Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

 

New ride-hailing service DACSEE rides on blockchain technology

PETALING JAYA: A new ride-hailing service that was introduced today will test regulators’ tolerance of the use of cryptocurrency in business, as it looks to grow its driver base by paying out commissions in cryptocurrency.

The brand-new ride-sharing service offered by Decentralised Alternative Cabs Servicing and Empowering Everyone (DACSEE) uses an e-wallet system powered by blockchain technology. A soft launch was held today and the app for the ride-sharing service is to be officially rolled out in April. Science, Technology & Innovation Deputy Minister Datuk Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah attended the soft launch.

The DACSEE platform enables drivers to build their own fleet with partner drivers and users registering with DACSEE automatically become a rookie driver and passenger, which gives drivers and referees a 1-2% overriding commission in the form of DACSEE Token, offering opportunities to earn passive income.

On the part of the riders, the payment method is the same as for other ride-hailing services – with cash, debit card or credit card.

According to a media statement by the company, the tokens can be exchanged at any time into any world currency through authorised cryptocurrency exchanges.

DACSEE’s white paper published on its website revealed that the token is a “decentralised Ethereum ERC20 token that customers will use to pay for taxi rides in a cryptographically-secured, unstoppable fashion”.

“It will be distributed to ICO (initial coin offering) contributors automatically through the Ethereum network and will be accessible to all users online through the DACSEE Wallet App and in Google Play Store. Like all ERC20-compliant tokens, DACSEE tokens may be stored and transferred only with an Ethereum private key and can be used across platforms in many wallets compatible with Ethereum,” the white paper read.

However, at today’s soft launch, DACSEE COO and co-founder Lim Chiew Shan did not directly answer whether the token is a form of cryptocurrency, except to say that it is a “blockchain-based” technology. He also denied any multi-level marketing structure in its business model.

“The technology beneath DACSEE is blockchain because we want the payment to be as transparent as possible. If you are a driver, I deduct RM2 from you, you can check DACSEE’s account (to see) where this RM2 goes … this is why it is (called) crypto,” said Lim.

“The DACSEE token is a reward and the crypto is just a technology beneath it. We are not saying that one has to buy Dacsee tokens to pay. It is not a form of payment, it is basically a technology that runs the platform because we want it to be transparent,” he added.

DMD Technology Sdn Bhd, the app developer, was incorporated on Jan 2, 2018.

All stakeholders including the founders of the platform, drivers and referees will all be rewarded with this token. A driver will have to get three references in order to obtain a driver ID, as part of a verification process. One of the referees will be the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).

When contacted, a SPAD spokesperson confirmed that the company did engage with the commission, but stressed that it was merely at the preliminary level whereby the company’s business model had been presented. No approvals have been given.

The Securities Commission declined to comment when contacted regarding the new venture.

Besides Malaysia, DACSEE’s service has already been launched in Thailand. Bangkok Post reported on Dec 25 that the blockchain-based ride-sharing platform was in the ICO phase with the aim of raising US$20 million (3.9 billion baht).


Dow breaches 26,000 mark on robust earnings reports

NEW YORK (Jan 16): Wall Street’s main indexes rose sharply on Tuesday, with the Dow hitting the 26,000 mark for the first time, as the…


Chinese agency Dagong cuts US sovereign ratings

BEIJING: China’s Dagong Global Credit Rating Co, one of the country’s most prominent ratings firms, today cut the local and foreign currency sovereign ratings of the United States, citing an increasing reliance on debt in the world’s largest economy.

Dagong said in a statement that it cut the sovereign ratings to BBB+ from A- and also placed them on a negative outlook.

The growing reliance on the debt-driven mode of economic development will continue to erode the solvency of the US federal government, the Beijing-based rating agency said.

In December, US President Donald Trump signed into law a package of tax cuts that will add US$1.4 trillion (RM5.5 trillion) over a decade to the US$20 trillion national debt.

“Deficiencies in the current US political ecology make it difficult for the efficient administration of the federal government, so the national economic development derails from the right track,” Dagong said.

“Massive tax cuts directly reduce the federal government’s sources of debt repayment, therefore further weakens the base of government’s debt repayment.”

The US embassy in Beijing could not immediately comment.

International ratings agencies Fitch and Moody’s Investors Service both give the US their top AAA ratings. S&P Global has put the US on a slightly lower grade of AA+ since 2011.

In December, the US government reported a US$23 billion deficit, compared with a gap of US$27 billion from the year-earlier month. That took the deficit for the fiscal year to date to US$225 billion, versus a gap of US$210 billion a year earlier.

The government will have to raise the debt ceiling frequently, Dagong said.

“The virtual solvency of the federal government would be likely to become the detonator of the next financial crisis,” the Chinese rating firm said.

Last week, Bloomberg News reported that Chinese officials reviewing the country’s vast foreign exchange holdings had recommended slowing or halting purchases of US Treasury bonds, partly because that market is becoming less attractive for them. That spooked investors worried that sharp swings in China’s massive holdings of US Treasuries would trigger a selloff in bond and equity markets globally. The report sent US Treasury yields to 10-month highs and the dollar lower.

China’s foreign exchange regulator has since dismissed the report.

“The market’s reversing recognition of the value of US Treasury bonds and US dollar will be a powerful force in destroying the fragile debt chain of the federal government,” Dagong said. – Reuters


16/01/2018 23:12:53

BEIJING: China’s Dagong Global Credit Rating Co, one of the country’s most prominent ratings firms, today cut the local and foreign currency sovereign ratings of the United States, citing an increasing reliance on debt in the world’s largest economy.

Dagong said in a statement that it cut the sovereign ratings to BBB+ from A- and also placed them on a negative outlook.

The growing reliance on the debt-driven mode of economic development will continue to erode the solvency of the US federal government, the Beijing-based rating agency said.

In December, US President Donald Trump signed into law a package of tax cuts that will add US$1.4 trillion (RM5.5 trillion) over a decade to the US$20 trillion national debt.

“Deficiencies in the current US political ecology make it difficult for the efficient administration of the federal government, so the national economic development derails from the right track,” Dagong said.

“Massive tax cuts directly reduce the federal government’s sources of debt repayment, therefore further weakens the base of government’s debt repayment.”

The US embassy in Beijing could not immediately comment.

International ratings agencies Fitch and Moody’s Investors Service both give the US their top AAA ratings. S&P Global has put the US on a slightly lower grade of AA+ since 2011.

In December, the US government reported a US$23 billion deficit, compared with a gap of US$27 billion from the year-earlier month. That took the deficit for the fiscal year to date to US$225 billion, versus a gap of US$210 billion a year earlier.

The government will have to raise the debt ceiling frequently, Dagong said.

“The virtual solvency of the federal government would be likely to become the detonator of the next financial crisis,” the Chinese rating firm said.

Last week, Bloomberg News reported that Chinese officials reviewing the country’s vast foreign exchange holdings had recommended slowing or halting purchases of US Treasury bonds, partly because that market is becoming less attractive for them. That spooked investors worried that sharp swings in China’s massive holdings of US Treasuries would trigger a selloff in bond and equity markets globally. The report sent US Treasury yields to 10-month highs and the dollar lower.

China’s foreign exchange regulator has since dismissed the report.

“The market’s reversing recognition of the value of US Treasury bonds and US dollar will be a powerful force in destroying the fragile debt chain of the federal government,” Dagong said. – Reuters


Petronas awards MCM deals to five local contractors

PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) subsidiary Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd has awarded contracts for the provision of maintenance, construction and modification services (MCM) at its offshore facilities in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak to five local contractors.

In a statement yesterday, Petronas said Carimin Engineering Services Sdn Bhd, Dayang Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Deleum Primera Sdn Bhd, Petra Resources Sdn Bhd, Sapura Fabrication Sdn Bhd and its joint venture partner Borneo Seaoffshore Engineering Sdn Bhd were selected for the five-year contracts with an option to extend an additional year which took effect in September last year.

The value of the contracts was not disclosed.

Under the terms of the contracts, the engineering and maintenance services will include topside major maintenance and facilities improvement projects.


Carillion banks lead losers as US$2.2b debts crush firm

LONDON, Jan 16 — Carillion Plc’s collapse under about £1.6 billion (approx RM8.7 billion) of debt will hand losses to banks, bond investors and suppliers. Shareholders of the UK builder and service provider will be wiped out. More than half…


Quantitative easing unlikely to have created big asset bubbles: Moody’s

PETALING JAYA: Moody’s Investors Service opined that risks from falls in asset prices and any associated economic fallout as and when quantitative easing (QE) is withdrawn are overestimated.

The rating agency said in its report that global asset prices continued to expand slightly in the second half of 2017, mainly driven by advances in equity prices, while sovereign bond prices weakened further but remained significantly above long-term averages.

However, it stressed that even though those asset prices may fall back when QE is withdrawn, that does not imply an “asset bubble”.

“In fact, declines in long-term interest rates have been driven by more than just QE.” Moody’s foresees global financial conditions to remain favourable for bond issuance and credit in 2018 on the back of robust economic growth and broadly stable asset quality and capital levels in the banking sector.

“Global financial market risks remain moderate, with little change in underlying pressures over the past six months. Our assessment remains broadly unchanged in the continued absence of significant macroeconomic, financial, and political shocks,” said Moody’s managing director of credit strategy and the report’s co-author Colin Ellis.

Moody’s said global economic growth strengthened in 2017, and is expected to remain robust over the next two years.

However, the rating agency noted that risks remain and there is uncertainty stemming from geopolitical developments on the Korean peninsula and the Middle East, and the potential for substantial shifts in US economic policy.

Moody’s expects policy rates to peak at lower levels than seen in the pre-crisis period, which is consistent with long-term rates – only partly unwinding past declines. Some of the observed decline in benchmark long-term yields is likely to be permanent.

Meanwhile, it noted that the low corporate bond yield level is partly due to the benchmark rates, while spreads on investment-grade bonds are not unusually low.

“Credit spreads for high-yield bonds are tighter, but – on average – not out of synch with Moody’s ratings for high-yield issuers.”


QE withdrawal unlikely to create asset bubble

PETALING JAYA: Moody’s Investors Service opined that risks from falls in asset prices and any associated economic fallout as and when quantitative easing (QE) is withdrawn are overestimated.

The rating agency said in its report that global asset prices continued to expand slightly in the second half of 2017, mainly driven by advances in equity prices, while sovereign bond prices weakened further but remained significantly above long-term averages.

However, it stressed that even though those asset prices may fall back when QE is withdrawn, that does not imply an “asset bubble”.

“In fact, declines in long-term interest rates have been driven by more than just QE.” Moody’s foresees global financial conditions to remain favourable for bond issuance and credit in 2018 on the back of robust economic growth and broadly stable asset quality and capital levels in the banking sector.

“Global financial market risks remain moderate, with little change in underlying pressures over the past six months. Our assessment remains broadly unchanged in the continued absence of significant macroeconomic, financial, and political shocks,” said Moody’s managing director of credit strategy and the report’s co-author Colin Ellis.

Moody’s said global economic growth strengthened in 2017, and is expected to remain robust over the next two years.

However, the rating agency noted that risks remain and there is uncertainty stemming from geopolitical developments on the Korean peninsula and the Middle East, and the potential for substantial shifts in US economic policy.

Moody’s expects policy rates to peak at lower levels than seen in the pre-crisis period, which is consistent with long-term rates – only partly unwinding past declines. Some of the observed decline in benchmark long-term yields is likely to be permanent.

Meanwhile, it noted that the low corporate bond yield level is partly due to the benchmark rates, while spreads on investment-grade bonds are not unusually low.

“Credit spreads for high-yield bonds are tighter, but – on average – not out of synch with Moody’s ratings for high-yield issuers.”


Maybank Islamic’s rent-to-own scheme now open to public

PETALING JAYA: Maybank Islamic Bhd’s rent-to-own (RTO) scheme, dubbed HouzKEY, is now open to the public for application.

The scheme was first launched last November whereby it was only made available to Maybank employees.

The bank said in a statement that since the launch, it has recorded about 13,000 visits to its portal and 2,000 of them have indicated interest on the product.

Close to 70% of them are from the target age group of between 25 and 34 years old.

Through the portal www.Maybank2own.com, the public can now browse through a range of properties by 12 established developers which include EcoWorld Bhd, SP Setia, Mah Sing Properties, Sime Darby Property, Gamuda Properties, UEM Sunrise, Selangor Dredging Bhd, and Mitraland. It is expected that seven more developers will come on board by the end of this month.

Maybank Islamic said HouzKEY has been designed to provide an alternative solution for home ownership through an innovative scheme which only requires three months of rental deposit and the customer can immediately move into their dream house.

“The customers are given the option to purchase the property after renting for at least one year at a pre-agreed price.”

HouzKEY is the first such RTO homeownership plan in the country to be fully enabled on a digital platform, with the application and submission of supporting documents all being done online.

Once an applicant chooses a property on the online portal and applies to rent it under HouzKEY, the bank will provide a decision within 24 hours working day, following which the customer must make the three-month rental deposit within seven days.

After the agreement is signed, the property is locked in at a fixed rental price for five years and the customers can migrate to Maybank mortgage seamlessly after one year of renting, or they can continue renting with 2% step up on the 6th year until their tenure end.

Maybank Islamic CEO Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican said the bank will continue to focus on creating more innovative Shariah-compliant solutions and developing products and services leveraging on Maybank group’s strength and expertise in Islamic finance.

“HouzKEY promotes financial inclusion by offering an alternative path to home ownership. We take pride that it is the first of such product offering in the market,” he said.


Maybank Islamic RTO scheme now open to public

PETALING JAYA: Maybank Islamic Bhd’s rent-to-own (RTO) scheme, dubbed HouzKEY, is now open to the public for application.

The scheme was first launched last November whereby it was only made available to Maybank employees.

The bank said in a statement that since the launch, it has recorded about 13,000 visits to its portal and 2,000 of them have indicated interest on the product.

Close to 70% of them are from the target age group of between 25 and 34 years old.

Through the portal www.Maybank2own.com, the public can now browse through a range of properties by 12 established developers which include EcoWorld Bhd, SP Setia, Mah Sing Properties, Sime Darby Property, Gamuda Properties, UEM Sunrise, Selangor Dredging Bhd, and Mitraland. It is expected that seven more developers will come on board by the end of this month.

Maybank Islamic said HouzKEY has been designed to provide an alternative solution for home ownership through an innovative scheme which only requires three months of rental deposit and the customer can immediately move into their dream house.

“The customers are given the option to purchase the property after renting for at least one year at a pre-agreed price.”

HouzKEY is the first such RTO homeownership plan in the country to be fully enabled on a digital platform, with the application and submission of supporting documents all being done online.

Once an applicant chooses a property on the online portal and applies to rent it under HouzKEY, the bank will provide a decision within 24 hours working day, following which the customer must make the three-month rental deposit within seven days.

After the agreement is signed, the property is locked in at a fixed rental price for five years and the customers can migrate to Maybank mortgage seamlessly after one year of renting, or they can continue renting with 2% step up on the 6th year until their tenure end.

Maybank Islamic CEO Datuk Mohamed Rafique Merican said the bank will continue to focus on creating more innovative Shariah-compliant solutions and developing products and services leveraging on Maybank group’s strength and expertise in Islamic finance.

“HouzKEY promotes financial inclusion by offering an alternative path to home ownership. We take pride that it is the first of such product offering in the market,” he said.