Monday, December 3rd, 2018


Grim holiday tidings as Paris businesses count cost of riots

PARIS, Dec 3 — President Emmanuel Macron was elected on a promise to burnish France’s image, but as shops and hotels counted the costs today of rioting over the weekend, many worried his pledge was being undermined by the scenes of urban unrest…

EU in charge of trade policy, Merkel reminds car bosses

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Dec 3 — Chancellor Angela Merkel today reminded German carmakers that Brussels is in charge of negotiating the bloc’s trade policy, a day before auto bosses are to hold talks at the White House as punishing US tariffs loom….

Washington invites German car bosses for trade talks

FRANKFURT, Dec 3 — Executives from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen have been called to talks with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow tomorrow, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters. The meeting comes as the Trump administration…

Wall Street opens higher after US-China trade detente

NEW YORK, Dec 3 — Wall Street stocks surged in opening trading today after the United States and China agreed to a ceasefire on new tariffs over the weekend. About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,931.59, up…

Govt wants more SMEs in Digital Free Trade Zone

KUALA LUMPUR: The government, which is targeting for e-commerce to achieve an annual growth rate of 20% from a 14.3% growth posted in 2017, wants more SMEs to join the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) project to further push e-commerce in Malaysia.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said e-commerce registered a continuous increase for a period of seven years to RM85.8 billion in 2017, but opined that the target for the sector to reach RM211 billion by 2020 still needs more time.

“We want more SMEs onboard the e-commerce sector. DFTZ has been successful but still, it’s only 5,000 SMEs that are onboard. If we can increase from 5,000 to 25,000, we’ll be well on our way to achieve 20% growth in e-commerce, which still comes from a relatively low penetration rate,” he told a press conference at the E-commerce Day 2018 event here today.

Launched in 2017, DFTZ facilitates SMEs to export their products globally and provide market players with a holistic e-commerce trading experience. To date, over 5,000 SMEs are participating in the DFTZ while industry partners who have onboarded the DFTZ include (China), Lazada SEA (Asean), JBM (China), eRomman (Middle East), eBay (US), (Malaysia), BuyMalaysia (Malaysia) and Jocom (Malaysia).

Ong said e-commerce will also be driven by Malaysia’s signing of the Asean Agreement on Electronic Commerce on Nov 12, 2018, a concerted effort between 10 countries to smoothen cross border e-commerce transactions by reducing barriers and lowering entry costs.

He said the agreement has been the result of a one year deliberation where the pact wants to promote greater cross border e-commerce trade and reduce some of the red tapes associated with e-commerce.

“We need to be able to access the big markets, and to allow access to some of the players to come into Malaysia as well. Not only do we want to export more, we want Malaysia to have exposure to different products from different Asean countries. We need to have free flow of goods both ways,” said Ong, adding that this includes some of the smaller countries that has not been on the radar of Malaysian consumers.

The agreement is expected to streamline regional trade rules governing e-commerce to promote greater digital connectivity and lower operating barriers to entry for businesses. This will enhance the regional trade architecture for e-commerce, realise freer movement of e-commerce goods across Southeast Asia and support the regional expansion of companies based in Asean.

He said the government, through the National E-Commerce Council (NECC), will continue to chart the growth and development of e-commerce in the country through the implementation of the National E-Commerce Strategic Roadmap.

Since its establishment in 2016, NECC has worked towards enhancing the development and competitiveness of the e-commerce ecosystem, including having over 120,000 online businesses registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia and 20,000 SMEs registered with the Go E-commerce platform.

Kenanga raises earnings outlook for Carlsberg

PETALING JAYA: Kenanga Research has increased its FY18 and FY19 earnings for Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd on the back of improved contributions from Lion Brewery in Sri Lanka.

“We increased our FY18E and FY19E earnings by 4.3% and 3.5% respectively as we improved contributions from Lion Brewery. Additionally, we increased our Malaysian demand assumptions following the stronger results,” it said in its report today.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, the group reported core Patami of RM205 million, which amounted to 82% of Kenanga Research’s full-year expectations.

“We deem this to be above but within our consensus estimates, mainly due to better-than-expected contribution from its Sri Lankan associate, Lion Brewery. Malaysian sales were also better than expected, subsequent to our previous adjustments for softer demand post-Sales and Services Tax (SST),” it said.

Moving forward, it expects Carlsberg’s on-trade sales (at food and beverage establishments) to be dented by Sales and Services Tax finally kicking in, as these establishments would have to bear the brunt of both taxes.

“We anticipate demand to be skewed towards the off-trade market (retails, supermarkets), albeit being a lower margin channel. Still, the group’s continued emphasis on its premium mix could bolster the overall performance in the local scene,” it said.

Meanwhile, HLIB Research does not expect any hike in alcohol excise duty as the structure is already the third highest globally.

“We opine a hike in excise duty would result in growth in the illicit market at the expense of the legal volumes, which will result in reduced tax collection. For this reason, a hike in alcohol excise duties is unlikely,” it said in its report.

It expects the government and Royal Malaysian Customs to continue their efforts to fight contraband and strengthen the legitimate tax paying portion of the beer market in Malaysia and hence the government’s revenue collection of excise duty.

On the recent increase in the minimum age for purchasing alcohol to 21, it expects this to result in lower industry volumes due to a smaller pool of legal consumers.

HLIB Research maintained its “buy” call with an unchanged target price of RM22.70.

Carlsberg’s share price fell 1.62% or 32 sen to close at RM19.40 with 51,600 shares traded. It was one of the top losers on the bourse today.

Fourth consecutive week of foreign selling on Bursa

PETALING JAYA: Foreign investors sold RM244.5 million net of local equities last week, making it the fourth straight week of selling on Bursa Malaysia and the highest in five weeks.

According to MIDF Research, the amount sold was nearly five times the amount withdrawn in the preceding week.

“International investors entered into Bursa on Monday to the tune of RM65.2 million net, extending the foreign net buying streak from last week to three days with much of the optimism coming from Wall Street’s Black Friday spending, which surged to a record in addition to the stabilisation of Brent crude oil price reaching US$60 (RM249.60) per barrel.

“However, there was an exodus of foreign funds on Tuesday, as international investors offloaded RM277.1 million, the largest in a day since early November this year, coinciding with the FBM KLCI’s biggest daily drop since Oct 23, 2018,” it said in its fund flow report.

Investor sentiment was tempered on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump intends to expand trade tariffs on all remaining imports from China and Genting Malaysia Bhd’s legal dispute with Walt Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

MIDF Research noted that the level of foreign net selling shrank to RM32.7 million on Wednesday, before seeing a measurable net inflow of US$84.5 million following the speech by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell.

The total foreign net outflow stood at RM718.9 million in November, almost half of the RM1.42 billion offloaded in October, bringing the year-to-date foreign outflow to RM10.67 billion.

MIDF Research noted that the year-to-date foreign outflow for Malaysia is not as high compared with other Asean peers it tracks, namely Thailand and Indonesia, both of which have seen year-to-date outflows larger than US$3 billion.

The average daily traded value for foreigners stood below RM1 billion for the third week in a row, a level deemed not active.

Bursa Malaysia eyes shorter securities settlement

PETALING JAYA: Bursa Malaysia Bhd aims to shorten the securities settlement cycle to two days (T+2) from the three-day cycle (T+3) by the second quarter of 2019.

The stock exchange said in a statement that it has issued a consultation paper seeking public feedback on the proposed move for a shorter securities settlement cycle.

The proposal is part of ongoing efforts at improving operational efficiency, reducing systemic risks and aligning the clearing and settlement processes of the Malaysian capital market with international practices.

Bursa said the review of the settlement cycle was initiated to keep pace with changing trends of the market and the needs of market participants and investors.

It said among the benefits of the proposed two-day settlement cycle included, improved operational efficiency, reduced counterparty settlement risk, as well as strengthening marketplace competitiveness through harmonisation of post-trade infrastructure with major global exchanges.

The proposed key changes include: amendments to the cut-off times relating to tradeable balance in securities account, the delivery and settlement between a broker and its clients, and between the broker with Bursa Securities and amendments to the applicable timing with respect to buying-in, cash settlement, selling out and discretionary financing.

The public are invited to submit their comments and feedback to Bursa Malaysia by Dec 28.

Revenue Group to enter Myanmar by first quarter next year

KUALA LUMPUR: Cashless payment solutions provider Revenue Group Bhd plans to make its maiden foray into the overseas market within the first quarter of next year, via its partnership with a multinational company in Myanmar.

“Right now we are waiting for feedback from the authority. We expect to get their approval in first quarter of 2019,” the group’s managing director and group CEO Eddie Ng Chee Siong told reporters after its AGM and EGM today.

“If there is any good opportunity in other Asean countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, we will also consider (venturing into these countries),” Ng added.

Previously, the group said it allocated RM1.5 million from its initial public offering (IPO) proceeds for expansion into Myanmar and Cambodia, citing early stage development in the e-payment systems there.

In total, the ACE Market-listed company raised RM20.6 million from its IPO exercise, in which the bulk of the proceeds will be used to buy 9,000 units of new electronic data capture (EDC) terminals with the capability of accepting Quick Response payment.

However, Ng noted that there is no new development on its expansion plans into Cambodia at the moment.

He said the group’s businesses are concentrated in Malaysia and a majority of the group’s revenue is derived locally.

On its financial performance for financial year ended June 30, 2019 (FY19), Ng said the group is optimistic on its outlook as it aims to execute all of its existing contracts and expects more merchants to embrace cashless payment going forward.

Additionally, he said the group’s recent partnership with Public Bank Bhd to launch an all-in-one digital payment terminal is expected to be one of the main drivers to the group’s double-digit revenue growth target for FY19.

“Currently, we are also working with Hong Leong Bank on a similar contract we concluded with Public Bank. Hopefully, we can roll out the machines by end of this year.

“Because the more terminals we deploy, the more transactions it will gain and the more recurring income (we will get) from the banks’ site,” Ng added, noting it has sold 5,000 units of EDC terminals to Hong Leong Bank previously.

The group’s revenue grew 33% to RM35.36 million in FY18, compared with RM26.5 million in FY17 mainly due to higher revenue recognised from its three core business segments.

Its three business segments include the distribution, deployment, and maintenance of EDC terminals, electronic transaction processing services for credit and debit cards as well as solutions and services related to payment infrastructure.

The group serves more than 10 financial institutions. Its clients include physical and online store merchants.

US needs to see ‘something concrete’ from China in 90 days, says Mnuchin

WASHINGTON, Dec 3 — The US will need to see “something concrete” from China on trade in the next 90 days to build a real agreement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said today. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met in…