Thursday, September 7th, 2017

 

No FTSE for Brexit: big bosses wary of backing UK government strategy

LONDON, Sept 7 —Executives at some of Britain’s biggest companies have voiced their dismay after the government asked them to publicly back its Brexit strategy, exasperating bosses who are grappling with the uncertainties of a move to life…


ECB keeps key interest rates unchanged

FRANKFURT, Sept 7 — The European Central Bank kept key interest rates and its mass bond-buying programme unchanged today as markets braced for chief Mario Draghi to signal an exit from the era of cheap money. The ECB’s governing council…


Ringgit rebounds to 10-month high at 4.2080 versus US dollar

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit strengthened to better reflect economic fundamentals with the local note appreciating 290 basis points to a 10-month high of 4.2080 per US dollar, after the foreign exchange market resumed trading after the long extended holidays on Tuesday.

Malaysia's strong export numbers, a rebound in commodity prices, a dim outlook for US interest rate hike, healthy international reserves coupled with Bank Negara Malaysia's decision to maintain the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3.00%, bolstered sentiment for the ringgit.

Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd Chief Economist Alan Tan told Bernama that Malaysia recorded a strong export growth of 30.9%, year-on-year, in July, after the 10% slowdown recorded in June, while trade balance remained healthy at RM8 billion.

“International reserves remained healthy above the US$100 billion mark, as at end-August, reflecting Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) foreign exchange measures are working, with more exporters were converting US dollar export proceeds into ringgit,” he said.

BNM also maintained its Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3.00%, keeping the key interest rate unchanged since July 13, 2016.

Tan said commodity prices also rebounded the last two days with palm oil prices increasing approximately 2.6% while crude oil prices experienced a sharp increase, with Brent rising about 3.48% since Sept 4.

He added that most foreign research houses also upgraded Malaysia's economic and fundamental outlook, due to the positive global trade activity and higher-than-expected gross domestic product growth in the second quarter.

On external factors, he said latest comments by US Federal Reserves members on the monetary policy led investors to reduce their expectation of a rate hike this year.

He said two of the US central bank members provided negative indication on the rate hike saying that the rate increase had caused “real harm” to the economy and job market and the Federal Reserve should “be cautious about tightening the policy further”.

“The probability of a rate hike in December had reduced from 57%, in early July, to 29% today,” he added.

Sunway University Business School Economics Professor Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the ringgit's uptrend was expected to continue towards the year-end on the back of improved global trade.

He said the ringgit was also expected to be supported by the country's improved economic fundamentals. – Bernama


FBM KLCI up on BAT spike, Malaysia election cue

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 7): The FBM KLCI jumped 10.5 points or 0.6% mainly on index-linked British American Tobacco (M) Bhd’s (BAT) share price spike in…


Securities Commission cautions investors on risks of ICO schemes

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7—The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has cautioned investors on the potential risks of initial coin offerings (ICO) schemes, as it noted the emergence of digital token-based fundraising activities/investment schemes in…


Amanahraya REIT to buy Vista Tower

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 7): AmanahRaya Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which has suspended its trading since yesterday afternoon pending a material announcement, has inked a…


Bursa Malaysia ends broadly higher

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 —The Bursa Malaysia FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) ended at an intra-day high of 1,782.98, up 10.5 points, prompted by last minute buying support for heavyweights,  dealers said. The FBM KLCI opened 2.58 points higher…


Britain to change personal injury payment rate in boost for insurers

LONDON, Sept 7 — Britain plans to alter the rate used to calculate upfront personal injury payments, the Ministry of Justice said today, a move which will reduce those payments and insurance premiums. Motor insurers’ profits were dented and…


Bank Negara holds key rate, upbeat on global growth

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), leaving its key interest rate unchanged as expected on Thursday, struck a more upbeat tone on the country's and Asia's economic performance this year.

BNM kept the overnight policy rate (OPR) at 3.00% – where it has been since July 2016 – and gave no sign of a need to change the “accommodative” rate anytime soon.

“There was no hint of a potential rate hike in the near future,” said Julia Goh, a UOB economist based in Kuala Lumpur.

In her view, there will be no rate change “at least until after the first quarter of 2018”.

The central bank said growth in the global economy is “becoming more entrenched”, wording BNM did not have in its last statement, on July 13, when it said growth continued to strengthen.

Asia's growth is driven by “sustained” economic activity and strong external demand, it added.

Malaysia's growth “will be stronger than earlier expected”, BNM said, while inflation “continued its moderating trend”.

“Underlying inflation, as measured by core inflation, will be sustained by the more robust domestic demand but is expected to remain contained,” the central bank said.

All 11 economists polled by Reuters had predicted no change in policy on Thursday.

Faster pace

When inflation hit an eight-year high of 5.1% of March, some analysts predicted at least one rate hike in the second half of 2017.

But headline inflation slowed the following four months, easing to 3.2% in July. Meanwhile, exports and the economy have accelerated. Exports surged 31% in July.

Malaysia's economy expanded at a better-than-expected pace of 5.8% in the second quarter, on the back of domestic demand and robust exports. That took first half growth to 5.7%.

In August, BNM raised its full-year 2017 growth forecast to above 4.8%, instead of the 4.3% to 4.8% predicted in March. The economy expanded 4.2% in 2016.

On Thursday, the central bank said Malaysia's growth prospects “will be sustained by the more positive global growth outlook and stronger spillovers from the external sector to the domestic economy”.

While BNM said there are signs of “sustained momentum in global growth”, it said the outlook “may be affected by political and policy developments in major economies and geopolitical risks”.

The ringgit has gained more than 5% against the dollar this year. BNM said the strengthening “better reflects” the economic fundamentals. — Reuters


Huawei Overtook Apple as the World’s No 2 Smartphone Brand

huawei no2

Huawei, China’s leading smartphone maker, surpassed Apple’s global smartphone sales for the first time in June and July, according to an analysis by consulting firm Counterpoint Research. Huawei is now only behind Samsung in sales, and Counterpoint says that’s thanks to the company’s consistent investment in R&D and manufacturing, as well as aggressive and creative marketing. Figures haven’t been released yet for August, though Counterpoint indicates sales for that month also look strong. However, it’s worth noting that with Apple’s new iPhone releases just around the corner, the iPhone maker is almost certainRead More