Friday, March 8th, 2019


Bursa closes lower on volatile global sentiment

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 ― The slow progress of the US-China trade talks, coupled with the decline in the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets, dragged Bursa Malaysia to close lower on Friday. At 5pm, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM…

Uni Wall APS secures RM32.14m MRT subcontract from Ahmad Zaki

PETALING JAYA: Leap Market-listed Uni Wall APS Holdings Bhd has bagged a RM32.14 million Mass Rapid Transit 2 (MRT 2) contract from Ahmad Zaki Sdn Bhd.

The company told Bursa Malaysia that its wholly owned subsidiary Uni Wall Architectural Products & Services Sdn Bhd had on March 8 received and accepted the letter of award from Ahmad Zaki as the subcontractor to supply and install aluminium and glazing works for the MRT 2 project – Package S206: construction and completion of elevated stations and other associated works at Serdang Raya (South), Seri Kembangan and UPM.

The contract is from March 1, 2019 to February 28, 2020.

Uni Wall APS said barring any unforeseen circumstances, the contract is expected to contribute positively towards its future earnings for the duration of the contract.

The group intends to fund the contract via internally generated funds and external borrowings.

China’s parliament takes up new foreign investment law

BEIJING, March 8 ― China’s rubber-stamp parliament took up today a draft foreign investment law that could help smooth out trade talks with the US as the world’s top two economies angle towards a deal. The legislation was presented at a…

Asian markets plunge as ECB, China fan global outlook fears

HONG KONG: Asian markets tanked and the euro struggled to recover Friday as the European Central Bank’s decision to slash its growth and inflation forecasts added to increasing pessimism about the global outlook.

The announcement – and an extension of stimulus – is the latest warning of a lean road ahead after China unveiled a target for growth that would be its slowest in three decades and as the US Federal Reserve indicated it will hold off any fresh rate hikes this year.

It also threw a spanner in the works for investors in the region – particularly Shanghai – who had been chasing a rally fuelled by optimism that China and the US will hammer out a deal to end their trade war.

Adding to the selling pressure was data showing Chinese exports plunged more than 20% last month, while imports were also sharply down – both missing expectations by some margin.

While the figures were skewed by the Lunar New Year break, they highlight ongoing troubles in the world’s number-two economy, which is growing at its slowest pace for three decades.

“All these different variables are beginning to come together to paint a more dismal outlook for global growth,“ Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., told Bloomberg TV.

The ECB said interest rates would be stuck around historic lows until the year’s end at best, with bank boss Mario Draghi warning the eurozone was “coming out of, and maybe we still are in a period of continued weakness and pervasive uncertainty”.

Euro under pressure

Thursday’s news sent the euro into a tailspin to hit a near two-year low against the dollar, while equity markets across Europe and the US ended in the red.

Those losses continued in Asia, where Shanghai, which has surged about a quarter so far this year, shed 4.4%, while Hong Kong was off 1.9% and Tokyo ended 2% lower with better-than-thought growth figures unable to help the Nikkei 225.

Sydney sank one percent and Singapore 0.9 percent, with Seoul 1.3% off and Taipei 0.7% down.

In early trade, London, Paris and Frankfurt each fell 0.7%.

Draghi cited “factors… mostly of external source”, including “the threat of protectionism” and “geopolitical considerations”, and analysts pointed out that the eurozone was in a precarious position.

“With the eurozone likely the next target for (Donald) Trump’s trade-talk embrace, a slowing economy, a central bank very low on monetary bullets, an inability by members to mount a joint fiscal response and an impending Brexit… it is no surprise that the euro fell out of bed,“ said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

The single currency was unable to claw back any of Thursday’s losses during early Asian business, and the rush to safe investments by traders kept riskier, higher-yielding units beaten down.

Oil prices were down around 1% as the prospect of a global slowdown weighed on expectations for demand for the black gold.

Focus is now on the release later Friday of US employment data, which will provide a fresh snapshot of the world’s biggest economy, though expectations took a hit this week with figures showing moderating private-sector job growth. — AFP

Govt successfully prices RM7.3b samurai bond

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — The Malaysian government successfully priced its ¥200 billion (RM7.3 billion) 10-year Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Guaranteed Samurai Bond at the full cost of 0.63 per cent per annum to the Malaysian…

Petronas sets higher capex of RM50b for 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), which has spent RM46.8 billion of capital expenditure (capex) in 2018, expects its capex this year to be slightly over than RM50 billion as it will be focusing on its plans to venture into new business such as renewable energy and specialty chemicals.

Asked to comment on the recent news report that the group is looking to buy into one of India’s largest rooftop solar power producers, Petronas’ president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin (pix) said it is part of the group’s ongoing exercise to explore new ventures domestically as well as overseas.

“We will allocate our capex to where the opportunity is and India is one of them,” he told reporters at the group’s year-end 2018 results briefing here today.

The national oil firm spent RM46.8 billion on capex last year — up 5% from 2017— with a focus on the upstream projects.

On dividend, he said the group is confident to pay the committed dividend payout of RM54 billion to the government this year, RM30 billion of which, a special dividend which will be used to help the government to pay outstanding tax refunds.

Petronas has benchmarked its operations for 2019 on expectations of oil prices being at US$66 per barrel, compared with US$52 per barrel in 2018, he added.

Petronas bullish on LNG, says CEO

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 ― Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is bullish on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) segment due to high demand, says president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin. He said LNG was a…

Bursa benchmark lower at mid-afternoon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) was lower at mid-afternoon on continued selling namely in utilities, industrial products, and consumer products. At 3.15pm, the benchmark index stood at 1,682.16. The index…

Celcom Axiata looks to single digit 2019 revenue growth

PETALING JAYA, March 8 — Celcom Axiata Bhd expects to achieve single-digit growth in total revenue in 2019 despite a flattish 2018 for the telecommunications industry. Chief executive officer Idham Nawawi said although the company may not…

As trade wars rage, Emerson plots new US expansion

FERGUSON, March 8 — In 2009, the chief executive of Emerson Electric Co bluntly told investors at a Chicago conference what many of his counterparts at other manufacturing firms would only say privately. “I’m not going to hire anybody in the…