Saturday, May 18th, 2019


Primary Industry Ministry proposes to expand kenaf planting, says deputy minister

MELAKA, May 18 — The Primary Industry Ministry will be expanding kenaf planting projects in the effort to assist smallholders support the usage of the material in the biodegradable utensil (BDU) industry. Its Deputy Minister, Datuk Seri Shamsul…

FamilyMart receives halal certificate

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — Some 108 FamilyMart branded ready-to-eat food products are now registered halal, as the Japan-based convenience store’s dedicated central kitchen operator QL Kitchen Sdn Bhd, secured the halal certification from the…

Emulate foreign investors’ confidence in Malaysia, Guan Eng tells local private sector

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The government hopes the domestic private sector will emulate the confidence shown by foreign investors in Malaysia by helping to further strengthen the nation’s growth, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The first…

Saudi’s Falih says oil stocks still building, but Opec to act if needed

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, May 18 — Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said today that Opec will be responsive to the oil market’s needs, but that he was not sure there is an oil shortage with data, particularly from the United States,…

As bitcoin gyrates, less euphoria in evidence at blockchain gathering

NEW YORK, May 18 — The vibe at a gathering this week for blockchain enthusiasts felt decidedly less exuberant than its predecessor a year ago after dizzying swings in bitcoin. Last year’s Consensus blockchain conference took place just four…

Ringgit to fall to RM4.20 against the US dollar next week

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The ringgit is expected to depreciate to RM4.20 against the US dollar next week on lack of trading due to the public holidays. The market will be closed on Monday for Wesak Day and Wednesday for Nuzul Al-Quran…

Bursa Malaysia poised to gain further to test 1,620 level

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia is set to rise further next week to test the immediate resistance at 1,620 and the next resistance threshold of 1,650.

Phillip Capital Management, Asia-Pacific, senior vice president (investment) Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said the near-term view suggests that the KLCI will continue hovering above the key support level of 1,600.

He said positive overnight Wall Street performance, Bank Negara Malaysia’s overnight policy rate (OPR) cut, rising prices of commodities and ease of the US-China trade tension would drive positive sentiment next week.

“Although the ongoing trade tension gave a sour impact to the ringgit versus the greenback, the local market remains attractive with the capital market recording a net inflow of RM2.1 billion,” he said.

Fundamentally, the local market continues to be resilient against the external headwinds with diversified sources of growth.

“Our participation in the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ will give long-term advantage to the economic growth, as an important catalyst for foreign direct investment and connectivity to the global market.

“Looking forward, the lower OPR could be an important factor to boost the local economy in the second half of the year,” he said.

Nazri Khan said OPR cuts and the revival of the East Coast Rail Link and Bandar Malaysia projects would give a breath of fresh air for economic growth.

He said despite the weakness in investment activities, the local market posted a 4.5% growth in the first quarter of 2019.

“This is partly derived by the positive improvement in the agriculture sector and firm private consumption. This gives positive impact to the manufacturing sector, as well as the household spending,”he said.

In line with the encouraging private sector spending, BNM maintained its projection that the GDP will continue to grow between 4.3% – 4.8% this year.

He said despite the US-China spat have gave sour impact to the ringgit against the greenback, the local market remained to be attractive, given the RM2.1 billion net inflow recorded in the capital market.

Nazri said the S&P 500’s three-day winning streak during the week showed calmness towards the current state of trading relations between Washington and Beijing.

“We believe the US’ decision to effectively ban Chinese phone maker Huawei from the US market has overshadowed the earlier move to apply import taxes on European-made cars,” he said.

Overall, Bursa Malaysia was mostly higher despite the mounting concerns over the US-China trade spat.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the benchmark FBM KLCI settled 4.91 points weaker at 1,605.36.

The FBM Emas Index declined 74.91 points to 11,300.05, the FBMT 100 Index depreciated 68.25 points to 11,136.80 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index erased 99.09 points to 11,451.34.

The FBM Ace Index fell 137.43 points to 4,395.14 and the FBM 70 shrank 223.73 points to 13,855.32.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index dropped 3.31 points to 16,562.87, the Plantation Index eased 154.78 points to 6,895.50, and the Industrial Products and Services Index gave up 2.86 points to 163.82.

Weekly turnover inched down to 11.80 billion units valued at RM9.41 billion from 12.71 billion units valued at RM9.87 billion last Friday.

Main Market volume was weaker at 6.97 billion shares worth RM8.65 billion compared with 8.02 billion shares worth RM8.85 billion.

Warrants turnover slid to 1.67 billion units valued at RM427.70 million from 2.54 billion units valued at RM704.83 million.

The ACE Market volume, however, was higher at 3.22 billion shares worth RM326.88 million from 2.14 billion shares valued at RM301.87 million previously. – Bernama

China paper says US forced tech transfer claims are ‘fabricated’

SHANGHAI, May 18 — The United States has “fabricated” accusations that China forces firms to hand over technology in exchange for market access, China’s top Communist Party newspaper said today, the latest salvo in a bitter trade war. China…

Ringgit to fall to RM4.20 against US dollar next week

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is expected to depreciate to RM4.20 against the US dollar next week on lack of trading due to the public holidays.

The market will be closed on Monday for Wesak Day and Wednesday for Nuzul Al-Quran celebration.

Phillip Capital Management, Asia-Pacific, senior vice president (investment) Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said market activity during the holiday-shortened week is expected to slow down.

“The ringgit will decline to RM4.20 against the US dollar before recovering to a better level,” he told Bernama.

FXTM analyst Han Tan said the ringgit is expected to move in tandem with other Asian currencies, as global risk sentiment remains delicate on the direction of the United States-China trade outlook.

“With both China and the US appearing to ramp up the confrontational rhetoric, risk aversion is likely to continue casting a cloud over emerging market assets as long as a formalised US-China trade deal remains elusive,” he said.

He said Asia is known for being reliant on Chinese economic momentum; therefore, the risks on the region’s outlook should not be understated if China’s economy experienced a slowdown in light of the trade dispute with the US.

For the week just ended, the ringgit traded mostly lower against the US dollar, derailed by the non-favourable US-China trade talks development and cautious mode on Bank Negara Malaysia’s first quarter (Q1) gross domestic product (GDP) announcement.

Nevertheless, Tan said, the ringgit was among the better performers in Asia this week despite the risk-off sentiment continuing to permeate regional markets amid the re-intensification of US-China tensions.

“The ringgit’s surge following the Q1 GDP announcement on Thursday proved fleeting, only to retrace gains and trade back above the 4.17 level against the US dollar.

“Still, Malaysia’s better-than-expected headline Q1 GDP underscores the resilience of its domestic fundamentals, which will be tested over the course of the year by external headwinds that are pressuring emerging markets,” he added.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit fell to 4.1750/1780 against the US dollar from 4.1570/1600 previously.

It was traded mostly higher against other major currencies.

The local currency strengthened against the Singapore dollar to 3.0335/0368 from 3.0503/0534 but versus the Japanese yen, it dropped to 3.8051/8093 from 3.7843/7880.

The ringgit went up against the British pound to 5.3265/3324 from 5.4091/4147 and appreciated vis-a-vis the euro to 4.6601/6652 from 4.6683/6733. – Bernama

US says it may scale back some Huawei trade restrictions

WASHINGTON, May 17 — The US Commerce Department may soon scale back restrictions on Huawei Technologies after this week’s blacklisting made it nearly impossible for the Chinese company to purchase goods made in the United States, a department…