Thursday, March 14th, 2019


Trump still optimistic on China trade talks

WASHINGTON, March 14 — President Donald Trump expressed optimism again today about reaching an agreement to resolve a trade war with China, saying talks are “moving along very well.” “We are doing very well with China talks,” he told…

Brazil’s Embraer posts net loss for 2018

SAO PAULO, March 14 — Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer, in the process of a partial takeover by US giant Boeing, announced a net loss of 669 million reais (RM748 million) for 2018. Embraer said the loss was a result of a dip in demand for…

Wall Street treads water amid trade, corporate worries

NEW YORK, March 14 — Wall Street was little moved at the open today as investors brushed aside a bevy of worrisome corporate and trade news. Shares in the embattled US engineering giant General Electric, aircraft maker Boeing and pharmaceuticals…

‘Positive signs’ in Airbus-China talks, says French official

NAIROBI, March 14 — There are encouraging signs that European planemaker Airbus is closing in on a long-negotiated deal with China for dozens of new narrow-body jets, an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron said today. The official said there…

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad airways posts losses for third year

ABU DHABI (United Arab Emirates), March 14 — Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways posted a loss in 2018 for the third year running, it said today, blaming investment losses and challenging market conditions. The airline, which has been undergoing…

Mida sets ‘realistic’ target for approved investments this year

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia aims to maintain approved investments this year at around the RM200 billion level given the challenging economic environment currently, after registering marginal growth to RM201.7 billion last year, says the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).

“We want to have as much as possible but we need to be realistic on the current economic scenario and challenges. We target the approved investments (in 2019) to be around RM200 billion (level),” Mida CEO Datuk Azman Mahmud said at a press conference in conjunction with the Miti Annual Media Conference 2019 today.

To date, Mida has 399 manufacturing and services projects with investments totalling RM23.7 billion in the pipeline.

Earlier, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking disclosed that Malaysia attracted a total of RM201.7 billion worth of investments in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors in 2018, up 0.55% from RM200.6 billion approved in 2017.

In the first half of 2018, investments approved were valued at RM86.1 billion, while a total of RM115.6 billion investments were approved in the second half of the year.

The manufacturing sector registered an increase of 37.2% in approved investments totalling RM87.4 billion in 2018, compared with RM63.7 billion in the previous year.

Leiking said petroleum products, including petrochemicals, with approved investments of RM32.9 billion contributed the lion’s share to the overall performance in the manufacturing sector.

“A notable project in this industry is Sarawak Petchem which is part of the Sarawak state government initiative to develop Bintulu as a petrochemical hub,” he added.

This is in addition to investments by Pengerang Energy Complex and Petronas Chemicals Isononanol that will be located in Johor.

Other industries with high levels of approved investments include basic metal products, electrical and electronic products, chemicals and chemical products, as well as machinery and equipment.

Foreign direct investments in 2018 increased 47.8% to RM80.5 billion from RM54.4 billion in 2017, and accounted for almost 40% of the approved investments.

Meanwhile, domestic direct investments assumed 60.1% of the share at RM121.2 billion.

This year, Leiking said, the Malaysian economy is likely to remain on a steady path as the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals remain strong despite domestic and external challenges.

“Miti and Mida trust that with the existing policies in place, Malaysia will continue to spark confidence in investors and business owners, and attract more quality investments this year.

“We look forward to the realisation of these projects and many more towards a dynamic economy for Malaysia,” he added.

Robert Kuok still the richest man in Malaysia: Forbes Asia

PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Robert Kuok remains the richest man in Malaysia with a net worth of US$12.8 billion (RM52.2 billion) despite a fall in his wealth by US$2 billion, according to Forbes Asia.

Overall, 30 tycoons on the 2019 Forbes Malaysia Rich List saw their wealth shrink while only 11 enjoyed gains.

Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan of Hong Leong (Malaysia) added US$2.2 billion to his wealth and remains at the second spot with a net worth of US$9.4 billion.

Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow of Public Bank Bhd gained US$700 million, rising one spot to No. 3 this year with a net worth of US$6.7 billion.

Ananda Krishnan, who comes in at at No. 4 with US$6.2 billion, saw his net worth down by US$900 million after shares in Bumi Armada Bhd fell 78% in the year to March 1.

Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng of IOI Corp Bhd and IOI Properties Bhd takes the fifth spot on the list, as his wealth fell US$200 million to US$5.4 billion.

Wong Thean Soon (No. 48) suffered the biggest loss on the list in percentage terms as his net worth plunged 63% to US$280 million as shares of his company MyEG Services Bhd, which provides online access to government services, were hit after last year’s general election on the perception that it was linked too closely to the outgoing government.

Other tycoons who saw their wealth fall include Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary who maintains his ranking at No. 12 despite a US$200 million decline in wealth to US$1.7 billion. Shares of his infrastructure-linked firms fell amid an ongoing review of Malaysia’s mega infrastructure projects.

Another tycoon who suffered a setback was Genting Bhd chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (No. 7, US$4.4 billion) as his fortune fell US$300 million.

Worth noting is that Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd director Abdul Kadier Sahib enters the list for the first time at No. 49 with a net worth of US$275 million.

The minimum net worth to make the list this year is US$250 million, down from US$300 million last year.

City of London still attractive despite Brexit, says chief

CANNES, March 14 — The deepening uncertainty over how Britain will exit the European Union has not dented foreign investors’ interest in the City of London, the financial district’s policy chief said today. “People are concerned with the…

European parliament opposes launch of EU-US trade talks

STRASBOURG, March 14 — The European Parliament today rejected the EU launching trade talks with the United States, dealing an unexpected blow to efforts by Brussels to avert a trade war with Washington. MEPs meeting in the eastern French city of…

Ringgit ends lower against US dollar (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit ended lower against the US dollar today on lack of positive leads.

At 6pm, the local currency stood at 4.0890/0940 against the greenback compared with Wednesday’s close of 4.0865/0905.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said Malaysia’s industrial production index growth of 3.2% in January, which is more than the 2.3% estimated earlier, failed to ignite excitement among investors as external data continued to dominate sentiment.

“The latest high frequency indicators from China was not forthcoming with the industrial production and retail sales coming in lower during the January-February period to 5.3% and 8.2% from 6.2% and 9.0% in December 2018, respectively.

“Besides, the Brexit date is likely to be delayed as there was no substantial vote in support of the proposal.

“In a nutshell, there is no strong catalyst for the ringgit at the moment,‘’ he told Bernama.

Overall, the ringgit was traded lower against other major currencies.

It fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.0162/3201 from 3.0134/0168 on Wednesday, the euro eased to 4.6259/6320 from 4.6153/6219 and depreciated against the British pound to 5.4200/4274 from 5.3668/3729 on Wednesday.

The ringgit, however strengthened against the Japanese yen to 3.6594/6648 from 3.6706/6752 yesterday. — Bernama