Thursday, November 2nd, 2017


Nasdaq dips as Facebook, Tesla fall; S&P, Dow flat

NEW YORK, Nov 2 — The Nasdaq slipped in early morning trading today, pulled down by declines in Facebook and Tesla, while the S&P and the Dow were little changed ahead of an announcement of a long-awaited tax bill and decision on the next…

Wall St slips as investors digest tax bill outline

NEW YORK, Nov 2 — US stocks slipped in late morning trading today as investors digested a summary of the much-awaited Republican tax-cut bill that called for a range of changes to the tax code. The bill suggested slashing corporate tax rate to…

Tesla must stop overpromising, could need more finance -analysts

NEW YORK, Nov 2 — Tesla Inc shares fell 6 per cent at opening today, as analysts expressed doubt over chief executive Elon Musk’s communication with investors and some said the company could need more financing soon. Four major houses —…

BoE set for hike, Fed to get new head, trillion-dollar Apple?

LONDON, Nov 2 — Traders were bracing today for landmark events including the Bank of England’s first rate hike since 2007 and the unveiling of a new Fed chief as well as results from Apple as it looks to become the world’s first US$1…

Shell takes Exxon’s cash-flow crown as profit beats estimate

LONDON, Nov 2 — Royal Dutch Shell Plc has taken Exxon Mobil Corp’s cash-flow crown, a year after completing the biggest deal in its history. Europe’s largest energy company vaulted ahead on this closely watched indicator of financial…

Alibaba revenue up 61pc, beats estimates

BEIJING, Nov 2 — Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said today its quarterly revenue climbed 61 per cent, beating analysts’ estimates, helped by growth in its core e-commerce business. The firm, headed by billionaire…

PR1MA’s end-financing scheme is no panacea

PETALING JAYA: Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia has seen only 50 of the 197 applications for RM44.1 million loans for homes approved in the nine months since the step-up financing (SPEF) programme was launched.

The corporation, when contacted by SunBiz, said the programme is not a solution for those with issues in securing financing for buying homes but instead is to help already eligible borrowers secure higher financing.

“It is important to take note that PR1MA’s (1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme) SPEF is a financing option for PR1MA home buyers who are eligible for a conventional loan. In order for them to be eligible for SPEF, applicants must first qualify for a loan from any of the four panel banks.

“SPEF serves as an added boost – providing access to a higher loan amount than they would otherwise be eligible for with conventional loans, thus enabling them to purchase better homes,” the corporation said in its response via email.

The four panel banks for SPEF – Maybank, CIMB, RHB and AmBank – approved some RM14.3 million loans as at end of September 2017 and are currently processing other applications.The banks declined to comment for this article.

The PR1MA SPEF programme was first announced in Budget 2017 and launched in February 2017. In Budget 2018, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak announced that it would now be extended to private developers.

The PR1MA SPEF scheme comes in two options – the step-up only or the step-up with Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Account 2 withdrawal.

For both options, borrowers are only required to service the loan interest in instalments for the first five years and start paying the principal beginning from the sixth year.
In the first five years of the scheme, borrowers will only pay interest of the loan, which can be as low as RM880 a month.

“Although SPEF provides home buyers access to a higher loan amount compared with conventional loans, it is not however, a financing scheme that allows buyers to purchase property beyond their means,” it said.

It advised home buyers to make the necessary preparations before deciding to buy a house to ensure that they are financially ready to do so, calling the purchase of a house a huge commitment requiring financial discipline.

“Homes are categorised under big ticket items. Before you decide to buy one, you must know the types of houses that you can afford and should make the necessary arrangements to be financially prepared for this,” it added.

PR1MA reiterated that the ease of getting loans would depend on the creditworthiness or credit profile of the loan applicant.

According to the corporation, reasons for unsuccessful applications include bad credit record such as overdue National Higher Education Fund Corporation payments, low disposable income due to high financial commitments and failure to provide complete documentations as required by the banks.

Those blacklisted through the Central Credit Reference Information System are not eligible for the scheme.

“Difficulties in obtaining home loans are not PR1MA specific, but an issue faced by other developers as well, especially those involved in public housing programmes. This is mainly because these types of homes are targeted towards those that may or may not have adequate financial ‘muscle’ to purchase a house,” it added.

The corporation had previously said that many applicants who went through the balloting process had received the “Offer to Purchase” letter but were unable to complete the buying process due to financing issues.

The SPEF scheme was established as an option for eligible PR1MA home buyers to ease their monthly instalments for the first five years and improve their financial planning.

KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project open to public inspection

PETALING JAYA: Public inspection for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project which began yesterday garnered more than 400 positive responses on its first day.

The three-month long public inspection from Nov 1, 2017 to Jan 31, 2018 opened with 14 permanent booths at the Land Public Transport Commission offices and local councils in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor.

Additionally, a total of 29 roadshow booths will be placed at shopping malls and public places from Nov 15, 2017 to Jan 31, 2018.

Throughout the three-month period, visitors will be able to view materials containing information about the KL-Singapore HSR project, including satellite images of the planned 350km alignment and locations of the seven stations in Malaysia.

Other information such as typical station features and layout, land acquisition plans, railway technical data and socio-economic development programmes for the HSR hubs are also available at the booths for visitors’ viewing and reference.

“The public inspection is an important platform for us to engage the public. This three-month period is crucial in ensuring comprehensive dissemination of project information and effective collection of feedback from the public,” MyHSR Corp CEO Datuk Mohd Nur Ismal Mohammed Kamal said.

02/11/2017 21:55:07

Jerome Powell said to be White House’s nominee as next Fed chief

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump is due today to announce his nominee for chief US central banker, putting his own imprimatur on the Federal Reserve’s leadership amid rising prosperity for the world’s largest economy.

The White House notified current Fed governor Jerome Powell yesterday that he will be the nominee, replacing current Fed chair Janet Yellen, according to a congressional source and US media.

A senior Capitol Hill source told AFP that congressional leadership “got a heads up” about Powell’s nomination.

The 64-year-old Republican has echoed the administration’s views on deregulation but is not seen as likely to tighten interest rates too quickly – which Trump opposes.

Doing so will make Trump the first president in nearly 40 years not to keep the Fed chair appointed by the prior administration. Trump yesterday reiterated that he holds Yellen in high regard, calling her “excellent”.

The announcement caps a highly publicised selection process over weeks during which Trump built suspense using social media and television appearances to describe his deliberations. “I think you will be extremely impressed by this person,” Trump told reporters yesterday.

Yellen has led the central bank since 2014 and steps down just as the post-crisis US economic recovery has begun to crest, with falling unemployment, robust growth and low inflation, conditions that have won her praise in many quarters.

Furthermore, though his administration has been engulfed in turmoil virtually from the start, Trump has repeatedly hailed the country’s smooth economic progress and Wall Street’s successive rallies – making the prospect of disrupting the status quo particularly fraught.

But Trump has also relished dismantling the political vestiges of the former Obama
administration and told Fox News last month, “You like to make your own mark”.

Powell is a former investment banker with a declared personal fortune ranging between US$20 million and US$55 million (RM84 million to RM232 million) after nearly a decade at the Washington-based private equity firm Carlyle Group. Fellow Fed governor Randal Quarles, a Trump appointee, is also a former Carlyle partner.

“Jerome Powell is the continuity candidate, at least as far as near-term monetary policy is concerned,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said a client briefing.
“We will not be changing our interest rate forecasts if Mr Powell is the nominee.”

Other candidates interviewed for the position have included current senior White House economic advisory Gary Cohn, a former GoldmanSachs president, but Trump may be wary of losing Cohn just as Republicans enter a high-stakes effort to pass sweeping tax cuts.

Also on Trump’s list was former Fed governor Kevin Warsh, a proponent of higher interest rates who might enjoy some support among conservatives, and Stanford Economist John Taylor, the famed proponent of a rule which would calculate interest rates based on set economic parameters.

But both candidates threatened to send unhappy ripples through markets that fear sharply higher interest rates. – AFP