Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Shanghai stock market roller coaster

Back in February, I posted that I didn't know where the Shanghai stock market was going to go. It had risen 130% over the previous year and was acting highly volatile. I noted that P/E ratios were totally out of whack and that the inability to short stocks and the lack of investment opportunities for domestic investors was pushing prices higher. I did not ever think there was so much more room for it to run. Since that day, the Shanghai composite index has risen another 60% from ~2700 to 4300. The market is down again today by 6% after an 8% drop yesterday. Yet this just puts the index back at the point is was at just 2 weeks ago. This bubble is bound to burst, or at least deflate. The question is only how much bigger can it get and can you get out before it does pop?

Back to Shanghai

I'm finally back in Shanghai now that my project in Taipei has ended. Back to the crowds on the subway and the rude taxi drivers. I wish I could have taken a better picture of the number of people who squeeze into the subway station during the morning commute. I could not take a picture of the worst part - the fact that people do not let you off the trains because they are too busy pushing to get on. A coworker of mine missed her stop by two stations because she couldn't get out in time.

According to Wikipedia, Shanghai ranks only 13th in the world for number of annual passenger rides, but because of the relatively few interchanges (6 stations that allow you to transfer to a different line), each interchange station is incredibly crowded. If you are trying to get on, off, or even exit the system at one of these stations, you'll be pushing against thousands of people.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Not all food is better

I haven't eaten much ice cream over here in Asia because it's not nearly as good as the stuff we have in the States. Ben and Jerry's is non-existant (except for in the Hong Kong International Airport food court - please read my earlier airport faceoff post). Haagen Dazs is all over the place, but costs an arm and a leg - $10 for a pint. But it's so worth it. Let me compare the ingredients of chocolate ice cream from Haagen Dazs to vanilla ice cream from some russian brand I got when flying Eva Air to Korea.

Just in case you can't read the text, let me list the main ingredients for Haagen Dazs: Cream, Skim milk, Sugar, Pasteurized egg yolk, Alkalized Cocoa. Simple and delicious, some dairy mixed with sugar, egg and chocolate.

The ice cream a la Ruski: Water, Milk powder, Sugar, Maltose, Coconut oil, Anhydrous milk fat, Egg yolk, Vanilla seed, stabilizer, emulsifier, vanilla flavor, Carotene. Coconut oil? Anhydrous milk fat? Huh?

I suppose at least it was made in Taiwan. Better than food made in China.