Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Monthly Review - April 2011

Somewhat to my surprise, April saw continued progress towards my retirement goals.

The result was surprising because of the recent sell of in the equity markets in which I invest (mostly emerging markets). However, the losses on equities were relatively modest and were more than compensated for by a combination of gains on commodities (especially silver), FX gains (AUD/NZD), the rental returns on my properties and modest savings.

Here are the details:

1. my Hong Kong equity portfolio declined. This month I made investments in China VTM(HK:893) and Xtep (HK:1368). A very small loss was realised on a position in CMB warrants;

2.my ETFs were down marginally;

3. my commodities rose with silver jumping significantly (again), the commodity ETF and NICK ETC showing modest gains and small decline in the HOGS ETC;

4. all of my properties are occupied, the tenants are paying on time. One overseas property has reached the point where a number of long term maintenance issues need to be dealt with. Fortunately the tenant (who has been there for over 7 years) is happy to stay while the work is being done. I will have a large repair bill at some stage on a Hong Kong property suffering from a persistent leak;

5. currency movements were very positive, as both the AUD and NZD appreciated against the HKD/USD. The currency movement alone was more significant than the declines in the equity portfolio;

6. my position in bonds remains small. There were no purchases this month;

7. there were no outstanding derivatives;

8. savings were modest with low income and moderate expenses. The former is inherent in the nature of my remuneration package. We took a family holiday over Easter. As travel is one of my accruals, the holiday cost had no one off impact on my savings rate;

My cash position was remained static due to equity purchases. I continue to sit at 19 months of expenses in cash or equivalents (compared to 26 months at the end of February).

For the month, my net worth increased 1.54%. The year to date increase is 11.17%.

My target retirement window remains sometime between early 2012 and early 2013. While the possibility of a one year extension exists, it will take some adverse market conditions or other unexpected event to require that. Every passing month brings me closer to my retirement goal - it's possible that I may be handing in my notice less than a year from today.

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