Thursday, November 1st, 2018


Spotify earnings hit sour note on Wall Street

NEW YORK, Nov 1 — Spotify shares took a hit today after a disappointing growth outlook offset the first-ever quarterly profit posted by the streaming music sector leader. Shares in the Swedish-based music group slid 9.5 per cent to US$135.52…

Trump says will meet China’s Xi as trade talks ‘move along’

WASHINGTON, Nov 1 — US President Donald Trump today said trade discussions with China were “moving along nicely” and that he planned to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming G-20 summit, after the two had a “very good”…

Wall Street gains ground after selloff, but tech falters as Apple slips

NEW YORK, Nov 1 — US stocks rose today, as robust earnings reports supported a third day of recovery from a bruising selloff in October, but a drop in Apple’s shares ahead of results kept technology stocks under pressure. Chemicals producer…

Ryanair sticks to plans to close Eindhoven base

AMSTERDAM, Nov 1 — Ryanair today said it would not change plans to shut its base for pilots in the Netherlands next week, despite a Dutch court order blocking the low-cost carrier from moving crew elsewhere against their will. Ryanair said last…

Sterling jumps on reported financial services Brexit deal

LONDON, Nov 1 — The British pound rallied today on reports of a post-Brexit financial services deal, as investors also awaited an interest rate decision from the Bank of England. Sterling surged to a one-week peak at US$1.2920 (RM5.40) in morning…

President Xi admits ‘uncertainty’ in China’s economy

BEIJING, Nov 1 — President Xi Jinping sought to reassure Chinese entrepreneurs at a meeting today with promises to prop up private firms with lower taxes and more funding, as he acknowledged uncertainty in China’s economy. Xi held the meeting…

Google workers walk out in global protest over harassment

DUBLIN, Nov 1 — Hundreds of employees walked out of Google’s European headquarters in Dublin today as part of a global campaign over the US tech giant’s handling of sexual harassment that saw similar protests in London and Singapore. At…

Proton sales grow 12.6pc in October

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd recorded a 12.6 per cent growth in sales for Proton cars in October following a market correction in September due to the introduction of Sales and Services Tax (SST). Despite a contracted…

Easier to do business in Malaysia now, up nine spots to 15th: World Bank

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, which was ranked 15th among 190 countries in World Bank's Doing Business 2019 Report, is advised to continue with its business-friendly reforms going forward.

The Doing Business Report ranks economies based on their business regulations and the ease of doing business. Data in the 2019 report are current as at May 1, 2018.

At a press conference today, World Bank group senior economist Arvind Jain said the ease of doing business in Malaysia improved significantly this year, jumping nine spots from i24th position a year ago after it carried out six business reforms in the past year.

Arvind said the acceleration in reforms have also helped the country regain its position among the top 20 ranked economies in the world, ahead of the country's neighbours such as Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar.

“I hope that the government will continue with their reform agenda to sustain the country's ranking in the top 20 economies in the world,” he added.

Arvind said the six business reforms implemented covered the areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, trading across borders and resolving insolvency.

According to the report, Malaysia is among the world's top five performers in several areas, noting that the country is second only to New Zealand in protecting minority investors.

Malaysia has advanced to third in dealing with construction permits.

In obtaining electricity, Malaysia now ranks fourth globally. The report said the cost for businesses to obtain a commercial electricity connection in Malaysia is only 26% of income per capita, compared to an average of 625% in East Asia and Pacific.

However, it said despite the reforms, Malaysia continues to underperform in the area of starting a business, with a global ranking of 122nd.

The report revealed that it takes 9.5 procedures and 13.5 days to register a new business in Malaysia, compared to only two procedures and 1.5 days in Singapore and 3.5 procedures and 5.5 days in Brunei, the region's best performers.

Meanwhile, International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking said in a statement today that a special task force has been set up to initiate and drive regulatory reforms and improvements within the doing business indicator areas in the country.

“The government will undertake more reform initiatives to further enhance the ease of doing business of a new Malaysia that prospers through business competitiveness,” he added.

One-bedroom, SoHo units most difficult to rent out: Speedrent

KUALA LUMPUR: The one-bedroom small office/home office (SoHo) is the most difficult to rent and has the lowest inquiries among many residential properties, according to home rental platform Speedrent.

CEO Wong Whei Meng said buyers who intend to invest in SoHo must ensure that they are capable of sustaining and maintaining the property despite its vacancy over time.

Since Speedrent’s establishment, the company has accumulated more than 400,000 renters’ worth of search data, and only 12% of the tenant search keywords are SoHo or one-bedroom houses. This shows the difficulty of renting out such units.

“Malaysians still prefer to rent places with two to three bedrooms because this is suitable for small families. If they are single adults, they prefer to find someone to share a unit with them. Even with a rental of RM1,200 per month, SoHo is still a burden for many because our country’s average income is low.”

Investors who buy SoHo expect an average monthly rent of RM1,226 when in reality, the tenant is only willing to pay around RM1,000. The rent expectation gap between the two parties is as high as 20%.

The rental difference between homeowners and tenants in two or three bedroom high-rise residential buildings is relatively small. The average rental price is about RM1,378, and the tenant is willing to pay the rent at around RM1,200, so the rent expectation gap between rents and tenants is lesser compared to that of SoHo.

Based on the platform’s operating experience, Wong proposed the “property return 345 rule”, defining it as the unattractiveness of landed properties, high-rise buildings and SoHo properties with returns less than 3-5% to investors.

“Before deciding to purchase a property for investment, you should research and investigate the rental for similar and nearby properties. If you divide the annual rent by the house market price, you will get the gross rental yield. If the industry rent return rate does not match the 345 rule, you must further consider whether your properties are sustainable.”

He said shoppers should also pay attention to the details in SoHo advertisements as some may be simply conjecture.

“The devil is hidden in the details. The Malaysian industry has the ability to become a buyer’s market. Before buying a home, do your homework first. It’s a long-term commitment,” said Wong.