Wednesday, April 4th, 2018


Bahrain announces discovery of 80 billion barrels of oil

MANAMA (Bahrain), April 4 — Bahrain today announced its newly discovered shale oil reserve was estimated to contain more than 80 billion barrels, making the once-marginal oil producer potentially a major player in the market. The amount of…

Dow falls 1pc as China-US trade spat intensifies (VIDEO)

NEW YORK, April 4 — The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped just over 1 per cent today as big US manufacturers and chipmakers bore the brunt of a deepening trade conflict between China and the United States. Boeing and Caterpillar led the…

Stocks in Focus (05-04-2018)

KUALA LUMPUR (April 4): Based on corporate announcements and newsflow today, stocks that could be in focus tomorrow (April 5) include Lysaght Galvanized Steel Bhd,…

Tariffs may end Chinese car imports before they really start

NEW YORK, April 4 — A small-but-growing number of Chinese-assembled cars making their way to the US auto market could be under threat as the Trump administration looks to slap a 25 per cent duty on about US$50 billion worth of imported goods….

US services sector activity slows; private payrolls rise solidly

WASHINGTON, April 4 — US services sector activity slowed in March, held down by a drop in new orders, while private employers maintained a brisk pace of hiring. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said today its non-manufacturing…

US stocks open sharply lower on trade war fears

NEW YORK, April 4 — Wall Street stocks opened sharply lower today as China’s vow to slap steep retaliatory tariffs on US$50 billion in US goods raised fears of a trade war. About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was…

KLCI tumbles 1.9% on trade war fears

PETALING JAYA: China’s retaliatory measures against US tariff move led to a heavy sell-off in the local stock market just an hour before the closing bell today, plunging as much as 39.22 points or 2.12% to 1,811.56 points, wiping off RM48 billion market capitalisation.

However, the KLIC managed to stay firm above the 1,800-point level, closing down 34.84 points or 1.88% to 1,815.94 points. Year-to-date, its gain narrowed to 1%.

Losers outnumbered gainers by 1,105 to 111. A total of 3.28 billion shares worth RM2.78 billion were traded.

KESM Industries Bhd, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd and Petron Malaysia Refining & Marketing Bhd were among the biggest decliners on the local bourse with declines of RM3.06, RM1.60 and RM1.19 to RM14.48, RM66.20 and RM7.01, respectively.

Selling pressure also mounted for small-cap stocks, evidenced by the sharp drop of 7.1% and 6% for the ACE Index and Small Cap Index, respectively.

The ringgit, meanwhile, weakened 0.1% to 3.8675 against the greenback as at 5pm today.

Regional markets were mostly in the red in response to what is seen as an escalation of trade discord between China and the US, with Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand falling over 2%. However, the Chinese markets were unfazed by the US announcement to slap US$50 billion (RM193.4 billion) tariffs on Chinese goods, with Shanghai and Shenzhen markets only seeing marginal declines of 0.18% and 0.57% each.

Analysts are of the view that the sell-off will persist in the short term due to trade tensions between the US and China coupled with the possible dissolution of Parliament tomorrow.

“It is the beginning of a trade war, that’s why the market is quite panicky,” Areca Capital Sdn Bhd CEO Danny Wong told SunBiz.

Inter-Pacific Securities head of research Pong Teng Siew is especially glum on the prospects of a trade war, citing a possible global recession with market chaos.

“It’s an end game and getting worse with tit-for-tat response from the US and China. It looks like this is how things are progressing.”

Analysts have said the trade war will have a minimal impact on Malaysia given that Malaysia’s trade exposure to both China and the US is only 25% of total trade.

The US and China account for 40% of the world’s total gross domestic product (GDP) and almost a quarter of world trade.

Pong highlighted that many markets, such as Singapore, have shown signs of bear market with a drop of over 20% from their peaks. Despite that, he said this is not the case for Malaysia, that has been quite flat after the “overbought” situation in January.

He added that the Malaysian market will be more positive if the Barisan government wins in the upcoming election.

Meanwhile, Wong foresees investment opportunities despite market correction, as Malaysia, a low-beta and defensive market, could attract inflows of foreign funds.

For local funds such as the Employees Provident Fund and the Social Security Organisation, he said it is a good time for them to accumulate stocks at more reasonable price.

Given China’s hefty tariffs imposition on US soybean, Wong expects the move will benefit its rival palm oil, with more demand from the global market.

China fires back, announcing tariffs on US planes, cars and soybeans

BEIJING: China hit back today at the Trump administration’s plan to slap tariffs on US$50 billion (RM193.4 billion) in Chinese goods, retaliating with a list of similar duties on key US imports including soybeans, planes, cars, whiskey and chemicals.

Beijing’s list of 25% additional tariffs on US goods covers 106 items with a trade value matching the US$50 billion targeted on Washington’s list, China’s commerce and finance ministries said.

The effective date will depend on when the US action takes effect.

The announcement triggered further heavy selling in global stock markets and commodities, with US stock futures sliding 1.5%, soybean futures plunging 3.7% and the dollar briefly extending early losses. China’s yuan skidded in offshore trade.

The scale of China’s tariff targets was in line with Beijing’s pledge to mount a commensurate response, but it was released sooner than many observers had expected, adding to market fears that the world’s two largest economies are spiralling towards a trade war that could shake the global economy.

Unlike Washington’s list, which was filled with many obscure industrial items, China’s list strikes at signature US exports.

Hours earlier, the US government unveiled a detailed breakdown of some 1,300 Chinese industrial, transport and medical goods that could be subject to 25% duties, ranging from light-emitting diodes to chemicals and machine parts.

Washington’s move, broadly flagged last month, is aimed at forcing Beijing to address what Washington says is deeply entrenched theft of US intellectual property and forced technology transfer from US companies to Chinese competitors, charges Chinese officials deny.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had shown sincerity in wanting to resolve the trade dispute through negotiations.

“But the best opportunities for resolving the issues through dialogue and negotiations have been repeatedly missed by the US side,” he told a briefing today.

“We regret that soybeans are on the list. We have done everything to prevent this from happening, but we are still calling for a resolution,” said Zhang Xiaoping, China director of the US Soybean Export Council told Reuters.

The tariff list from the office of US trade representative Robert Lighthizer followed China’s imposition of tariffs on US$3 billion worth of US fruits, nuts, pork and wine to protest new US steel and aluminium tariffs imposed last month by Trump.

Publication of Washington’s list starts a public comment and consultation period expected to last around two months.

Many consumer electronics products such as cellphones made by Apple Inc and laptops made by Dell were excluded, as were footwear and clothing, drawing a sigh of relief from retailers who had feared higher costs for American consumers.

A US industry source said the list was somewhat unexpected in that it largely exempts major consumer grade technology products, one of China’s major export categories to the United States.

‘Not in a trade war with China,’ says Trump

WASHINGTON, April 4 — President Donald Trump today said the United States is not in a trade war with China, as both sides shake global markets with tit-for-tat actions. “We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago…

Cryptojacking among top cyber threats

KUALA LUMPUR: Cryptojacking, targeted attacks and compromising software supply chain are among the burgeoning cyber threats to look out for while ransomware threats tone down, according to Symantec Corp’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR).

Cryptojacking is a form of cyber attack in which a hacker hijacks the processing power of another to mine cryptocurrency.

The astronomical rise in cryptocurrency values last year, is believed to have turned the heads of cyber criminals.

Symantec Malaysia’s director of systems engineering David Rajoo said cyber criminals are moving away from ransomware to cryptojacking, due to the high value of cryptocurrencies amid the backdrop the ransomware market getting overcrowded and overpriced, in addition to an increasing number of ransom variants.

In 2016, an average ransom demand was at US$1,071 (RM4,140) while in 2017 it had fallen to US$522.

“Cryptojacking is a rising threat to cyber and personal security. The massive profit incentive puts people, devices and organisation at risk of unauthorised coin miners siphoning resources from their systems, further motivating criminals to infiltrate everything from home PCs to giant data centres,” said David at a media briefing.

In 2017, Symantec detected a more than 8,000% rise from 20,000 to 1.7 million in coin miners on endpoint computers, within a year, comprising of both legitimate and illegitimate coin mines.

Meanwhile, Monero has become a cryptocurrency of interest for coin miners and hackers over widely known cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins and Ethereum, because of it still being in its “nascent” stage and is much tougher to trace compared to Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin is something everyone has and for you to mine bitcoin is very difficult as you will need specialised hardware for that, whereas Monero is in its nascent stage so you can still mine Monero in your computer and be in its (Monero) network by just using your CPU and make money out of the network as well,” David noted.

As for targeted attacks, Symantec, which tracked 140 organised cyber crime groups, found 71% of them to have come from spear phishing, mostly via emails.

Attackers have also been known to inject malware into software supply chain, by infecting the software right from the coding stage.

As for motives, David said that targeted attacks are mostly done to gather intelligence whereas cryptojacking is attributable to the rising value of cryptocurencies.

He added that businesses should always be prepared and aware of cyber security threats and implement multilayer security defences.

Lauding Bank Negara Malaysia’s move of foiling a heist attempt on the SWIFT transaction platform, David said organisations should keep up with the developments of the changing cybersecurity climate and come up with mitigating strategies to beef up their security measures accordingly.

Banks, he said, are constantly investing in beefing up their cybersecurity measures. As for organisations resorting to third party hostings, David added that it is important to know the security measures which are in place to combat data leaks and to ensure that the data trove is in good hands.

Threats in the mobile space will also continue to grow with new mobile malware variants coming into force. The problem can be further exacerbated as older operating systems continue to be in use. In addition to that, smart devices and internet of things devices are also vulnerable to threats.

Consumers on the other hand were advised to keep their operating system and software up to date, be wary of emails and have their files backed up.