Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
WASHINGTON, Feb 6 — Both sides in the US-China trade negotiations are making a "big commitment" to reach an agreement by the March 1 deadline, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said today. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping…
PARIS, Feb 6 — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe today slammed the European Union's "bad decision" to reject the proposed merger of the train operations of France's Alstom and Germany's Siemens. "The commission's decision is a bad decision….
NEW YORK, Feb 6 — Wall Street stocks fell modestly following mixed earnings and an annual presidential address that was seen as breaking little new ground on economic matters. About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood…
LONDON, Feb 6 — Europe's stock markets dipped lower today, as investors digested downbeat German economic data and fears continued over the looming threat of a no-deal Brexit. Frankfurt dropped 0.3 per cent as official figures showed that…
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) remains optimistic that Malaysia will achieve its RM25 billion export target for wood-based products by 2020 despite a fragile global trade and economy caused by the US-China trade war.
“We believe that the RM25 billion target is still achievable notwithstanding the potential headwinds that may come along the way, for instance Brexit, US-China trade war and other regional conflicts,” MTC CEO Richard Yu (pix) told SunBiz in an exclusive interview recently.
“The good part about the timber and wood industry is that a lot of Malaysian businesses are very innovative, and they respond to changes quite quickly, in terms of adjusting to the changing needs and demands and also the challenges of the industry as well as economy,” he added.
To recap, the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) had in 2017 reduced the wood-based exports target from RM53 billion to RM25 billion due to shortage of raw materials.
Yu said the RM25 billion target is more “realistic”, noting that the previous RM53 billion target was first formulated prior to the 2008 global financial crisis.
“The planning and the formulation of the strategy was before that (the financial crisis). At that point of time, even in terms of the exchange rate was pretty favourable to us from ringgit terms perspective.
“And looking at last year’s numbers, I think to get another incremental of about RM1 billion-RM2 billion for another three years should be quite realistic,” he added.
The timber industry’s contributed RM23.2 billion to the government coffers in 2017, up 4.8% compared to last year’s figures.
As at August 2018, the export figures had reached RM14.57 billion, in which the wooden furniture, plywood, sawn timber, fibreboard and builders’ joinery and carpentry are the main revenue generators for the sector.
However, Yu noted that there is concern raised by the industry players on the potential Chinese products dumping.
“That will obviously have an effect on our exports. But I believe the Ministry of International Trade and Industry is monitoring this issue closely,” he said.
At present, Malaysia exports timber and timber-based products in over 160 countries.
Moving forward, Yu said the country’s commitment in maintaining its forest cover at above 50% will ensure that the timber industry remains sustainable in the long-term.
The MTC was established in January 1992 to facilitate the local industry players and promote the development and growth of the timber industry.
PETALING JAYA: The impeding excise duty on sweetened beverages, starting from April 1, 2019, will have a minimal impact on Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd’s (F&N) bottom line, according to MIDF Research.
This is due to the lower overall contribution of soft drink segment to the group’s earnings and ongoing reformulation of the sugar content for most of its products to be below 5.0% while maintain the same tastes, the research house said.
However, MIDF Research said despite the challenging domestic market condition in view of competitive price pressures and intensifying competition, it believes that the group’s earnings growth will continue to grow, driven by the continued strong export growth and improved cost efficiency as a result of cost optimisation efforts.
It is maintaining a “neutral” call on F&N with a higher target price of RM33.78 from RM31.54.
Meanwhile, MIDF Research said the group’s normalised earnings for the first quarter of financial year 2019 (1QFY19), which came in higher by 15% to RM122.9 million, accounted for about 28% of the research firm’s and consensus full year FY19 earnings forecast.
Additionally, the research house said, post-transformation exercise, F&B Malaysia segment managed to record third consecutive quarter of positive growth by 33.8% year-on-year to RM154.1 million, albeit at a moderating pace.
The strong performance was mainly due to the earlier Chinese New Year festive sell-in for beverage products coupled with lower discount and favourable input cost for sugar, palm oil and dairy-based commodity.
However, these are partly offset by the higher packaging material costs, it added.
BRUSSELS, Feb 6 — The EU's powerful anti-trust sheriff, Margrethe Vestager, is set to veto the merger of the Siemens-Alstom rail businesses today, in defiance of France and Germany. The tie-up, announced to great fanfare in 2017, was hailed as the…
LONDON, Feb 6 — European stock markets fell at the start of trading today, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index down 0.3 per cent at 7,157.50 points. In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index slipped 0.3 per cent to 11,178.75 points and the…