Friday, May 10th, 2019


Uber’s rocky road to global powerhouse

SAN FRANCISCO, May 10 — Uber, set to make its stock market debut in one of the largest technology share offerings, has become a disruptive force in local transportation and generated its share of controversies. A Paris idea The history offered by…

CIMB, OCBC cut rates by 25bps

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Bank Bhd and CIMB Islamic Bank will reduce its Base Rate (BR) and Fixed Deposit/Fixed Return Income Account-i Board Rates by 25bps in line with the cut in Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) to 3%.

Similarly, loans and financing based on Base Lending Rate (BLR) and Base Financing Rate (BFR) respectively will be reduced by 0.25%.

The 0.25% reduction across the board is to help achieve the corresponding effect of monetary policy transmission intent by BNM’s Monetary Policy Committee. All rate changes will take effect on May 15, 2019.

CIMB Group CEO Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz (pix) said the OPR cut will encourage investments and consumption to spur the Malaysian economy.

“Most importantly, our corresponding 0.25% reduction in applicable rates will ease the burden of borrowers, particularly in the face of current challenges in the domestic economy due to spillover effects from fresh US-China trade tensions and global uncertainties,“ he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, OCBC will also cut its BR, BLR and BFR by 0.25% effective May 13. Similarly, all loans and financing rates based on BLR and BFR will correspondingly decrease by the same rate.

With the revision, OCBC Malaysia’s BR decreases from 4.08% to 3.83%, and its BLR/BFR from 7.01% to 6.76%.

OCBC CEO Datuk Ong Eng Bin commented that the full transmission of the decrease in rates in tandem with the OPR drop will benefit all OCBC Malaysia customers who have loans or financing pegged to the BR, BLR or BFR.

MAHB: Passenger traffic up 5.6% in April

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) network of airports, including Istanbul SGIA, recorded a 5.6% growth to 11.7 million passengers in April 2019.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the airport operator said international traffic grew 6.5% to 5.6 million passengers while domestic traffic grew 4.7% to 6.1 million passengers compared with April last year.

“On a last-twelve-month basis, the total MAHB network of airports registered 3.5% growth with 135 million passengers, the highest traffic handled for 12 months by the network of airports,” it said.

Overall aircraft movements rose 2.2% with international and domestic aircraft movements rising 3.9% and 1.1% respectively over April 2018.

MAHB said the 5.6% growth in overall passenger movement is a credible improvement in performance compared with the previous months of 2019.

“The absolute numbers in passenger movements registered by the network of airports in the last four months does show a shift of traffic to a new higher level,” it added.

In Malaysia, airports registered 6.6% growth to 8.8 million passengers in April this year compared with a year ago. The international sector grew 2.5% to 4.4 million passengers while domestic sector grew 11.2% to 4.3 million passengers.

MAHB said international passenger movements for Asean and non-Asean countries grew 4.3% and 0.8% respectively with 2.2 million passenger movements for each sector.

Overall aircraft movements rose 2.7% with international and domestic aircraft movements growing 0.2% and 4.3% respectively year-on-year.

The overall average load factor stood at 76.3% in April 2019, 0.8 percentage points higher than a year ago.

MAHB said the growth in Malaysian airports was strongly driven by the domestic sector, which was previously subdued by airlines’ capacity shift to the international sector.

“This higher domestic growth momentum is expected to sustain in the short to medium term. There was significant increase in passenger movements in the third week of April that coincided with the Easter and summer holidays,” it said.

It noted that all Malaysia’s airports registered growth with 13 airports registering double digit growth. Africa, Central Asia, Middle East, North America, Europe and Southeast Asia recorded between 10% and 80% growth over April 2018.

“Southeast Asia and Middle East showed strong increase in absolute passenger numbers. Thirteen foreign airlines and nine country pairs from Malaysia recorded double digit passenger growth in April 2019 over April 2018,” it added.

At Istanbul SGIA, passengers grew by 2.5% to 2.9 million passengers. International passenger movements rose 24.3% with 1.2 million while domestic sector fell 8.5% with 1.7 million passengers.

International aircraft movements rose 19.5% while domestic aircraft movements fell 10.5% in April.

Passenger movements at Istanbul SGIA was driven by the international sector with a double digit growth registered since January 2019 and more than 20% since March 2019 while the slowing down of domestic passenger movements is due to Pegasus’ route restructuring to expand its international operations.

UK economy expands on Brexit stockpiling

LONDON, May 10 — Britain’s economy grew by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter, boosted by companies stockpiling ahead of Brexit, official data showed today. Gross domestic product expansion outpaced the 0.2 per cent seen in the final three months…

Lotte Chemical Titan launches its shale gas project in the US

PETALING JAYA: Lotte Chemical USA Corp (LC USA) has launched a US$3.1 billion (RM12.98 billion) new shale gas project in Louisiana, USA.

The project is a 40:60 joint venture investment project between Lotte Chemical Titan Holding Bhd (LCT) and Lotte Chemical Corp (LCC), Korea, and is a large-scale petrochemical complex comprising two manufacturing facilities.

The company said that the complex has a production capacity of one million tonnes of ethylene and 700,000 tonnes of mono ethylene glycol (MEG) per year.

It said that the project will diversify its reliance on naphtha and increase its use of shale gas as feedstock, thereby minimising risk and stabilising cost competitiveness through oil price fluctuations.

“This will therefore strengthen the company’s competitiveness through the diversification of raw materials, production bases and sales,” it said in a statement today.

The ethylene manufacturing facility was developed through a joint venture structure between LC USA and Axiall Corp owned by Westlake Chemical Corp in a 10:90 share respectively. LCT’s effective stake in the facility is 36%.

Under the arrangement, half of the ethylene produced from the ethane cracker will be sold to Axiall Corp and the other half will be consumed by the MEG facility as its primary feedstock.

With the completion of LC USA’s shale gas project, the LCC group’s global ethylene production capacity will reach 4.5 million tonnes per year, making it the largest domestic and seventh largest producer of ethylene in the world.

The cracker and MEG plant are expected to commence commercial operations in the first half of 2019.

Lotte Chemical USA’s shale gas project

Bursa Malaysia ends trading on negative note

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia finished trading Friday on a negative note, in sync with some key regional bourses amid mounting worries over the global economy outlook.

The jitters in the external market sparked by the ongoing US-China two-day trade meeting have spilled over into the local bourse.

Leading losers in the decliners list included consumer products and services related counters — Nestle, which lost RM1 to RM144.00, while F&N declined 48 sen to RM33.38.

The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI dipped 8.26 points to 1,610.27 against Thursday’s close of 1,618.53.

The index, which opened at 1,615.91, down by 2.62 points, moved between 1,610.27 and 1,620.40 throughout the day.

Overall, losers outnumbered gainers 465 to 335 with 404 counters unchanged, 706 untraded and 24 others suspended.

Turnover increased to 2.29 billion shares worth RM1.84 billion from 2.14 billion shares worth RM2.02 billion recorded yesterday.

A dealer said concerns over the trade talks progress by Washington and Beijing had dragged Malaysian palm oil futures price down by one per cent.

Plantation stocks such as IOI Corp lost 11 sen to RM4.24, Sime Darby Plantation fell four sen to RM4.95 and Kuala Lumpur Kepong was 14 sen lower at RM24.50.

Among the heavyweights, Maybank was flat at RM8.97, Public Bank fell two sen to RM22.26 while Petronas Chemicals was one sen lower at RM8.89.

Of the actively-traded stocks, Bumi Armada inched down one sen to 20 sen, Ekovest added half-a-sen to 88 sen while its warrants were 1.5 sen better at 39.5 sen.

The FBM Emas Index declined 53.02 points to 11,374.96, the FBMT 100 dipped 52.71 points to 11,205.05 and the FBM 70 lost 46.95 points to 14,079.05.

The FBM Emas Shariah Index erased 82.96 points to 11,550.43 and the FBM Ace Index was down 12.11 points to 4,532.57.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index dropped 33.72 points to 16,566.18, the Plantation Index fell 57.47 points to 7,050.28 and the Industrial Products and Services Index was 0.41 of-a-point lower at 166.68.

Main Market volume rose to 1.48 billion shares valued at RM1.67 billion from 1.33 billion shares valued at RM1.85 billion recorded yesterday.

Warrants turnover increased to 439.87 million units worth RM122.21 million versus 399.71 million units worth RM114.40 million.

Volume on the ACE Market decreased to 366.31 million shares valued at RM49.46 million from 411.74 million shares valued at RM56.02 million.

Consumer products and services accounted for 196.97 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (168.35 million), construction (319.07 million), technology (77.78 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (46.80 million), property (141.59 million), plantation (23.26 million), REITs (12.38 million), closed/fund (0), energy (409.50 million), healthcare (21.89 million), telecommunications and media (28.17 million), transportation and logistics (13.76 million) and utilities (16.71 million). – Bernama

AmBank Islamic demands RM12.85m loan payment from Seacera

PETALING JAYA: Seacera Group Bhd has received a letter of demand from AmBank Islamic Bhd demanding a payment of RM12.85 million.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said the payment is in respect of the total amount outstanding and due payable under the Murabahah Tawarruq Term Financing-i, Murabahah Tawarruq Cashline-i and Multi Trade Finance Facilities-i.

Seacera is required to settle the payment in full within seven days from May 9, 2019, failing which AmBank Islamic will proceed with necessary action as deemed fit and all costs to be incurred by the company.

The company said it is seeking legal advice on the matter.

Seacera’s share price rose 2.56% to close at 20 sen with 7.33 million shares traded on Friday.

Beijing slams US for ‘unreasonable suppression’ of China Mobile

BEIJING, May 10 — Beijing today slammed the US for the “unreasonable suppression” of China Mobile after US regulators denied the telecom giant’s request to operate in the US market over national security concerns. The Federal Communications…

Manufacturing sales up 5.7% in March 2019

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s manufacturing sales rose 5.7% in March 2019 to RM72.4 billion against the RM68.5 billion recorded in the previous year.

On a month-on-month basis, the sales value rose 10.1% while on seasonally adjusted terms, the sales value registered a drop of 1.7%.

According to the Department of Statistics, the growth was driven by the increase in food, beverages and tobacco products (8.8%); petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (8.4%); and transport equipment and other manufactures products (7.5%).

In March this year, the total employees engaged in the manufacturing sector was 1.09 million persons, an increase of 1.8% or 19,644 persons as compared to 1.07 million persons recorded in March 2018.

Salaries and wages paid amounted to RM4.06 billion for March 2019, an increase of RM197.1 million or 5.1% from the same month of the preceding year.

Simultaneously, the sales value per employee grew by 3.8% to RM66,539 as compared with the same month in 2018. Meanwhile, the average salaries and wages per employee was RM3,733 in March 2019.

For the first quarter of 2019, the sales value of the manufacturing sector rose 6.1% year-on-year to RM210.6 billion.

‘Intelligent reformer’: China’s Liu He seeks a trade deal

BEIJING, May 10 — China’s top trade negotiator and Vice Premier Liu He, a Harvard-educated economist, is putting his reformer credentials to the test in months of fraught negotiations with American officials. President Xi Jinping’s right-hand…