Thursday, April 5th, 2018
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PETALING JAYA: The local stock market staged a strong rebound today with a gain of as much as 22.87 points or 1.3%, negating the effects of intense selling pressure at the eleventh hour on Wednesday after an escalation in US-China trade tensions.
Concerns about a full-blown trade war abated after US President Donald Trump stated his disinclination for a trade conflict with China in a tweet, followed by his chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s statement that the US’ proposed US$50 billion (RM194 billion) in duties on selected Chinese imports could just be a negotiation ploy.
Asian stock markets closed mainly higher today on hopes that a trade war would be averted.
Analysts, however, cautioned that the broader market is expected to be volatile due to uncertainty over how the US-China trade spat will play out.
They believe Bursa Malaysia will be largely driven by global developments, while the upcoming general election will not have a significant impact given that the market has priced in the election factor. It is widely speculated that Parliament will be dissolved tomorrow ahead of the launch of Barisan Nasional’s manifesto on Saturday.
Bursa Malaysia’s benchmark index, the FBM KLCI, rebounded 20.19 points or 1.1% to close at 1,836.13 points today, with 2.22 billion shares valued at RM2.02 billion traded. Market breadth was positive with 660 gainers against 344 losers.
Top gainers included Hong Leong Financial Group, Dutch Lady Milk Industries and Hong Leong Bank, which rose 90 sen, 76 sen and 72 sen to RM19, RM66.96 and RM18.70, respectively.
On the currency market, the ringgit strengthened marginally by 0.03% to RM3.8665 as at 5pm today.
AmBank Research head Anthony Dass said even after Parliament’s dissolution, the local market will continue to be dominated by global trade issues, particularly in the next two to three weeks.
“The market will be volatile pending the latest developments in the US and China. It will be a very choppy market. Not so much on push factor in the domestic front, but is more of a pull factor on the external front.
“The local bourse is moving in tandem with what’s happening on the global side,” he told SunBiz. He added that the trade spat’s impact on Malaysian companies remains to be seen.
Anthony also pointed out that the global market is closely monitoring US economic data, which will influence the US interest rate hike cycle. “If these data do not turn out to be better than expected, then the market will start to react.”
However, he said, it is common to see support from domestic funds in the event of a heavy sell-off by foreign funds in the Malaysian market.
JF Apex Securities head of research Lee Chung Cheng believes the FBM KLCI will remain supported at 1,800 and meet resistance at 1,840.
“Overall, we’re negative on the second quarter because of the global environment and interest rates,” he said, adding that sentiment on the small and mid-cap stocks will remain weak.
Meanwhile, MIDF Research has maintained its year-end target of 1,900 points for the FBM KLCI. “At this juncture, we are nonetheless still hoping that cooler heads will prevail,” it said in a research note today.
PETALING JAYA: Exports shrank for the first time since November 2016 after seeing an increase for 15 consecutive months, falling 2.0% to RM70.3 billion in February 2018, on the back of lower exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), timber and timber-based products, and palm oil and palm-based products.
On a month-on-month basis, exports fell 15.1% from RM82.8 billion on the back of lower exports of E&E exports, LNG, timber and timber-based products, palm oil and palm-based products, crude petroleum and refined petroleum products.
According to the Department of Statistics, exports to countries such as Japan (-RM1.2 billion), China (-RM931.5 million), Indonesia (-RM918.3 million), Singapore (-RM596.3 million) and Mexico (-RM318.6 million) all declined.
Similar to exports, imports too saw their first drop in over a year, falling 2.8% from the previous year to RM61.3 billion with a major decline seen the intermediate goods segment (down 14.7%), despite an increase in imports of capital and consumption goods.
On a m-o-m basis, imports fell 16.2% from RM73.2 billion as intermediate goods, capital goods and consumption goods registered declines.
Malaysia’s total trade for February saw a y-o-y decline of 2.4% or RM3.2 billion to RM131.7 billion. Compared with the previous month, total trade shrunk by RM24.3 billion or 15.6%.
A trade surplus of RM9.0 billion was recorded in February 2018, an increase of RM286.2 million (+3.3%) from RM8.7 billion registered a year ago. When compared with the previous month, it fell RM648.7 million or 6.7%.
MIDF Research said the fall in exports and imports is mainly attributable to fewer working days and high base effect due to the Lunar New Year festival in February.
“Despite the fall, we opine that Malaysia’s external trade performance will rebound in coming months, leading to an overall easing path in 2018 amid upbeat momentum in global trade activities.”
It expects Malaysian exports to rise 9.3% this year, on upbeat global indicators and a rebound in commodity prices.
KAJANG: Protasco Bhd bagged an eight-year extension to its concession to maintain federal roads in central and eastern Peninsular Malaysia, which will run until 2026, and two other road maintenance concessions in Perak worth RM216.2 million in the first two years.
The federal roads concession contract sum was not disclosed.
Protasco said in an announcement to Bursa Malaysia that its subsidiary Roadcare (M) Sdn Bhd signed the concession extension agreement with the government today. The deal covers federal roads in Selangor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan for a period of eight years from Feb 17, 2018 until Feb 16, 2026.
This eight-year period is the second part of a 10-year concession awarded in 2016. The initial two-year period expired in February 2018 and was extended in the interim for three months.
Another subsidiary, Empayar Indera Sdn Bhd, was awarded two concession extensions for routine and periodic maintenance works by the Perak government.
The first, covering state roads, is a five-year extension for an existing concession which expires in December 2019. This agreement for routine and periodic maintenance includes a two-year extension, which would mean the contract ends on Dec 31, 2026.The contract sum for the first two years is RM126.1 million.
The second concession is also a five-year extension for both routine and periodic maintenance works for agricultural roads in Perak, worth RM90.1 million in the first two years. Both contract sums are subject to review every two years during the contract period of five plus two years.
The contract is for five years from March 1, 2019 until Feb 28, 2024 with an extension of two years from March 1, 2024 until Feb 28, 2026.
“The award is an extension of the existing maintenance contract with the state government of Perak, which expires in February 2019,” it said.
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WASHINGTON, April 5 — The US trade deficit increased to a near 9-1/2-year high in February, with both exports and imports rising to record highs, but the shortfall with China narrowed sharply. News of the worsening trade deficit comes as the…