July, 2018

 

Gold heading for fourth monthly drop as bears take command

NEW YORK, July 31 — Gold is set for a fourth monthly decline, the longest losing streak since 2013, as more signs of US economic strength bolsters the case to raise interest rates and dollar gains make bullion pricier in other currencies. With…


Volkswagen says may have to recall 124,000 electric cars

BERLIN, July 31 — Volkswagen today said it may be forced to recall 124,000 electric and hybrid cars due to the presence of cadmium, a carcinogenic metal, in the vehicles. “Clarification is under way for a recall order by Germany’s Federal…


No barriers to trade for local auto industry please, says Ideas

PETALING JAYA: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) said the government should avoid implementing barriers to trade which are designed to protect Malaysia's domestic automotive industry, including taxes and duties, and be clear about its automotive policy.

“The government needs to have a clear mind on which direction that they are planning to go. Malaysia should be open to trade and look to competition, rather than direct government support, to develop a competitive domestic car industry,” Ideas economist Adli Amirullah said in a statement today.

He noted that technical standards on imports to ensure passenger safety are welcome, but not protectionism.

Adli was responding to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's plans to curb car imports and introduce a new national car in the near future.

Meanwhile, he disagrees with Mahathir's claim that the local car industry is at an “infant” stage given that Proton and Perodua have been in the market for at least 33 years and 24 years respectively.

“Perodua itself has grown so much that now it has the highest market share at 39.8% for passenger vehicles and sold a total of 204,887 units in 2017 alone which surpasses all imported cars.

“Proton came third after Honda, with 13.8% of market share for passenger vehicles and 70,991 units sold in 2017. These facts prove that there are flaws in an infant-industry argument. How long should our automotive industry be considered as an 'infant'?”

Commenting on the proposal for a third national car, Adli said he welcomes new players coming into the automotive industry if the government stays away from the market.

“In principle, we should not prevent any market player from entering the industry if they have the capacity to do so. But, the government needs to stay away from the market and should not involve itself directly or indirectly in the process of setting up a third national car.”

Instead, he opined that the government should focus on promoting competition.


Lotte Chemical Titan’s Q2 net profit nearly triples

PETALING JAYA: Lotte Chemical Titan Holding Bhd's prospects look to be brighter after a series of unfortunate events, with its net profit nearly tripling to RM315.03 million in the second quarter ended June 30 (Q2 2018), from RM113.62 million in the previous corresponding quarter.

This is also the company's second highest quarterly earnings since its listing in July 2017.

On Bursa Malaysia today, the stock gained 13 sen or 2.5% to RM5.29 on 6.0 million shares done.

Lotte Chemical Titan told the stock exchange today that the higher profit was partly attributed to higher sales volume and lower production cost resulting from improvement in plant operational efficiency.

Other factors contributing to the group's improved profit include higher foreign exchange gain, insurance proceeds from gas turbine claim, reduction of loss on fair value changes and increased in non-operating income.

Lotte Chemical Titan's revenue was up 28.1% to RM2.28 billion against RM1.78 billion previously, driven by the increase in sales volume which was driven by improvement in production quantity compared with Q2 2017. Its average plant utilisation improved from 71% to 82% in Q2 2018.

For the six-month period, the group's net profit grew 22.7% to RM559.22 million from RM455.77 million a year ago, while revenue increased 21.6% to RM4.49 billion against RM3.69 billion previously.

On prospects, the group said its FY2018 results are expected to be primarily influenced by the demand and supply balance of petrochemical products in the market, its ability to maximise production outputs and operational efficiency, and feedstock prices, which are correlated to crude oil prices.

It said the oil price is expected to be volatile and will have an impact on the price of naphtha, which is the group's main feedstock.

In addition, Lotte Chemical Titan said, there is uncertainty in the petrochemical business' dynamics and regional market due to the ongoing trade war between the US and China.

“Looking forward, the board would like to revise the full-year 2018 operating rate to about 85% due to profit optimisation and general plant maintenance. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, our board expects our performance for FY 2018 to remain positive,” it added.


US, China said to aim to restart talks to defuse trade war

WASHINGTON, July 31 — The US and China are trying to restart talks aimed at averting a full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies, two people familiar with the effort said. Representatives of US Treasury Secretary Steven…


US stocks bounce a bit after three weak sessions

NEW YORK, July 31 — Wall Street stocks bounced early today after three straight weak sessions ahead of Apple earnings and a Federal Reserve monetary policy decision. About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3 per…


CIMB says it has no tolerance for staff abusing position for profit

PETALING JAYA, July 31 — CIMB Group said today it has a zero tolerance policy on staff who misuse information or their position to profit illegally after a former vice president was slapped with a five-year prohibition order by the Monetary…


Fed set to hold rates steady, remain on track for more hikes

WASHINGTON, July 31 — The Federal Reserve is expected to keep interest rates unchanged tomorrow, but solid economic growth combined with rising inflation are likely to keep it on track for another two hikes this year even as President Donald Trump…


Customs: SST will affect only 70,000 to 80,000 businesses

KUALA LUMPUR: Only 70,000 to 80,000 businesses are expected to be affected under the new Sales and Services Tax (SST), compared with 472,000 registered under Goods & Services Tax (GST), according to Royal Malaysian Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy.

Speaking at a press conference after attending a seminar on SST today, Subromaniam said compared with the GST, the scope of coverage for the upcoming SST is much narrower, adding that it only covers 38% of the Consumer Price Index basket of goods, as compared to 60% by the GST.

“The government is aware of this and it is the government’s objective not to tax as broad as GST,” he added.

Subromaniam said the department has already started the engagement sessions with industry players last week after getting the approval from the Ministry of Finance.

“The number (of companies) to be registered under SST is very small compared to GST so it is very easy to manage. We will migrate those data (of the companies that are applicable under the SST) from MyGST to MySST system starting Thursday and we will inform the companies via email starting this week,” he added.

Additionally, Subromaniam said the tax rate and list of goods to be exempted from SST will be uploaded on Customs website next week. The SST is between 5% and 10%.

He also highlighted that the proposed SST will only involve 6,400 items (in terms of goods tax) compared with 11,197 items that were taxed under GST previously.

When the GST was introduced on April 2015, 553 types of goods and services were zero-rated, while another 25 were exempted from it.

Commenting on penalties, Subromaniam said the proposed SST will maintain the same punishments outlined in the GST, saying it is more enhanced compared to the old SST.

Meanwhile, Subromaniam said the department admits that there was an issue of delay in getting GST refunds previously that affected companies’ cash flows causing them to increase prices of goods and services.

“This single stage tax (SST) will not use the refund concept,” he added.


Customs: SST will affect only 70,000 to 80,000 firms

KUALA LUMPUR: Only 70,000 to 80,000 businesses are expected to be affected under the new Sales and Services Tax (SST), compared with 472,000 registered under Goods & Services Tax (GST), according to Royal Malaysian Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy.

Speaking at a press conference after attending a seminar on SST today, Subromaniam said compared with the GST, the scope of coverage for the upcoming SST is much narrower, adding that it only covers 38% of the Consumer Price Index basket of goods, as compared to 60% by the GST.

“The government is aware of this and it is the government’s objective not to tax as broad as GST,” he added.

Subromaniam said the department has already started the engagement sessions with industry players last week after getting the approval from the Ministry of Finance.

“The number (of companies) to be registered under SST is very small compared to GST so it is very easy to manage. We will migrate those data (of the companies that are applicable under the SST) from MyGST to MySST system starting Thursday and we will inform the companies via email starting this week,” he added.

Additionally, Subromaniam said the tax rate and list of goods to be exempted from SST will be uploaded on Customs website next week. The SST is between 5% and 10%.

He also highlighted that the proposed SST will only involve 6,400 items (in terms of goods tax) compared with 11,197 items that were taxed under GST previously.

When the GST was introduced on April 2015, 553 types of goods and services were zero-rated, while another 25 were exempted from it.

Commenting on penalties, Subromaniam said the proposed SST will maintain the same punishments outlined in the GST, saying it is more enhanced compared to the old SST.

Meanwhile, Subromaniam said the department admits that there was an issue of delay in getting GST refunds previously that affected companies’ cash flows causing them to increase prices of goods and services.

“This single stage tax (SST) will not use the refund concept,” he added.