Friday, October 4th, 2019


Sterling set for first weekly rise in 3 weeks

LONDON, Oct 4 — The pound rose today and was poised for its first weekly gain in three weeks as investors cut some short bets on the British currency, although concerns a Brexit deal with the European Union at a summit later this month is unlikely…

EU to remove Switzerland, UAE from tax haven lists

BRUSSELS, Oct 4 — European Union finance ministers are set to remove Switzerland and United Arab Emirates (UAE) next week from the bloc’s lists of countries deemed to act as tax havens, an EU document said. On October 10 they are expected to…

FTSE recovers, tracks worst week in over 1-1/2 years

LONDON, Oct 4 — London’s FTSE 100 recovered slightly today, getting support from oil majors Shell and BP even as the index heads for its worst week in 20 months over fears of an economic slowdown and risk of recession. Blue-chips were up 0.4 per…

BP chief executive Dudley stepping down

LONDON, Oct 4 — BP said today that Chief Executive Bob Dudley, who oversaw the energy giant’s response to and recovery from the devastating Gulf of Mexico 2010 oil spill disaster, will leave next year. American Dudley, 64, will step down on…

Petronas sets up venture capital arm to enhance further growth

KUALA LUMPUR,  Oct 4 — Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has set up a venture capital arm, Petronas Corporate Venture Capital (CVC), to drive technology innovation and maintain a competitive edge to support its core oil and gas business for…

Hong Kong stocks end week with losses

HONG KONG, Oct 4 — Hong Kong stocks ended the week with another loss today after the government said it was banning face masks in a bid to quell months-long, sometimes violent protests, with traders worried it could provoke further unrest. The…

Honda Malaysia recalls 23,476 cars for Takata airbag inflator replacements

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Honda Malaysia is recalling 23,476 Honda vehicles that were recalled earlier to replace the Takata front airbag inflators. It said vehicle owners who are affected will receive notification letters from Honda Malaysia along…

India central bank makes fifth rate cut, slashes growth forecast

MUMBAI, Oct 4 — India’s central bank today cut interest rates for the fifth time this year, putting them at a near-decade low, while it also slashed its growth forecasts as authorities struggle to kickstart Asia’s third-largest economy. The…

CIDB: Construction sector’s growth momentum to pick up

KUALA LUMPUR: The construction industry is expected to grow by about five per cent by end-2019, compared with last year’s growth of 4.2 per cent, said Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) chief executive officer Datuk Ir Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid.

He said the trend would continue until the first half of next year, given the current wait and see approach adopted by both local and foreign investors.

“However, the momentum is expected to pick up by the second half of 2020 as the government has already approved certain projects. So, I am positive on its outlook,“ he said at the Malaysian Construction Industry Excellence Awards (MCIEA) press conference here today.

Organised by CIDB since 2000, MCIEA recognises individuals, consultants, organisations and projects that have contributed and demonstrated excellence in enhancing the image and performance of the construction industry.

“For the Malaysian construction industry to move forward as a whole, industry players must make the shift to adopt best practices.

“Therefore, CIDB is taking a step further to encourage a holistic construction approach that will provide the impetus for Malaysian construction companies to significantly elevate their position on the domestic front, as well as gaining prominence as leaders at the international platform,“ he added.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Asri said only five categories of award for MCIEA 2019, compared with nine previously as the judging criteria had been revised to reflect a more holistic approach to encourage industry players to continue raising the standard of the country’s construction, in line with the ultimate goal of the Construction Industry Transformation Programme 2016-2020. — Bernama

India’s central bank cuts rates yet again in bid to revive growth

MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India on Friday cut interest rates for a fifth straight meeting this year, stepping up its efforts to kickstart an economy growing at its slowest pace in six years.

The central bank, which also downgraded its 2019-20 growth forecast, said it will maintain its current “accommodative” policy stance “as long as it is necessary” to revive growth, and ensure inflation remains within target.

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) cut the repo rate by 25 basis points to 5.15%, in line with expectations in a Reuters poll. The reverse repo rate was reduced to 4.9%.

All six MPC members voted in favour of a rate cut and for retaining the accommodative stance, the statement said.

Markets were little changed as the RBI decision was largely in-line with expectations.

The broader NSE Index, which was up 0.60% before the policy decision, pared those gains after the rate cut and were last up 0.06%. The 10-year benchmark bond yield rose to 6.64% from 6.59% before the announcement, while the rupee was largely flat at 70.83 per dollar.

“While the recent measures announced by the government are likely to help strengthen private consumption and spur private investment activity, the continuing slowdown warrants intensified efforts to restore the growth momentum,” the MPC, said in its statement.

To revive the faltering economy, the government in September announced a steep cut in the corporate tax rate – to 22% from 30% – triggering the biggest intraday gain in Indian stocks in more than a decade.

Asia’s third-largest economy expanded by just 5% in the June quarter, its slowest pace since 2013, on the back of low consumer demand and a slowdown in government spending amid global trade frictions.

The weak GDP numbers prompted several economists to lower their growth projections.

The RBI also cut its real GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 to 6.1% from a prior projection of 6.9%.

The RBI has now cumulatively lowered interest rates by 135 bps this year, but the central bank said that “transmission has remained staggered and incomplete.”

It noted that the weighted average lending rate on fresh loans has fallen by just 29 bps, versus the 110 bps cut, ahead of today’s announcement. – Reuters