Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018


Wall Street kicks off 2018 on a strong note

NEW YORK, Jan 2 — Wall Street’s main indexes were higher today, the first trading day of the year, buoyed by gains in technology and consumer discretionary stocks. Major stock indexes closed out 2017 with their best performance since…

Wall Street set for positive start to 2018

BENGALURU, Jan 2 — US stock futures pointed to a higher opening for Wall Street on Tuesday, the first trading day of 2018, signalling a continuation of the solid run from last year. Major stock indexes closed out 2017 with their best year…

PMI declines to 49.9 in December

PETALING JAYA: The headline Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell from 52.0 in November to 49.9 in December 2017, due to a contraction in new orders.

Despite that, IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said the rate of contraction was marginal, with weak domestic demand being the key reason behind lower volumes of new business, as new export orders rose for the second month in succession.

There was an increase in demand for Malaysian goods from key markets such as Thailand and the Middle East.

IHS Markit highlighted that business conditions in the Malaysian manufacturing sector broadly stagnated in December, following an improvement in November. Output growth also slowed to a modest pace.

However, firms raised their payroll numbers to meet production requirements despite reports of subdued demand conditions.

On the price front, input cost inflation remained sharp overall and continued to place pressure on firms’ margins.

IHS Markit noted that businesses retained positive forecasts for output over the next 12 months.

“Projections of an improvement in underlying demand conditions was the key reason behind business confidence, according to anecdotal evidence. That said, the level of business sentiment eased from November’s 47-month high and remained weaker than the series average.”

Commenting on the Malaysian Manufacturing PMI survey data, IHS Markit economist Aashna Dodhia said the operating conditions in Malaysia’s manufacturing economy stagnated in December after an improvement in November. “The goods producing sector observed a renewed fall in new orders amid reports of weak demand conditions in the domestic market.”

However, she said on a positive note, international demand for Malaysian goods continued to increase during December albeit slower expansion rate from November’s 46-month high.

“Although inflationary cost pressures eased from the prior month, it remained stronger than the trend observed over the survey history.

This further placed pressure on firms’ margins as their ability to fully pass on higher cost burdens to price-sensitive customers was limited.

“Encouragingly, firms added to their staffing levels in response to greater production. That said, the pace of job creation was only slight overall.”

Oil trades near strongest levels since mid-2015 on Iranian unrest

SINGAPORE, Jan 2 — Oil prices posted their strongest opening to a year since 2014 on Tuesday, with crude rising to mid-2015 highs amid large anti-government rallies in Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by Opec and Russia. US West Texas…

Perodua aims to increase share of TIV by 3%-4%

KUALA LUMPUR: Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) is confident of increasing its share of the Malaysian Total Industry Volume (TIV) by 3% to 4% this year following the launch of the new Myvi.

CEO and president Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh said the outlook for 2018 was backed by positive feedback gained from the new Myvi.

“Despite the various challenges we faced last year, such as the decline in first time buyers due to improvements in transportation, including the presence of Grab and Uber services, we managed to overcome them with multiple efforts.

“Among the efforts was the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Grab where we have special deals with the e-hailing service company,” he said in an interview today.

The new Myvi, launched in November 2017, comes in five variants of a 1.3 L and 1.5 L engines, equipped with advanced safety features. It garnered over 28,000 bookings as of December 2017.

“We have exceeded our target sales for the new Myvi and have delivered 8,000 units to date. However, we are working overtime to meet the remaining orders,” Aminar said.

Perodua set an initial target of 18,000 units for the first three months of the launch, but the number was surpassed by over 50% as of December.

Aminar also said Perodua was maintaining its RM60,000 affordability level benchmark, which is one of its strengths.

“We also want Malaysians to choose us for other aspects, such as after sales service and safety features,” he said.

Perodua, which is the largest local car manufacturer in the country, holds a market share of 35%.

“As for where we are now, I can say that our domestic share is quite matured in a saturated market,” Aminar said.

Perodua’s dominance can be seen through its sales, where one in three new vehicles sold in 2017, was from the company.

Aminar said Perodua is still studying the market demographic and trends to determine if it can produce its own sport utility vehicle (SUV).

“The SUV still remains on our radar, but it is still too early to determine anything, as we are now embarking on our transformation programme,” he added.

Perodua’s local competitor Proton Holdings Bhd, with its foreign strategic partner China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd (Geely), announced its first SUV, the Boyue, which will debut in Malaysia this year. – Bernama

Khazanah acquires 3pc stake in Dubai’s GEMS Menasa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Khazanah Nasional Bhd has acquired a three per cent stake in Dubai’s education group GEMS Menasa Holdings Ltd. In a statement to Nasdaq Dubai today, GEMS Menasa’s unit, GEMS Menasa Cayman Ltd (GEMS) said the stake was…

MB World to develop Integrated Waterfront project in Johor Baru

PETALING JAYA: MB World Group Bhd will develop a mixed development project “Integrated Waterfront” in Johor Baru on 49.62 acres of land belonging to the government with a gross development value of RM1.46 billion.

MB World told Bursa Malaysia that its wholly owned subsidiary Danga Palm Sdn Bhd (DPSB) had entered into a development right agreement (DRA) with PIJ Holding Sdn Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary PIJ Property Development Sdn Bhd (PPDSB).

The mixed development consists of serviced apartments, affordable houses, townhouses, shop offices and a shopping mall.

MB World said the DRA will provide the group the development rights to the landbank as opposed to outright purchase of landbank which will require significant cash outlay.

“PPDSB has already applied for and obtained the relevant approval for the conversion and usage of the development land for building purposes. This will allow the group to commence with the development project in a short span of time.”

Under the DRA, PPDSB will be entitled to receive 7% of the GDV from DPSB.

MB World shares were unchanged at RM2 on some 15,300 shares done.

Alcom plans to diversify into property development, transfer listing status to newco

PETALING JAYA: Aluminium Company of Malaysia Bhd (Alcom) is planning to diversify into property development with a RM500 million gross development value industrial park venture, and transfer its listing status to a new holding company in an effort to form separate identifiable business streams comprising aluminium product manufacturing and property development segments.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia the group, which is currently only in manufacturing and trading of aluminium sheet and foil products, outlined plans for its unit EM Hub Sdn Bhd to acquire 9.4 acre vacant industrial land in Sungai Buloh, Selangor from a unit of Paramount Corp Bhd for RM92 million, to be developed into a gated and guarded industrial park. The purchase will be funded through internally generated funds and bank borrowings.

In its filing the group said it remains focused on improving the performance of the existing business by enhancing its product offerings and expanding its market share, and decided to diversify its earning base to include property development and reduce the risk of reliance on the existing business.

Alcom plans to form a project management team for its venture, with four key personnel, namely Datuk Lim Chee Khoon, who has 28 years experience in the property development sector; Ang Loo Leong who has extensive experience in contractual matters; Lim Wey Heng the industrial park project manager with 10 years experience in various residential and commercial projects; and Tan Seok Fong the finance manager for the industrial park with 16 years of experience in account and finance. The development and building plans of the industrial park have not been submitted or approved by the relevant authorities, however preliminary gross development cost estimates are expected to be at least RM425 million.

Following the acquisition, the group proposes to call for all existing shareholders of Alcom to exchange their shares for those in the new holding company, which will then takeover the listing status of Alcom. The proposals are subject to the approvals of shareholders and Bursa Securities.

The group's stock price was down one sen to close at 85 sen with some 114,900 shares changing hands.

BP takes US$1.5b charge over US tax changes, joining Shell

LONDON, Jan 2 — BP will take a one-off US$1.5 billion (RM6.03 billion) charge in its 2017 fourth quarter earnings as a result of new US corporate income tax rules, joining rival Royal Dutch Shell. The British oil and gas company said today the…

Oil steadies above US$60 as protests spread in Opec producer Iran

HONG KONG, Jan 2 — Oil steadied after a second annual increase, supported by concern that protests in Iran could lead to a supply disruption in Opec’s third-biggest member. Futures were little changed in New York after a 3.3 per cent gain…