Monday, April 8th, 2019


EPF adopts UN-supported investment principles

PETALING JAYA: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has signed up to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), underlining its commitment towards responsible investing and environment, social and governance (ESG) practices.

Its CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias said in a statement today that aligning its investment activities with the broader interests of society would bode well with its objectives as a retirement savings fund driven by long-term, sustainable value creation for its stakeholders.

“We believe that the upholding of ESG best practices can affect the performance of investment portfolios to varying degrees across companies, sectors and regions,” he said.

“By signing the UN-supported PRI, we formally underline our commitment to the six PRI, and we hope to meaningfully incorporate ESG factors into our investment due diligence and decision-making process, given its potential to enhance return while reinforcing our existing risk management framework.”

The EPF has traditionally been a socially-conscious investor in excluding companies that are seen as unethical such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, weaponry and nuclear power.

Tunku Alizakri said this would improve EPF’s ability to balance financial returns with measurable impact towards society and the environment for the benefit of future generations.

The UN-supported PRI is acknowledged as the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment with more than 2,000 signatories representing more than US$70 trillion (RM288 trillion).

The initiative aims to understand the investment implications of ESG factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions.

Signatories are required to implement the six PRI, which include embedding ESG considerations into investment analysis and decision-making processes, as well as seeking appropriate ESG disclosures from investee companies.

Revised NAP to be unveiled in Q2: Miti

CYBERJAYA: The government is expected to unveil its revised National Automotive Policy (NAP) in the second quarter of this year, which will include measures to enhance the competitiveness of the industry through future technological trends.

International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming (pix) said the new NAP would include the Next Generation Vehicles, Mobility-as-a-Service and Industry 4.0, as well as artificial intelligence.

“The review will focus on new mobility pathways and trends in driving patterns, and it will also be adjusted with improvements in public transport as well as explore vendor development within the ecosystem,” he said at the Urban Development and E-Mobility Workshop organised by the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute today.

The programme was sponsored by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, in cooperation with Malaysia-German Chamber of Commerce.

Also present was Germany’s ambassador to Malaysia, Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff.

Ong said there are about 30 million registered vehicles in Malaysia, and the number is expected to double by 2030.

He said Malaysia aimed to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles by improving the fuel economy level in Malaysia by 2025, in line with the Asean Fuel Economy Roadmap of 5.3 litres per 100km.

The reduction in emissions was in line with the development of the e-mobility ecosystem in Malaysia.

Penang aims to maintain FDI flows this year

GEORGE TOWN: Penang hopes to attract about the same amount of foreign direct investments (FDIs) from 2018’s figure of RM5.8 billion for this year despite the external challenges of a cyclical downturn in the electronics world and the looming ill effects from the US-China trade war.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that the state was pulling in an average RM5 billion worth of FDIs for the last decade despite the sluggish global economy outlook, coupled with the continuous rollout of new technologies, which may take away traditional jobs from the production floor.

In 2017, it was a record setting achievement when RM10.8 billion worth of net investments were recorded, inclusive of private investments, Chow said.

Cumulatively over the last 10 years, Penang received RM58 billion in FDIs.

Chow warned manufacturers to be alert to the cyclical effects in the electronics and electrical market (E&E), which tend to occur once every four years.

However, he remained optimistic that Penang will weather various challenges and that E&E will remain the cornerstone of the state’s manufacturing sector.

Penang has also diversified its economy with services now overtaking manufacturing as the main contributor to its gross domestic product (GDP).

Chow said this at the recent unveiling of the Penang Strategic Investments Advisory Council.

The council members are Chow, Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman (deputy chief minister I), Dr P. Ramasamy (deputy chief minister II), Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain (state executive councillor), Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon (special adviser to chief minister), Datuk Loo Lee Lian (Invest Penang CEO) and Datuk Heng Huck Lee (Globetronics Technology Bhd CEO).

Other members are Dr Yuma Konishi (Texchem Life Sciences Sdn Bhd managing director), Dave Mitchell (Boston Scientific Malaysia vice-president and general manager of manufacturing and distribution), Lim Yong Jin (Plexus Manufacturing Sdn Bhd Asia-Pacific president) and Srinath Sambasivan (Citigroup Transaction Services (M) Sdn Bhd managing director).

As to US-China trade spat, Chow said Penang has been receiving inquiries from corporations based in China, who are worried about the trade war between the top two economies of the world, especially if both sides carry out plans to impose punitive tariffs on each other’s goods and services.

“We have been briefed about looking at opportunities from the trade war, but we were informed to be selective over the type of investments.”

Chow said that Penang would only be keen to pursue high impact FDIs which can create supporting industries and offer quality jobs rather than labour-intensive industries.

Foreign selling intensifies to RM416.7m last week

PETALING JAYA: Foreign funds disposed of RM416.7 million net of local equities last week, the fourth time that the weekly foreign net selling reached above RM400 million so far in 2019.

The international funds shifted their selling mode into a higher gear last week, MIDF Research said in its weekly funds flow report today.

On a year-to-date basis, foreign funds have sold RM1.76 billion net of local equities.

“Among the four Asean markets we monitor, Malaysia has now taken over Thailand’s place as the nation with the largest foreign net outflow,” MIDF said.

Nevertheless, it said the cumulative foreign net outflows from January 2018 in Malaysia is substantially lower by more than US$5 billion (RM20.4 billion) compared with Thailand.

Bursa began the quarter with an exodus of foreign funds on Monday worth RM265.1 million net, the highest in 15 trading days.

The slump in banking stocks outweighed the signs of stabilisation shown by manufacturing activity in China in March 2019, hampering market sentiment. The local bourse followed suit to decline by 0.9% to settle at 1,628.7 points, a level not seen since late December 2016.

The level of foreign net selling dropped substantially to RM37 million on the next day as optimism was underpinned by the higher-than-expected jump in US manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data of 1.1 percentage point (ppt) to 55.3% from the month before.

“However, Malaysia was the only market with a foreign net outflow among the seven Asian markets we monitor,” MIDF noted.

Offshore investors made a modest return on Wednesday and Thursday by snapping up RM1.4 million net and RM8.8 million net respectively, following a report that the US and China have resolved most of the issues in the trade talks.

On the local front, gains in Genting were spurred by its plan to acquire the superyacht Equanimity and partially supported the FBM KLCI which rose 12 points over these two days.

The mood turned sombre on Friday as foreign investors took out RM124.8 million net, bucking the regional trend due to the absence of catalysts from the local front.

Entrepreneurship framework to be launched in July

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The National Entrepreneurship Framework (NEF), which the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development began developing in late 2018, is expected to be launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in July, says SME Corporation…

AI must be accountable, says EU as sets ethical guidelines

BRUSSELS, April 8 — Companies working with artificial intelligence need to install accountability mechanisms to prevent it being misused, the European Commission said today, under new ethical guidelines for a technology open to abuse by…

London rolls out strict vehicle emission charges

LONDON, April 8 — London motorists driving older, more polluting vehicles must pay a new charge from today as part of one of the world’s toughest vehicle emissions programmes. The ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) charges certain polluting vehicles…

China lowers tariffs on computers, bikes, other goods

BEIJING, April 8 — China today announced it will lower tariffs on some consumer goods ranging from computers to furniture and bicycles as Beijing faces worldwide scrutiny over its trade practices. Beijing and Washington have slapped tariffs on…

Jaguar Land Rover begins Brexit-linked UK plant shutdowns

LONDON, April 8 — Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) shuts its UK plants today for five days over Brexit, adding to other shutdowns to leave at least half the country’s car production off-line in what could be a pivotal week for Britain’s divorce from…

Bursa Malaysia ends higher in see saw trade

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended today’s volatile trading on a positive note, supported by last minutes buying interest.

The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) rose 2.54 points to 1,644.35 from Friday’s close of 1,641.81, led mainly by Maxis, Axiata, PPB Group, IOI Corp, Dialog Group and Maybank.

The index, which opened 1.86 points higher at 1,643.67, fluctuated between a high of 1,645.72 and low 1,640.38, throughout the day’s session.

Market breadth was positive with gainers outnumbering decliners 499 to 386, while 383 counters remained unchanged, 578 were untraded and 21 others were suspended.

Volume was higher at 3.87 billion units worth RM2.40 billion from 3.18 billion units worth RM2.13 billion recorded last Friday.

Bank Islam chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said oil and gas stocks appeared to be dominating the actively traded stocks in Bursa Malaysia.

This is very much in line with higher Brent crude prices which has surpassed the US$70 per barrel.

“Geopolitical development in Libya, Venezuela and Iran has been supportive to crude oil. Beyond oil, the latest Non-Farm Payroll showed that the US economy is still healthy with 196,000 new jobs created in March, higher than 177,000 estimates among the consensus.

“Apart from that, the US-China trade discussion has been constructive. So talks of a potential recession in the US following the recent yield curve inversion recently has been gradually dies off,” he told Bernama.

However, he sees the UK Brexit remained a wildcard as it near to the supposedly new dateline on April 12, 2019.

In addition, the market was also watching closely the US’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) to be released on Wednesday.

“Consensus is looking for a 1.8% rise in March from 1.5% increases in February.

“So headline inflation could be slowly increasing,” he added.

Hence, Mohd Afzanizam said the current resistance level of 1,653 seems to be quite far-fetched in view of the market uncertainties.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank rose two sen to RM9.28, PetChem was one sen higher at RM9.11 but Public Bank declined 26 sen to RM22.62 and Tenaga, IHH and CIMB each dropped two sen to RM12.60, RM5.58 and RM5.09, respectively.

Maxis inched up 21 sen to RM5.70, PPB Group gained 28 sen to RM18.78 and Axiata and IOI Corp each rose five sen to RM4.23 and RM4.53, respectively.

Among actives, Sapura Energy dropped half a sen to 35 sen, Priceworth International added half a sen to 7.5 sen and Dayang Enterprise went up 17 sen to RM1.54.

The FBM Emas Index increased 44.62 points to 11,645.48, the FBM Emas Shariah Index rose 89.31 points to 11,876.77 and the FBMT 100 was higher by 40.40 points to 11,478.03.

The FBM 70 was 142.69 firmer at 14,567.23 but the FBM Ace Index slid 42.51 points to 4,773.10.

Sector-wise, the Industrial Products and Services Index added 0.55 of a point to 170.09, the Plantation Index jumped 49.68 points to 7,286.23 while the Financial Services Index lost 41.70 points to 16,847.02.

Main Market volume grew to 2.87 billion shares worth RM2.17 billion from 2.15 billion shares worth RM1.56 billion recorded last Friday.

Warrants turnover jumped to 588.3 million units valued at RM147.8 million compared to the 195.19 million units valued at RM24.56 million, previously.

Volume on the ACE Market rose to 406.8 million shares worth RM87.2 million versus the 303.62 million shares worth RM49.18 million.

Consumer products and services accounted for 316.3 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (454.8 million), construction (307.2 million), technology (144.9 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (32.5 million), property (292.3 million), plantation (39.4 million), REITs (12.6 million), closed/fund (11,000), energy (1.13 billion), healthcare (19.4 million), telecommunications and media (23.78 million), transportation and logistics (41.3 million), and utilities (58.6 million). — Bernama