Monday, May 21st, 2018


Wall Street rallies with China trade war ‘on hold’

NEW YORK, May 21 — Wall Street leapt higher at the open today with a jolt of enthusiasm greeting official statements that Washington and Beijing are no longer on a collision course on trade. Despite an uncertain outcome after three days of talks…

Foreign selling on Bursa Malaysia last week heaviest since August 2013

PETALING JAYA: Global funds reacted to the unprecedented outcome of Malaysia’s 14th general election (GE14) by dumping RM2.48 billion net of local equities in the open market (excluding off-market deals) last week, the heaviest weekly foreign sell-off in Malaysia since the week ended Aug 23, 2013, according to MIDF Research.
Foreign investors have been net sellers for 10 straight trading days as of last Friday.
Nonetheless, the local stock market remained stable yesterday, in line with gains in the regional markets after the fears of a trade war between the US and China eased. The FBM KLCI rose as much as 10.44 points or 0.6% to 1,864.94 before closing down marginally by 0.92 point or 0.05% at 1,853.58.
The ringgit, meanwhile, weakened 0.2% to 3.9785 against the greenback as at 5pm yesterday.
The research house said the first trading day after GE14 saw a net outflow of RM682.6 million net. Nevertheless, the trading value on Bursa was the highest ever recorded on the same day at RM7.30 billion.
“Foreign selling on Tuesday then swelled to RM837.3 million net, the largest in a day since early February 2018. On Wednesday, foreign outflows tapered to RM320.7 million as investors cheered the post-GE14 reforms, which included the reduction of GST to 0% effective from June 1 in addition to the pardon granted to jailed former deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The FBM KLCI followed suit to settle 0.54% higher at an eight-day trading high of 1,858 points as buying activity by retailers and local funds continued amid renewed optimism.
“Foreign investors continued selling on Thursday and Friday to the tune of RM384.4 million net and RM251.2 milion net as the surge in US treasury yields during the week crept into minds of investors.”
Due to the intense selling pressure, MIDF Research said the cumulative net inflow into Malaysia so far this year has been substantially reduced to RM40.2 million from RM2.52 billion before GE14.
“We are cautiously optimistic that this cumulative figure may gradually pick up as more political clarity comes into picture. Despite recording the largest weekly outflow among the four Asean markets we monitor last week, Malaysia is still the major beneficiary of foreign inflows.”
Foreign participation remained strong as the foreign average daily trade value (ADTV) soared by almost 100% to RM2.39 billion, the highest in 24 weeks. Similarly, participation in the retail and institutional market was robust as their ADTVs reached a level not seen for 18 weeks.

Cosway to boost presence in Malay market

KUALA LUMPUR: Cosway (M) Sdn Bhd, which launched Muslim-friendly brand “Dignita” today, aims to have 50%-60% of Malay stockists in 1½ years' time to deepen its presence in the Malay direct-selling market, from 30% now.

Cosway executive director Dr Alice Lee said the homegrown direct-selling company has 530 stockists currently.

“Cosway is known to be Chinese-centric but we're doing a rebranding. We want to expand our horizon and target audience. It's only normal for us to go into the Malay market and to give back to our Malay stockists. We have a good number of Malay stockists and this is a right time to venture into the right product and 'give back' to them,” she told a press conference after the product launch here today.

The Dignita brand celebrates the empowerment of women and is positioned as trendy, fashionable, youthful and Muslim-friendly. Cosway has teamed up with Naelofar Hijab to come out with the first limited edition of “Dignita” printed satin scarf collection, which will be exclusively distributed by Cosway nationwide and online through Cosway's website.

Cosway today also launched Diamond Royale by Beautycode, a premium line luxury skincare from Switzerland. Diamond Royale, being “pro youth”, comprises six products containing the groundbreaking Age Correct Complex and adopting self-regenerative stem cell technology to bring skin back to its youthful state.

Berjaya Corp Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan expressed confidence that Dignita will spearhead Cosway's penetration into the Malay direct-selling market environment.

He said the introduction of new products such as Diamond Royale and Dignita by Cosway will provide more options for its members to promote in the competitive direct-selling environment.

This month, he said, Cosway added a new feature in its business model, which is the e-centre, an online one-stop centre without the hassle of handling stock and inventory.

Members who act as e-centres will enjoy another source of income besides the bonuses, with commissions of up to 15% of the sales they manage, said Tan.

“We believe this is what the younger generation will embrace because it's online and will provide convenience for members and consumers.”

Tan also announced that, effective today, Cosway is implementing zero-rated GST for all its products nationwide, ahead of the June 1, 2018 date set by the government.

Kenanga gets BNM nod to start talks on buying Interpac Securities

PETALING JAYA: Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd (Kenanga IB) has been given the nod by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to commence negotiations in relation to the acquisition of the stockbroking business of Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd (Interpac).

Interpac is an indirect subsidiary of Berjaya Capital Bhd, which in turn is part of Berjaya Corp Bhd. Established in 1972, Interpac has five branches across Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru with a paid-up capital of RM250 million.

Kenanga IB said in a stock exchange filing that BNM had stated via a letter dated May 16 that it has no objection for Kenanga to commence negotiations with Interpac for the acquisition of the stockbroking business as well as its related assets, liabilities and contractual arrangements.

Kenanga IB managing director Datuk Chay Wai Leong said the group is looking forward towards a smooth and fruitful negotiation process and aims to conclude the acquisition within the next six months.

“The potential acquisition will further strengthen Kenanga’s leading position in the retail broking space to become the top two largest stock broker in Malaysia, with a combined market share of over 10% and retail market share of about 25%,” he added.

Kenanga IB operates through 32 branches nationwide and boasts the largest remisier network in the country.

On Bursa Malaysia today, Kenanga IB fell 0.78% to 63.5 sen on volume of 487,600 shares.

Poll: 92% of Malaysians prefer to own than rent

KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the rising perception that more Malaysians would choose to rent than to buy a home, statistics from the recent PropertyGuru Consumer Sentiment Survey show that 92% of those polled would rather own the roof over their heads than to lease.

Among those polled, about 33% were presently renting with 67% residing in their “own homes”. Own homes are regarded as homes that are owned by their dwellers or it could be a family home, staying with a sibling or relative and other non-rental residences.

A total of 817 respondents participated in the PropertyGuru’s Consumer Sentiment Survey for the second half of 2017.

The survey shows that the traditional aspiration of owning a home remains largely unchanged despite evolving property market trends and demographics.

For those who would prefer to rent, the majority cited a location that is close to their office or workplace as the most important criterion (71%), followed by family considerations (55%) and public transportation accessibility (52%) respectively. High-rise homes are the preferred option for renters with condominiums and serviced apartments being the top choice.

“It appears that despite rising living costs, higher loan rejection rates and price unaffordability, Malaysians including the younger generation still would make home ownership a key lifestyle aspiration. The desire is very strong perhaps due to family or peer pressure or due to the prevalence of traditional perceptions of owning a home as being a sound foundation for one’s future,” said PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez.

“Beyond providing a place to stay, a home to Malaysians still represents stability, security and continues to be a key asset class for wealth accumulation via capital appreciation and rental yields.”

Fernandez added that the PropertyGuru survey also showed that even many of those who are presently renting also aspire to buy a home if they can afford it.

Renters believe that RM501-RM800 monthly to rent a room was a realistic budget while those looking to rent a home would ideally wish to pay RM801-RM1100 per month, depending on location, property type, unit size and other factors.

Trump says China to buy more US farm products, offers no details

WASHINGTON, May 21 — US President Donald Trump today said China had pledged to buy “massive amounts” of American agricultural products but gave no other details about planned commitments from Beijing following US-China trade talks last week….

Grab partners Maybank for mobile wallet launch

PETALING JAYA: Grab today announced a strategic partnership with Maybank to drive the acceptance and usage of Grab’s new cashless payment method, the GrabPay mobile wallet.

The announcement comes as Grab, which received its e-money license from Bank Negara Malaysia in December 2017, is set to launch its GrabPay mobile wallet in beta in the coming weeks.

With the partnership and support of Maybank, Grab consumers will not only be able to use GrabPay mobile wallet at GrabPay merchants, but will also be able to eventually use their mobile wallet at Maybank’s key merchants thereby making GrabPay accepted at a wider network of merchants.

Similarly, Maybank customers will also eventually have the option of paying via Maybank QRPay at GrabPay merchants.

Through the partnership, consumers will soon also have the added convenience of directly topping-up cash to their mobile wallet via Maybank2U.

Maybank group president and CEO Datuk Abdul Farid Alias said that the collaboration with Grab is part of Maybank’s ongoing efforts to provide customers with even more digital conveniences that would not only enrich their online experience but also enhance their lifestyles.

Deadline for Alliance Bank’s annual BizSmart Challenge for SMEs extended to May 31


KUALA LUMPUR (May 21): The application deadline for Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd’s annual BizSmart Challenge, the bank’s flagship programme aimed at nurturing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), has been extended from May 20 to May 31. SMEs participating in BizSmart Challenge 2018, which is presented by Alliance Bank and Eco World Development Group Bhd (EcoWorld), stand a chance to win RM1 million and media coverage prizes. SMEs that have been in operation between 18 months and five years are encouraged to apply. “This year, finalists will undergo realistic business challengesRead More

US-China trade tariffs truce boosts Malaysia’s economic outlook

PETALING JAYA: With a key risk averted as world economic powerhouses the US and China called a truce on trade tensions, the economic prospects of Malaysia are looking up with gross domestic product (GDP) growth expected to go up to 6% this year.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Sunday that the trade war between the two of the world's largest economies will be put on hold after a turf war of sorts in relation to the imposition of tariffs and the reduction of America's trade deficit with China by US$200 billion (RM796 billion).

However, it is not known whether a full-fledged trade war has been nipped in the bud or that the truce between the two of the world's largest economies is temporary, as talks between the two are reportedly still in progress.

Sunway University Business School Professor of Economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng told SunBiz that with the truce, a key risk to the economy has abated, and it would spell well for Malaysia as its trade and currency are strongly tied to the Chinese and US economies.

A favourable external environment coupled with increase in private consumption on the domestic front due to the impending abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), he said, will further lift growth prospects for the country.

“We may see GDP (gross dometic product) growth for this year shifting towards the upper end of the 5.5%-6.0% range, especially if capital investment this year is not derailed by the ongoing review of mega infrastructure projects,” he said.

“The truce will enable negotiations to proceed more productively to find amicable solutions in plugging the huge trade imbalance between the two countries. However, if no tangible results are reached, we may see a resurrection of the trade dispute,” Yeah cautioned.

Last week, Bank Negara Malaysia announced that Malaysia's GDP grew 5.4% in the first quarter of the year.

Senior research fellow at the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research Dr Shankaran Nambiar said the escalating tensions between the US and China may not have translated into a cutdown of orders from Malaysian companies.

Noting that while the tension has been averted at least for now, he said Malaysia would have been negatively impacted had this dispute been blown into a full-fledged trade war.

Shankaran projects Malaysia's GDP to outperform by growing by 5.7-5.9% assuming that the policies of the newly minted government work out well.

Meanwhile, on the ringgit, Yeah said the local unit is expected to hover between RM3.80 and RM3.90 to one US dollar by year-end.

“A stable ringgit will be favourable for the Malaysian economy, especially during the current phase of fiscal and structural adjustments,” he noted.

Grab to partner with Maybank for mobile wallet in Malaysia


SINGAPORE (May 21): Ride-hailing firm Grab will partner with Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Malaysia’s biggest bank, to drive the usage and adoption of its GrabPay mobile wallet, the companies said in a statement on Monday. Grab, which received its e-money licence from Bank Negara Malaysia in 2017, is set to launch GrabPay mobile wallet in beta in the coming weeks in Malaysia, it said. While GrabPay is available in various applications in other countries, Malaysia would become the second market where the wallet can be used to make purchases inRead More