Basically, what management is saying is that given a 10% discount rate and independent oil price and oil production estimates, the accumulated profits (i.e. recoverable amount) from both the North Sabah and the Anasuria fields exceed their carrying amounts of RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. In other words, according to management’s own estimates, the carrying value of the Intangible Assets of RM 1.468 billionapproximates the accumulated Net Profit recoverable from 2P reserves. To conclude Valuation (Method 2), we arrive at the following:
Accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves
RM 1.452 billion
RM 1.468 billion
By now, we have established the basic economics of Hibiscus’s business, including its revenues (i.e. oil production and oil price scenarios), costs (OPEX, ITDA), profitability (breakeven, future earnings potential) and balance sheet value (2P reserves, valuation). Moving on, we want to gain a deeper understanding of the 3 statements to anticipate any blind spots and risks. We’ll refer to the financial statements of both the FY20 annual report and the 2Q21 quarterly report in this analysis. For the sake of brevity, I’ll only point out those line items which need extra attention, and skip over the rest. Feel free to go through the financial statements on your own to gain a better familiarity of the business. https://preview.redd.it/h689bss79br41.png?width=810&format=png&auto=webp&s=ed47fce6a5c3815dd3d4f819e31f1ce39ccf4a0b Income Statement First, we’ll start with the Income Statement on page 135 of the AR20. Revenues are straightforward, as we’ve discussed above. Cost of Sales and Administrative Expenses fall under the jurisdiction of OPEX, which we’ve also seen earlier. Other Expenses are mostly made up of Depreciation & Amortization of RM 115m. Finance Costs are where things start to get tricky. Why does a company which carries no debt have such huge amounts of finance costs? The reason can be found in Note 8, where it is revealed that the bulk of finance costs relate to the unwinding of discount of provision for decommissioning costs of RM 25m (Note 32). https://preview.redd.it/4omjptbe9br41.png?width=1019&format=png&auto=webp&s=eaabfc824134063100afa62edfd36a34a680fb60 This actually refers to the expected future costs of restoring the Anasuria and North Sabah fields to their original condition once the oil reserves have been depleted. Accounting standards require the company to provide for these decommissioning costs as they are estimable and probable. The way the decommissioning costs are accounted for is the same as an amortized loan, where the initial carrying value is recognized as a liability and the discount rate applied is reversed each year as an expense on the Income Statement. However, these expenses are largely non-cash in nature and do not necessitate a cash outflow every year (FY20: RM 69m). Unwinding of discount on non-current other payables of RM 12m relate to contractual payments to the North Sabah sellers. We will discuss it later. Taxation is another tricky subject, and is even more significant than Finance Costs at RM 161m. In gist, Hibiscus is subject to the 38% PITA (Petroleum Income Tax Act) under Malaysian jurisdiction, and the 30% Petroleum tax + 10% Supplementary tax under UK jurisdiction. Of the RM 161m, RM 41m of it relates to deferred tax which originates from the difference between tax treatment and accounting treatment on capitalized assets (accelerated depreciation vs straight-line depreciation). Nonetheless, what you should take away from this is that the tax expense is a tangible expense and material to breakeven analysis. Fortunately, tax is a variable expense, and should not materially impact the cash flow of Hibiscus in today’s low oil price environment. Note: Cash outflows for Tax Paid in FY20 was RM 97m, substantially below the RM 161m tax expense. https://preview.redd.it/1xrnwzm89br41.png?width=732&format=png&auto=webp&s=c078bc3e18d9c79d9a6fbe1187803612753f69d8 Balance Sheet The balance sheet of Hibiscus is unexciting; I’ll just bring your attention to those line items which need additional scrutiny. I’ll use the figures in the latest 2Q21 quarterly report (2Q21) and refer to the notes in AR20 for clarity. We’ve already discussed Intangible Assets in the section above, so I won’t dwell on it again. Moving on, the company has Equipment of RM 582m, largely relating to O&G assets (e.g. the Anasuria FPSO vessel and CAPEX incurred on production enhancement projects). Restricted cash and bank balances represent contractual obligations for decommissioning costs of the Anasuria Cluster, and are inaccessible for use in operations. Inventories are relatively low, despite Hibiscus being an E&P company, so forex fluctuations on carrying value of inventories are relatively immaterial. Trade receivables largely relate to entitlements from Petronas and BP (both oil supermajors), and are hence quite safe from impairment. Other receivables, deposits and prepayments are significant as they relate to security deposits placed with sellers of the oil fields acquired; these should be ignored for cash flow purposes. Note: Total cash and bank balances do not include approximately RM 105 m proceeds from the North Sabah December 2019 offtake (which was received in January 2020) Cash and bank balances of RM 90m do not include RM 105m of proceeds from offtake received in 3Q21 (Jan 2020). Hence, the actual cash and bank balances as of 2Q21 approximate RM 200m. Liabilities are a little more interesting. First, I’ll draw your attention to the significant Deferred tax liabilities of RM 457m. These largely relate to the amortization of CAPEX (i.e. Equipment and capitalized E&E expenses), which is given an accelerated depreciation treatment for tax purposes. The way this works is that the government gives Hibiscus a favorable tax treatment on capital expenditures incurred via an accelerated depreciation schedule, so that the taxable income is less than usual. However, this leads to the taxable depreciation being utilized quicker than accounting depreciation, hence the tax payable merely deferred to a later period – when the tax depreciation runs out but accounting depreciation remains. Given the capital intensive nature of the business, it is understandable why Deferred tax liabilities are so large. We’ve discussed Provision for decommissioning costs under the Finance Costs section earlier. They are also quite significant at RM 266m. Notably, the Other Payables and Accruals are a hefty RM 431m. What do they relate to? Basically, they are contractual obligations to the sellers of the oil fields which are only payable upon oil prices reaching certain thresholds. Hence, while they are current in nature, they will only become payable when oil prices recover to previous highs, and are hence not an immediate cash outflow concern given today’s low oil prices. Cash Flow Statement There is nothing in the cash flow statement which warrants concern. Notably, the company generated OCF of approximately RM 500m in FY20 and RM 116m in 2Q21. It further incurred RM 330m and RM 234m of CAPEX in FY20 and 2Q21 respectively, largely owing to production enhancement projects to increase the production rate of the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, which according to management estimates are accretive to ROI. Tax paid was RM 97m in FY20 and RM 61m in 2Q21 (tax expense: RM 161m and RM 62m respectively).
There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious risks that one should be aware of before investing in Hibiscus. We shall not consider operational risks (e.g. uptime, OPEX) as they are outside the jurisdiction of the equity analyst. Instead, we shall focus on the financial and strategic risks largely outside the control of management. The main ones are: · Oil prices remaining subdued for long periods of time · Fluctuation of exchange rates · Customer concentration risk · 2P Reserves being less than estimated · Significant current and non-current liabilities · Potential issuance of equity Oil prices remaining subdued Of topmost concern in the minds of most analysts is whether Hibiscus has the wherewithal to sustain itself through this period of low oil prices (sub-$30). A quick and dirty estimate of annual cash outflow (i.e. burn rate) assuming a $20 oil world and historical production rates is between RM 50m-70m per year, which considering the RM 200m cash balance implies about 3-4 years of sustainability before the company runs out of cash and has to rely on external assistance for financing. Table 1: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and exchange rates https://preview.redd.it/gxnekd6h9br41.png?width=670&format=png&auto=webp&s=edbfb9621a43480d11e3b49de79f61a6337b3d51 The above table shows different EBITDA scenarios (RM ‘m) given different oil prices (left column) and USD:MYR exchange rates (top row). Currently, oil prices are $27 and USD:MYR is 1:4.36. Given conservative assumptions of average OPEX/bbl of $20 (current: $15), we can safely say that the company will be loss-making as long as oil remains at $20 or below (red). However, we can see that once oil prices hit $25, the company can tank the lower-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 50m (orange), while at RM $27 it can sufficiently muddle through the higher-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 70m (green). Hence, we can assume that as long as the average oil price over the next 3-4 years remains above $25, Hibiscus should come out of this fine without the need for any external financing. Customer Concentration Risk With regards to customer concentration risk, there is not much the analyst or investor can do except to accept the risk. Fortunately, 80% of revenues can be attributed to two oil supermajors (Petronas and BP), hence the risk of default on contractual obligations and trade receivables seems to be quite diminished. 2P Reserves being less than estimated 2P Reserves being less than estimated is another risk that one should keep in mind. Fortunately, the current market cap is merely RM 714m – at half of estimated recoverable amounts of RM 1.468 billion – so there’s a decent margin of safety. In addition, there are other mitigating factors which shall be discussed in the next section (‘Opportunities’). Significant non-current and current liabilities The significant non-current and current liabilities have been addressed in the previous section. It has been determined that they pose no threat to immediate cash flow due to them being long-term in nature (e.g. decommissioning costs, deferred tax, etc). Hence, for the purpose of assessing going concern, their amounts should not be a cause for concern. Potential issuance of equity Finally, we come to the possibility of external financing being required in this low oil price environment. While the company should last 3-4 years on existing cash reserves, there is always the risk of other black swan events materializing (e.g. coronavirus) or simply oil prices remaining muted for longer than 4 years. Furthermore, management has hinted that they wish to acquire new oil assets at presently depressed prices to increase daily production rate to a targeted 20,000 bbl by end-2021. They have room to acquire debt, but they may also wish to issue equity for this purpose. Hence, the possibility of dilution to existing shareholders cannot be entirely ruled out. However, given management’s historical track record of prioritizing ROI and optimal capital allocation, and in consideration of the fact that the MD owns 10% of outstanding shares, there is some assurance that any potential acquisitions will be accretive to EPS and therefore valuations.
As with the existence of risk, the presence of material opportunities also looms over the company. Some of them are discussed below: · Increased Daily Oil Production Rate · Inclusion of 2C Resources · Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating Increased Daily Oil Production Rate The first and most obvious opportunity is the potential for increased production rate. We’ve seen in the last quarter (2Q21) that the North Sabah field increased its daily production rate by approximately 20% as a result of production enhancement projects (infill drilling), lowering OPEX/bbl as a result. To vastly oversimplify, infill drilling is the process of maximizing well density by drilling in the spaces between existing wells to improve oil production. The same improvements are being undertaken at the Anasuria field via infill drilling, subsea debottlenecking, water injection and sidetracking of existing wells. Without boring you with industry jargon, this basically means future production rate is likely to improve going forward. By how much can the oil production rate be improved by? Management estimates in their analyst presentation that enhancements in the Anasuria field will be able to yield 5,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 2,500 bbl/day). Similarly, improvements in the North Sabah field is expected to yield 7,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 5,300 bbl/day). This implies a total 2021 expected daily production rate from the two fields alone of 12,000 bbl/day (current: 8,000 bbl/day). That’s a 50% increase in yields which we haven’t factored into our valuation yet. Furthermore, we haven’t considered any production from existing 2C resources (e.g. Marigold/Sunflower) or any potential acquisitions which may occur in the future. By management estimates, this can potentially increase production by another 8,000 bbl/day, bringing total production to 20,000 bbl/day. While this seems like a stretch of the imagination, it pays to keep them in mind when forecasting future revenues and valuations. Just to play around with the numbers, I’ve come up with a sensitivity analysis of possible annual EBITDA at different oil prices and daily oil production rates: Table 2: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and daily oil production rates https://preview.redd.it/jnpfhr5n9br41.png?width=814&format=png&auto=webp&s=bbe4b512bc17f576d87529651140cc74cde3d159 The left column represents different oil prices while the top row represents different daily oil production rates. The green column represents EBITDA at current daily production rate of 8,000 bbl/day; the orange column represents EBITDA at targeted daily production rate of 12,000 bbl/day; while the purple column represents EBITDA at maximum daily production rate of 20,000 bbl/day. Even conservatively assuming increased estimated annual ITDA of RM 500m (FY20: RM 318m), and long-term average oil prices of $50 (FY20: $60), the estimated Net Profit and P/E ratio is potentially lucrative at daily oil production rates of 12,000 bbl/day and above. 2C Resources Since we’re on the topic of improved daily oil production rate, it bears to pay in mind the relatively enormous potential from Hibiscus’s 2C Resources. North Sabah’s 2C Resources alone exceed 30 mmbbl; while those from the yet undiagnosed Marigold/Sunflower fields also reach 30 mmbbl. Altogether, 2C Resources exceed 70 mmbbl, which dwarfs the 44 mmbbl of 2P Reserves we have considered up to this point in our valuation estimates. To refresh your memory, 2C Resources represents oil volumes which have been discovered but are not yet classified as “commercial”. This means that there is reasonable certainty of the oil being recoverable, as opposed to simply being in the very early stages of exploration. So, to be conservative, we will imagine that only 50% of 2C Resources are eligible for reclassification to 2P reserves, i.e. 35 mmbbl of oil. https://preview.redd.it/mto11iz7abr41.png?width=375&format=png&auto=webp&s=e9028ab0816b3d3e25067447f2c70acd3ebfc41a This additional 35 mmbbl of oil represents an 80% increase to existing 2P reserves. Assuming the daily oil production rate increases similarly by 80%, we will arrive at 14,400 bbl/day of oil production. According to Table 2 above, this would yield an EBITDA of roughly RM 630m assuming $50 oil. Comparing that estimated EBITDA to FY20’s actual EBITDA:
FY21 (incl. 2C)
Daily oil production (bbl/day)
Average oil price (USD/bbl)
Average OPEX/bbl (USD)
EBITDA (RM ‘m)
Hence, even conservatively assuming lower oil prices and higher OPEX/bbl (which should decrease in the presence of higher oil volumes) than last year, we get approximately the same EBITDA as FY20. For the sake of completeness, let’s assume that Hibiscus issues twice the no. of existing shares over the next 10 years, effectively diluting shareholders by 50%. Even without accounting for the possibility of the acquisition of new oil fields, at the current market capitalization of RM 714m, the prospective P/E would be about 10x. Not too shabby. Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating Hibiscus shares have recently been hit by a one-two punch from oil prices cratering from $60 to $30, as a result of both the Saudi-Russian dispute and depressed demand for oil due to coronavirus. This has massively increased supply and at the same time hugely depressed demand for oil (due to the globally coordinated lockdowns being implemented). Given a long enough timeframe, I fully expect OPEC+ to come to an agreement and the economic effects from the coronavirus to dissipate, allowing oil prices to rebound. As we equity investors are aware, oil prices are cyclical and are bound to recover over the next 10 years. When it does, valuations of O&G stocks (including Hibiscus’s) are likely to improve as investors overshoot expectations and begin to forecast higher oil prices into perpetuity, as they always tend to do in good times. When that time arrives, Hibiscus’s valuations are likely to become overoptimistic as all O&G stocks tend to do during oil upcycles, resulting in valuations far exceeding reasonable estimates of future earnings. If you can hold the shares up until then, it’s likely you will make much more on your investment than what we’ve been estimating.
Wrapping up what we’ve discussed so far, we can conclude that Hibiscus’s market capitalization of RM 714m far undershoots reasonable estimates of fair value even under conservative assumptions of recoverable oil volumes and long-term average oil prices. As a value investor, I hesitate to assign a target share price, but it’s safe to say that this stock is worth at least RM 1.00 (current: RM 0.45). Risk is relatively contained and the upside far exceeds the downside. While I have no opinion on the short-term trajectory of oil prices, I can safely recommend this stock as a long-term Buy based on fundamental research.
A Quick List of the Best Forex Signal Service Providers (Paid and Free)
https://preview.redd.it/8xclw78vdxt41.jpg?width=294&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=59181d876b45b3a7b5a7524454f4dae6baf65dfb Already opened an account and ready to try your luck and polish your skill in Forex trading platforms? In case you are a newbie you have to take support of the expert trader to gain as much experience as possible. Even this will help you to be successful in the long run. But have you ever thought about the ways to start trading? Probably, following trading style of any experienced trader will be really helpful and saves much energy and time as well. Moreover, you can come to learn several new as well as efficient trading strategies at the same time. Sounds great and pretty simple, right? But the troublesome is regarding the selection of the trustworthy Forex signal service provider. While you are in trouble this blog is perfect for you! It entails the leading and best Forex trading signal service providers from both paid and free category. So what are you waiting for! Just go through it once to narrow your choice and select the most coherent one to enjoy trading.
While you are hunting for a reliable as well as profitable online trading signals provider along with track record there is the team of JKonFX lead by Joel Kruger. This personality has a reputation in this type of trading with about 59.16% of journal performance for the year 2016. He has offered real-time fundamental and technical insights and that too in an utmost transparency to its 30000 subscribers. Being the lower frequency trader, sending trading alert is only a minor part of this Forex trading signal provider. If it is about comparing numerous options to choose from then you may look for other reliable ones.
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2. Forex Signals
Since its establishment in 2012, it is the top trading signals provider to provide 24-hour accessibility to the trading rooms and that too live. There you get the chance to observe the ways by which experienced trading coaches execute the trade and share the market action whenever it gets revealed in real time. Besides signal service, it also offers access to the track record of the profits where investment can be made through the managed account. It is only signal provider that owns verified statistics independently on myfxbook. The link is also given to their respective live account of the master. As it offers everything in such a transparent way, Forex trading by selecting this provider becomes much easier and profitable in the long run.
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Since May, 2014, DDMarkets (Digital Derivatives Markets) is offering the trading alert services in the form of a detailed document regarding the respective trading ideas in utmost explicit manners. Its procedure is quite simple all you have to do is to perform an extensive research for sharing the analytics while delivering the triggered trading signal. After its get issued, you will receive daily updates via email. It doesn’t bear floating of the open drawdown to put effort to make profit anyhow. This technique is only followed by the renowned providers for fudging the trading performances.
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The leading trading signal provider is 1000pip Builder and is one of the few to offer independently verified and tracked results. It focuses on developing potential as well as consistent outcome with little to no drawdown. By following this strategy they are the only one to generate about 6000 pips in just 1 and half years. Every complicated analytics (key component of the Forex trading) are done by the leading trader Bob. Whenever you take a trade via this trading signal provider, an instant message filled with other crucial pieces of information will be sent via SMS or email. Generally, it includes taking of profit level, stop loss and entry price so that these can be followed by you in an appropriate way.
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Previously known as Vladimir Forex Signals, the Traders Academy Club is established in 2011. It offers standard signals which are sent to the traders via a specific Skype group or Email. But primarily it is an online Forex trading education centre. As there isn’t any verified statistics statistically, it exhibits every previous signal and trade through which comparison will be much easier with your original outcome. Live trading experience and hundreds of educational trading videos are offered via this signal.
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6. Forex Mentor Pro
Play every day videos of the team of Forex Mentor Pro for listening into their insights of the market for upcoming weeks and days. Since its introduction in 2008, the team offers the accessibility to 3 trading systems by eradicating the necessity of the performance statistics. But step-by-step guide of the training videos will be posted so that you can attain the much-required speed.
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Since 2011, Honest Forex Signal commences offering a trade copier signal service. It has developed a specific page dedicated to the trading statistics that comes with links for displaying the last return on the myfxbook. But it never link myfxbook directly and hence it doesn’t look so independent. However, certain good reviews have acquired by it on the web and several traders comment that its services are quite helpful.
Verified statistics: No
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Year founded: 2011
Suitable for beginners: Yes
8. Daily Forex
Apart from offering free signals, both video and written instructions are provided by it which makes it unique from others. It will interact with you regarding the ideas under the traders which things are important to look for to enter this market. Other crucial pieces of information can be also gained on its site. This will be quite interesting if you still stuck to it on completion of trial period.
Verified statistics: No-free service offers market feedback
Year founded: 2006
Suitable for beginners: Moderate
9. Baby Pips
This signal provider considers every trader as newbie and so offers detailed information in the “About Us” section. Even the information is really helpful to train the novice Forex traders. Also market signals and analysis is provided by them which can be easily founded under “Pick of the Day” section. Its main motto is to teach the relevant reasons underneath every decision of trading so that you can become an expert one soon. Signals can be received via their posted blogs on the site via Facebook and Twitter.
Verified statistics: No-free service offers market feedback
Year founded: 2005
Suitable for beginners: Yes
10. Forex Peace Army
Though it is popular for the recorded reviews on the Forex yet it offers a few free trading signals as well. It has a set up of its forum style where an article is posted every day filled with detailed instructions on the way to act on every particular bit of news on the basis of the immediate effects. Even summary of the tradable news is posted on a weekly basis where you can come to know about what is coming up next week as well. Verified statistics: No-free service offers market feedback
Year founded: 2006
Suitable for beginners: Moderate
These are the best Forex trading signal service providers you can ever find. However, you are not insisted to choose any of them if you can find much better than these then, you are supposed to choose that one. But you should look for a reliable signal provider on the basis of the considerable aspects. Technical Trading Signals is also there which can be your perfect trading partner as well. Even it offers both automated and manual system of sending notification to the traders via Telegram, Email, SMS and WhatsApp regarding every step of trading. As it comprises of maximum risk it is not an ideal option for every investor. Every sort of leverage gets against your trading step. You may lose consecutively your investment as well. Financial advice is better to seek before starting trading.
Prelude to a Market Bloodbath: a Ludicrous Theory of How It All Started.
The text below was actually a comment of mine on another Redditor's post, but since I think they all left for the day, I have decided to create a standalone post with it. Even though it's my theory, tbh I prefer the other theory of mine, which is: From the COVID-19 outbreak to the great oil war between Russia & Saudi to the market crash, this whole event is a live simulation that some powerful group is executing for their future plan. But today, I would like to present my less favourable theory: Theory of How COVID-19 Pandemic Has Started. Obviously, for some parts, I got the sources. But for others, it's just a speculation based on the wellknown (?) inner working (political) systems of China. ----------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------- Both Shanghai clique (Jiang Zemin) and Communist Youth League (Hu Jintao) want to unseat Xi Jinping. .A. Because: Shanghai clique detests Xi Jinping because Xi & his Princelings put many key politburo of Shanghai clique in jail in the name of anti-corruption. And Princelings took away Shanghai clique's influences from big key Chinese businesses such as Wanda Group, Alibaba Group & Tencent. Communist Youth League loathes Xi Jinping because Xi & his Princelings broke China's 太上王 institution, the nation's long standing political treaty among the ruling classes, by sidelining most of Hu Jintao's prominent politburo in the council. Subsequently, the political power of Li Keqiang's (Communist Youth League) within State Council has been dramatically minimized over the years, although he is the No. 2 party figure. It was a break with two previous generations of leadership, which were based on consensus among members of the ruling party’s inner circle of power, the Standing Committee, a.k.a China's 太上王 institution. So, Shanghai clique and Communist Youth League decided to work together to hatch a seemingly perfect plan: - Unseating Xi Jinping would be the best outcome, but they knew it would be laborious. - While keep trying to unseat Xi, this operation by their plan should be something to weaken Xi Jinping's power within State Council. - The operation should also reboot the political power of Li Keqiang to re-boost the current status of Communist Youth League within State Council. - The operation should also restore the financial flow for Shanghai clique & the businesses that are still under Shanghai clique's control. - By weakening Xi Jinping's power, the operation should reinstate Shanghai clique's control of (at least some of) key businesses of the nation. - Used-to-be hyper wealthy Shanghai clique decided they were to be okay with what's going to happen in the field, colossal businesses loss in the region; because 1) most of better businesses used to be owned by them have been already taken away by Princelings anyway. And 2) a while ago their foreign financial backers, such as Henry Kissinger, George Soros & Koos Bekker who used to be kissy kissy with them, left for the new power in China. Now those backers seems to be in bed with Xi. And 3) Xi started to crack down Shanghai clique's assets hidden overseas with the inside-info those backers provided to Xi. exploding head gifs - The operation's process must appear natural, so the blame could never fall onto neither of Shanghai clique nor Communist Youth League. - For the operation, they needed to pick an appropriate region where the influence of Shanghai clique and Communist Youth League were still prevalent. - All the blame should fall under Xi & Princelings' political and bureaucratic incompetence. .B. Preparation: - Dr. Wang Yanyi is a Chinese immunologist. She is the director general at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the deputy director for Wuhan in the China Zhi Gong Party. - Dr. Wang Yanyi is married to Chinese professor Shu Hongbing. - Shu Hongbing is a Chinese cytologist and immunologist. He is a tier-1 member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a close associate of Jiang Mianheng thru said Academy and Shanghai Tech University connection. - Jiang Mianheng is Jiang Zemin's son (Jiang Zemin = No. 1 in Shanghai clique). Jiang Mianheng has served as Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the first President of ShanghaiTech University. - Because many international bodies are closely monitoring the NBL-4 facility in Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory and in turn the NBL-3 facility in the same laboratory attracts fewer observing eyes from outside bodies, they decided to use the latter to pick & modify the pathogen. - The pathogen's spreading speed should be rapid to achieve the maximum effect. - Jiang Chaoliang is a pro-Shanghai clique Chinese politician and he was the Communist Party Secretary of Hubei. - Later, as a result of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, Jiang Chaoliang has been replaced by Ying Yong, a close ally of Xi Jinping. .C. Operation: - The operators released a pathogen of their choice in Hubei near the end of 2019. The holiday season was coming up, so there would be large frequent crowds to spread the pathogen. - Some people in the region started to experience flu like symptoms but they didn't think much about it because it's a Winter season. - Seeing numerous passengers were unusually ill, the cab drivers in Wuhan city knew something was up with the area close to the city laboratory. - The number of flu patients in Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University started to curiously go up. - The CPC bureaucrats in said hospitals started to report the situation to their superiors. Then, in turn, those superiors reported to politburo in State Council. - Finally, Xi Jinping received the news regarding the situation in Wuhan city. - On Jan. 7, 2020, Xi demanded during a Politburo Standing Committee to take care of the situation. - Jiang Chaoliang and the other pro-Shanghai clique politburo in Hubei province pretended listening to Xi's order but they quietly ignored it by suppressing the evidences + sabotaging the field. -- Have you read the article which was reporting that the researchers received a gag order from China’s NHC with instructions to destroy the samples? - Shanghai clique & Communist Youth League told their relatives and close associates to leave the region. It would look business as usual because it's near the Chinese New Year holiday season. - Remember, Academics & the related institutions in China are Shanghai clique's turf. - On Jan. 14, W.H.O declared that "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China." - On Jan. 20, 2020, after realizing his previous directions were conveniently ignored, Xi gave special instructions to control the now-became outbreak. - But again the pro-Shanghai clique politburo in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province pretended following Xi's instructions but ultimately ignored those by still sabotaging the proceedings. - Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang allowed and in fact applauded a massive annual potluck banquet for 40,000 families from a city precinct, who (on the ordinary people levels) are mostly the supporters of Xi Jinping. ---- It's going to be interesting to see who they would blame later on if there were to be a disaster in the region. - On Jan. 23, 2020, after having confirmed their relatives and close associates left the region, they imposed a lockdown in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province. - Before the lockdown, 5 million people have already left Wuhan city. It was on. Some of them went to their homes in the different regions of China. But some people with connections & means left China and went to U.S., South Korea, Iran, Italy, & France, which are Chinese tourists' popular destinations. - Xi Jinping and his Princelings now suspected something was not right. Xi disappeared from the public view. - Willy Lam, a political scientist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, commented that Xi Jinping's activities after his lengthy public disappearance looked like an attempt to shift blame to Li Keqiang if progress in fighting the disease is unsatisfactory. .D. Outcome: - With his performance of containing the situation were being praised by State Council, Li Keqiang's political power has been expanded within the council. ---- Li Keqiang belongs to China's Communist Youth League, which has been under Shanghai clique's control. ----------------------------------------------- - On Feb. 1, the US was the one of the first nations in the world along with Russia and N. Korea that banned not just Chinese nationals but all foreigners travelling from mainland China, declares public health emergency. And China and some US media criticized Trump for stoking fear and overreacting. - On Feb. 3, China is expected to gradually implement a larger stimulus packages (in total) than a USD $572 billion from 2008. ---- Let's see where those money will go to. (Actually we would never find out but it will probably go to key people of Shanghai clique.) - On Feb. 7, China National Petroleum Corp. has recently declared Force Majeure on gas imports. They are trying to make a breathing room for their foreign exchange reserves shortage. China's foreign exchange reserves fell to mere USD $3.1 trillion in Oct. 2019. - On Feb. 12, the US targets Russian oil company for helping Venezuela skirt sanctions. ---- My guess is that at this moment, the US admin noticed something is up, so they tried to secure some leverage against Russia. - Around Feb. 24, China is rumoured (on Twitter) to delay its US-China phase one trade deal implementation indefinitely which includes the increasement of China's purchasing American products & services by at least $200 billion over the next two years. - If China indeed delays the phase one trade deal implementation, there won't be many comebacks (such as more tariffs) that the US can carry through, because now the pandemic is happening within the US Soil. - On Feb. 24, S&P 500 Index started to drop. Opened with 3225.89 and closed 3128.21. By Feb. 28, it dropped to 2954.22. - On Feb 28, China transferred more than 80,000 Uighurs to factories used by global brands such as Apple, Nike, & Volkswagen & among others. ----------------------------------------------- - On Mar. 1, China's State Council super tighten up their already draconian internet law. - On Mar. 1, Princelings published an awesome propaganda called A Battle Against Epidemic: China Combating COVID-19 in 2020 which compiles numerous state media accounts on the heroic leadership of Xi Jinping, the vital role of the Communist Party, and the superiority of the Chinese system in fighting the virus. - Starting at Mar. 3, the Fed has taken two significant measures to provide monetary stimulus. - On Mar. 4, Xinhua News, China's official state-run press agency posted an article "Be bold: the world should thank China (理直气壮, 世界应该感谢中国)." - Said article states "If China retaliates against the US at this time, it will also announce strategic control over medical products, and ban exports of said products to the US. ... If China declares today that its drugs are for domestic use only (banning exports), the US will fall into the hell of new coronavirus epidemic." - This Xinhua article would be in part Shanghai clique's grand posturing (who are holding political power & capacity in medicals & biochemicals of China) to show off to people of China that Shanghai clique is still relevant in power. - On Mar. 5, Shanghai Index has recovered the coronavirus loss almost completely. - On Mar. 7, Saudi's Ahmed bin Abdulaziz and Muhammad bin Nayef were arrested on the claims of plotting to overthrow King Salman. ---- Ahmed bin Abdulaziz is known to have very tight investment-interest relationship with Bill Gates, Bill Browder, Blackstone, & Morgan Stanley. - Interestingly, one common factor that connects Bill Gates, Bill Browder, Blackstone, & Morgan Stanley is China. - On Mar. 8, the Russia–Saudi oil price warhas initiated. The ostensible reason was simple. China, the biggest importer of oil from Saudi and Russia, was turning back tankers as the coronavirus outbreak forced the economy to a standstill. - On, Mar. 13, China's Ministry of Commerce states that China is now the best region for global investment hedging. - On Mar. 16, the fan club of Europe globalists (:D) has published a piece, China and Coronavirus: From Home-Made Disaster to Global Mega-Opportunity. The piece says the following: Combined with the new aid disbursements and advice the other countries, Chinese leaders appear to be hoping that their heavily-promoted success in fighting the virus helps Beijing appear like a global leader on public health – and thus ready to take on other types of global leadership. “The Chinese method is the only method that has proved successful” [in fighting the virus], is a message spread online in China by influencers, including many essentially promoting propaganda. This is not necessarily true. After all, other wealthy Asian states have shown different, effective models. But it is certainly a message that seems to be resonating with opinion leaders around the world. - On Mar. 16, the US stocks ended sharply lower with the Dow posting its worst point drop in history and falling to its lowest level in nearly three years. But some showed a faint hint of uncertain hope. ----------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------- Many thanks for reading up my long ass post!! -- The updated version is hopefully coming soon. :D
I was going through old emails today and came across this one I sent out to family on January 4, 2018. It was a reflection on the 2017 crypto bull market and where I saw it heading, as well as some general advice on crypto, investment, and being safe about how you handle yourself in cryptoland. I feel that we are on the cusp of a new bull market right now, so I thought that I would put this out for at least a few people to see *before* the next bull run, not after. While the details have changed, I don't see a thing in this email that I fundamentally wouldn't say again, although I'd also probably insist that people get a Yubikey and use that for all 2FA where it is supported. Happy reading, and sorry for some of the formatting weirdness -- I cleaned it up pretty well from the original email formatting, but I love lists and indents and Reddit has limitations... :-/ Also, don't laught at my token picks from January 2018! It was a long time ago and (luckliy) I took my own advice about moving a bunch into USD shortly after I sent this. I didn't hit the top, and I came back in too early in the summer of 2018, but I got lucky in many respects. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Jan-4, 2018 Hey all! I woke up this morning to ETH at a solid $1000 and decided to put some thoughts together on what I think crypto has done and what I think it will do. *******, if you could share this to your kids I’d appreciate it -- I don’t have e-mail addresses, and it’s a bit unwieldy for FB Messenger… Hopefully they’ll at least find it thought-provoking. If not, they can use it as further evidence that I’m a nutjob. 😉 Some history before I head into the future. I first mined some BTC in 2011 or 2012 (Can’t remember exactly, but it was around the Christmas holidays when I started because I had time off from work to get it set up and running.) I kept it up through the start of summer in 2012, but stopped because it made my PC run hot and as it was no longer winter, ********** didn’t appreciate the sound of the fans blowing that hot air into the room any more. I’ve always said that the first BTC I mined was at $1, but looking back at it now, that’s not true – It was around $2. Here’s a link to BTC price history. In the summer of 2013 I got a new PC and moved my programs and files over before scrapping the old one. I hadn’t touched my BTC mining folder for a year then, and I didn’t even think about salvaging those wallet files. They are now gone forever, including the 9-10BTC that were in them. While I can intellectually justify the loss, it was sloppy and underlines a key thing about cryptocurrency that I believe will limit its widespread adoption by the general public until it is addressed and solved: In cryptoland, you are your own bank, and if you lose your password or account number, there is no person or organization that can help you reset it so that you can get access back. Your money is gone forever. On April 12, 2014 I bought my first BTC through Coinbase. BTC had spiked to $1000 and been in the news, at least in Japan. This made me remember my old wallet and freak out for a couple of months trying to find it and reclaim the coins. I then FOMO’d (Fear Of Missing Out”) and bought $100 worth of BTC. I was actually very lucky in my timing and bought at around $430. Even so, except for a brief 50% swing up almost immediately afterwards that made me check prices 5 times a day, BTC fell below my purchase price by the end of September and I didn’t get back to even until the end of 2015. In May 2015 I bought my first ETH at around $1. I sent some guy on bitcointalk ~$100 worth of BTC and he sent me 100 ETH – all on trust because the amounts were small and this was a small group of people. BTC was down in the $250 range at that point, so I had lost 30-40% of my initial investment. This was of the $100 invested, so not that much in real terms, but huge in percentages. It also meant that I had to buy another $100 of BTC on Coinbase to send to this guy. A few months after I purchased my ETH, BTC had doubled and ETH had gone down to $0.50, halving the value of my ETH holdings. I was even on the first BTC purchase finally, but was now down 50% on the ETH I had bought. The good news was that this made me start to look at things more seriously. Where I had skimmed white papers and gotten a superficial understanding of the technology before FOMO’ing, I started to act as an investor, not a speculator. Let me define how I see those two different types of activity:
Investors buy because the price is less than the value they see in the investment. Speculators buy because they think that someone will pay more in the future than they are paying now.
Investors trade on information (The white paper was really well-written, had a clear technical advantage over other alternatives, and addresses a need that I can understand and value.) Speculators trade on sentiment. (Buy the rumor! Sell the news!)
Investors usually look at the investment and themselves and can describe why they purchase in those terms (ABC-Coin provides (service) that isn’t addressed yet and matches (requirements) for an investment.) Speculators usually describe why they bought something in terms of how other people think (I think that other people think that the price will rise, so I want to get ahead of that.)
Investors don’t necessarily check the price every day. The can, and very often I do, but it isn’t required because fundamentals don’t often change on a dime. Speculators need to be glued to a price feed, because sentiment very often changes on a dime.
Investors like ideas, people, business plans, and market opportunities. Good ones are like Spock. Speculators like trends. They are tribal.
Investors have a longer time horizon than speculators. In cryptoland, the notion of a “longer” time horizon is still laughably small (months) compared to traditional markets, but it certainly isn’t weeks or days or hours, which is whre speculators often live.
So what has been my experience as an investor? After sitting out the rest of 2015 because I needed to understand the market better, I bought into ETH quite heavily, with my initial big purchases being in March-April of 2016. Those purchases were in the $11-$14 range. ETH, of course, dropped immediately to under $10, then came back and bounced around my purchase range for a while until December of 2016, when I purchased a lot more at around $8. I also purchased my first ICO in August of 2016, HEAT. I bought 25ETH worth. Those tokens are now worth about half of their ICO price, so about 12.5ETH or $12500 instead of the $25000 they would be worth if I had just kept ETH. There are some other things with HEAT that mean I’ve done quite a bit better than those numbers would suggest, but the fact is that the single best thing I could have done is to hold ETH and not spend the effort/time/cost of working with HEAT. That holds true for about every top-25 token on the market when compared to ETH. It certainly holds true for the many, many tokens I tried to trade in Q1-Q2 of 2017. In almost every single case I would have done better and slept better had I just held ETH instead of trying to be smarter than Mr. Market. But, I made money on all of them except one because the crypto market went up more in USD terms than any individual coin went down in ETH or BTC terms. This underlines something that I read somewhere and that I take to heart: A rising market makes everyone seem like a genius. A monkey throwing darts at a list of the top 100 cryptocurrencies last year would have doubled his money. Here’s a chart from September that shows 2017 year-to-date returns for the top 10 cryptocurrencies, and all of them went up a *lot* more between then and December. A monkey throwing darts at this list there would have quintupled his money. When evaluating performance, then, you have to beat the monkey, and preferably you should try to beat a Wall Street monkey. I couldn’t, so I stopped trying around July 2017. My benchmark was the BLX, a DAA (Digital Asset Array – think fund like a Fidelity fund) created by ICONOMI. I wasn’t even close to beating the BLX returns, so I did several things.
I went from holding about 25 different tokens to holding 10 now. More on that in a bit.
I used those funds to buy ETH and BLX. ETH has done crazy-good since then and BLX has beaten BTC handily, although it hasn’t done as well as ETH.
I used some of those funds to set up an arbitrage operation.
The arbitrage operation is why I kept the 11 tokens that I have now. All but a couple are used in an ETH/token pair for arbitrage, and each one of them except for one special case is part of BLX. Why did I do that? I did that because ICONOMI did a better job of picking long-term holds than I did, and in arbitrage the only speculative thing you must do is pick the pairs to trade. My pairs are (No particular order):
I also hold PLU, PLBT, and ART. These two are multi-year holds for me. I have not purchased BTC once since my initial $200, except for a few cases where BTC was the only way to go to/from an altcoin that didn’t trade against ETH yet. Right now I hold about the same 0.3BTC that I held after my first $100 purchase, so I don’t really count it. Looking forward to this year, I am positioning myself as follows:
ETH will still be my core holding. It is the “deepest in the stack” crypto investment that I have. “Deep in the stack” is a programming term that gets at the idea that most software is built on other software. If you just think about your notebook, you have your OS, and programs run on that. But even inside the OS there is a stack. The bottom of your stack is the kernel, and on top of that are the drivers, protocols, and other layers that allow the programs to talk to the OS, the hard drive, the screen, the mouse, your printer, etc. You can change your mouse or printer easily. Changing things deeper in the stack becomes harder and harder. ETH is deep in the crypto stack, so is very hard to dislodge – Around 60 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap run on top of Ethereum, so getting rid of Ethereum is something that would take a long time to do.
DNT, QTUM, ZRX, and OMG are all, to varying degrees, “deep in the stack” tokens that, once established, will be very hard to dislodge.
That said, I am peeling away some of my holdings into USD right now, because big changes are afoot and they are going to cause market disruptions. I’m going to come right out and admit that this is speculative, but I’m also going to back it up with some non-speculative facts.
The SEC has been sending out hundreds of subpoenas to cryptocurrency organizations over the past 3-4 months. These subpoenas are simply asking for information and nobody has been charged with any crimes or misdoings, but it is clear that the SEC is getting together information so that they can begin to regulate cryptoland. When that happens, other countries will follow, and that means:
Some tokens will be deemed outright scams and people will be prosecuted.
Some tokens will be deemed securities and will be regulated.
Some tokens will not be deemed scams or securities and will continue as they have.
Looking at this, it is clear to me that the tokens that escape prosecution and regulation should do better, but the short-term impact will be brutal and ugly. It would not surprise me at all to see a 50% drop in overall market cap within Q1-Q2, with Q1 being more likely.
Cryptoland has always been a bit nuts, but it is more nuts now than I have ever seen it. Back in 2011-2014 it was a freaks-n-geeks show where people were all about the technology and I would sit around for a 3-day weekend installing a *nix VM on my Windows machine so that I could compile the most recent source and run a CUDA SHA-256 routine rather than thrash my CPU. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you wouldn’t have even thought about being involved.
Now, people see Bitcoin advertisements in their Facebook feed and think “I gotta get on the BTC train!” before going to Coinbase and buying some with a credit card. They don’t know anything about crypto, and they are getting eaten alive – It is no coincidence that BTC peaked after the Thanksgiving holidays when people sat around the table and Janice got Uncle Mike and Cousin Bob all excited as she talked about going to Cancun for Christmas because of her crypto winnings. Huge amounts of fiat got transferred from newbies to BTC whales during this period, and once the whales were done, BTC had dropped from $20,000 to $12,000. It’s now back at $15,000, but for people who bought at a higher level, this sucks. As a result many have moved from BTC to ETH, with the single biggest money flow in crypto in December being the BTC à ETH flow. As a result, it’s no coincidence that ETH is at all-time highs now. The thing is, though, that even most people that moved from BTC to ETH really have no idea what they are doing. They are acting on buzzwords and emotion. They are speculators and are going to get crushed.
The stock market is quite high right now, but people are starting to worry that it is too high and that we are going to enter into a period of inflation again. This has caused gold to go up a lot the last quarter and is likely also responsible a bit for the rise in cryptos. If this view is correct, then cryptos stay stronger than if that pressure wasn’t there. If wrong, then cryptos will swing down as money exits cryptoland for more traditional markets.
I am spending most of my time and money on the arbitrage effort. The nice thing about arbitrage is that it works as the markets go up, and it works as the markets go down. When markets are too volatile, however, arbitrage can get very messy and dangerous, with each trade generating a loss instead of a profit, so I am working right now to tune the algorithms to take into account rate-of-change and add in some circuit breaker triggers. Once this is done I will expand those operations.
I am getting much more serious about systems security.
I have a Nano Ledger and recommend that anyone with >$1000 of crypto have one. The Trezor is also supposed to be good, but I haven’t used it.
I will set up a dedicated *nix notebook that is used for nothing except my crypto work. All it takes is one keylogger to get on your PC/Mac and your crypto is gone. What is on your Nano Ledger will be OK, but they will sweep out your exchange account or Coinbase account faster than you can type. A standard Linux installation with Chrome and nothing else is as about as secure as you can get in the civilian world.
If you don’t use LastPass or a similar password manager yet, you need to do that. Your password to LastPass should be at least 16 characters long and should not have a recognizable English word in it. If you think that “Iluvu4evah” is a secure password, you’re wrong.
Hackers know that “4”=”for” and “u”=”you”. Writing a script to substitute those in is trivial if they want to write the script, but it’s much easier for them to download one of the many, many programs out there that already do this.
If your password contains any string of numbers from anything that can be associated with you at any time in your life, it is insecure. Take those numbers out of the character count because they are an insignificant barrier to cracking your account.
The good news is that you probably won’t be targeted, but if you ever mention online that you are doing anything significant in crypto, that chance increased enormously.
*Never* talk with *anyone* about how much you have in crypto. You’ll notice that I haven’t here. There is no reason to tell even a family member how much you have unless you are sharing a tax form. Sure, you may trust them, but all it takes if for someone to overhead someone else mention at a party that a relative got into crypto a long time ago and made a bunch of money. That person can also then be subjected to the $10 hack and force you to send all your crypto to them.
Your password to LastPass (Or equivalent.) should look something like this -> 6k0jQMoziX&D#4W8
Yes, it’s a headache. Imagine your headache, though, were you to open your account one day and find all of your money gone.
Looking at my notes, I have two other things that I wanted to work into this email that I didn’t get to, so here they are:
Just like with free apps and other software, if you are getting something of value and you didn’t pay anything for it, you need to ask why this is. With apps, the phrase is “If you didn’t pay for the product, you are the product”, and this works for things such as pump groups, tips, and even technical analysis. Here’s how I see it.
Technical analysis (TA) is something that has been argued about for longer than I’ve been alive, but I think that it falls into the same boat. In short, TA argues that there are patterns in trading that can be read and acted upon to signal when one must buy or sell. It has been used forever in the stock and foreign exchange markets, and people use it in crypto as well. Let’s break down these assumptions a bit.
i. First, if crypto were like the stock or forex markets we’d all be happy with 5-7% gains per year rather than easily seeing that in a day. For TA to work the same way in crypto as it does in stocks and foreign exchange, the signals would have to be *much* stronger and faster-reacting than they work in the traditional market, but people use them in exactly the same way. ii. Another area where crypto is very different than the stock and forex markets centers around market efficiency theory. This theory says that markets are efficient and that the price reflects all the available information at any given time. This is why gold in New York is similar in price to gold in London or Shanghai, and why arbitrage margins are easily <0.1% in those markets compared to cryptoland where I can easily get 10x that. Crypto simply has too much speculation and not enough professional traders in it yet to operate as an efficient market. That fundamentally changes the way that the market behaves and should make any TA patterns from traditional markets irrelevant in crypto. iii. There are services, both free and paid that claim to put out signals based on TA for when one should buy and sell. If you think for even a second that they are not front-running (Placing orders ahead of yours to profit.) you and the other people using the service, you’re naïve. iv. Likewise, if you don’t think that there are people that have but together computerized systems to get ahead of people doing manual TA, you’re naïve. The guys that I have programming my arbitrage bots have offered to build me a TA bot and set up a service to sell signals once our position is taken. I said no, but I am sure that they will do it themselves or sell that to someone else. Basically they look at TA as a tip machine where when a certain pattern is seen, people act on that “tip”. They use software to see that “tip” faster and take a position on it so that when slower participants come in they either have to sell lower or buy higher than the TA bot did. Remember, if you are getting a tip for free, you’re the product. In TA I see a system when people are all acting on free preset “tips” and getting played by the more sophisticated market participants. Again, you have to beat that Wall Street monkey.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus, think about it this way: If TA was real, Wall Street would have figured it out decades ago and we would have TA funds that would be beating the market. We don’t.
If you still don’t agree that TA is bogus and that its real and well, proven, then you must think that all smart traders use them. Now follow that logic forward and think about what would happen if every smart trader pushing big money followed TA. The signals would only last for a split second and would then be overwhelmed by people acting on them, making them impossible to leverage. This is essentially what the efficient market theory postulates for all information, including TA.
OK, the one last item. Read this weekly newsletter – You can sign up at the bottom. It is free, so they’re selling something, right? 😉 From what I can tell, though, Evan is a straight-up guy who posts links and almost zero editorial comments. Happy 2018.
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