Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

 

Stocks In Focus (24-11-2017)

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 23): Based on corporate announcements and news flow today, stocks in focus on Friday (Nov 24) may include: PPB, Genting Malaysia, FGV,…


A ray of hope for Zimbabwe’s ruined economy?

HARARE, Nov 23 — Every time Chareka Mutungwazi, 76, tries to collect his pension money, he spends the night, like scores of others, sleeping outside a bank in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital. He is lucky if he is allowed to take out just US$20…


Norway puts brakes on plans for ‘Tesla tax’

OSLO, Nov 23 — Norway, a world leader of zero-emission vehicles, has abandoned plans for a proposed “Tesla tax”, a controversial measure that would have cut a tax rebate granted to heavy electric cars. Plans for the tax, which was to have…


UK growth respite before expected slowdown on weak output, Brexit

LONDON, Nov 23 — UK economic growth rose in the third quarter thanks to consumer spending, official data showed today, but the data is unlikely to push annual GDP above a gloomy government forecast, as poor productivity and Brexit cloud the…


German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp defends Tata steel merger

BERLIN, Nov 23 — German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp today defended its disputed merger with India’s Tata Steel, saying its restructuring plan and the tie-up would help to secure tens of thousands of jobs. The tie-up, announced…


Maybank Islamic launches Rent-to-Own housing scheme, first by a Malaysian bank

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Islamic, which plans to roll out its rent-to-own scheme named HouzKEY to the public in the first quarter of next year, is eyeing a portfolio size of RM1 billion within the first year.

The bank has partnered with five developers namely SP Setia, EcoWorld, Mah Sing, Gamuda and Sime Darby for its pilot launch, and will feature housing projects from these developers with a pricing cap of RM1 million.

Maybank Islamic CEO Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican said purchasers will have the option to buy a property by the selected developers featured on the website catered to the product.

He added that the bank is also exposed to risk as it will be the initial owner of the property.
While the offerings at this point of time is only limited to products by the aforementioned developers and those located within the Klang Valley, the group is looking to expand this in the future.

“We intend to progressively expand our offering to include properties in other locations throughout Malaysia as well as include more developers over the coming months to give Malaysians an even wider choice of homes to invest in,” said Rafique.

The RTO which is developed based on the syariah principle of ijarah, involves leasing that include the option to purchase after servicing rent for 12 months.

Applicants eligible for the scheme are those with a household income of at least RM5,000 and commit to a minimum rental tenure of five years. Customers will be subject to a flat rental payment for the first five years.

They will also be able to purchase the property at a locked in rate, continue rental tenure with 2% annual rental step up or terminate agreement with no further obligations.
The scheme is seen as a move to address the insufficient down payment issue faced by many home buyers.

Conducted fully on digital platform, applicants will have to choose the property on the website Maybank2own.com, and a decision will be given by the bank within a day.

Following this, customers will have to make the three months rental deposit within a week.
Lauding the product, Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said the government on its part is determined to strengthen the legal and institutional framework of the rental market.

“For instance, establishing a neutral third party that protects tenants right to deposit recovery while allowing landlord to use the deposit if the tenant breaches the agreement,” he added.

Johari said he has “spoken” to the ministries of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government to work together to build a database akin to the UK's Tenant Registry Tenant Database.

On another note, he said the government will lift the temporary freeze on luxury developments once the number of unsold units of high-end properties hits “reasonable levels”.

The Cabinet is also yet to receive feedbacks from stakeholders such as developers and housing associations on the changes that has to be made in relation to the freeze.


Petronas forecasts higher 2017 earnings after strong Q3 results

KUALA LUMPUR: Government-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas, today forecast higher full-year earnings for 2017, after posting a 64% jump in third-quarter profit on improved oil prices.

A higher profit would be the second straight year of improved earnings at Petronas, reversing a two-year profit slump with the help of a modest recovery in oil prices and cost-cutting measures.

“Petronas expects the group’s overall year-end performance to be better than last year,” the company said, indicating an improved view of the energy market since August, when it expected its annual performance to be “fair”.

Petronas president/group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said the group remained committed to boosting efficiency across its operations.

“We intend to enhance our efforts to take advantage of the current recovery in oil prices for Petronas to close the year strongly,” he said.

Petronas, like other oil majors, has taken a hit from lower oil prices. Brent crude has fallen sharply since 2014, though it has somewhat recovered this year, trading near a two-year high today.

The firm has focused on cutting costs amid expectations that the low oil price environment will continue. Last year the company said it would cut spending by up to RM50 billion over the next four years.

Petronas is a key contributor to government coffers: its dividends last year accounted for 7.5% of total government revenue. It is one of the country’s largest employers with a workforce of over 50,000.

Petronas said its profit after tax for the quarter ending September, rose to RM10 billion, compared with RM6.1 billion for the same period last year. Revenue totalled RM53.7 billion, up 14% from a year ago.

The revenue increase was due to higher prices for major products and a softer ringgit, but it was partially offset by lower sales volumes of crude oil and condensate, it said.

Total production volume for the quarter fell to 2,206 thousand barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, down from 2,227 tboe/day a year ago.

Petronas’ sales volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) rose by 1% to 7.22 million tonnes in the quarter. The company, the world's third-biggest LNG exporter after Qatar and Australia, has been trying to diversify beyond its traditional LNG markets of Japan and South Korea amid a gas supply glut that has sent prices down sharply.

Petronas scrapped a proposed US$29 billion (RM119 billion) LNG export terminal project in western Canada in July and is now focused on its Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project in Johor. Rapid, in which Saudi Aramco agreed to invest US$7 billion (RM28.7 billion), will contain a 300,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery and a petrochemical complex with a production capacity of 7.7 million tonnes per year. The complex remains on track to achieve ready for start-up status in 2019, Petronas said. – Reuters


Decision to build 210,000 houses below RM250,000 each in Budget 2018 made after review of PR1MA scheme

KUALA LUMPUR: The government decided to build 210,000 affordable houses after conducting a review on the PR1MA housing scheme, said Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

He said this at the launch of Maybank Islamic’s rent-to-own product, Houzkey, today but did not elaborate on whether there would be further changes to PR1MA’s scheme, which currently caters for homes costing up to RM400,000.

Earlier this week, Johari said the RM1.5 billion allocation for Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia to build 210,000 units priced under RM250,000 is in acknowledgement of the unaffordability of PR1MA homes. The allocation is part of Budget 2018.

Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia, whose mandate is to provide affordable housing for the M40 group, has been building homes priced between RM100,000 and RM400,000 with one of its recent projects, PR1MA @ Jalan Jubilee, even exceeding the RM400,000 level.

The largest unit in the Jalan Jubilee development, a 1,089 sq ft unit, goes for RM445,000. It is not known whether PR1MA will limit its future developments to houses priced RM250,000 and below.


23/11/2017 21:41:06

KUALA LUMPUR: The government decided to build 210,000 affordable houses after conducting a review on the PR1MA housing scheme, said Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

He said this at the launch of Maybank Islamic’s rent-to-own product, Houzkey, yesterday but did not elaborate on whether there would be further changes to PR1MA’s scheme, which currently caters for homes costing up to RM400,000.

Earlier this week, Johari said the RM1.5 billion allocation for Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia to build 210,000 units priced under RM250,000 is in acknowledgement of the unaffordability of PR1MA homes. The allocation is part of Budget 2018.

Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia, whose mandate is to provide affordable housing for the M40 group, has been building homes priced between RM100,000 and RM400,000 with one of its recent projects, PR1MA @ Jalan Jubilee, even exceeding the RM400,000 level.

The largest unit in the Jalan Jubilee development, a 1,089 sq ft unit, goes for RM445,000. It is not known whether PR1MA will limit its future developments to houses priced RM250,000 and below.


Mah: Ministry to set up Malaysia-EU special panel to tackle palm oil issues

PETALING JAYA: The Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry will set up a special oil palm economic and technical committee between Malaysian and the European Union (EU) to establish a clearer understanding on issues surrounding palm oil, said minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.

The announcement on this comes as fears grow that the enforcement of an EU resolution singling out palm oil cultivation as the main contributor to deforestation will lead to tighter importation policy on palm oil and an environmental burden-based tariff scheme.

In a statement today, Mah said the committee, which would be joined by special representatives of the EU ambassadors in Malaysia, is important in strengthening the role of the ambassadors in ensuring accurate and unbiased information to the EU countries.

He said the proposal serves as proof of the willingness and continuous commitment by the Malaysian government in working together with EU countries on the issue related to the sustainable development of the oil palm sector.

Mah urged members of the EU Parliament to re-evaluate their stance on the oil palm sector, as discriminating against oil palm would go against the EU commitment to the World Trade Organisation’s free trade principle and threaten the relationship between the EU and palm oil producing countries, especially Malaysia and Indonesia.

He further emphasised that continuous negative publicity on the issue of palm oil would dampen the economic development of both countries that rely on the export of palm oil and oil palm products.

“Negative publicity would affect the global demand of palm oil and this would indirectly contribute to a drop in price of the oil palm commodity.

“Therefore, the government through the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities as well as other related agencies will take seriously the developments in the EU Parliament and will be committed to protect the interests of 650,000 oil palm smallholders in the country.”