Wednesday, November 14th, 2018


No-deal Brexit would cost Britain 6pc of GDP, IMF warns

LONDON, Nov 14 — Leaving the European Union without a transitional trade deal would cost Britain about 6 per cent of GDP — roughly four years of economic growth — compared with staying in the bloc, the International Monetary Fund said today….

Paris tries to put brakes on ‘yellow vest’ diesel protests

PARIS, Nov 14 — The French government today attempted to head off planned protests over rising fuel costs by announcing a series of measures to help poorer families pay their bills. A surge in the price of diesel has provoked an uproar in rural…

Wall Street rallies on soft inflation numbers

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 — Wall Street was in a sunny mood early today, rallying after a batch of friendly inflation data as investors looked to end a streak of lower closes. The closely watched Consumer Price Index showed relatively tame inflation…

Emerging stocks falter on growth concerns

BENGALURU: Plunging oil prices and a weaker dollar lifted most emerging currencies today but failed to boost emerging shares weighed down by Chinese growth concerns.

The emerging currency index firmed with the extended oil slide boosting currencies of big energy importers such as India, Turkey, Indonesia and the Philippines. The rupee rallied to a near two-month high.

“Two key things driving FX markets in particular. One is the news yesterday on the potential easing in trade tension between US and China … and, secondly, the continued decline in oil prices which benefit net importers such as the Indian rupee,” said Khoon Goh, Head of Asia Research at ANZ.

US-China trade tensions enjoyed a reprieve on Tuesday as negotiations between the world's two largest economies appeared to be making headway, with a US adviser saying the countries' two leaders would meet at the Group of 20 meeting later this month.

“So, we are seeing a divergence between FX and equities in Asia where the equity moves are being driven by what is happening in the US, while FX is driven by oil prices and ongoing developments in the US-China trade relationships,” added Goh.

Overnight, Wall Street reversed early gains that were driven by trade optimism as energy stocks dragged.

The MSCI index for stocks was lower by 0.4%, its fifth-straight session of losses as most Asian indices came under pressure from mainland Chinese equities , which fell about 1% each.

Losses in China came after new data underscored concerns about weaker economic growth, and as energy producers slipped on plunging oil prices.

Indices in Hong Kong and South Korea also fell by 0.5% and 0.15% respectively.

The Russian stock index fell 1.2% dragged by energy stocks, but, the rouble was slightly firmer supported by upcoming local tax payments which offset the plunge in benchmark oil prices.

Stock in South Africa were trading at their lowest levels since the beginning of the month, down 1.3%. – Reuters

Energy drives US consumer prices to nine-month high in October

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 — US consumer inflation got a bump in October, as prices for gasoline and electricity shot up, rising along with the cost of shelter and medical care, the government reported today. The increase in overall consumer prices was…

Dialog boosts FY19 capex to nearly RM1 billion

KUALA LUMPUR: Dialog Group Bhd, which is exploring opportunities in petrochemical industry to grow its recurring income, has allocated close to RM1 billion for capital expenditure in financial year 2019 (FY19), a 50% increase from RM500 million in FY18.

“We have allocated quite substantial capex (for FY19) … RM150 million for internal capital investment, which will be used for our tank terminal business, RM200 million for upstream and another RM500 million for downstream business,” group chief financial officer Zainab Mohd Salleh told reporters after its AGM today.

She said part of the capex allocation will also be used for the refurbishment and expansion works for Langsat Terminals, as it will be expanding its dormant Langsat Terminal 3 into a 300,000 cubic metre storage facility.

Group director of corporate services Chew Eng Kar said the capex will also go for the further development of Phase 3 of the Pengerang deepwater terminal in Johor, noting that land reclamation for the development will take about two years.

Phase 3, which includes the development of petroleum and petrochemical storage terminals, will be developed on about 300 acres of land with an indicative initial investment cost of RM2.5 billion.

On plans to grow its recurring revenue stream, Chew said the group is exploring opportunities to acquire minority stakes in petrochemical facilities but has yet to make any decision.

“This opportunity arises from the development of the Pengerang site, where we have enough land opportunities to move on to petrochemical industry. But we are still discussing, and if we go in, we will only take minority stakes,” he said.

According to the group's annual report, after the completion of Phase 3, there will be about 500 acres available for future phases, comprising reclaimable land and the buffer zone.

Chew said the group is still in discussions with its potential new partners for the Pengerang Phase 3 development, noting most companies that it is talking to are multinational corporations.

Last April, Dialog said it is partnering with the Johor government for Phase 3.

On its outlook, Chew said the group's business diversification in upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the oil, gas and petrochemical industry would enable it to withstand the oil price and currency volatility.

No vodka or caviar? Russia’s Davos party coming to an end

MOSCOW, Nov 14 — Davos without vodka or caviar? Unthinkable a few years ago, but not with Russia’s economic influence waning and Moscow now threatening to boycott next year’s gathering of the global business elite in the Swiss Alps….

Ministry clarifies NPLs of Malaysian SMEs not among world’s highest

JOHOR BARU: The Entrepreneur Development Ministry clarified today that the non-performing loans (NPLs) related to small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) as reported in the media referred to the NPLs of development financial institutions (DFIs).

In a statement issued here, the ministry said the NPL ratio of the DFIs stands at 15%, according to official figures from Bank Negara Malaysia.

“DFIs currently provide only 5% of total SME financing whereas banks (financial institutions) provide the balance of 92%.

“When aggregated, the NPL for Malaysia is only 3.5%, which is lower than that in most countries in the world,” the ministry said.

The statement clarified today's news reports which had quoted the minister as saying that the NPL ratio among Malaysian small and medium enterprise entrepreneurs is among the world's highest at between 15% and 20%. – Bernama

Go-Jek’s beta app to launch in Singapore before Christmas

SINGAPORE — Ride-hailing firm Go-Jek is expected to deliver an early Christmas present to Singapore, as it confirmed today that selected commuters will be able to start booking rides with its beta app before year-end. While its president Andre…

SP Setia’s third quarter profit down 81%

PETALING JAYA: SP Setia Bhd’s net profit plunged 81.3% to RM65.19 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018 against RM348.89 million in the previous corresponding period, due to lower contribution from property development following the completion of Phase 1 of the Battersea Power Station project.

Its revenue also slipped 6.1% to RM993 million from RM1.06 billion.

SP Setia’s nine-month net profit shrank 20% from RM711.57 million to RM569.41 million, while revenue dropped 12.8% to RM2.57 billion from RM2.95 billion.

During the period, the group achieved sales of RM3.21 billion where the local projects contributed RM2.32 billion or 72% of the total sales.

The group said in a filing with the stock exchange that for the first nine months of 2018, it has launched projects with a combined gross development value of RM4.64 billion.

Another RM1.60 billion is planned for the remaining months of 2018, where the group will continue to focus on the launches of mid-range landed properties in the established townships of Klang Valley and Johor Baru.

Looking ahead, SP Setia said the property market remains subdued as many potential buyers find difficulty to obtain their desired loan financing margin due to the stringent lending guidelines or are taking a “wait-and-see” approach as the current economic uncertainties persist.

“While the expected pick-up in sales has not been evident during the month of October 2018 and conditions remain challenging, we are still committed to meet our sales target for the year.”

Its sales target for 2018 has been set at RM5 billion.

SP Setia also hopes that the initiatives of helping home buyers in Budget 2019 will uplift the market sentiment.

“In the long run, the group’s prospects remain positive with total unbilled sales of RM7.92 billion, anchored by 46 ongoing projects and effective remaining land bank of 9,548 acres with a GDV of RM155.26 billion as at Sept 30.”

The stock gained 1 sen or 0.5% to close at RM2.01 today on 981,100 shares done.