Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019


US manufacturing sector stabilising, challenges remain

WASHINGTON, April 2 — New orders for key US-made capital goods slipped in February and shipments were unchanged, but data for January was revised slightly higher, which could support views that the manufacturing sector was stabilising. The…

Weak aircraft sales drive US durable goods slump in February

WASHINGTON, April 2 — Sales of big-ticket US manufactured goods sank unexpectedly in February, with a sharp drop in aircraft sales, and weakness in key sectors like autos and industrial equipment, the government reported today. The sudden dip,…

‘Precarious’ global rebound expected in late 2019, says IMF’s Lagarde

WASHINGTON, April 2 — Global growth in 2019 should be even slower than previously expected but a “precarious” rebound later this year is likely, the head of the International Monetary Fund said today. In a speech ahead of next week’s spring…

German car sales weaken in March

FRANKFURT, April 2 — Sales for Germany’s vital car sector fell in March, data from the VDA industry federation showed today, but a look across the whole first quarter showed steady performance. Some 345,600 cars were licensed on the country’s…

KA Petra, Hutchison Ports to develop world’s largest ship-to-ship transfer hub

PETALING JAYA: KA Petra Sdn Bhd, a homegrown ship-to-ship (STS) transfer specialist, has signed a heads of agreement with Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd to jointly develop the world’s largest STS transfer hub in Johor Baru.

Hutchison Ports, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-headquartered CK Hutchison Holdings, is the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator with a network of port operations in 51 ports spanning 26 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.

Under the agreement, KA Petra will have 70% interest in the project, while Hutchison Ports will take a strategic 30% stake, according to a joint statement by the both companies yesterday.

Based on preliminary studies, the STS hub construction is estimated to cost between US$150 million and US$180 million (RM611.7 million and RM734.1 million) and will be funded by a combination of internally generated funds and debt financing.

The construction work will be done in phases with commencement expected within the next 12 months.

“We embarked on the STS hub idea two years ago as a solution to address the demand for more STS berthing space. Through the close cooperation from the government, Hutchison Ports, our engineering and technical partners, and our very own KA Petra team, we are now realising the STS Hub dream,” KA Petra executive chairman Datuk Shahrul Amirul said.

The hub is poised to trigger a resurgence of the Malaysian maritime sector, by becoming a catalyst to other related businesses in the industry.

Shahrul added the hub and related businesses will attract many highly skilled Malaysians, who are overseas, to return to Malaysia and provide skills and training to the next generation of professionals in the maritime industry.

The STS Hub will have the capacity to store over nine million tonnes of petroleum products and with the International Maritime Organisation implementing IMO 2020, a regulation limiting sulphur content in marine fuels from Jan 1, 2020, the STS hub will be well positioned to become a major trading hub in the region.

“Overall, KA Petra estimates that gross domestic product (GDP) contributions from maritime sector activities in the STS hub will be in the region of RM18 billion to the Malaysian GDP annually, equivalent to 1.5% of Malaysia’s GDP today,” he added.

Sanbumi, Iconic to jointly develop RM127m GDV project in Penang

PETALING JAYA: Sanbumi Holdings Bhd has, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Sanbumi Sawmill Sdn Bhd, entered into a joint venture agreement with Iconic Development Sdn Bhd to construct and develop a RM127 million commercial development project called Iconic Point, located in Simpang Ampat, Seberang Perai Selatan.

The project will be developed on a freehold 8.7-acre landbank that was acquired by Iconic in 2018. It is expected to be completed by June 2021.

It comprises 48 units of three-storey semi-detached shop-offices; a three-storey detached shop-office; a four-storey 48-room boutique hotel; and three units of two–storey drive-thru concept detached shops.

Sanbumi managing director Datuk Chua Tiong Moon said the joint venture agreement with Iconic is in tandem with Sanbumi’s diversification strategy into the property development sector.

To fund the proposed development, Sanbumi also proposed an issuance of 57.32 million new redeemable convertible preference shares and a special issue of up to 74.7 million new shares.

Based on an indicative issue price of 29.5 sen per special issue share, the proposed special issue of shares is expected to raise up to about RM22.04 million.

Residential Tenancy Act to be developed within 2 years

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will take two years to conduct studies and develop the proposed Residential Tenancy Act, which will cover all landlords, tenants and tenancy agreements nationwide.

National Housing Department senior principal assistant director Noorihan Abd Halim said studies will be conducted this year and based on the outcome, the formulation of the Act will begin next year.

“The timeline is within two years, to develop the Act itself including creating the standard operating procedure and which agencies will be involved; these will all be studied within two years,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the “Constructing and Financing Affordable Housing across Asia” conference yesterday.

She said the Act is important to protect tenants and landlords.

At present, there is no Act to govern the residential rental market and there is no tribunal for tenancy disputes.

She added that the proposed Act will be modelled after the residential tenancies acts of Victoria and New South Wales in Australia.

Research is being conducted to assess the suitability of adopting these benchmarks in Malaysia.

Noorihan said the proposed Act would also help to determine the affordable rental rates based on location and income of the people living in the area.

“Right now, we don’t know what rental rates are affordable for the different locations. We don’t have that data so for the first phase now, we want to look at all the data and see how we can govern the tenants and landlords,” she said.

While the Act itself covers all tenants and landlords, the government’s immediate focus is on promoting residential rentals, especially for the bottom 40% (B40) and middle 40% (M40) group of the population, including young professionals who are entering the urban area.

In terms of data collection, Noorihan said the government will start work on the integrated database system this year.

“We are doing research and looking at how to create the overall system, in terms of supply and demand. We have tried to integrate with state systems but the integration seems to have failed because states have different systems. We need one system that can have data from all the states and from federal level,” she said.

She said integration in the past failed as the local authorities, state government and federal government have powers over land matters, and this lack of coordination contributed to the rise in house prices.

However, she opined that an integrated database system would be able to reduce house prices.

“That’s why we have the National Housing Policy, which will be launched this year, either April or June. In the policy, the government will show the formula for development and for the local authorities to standardise the price of affordable homes based on the income of the locality. If local authorities follow this formulation – how to target groups and how to set the price – house prices will become affordable,” she added.

Ford would take ‘long, hard look’ at UK operations after any no-deal Brexit

LONDON, April 2 — Ford would have to take a “long, hard look” at its British operations, which include two engine factories, if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, the US carmaker said today. “If we were to get to a no-deal…

Shell to quit US refining lobby over climate disagreement

LONDON, April 2 — Royal Dutch Shell today became the first major oil and gas company to announce plans to leave a leading US refining lobby due to disagreement on climate policies. In its first review of its association with 19 key industry…

ECB in no hurry to spare banks negative interest rates

FRANKFURT, April 2 — The European Central Bank will consider carefully before moving to soothe the effects of negative interest rates on eurozone lenders, board member Sabine Lautenschlaeger told AFP today. "We need first to better understand if…