January, 2019


Tesla shares fall after surprise CFO exit

NEW YORK, Jan 31 — Shares of Tesla Motors tumbled in pre-market trading today following the surprise replacement of the company’s chief financial officer. Chief Executive Elon Musk announced the shift in the final moments of an earnings…

GE reports 4Q profits, sees US settlement on mortgages

NEW YORK, Jan 31 — General Electric reported a profitable fourth quarter today amid a big annual loss as it announced a preliminary US$1.5 billion settlement with US officials over subprime mortgages. Profit for the fourth quarter was US$574…

Trump upbeat on China trade talks but wants to meet Xi to cinch deal

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 — US President Donald Trump expressed optimism today about high-level trade talks with Chinese officials in Washington but said no final deal would be made until he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the near…

British car industry warns against no-deal Brexit as investment slumps

LONDON, Jan 31 — Investment in the British car industry halved last year due largely to uncertainty about future trade with the EU and surveys showed consumers and businesses were more anxious about the economic outlook as Britain heads towards a…

Palm falls as data shows slower exports

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian palm oil futures fell yesterday, after data from a cargo surveyor showed exports grew more slowly than expected in January.

The benchmark palm oil contract for April delivery on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange dropped 0.2% to RM2,299 a tonne.

Trading volumes stood at 24,751 lots of 25 tonnes each.

“The export numbers released are below yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) market rumour. The ringgit’s strength also pushed the market lower,” a Kuala Lumpur-based trader said, adding that the coming long holiday weekend should prompt traders to cover short positions. “That should limit any big sell-offs,” the trader said.

Cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services said yesterday exports of Malaysian palm oil products for January rose 14.7%, while independent inspection company AmSpec Agri Malaysia reported a 15.5% increase.

Palm oil may slide into a range of RM2,256-RM2,274 per tonne, as its correction from the Jan 28 high of RM2,333 looks incomplete, Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals said.

Govt needs strategy based on responsible privatisation: Ideas

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs a new model based on the principles of responsible privatisation and it should be a component of the government’s strategy to address the national debt, according to the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas).

It said privatisation and the reform of government-linked companies (GLCs) offers a new opportunity to create a vibrant, innovative and entrepreneurial commercial sector that can help Malaysia rise to the challenges of the next phase of economic development in the high-income world of the fourth industrial revolution.

According to the policy brief titled “Responsible Privatisation: A New Malaysian Model of the role of government in the economy” by Professor Dr Geoffrey Williams, previous attempts at privatisation have raised significant concerns, including the transfer of assets to connected individuals and vested interest groups; privatisation of profits and socialisation costs; and the concern that the social and development aim of GLCs are lost to market-driven private interests.

“To address these concerns, Malaysia needs a new model based on the principles of Responsible Privatisation. Under Responsible Privatisation, the government can dismantle the channels of patronage that have emerged by placing large numbers of GLC subsidiaries into the private sector within new business models including social enterprises, mutual ownership schemes and employer buyouts. This has the potential to increase wider capital ownership and improve entrepreneurial development by transferring existing entities into the hands of community-based business people,“ he said.

In the paper, Williams considers the history of privatisation in Malaysia and how the government should reflect on these lessons to develop a new model of privatisation that stimulates the private sector, reduces government debt and delivers social benefits.

The paper follows announcements by the government to ”monetise” government assets and reduce the role of government in the economy. But the government has yet to provide clarity on what reforms are envisaged and concerns have been raised over whether the government will take the necessary action to reform the complex structure of GLCs that has developed.

Nokia coy about 2019 growth despite strong Q4 profits

HELSINKI, Jan 31 — Finnish telecoms equipment maker Nokia published better-than-expected fourth-quarter results today, but revised downward its forecast for its networks business in early 2019. Nokia reported a profit of €193 million (RM908…

Red ink alert: Hundreds of Chinese firms warn on profits

SHANGHAI, Jan 31 — Hundreds of listed Chinese companies have slashed their forecasts for 2018 earnings this week in a sign that an economic slowdown and worries over US-China trade friction are beginning to bite. Companies across a range of…

Weaker greenback drives ringgit higher to three-week high

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The ringgit closed at an almost three-week high against the US dollar today boosted by improved risk appetite for emerging currencies after US Federal Reserve’s dovish stance that its interest rate hiking cycle could now…

Shell profit soars to US$23b in 2018

LONDON, Jan 31 — Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell today said its net profit surged 80 per cent to US$23.4 billion in 2018, thanks to higher oil prices and cost cuts. Profit after tax had come in at almost US$13 billion in 2017, the Anglo-Dutch giant…