Thursday, May 16th, 2019


Baru confident of better growth for the construction sector

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Works Minister Baru Bian is confident that the local construction industry will see better growth in the next quarter of 2019. “I can ensure that there will be an increase in the sector’s growth, as the government is…

Alibaba results beat analyst estimates

SHANGHAI, May 16 — Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba yesterday announced revenue for the latest quarter that beat analyst estimates, indicating that the Sino-US trade tiff and a slowing domestic economy were having little impact on the bottom…

Typo on Aussie US$50 brings blushes for central bank

SYDNEY, May 16 — Red-faced bank bosses in Australia admitted to an embarrassing error today, revealing their state-of-the-art US$50 note had a typo. The yellow and green note, which is worth around US$35, came into circulation last October. It has…

Walmart reports jump in profit on strong US performance

NEW YORK, May 16 — Walmart reported a jump in first-quarter earnings today on higher US store sales and eCommerce growth following heavy investment in new “omnichannel” retail ventures. The world’s biggest retailer reported profits of US$3.8…

US stocks rise on solid earnings, data

NEW YORK, May 16 — Wall Street stocks rose early today following solid US data and better-than-expected results from Dow members Cisco and Walmart. About 30 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.8 per cent at 25,856.44….

Singapore Airlines profit plunges as fuel costs surge

SINGAPORE, May 16 — Singapore Airlines said today its net profit for the last financial year nearly halved as fuel costs surged, but reported its highest ever full-year revenues. The major Asian carrier said bookings in the months ahead indicate…

EU fines Barclays, Citi, JP Morgan, MUFG and RBS US$1.2b for FX rigging

BRUSSELS, May 16 — The European Union fined Barclays, Citigroup, JP Morgan, MUFG and Royal Bank of Scotland a combined €1.07 billion (approx.RM4.98 billion) today for rigging the multi-trillion dollar foreign exchange market. Banks have been hit…


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Tropicana posts RM46m profit in Q1

PETALING JAYA: Tropicana Corp Bhd’s net profit was flat at RM46.06 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 compared with RM46.4 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter declined 53.7% to RM209.77 million from RM453.01 million, attributable to lower sales recorded in FY18 that had a carry-through effect on the results for FY19 as well as the completion of two development phases at Tropicana Aman in 2018.

Nevertheless, these were partly offset by the completion of the disposal of a piece of leasehold land in Bandar Damansara which contributed RM42.2 million to revenue and RM37.2 million to profit before tax.

The property developer has declared an interim dividend of 2.78 sen per share.

As at March 31, 2019, Tropicana delivered total unbilled sales of RM736.9 million, anchored by 14 ongoing projects and an existing landbank of 1,071 acres with a total potential gross development value (GDV) of RM48.6 billion.

Despite the challenging outlook of the property industry due to global and regional economic headwinds, the group believes that there will still be demand for properties in prime locations with attractive pricing.

“Moving forward, the group has in place a strong pipeline of future projects amounting to a GDV of approximately RM3.0 billion within its existing and new signature townships are expected to drive stronger performance.”

Malaysia’s Q1 GDP growth moderates to 4.5% from previous quarter

KUALA LUMPUR: While Malaysia’s economic growth moderated to 4.5% in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019 from 4.7% in the fourth quarter of 2018, Bank Negara Malaysia is maintaining its baseline projection of 4.3%-4.8% growth for the year amid escalating tensions in global trade.

Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the projection has taken into account the US-China trade war, including the latest tariff increase.

“We’ve encountered episodes of massive outflows in the past and some of the outflows were unexpected, for example the Taper Tantrum, and yet financial markets remained orderly and the economy continued to grow and the financial sector continued to record profitability. What’s more important is for us to continue to strengthen our fundamentals, be it at the economic level or the export level,” she told a press conference after announcing the first-quarter GDP growth here today.

Growth in the first quarter was underpinned by private sector activity, supported by firm private consumption growth.

However, private investment growth declined substantially to 0.4% amid moderating business sentiment.

Nor Shamsiah believes that private investments will gradually improve in the coming quarters despite risks of slowdown in global growth, overhang in the property market and other uncertainties.

Several factors that will continue to support overall investment growth include the ongoing multi-year projects and some of the mega projects.

Nor Shamsiah said Malaysia would see translation of foreign investment approvals into real investments some time this year.

While the country will also benefit from trade diversion, she noted that it will not be enough to offset the contraction in exports.

Private sector demand is expected to remain the anchor of growth amid lower public sector spending. The external sector is likely to grow marginally in tandem with modest global demand.

Overall, domestic demand growth slowed down further by 4.4% during the quarter.

On the supply side, major sectors such as services and manufacturing continued to expand, with the exception of the mining sector due to the decline in oil and natural gas production arising from unplanned closure of production facilities.

The rebound in the agriculture sector on account of strong recovery in oil palm yields provided an additional lift to growth.

In the first quarter, the ringgit appreciated 1.4% against the US dollar, driven mainly by non-resident portfolio inflows which amounted to RM13.5 billion. However, since April, the ringgit has depreciated by 2.1% against the greenback (to RM4.1645 today), in line with most regional currencies.

The recent depreciation pressure reflected cautious investor sentiments in global financial markets amid the weakening global growth outlook as well as uncertainties surrounding geopolitical and global trade developments.

“In light of the more recent global developments, the ringgit, along with regional currencies, have experienced some volatility and depreciation pressure. This is likely to continue in the near term amid concerns over the global growth outlook.

“Uncertainties surrounding geopolitical and trade developments will also be key factors affecting the ringgit and other regional currencies,” Nor Shamsiah said, adding that the outlook for the ringgit will depend on external developments.