Monday, February 22, 2016

Best Pocket wifi and Mifi Rental for Europe

Best pocket wifi and mifi rental for Europe and Paris with unlimited Internet
The pocket wifi Europe from My Webspot is the solution to avoid data roaming while traveling to Europe.

I  was recently planning a trip to Europe and comparing the different solutions to get unlimited internet for europe, data roaming charges was obviously one my problem when I was traveling before and I didn't want to come back with a $900 phone bill again.

After a little bit of research on the subject, I found this Pocket wifi rental service from My Webspot and being a heavy internet user this is just what I needed. For everyone who does not know what's a pocket wifi: it is small device that fits in your pocket and you can connect your phone, laptop, tablets to it the same way you would connect to your wifi at home, it is also called: Mifi, mobile hotspot, mobile wifi.

Although you can buy a pocket wifi hotspot for about $100, it does not come with any data plan, that's why I booked the unlimited internet for Europe mifi from my webspot which cost me about $8 dollars a day.

How does it work?
  • I made the booking online on their website and chose the mifi to be delivered to my hotel in London, the device was at the reception when I arrived there and it was ready to be used.
  • Then I just need to chose the WIFI network from my Webspot pocket wifi, entered the password and internet was blasting on my phone.
  •  I visited 5 countries in europe (England, France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy) the pocket wifi worked perfectly everywhere, except some signal loss while taking the train in remote rural area of Europe.
  • At the end of my trip I used the prepaid self-return envelope provided by My webspot and dropped it at a mailbox in Heathrow airport in London.
I really enjoyed the pocket wifi service as I could work and use internet for Maps anywhere I went in Europe with the incredible 4G speed they provided.

My webspot also provides this service for the following countries in europe:
Pocket wifi Europe with Unlimited internet

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Balance of Payments and current Economic, financial conditions in Indonesia in the beginning of 2013:


The balance of payments in Indonesia like in any other country in the world records all the transactions between the country and the rest of the world over a period of time. The Bank of Indonesia is issuing a report quarterly showing the evolution of the balance of payments with details regarding the current and capital accounts and its implications.

In the analysis of the balance of payments in Indonesia, I will focus on the last 4 quarters (from Q3 2011 to Q2 2012) and analyze the effects of global and domestic Economic and financial conditions related to the change in the balance of payments in details. 
Click To enlarge the Graphs and tables

1)      Current Acccount:

The current account deficit in Indonesia has increased throughout the past 4 quarters, indeed for the Q2/2012 it has reached about $6.9 billion (-3.1% of GDP), the main cause of this increased deficit is the consequence of a deteriorating non-oil and gas trade balance, with a significant stagnation in exports from global uncertain perspective regarding the euro-crisis, and increasing imports.

1.1)            Goods and Services Balance:

·         The non oil and gas trade surplus have narrowed to $2.2 billion, from the reduction in exports and increase in imports due to the unsolved Euro crisis and the slow economic recovery in the United states which has affected Indonesia both directly and indirectly as it has also reached Indonesia major trading partners such as China or India,  resulting in a lower demand for Indonesian export products.

·         On the other hand the oil exports have also contracted throughout the past quarters and continue to have a negative contribution to the current account. Moreover the price per barrel has decreased since the beginning of 2012 from the weakening global outlook and decrease in manufacturing activities in China.The gas exports have recorded the slowest growth for years for the same reasons as the reduction in exports, but Indonesia’s gas production is expected to rise for the next few years as several large-scale projects will begin operations.

·         The service trade balance is still in deficit moving in a range from -$2 billion to -$3.2 billion for the last 4 quarters, the deficit comes mainly from an increasing deficit in transportation due to expenditures from the Indonesian government on transportation facilities as the country is not considered as the same level as other ASEAN countries in this area, while the surplus from travel is diminishing especially from the seasonal trend.

1.2)            Income Account:

The income account is still in deficit but it has reduced since the beginning of Q3 2011, from the steady expansion in foreign direct investment (FDI) , and the strong performance of domestic companies in which foreign investors hold shares.

1.3)            Transfer Payments:

The current transfers have been stable other the past few years but slightly decreasing, due to a reduction in the deployment of Indonesian migrant workers abroad while the number of expatriates in Indonesia has been increasing especially for highly paid executives.
The amount of migrant workers is on average 95,000 per quarter, with a majority of them heading to the neighboring Malaysia while the rest stays in south-east asia mostly Hong Kong or Singapore and middle eastern region.

1)      Capital and Financial Accounts:

The capital and financial accounts have been increasing over the last 4 quarters to reach a $5.5 billion surplus in Q2 2012, this development reflects the confidence from foreign investors in Indonesia economy’s outlook despite the worsening economic conditions in the world, indeed we can see  on the table that the increase in direct investment accounts for a major part of the surplus.

2.1) Direct Foreign Investment:

Foreign direct investment have kept pouring into the Indonesian market throughout the year, registering a $3.7 billion surplus for Q2 2012, the fact that FDI surplus is lower this quarter is explained by the higher dividend payouts especially in the oil and natural gas production sharing contractors with offshore parents companies.

On the other hand Indonesia’s direct investment abroad has recorded a “disinvestment” due to the fact that a lot of holding companies have been created in Indonesia to offshore subsidiaries.

2.2) Portfolio Investment:

Inflows of foreign portfolios started pouring into Indonesia since Q3 2011, this increase is mainly due to the massive buying of foreign currency global bonds issued by the government and private sector, despite the fact that foreigner  holdings of rupiah-denominated securities, were concerned by the expectations of rupiah depreciation.

Moreover the deteriorating global conditions have lead to a lack of interest from foreign investors on the domestic stock market, recording a net sales of $875 million during the last quarters.

2.3) Other Investment:
Other investments were on deficit  for the past 4 quarters, this increased deficit can be explained bu the higher private sector deposit offshore explained by the rise in portfolio inflows.

Regarding the asset side, other investment of private sector recorded a deficit for the last 4 quarters, while the liabilities side shows a strong surplus

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Time Management for the CFA Level I Preparation

 The most important step in planning your preparation for the CFA Level I is a proper and precise time management, eventhough you are confident about your knowledge and your background in Finance.

allocate study time and discipline are the key to succeed in your CFA level I examination.The CFA curriculum is so heavy that you need to review most of the important process in order to be able to think fast and efficiently during your exam and quickly implement all the formulas you learned, moreover for those with no or weak financial background, you will have to spend susbstantial time time to study for the CFA examination.

Our first and principal advice is to measure your key performance indicators, such as the number of pages you can memorize and learn in an hour, the average time you spend on average on each practice problem from the end of the chapter (Keep in mind that you will only have 1.5 min per question for the multiple choice of the CFA level I).
Once you know approximately how many pages you can read and memorize in an hour, you can check the remaining number of pages you have to get an idea of how many more hours you have to cover everything. 

Make sure that you have to take into account the amount time spent on practicing problems a the end of each chapters, as well as revision cheat sheets with formulas and key explanations.
 Once you have determined the time required to finish your CFA preparation, have a look at your average weekly routine (work and social life) so you allocate study time to your free hours, moreover you should also determine your study schedule for the weekend and finally for the day off and holidays you are planning to take, I don't need to mention that taking a week or 2 off before the CFA examination will significantly increase your chances of passing the test.

 Thereafter you have to stick with your preparation plan, which is a very demanding task, naturally you will skip some study session, remember to keep track and to always write down how many pages you covered during a study sessions and what concepts did you learm.
Discipline is the only way to success in your CFA examination.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Woman Charged $15 Quadrillion Phone Bill in France

Women talk way too much on the phone, well this is true but this French woman from the south western city of Pessac in the suburb of Bordeaux was "Surprised" when she opened her phone bill from the french phone operator "Bouygues Telecom".
Surprised is the least we can say when she received a phone bill of:


You can't read this number? Me neither but is is about 11.721 quadrillion euros or approximately 15 quadrillion U.S. dollars with the current exchange rate which is the highest phone bill in the world history, if we compare it:

  • It is 5872 times the GDP of France.
  • 214 times of all the wealth in the world which is believed to be 70,160 billion USD.
  • 246,000 times Bill Gates Wealth.
  • Ms. San Jose who previously tried to suspend her phone line with "Bouygues Telecom"  because she was unemployed said " There was so many zeros, that I couldn't understand how much it was".

    She tried then to contact the customer service of bouygues telecom and the joke continued as the first employee she reached told her " We are sorry but we cannot do anyhing  as the bill was calculated automatically", the second employee she reached told her " You can pay in several instalments if you want...".

    After few days the company finally recognized its mistake and corrected the bill which was in fact of  117.21 euros ($150), Bouygues Telecom told her that they will pay the bill and that they were sorry about the mistake.


    Friday, October 19, 2012

    How To Study for The Quantitative Methods of the CFA Level I and II?

    how to study for the quantitative methods sections of the CFA Chartered financial analyst level I and II.
     The quantitative methods section of the CFA level I is placed second in the CFA curriculum just after the ethics section, it consists of the following section : basic quantitative concepts which are very useful and used as a background for the calculations that are in the following parts of the CFA curriculum such as the time value of money, and all the related calculations in the discounted cash flows, variance and various returns measurements in the portfolio management section.

    Following the basic quantitative concepts, you will have to go through slighty more advanced concept but nothing too complicated especially for those who majored in finance during college, you do not need a Phd in mathematics to understand quant topics of the CFA, here you will learn:
    • Probability concepts
    •  Sampling methods
    •  Hypothesis testing, correlation and regression.
    At the end, there is one chapter on technical analysis which is quite interesting. If you are not a quant specialist or if you do not like mathematics and stats some of the topics above can seem quite tough but you cannot skip any of this, as the quantitative methods section accounts for about 10 to 15% of the multiple choice you better get a solid understanding and it will also help you for the following levels.

    In my opinion you should not spend too much time on the quant basics  but just read and understand it in order to be fully efficient and dedicated on the harder sections of quantitative methods. There are no real shortcuts for this topic, except that you should do tons of practice problems for it, also get to know how to draw graph to have an idea of what you are doing while practicing hypothesis testing exercices, don't forget to dedicate only 2 min per question when you practice, you will have 1.5 min only during the real CFA examination.

    Taking Notes for the CFA is a must as it will save precious time when you will revise it just before the CFA examination, if you decide to study for quantitative methods as the last part of your CFA level I learning process and you run out of time, you can skip the technical analysis as it is quite straightforward and it has not a big weight for the exam.

    It is vital for you to determine what are your weaknesses in the CFA curriculum so you can study at first the parts you know the best and dedicate more time to the harder sections at the end.


    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    CFA Practice Problems and Mock Exams, Where to get it from?

    As we mentioned earlier, CFA mock exams and practice questions are the key to pass the CFA examination, it is crucial to practice as much as you can, but reading the books and CFA notes are very important in order to understand the concepts and theories, and in my opinion it is worthless to go too quickly to the CFA practice problems.
    Let's take the example of a surgeon who has read 100's of books about medical science but has not practiced yet, without experience it is pretty sure that this surgeon despite being the best student in his class will not be able to perform any minor surgery, this is exactly the same thing for the CFA examination, eventhough you know the theories and concepts from the CFA curriculum by heart,  practicing , practicing and practicing is the only way to pass the test.

    You can find CFA practice problems from several sources:

  •  The CFA Institute has some Mock exams for free, they usually release it 2 months before the CFA examination, Mock exams from the CFA are very useful so you should keep it for your revision period just before the examination, moreover you can buy some more mock exams from the CFA institute.

    • On the other hand, many CFA prep providers propose practice problems, such as Schweser's question bank, those are already very usefule materials  as they have a massive amount of practice questions. Here are some link to find CFA practice questions and mock tests:
              - Schweser Mock Exams
              - mock exams
              - Investopedia Practice questions
    •  Finally, many CFA candidates say the best practice problems are the questions at the end of each chapter of the CFA books, so the best thing to do is to solve it as soon as you have understood the concepts of the chapter, I also recommend you to mark the most difficult problems so you can get back to it during the revision phase. 
    800 to 1200 practice problems is really the minimum amount of problems required to pass each level of the CFA examination, it sounds like a lot of practice but if you take into account that you cannot spend more than 2 minute on each of the questions (remember that the CFA multiple choice allows only 1.5min per question during the examination) so it makes a total of only 26 hours on practicing problems, which about 5 to 10% of your entire preparation  time.


    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    CFA Chartered Financial Analyst Preparion, How Many Practice Exams and What Percentage of Success?

    CFA preparation guidance to make sure you become a CFA chartered Financial analyst.
    Most of us preparing for the CFA Chartered Financial Analyst examination are wondering what would be the optimal amount of practice problems and mock exams to do, as well as the percentage we have to score during our CFA preparation to be sure or at least more confident to pass the CFA examination.
    By asking other CFA candidates what is their average percentage score during the preparation, they might give some higher scores than the reality, and obviously you do not have to score 100% to each CFA topic preparation to consider yourself ready, moreover the answer to these questions are not clear, indeed the CFA Institute does not give their grading system and CFA examination results available to public, and beside the approximate topic weights and survey reports, there is no precise to way to direct your learning effort.
    We tried here to collect experiences and results from CFA forums and successful CFA candidates to give you an idea of how to prepare for the examination.

    CFA Preparation Guidance:

  • There is no maximum practice problems you can do, whether you are CFA candidate for level I, II or III practice problems are the key, but I recommend you to do no less than 800 total. The optimal range of practice problems would be between 800 to 1200. I also advise you to study well the topic before practicing the exams, otherwise you will run out of practice problems and if you re do it you will remember the answers and it will boost your score but not your knowledge.
  • Don't get discouraged when you start practice problems, a lot of candidates will score as low as 20 to 30% for the first trials and your performance will improve little by little, once again don't focus on getting 100% but a solid 75-80% shoud be your goal.
  • It is important to spread your studying effort on the various sections of the CFA curriculum, do not spend more time than you planned on a section with the only objective of scoring high on this topic, disperse your effort and try to get the same performance range on every topic, neglecting one section could lead to your failure, eventhough this section is only 5% of the CFA examination weight.

  • I totally agree with the fact that the CFA examination whatever your level is, requires a massive amount of preparation which is above the 250 hours recommended by the CFA institute, but you should be also smart in your learning process, preparation and pre-exam revision, in order to do that you should determine clearly a deadline for each of the section you study for and note your weak points during the revision phase.

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    How to Find Undervalued Stocks

     In order to find undervalued stocks, first you should develop a list of stocks you want to analyse depending on your basic criterias, secondly analyse financial datas from each of these stocks and perform a more in-depth analysis.

    It is now easier than before to find financial datas on the internet with website such as bloomberg, yahoo finance and on the website of the company itself where they usually have the yearly and quaterly financial reports for the past years. Many financial websites will provide you informations such as stock price, earning per share P/E ratios and so on.
    Benjamin Graham once said that to consider a stock undervalued, its stock price must be at least 1/3 below its intrinsic value, here are some basic assumptions that will help you to determine if a stock is undervalued.

    Some of the basics of Value Investing:

  •  As we said the stock price should not be higher than 2/3 of the intrinsic value.
  •   The P/E ratio should be the lowest possible, if you look at a whole industry the stock should be in the lowest 10% of all the stocks to be considered as undervalued
  • Price Earning to growth ratio (PEG) should be lower than one.
  • Stock price should be less than the tangible book value of the firm
  • Debt To equity ratio should be lower than 1, meaning that the firm using less debt than equity.
  • Current assets of the firms should be twice the current liabilities.
  • The dividend yield should be at least 2/3 of the long term best rated bond of the country where we pick the stock.
  • Earning growth should be more than 7% over the last 8 to 10 years.

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