Monday, September 23rd, 2019


Oil CEOs push carbon-capture efforts ahead of climate talks

NEW YORK, Sept 23 — A group of 13 major oil companies charted out a plan today to promote investments in carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), ahead of a gathering in New York. Oil chiefs grappling with growing demand for action to fight climate…

Body Shop joins businesses looking to prove purpose beyond profits

LONDON, Sept 23 — The Body Shop was awarded an ethical business certification today, joining a growing global cohort seeking to prove to the public that business can be a force for good. The 43-year-old retailer is the latest company to become a B…

RIP Thomas Cook: Holiday dreams washed away by tide of debt

LONDON, Sept 23 — Thomas Cook sold tens of millions of Britons a summer holiday to remember with the slogan “Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it”. But behind the glossy brochures, it was struggling to adapt to market changes: while taking…

Strains that sank Thomas Cook weigh on European airlines

PARIS, Sept 23 — The collapse of travel group Thomas Cook and a trio of subsidiary airlines, leaving 600,000 holidaymakers stranded, is unlikely to be the last failure among Europe’s struggling second-tier carriers. As Britain was activating…

Wall Street cuts losses after upbeat manufacturing data

NEW YORK, Sept 23 — US stocks pared early losses today after a better-than-expected manufacturing survey reinforced confidence in the domestic economy. IHS Markit’s Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) for US manufacturing activity rose to a…

Dollar gains as dismal economic data hurts euro

NEW YORK, Sept 23 — The dollar rose against the euro today after dismal manufacturing and services data elevated concerns about the state of the euro zone economy. Euro zone business growth stalled this month, a survey showed today, dragged down…

Residential market overhang increases 1.5% in first-half 2019

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s residential property overhang rose 1.5% to 32,810 units in first-half 2019 (1H19) compared with 32,200 units in 2H18, according to National Property Information Centre’s (Napic) First-Half Property Market Report.

The total value of the resi-dential property overhang stood at RM19.76 billion, dominated by residential units priced from RM200,001 to RM300,000 with 7,328 units (22.3%), followed by units priced at RM300,001 to RM400,001 with 5,731 (17.5%).

Unsold residential units priced above RM1 million accounted for 12.8% with 4,213 units.

The Malaysian House Price Index continued to increase at a moderate pace, standing at 194.8 points in 2Q19, up 0.9% on an annual basis. However, on a quarterly basis, it slipped by 0.6%.

In the first half of the year, the property market saw 160,172 transactions valued at RM68.3 billion, a 6.9% increase in volume and a 0.8% increase in value from 149,862 transactions worth RM67.74 billion recorded in 1H18.

There were 99,922 transactions worth RM34.65 billion for the residential property segment for 1H19, an increase of 6.1% in volume and a 9.5% hike in value.

For the period under review, all states recorded higher market volumes for residential property except Labuan and Perak.

The increase was mainly contributed by Kuala Lumpur (+7%), Selangor (+5.8%), Johor (+1.2%) and Penang (+0.5%).

Napic said new launches in the primary market for 1H19 contracted 49.4% to 23,591 units from 46,617 units previously. “Sales performance was moderate at 30.9%, better than 1H18 (20.1%) and 2H18 (29.2%).”

However, the report shows that 12,960 transactions worth RM12.53 billion were registered for the commercial property segment, a 20.4% growth in volume but a 20.8% drop in value.

The shop sub-sector recorded 6,922 transactions worth RM5.8 billion, dominating 53.4% of commercial property transaction and 46.3% of the total value. It was a growth of 25.1% in volume and a 32.7% in value against the 5,530 transactions worth RM4.4 billion reported in 1H18.

However, in 1H19, the overhang for the sub-sector continued to increase with 5,760 units valued at RM4.98 billion, representing a 13.9% gain in volume and a 22% jump in value from the preceding half year.

On the supply front, construction activity continued to be slow as indicated by the contraction in completions, starts and new planned supply, declining 25.6%, 6.8% and 60.8%, respectively.

For the retail sub-sector, an overall occupancy rate of 79.7% was recorded against 79.3% in 2H 18, driven by higher take-up in Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

Malaysian property market to remain resilient in second half

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s property market is expected to remain resilient in the second half of the year, underpinned by strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter and government-driven initiatives to support market activities in the housing sector, the National Property Information Centre (Napic) said.

It highlighted that providing affordable housing and addressing the property overhang continue to be the main agendas of the government, particularly with the launch of the National Housing Policy 2.0 (2018-2025) and the incentives introduced in Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) 2019.

As the HOC incentives have been extended from July 1, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019, this is expected to improve home ownership among Malaysians and the residential overhang situation in the second half of the year.

Among the incentives in the campaign are a minimum 10% price discount for properties from registered developers and stamp duty exemption for memorandums of transfer and loan agreements.

Furthermore, Napic said the expected strong GDP growth, coupled with the lower borrowing cost, incentives for first-time home buyers, new rates for the real property gains tax on the disposal of properties after five years and the increase in stamp duty rates from 3% to 4% for transfers of properties valued above RM1 million are expected to have direct and indirect impact on the property sector.

“Given time, the property sector will undergo market adjustments and corrections accordingly,” it added.

Hyundai Motor Group, Aptiv to set up US$4b self-driving car JV

SEOUL, Sept 23 — Hyundai Motor Group will invest US$1.6 billion (RM6.6 billion) in a joint venture to develop self-driving vehicle technologies with Aptiv, the biggest overseas investment by the South Korean carmaker to catch up to rivals in the…

Shipping sector sets course for zero carbon vessels, fuel by 2030

LONDON, Sept 23 — Leading ports, banks, oil and shipping companies today launched an initiative which aims to have ships and marine fuels with zero carbon emissions on the high seas by 2030, in another step by the maritime sector to reduce CO2….