We also finished the year with household gearing (borrowings + accruals) being at 8.8 percent of gross household assets. The rise in gearing was due to drawing down on a facility to buy bonds - a basic carry trade. While the rise in interest rates and a flattening of the yield curve have reduced the spread, it remains a profitable trade and I intend to increase it slightly in 2018.
Liquidity remains high, with reductions on my side of the balance sheet being matched by increases on Mrs Traineeinvestor's side.
As part of a year end tidy-up, some smaller and/or loss making investments have been disposed of: Specialty Fashion (ASX: SFH) and Platinum were sold and I also sold my profitable investment in PG Wrightson (NZX: PGW). I also have identified another loss making investment which will be sold in the next week or so (possibly two) and small amounts of non-HK dollars sitting idle which will be redeployed in an effort to simplify my balance sheet.
On non-financial matters:
- while I completed a very slow marathon early in the year, recurring back problems have derailed plans to do the HK marathon next month;
- I have completed a very rough first draft of my second novel (it needs a huge amount of work);
- I am slightly behind schedule with my research degree but still hope to complete it in mid-2019;
- I have done a small amount of consulting work which I will continue but the levels are so low it is close to being more trouble than it is worth to continue.
All in all, 2017 was a great year.
* We do not have ready to hand valuations for some properties, so they are included in the accounts either at cost or the amount of an unsolicited offer received a few years ago.