Sunday, July 7th, 2019


Saudi carrier flyadeal ditches grounded Boeing MAX for Airbus

RIYADH, July 7 — Saudi budget carrier flyadeal has withdrawn a provisional order for Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX jets, the US plane maker said today, as the airline confirmed a new order for Airbus A320 aircraft. “We understand that flyadeal…

African leaders to launch ‘historic’ free trade deal

NIAMEY (Niger), July 7 — African nations will officially launch a landmark trade agreement at an African Union summit in Niger today, with the long sought-after agreement hailed as a historic step towards “peace and prosperity” across the…

Saudi king hosts British finance minister for talks

RIYADH, July 7 — Saudi Arabia’s King Salman hosted British finance minister Philip Hammond for talks in the western city of Jeddah today, state media said, amid renewed prospects of an overseas stock listing of oil giant Aramco. The leaders…

Opec’s extended output cuts no immediate catalyst for oil & gas stocks on Bursa

PETALING JAYA: The extended production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) do not point to an immediate catalyst for oil and gas (O&G) stocks on Bursa Malaysia to rally.

BIMB Securities analyst Azim Faris Ab Rahim sees the extended cuts by Opec as a positive step to continue support the oil price and spur investment in offshore capital expenditure.

He said the trade conflict between the US and China had resulted in the threat of economic slowdown which would hamper oil demand growth. Hence, the supply must be “controlled” accordingly and justifying what Opec is doing.

“As oil price stabilises at US$60-70 a barrel, we do not see any immediate catalyst to O&G stocks. Nonetheless, this could lead to continuation of Petronas’ spending plan which is important for the O&G’s sector recovery over the long run,” he told SunBiz.

On Friday, Bursa Malaysia’s Energy Index lost 0.45% or 4.85 points to close at 1,068.02 points.

Brent crude futures settled at US$64.23 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate at US$57.51 a barrel last week.

Earlier in the week, Opec agreed to extend its production cuts by nine months to March 2020, aimed at supporting prices and soaking up excess supplies.

Azim said a key concern is that most O&G companies, particularly offshore support vessel players such as Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd, Perdana Petroleum Bhd and Barakah Offshore Petroleum Bhd, would still need to resolve debt legacy issues, and this would distract them from pursuing further growth.

“We still see upside potential to stocks with strong balance sheet and earnings growth potential (Hibiscus Petroleum Bhd and Yinson Holdings Bhd) and sector recovery play (Velesto Energy Bhd and Malaysia Marine & Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd (MMHE)).”

BIMB is maintaining its 2019 average price forecast for Brent crude oil at US$65-70 a barrel. It is currently overweight on upstream stocks in its coverage (Hibiscus, Yinson, MMHE, Velesto) and neutral on downstream stocks (Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Lotte Chemical Titan Holdings Bhd).

Meanwhile, HLIB Research analyst Sean Lim believes oil prices may strengthen slightly in the second half of 2019 on Opec’s production cut agreement, but noted that upside is still capped by resilient US production growth and lingering uncertainty arising from the US-China trade war putting pressure to the overall demand growth.

“Therefore, any broad-based sector re-rating purely on crude prices are not sustainable. There are still legs for those who can deliver earnings and capable of turnaround. Avoid those which are highly geared and have yet to undergo restructuring,” said Lim.

It continues to favour maintenance players (both upstream and downstream) with strong earnings delivery such as Dialog Group Bhd and Dayang.

Lim said floating production storage and offloading tenders remain robust and Yinson is in good position to win several big contracts backed by its decent track record and good joint venture partner.

“Overall, we expect topline growth for services players as evident by better activities level guided in Petronas activities outlook 2019-2021 published last year. However, margins could be still tight as oil majors are still cost cautious and not willing to expand the rates significantly. Therefore, it really depends on their respective cost management and operating efficiency,” said Lim.

HLIB Research is keeping a neutral stance on the sector as it sees limited upside in oil prices.

“However, we believe that there is gradual improvement in the upstream space for the services players. Not overly bullish on broad-based sector but selectively on counters with selected thesis,” explained Lim.

South Korea assessing financial sector risks of wider row with Japan

SEOUL: South Korea is assessing the risks of a row with Japan over forced wartime labour spreading to the financial sector, including loans and investments by Japanese institutions, the financial regulator said.

Japan last week imposed tighter curbs on exports of high-tech materials to South Korea for making smartphone displays and memory chips. The action triggered calls in South Korea for a boycott of Japanese goods.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, the chairman of South Korea’s Financial Services Commission was asked if the dispute could affect investments and loans by Japanese institutions.

“I don’t know which additional measures there are for Japan to take next, but government ministries are checking the situation in that regard,” Choi Jong-ku said in remarks that were not allowed to be published until Sunday.

In a worst-case scenario, Japanese lenders could refuse to roll over maturing debt or stop providing new loans, Choi said.

“It’s unclear how likely such a situation would happen, but there will be no big problem,” Choi said.

The forced wartime labour issue is the latest flashpoint in a relationship long over-shadowed by South Korean resentment of Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula.

Ecuador to join market-friendly Pacific Alliance under Moreno

LIMA, July 7 — Ecuador will likely become a member of the market-friendly regional trade bloc the Pacific Alliance next year, the president of Peru said yesterday, the latest sign of the South American country’s rightward shift under President…

RM253.4m foreign buying good sign for local market

KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — The net inflow of RM253.4 million between Monday-Thursday in the first week of July was a good sign for the domestic equity market. However, market players continued to be on the lookout for uncertainties at the…

Polish bishops accuse Ikea of ‘LGBT indoctrination’

WARSAW, July 7 — Polish bishops yesterday denounced Swedish furniture giant Ikea for what it called “LGBT indoctrination” after an employee was sacked for refusing to take down a homophobic comment he posted on the firm’s internal website….

Oil giant Total’s chief announces new unit to invest in forests

AIX-EN-PROVENCE (France), July 7 — The head of French energy giant Total announced yesterday that the company would invest a hundred million dollars annually on a new forest preservation and reforestation project. “We want to set up a business…