LAI SEE
Lai See
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The allure of fine art still strong among Hongkongers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 October, 2013, 3:41am

The interest in fine art and objets d'art shows no signs of waning in Hong Kong, to go by the results of recent exhibitions. Calvin Hui, the co-chairman and director of Fine Art Asia 2013, told Lai See that visitors had risen significantly to 32,000 from last year's 25,000. Sales were also up 8 per cent to 10 per cent to HK$450 million.

Dollar values aside, there was an extraordinary range of art on display from ancient Chinese bronzes, lacquer, porcelain, furniture textiles in addition to Egyptian and Islamic art. European exhibitors showed up with works from the likes of Alfred Sisley, Monet and Picasso.

Meanwhile, the long established silversmiths Georg Jensen sold about a quarter of its inventory at the exhibition, according to Gregory Pepin, managing director of silver for the firm. He told Lai See at a preview of its The Magnificent Silver 2013 exhibition yesterday, that Asian interest in silver objects had increased tenfold over the past three years. The collection can be seen at its Prince's Building shop starting next week for a month.

 

Divorcees need flats too

The government has been fretting over housing demand and believes that it will need 470,000 new flats over the next 10 years to cater for an expected rise in population of 593,000.

The government has a patchy history with its figures and they are disputed with critics suggesting the actual figure will be much lower.

Be that as it may, the University of Hong Kong's professor Richard Wong Yue-chim has stepped into the discussion, according to the Economic Journal. He says the government should not overlook the impact of a growing divorce rate on housing demand, noting that an average of about 60,000 couples get married here every year, and in 2011 alone, there were 22,000 divorces.

 

Just the ticket for illegal parking

Can it be that there is new mood afoot to deal with illegal parking?

Wandering through Central yesterday we were surprised to see a traffic policeman standing next to a sleek black limousine in Ice House Street near the top of the Duddell Street steps. Not only was it parked illegally on double yellow lines it was positioned about two feet away from the pavement so it stuck out into the road.

This clearly proved too much for the policeman who actually gave him a ticket. This is not often seen. Then in Causeway Bay we saw a feisty female traffic warden shooing away illegally parked cars on Canal Road West. Good to see, but we are still reluctant to consider this as a turning point.

 

Goldman Sachs raising eyebrows

Goldman Sachs is attracting some interest in that it has posted two record-breaking quarters in a row for its debt capital markets (DCM) underwriting revenues so far this year, according to Financial News.

The money it has made from DCM and loans has exceeded what it made from either equity capital markets (ECM) or mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advice. This is despite being regarded as mainly an M&A and ECM specialist. In the second quarter of the year Goldman made US$695 million, which was US$1 million more than it made in the first quarter - also a record quarter for the firm.

 

Analysts in Asia are better

Analysts in the Asia-ex Japan (AEJ) region are twice as effective at providing accurate price forecasts than their counterparts in the US and Europe, according to Hedgeweek, citing a report by Man GLG. Entitled "Where are the World's best analysts?" the report found that AEJ analysts were able to generate excess returns of 4.06 per cent over a 90-day period compared with Japanese analysts who generated 2.7 per cent.

Analysts generated returns of 1.49 per cent in Britain and 1.7 per cent in the United States. The report showed that AEJ analysts had improved. These findings were based on the period 2009-2012.

However, these findings were an improvement of 2.5 per cent to 4.3 per cent over the period 2005-2008. The report noted that sell recommendations generally do not work in the US or Europe, whereas Japanese brokers can call sell recommendations accurately. The report said this was because "US and European markets are very efficient, there's more information … more analysts [follow the] companies, and hence there's less ability for them to generate alpha [excess returns]".

 

Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com