Wednesday, January 30th, 2019


US, China resume trade talks with a chill in the air

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 — Top US and Chinese trade officials returned to the bargaining table today, working to avoid a sharp escalation in the trade war between the world's two largest economies. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is leading Beijing's…

Germany wants to build up 5G network quickly but also securely, says economy ministry

BERLIN, Jan 30 — Germany wants to build up a 5G network quickly but also securely, a spokeswoman for the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday, when asked about concerns over the use of technology from China's Huawei. "It is important that the high…

Malaysia’s 2018 exports just miss RM1 trillion mark

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s exports nearly reached the RM1 trillion mark last year, recording 6.7% growth year-on-year to RM998 billion, while imports grew 4.9% year on year to RM877.7 billion.

This resulted in a record high total trade of RM1.9 trillion, representing year-on-year growth of 5.9%.

“This remarkable performance was contributed by higher trade with Hong Kong (+RM27.9 billion or 45.2%), China (+RM23.4 billion or 8.1%), Taiwan (+RM17.4 billion or 22.1%), Singapore (+RM13.6 billion or 6.0%) and the European Union (+RM8.5 billion or 4.8%),” Chief Statistician of Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in a statement today.

According to the Department of Statistics, exports in December 2018 increased 4.8% year-on-year to RM83.3 billion. Re-exports were valued at RM14.1 billion with an increase of 16.3% and accounted for 16.9% of total exports. Domestic exports recorded an increase of 2.7% to RM69.2 billion.

The main items which contributed to the expansion in exports in December 2018 were electrical and electronic products (+RM4.1 billion), crude petroleum (+RM471.1 million) and timber and timber-based products (+RM8.7 million).

However, declines were recorded for palm oil and palm oil-based products (-RM1.6 billion), refined petroleum products (-RM246.4 million), liquefied natural gas (-RM114.2 million) and natural rubber (-RM50.7 million).

Meanwhile, imports increased marginally by 1.0% year on year to RM72.8 billion in December, mainly due to intermediate goods (+RM1.2 billion) and consumption goods (+RM352.9 million). However, imports of capital goods declined RM2.6 billion.

Total trade, which was valued at RM156.1 billion, increased 3.0% year on year. The trade surplus was RM10.4 billion, an increase of RM3.1 billion (+41.6%) from a year ago.

Berjaya Corp ups stake in Berjaya Land for RM87.4m

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) is acquiring a 4.61% stake in Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) for RM87.4 million or 38 sen per share.

The proposed acquisition will be fully satisfied via the issuance of about 291.3 million new BCorp shares at an issue price of 30 sen per share.

The purchase price of 38 sen represents a 49% premium against BLand’s today closing price of 25.5 sen.

Upon completion of the proposed acquisition, BCorp’s shareholding in BLand will increase to 76.89% from 72.28% as at Jan 29, 2019.

BCorp told Bursa Malaysia that the group and its wholly owned subsidiary Juara Sejati Sdn Bhd had entered into a conditional share sale agreement with Penta Master Fund Ltd, PCM Industrial LP and Penta Asia Long/Short Fund Ltd for the proposed acquisition.

BCorp said the proposed acquisition represents an opportunity for the group to further increase its equity interest in BLand without having to incur any cash outlay as the purchase sum will be fully satisfied via the issuance of new BCorp shares, thereby mitigating any immediate impact to its cashflows for day-to-day operations and avoiding any incurrence of interests via bank borrowings.

“The proposed acquisition will eliminate any possible material decrease in the market prices of BLand shares should the sale shares be disposed of in the open market. The proposed acquisition will not only mitigate such risk while at the same time, enable the BCorp Group to increase its equity participation in the future growth and prospects of the BLand Group.”

Barring unforeseen circumstances, BCorp said the proposed acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

Alibaba profit up 37% but revenue growth eases

SHANGHAI, Jan 30 — Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba said Wednesday that net profit increased 37 percent in the latest quarter as growth in cloud computing and other business lines helped offset a slowing expansion in core online retail. The…

Shireen to succeed Amirsham as Bursa Malaysia chairman

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen has been appointed by the Finance Minister as public interest director and non-executive chairman of Bursa Malaysia Bhd effective March 2, 2019.

Bursa Malaysia said in a statement today that Shireen will succeed Tan Sri Amirsham A Aziz who has held the role since March 1, 2015 and will step down on Feb 28, 2019 after four years of leading the board.

Shireen is the founder of Corston-Smith Asset Management Sdn Bhd and has previously served as the CEO of AIG Investment Corporation (Asia) Ltd from 1992 until 2004. She has over 31 years of focused fund management experience in emerging Asia equity markets.

She was a member of the International Finance Corporation’s working group for the establishment of the Philippine Stock Exchange’s Maharlika Board. She was also a member of the International Advisory Panel for Labuan International Business and Financial Center.

Shireen currently holds independent directorships in AMMB Holdings Bhd and the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).

She has served on Malaysia’s Sports Advisory Council, the Board of Tourism Malaysia and was a member of the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce & Industry Financial Services Committee.

Meanwhile, Bursa Malaysia thanked outgoing chairman Amirsham for his contribution to the aspirations and achievements of Bursa Malaysia.

“Amirsham’s previous experience as a policy maker in the Economic Planning Unit and as the president and CEO of a leading bank has contributed extensively to his leadership of the board and his guidance of Bursa Malaysia’s growth as a dynamic national exchange and leading PLC,” it said.

Huawei charm offensive runs into buzzsaw of US charges

SHANGAI, Jan 30 — Fraud, obstruction of justice and cloak-and-dagger trade theft — a US rap sheet alleging systematic skullduggery by Chinese telecom giant Huawei has deepened the company's problems just as it sought to win back global trust….

Struggling Turkmenistan says will privatise transport sector

ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan), Jan 30 — Turkmenistan's authoritarian leader has ordered a giant privatisation of the state-owned transport sector, state media said today, as the gas-rich nation struggles to shake off economic woes. Gurbanguly…

Siemens boss blasts EU over Alstom rail merger

BERLIN, Jan 30 — Joe Kaeser, chief executive of German conglomerate Siemens, launched today a rare broadside against the European Commission, complaining that "backwards-looking technocrats" threatened to block a planned rail merger with France's…

Germany slashes 2019 growth forecast

FRANKFURT, Jan 30 — Berlin today slashed its economic growth forecast for 2019, saying it now expects only 1.0 per cent expansion for Germany compared with 1.8 per cent previously. After GDP growth of 2.2 per cent in 2017 and 1.5 per cent last…