Friday, August 30th, 2019


US doesn’t have a ‘tariff problem’, it has ‘a Fed problem’, says Trump

WASHINGTON, Aug 30 — President Donald Trump today denied his trade wars were harming the US economy, instead blaming the Federal Reserve for allowing a strong dollar to make American exports less competitive. The remarks came just two days before…

India growth slows to 5pc in fresh blow to Modi

MUMBAI, Aug 30 — India’s economic growth slowed for the fifth straight quarter in the April-to-June period to 5.0 per cent, government figures showed today in a fresh blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But in an effort to ease the liquidity…

Trump: US, China to talk trade today

WASHINGTON, Aug 30 — President Donald Trump said US and Chinese trade officials were due to hold discussions today, days before Washington is due to raise tariffs on billions in Chinese goods. “There’s a talk scheduled for today at a different…

Wall Street rises as China trade cheer persists

NEW YORK, Aug 30 — Wall Street’s optimistic view of the US-China trade situation persisted today as stocks continued to rally, leaving the major indices on track for their first positive week in more than a month. China’s commerce ministry…

Ideal announces RM600m mixed development in Balik Pulau

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 30 — Ideal United Bintang International Berhad is planning a mixed development project in Balik Pulau with an estimated gross development value of RM600 million. In a press release issued today, the group revealed its recent…

Hong Kong retail sales drop by steepest in 3-1/2 years amid protests

HONG KONG, Aug 30 — Hong Kong’s July retail sales sank by the most since February 2016 amid anti-government protests that have gripped the Chinese-ruled city for months. Retail sales in July fell 11.4 per cent from a year earlier, government…

AirAsia inks major deals with Airbus

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Group Bhd today signed two major agreements with Airbus, covering the order of an additional 12 A330neo and 30 A321XLR aircraft for US$8.1 billion (RM34.2 billion), as well as a memorandum of agreement to support the development of the Malaysian aerospace industry.

As part of the deal, Airbus will develop further its industrial presence in Malaysia with three new initiatives, including the expansion of Airbus’ wholly-owned maintenance facility Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE), the establishment of the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative and an increased participation in the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC).

The expansion of SAE will include the construction of a new hangar capable of accommodating four single aisle or two widebody aircraft for heavy checks, as well as the addition of new paint and component repair shops. The facilities will be ready to incorporate the latest smart technologies, including data analysis and planning using the Airbus Skywise digital platform and automated inspection techniques.

Under the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative, Airbus will work with local stakeholders to develop a master plan and select and perform dedicated projects to enhance the competitiveness of the Malaysian aerospace sector through the application of new digital technologies. The initiative will also contribute to the alignment of Malaysian industrial partners with new processes and systems being introduced by Airbus across its manufacturing and supply chain.

Building on its position as a founding member of AMIC, Airbus will appoint an innovation technical director to support the non-profit organisation and increase its funding for joint research programmes. These will include research at AMIC into the potential production of alternative and sustainable aviation biofuels in Malaysia.

AirAsia also signed an agreement for a firm order of 12 additional Airbus A330neo aircraft, taking the total from 66 to 78 A330neos on order; and 30 state-of-the-art A321XLR aircraft, to join AirAsia’s future long-haul fleet.

The introduction of the A321XLR provides AirAsia X with greater flexibility to better manage capacity on key routes as well as respond to seasonal demand. The A321XLR also gives AirAsia X an advantage when it comes to exploring opportunities to operate non-stop flights between Southeast Asia and secondary cities in countries like Australia, China and Japan.

The agreements were signed by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and AirAsia X Bhd chairman Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz for the aircraft purchase and AirAsia Group executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun for the industrial projects. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Also present was AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

Airbus is the largest international partner for the Malaysian aerospace industry. Its sourcing and services businesses in the country are now valued at some US$400 million (RM1.68 billion) per annum for the local economy, a figure expected to rise to more than US$550 million every year with these new initiatives.

Kamarudin said Airbus’s commitment to investing to expand its industrial presence here will deliver significant benefits to the economy, through job creation and by transforming industry best practice.

“By ensuring Malaysia remains at the cutting edge of global aerospace developments, we will be able to future proof the local industry and guarantee our future competitiveness,” he said in a statement.

Commenting on AMIC, Kamarudin said AirAsia continues to lead the way in driving sustainable operations and tourism.

“Not only do we invest heavily in new, more fuel-efficient aircraft, we have also begun looking into alternative jet fuel solutions.”

Ringgit ends higher as US-China resume trade talks

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit closed higher against the US dollar today on positive news as US-China resume trade talks.

At 6pm, the ringgit finished at 4.2030/2080 against the greenback from 4.2150/2200 on Thursday.

A dealer said, however, traders are expected to adopt a wait-and-see attitude on the developments of the trade negotiations.

“The United States and China returned to the negotiating table to resolve their tariff dispute and on hopes that central banks and governments will do more to avert a global growth slowdown,” he said.

The foreign exchange market will be closed on Monday (Sept 2) for the replacement of Awal Muharram public holiday that falls on Sunday (Sept 1).

The market will commence its operations on Tuesday, Sept 3.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded higher against other major currencies.

It was traded stronger against the yen at 3.9487/9545 from 3.9671/9729 and versus the euro at 4.6393/6465 from 4.6685/6745 previously.

The local unit was higher against the Singapore dollar at 3.0281/0319 from 3.0370/0410 and vis-a-vis the British pound at 5.1230/1308 from 5.1381/1446. – Bernama

Airbus says AirAsia X places US$5b order

PARIS, Aug 30 — Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia X has ordered 42 Airbus aircraft worth a total catalogue price of US$5 billion (RM21 billion), Airbus said today. The Malaysian carrier has placed a firm order for 12 long-range A330neo planes and…

Net profit soars 24% for MBSB in Q2

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) saw its net profit jump 24% in the second quarter ended June 30, 2019 with RM106.23 million against RM85.69 million recorded in the same quarter of the previous year due to a lower expected credit losses (ECL).

Revenue for the group rose 3% with RM817.66 million against RM794.14 million reported previously.

“MBSB’s profits in 2Q19 translated to an improved return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA) contributed by lower ECL due to improvements in provisions for retail segment as well as ECL write backs from the corporate portfolio,” said its group president and CEO Datuk Seri Ahmad Zaini Othman in a statement.

Its net profit margin declined to 2.84% compared to 3.23% in 2Q18, while net income stood at RM336.31 million, a 6.09% decline from RM358.10 million in 2Q18.

MBSB’s current financing composition ratio between retail and corporate stands at 74:26 and it continues to move towards a target of 60:40 by the year 2020.

The group recorded a cost-to-income ratio of 31.32%, a year-on-year regression of 4.05% compared to 27.27% in 2Q18.

For the first half of 2019, the group reported a net profit of RM190.06 million, a 52.8% drop from RM402.48 million reported for the corresponding period of the previous year, while revenue remained flat at RM1.60 billion for the period against RM1.61 billion reported previously.

For the second half of the year, MBSB will continue with its plans to enhance the level of its customers’ experience and expand digital banking capabilities.

“MBSB Bank will be transforming 15 of its 47 branches into digital branches and will be introducing the current account and savings accounts (CASA-i) online application platform as well as the e-wallet facility by the end of this year,” said Zaini.

MBSB will also continue to focus to expand the corporate business to reach the desired corporate retail portfolio mix. As a new Islamic banking group in the industry, the group is looking forward to expand its products and services which include trade finance, wealth management and internet and mobile banking to cater various segments of customers and depositors.