Some trading wisdom, tools and information I picked up along the way that helped me be a better trader. Maybe it can help you too.
Its a bit lengthy and I tried to condense it as much as I can. So take everything at a high level as each subject is has a lot more depth but fundamentally if you distill it down its just taking simple things and applying your experience using them to add nuance and better deploy them. There are exceptions to everything that you will learn with experience or have already learned. If you know something extra or something to add to it to implement it better or more accurately. Then great! However, my intention of this post is just a high level overview. Trading can be far too nuanced to go into in this post and would take forever to type up every exception (not to mention the traders individual personality). If you take the general information as a starting point, hopefully you will learn the edge cases long the way and learn how to use the more effectively if you end up using them. I apologize in advice for any errors or typos. Introduction After reflecting on my fun (cough) trading journey that was more akin to rolling around on broken glass and wondering if brown glass will help me predict market direction better than green glass. Buying a $100 indicator at 2 am when I was acting a fool, looking at it and going at and going "This is a piece of lagging crap, I miss out on a large part of the fundamental move and never using it for even one trade". All while struggling with massive over trading and bad habits because I would get bored watching a single well placed trade on fold for the day. Also, I wanted to get rich quick. On top all of that I had a terminal Stage 4 case of FOMO on every time the price would move up and then down then back up. Just think about all those extra pips I could have trading both directions as it moves across the chart! I can just sell right when it goes down, then buy right before it goes up again. Its so easy right? Well, turns out it was not as easy as I thought and I lost a fair chunk of change and hit my head against the wall a lot until it clicked. Which is how I came up with a mixed bag of things that I now call "Trade the Trade" which helped support how I wanted to trade so I can still trade intra day price action like a rabid money without throwing away all my bananas. Why Make This Post? - Core Topic of Discussion I wish to share a concept I came up with that helped me become a reliable trader. Support the weakness of how I like to trade. Also, explaining what I do helps reinforce my understanding of the information I share as I have to put words to it and not just use internalized processes. I came up with a method that helped me get my head straight when trading intra day. I call it "Trade the Trade" as I am making mini trades inside of a trade setup I make from analysis on a higher timeframe that would take multiple days to unfold or longer. I will share information, principles, techniques I used and learned from others I talked to on the internet (mixed bag of folks from armatures to professionals, and random internet people) that helped me form a trading style that worked for me. Even people who are not good at trading can say something that might make it click in your head so I would absorbed all the information I could get.I will share the details of how I approach the methodology and the tools in my trading belt that I picked up by filtering through many tools, indicators strategies and witchcraft. Hopefully you read something that ends up helping you be a better trader. I learned a lot from people who make community posts so I wanted to give back now that I got my ducks in a row. General Trading Advice If your struggling finding your own trading style, fixing weakness's in it, getting started, being reliably profitable or have no framework to build yourself higher with, hopefully you can use the below advice to help provide some direction or clarity to moving forward to be a better trader.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Do not throw a million things on your chart from the get go or over analyzing what the market is doing while trying to learn the basics. Tons of stuff on your chart can actually slow your learning by distracting your focus on all your bells and whistles and not the price action.
PRICE ACTION. Learn how to read price action. Not just the common formations, but larger groups of bars that form the market structure. Those formations carry more weight the higher the time frame they form on. If struggle to understand what is going on or what your looking at, move to a higher time frame.
INDICATORS. If you do use them you should try to understand how every indicator you use calculates its values. Many indicators are lagging indicators, understanding how it calculates the values can help you learn how to identify the market structure before the indicator would trigger a signal . This will help you understand why the signal is a lagged signal. If you understand that you can easily learn to look at the price action right before the signal and learn to watch for that price action on top of it almost trigging a signal so you can get in at a better position and assume less downside risk. I recommend using no more than 1-2 indicators for simplicity, but your free to use as many as you think you think you need or works for your strategy/trading style.
PSYCOLOGY. First, FOMO is real, don't feed the beast. When you trade you should always have an entry and exit. If you miss your entry do not chase it, wait for a new entry. At its core trading is gambling and your looking for an edge against the house (the other market participants). With that in mind, treat as such. Do not risk more than you can afford to lose. If you are afraid to lose it will negatively effect your trade decisions. Finally, be honest with your self and bad trading happens. No one is going to play trade cop and keep you in line, that's your job.
TRADE DECISION MARKING: Before you enter any trade you should have an entry and exit area. As you learn price action you will get better entries and better exits. Use a larger zone and stop loss at the start while learning. Then you can tighten it up as you gain experience. If you do not have a area you wish to exit, or you are entering because "the markets looking like its gonna go up". Do not enter the trade. Have a reason for everything you do, if you cannot logically explain why then you probably should not be doing it.
ROBOTS/ALGOS: Loved by some, hated by many who lost it all to one, and surrounded by scams on the internet. If you make your own, find a legit one that works and paid for it or lost it all on a crappy one, more power to ya. I do not use robots because I do not like having a robot in control of my money. There is too many edge cases for me to be ok with it.However, the best piece of advice about algos was that the guy had a algo/robot for each market condition (trending/ranging) and would make personalized versions of each for currency pairs as each one has its own personality and can make the same type of movement along side another currency pair but the price action can look way different or the move can be lagged or leading. So whenever he does his own analysis and he sees a trend, he turns the trend trading robot on. If the trend stops, and it starts to range he turns the range trading robot on. He uses robots to trade the market types that he is bad at trading. For example, I suck at trend trading because I just suck at sitting on my hands and letting my trade do its thing.
Trade the Trade - The Methodology
Base Principles These are the base principles I use behind "Trade the Trade". Its called that because you are technically trading inside your larger high time frame trade as it hopefully goes as you have analyzed with the trade setup. It allows you to scratch that intraday trading itch, while not being blind to the bigger market at play. It can help make sense of why the price respects, rejects or flat out ignores support/resistance/pivots.
Trade Setup: Find a trade setup using high level time frames (daily, 4hr, or 1hr time frames). The trade setup will be used as a base for starting to figure out a bias for the markets direction for that day.
Indicator Data: Check any indicators you use (I use Stochastic RSI and Relative Vigor Index) for any useful information on higher timeframes.
Support Resistance: See if any support/resistance/pivot points are in currently being tested/resisted by the price. Also check for any that are within reach so they might become in play through out the day throughout the day (which can influence your bias at least until the price reaches it if it was already moving that direction from previous days/weeks price action).
Currency Strength/Weakness: I use the TradeVision currency strength/weakness dashboard to see if the strength/weakness supports the narrative of my trade and as an early indicator when to keep a closer eye for signs of the price reversing.Without the tool, the same concept can be someone accomplished with fundamentals and checking for higher level trends and checking cross currency pairs for trends as well to indicate strength/weakness, ranging (and where it is in that range) or try to get some general bias from a higher level chart that may help you out. However, it wont help you intra day unless your monitoring the currency's index or a bunch of charts related to the currency.
Watch For Trading Opportunities: Personally I make a mental short list and alerts on TradingView of currency pairs that are close to key levels and so I get a notification if it reaches there so I can check it out. I am not against trading both directions, I just try to trade my bias before the market tries to commit to a direction. Then if I get out of that trade I will scalp against the trend of the day and hold trades longer that are with it.Then when you see a opportunity assume the directional bias you made up earlier (unless the market solidly confirms with price action the direction while waiting for an entry) by trying to look for additional confirmation via indicators, price action on support/resistances etc on the low level time frame or higher level ones like hourly/4hr as the day goes on when the price reaches key areas or makes new market structures to get a good spot to enter a trade in the direction of your bias.Then enter your trade and use the market structures to determine how much of a stop you need. Once your in the trade just monitor it and watch the price action/indicators/tools you use to see if its at risk of going against you. If you really believe the market wont reach your TP and looks like its going to turn against you, then close the trade. Don't just hold on to it for principle and let it draw down on principle or the hope it does not hit your stop loss.
Trade Duration Hold your trades as long or little as you want that fits your personality and trading style/trade analysis. Personally I do not hold trades past the end of the day (I do in some cases when a strong trend folds) and I do not hold trades over the weekends. My TP targets are always places I think it can reach within the day. Typically I try to be flat before I sleep and trade intra day price movements only. Just depends on the higher level outlook, I have to get in at really good prices for me to want to hold a trade and it has to be going strong. Then I will set a slightly aggressive stop on it before I leave. I do know several people that swing trade and hold trades for a long period of time. That is just not a trading style that works for me.
Enhance Your Success Rate Below is information I picked up over the years that helped me enhance my success rate with not only guessing intra day market bias (even if it has not broken into the trend for the day yet (aka pre London open when the end of Asia likes to act funny sometimes), but also with trading price action intra day. People always say "When you enter a trade have an entry and exits. I am of the belief that most people do not have problem with the entry, its the exit. They either hold too long, or don't hold long enough. With the below tools, drawings, or instruments, hopefully you can increase your individual probability of a successful trade. **P.S.*\* Your mileage will vary depending on your ability to correctly draw, implement and interpret the below items. They take time and practice to implement with a high degree of proficiency. If you have any questions about how to do that with anything listed, comment below and I will reply as I can. I don't want to answer the same question a million times in a pm. Tools and Methods Used This is just a high level overview of what I use. Each one of the actions I could go way more in-depth on but I would be here for a week typing something up of I did that. So take the information as a base level understanding of how I use the method or tool. There is always nuance and edge cases that you learn from experience.
I keep a general high level Macro outlook for currencies. I dont get too deep into Fundamentals and just keep an eye out for news. If I am already in a trade I will hold it if its far enough away from my entry. However, I wont enter right before/during news as it can invalidate your setup.
I started with the basics of learning the standard price action formations/patterns and candles. You can find tons of free info on that online, google is your friend. Then I stared at charts and said "why did the price do that or do this etc" then after a while I started to understand what's happening without having to think about it and I can see the market structure without having to look as closely as I did in the past.
After many many hours of staring at 5 min charts for 15 hours a day 5 days a week I learned how to look at 5 min charts and be like "Oh that's a hammer on the 15 min etc. If you keep track of time you can do the same for hourly candles as well and you will start to see market structure naturally. However I typically trade in a two chart panel window so I have a 15 min and 5 min chart up when trading intra day so I dont have to think too hard about it.
Draw support resistance lines on Daily/4hr timeframes. I prefer to use body of the candle instead of the wick for support/resistance.
You can find support/resistance liquidity levels through out the day as well and trade those if the price retraces back through levels its already been through that same day.
It would be a bit length to explain exactly the best place to draw them. If your unsure there is plenty of free resources on the internet. Just try to use your head and look for price levels where the price was "Supported" or it "Resisted" that price level then slap a line on it. Draw as few or as many lines as you feel helps you and your style. I tend to lean on the side of fewer. I typically do about 6 lines main support/resistances (3 of each).
Draw two Fibonacci Extensions. One on the daily timeframe, and then one on the 4hr time frame. Then you can trade the Fibonacci levels and use them for TP targets or entry zones if price action respects the level. Also you can use it along with support/resistance and pivots if they happen to line up or are very close.
I cannot really figure out how to put it into words how to draw a Fib if you dont know how. I will have to make a picture to demonstrate it. If your interested post below and I will draw one up and post a link. Probably the easiest way to understand. Just keep in mind the Fib you draw on the 4hr time frame will be inside the daily timeframe one.
The TradeVision2020 dashboard that I use just helps me keep a tab on the current market post plus any swing strength/momentum a currency might have on higher time frames. Helps me look for shifts in the market or confirmation that the bias it already has in momentum is continuing. I have found that often currencies when they get really/weak or strong might continue for several days or even longer like a full week or more. We recently had what felt like 1 week or so of flat out Yen weakness which was making some things wonky. All it does is allow me to look at the dashboard instead of a million other charts.
I use two that work well for my intra day style. The Stochastic RSI is just like a RSI but its faster. The second is the Relative Vigor Index which I use to detect swings in momentum and divergences in bullish/bearish momentum. I have used many others in the past, but as I have grown and got better as a trader I have found making my analysis simpler has improved my trading.I dont like the whole idea of have 43 different indicators on 32 different time frames light up a dashboard to be green for me to enter a trade. With how I do it now, I have a clear understanding of what I expect to happen and why. That way when it does happen I understand the move and dont get freaked out if the market moves funny after I am in the trade.
Conclusion I use the above tools/indicators/resources/philosophy's to trade intra day price action that sometimes ends up as noise in the grand scheme of the markets movement.use that method until the price action for the day proves the bias assumption wrong. Also you can couple that with things like Stoch RSI + Relative Vigor Index to find divergences which can increase the probability of your targeted guesses. Trade Example from Yesterday This is an example of a trade I took today and why I took it. I used the following core areas to make my trade decision.
Fundamental Bias: I already had a bullish fundamental outlook on EUUSD with expecting the markets to price in future similes due a higher an higher chance of Biden winning on paper as the election closed in and a "Blue wave" coming which would lead to a weaker dollar. Also, the Euro Zone is getting hammered with COVID pretty hard plus Brexit drama so I had a strong Euro bias.NOTE: As frame of reference, all the other pairs I trade I traded as if they were ranging and trade a range. Markets are messed up right now.
Currency Strength/Weakness: I use a tool that gives me a currency strength/weakness dashboard called TradeVision2020. Helps me track individual currency strength/weakness intra day. Took me about a month to get used to it, but helps me keep track of intra day strength/weakness that can add a bias to trade direction as the day unfolds. Like "Will this run have a 2nd or 3rd push higher" or "I should look to TP at the first sign of weakness in the push" type bias data. You still got to use your brain and figure out the best decision. It wont make choices for you, its only a guide.NOTE: I am not trying to adverse the tool (if providing the code is against sub rules let me know), its just a tool I use every day that helps me with directional bias calls. I am sharing the coupon code that was given to me when I found out about the tool in the TradingView forex chatroom and the guy gave me the code to use when I signed up. I dont want someone to read the name and want to try it out then overpay for no reason. The coupon will give you 40% off. Coupon Code: 3F7A0T5T
Higher Timeframe Analysis: Detected some early signs of Bearish Divergence on the 1hr chart using a on a higher time frame using a Stochastic RSI. Then I saw more confirmation on 5 min charts using Relative Vigor Index to help time my entry mid session.
Pivot Points: I treat pivot points like support/resistance and trade them as such using price action to give me some idea how its being treated by the market. Pretty straight forward.
It may seem like a lot of stuff to process on the fly while trying to figure out live price action but, for the fundamental bias for a pair should already baked in your mindset for any currency pair you trade. For the currency strength/weakness I stare at the dashboard 12-15 hours a day so I am always trying to keep a pulse on what's going or shifts so that's not really a factor when I want to enter as I would not look to enter if I felt the market was shifting against me. Then the higher timeframe analysis had already happened when I woke up, so it was a game of "Stare at the 5 min chart until the price does something interesting" Trade Example: Today , I went long EUUSD long bias when I first looked at the chart after waking up around 9-10pm Eastern. Fortunately, the first large drop had already happened so I had a easy baseline price movement to work with. I then used tool for currency strength/weakness monitoring, Pivot Points, and bearish divergence detected using Stochastic RSI and Relative Vigor Index. I first noticed Bearish Divergence on the 1hr time frame using the Stochastic RSI and got confirmation intra day on the 5 min time frame with the Relative Vigor Index. I ended up buying the second mini dip around midnight Eastern because it was already dancing along the pivot point that the price had been dancing along since the big drop below the pivot point and dipped below it and then shortly closed back above it. I put a stop loss below the first large dip. With a TP goal of the middle point pivot line Then I waited for confirmation or invalidation of my trade. I ended up getting confirmation with Bearish Divergence from the second large dip so I tightened up my stop to below that smaller drip and waited for the London open. Not only was it not a lower low, I could see the divergence with the Relative Vigor Index. It then ran into London and kept going with tons of momentum. Blew past my TP target so I let it run to see where the momentum stopped. Ended up TP'ing at the Pivot Point support/resistance above the middle pivot line. Random Note: The Asian session has its own unique price action characteristics that happen regularly enough that you can easily trade them when they happen with high degrees of success. It takes time to learn them all and confidently trade them as its happening. If you trade Asia you should learn to recognize them as they can fake you out if you do not understand what's going on. TL;DR At the end of the day there is no magic solution that just works. You have to find out what works for you and then what people say works for them. Test it out and see if it works for you or if you can adapt it to work for you. If it does not work or your just not interested then ignore it. At the end of the day, you have to use your brain to make correct trading decisions. Blindly following indicators may work sometimes in certain market conditions, but trading with information you don't understand can burn you just as easily as help you. Its like playing with fire. So, get out there and grind it out. It will either click or it wont. Not everyone has the mindset or is capable of changing to be a successful trader. Trading is gambling, you do all this work to get a edge on the house. Trading without the edge or an edge you understand how to use will only leave your broker happy in the end.
As PTI comes onto two years, I felt like making this post on account of seeing multiple people supporting PML-N for having an allegedly better economy for Pakistan, particularly with allegations present that PTI has done nothing for the economy. So here's a short list of some major achievements done by PTI in contrast to PML-N.
Stopping Pakistan from defaulting: The move to devalue the rupee was one done despite knowing the backlash that would be faced. Under Nawaz Sharif the rupee was artificially overvalued through loans and forex reserves, this meant Pakistan had no sustainable way for repaying those massive loans. Imran Khan on the other hand had to approach the IMF due to these overlaying maturing debts, lack of growth in exports under PMLN, decline in Foreign Direct Investment and an ever higher import bill. This was done at the cost of letting the rupee massively devalue against the dollar, however paved the path for economic stability as noted by the IMF.
Renewed focus on taxation: Easily the most controversial facet of the economic policy by PTI, but one that has shown merit and results. Overall, there has been a 40% increase in returns filers and a 17% revenue increase. This coupled with a massive austerity scheme, meant that the government has started an incline towards increasing it's revenues. While this hasn't been met with open arms, it presents a solution to the everpresent crisis that the Pakistan government has faced, in it's inability to increase it's revenues. Not only that, but the general taxation system was streamlined, making it easier for individuals to file taxes. Introductions of new apps and consolidating activities for the FBR were among the efforts as well. Moreover, businesses that were entitled to tax refunds are finally being granted them, under PMLN they were held onto so as to inflate collection numbers, however under PTI that has changed and it's not inflated. It is worth noting, that because of the covid-19 pandemic, the effect of the austerity schemes and feasibility have seriously dampened, and it's created a bigger problem for increasing revenue collection.
It is worth noting, that some may criticise the overall decrease in the account deficit to be a result of the decrease in imports, and the increase in worker remittances, however this was indeed a result of the overall economic impact from the covid-19 pandemic. And that general trends support the notion of exports increasing and the account deficit decreasing in the second quarter of 2019.
Tourism: The reforms and measures taken to facilitate tourism in Pakistan were evidently among the most successful — Pakistan went from being sidelined to being amongst the worlds top destinations to visit. There were multiple reasons for this, the removal of the mandatory NOC, the initiative for online visas for upto 175 countries alongside visa-on-arrival for 50 countries were among the facilitating measures taken for tourism.
Foreign Direct Investment: What can be appreciated is the general reception of Pakistan's economic outlook, where FDI climbed by upto 137% within this fiscal year, gathering upto nearly $2.1 billion. Yet, once again — the pandemic will undoubtedly cause most countries to rethink their economic policies for now, and the overall FDI might see a downward trend with regards to global decrease in FDI. Despite, the increases in FDI are welcomed, especially considering total foreign investment rose 380 percent to $2.375 billion in July-March FY2020. Yet the sustainability of this remains to be seen.
Dealing with covid: Despite all odds, Pakistan has somehow managed to deal well with the pandemic. Coming out relatively alright, in perspective of countries such as India, Mexico, Italy, Brazil etc. The factor that plays out, is that despite being incredibly vulnerable, the country managed to pull through and has markedly reduced the impact of the virus. With regards to the economy, taking a bold risk of abating a complete lockdown, whilst met with criticism was once again a factor that showed competency. Keeping in mind that 51 million Pakistanis lived below the poverty line, and the adverse effect it would have on the economy. Pakistan managed to come through the economic contraction with only a -0.38% growth. Although the full effects are still not abated or understood, what's commendable is the fact that Pakistan under PTI has kept itself from an even worse situation. Whilst managing to keep covid under relative control. Especially given increases in exports despite the pandemic in countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Italy.
This is by no means a highly comprehensive list, just my opinion on some of the bigger achievements; saving the economy from defaulting, adopting tax reforms, tourism reforms, export reforms among them whilst managing covid and economic stability with relative success. There are of course a multitude of other factors, successfully avoiding a blacklist from the FATF, macroeconomic reforms, attempts to strengthen the working class; ehsaas programs, Naya Pakistan housing schemes alongside other relief efforts. These are measures in accordance with curtailing the effect of increasing taxation and attempts to abate the economic slowdown that came as a result of forcing an increase in government revenue. Alongside the focus on multiple new hydroelectric dams, industrial cities, reduction of the PM office staff from 552 to 298, 10 billion tree project and an overall renewed interest in renewable energy and green Pakistan. The list is comprehensive. Pakistan remains on a rocky path, it is not out of the woods yet. Covid-19 has seriously hampered the overall projections, and caused a worldwide economic contraction. Not only that, but there are criticisms that can be attributed to the government as well, as they are not without fault. However, the overall achievements of the government with regards to the economy do present hope for the long-term fiscal policy and development of Pakistan.
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)
Hello, dummies It's your old pal, Fuzzy. As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great. What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. Idomybit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post. That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way. We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps. Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy. TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle. Ready? Let's get started. 1.The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows: Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself. Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part. You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus. That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it. Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets? 2. A Hedging Taxonomy The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now. (i) Swaps A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one. Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered. The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game. I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging. There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested. Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure). (ii) Forwards A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me. Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways. People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances. These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them. (iii) Collars No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray! To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts. (3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years. First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA. Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire. Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking? Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama. Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details. I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here. Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post. *EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
Currency Futures (Canadian dollar D6) - How do I go about hedging by Exposure to USD
Hi there, My base currency is Canadian and I hold some USD exposure right now due to investments. I am new to using Interactive Brokers and futures trading. To my understanding it is possible to mantain a hedge using the cash-settled large and mini Currency Futures Contract and occasionally adjust depending on your USD exposure. https://www.cmegroup.com/trading/fx/g10/canadian-dollar.html Per https://www.retailinvestor.org/hedge.html#risk "It is too expensive to hedge." The cost to buy a $100,000 futures contract good for a year, is about $5. Pittance. Yes you must provide collateral but that is not a cost. You will also find that buried somewhere in whatever method you chose, is a cost/benefit equal to the difference in interest rates between the countries. Since Canada and US rates are so close you can cancel out any cost by using limit orders that let normal market volatility make up the difference. The fund managers who say hedging is expensive are referring to using options. This method IS expensive. Options are a one-sided bet on the direction of FX, expiring within a specific time span. They are not hedges. The cash funding of open futures contracts come from the daily settlements. If your position gains $1,000 in value one day, there will be $1,000 put into your account. More importantly, if your position loses $1,000, it will be taken from your account. If there is not sufficient cash your broker will consider it borrowed and charge you interest. You must realize that because this is a hedge, you are not 'losing' that cash. For every dollar you might lose in the futures account, the offsetting investment in the foreign security will have gained the same amount. Agreed, you cannot liquidate that cash daily, but the value is there." 1) Anybody have any experience in this in how to consider which month of futures contract to purchase, (near month or 1 year from now if I want one year of) I believe futures contract automatically roll-forward to the next month. The Price Curve seems to curve down, and is in some sort of backwardation? So farther away in time cost more due to priced in uncertainty - and also more thinly traded? 2) Collateral is required so I assume is some sort of Margin that is required to maintain the contract, 3) What are the calculations to determine how much to hedge out. Say I have $100k USD? Is it just Looking at say $100k USD x the Future Price Rate (of CAD/USD) or the current Spot Forex Exchange Rate? I.e. $100k USD / 0.74500s (Aug '20) = $134k CAD ~ So 1 $100k CAD Contract and 3-4 $10k CAD mini contracts? 4) Any resources to learn about this? Thanks in advance
https://preview.redd.it/gp18bjnlabr41.jpg?width=768&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6054e7f52e8d52da403016139ae43e0e799abf15 Download PDF of this article here:https://docdro.id/6eLgUPo In light of the recent fall in oil prices due to the Saudi-Russian dispute and dampening demand for oil due to the lockdowns implemented globally, O&G stocks have taken a severe beating, falling approximately 50% from their highs at the beginning of the year. Not spared from this onslaught is Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (Hibiscus), a listed oil and gas (O&G) exploration and production (E&P) company. Why invest in O&G stocks in this particularly uncertain period? For one, valuations of these stocks have fallen to multi-year lows, bringing the potential ROI on these stocks to attractive levels. Oil prices are cyclical, and are bound to return to the mean given a sufficiently long time horizon. The trick is to find those companies who can survive through this downturn and emerge into “normal” profitability once oil prices rebound. In this article, I will explore the upsides and downsides of investing in Hibiscus. I will do my best to cater this report to newcomers to the O&G industry – rather than address exclusively experts and veterans of the O&G sector. As an equity analyst, I aim to provide a view on the company primarily, and will generally refrain from providing macro views on oil or opinions about secular trends of the sector. I hope you enjoy reading it! Stock code: 5199.KL Stock name: Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad Financial information and financial reports: https://www.malaysiastock.biz/Corporate-Infomation.aspx?securityCode=5199 Company website: https://www.hibiscuspetroleum.com/
Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (5199.KL) is an oil and gas (O&G) upstream exploration and production (E&P) company located in Malaysia. As an E&P company, their business can be basically described as: · looking for oil, · drawing it out of the ground, and · selling it on global oil markets. This means Hibiscus’s profits are particularly exposed to fluctuating oil prices. With oil prices falling to sub-$30 from about $60 at the beginning of the year, Hibiscus’s stock price has also fallen by about 50% YTD – from around RM 1.00 to RM 0.45 (as of 5 April 2020). https://preview.redd.it/3dqc4jraabr41.png?width=641&format=png&auto=webp&s=7ba0e8614c4e9d781edfc670016a874b90560684 https://preview.redd.it/lvdkrf0cabr41.png?width=356&format=png&auto=webp&s=46f250a713887b06986932fa475dc59c7c28582e While the company is domiciled in Malaysia, its two main oil producing fields are located in both Malaysia and the UK. The Malaysian oil field is commonly referred to as the North Sabah field, while the UK oil field is commonly referred to as the Anasuria oil field. Hibiscus has licenses to other oil fields in different parts of the world, notably the Marigold/Sunflower oil fields in the UK and the VIC cluster in Australia, but its revenues and profits mainly stem from the former two oil producing fields. Given that it’s a small player and has only two primary producing oil fields, it’s not surprising that Hibiscus sells its oil to a concentrated pool of customers, with 2 of them representing 80% of its revenues (i.e. Petronas and BP). Fortunately, both these customers are oil supermajors, and are unlikely to default on their obligations despite low oil prices. At RM 0.45 per share, the market capitalization is RM 714.7m and it has a trailing PE ratio of about 5x. It doesn’t carry any debt, and it hasn’t paid a dividend in its listing history. The MD, Mr. Kenneth Gerard Pereira, owns about 10% of the company’s outstanding shares.
Reserves (Total recoverable oil) & Production (bbl/day)
To begin analyzing the company, it’s necessary to understand a little of the industry jargon. We’ll start with Reserves and Production. In general, there are three types of categories for a company’s recoverable oil volumes – Reserves, Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources. Reserves are those oil fields which are “commercial”, which is defined as below: As defined by the SPE PRMS,Reservesare “… quantities of petroleum anticipated to be commercially recoverable by application of development projects to known accumulations from a given date forward under defined conditions.” Therefore, Reserves must be discovered (by drilling, recoverable (with current technology), remaining in the subsurface (at the effective date of the evaluation) and “commercial” based on the development project proposed.) Note that Reserves are associated with development projects. To be considered as “commercial”, there must be a firm intention to proceed with the project in a reasonable time frame (typically 5 years, and such intention must be based upon all of the following criteria:) - A reasonable assessment of the future economics of the development project meeting defined investment and operating criteria;- A reasonable expectation that there will be a market for all or at least the expected sales quantities of production required to justify development;- Evidence that the necessary production and transportation facilities are available or can be made available; and- Evidence that legal, contractual, environmental and other social and economic concerns will allow for the actual implementation of the recovery project being evaluated. Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources are further defined as below: -Contingent Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets discovered volumes but is not (yet commercial (as defined above); and)-Prospective Resources: potentially recoverable volumes associated with a development plan that targets as yet undiscovered volumes. In the industry lingo, we generally refer to Reserves as ‘P’ and Contingent Resources as ‘C’. These ‘P’ and ‘C’ resources can be further categorized into 1P/2P/3P resources and 1C/2C/3C resources, each referring to a low/medium/high estimate of the company’s potential recoverable oil volumes: - Low/1C/1P estimate: there should be reasonable certainty that volumes actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimate;- Best/2C/2P estimate: there should be an equal likelihood of the actual volumes of petroleum being larger or smaller than the estimate; and- High/3C/3P estimate: there is a low probability that the estimate will be exceeded. Hence in the E&P industry, it is easy to see why most investors and analysts refer to the 2P estimate as the best estimate for a company’s actual recoverable oil volumes. This is because 2P reserves (‘2P’ referring to ‘Proved and Probable’) are a middle estimate of the recoverable oil volumes legally recognized as “commercial”. However, there’s nothing stopping you from including 2C resources (riskier) or utilizing 1P resources (conservative) as your estimate for total recoverable oil volumes, depending on your risk appetite. In this instance, the company has provided a snapshot of its 2P and 2C resources in its analyst presentation: https://preview.redd.it/o8qejdyc8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=b3ab9be8f83badf0206adc982feda3a558d43e78 Basically, what the company is saying here is that by 2021, it will have classified as 2P reserves at least 23.7 million bbl from its Anasuria field and 20.5 million bbl from its North Sabah field – for total 2P reserves of 44.2 million bbl (we are ignoring the Australian VIC cluster as it is only estimated to reach first oil by 2022). Furthermore, the company is stating that they have discovered (but not yet legally classified as “commercial”) a further 71 million bbl of oil from both the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, as well as the Marigold/Sunflower fields. If we include these 2C resources, the total potential recoverable oil volumes could exceed 100 million bbl. In this report, we shall explore all valuation scenarios giving consideration to both 2P and 2C resources. https://preview.redd.it/gk54qplf8br41.png?width=489&format=png&auto=webp&s=c905b7a6328432218b5b9dfd53cc9ef1390bd604 The company further targets a 2021 production rate of 20,000 bbl (LTM: 8,000 bbl), which includes 5,000 bbl from its Anasuria field (LTM: 2,500 bbl) and 7,000 bbl from its North Sabah field (LTM: 5,300 bbl). This is a substantial increase in forecasted production from both existing and prospective oil fields. If it materializes, annual production rate could be as high as 7,300 mmbbl, and 2021 revenues (given FY20 USD/bbl of $60) could exceed RM 1.5 billion (FY20: RM 988 million). However, this targeted forecast is quite a stretch from current production levels. Nevertheless, we shall consider all provided information in estimating a valuation for Hibiscus. To understand Hibiscus’s oil production capacity and forecast its revenues and profits, we need to have a better appreciation of the performance of its two main cash-generating assets – the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. North Sabah oil field https://preview.redd.it/62nssexj8br41.png?width=1003&format=png&auto=webp&s=cd78f86d51165fb9a93015e49496f7f98dad64dd Hibiscus owns a 50% interest in the North Sabah field together with its partner Petronas, and has production rights over the field up to year 2040. The asset contains 4 oil fields, namely the St Joseph field, South Furious field, SF 30 field and Barton field. For the sake of brevity, we shall not delve deep into the operational aspects of the fields or the contractual nature of its production sharing contract (PSC). We’ll just focus on the factors which relate to its financial performance. These are: · Average uptime · Total oil sold · Average realized oil price · Average OPEX per bbl With regards to average uptime, we can see that the company maintains relative high facility availability, exceeding 90% uptime in all quarters of the LTM with exception of Jul-Sep 2019. The dip in average uptime was due to production enhancement projects and maintenance activities undertaken to improve the production capacity of the St Joseph and SF30 oil fields. Hence, we can conclude that management has a good handle on operational performance. It also implies that there is little room for further improvement in production resulting from increased uptime. As North Sabah is under a production sharing contract (PSC), there is a distinction between gross oil production and net oil production. The former relates to total oil drawn out of the ground, whereas the latter refers to Hibiscus’s share of oil production after taxes, royalties and expenses are accounted for. In this case, we want to pay attention to net oil production, not gross. We can arrive at Hibiscus’s total oil sold for the last twelve months (LTM) by adding up the total oil sold for each of the last 4 quarters. Summing up the figures yields total oil sold for the LTM of approximately 2,075,305 bbl. Then, we can arrive at an average realized oil price over the LTM by averaging the average realized oil price for the last 4 quarters, giving us an average realized oil price over the LTM of USD 68.57/bbl. We can do the same for average OPEX per bbl, giving us an average OPEX per bbl over the LTM of USD 13.23/bbl. Thus, we can sum up the above financial performance of the North Sabah field with the following figures: · Total oil sold: 2,075,305 bbl · Average realized oil price: USD 68.57/bbl · Average OPEX per bbl: USD 13.23/bbl Anasuria oil field https://preview.redd.it/586u4kfo8br41.png?width=1038&format=png&auto=webp&s=7580fc7f7df7e948754d025745a5cf47d4393c0f Doing the same exercise as above for the Anasuria field, we arrive at the following financial performance for the Anasuria field: · Total oil sold: 1,073,304 bbl · Average realized oil price: USD 63.57/bbl · Average OPEX per bbl: USD 23.22/bbl As gas production is relatively immaterial, and to be conservative, we shall only consider the crude oil production from the Anasuria field in forecasting revenues.
Valuation (Method 1)
Putting the figures from both oil fields together, we get the following data: https://preview.redd.it/7y6064dq8br41.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=2a4120563a011cf61fc6090e1cd5932602599dc2 Given that we have determined LTM EBITDA of RM 632m, the next step would be to subtract ITDA (interest, tax, depreciation & amortization) from it to obtain estimated LTM Net Profit. Using FY2020’s ITDA of approximately RM 318m as a guideline, we arrive at an estimated LTM Net Profit of RM 314m (FY20: 230m). Given the current market capitalization of RM 714.7m, this implies a trailing LTM PE of 2.3x. Performing a sensitivity analysis given different oil prices, we arrive at the following net profit table for the company under different oil price scenarios, assuming oil production rate and ITDA remain constant: https://preview.redd.it/xixge5sr8br41.png?width=433&format=png&auto=webp&s=288a00f6e5088d01936f0217ae7798d2cfcf11f2 From the above exercise, it becomes apparent that Hibiscus has a breakeven oil price of about USD 41.8863/bbl, and has a lot of operating leverage given the exponential rate of increase in its Net Profit with each consequent increase in oil prices. Considering that the oil production rate (EBITDA) is likely to increase faster than ITDA’s proportion to revenues (fixed costs), at an implied PE of 4.33x, it seems likely that an investment in Hibiscus will be profitable over the next 10 years (with the assumption that oil prices will revert to the mean in the long-term).
Valuation (Method 2)
Of course, there are a lot of assumptions behind the above method of valuation. Hence, it would be prudent to perform multiple methods of valuation and compare the figures to one another. As opposed to the profit/loss assessment in Valuation (Method 1), another way of performing a valuation would be to estimate its balance sheet value, i.e. total revenues from 2P Reserves, and assign a reasonable margin to it. https://preview.redd.it/o2eiss6u8br41.png?width=710&format=png&auto=webp&s=03960cce698d9cedb076f3d5f571b3c59d908fa8 From the above, we understand that Hibiscus’s 2P reserves from the North Sabah and Anasuria fields alone are approximately 44.2 mmbbl (we ignore contribution from Australia’s VIC cluster as it hasn’t been developed yet). Doing a similar sensitivity analysis of different oil prices as above, we arrive at the following estimated total revenues and accumulated net profit: https://preview.redd.it/h8hubrmw8br41.png?width=450&format=png&auto=webp&s=6d23f0f9c3dafda89e758b815072ba335467f33e Let’s assume that the above average of RM 9.68 billion in total realizable revenues from current 2P reserves holds true. If we assign a conservative Net Profit margin of 15% (FY20: 23%; past 5 years average: 16%), we arrive at estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves ofRM 1.452 billion. Given the current market capitalization of RM 714 million, we might be able to say that the equity is worth about twice the current share price. However, it is understandable that some readers might feel that the figures used in the above estimate (e.g. net profit margin of 15%) were randomly plucked from the sky. So how do we reconcile them with figures from the financial statements? Fortunately, there appears to be a way to do just that. Intangible Assets I refer you to a figure in the financial statements which provides a shortcut to the valuation of 2P Reserves. This is the carrying value of Intangible Assets on the Balance Sheet. As of 2QFY21, that amount was RM 1,468,860,000 (i.e. RM 1.468 billion). https://preview.redd.it/hse8ttb09br41.png?width=881&format=png&auto=webp&s=82e48b5961c905fe9273cb6346368de60202ebec Quite coincidentally, one might observe that this figure is dangerously close to the estimated accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves of RM 1.452 billion we calculated earlier. But why would this amount matter at all? To answer that, I refer you to the notes of the Annual Report FY20 (AR20). On page 148 of the AR20, we find the following two paragraphs: E&E assets comprise of rights and concession and conventional studies. Following the acquisition of a concession right to explore a licensed area, the costs incurred such as geological and geophysical surveys, drilling, commercial appraisal costs and other directly attributable costs of exploration and appraisal including technical and administrative costs, are capitalised as conventional studies, presented as intangible assets. E&E assets are assessed for impairment when facts and circumstances suggest that the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount. The Group will allocate E&E assets to cash generating unit (“CGU”s or groups of CGUs for the purpose of assessing such assets for impairment. Each CGU or group of units to which an E&E asset is allocated will not be larger than an operating segment as disclosed in Note 39 to the financial statements.) Hence, we can determine that firstly, the intangible asset value represents capitalized costs of acquisition of the oil fields, including technical exploration costs and costs of acquiring the relevant licenses. Secondly, an impairment review will be carried out when “the carrying amount of an E&E asset may exceed its recoverable amount”, with E&E assets being allocated to “cash generating units” (CGU) for the purposes of assessment. On page 169 of the AR20, we find the following: Carrying amounts of the Group’s intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO are reviewed for possible impairment annually including any indicators of impairment. For the purpose of assessing impairment, assets are grouped at the lowest level CGUs for which there is a separately identifiable cash flow available. These CGUs are based on operating areas, represented by the 2011 North Sabah EOR PSC (“North Sabah”, the Anasuria Cluster, the Marigold and Sunflower fields, the VIC/P57 exploration permit (“VIC/P57”) and the VIC/L31 production license (“VIC/L31”).) So apparently, the CGUs that have been assigned refer to the respective oil producing fields, two of which include the North Sabah field and the Anasuria field. In order to perform the impairment review, estimates of future cash flow will be made by management to assess the “recoverable amount” (as described above), subject to assumptions and an appropriate discount rate. Hence, what we can gather up to now is that management will estimate future recoverable cash flows from a CGU (i.e. the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields), compare that to their carrying value, and perform an impairment if their future recoverable cash flows are less than their carrying value. In other words, if estimated accumulated profits from the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are less than their carrying value, an impairment is required. So where do we find the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields? Further down on page 184 in the AR20, we see the following: Included in rights and concession are the carrying amounts of producing field licenses in the Anasuria Cluster amounting to RM668,211,518 (2018: RM687,664,530, producing field licenses in North Sabah amounting to RM471,031,008 (2018: RM414,333,116)) Hence, we can determine that the carrying values for the North Sabah and Anasuria oil fields are RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. But where do we find the future recoverable cash flows of the fields as estimated by management, and what are the assumptions used in that calculation? Fortunately, we find just that on page 185: 17 INTANGIBLE ASSETS (CONTINUED) (a Anasuria Cluster) The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for Anasuria Cluster during the current financial year. In the previous financial year, due to uncertainties in crude oil prices, the Group has assessed the recoverable amount of the intangible assets, oil and gas assets and FPSO relating to the Anasuria Cluster. The recoverable amount is determined using the FVLCTS model based on discounted cash flows (“DCF” derived from the expected cash in/outflow pattern over the production lives.) The key assumptions used to determine the recoverable amount for the Anasuria Cluster were as follows: (i Discount rate of 10%;) (ii Future cost inflation factor of 2% per annum;) (iii Oil price forecast based on the oil price forward curve from independent parties; and,) (iv Oil production profile based on the assessment by independent oil and gas reserve experts.) Based on the assessments performed, the Directors concluded that the recoverable amount calculated based on the valuation model is higher than the carrying amount. (b North Sabah) The acquisition of the North Sabah assets was completed in the previous financial year. Details of the acquisition are as disclosed in Note 15 to the financial statements. The Directors have concluded that there is no impairment indicator for North Sabah during the current financial year. Here, we can see that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field was estimated based on a DCF of expected future cash flows over the production life of the asset. The key assumptions used by management all seem appropriate, including a discount rate of 10% and oil price and oil production estimates based on independent assessment. From there, management concludes that the recoverable amount of the Anasuria field is higher than its carrying amount (i.e. no impairment required). Likewise, for the North Sabah field. How do we interpret this? Basically, what management is saying is that given a 10% discount rate and independent oil price and oil production estimates, the accumulated profits (i.e. recoverable amount) from both the North Sabah and the Anasuria fields exceed their carrying amounts of RM 471m and RM 668m respectively. In other words, according to management’s own estimates, the carrying value of the Intangible Assets of RM 1.468 billionapproximates the accumulated Net Profit recoverable from 2P reserves. To conclude Valuation (Method 2), we arrive at the following:
Accumulated Net Profit from 2P Reserves
RM 1.452 billion
RM 1.468 billion
By now, we have established the basic economics of Hibiscus’s business, including its revenues (i.e. oil production and oil price scenarios), costs (OPEX, ITDA), profitability (breakeven, future earnings potential) and balance sheet value (2P reserves, valuation). Moving on, we want to gain a deeper understanding of the 3 statements to anticipate any blind spots and risks. We’ll refer to the financial statements of both the FY20 annual report and the 2Q21 quarterly report in this analysis. For the sake of brevity, I’ll only point out those line items which need extra attention, and skip over the rest. Feel free to go through the financial statements on your own to gain a better familiarity of the business. https://preview.redd.it/h689bss79br41.png?width=810&format=png&auto=webp&s=ed47fce6a5c3815dd3d4f819e31f1ce39ccf4a0b Income Statement First, we’ll start with the Income Statement on page 135 of the AR20. Revenues are straightforward, as we’ve discussed above. Cost of Sales and Administrative Expenses fall under the jurisdiction of OPEX, which we’ve also seen earlier. Other Expenses are mostly made up of Depreciation & Amortization of RM 115m. Finance Costs are where things start to get tricky. Why does a company which carries no debt have such huge amounts of finance costs? The reason can be found in Note 8, where it is revealed that the bulk of finance costs relate to the unwinding of discount of provision for decommissioning costs of RM 25m (Note 32). https://preview.redd.it/4omjptbe9br41.png?width=1019&format=png&auto=webp&s=eaabfc824134063100afa62edfd36a34a680fb60 This actually refers to the expected future costs of restoring the Anasuria and North Sabah fields to their original condition once the oil reserves have been depleted. Accounting standards require the company to provide for these decommissioning costs as they are estimable and probable. The way the decommissioning costs are accounted for is the same as an amortized loan, where the initial carrying value is recognized as a liability and the discount rate applied is reversed each year as an expense on the Income Statement. However, these expenses are largely non-cash in nature and do not necessitate a cash outflow every year (FY20: RM 69m). Unwinding of discount on non-current other payables of RM 12m relate to contractual payments to the North Sabah sellers. We will discuss it later. Taxation is another tricky subject, and is even more significant than Finance Costs at RM 161m. In gist, Hibiscus is subject to the 38% PITA (Petroleum Income Tax Act) under Malaysian jurisdiction, and the 30% Petroleum tax + 10% Supplementary tax under UK jurisdiction. Of the RM 161m, RM 41m of it relates to deferred tax which originates from the difference between tax treatment and accounting treatment on capitalized assets (accelerated depreciation vs straight-line depreciation). Nonetheless, what you should take away from this is that the tax expense is a tangible expense and material to breakeven analysis. Fortunately, tax is a variable expense, and should not materially impact the cash flow of Hibiscus in today’s low oil price environment. Note: Cash outflows for Tax Paid in FY20 was RM 97m, substantially below the RM 161m tax expense. https://preview.redd.it/1xrnwzm89br41.png?width=732&format=png&auto=webp&s=c078bc3e18d9c79d9a6fbe1187803612753f69d8 Balance Sheet The balance sheet of Hibiscus is unexciting; I’ll just bring your attention to those line items which need additional scrutiny. I’ll use the figures in the latest 2Q21 quarterly report (2Q21) and refer to the notes in AR20 for clarity. We’ve already discussed Intangible Assets in the section above, so I won’t dwell on it again. Moving on, the company has Equipment of RM 582m, largely relating to O&G assets (e.g. the Anasuria FPSO vessel and CAPEX incurred on production enhancement projects). Restricted cash and bank balances represent contractual obligations for decommissioning costs of the Anasuria Cluster, and are inaccessible for use in operations. Inventories are relatively low, despite Hibiscus being an E&P company, so forex fluctuations on carrying value of inventories are relatively immaterial. Trade receivables largely relate to entitlements from Petronas and BP (both oil supermajors), and are hence quite safe from impairment. Other receivables, deposits and prepayments are significant as they relate to security deposits placed with sellers of the oil fields acquired; these should be ignored for cash flow purposes. Note: Total cash and bank balances do not include approximately RM 105 m proceeds from the North Sabah December 2019 offtake (which was received in January 2020) Cash and bank balances of RM 90m do not include RM 105m of proceeds from offtake received in 3Q21 (Jan 2020). Hence, the actual cash and bank balances as of 2Q21 approximate RM 200m. Liabilities are a little more interesting. First, I’ll draw your attention to the significant Deferred tax liabilities of RM 457m. These largely relate to the amortization of CAPEX (i.e. Equipment and capitalized E&E expenses), which is given an accelerated depreciation treatment for tax purposes. The way this works is that the government gives Hibiscus a favorable tax treatment on capital expenditures incurred via an accelerated depreciation schedule, so that the taxable income is less than usual. However, this leads to the taxable depreciation being utilized quicker than accounting depreciation, hence the tax payable merely deferred to a later period – when the tax depreciation runs out but accounting depreciation remains. Given the capital intensive nature of the business, it is understandable why Deferred tax liabilities are so large. We’ve discussed Provision for decommissioning costs under the Finance Costs section earlier. They are also quite significant at RM 266m. Notably, the Other Payables and Accruals are a hefty RM 431m. What do they relate to? Basically, they are contractual obligations to the sellers of the oil fields which are only payable upon oil prices reaching certain thresholds. Hence, while they are current in nature, they will only become payable when oil prices recover to previous highs, and are hence not an immediate cash outflow concern given today’s low oil prices. Cash Flow Statement There is nothing in the cash flow statement which warrants concern. Notably, the company generated OCF of approximately RM 500m in FY20 and RM 116m in 2Q21. It further incurred RM 330m and RM 234m of CAPEX in FY20 and 2Q21 respectively, largely owing to production enhancement projects to increase the production rate of the Anasuria and North Sabah fields, which according to management estimates are accretive to ROI. Tax paid was RM 97m in FY20 and RM 61m in 2Q21 (tax expense: RM 161m and RM 62m respectively).
There are a few obvious and not-so-obvious risks that one should be aware of before investing in Hibiscus. We shall not consider operational risks (e.g. uptime, OPEX) as they are outside the jurisdiction of the equity analyst. Instead, we shall focus on the financial and strategic risks largely outside the control of management. The main ones are: · Oil prices remaining subdued for long periods of time · Fluctuation of exchange rates · Customer concentration risk · 2P Reserves being less than estimated · Significant current and non-current liabilities · Potential issuance of equity Oil prices remaining subdued Of topmost concern in the minds of most analysts is whether Hibiscus has the wherewithal to sustain itself through this period of low oil prices (sub-$30). A quick and dirty estimate of annual cash outflow (i.e. burn rate) assuming a $20 oil world and historical production rates is between RM 50m-70m per year, which considering the RM 200m cash balance implies about 3-4 years of sustainability before the company runs out of cash and has to rely on external assistance for financing. Table 1: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and exchange rates https://preview.redd.it/gxnekd6h9br41.png?width=670&format=png&auto=webp&s=edbfb9621a43480d11e3b49de79f61a6337b3d51 The above table shows different EBITDA scenarios (RM ‘m) given different oil prices (left column) and USD:MYR exchange rates (top row). Currently, oil prices are $27 and USD:MYR is 1:4.36. Given conservative assumptions of average OPEX/bbl of $20 (current: $15), we can safely say that the company will be loss-making as long as oil remains at $20 or below (red). However, we can see that once oil prices hit $25, the company can tank the lower-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 50m (orange), while at RM $27 it can sufficiently muddle through the higher-end estimate of the annual burn rate of RM 70m (green). Hence, we can assume that as long as the average oil price over the next 3-4 years remains above $25, Hibiscus should come out of this fine without the need for any external financing. Customer Concentration Risk With regards to customer concentration risk, there is not much the analyst or investor can do except to accept the risk. Fortunately, 80% of revenues can be attributed to two oil supermajors (Petronas and BP), hence the risk of default on contractual obligations and trade receivables seems to be quite diminished. 2P Reserves being less than estimated 2P Reserves being less than estimated is another risk that one should keep in mind. Fortunately, the current market cap is merely RM 714m – at half of estimated recoverable amounts of RM 1.468 billion – so there’s a decent margin of safety. In addition, there are other mitigating factors which shall be discussed in the next section (‘Opportunities’). Significant non-current and current liabilities The significant non-current and current liabilities have been addressed in the previous section. It has been determined that they pose no threat to immediate cash flow due to them being long-term in nature (e.g. decommissioning costs, deferred tax, etc). Hence, for the purpose of assessing going concern, their amounts should not be a cause for concern. Potential issuance of equity Finally, we come to the possibility of external financing being required in this low oil price environment. While the company should last 3-4 years on existing cash reserves, there is always the risk of other black swan events materializing (e.g. coronavirus) or simply oil prices remaining muted for longer than 4 years. Furthermore, management has hinted that they wish to acquire new oil assets at presently depressed prices to increase daily production rate to a targeted 20,000 bbl by end-2021. They have room to acquire debt, but they may also wish to issue equity for this purpose. Hence, the possibility of dilution to existing shareholders cannot be entirely ruled out. However, given management’s historical track record of prioritizing ROI and optimal capital allocation, and in consideration of the fact that the MD owns 10% of outstanding shares, there is some assurance that any potential acquisitions will be accretive to EPS and therefore valuations.
As with the existence of risk, the presence of material opportunities also looms over the company. Some of them are discussed below: · Increased Daily Oil Production Rate · Inclusion of 2C Resources · Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating Increased Daily Oil Production Rate The first and most obvious opportunity is the potential for increased production rate. We’ve seen in the last quarter (2Q21) that the North Sabah field increased its daily production rate by approximately 20% as a result of production enhancement projects (infill drilling), lowering OPEX/bbl as a result. To vastly oversimplify, infill drilling is the process of maximizing well density by drilling in the spaces between existing wells to improve oil production. The same improvements are being undertaken at the Anasuria field via infill drilling, subsea debottlenecking, water injection and sidetracking of existing wells. Without boring you with industry jargon, this basically means future production rate is likely to improve going forward. By how much can the oil production rate be improved by? Management estimates in their analyst presentation that enhancements in the Anasuria field will be able to yield 5,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 2,500 bbl/day). Similarly, improvements in the North Sabah field is expected to yield 7,000 bbl/day by 2021 (current: 5,300 bbl/day). This implies a total 2021 expected daily production rate from the two fields alone of 12,000 bbl/day (current: 8,000 bbl/day). That’s a 50% increase in yields which we haven’t factored into our valuation yet. Furthermore, we haven’t considered any production from existing 2C resources (e.g. Marigold/Sunflower) or any potential acquisitions which may occur in the future. By management estimates, this can potentially increase production by another 8,000 bbl/day, bringing total production to 20,000 bbl/day. While this seems like a stretch of the imagination, it pays to keep them in mind when forecasting future revenues and valuations. Just to play around with the numbers, I’ve come up with a sensitivity analysis of possible annual EBITDA at different oil prices and daily oil production rates: Table 2: Hibiscus EBITDA at different oil price and daily oil production rates https://preview.redd.it/jnpfhr5n9br41.png?width=814&format=png&auto=webp&s=bbe4b512bc17f576d87529651140cc74cde3d159 The left column represents different oil prices while the top row represents different daily oil production rates. The green column represents EBITDA at current daily production rate of 8,000 bbl/day; the orange column represents EBITDA at targeted daily production rate of 12,000 bbl/day; while the purple column represents EBITDA at maximum daily production rate of 20,000 bbl/day. Even conservatively assuming increased estimated annual ITDA of RM 500m (FY20: RM 318m), and long-term average oil prices of $50 (FY20: $60), the estimated Net Profit and P/E ratio is potentially lucrative at daily oil production rates of 12,000 bbl/day and above. 2C Resources Since we’re on the topic of improved daily oil production rate, it bears to pay in mind the relatively enormous potential from Hibiscus’s 2C Resources. North Sabah’s 2C Resources alone exceed 30 mmbbl; while those from the yet undiagnosed Marigold/Sunflower fields also reach 30 mmbbl. Altogether, 2C Resources exceed 70 mmbbl, which dwarfs the 44 mmbbl of 2P Reserves we have considered up to this point in our valuation estimates. To refresh your memory, 2C Resources represents oil volumes which have been discovered but are not yet classified as “commercial”. This means that there is reasonable certainty of the oil being recoverable, as opposed to simply being in the very early stages of exploration. So, to be conservative, we will imagine that only 50% of 2C Resources are eligible for reclassification to 2P reserves, i.e. 35 mmbbl of oil. https://preview.redd.it/mto11iz7abr41.png?width=375&format=png&auto=webp&s=e9028ab0816b3d3e25067447f2c70acd3ebfc41a This additional 35 mmbbl of oil represents an 80% increase to existing 2P reserves. Assuming the daily oil production rate increases similarly by 80%, we will arrive at 14,400 bbl/day of oil production. According to Table 2 above, this would yield an EBITDA of roughly RM 630m assuming $50 oil. Comparing that estimated EBITDA to FY20’s actual EBITDA:
FY21 (incl. 2C)
Daily oil production (bbl/day)
Average oil price (USD/bbl)
Average OPEX/bbl (USD)
EBITDA (RM ‘m)
Hence, even conservatively assuming lower oil prices and higher OPEX/bbl (which should decrease in the presence of higher oil volumes) than last year, we get approximately the same EBITDA as FY20. For the sake of completeness, let’s assume that Hibiscus issues twice the no. of existing shares over the next 10 years, effectively diluting shareholders by 50%. Even without accounting for the possibility of the acquisition of new oil fields, at the current market capitalization of RM 714m, the prospective P/E would be about 10x. Not too shabby. Future oil prices exceeding $50 and effects from coronavirus dissipating Hibiscus shares have recently been hit by a one-two punch from oil prices cratering from $60 to $30, as a result of both the Saudi-Russian dispute and depressed demand for oil due to coronavirus. This has massively increased supply and at the same time hugely depressed demand for oil (due to the globally coordinated lockdowns being implemented). Given a long enough timeframe, I fully expect OPEC+ to come to an agreement and the economic effects from the coronavirus to dissipate, allowing oil prices to rebound. As we equity investors are aware, oil prices are cyclical and are bound to recover over the next 10 years. When it does, valuations of O&G stocks (including Hibiscus’s) are likely to improve as investors overshoot expectations and begin to forecast higher oil prices into perpetuity, as they always tend to do in good times. When that time arrives, Hibiscus’s valuations are likely to become overoptimistic as all O&G stocks tend to do during oil upcycles, resulting in valuations far exceeding reasonable estimates of future earnings. If you can hold the shares up until then, it’s likely you will make much more on your investment than what we’ve been estimating.
Wrapping up what we’ve discussed so far, we can conclude that Hibiscus’s market capitalization of RM 714m far undershoots reasonable estimates of fair value even under conservative assumptions of recoverable oil volumes and long-term average oil prices. As a value investor, I hesitate to assign a target share price, but it’s safe to say that this stock is worth at least RM 1.00 (current: RM 0.45). Risk is relatively contained and the upside far exceeds the downside. While I have no opinion on the short-term trajectory of oil prices, I can safely recommend this stock as a long-term Buy based on fundamental research.
I'm doing a tribute to the 24 days of Christmas by going over the financial statements of 24 companies that are considered downrange, speculative, and just plain high risk. The legal cannabis industry already has a ton of risk in it - but this stuff - is only for thrill seekers. All opinions are my own, and certainly not a recommendation for or against any of them, or to buy or sell. I've limited myself to 45mins to each, and kept to most recent financial statements and MD&A's. You'll likely know more about the company than me if you're following them. This is only my reactions with a brief commentary about what I see in their latest financial statements. I haven't been consistent in following them all over the past year: some I have, others not. Ah, it's that time of the year again. The smell of chestnuts roasting....the sights of snack tables filled with shortbread & egg nog....of lights and decorations and presents....and that time when the elves revisit the route on their 2017 Dive Bar Pub Crawl. Some of the share prices have been up and down faster than a toddler's mood. Let's take a look, and see who has been 'naughty' or 'nice'. MPX - MPX Bioceutical Price then: $0.40 - Price Now: $0.87 Recently, I toured their Nevada facility, and wrote their financials up here, and you can find the grow op writeup here. Gonna cheat a little this year, and refer to that. KALY - Kalytera Therapeutics, Inc. Price then: $0.29 - Price Now: $0.065
That very expensive Talent Bio pickup wasn't so expensive after all. Bottom fell out of a contingency payment, expected liability turned into income. Presto!
Note 5. Reads like the script from a Mexican soap opera.
If you decide to read Note 5, have a box of tissues, a spreadsheet, a bottle of rum, and a bowl of popcorn handy. You might have need of all four during it. Or maybe just the rum alone.
That $12MM write-down of expected contingent liabilities in Talent landed them $0.01/share in diluted EPS.
Woooo! They're profitable!!!!..???....
First time I've ever seen income derived from G&A.
A true Dive Bar HOF nominee: the 'secured debenture' remains. Note 7.
Best reading yet: Beetlebung Pharma Ltd. (no, I didn't make that up). Find out all about the brand spanking new contingent liabilities in Note 9.
Ugh. Just ugh. As I said last year, pharma is outside of my wheelhouse, as does financials related to them. Anyhow, I still think the financials suck. GLH - Golden Leaf Holdings Price then: $0.28 - Price Now: $0.13
Woot! Announced a merger with Terra Tech! Great fit! Complimentary businesses!
Fast forward 5 weeks, 'merger' off. A one line press release that says nothing else.
My new favorite: 'Unsecured Convertible Subordinated Debenture Units'. They raised $8MM with them.
Which, happened to be closing 2 weeks after the merger announcement.
That retinal burn I got last year was prevented. I invested in a pair of auto-darkening welding glasses. Smart call if you're thinking of reading any of these financials.
Some of these notes shine brighter than a 50 amp arc weld.
Break even business on sales/cogs. Guess that's a positive. They were negative a year ago. At this rate, by 2026, they might have a positive gross margin.
$220k in intangible customer relationships appeared, then disappeared during the period. Yet total customer relationships remain unchanged at $1.512MM. Nyuk-nyuk.
Spoke too soon: the welding glasses reaction time wasn't quick enough to dim the intensity of Note 17. All I can see is spots right now.
Man, life's too short for this shit.
While searching for a reason for the merger cancellation, I came across a Terra Tech comedy sketch. Sadly, there is not even a mention of the merger 'oopsy' on their website. Seriously, if space becomes available in the Crawl, Terra Tech is first in line. As for GLH....well....caveat your fucking emptor. Eye bleach is/was too gentle a term for this outfit's fins. THC Biomed Price then: $0.80 - Price Now: $0.32
G&A and SBC far in the lead of reported operations.
$8MM write-up of warrant liability. Note 10. Yeep.
Of the $1.3MM they paid for the shipper, 1.1MM of it allocated to patents and trademarks.
Lord God above, protect us. Note 10 here could be a contender with some notes in GLH for retinal burn.
Good itemization of G&A. Hey, gotta say something nice. It's xmas after all.
Ok, gonna take that back. Note 15 detail 3 pages (3!) of related party transactions. I've never seen any company in my life require that much.
$5.5MM in loss carry forwards a positive. If they ever make money that is. Which, at a negative margin and a $12MM loss this year.....
Through disclosure, we know that they pay $25 an hour, a $500 xmas bonus, and 250,000 stock options. Which is pretty good. Qualification is that you have to be a close family member of the CEO, and buy $1,400 in product. Well, there's many different fish in the sea. But I do suspect that this isn't a fish, it's just a sea slug. EAT (Nutritional High) Price then: $0.22 - Price Now: $0.18
40% of all assets intangibles/goodwill. Just like an old favorite xmas song we all know the words to.
S/E deficit doubled, now up to $20MM
Gross margin positive. Well then, that is a positive.
Note 23. Holy Hannah. These guys show THC how it's really done in related party transactions. $5MM of the $10MM in total op expenses for the year to related parties. THC? Pffft. Amateurs.
52 pages of statements. Totally fucking merciless. Sociopathic in fact.
I'd need a hyper-cluster of blade servers to calculate the optionality in Note 21 alone. My apologies, I don't have one. Maybe the elves will find one second hand.
Seriously, the complexity of these statements rivals CGC.
Ok. They have stuff littered everywhere, and it doesn't look like any of it is worth anything. Oh, wait, that's what I said last year. Realistically, to get a good handle on this thing, one would need an Act of God. I waited for a little while, but it didn't happen. On to..... RVV - Revive Therapeutics Price then: $0.30 - Price Now: $0.09
Share Capital: deficit of $10MM.
Office expenses: a lean mean $19k. Whoppingly eclipsed by $24k in research costs.
$150k in salaries.
Thankfully, this thing is only 15 pages long. Given it looks like a one person shop operating out of a phone booth, probably also explains it.
Heavy in options, some design around clinical trials. Nothing much else stands out. Again, pharma and value hunting in research ain't something I know much about. The entire assumption in here is that they'll actually put out someday, or get taken out by a larger fish (hopefully for more than the $10MM they've dumped into it). Anyone investing in stuff this downrange, better have your scope sighted in. Or perhaps you know that the FDA's granting of orphan drug status for CBD in the prevention of ischemia and reperfusion injury resulting from solid organ transplantation is just the shot in the arm this company needed. If you do, please keep it to yourself.
I always felt that the definition as a currency or a collectible, etc. was inhibitory to the attempt to create a legitimate pricing model to understand the intrinsic value of any given crypto. I decided to attempt to create some sort of simplistic explanatory model to find the value of a given currency. This conceptual formula was something I came up with on the fly and is by no means complete or even valuable. As of now I'm asking for advice and suggestions to improve it. I kept everything pretty high level as I really have no idea how to calculate most of these functions nor do I have the data to even try. The model, as it stands now, is fairly straightforward and looks like this: (((a + b + c - d + f + u)*v)*i)/n where a: some calculation of transaction costs of a given use case (unique to a given crypto e.g. cross border payments for XRP) and is probably calculated as the summation of all transaction costs without utilization of the currency less the costs of all transactions with the currency. There would also have to be some sort of market share categorical variable attached which could help to account for the impact of economies of scale, as well as standardize the values. And could help to predict how changes in market share of a given transaction category impact the value of the currency. b: some calculation of the total storage costs associated with monies to facilitate the current system of transactions, and again, less the cost of storage of the entirety of the outstanding currency. Finding the cost of storing the non cryptocurrency monies is by far the hardest portion to estimate. For mined currencies this would have to be factored according to the anticipated releases over a certain period of time, as it would be ascending over time (frequently slowing in pace) until a hard cap was hit. c: an abstract calculation of cost saved from time saved via crypto utilization (in dollars), possibly from wages, or perhaps from opportunity cost related to treasury yields, similar to how they're utilized in forex forward rates. I'm not really sure what to do with this one. d: cost of the entire infrastructure used to support the currency, likely increasing over time in near term, and possibly decreasing in the long term, in some sort of parabolic(ish) shape. E: alternatively I suppose you could view the infrastructure as a held asset of a given coin which adds value and deduct maintenance. f: some security value calculation vs an assumed alternative (in dollars), think the difference in security between holding gold vs bitcoin. No idea how the hell this would be calculated. u: some calculation on value created in some sort of practical application usage, probably since inception, but possibly over a shorter period of time; anyway, think Sia and the value created from cloud storage. v: some velocity calculation on the frequency of which the currency shifts hands, probably a 12 months average. i: some weighted inflation calculation, for the world, by currency pair volume relative to a given currency, not sure how this would factor in for a spot calculation but relevant for a change over time. n: total circulating supply of a given cryptocurrency. I'm probably missing some important valuation criteria, again it was just what I could think of off the top of my head. I know 99% of you probably don't care, but for anyone that does I'd love any advice on more fleshed out equations or additional variables I might have overlooked. I think valuation criteria is actually one of the largest barriers to institutional investment as when money managers don't know how to value something, they often don't feel comfortable purchasing it. So the sooner there comes some sort of consensus definition on how to find the intrinsic value in a coin, the faster I think we'll see bigger money enter the arena, and the more informed we'll all be about what exactly we have. An interesting final note: concepts from asset valuation, currency valuation, capital ownership, and some broader economic conditions all tie into the model, which kind of makes the argument that crypto isn't able to be defined by a single definition (asset, currency, collectible, etc.) and we can see how various different pieces of different pre-established valuation criteria from a variety of things can potentially factor in to the valuation of a given currency. E: minor tweaks to "a", a word, and removal of non value added text.
https://preview.redd.it/m3ryzxz5cts11.jpg?width=5000&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=28e45d995ae9eb85ae9e3800f12e1986cc8e098f What is Telcoin? Telcoin is a new currency distributed and accepted by mobile operators, aiming to facilitate financial inclusion via payments, remittances, credit, and various financial services on the blockchain. How does Telcoin work? Mobile money subscribers will have the ability to buy/sell/send Telcoin to other mobile wallets using their mobile operators as an intermediary. Telcoin will be distributing a predetermined number of tokens to telecom partners, based on their level of adoption (see Issuance Model in the whitepaper). How does one acquire Telcoin? Telcoin ICO is over and can be acquired by purchasing on exchanges or from your mobile operator (Q1 2019). Please refer to Coinmarketcap to view which exchanged Telcoin is currently listed on. What value does Telcoin provide? Financial Inclusion - providing a way for unbanked/underbanked mobile users to send/receive money instantly across the globe. Reduced Rates - when subscribers purchase/sell Telcoin to/from mobile money, Telcoin will only charge a fee for the conversion of Telcoin to mobile money. No bank? No Problem! - Subscribers do not need a bank account in order to buy/sell/send Telcoin as all transactions are done through their respective telecom service. All that is needed is a mobile wallet and a mobile provider subscription. Why partner with Telecoms? Telecoms are integral to our entire strategy of promoting financial inclusion. They alleviate the key points of friction that have plagued other regular cryptocurrencies: Trust, Reach, and KYC. How are they chosen? We carefully screen each telecom we choose to partner with and focus on its number of subscribers, geographical region, security, credibility, and more. Will telecoms use their own wallet? Telcoin will be partnering with leading wallet providers to be used by Telcoin holders. If telecoms already have their own wallet and want to offer Telcoin, we will work with them to integrate it into their current offering. How will the coins be distributed to telecoms? Telcoin has created an issuance model to support the adoption, promotion, and integrity of our token and distribution will depend on stages of Telcoin integration. Half of all Telcoin supply will be set aside for mobile network issuance at a linear rate of 5% annually based on the following model: Connect with Telcoin (10%) Validate network size (10%) Telcoin exchange volume (50%) Compliance maturity (30%) How will you demonstrate proof of concept (POC)? We will incentivize operations to integrate with Telcoin in a staged manner starting with a POC trial agreement. These include: Exchange Demonstration: Conversion to and from Telcoin and partner mobile money Remittance Demonstration: Remittance to/from up to four (4) foreign mobile networks Roaming Demonstration: inbound and/or outbound roaming payment with four (4) partners In connection with the preparation of the POC, Telcoin shall conduct a survey of regulatory feasibility for Exchange Capability in the Partner’s market. In doing so the partner will provide Telcoin with reasonable assistance in connection with interactions with any Regulatory Authorities; With that, Telcoin and partners will cooperate in exploring the business case for providing Exchange Capability to the Partner’s subscribers, in accordance with any requirements stipulated by Regulatory Authorities. How will you regulate their use of Telcoin? Established agreements between Telcoin and telecoms will ensure that there are no irregularities in their use of Telcoin, and will also ensure proper liquidity and regulatory compliance. Telcoin’s held by partner operators will be an asset of the company itself - technically a Telcoin wallet that belongs to the operator but is managed by Telcoin. Therefore, we will have complete transparency in Telcoin usage and issuance. Can existing mobile operators infrastructure handle this new technology? Telcoin will be primarily responsible for the integration and oversight of the Telcoin API that partner operators will use. We will do all of due diligence during our POC stage in order to identify any incompatibilities before tokens are distributed. Who will monitor compliance on both the Telcoin and the telecom sides? As for regulations, we will be hiring compliance officers to make sure that, as we traverse regions, Telcoin is compliant with local regulations. On the telecom side, we will be monitoring the supply/demand/security via our Telcoin API and other complementary software that will provide us with real time oversight. What if the telecoms decide to just sell all their Telcoin on an exchange? Albeit being theoretically possible, we feel that this would not be the case with the partnerships that we will establish. As per our stipulations, if a telecom were to dump their coins, we would restrict their supply by 50%. How will you ensure that telecoms maintain a healthy level of liquidity? Using our issuance model we believe that the liquidity pressure should be alleviated as telecoms should have enough Telcoin in their own wallet to be able to buy and sell to their subscribers, especially when early adopters will receive an outsized share of initial issuance. Is Telcoin a Security? Telcoin is NOT a security! Our token is a cryptocurrency and is meant to be used as another currency by the end user. Telcoin is not meant to be used as any sort of investment. We are simply providing a currency to telecoms and will not generate profits though the activity of its issuing company. We are fully compliant and we are not considered a security based on the Securities Exchange Act 1934 (US). How many Telcoins will be issued? Total Volume: 100,000,000,000 Isn't speculation and volatility a problem for Telcoin? As it is with any cryptocurrency. With Telcoin however, the user will not be encumbered by the volatility as we do not require users to hold Telcoin at all times. Moreover, they can also change their tokens to mobile money instantly when they choose. We will also offer risk mitigating financial products at an additional fee (currency spot forward contracts). How will you mitigate the risk of currency fluctuations along remittance corridors? We will analyze each corridor and then perform basic forex hedging to mitigate the fiat currency exchange risk. How will Telcoin deal with potential liquidity issues? Liquidity management is a broad topic that can’t be entirely addressed in a FAQ answer. Our advisor Chris Suh helped us setup a proper treasury management strategy for us to make sure our model works. Telcoin will set aside 5% of supply as a liquidity fund to be available for sale to telecoms with demand for Telcoin that exceeds their issuance supply. How will you prevent larger current incumbents from copying your idea? In the long run, there is never any certainty that larger established organizations couldn’t. But, given our first mover advantage, our team’s deep experience in the telecom space, and intimate knowledge/relationships with the telecoms, we feel that the barriers to entry for current incumbents would prevent then from entering quickly. How do remittances work? It takes a while to explain, but here's a video :D What is mobile money? Mobile Money is an electronic wallet service that lets users store, send, receive and make payments using local currency money via their mobile device. Mobile money can be sent using smartphone apps or USSD on feature phones ("#123..."). Mobile money essentially amounts to a limited-use bank account that is tied to a mobile phone user's phone number, administered by their mobile operator, and typically backed by a local bank. What is a mobile wallet and do I have control over it? Of course you do, it’s yours! A mobile wallet is simply a secure wallet on your phone that is used in place of cash/plastic in a traditional tangible wallet to purchase everyday goods/services. How difficult is it to make a Telcoin remittance? Making a Telcoin remittance is super easy, just as any remittance should be! You can send your Telcoin to another mobile wallet quickly and easily using our provided wallet and our telcoin API’s. All you have to do is convert the Telcoin to mobile money (fiat, prepaid or postpaid balance too) and you’re done! Once received, the Telcoin can be converted into mobile money (fiat, prepaid or postpaid balance). How much will the transaction fee be? Telcoin charges a 0.5% transaction fee for conversions between Telcoin and mobile money. Can I mine Telcoin? No. According to our issuance model, all coins are mined at the beginning and distributed over time. What happens if my phone is stolen with my mobile wallet on it? Your default mobile wallet will be a two out of three multi-signature wallet, with keys stored by your telecom operator and by Telcoin. By default, if a suspicious transfer happens, you will have to authenticate in order to obtain another key, which will protect you against stolen or lost phones. As described in your white paper, what is your “risk mitigating financial products” you offer? Spot-forward for remittances is an example of a risk-mitigating financial product. Hedging you against the volatility of Telcoin when you’re sending money abroad. Where should I store my Telcoin? Telcoin is supported by the following wallets:BRD, Ethos, Nano Ledger S, MyEtherWallet, MyCrypto, IMToken and any other wallet that supports ERC20 tokens. Will Telcoin ever consider moving TEL off of the Etherum blockchain? Telcoin will develop a blockchain research and development plan for long term scalability and security. Why does Telcoin use a private Github repo? As a company we choose to protect our intellectual property. Although we plan on publishing certain components, Telcoin does not plan on being fully open source. No one will be able to go to github, take our code and replicate our product. I'd like to learn more. Where can I get help or who do I speak to? Join our Telegram
Silver is dropping: Technicals and Fundamentals (/SIU7)
Silver is dropping. A good short IMHO. Here's why:
On the D1, you can see a really beautiful, repetitive descending sinusoidal wave forming. It is respecting its channel quite nicely. Lower highs and lower lows mean a definite southbound trend. I ran a Fibonacci extension off of the last wave, and since I bow to the temple of the Fibonacci Sweet Spot (the 0.5-0.618 zone), this puts the target price firmly in the $15.48-$15.16 target range for exit. Nature Respects the Fib. Note that we are at a support line right now between $16.25-$16.18. If it breaches this, it should drop nicely. Check out this /SIU7 D1 chart Remember that Previous Price Performance Probably Predicts Pending Principal Projections.
For those of you who are new - let's learn some Forex. Metals are correlated to the JPY (Japanese Yen), gold more than silver, but both tend to follow the currency quite nicely. Yen up = metals up, and Yen dropping = metals dropping, almost to a T. Gold follows this almost rigidly, it is spooky how gold will mirror JPY almost to a tick. Now, most FX traders look at USDJPY... which means that when USDJPY drops, that means Yen is going up, which means metals should climb. Hence, metals are inversely correlated to USDJPY. USDJPY is climbing. US inflation is what everyone is jabbing about - Dollar stronk(er) this week, at least in relation to the Yen. There is a "widening of the interest rate differential between U.S. Government Bonds and Japanese Government Bonds"; as well, there is an increasing demand for higher risk assets... which straight forward means that money will move away from metals and away from the Yen, both of which are seen as safe havens in tough times. Read on: https://www.fxempire.com/forecasts/article/usdjpy-fundamental-weekly-forecast-its-all-about-u-s-inflation-this-week-427595 Also, USDJPY produced a doji on the W1 chart, a decent reversal signal when correlated with other data. Higher time-frames produce stronger signals, and algos have more money and power than you ever will, trader..... and those AIs respect these levels very much. Check it out: https://www.fxstreet.com/analysis/usd-jpy-forecast-bullish-follow-through-likely-after-last-weeks-doji-201708070413 Would love to hear other trader's thoughts. I'm short 1 contract of /SIU7. Don't coattail me without doing your own DD, if you lose money, it's your own fault, you should have stayed in school and gotten that plebe job like momma said, ya loser =) Remember that Silver is a very highly leveraged asset, one tick = $0.005 and each tick is $25.00. This means that $1.00 movement in the price of silver is worth $5,000.00 per contract!! Please protect yourself with stops and don't be afraid to take profits. Silver has tickled many a traders greed gland, usually rectally, and this has led to massive destruction more than once....
I'm coming at this with years of RO experience, and the advice of friends who play at the top of WoE, PvM, and PvP. I have also been a GM on 3 servers and an admin on one, and asked for advice from two friends who have been admins on their own successful low rate servers. Additionally, I have some experience with editing the source files and redesigning the game a bit, not that I will get much into that, but I do know what is and isn't possible. I also have experience from other games such as WoW (as a world and arena PvPer at the highest levels), and from political and economic games such as EVE and bloc. Finally, I have some real life knowledge of economics (though I wouldn't call myself an economist) due to being a FOREX trader. All of that and more has lead to my understanding of game design, some of which I can apply here. I realize that this is a long post, but that's because I got the input from several people and put (a little bit of) effort into explaining the reasoning. If any of these things are being discussed in other threads, pardon me and just let me dump all of my opinions into one place, as they are largely interconnected. Most of my suggestions are based on sustainable gameplay, sustainable economy, rewarding players for their decisions, and giving players more freedom. I tried to keep the changes, for the most part, quite vanilla. I have some much better ideas that require customization, but most players recoil at the thought of customization in RO. I'll start with the unquestionable and move to the debatable.
No donor or normally unavailable items with unique stats.
This means there should be no items with dex on mid or lower. No upper headgears with more than 3 dex, etc. Basically, no overpowered donor items or ones that disrupt normal player balance. Adding a single dex to a build can be incredibly imbalanced, which is why I used dex as an example, but this applies to lots of stats. Not only can it be imbalanced, but it causes item inflation as well. When players no longer need to hunt for gear (because they replace it with donor or custom quest items), lots of gear becomes either worthless and thus overupgraded to abnormal degrees or obsoleted. On the same token, this means not allowing BG items to be used outside of BGs, including in WoE or anywhere else. It's devastating to the economy. WoE is a competition between guilds, not just to conquer castles, but to acquire enough resources to do it. IMO the only items players should be able to donate for are cosmetic, and perhaps things like battle manuals and maybe bubble gum, which have no direct impact on gameplay other than to reduce the grind. But really, cosmetic items should be enough if you're clever. There's one suggestion on this down in the zeny sink section.
Set strict rules for GMs to follow, and don't give them more power than they need.
First of all, the rules for the players should be plainly laid out. If a player doesn't break a rule, they can't be punished. I have been on servers with no clear rules and arbitrary punishments.
Exploitation should generally be handled by patching the exploit, not punishing the player. The game is full of accepted exploits. If a player happens to abuse one you don't like, you need to at least warn them to stop before punishing them, and ideally just fix the exploit. My entire 30 man guild has been banned from a server without warning for soil farming. Don't be like that.
Each GM should have specific responsibilities, and not overreach them.
GMs should always give the minimum punishment that might remedy a problem. For example, in the case of player harassment, a player should be asked first, human to human, to stop. Then warned. Then a 1 minute mute. Then a 30 min mute, etc. I have seen GMs on servers skip all the steps and go straight to an hour mute or jail or something retarded like that. If you can defuse a situation by respectfully asking a player to stop, that's the best option.
GMs should never punish players for being disrespectful to them. GMs don't deserve respect. No one who is power tripping should be a GM. Again, I say this as a person who has been a GM on 3 servers and an admin on one. GMs should never do anything to players for something the player did to the GM, period. The GM only exists to solve problems in the game and between other players, not to start trouble by existing.
All GM actions should be logged, and ideally an alert system set so that if certain high level GM actions are taken (stat changes, item creation, etc), the admins are notified.
GMs should report and explain every action they take, in a thread in the secret GM-only section on your forums once you make them. They should also be required to post evidence to support decisions to jail or ban players, if they have to poweresponsibility to do such things. It's not that much work, and this is how it worked on Rapture.
If all of that sounds paranoid to you, then you're going to end up with GM problems. Even if you trust your GMs with your life, you need to set guidelines. You can't read their minds, even if they are your best friends. They are going to use their own discretion, and that might vary widely from your own decisions, unless you give them strict guidelines. Not only will this make the GMs better, but it'll give you more confidence in their decisions when players complain, and allow you to handle the inevitable drama better, thus preserving the playerbase. I have seen a GM go on /vg/ and talk shit to the players there, unbeknownst to the admin.
A PvP room where consumables (with the possible exception of conc/awakening/berserk pots) are disabled, and where all buffs are removed upon entering.
The main interest of many other players, is PvP (not GvG/WoE). Unfortunately, PvP is often woefully underrepresented in server design decisions. PvP is incredibly disinteresting when using dex food and potion spamming, and when getting SL/Assump/etc from outside. Leave the consumable spam and buff stacks to WoE and PvM. Also, please don't use a shitty map for the PvP room. You can, of course, have two PvP rooms, so this shouldn't be a controversy. On RaptureRO, there was also a 3v3 PvP arena tournament, which was incredibly fun. Takes some scripting though and isn't top priority.
A draw range of 18+, preferably around 20 to 24.
I'm referring to /conf/battle/client.conf area_size. The default is 14, which is an antiquated value meant to reduce stress on PCs made back in 2000. There are actually mobs that can aggro from outside of your view range, which is quite dumb. There is no reason to use a lower draw range, except for artificial difficulty. Successful servers like Rapture, ProjectRage, Destina, etc, had an increased the draw range without issue. Newer players won't even notice a difference. If you are afraid of client lag in WoE (there shouldn't be any, but just in case) you can simply script an NPC to automatically change the area_size value before and after WoE. It doesn't require a reset of anything, not even an @reloadscript.
Turn up the party exp bonus.
Simple enough, makes it worth leveling as a party instead of leeching yourself with a hunter (the normal method for leveling most things as fast as possible).
Take proactive steps to limit zeny inflation and promote a player-driven economy.
Zeny inflation is one of the biggest problems for the longevity of any RO server. The game was not designed in a way to have a stable economy. You must tweak a few things to get something workable. I'll talk about item inflation a bit later:
Marginally reduce the sell price of some high value drops, such as Witherless Rose. Don't completely destroy the value of certain farming spots. Balance them with others instead. If you ask, you can get opinions on the best spots to farm zeny.
Do not put SP items (grape juice, blue pots, etc) on a vendor; these items need to be sold by players to promote an economy.
Make the healer and warper charge a moderate amount (say, 5k zeny) at level 79+. Do not make it 99 only or players will be incentivized to stop at level 98 (yes, this happens on some servers). You can also make the price of this scale with level instead.
Put an NPC next to the healer NPCs that gives rank 10 Bless/Agi. This one might sound questionable, but any good player will make an acolyte alt just to buff themselves. If you make an NPC to do it instead, you can charge a reasonable cost to eat up zeny.
The warper NPC should give free warps to towns, a moderate charge for dungeons, and a heavy charge for quest-gated dungeons. Say, 2k zeny for normal dungeons, but 50k or 100k for dungeons that require a quest. Giving players an advantage for bothering to clear quests is a good way to allow players to make choices about how they want to level, rather than simply picking the unquestionably best method to do it. If they have to choose whether or not it's worth doing the quest first, then you get players being rewarded for making choices.
Include a stat/skill reset NPC with a moderate yet flat reset cost (say, 1mil to reset both). This allows players to switch builds regularly for PvP, PvM, and WoE, and will promote use of the feature, which will eat up their zeny. Otherwise they'll just make multiple characters of the same job just for different parts of the game, which is obnoxious. The lower the cost, the more people will use it, to a certain point. Try to strike a balance of maximal zeny-wastage, which I think will be around 1mil.
If you do implement a PvP arena, you can add betting to it. Make the betting negative-sum, and you've got an easy zeny sink.
Sell tradeable costume hat boxes for a high price. Basically a box that has a random costume hat inside. The better looking ones should be rarer. Here's a huge list of hats, some of which aren't even on ratemyserver: http://nn.nachtwolke.com/dev/viewlist/ You can also change the drop table of the boxes periodically, so that the hats in the boxes have a limited time availability. Many players will eat that shit up. You can also sell these hat boxes for IRL money to fund the server. You can also have weaker MVPs drop the hat boxes to promote competition over them, which works with the PvP on MVP map idea which I'll discuss in a minute.
Roll out content in waves
It's a suggestion I heard elsewhere and it's a good one. Start with trans disabled and less dungeons available. Gradually release more as the server grows and people hit higher levels. This is a good idea for a few reasons:
Reduces item inflation (antiquated items become useful if they are the only ones available. No one wants a chain if they have a lunakaligo. That's bad.
Reduces player stratification. With less content available, the better players won't be able to skip the leveling phase as easily. e.g. I won't be able to just leech myself in Thor or nameless if the dungeons are still unavailable. Older dungeons have lower exp per hp ratios.
The previous point has the added benefit of allowing newer players (later into the lifetime server) to catch up faster.
Allows for more competition. RO has an exponential growth of power, and by limiting that growth, it keeps players on a more even playing field, economically and otherwise.
Makes a healthier economy. The items that lower level players acquire are more likely to be useful to the higher level players. (e.g. the chain).
Allows for more server longevity by virtue of the fact that you have content to release over time.
Consider splitting the server into a pure-WoE server and a non-WoE server
This might at first sound unappealing by splitting up the playerbase, but it allows you to more easily design both servers to fit their respective playerbases. Also keep in mind that many of the players from each server will play on both servers. Only a minority will be exclusive to one.
You don't need to make any concessions on white/blue pots for the WoE players on the non-WoE server.
The WoE server can include BGs, leaving the non-WoE server blessedly BG-free to focus on world PvP and PvM.
The WoE server can make consumables and gear either easily obtainable through BGs, or for free from NPCs for pure WoE.
You can rebalance certain cards and abilities to fit each server. For example, Incantation Samurai card isn't quite as overpowered outside of WoE.
You can put a short cool down on potions in the non-WoE server (2-10 seconds).
Potion spamming completely trivializes a large portion of the game's content and reduces the skill ceiling dramatically. It reduces the importance of healing abilities, eliminates the need for mana efficiency, imbalances PvP (asura spam is a lot harder when you can't just mash blue pots, for example. The same goes for SinXs and White Smiths with white pots, and so on). In PvP, abilities that are not 1HKOs become nearly worthless, due to white pot spam. This reduces ordinarily incredibly complex jobs like champ, to nothing more than asura-machines. Additionally, no pot spam means that if a champ wants to spam asura in PvM, he needs a Professor. This concept applies to other classes as well. In WoE, potion spamming is necessary to survive. In the rest of the game, though, potion spam ruins much. No WoE means no need for pot spamming. The rest of my suggestions assume that you aren't going with this suggestion, so bear that in mind.
Reduce the number of dialogue windows that common NPCs have. I shouldn't have to talk to a healer to get healed, nor a buffer. When I click on a warper, I should immediately see the options of Town, Dungeon, PvP, etc, not some stupid introductory box. The Kafra NPC has an unnecessary box or two of dialogue before you can get your bank open as well.
Be careful with nodelay. I have played on servers where their nodelay software prevented snipers from using double strafe above about 185 aspd. Don't break the game in an attempt to prevent exploits.
Make white and blue herbs more abundant. The best WoE players have been playing WoE for years and aren't going to grind for hours every day to be prepared for WoE at the end of the week. You can work this into the PvP on MVP maps idea that I'll discuss in a minute, or you can just make the herbs drop from more high level mobs that players will want to kill for other reasons.
Change or nerf MVP cards, or replace them on the drop table with another item entirely. Don't just reduce their drop rate. Making MVP cards incredibly rare does not make them any less broken. In fact, it makes how broken they are even more apparent when it's the only one on the server. A better solution is to change the card to have heavy drawbacks from using it, or designing a cool new effect from scratch (one time we made Osiris card allow you to cast a spell that summoned a zombie minion to fight for you, it was pretty cool). If you want a server that lasts a long time, you WILL eventually have people running around with Thanatos cards, GTB cards, and Ghostring cards. It happens faster than you might expect.
Reduce the respawn timer on some MVPs. Ifrit spawns once every 12 hours, which is a long time on a high pop server. If you're going to enable PvP on MVP maps, then this is an especially viable change. You can reduce drop rates to compensate of course.
Increase the spawn rate of regular mobs on maps except for a few (bio 3), then reduce drop rates, exp rates, and possibly total mob hp to compensate. I know there's a thread about this but I'm just going to dump my thoughts into here. This will A) Increase the difficulty of clearing dungeons and reliance on parties, and B) reduce the tediousness of trying to find mobs to farm on many, many maps. And IMO, AoE farming isn't overpowered in any case compared to alternative single-target farming strategies, so a blanket spawn rate increase is a good idea imo. I would actually be happy to see more AoE farming options.
Keep drop rates generally higher than exp rates. 5x exp and 20x drops (including cards) is more fun than 10x exp and 10x drops imo. I say this because I think it's more interesting when gear is a tool to facilitate leveling, than when leveling is a tool to facilitate farming gear. I can explain that reasoning in more detail if you ask. Also, gear can break when over-upping it, so the inflation is less of a problem. Leveling is also less tedious than farming gear, and can be done while farming gear for that matter.
Reduce the base def on some of the newer gear (think variants, diabolos, new world stuff, orlean's gloves, etc) so that it needs to be over-upgraded to be unquestionably better than older gear. That, or make the stats on the gear scale with upgrades (if possible depending on item). This will largely remove the problem of old gear being hands-down worse than newer gear, and also help alleviate item inflation. Think of it this way: older gear used to become better linearly with exponential increases in investment (due to over-upping), and that regulated item inflation. I.E. you always had a reason to over-up your gear. Contrarily, newer gear tends to be good by virtue of stats inherent to the item, and so players have no need to risk over-upping, and item inflation occurs more rapidly.
PS: Yeah you can't upgrade Orlean's gloves, but it could at least become a decision between +1 dex vs. +2 dex and -1 vit or -1 def, or something, instead of just "yeah these are better than or equal to regular gloves in every way". There's literally no reason to farm gloves because you don't need gloves to farm Orlean's gloves. That's how it works for a lot of older gear, and it's not a good thing. Ideally, newer gear should scale better than older gear, but not be better inherently. You won't be able to do it with everything, but every bit helps to stave off inflation and inevitable server death.
PvP enabled on MVP maps.
This is controversial, but hear me out. I think this can, by itself, increase the longevity of a server dramatically, while solving a plethora of problems as well. MVPs are a scarce resource, and players often compete for them. Normally this leads to a meta of trying to out-grief other players. Instead, with PvP enabled, you could fight for the MVP. It changes the competition into a meaningful part of the game, rather than a rat race. This will be especially important on a high population server. And remember the costume hat idea? Now people can fight for the boxes that low level MVPs drop, creating competition over the usually worthless MVPs, and reason to go out and play the game. Particularly challenging content, like bio3, will be extremely difficult to clear if players are trying to kill you. This will encourage diplomacy and cooperation between players (as seen in sandbox games like EVE, DayZ, etc). Either you work with the other group, or you become rivals. This is good for the health of a server. The increased difficulty will also increase the longevity of the server by reducing the rate at which players clear the content and collect the gear. There's the other added benefit of making it more of a challenge to reach max level in places like Abbey3. You might want to turn on PvP in Thor1 for the same reason. Again, players can choose to work together or make enemies while leveling in these high level zones. And, again, the increased difficulty increases server longevity by reducing the average rate at which players progress. Finally, you can have mobs on PvP maps drop white and blue herb boxes, and spawn on timers. This way, players can compete for the resources they need in WoE, rather than grind for days. You can use regular white/blue herb boxes, or use WoE-only potion drops and have them drop in somewhat higher quantities. The more generalized the drop is, the fewer should drop, to have a smaller impact on the overall economy. Players who don't WoE can simply sell the WoE pots to WoE players, so they have just as much reason to compete for the mobs. Since the WoE players need these resources to win WoE, they'll fight each other for the resources between WoEs, reducing the boredom. It also gives every high level player a thing to look forward to doing: world PvP. Something that pretty much never gets old. Just make sure that the mobs are scarce enough that you don't make it too easy to collect herbs/pots. It's supposed to be a supplementation to normal farming, to make it easier in a fun/competitive way. This change will have no impact on low level players. I have seen this done and it works beautifully. If you're imagining constant fighting between players on every MVP map, you're forgetting that there are dozens of MVP maps. Most maps are usually empty, especially at certain times of day. You will probably need to turn off teleporting and memo on non-dungeon maps to prevent things like champs from running in with asura in relative impunity. As far as players who are disinterested in PvP go, remember that there are instanced dungeons now. There are also dungeons in which it's highly unlikely that you'll run into other players due to quest requirements: Thanatos, Vesper, Ktullanux, probably a few others I'm forgetting. You could just turn PvP off on those maps for that matter. You also have the option of disabling PvP on some other MVP maps if you feel that's necessary.
If you go with my last suggestion, I'd LOVE it if you simply don't include BGs on the server. In my opinion, BGs are a terrible and trivialized bastardization of RO PvP. They're tedious and unfun, and unnecessary when you have world PvP, a PvP room, and WoE. However, if you're going to include BGs, then:
Allow players to choose which team they join, so players can actually play with their friends.
Don't disable skills like body relocate in the BG.
If you don't make whites/blues easier to obtain on the world map: Allow consumables for WoE to be bought with BG badges. I know this is literally 100% contradictory to what I said in the first suggestion, but you need to understand that there is a community of WoE players who have been going server to server for years, WoEing. If you don't add easy ways for these top WoE players to get white/blue pots, they won't play the server, period. So either you need to use my suggestion of making white/blue herbs easier to obtain on the world map (or from PvP zones), or make it so you can get them from BGs, or something else. But the bottom line is that you need to have an easier way than normal to get whites/blues for WoE. This is a consequence of an aging playerbase and is unavoidable. That said, don't make it trivially easy. That destroys the economy. You have to strike a balance, and especially make the resource TRADEABLE.
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