Thursday, April 11th, 2019


Cambodia appeals EU rice tariff at European court

BRUSSELS, Cambodia today said it would take the EU to the European court after Brussels slapped the Asian country’s rice imports with expensive tariffs. The move comes after the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, in January imposed…

US stocks tread water ahead of bank earnings

NEW YORK, April 11 — Wall Street stocks were little changed early today ahead of bank earnings releases that will kick off first-quarter reporting season. About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 26,203.63, up 0.2…

Labour woes, high rents: Why popular restaurant chain Chili’s shut in Singapore

SINGAPORE, April 11 — Labour woes, high rents and slower footfall brought on by the proliferation of shopping malls led to the abrupt closure last month of popular American restaurant chain Chili’s Grill & Bar in Singapore, its franchisee…

Singapore is world’s second-most expensive housing market, says CBRE report

SINGAPORE, April 11 — Singapore was again the second-most expensive city in the world to buy a house last year. It emerged behind Hong Kong, which remained in first place, in the Global Living report by real estate firm CBRE which compared…

Global wine output recovered in 2018 from 60-year low

PARIS, April 11 — Global wine output rose to near-record highs in 2018 after a sharp rebound from a poor harvest the previous year, though consumption stopped growing, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) said today. After a…

Russian court lets US investor Calvey out of jail

MOSCOW, April 11 — A Russian court today released US investor Michael Calvey after two months in jail and placed him under house arrest until Saturday, softening his treatment in a fraud case that has rattled investors. It was not immediately…

French court finds Bayer’s Monsanto liable for farmer’s sickness

PARIS, April 11 — A French appeals court ruled today that Bayer’s Monsanto business was liable for the health problems of a farmer who had inhaled a weed-killer product. The ruling in favour of farmer Paul Francois was announced in a statement…

Six-month Brexit delay sends sterling into doldrums

LONDON, April 11 — The pound stumbled below US$1.31 today after a delay of up to six months to Brexit left traders scratching their heads about the direction for the British currency, though few expected wild price swings in the months ahead. The…

Maybank aims to disburse RM85 billion mortgages, SME loans in next three years

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) plans to disburse RM50 billion in mortgages and RM35 billion in SME loans in the next three years, said group president and CEO Datuk Abdul Farid Alias.

“Our approval rate for mortgage is 80% and the industry’s approval rate is 70%. The industry has been supporting the borrowers, especially those who needs to find a home,” he told a press conference after its AGM here today.

The bank disbursed RM12.2 billion in mortgages last year.

Its current loan size for the SME segment consists of RM24 billion from business banking and RM17.1 billion from retail SME.

This comes as the government has urged banks to be more flexible in lending arrangements, amid complaints about access to lending among local investors.

At the Invest Malaysia 2019 last month, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng asked banks to be more flexible in terms of lending arrangements as there were many complaints of banks being conservative, given that they recorded huge profits last year.

Maybank achieved a record FY18 with a net profit of RM8.11 billion and wants to ensure that it remains well equipped to withstand any economic headwinds that may arise in the coming year.

On provisions and impairments, Farid said these are carried out according to the Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards 9, with validation from auditors and regulators.

“We gave a guidance on the group’s net credit charge-off of about 40bps for 2019. Last year, the guidance was 40-45bps but we had recoveries and achieved better. From the group’s perspective, we haven’t changed our guidance,” said group CFO Datuk Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir.

Farid said it will plan the bank’s growth strategy against its expectation of how the economies in its major markets Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore will perform.

He said Malaysia is projected to see gross domestic product growth of 4.7%, Indonesia 5.1% and Singapore 1.8% this year, driven by domestic demand. It is assuming that net external demand is going to be muted due to the US-China trade dispute.

“We should be able to grow based on the growth in the countries. Inflation is still low and asset quality is stable in all three markets, so the condition to do well relative to this environment is there,” explained Farid.

To support Maybank’s continued growth, five priority areas have been identified for this year namely, driving income growth, ensuring better productivity, managing asset quality, sound liquidity & capital management as well as digitalisation.

On the proposed additional capital requirement for domestic systemically important banks (D-SIB), Farid said Maybank’s capital is adequate and “within expectation”.

Bank Negara Malaysia is seeking public consultation on the proposed designation of D-SIBS and the implementation of higher loss absorbency requirements for them.

Commerzbank chairman dismisses ‘irresponsible’ reports of dissatisfaction with CEO

FRANKFURT, April 11 — Commerzbank’s supervisory board chairman on today dismissed reports of board dissatisfaction with its chief executive as irresponsible and unfounded. Chairman Stefan Schmittmann was reacting to reports in recent days that…