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Chinese ETF investors throw gold a lifeline

BEIJING, Aug 21 — Just when you thought investors have given up on gold, the Chinese swooped in. On Friday, as prices of Bosera Gold Open-End ETF slumped to the lowest since December 2016, the exchange-traded fund attracted US$68 million (RM279…


US tech giants plan to fight India’s data localisation plans

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NEW DELHI, Aug 20 — US technology giants plan to intensify lobbying efforts against stringent Indian data localisation requirements, which they say will undermine their growth ambitions in India, sources told Reuters. US trade groups, representing…


Wall St rallies on solid earnings, US-China trade talks

NEW YORK, Aug 17 — US stocks rebounded yesterday with the Dow posting its biggest percentage gain in over four months, as positive earnings and waning trade jitters buoyed investor confidence. A broad rally pulled all three major US indexes higher…


Sliding currencies trigger palm oil demand concerns

KUALA LUMPUR: Sliding emerging market currencies are ringing alarm bells among traders concerned that palm oil demand will weaken across the region from China to Iran, as reduced purchasing power cuts into imports into countries like Turkey and India.

With a plunging Turkish lira dragging down peer currencies, traders say they already see Indian buyers bargaining with key suppliers in Malaysia, the world's no. 2 producer, for lower prices. Importers also forecast fewer shipments to China and the Middle East this year.

Slowing demand will weigh on benchmark palm prices, already trading around two-year lows. The benchmark price for the oil used in everything from cosmetics to soap was down 0.4% at RM2,207 (US$538.29) a tonne yesterday morning.

“Palm oil demand has been soft in 2018. One big reason has been the weakness of importer currencies,” said edible oil analyst Dorab Mistry, citing the Indian rupee as an example.

“I do not think the palm market has appreciated how much edible (oil) demand we have lost in 2018.”

Indian imports slumped 33% in July from last year as higher duties and a depreciating rupee – the worst-performing emerging market currency in Asia this year – made dollar-denominated imports more expensive.

Buying in August will further decline, said one Kuala Lumpur based-trader. Indian buyers have been asking for lower prices to offset the lower rupee, he said, leading sellers to reduce prices in hopes of capturing some demand.

“Malaysia is trying to compete by selling at lower prices,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Sellers will do this as long as weakness in the Indian rupee is there.”

Chinese buyers are also deferring contracts to September, when Malaysia's zero rate crude palm oil export duty will kick in and lower costs, said traders. – Reuters


Berjaya Food signs MoU to further strengthen position in India

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — Berjaya Food (BFood) Bhd will further cement its presence in the Indian market with the opening of 30 Kenny Rogers Roasters (KRR) restaurants and 75 Jollibean kiosks through its development agent, World Iconic Brand (WIB)…


India’s Fortis sees signs of recovery, shareholders approve takeover by IHH Healthcare

BENGAlURU: Cash-strapped Indian hospital operator Fortis Healthcare Ltd said today it was starting to see some signs of recovery, as it secured shareholder approval for its takeover by Malaysia's IHH Healthcare Bhd.

Fortis, which operates about 30 private hospitals in India, reported a net loss of 707.4 million rupees (RM41.5 million) for the three months ended June 30, and has now been in the red for five of the last six quarters, as it struggled with a cash crunch, rising debt and other problems.

However, it said occupancy rates at its hospitals had risen to over 69% currently, from 62% in the quarter through June.

The first quarter loss reversed a 52.9 million rupee profit in the same period a year earlier, and income from operations fell 9.9% in the first quarter from a year earlier to 10.4 billion rupees.

“…The last quarter performance has been impacted severely due to the continuing challenges that the company had been facing over the last 18 months that have led to liquidity issues,” chief executive Bhavdeep Singh said in a statement.

The company said it aims to reach average occupancy levels for its hospital business of over 70% by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019.
Fortis shareholders approved IHH's takeover bid for Fortis, ending months of speculation over control of the company. IHH will invest 40 billion rupees at 170 rupees per share in Fortis.

The prolonged takeover battle drew interest from five international and local suitors, eyeing ownership of Fortis amid a private healthcare boom in India.– Reuters


Indian rupee hits record low of 70 to the dollar

MUMBAI: The Indian rupee hit a record low of 70 to the dollar on Tuesday as emerging market currencies are sold off by investors spooked by the Turkish financial crisis.

The under-pressure rupee touched 70.09 briefly during mid-morning trade as fears grow that the plight of Turkey's lira will spread to other emerging countries.

South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Russia have all seen their currencies slip over the past week because, like Turkey, they remain heavily dependent on foreign capital, especially the dollar.

The rupee has been on a downward spiral throughout 2018 after starting the year at 63.67.

India is a massive net importer of oil, securing more than two-thirds of its needs from abroad.

Brent Crude was up 20 cents at US$72.81 per barrel on Tuesday, well above prices of around US$50 at the same time last year.

Analysts say the high crude costs are squeezing the Indian currency, making it less appealing to traders.

“Investors are concerned that the rupee has crossed the 70 benchmark today,” N. S. Venkatesh, chief executive of the Association of Mutual Funds in India, told AFP.

But he added that he expected the currency to stabilise at around 69, describing India's economy as “strong”.

“The Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy has shown concern for the rupee's fluctuations so investors should not be worried by knee-jerk reactions in the forex market,” Venkatesh said.

India's central bank has raised interest rates twice this year, in part to help increase the value of the rupee.

Its fall is leading to a widening of India's current account deficit, when the value of imports exceeds the value of exports, experts say.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund predicted that the deficit would expand to 2.6% for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. – AFP


Indian rupee slips past 70 per US dollar for first time

MUMBAI, Aug 14 — The Indian rupee hit the 70 per US dollar mark for the first time, tumbling to a record low, as a Turkey-led rout in emerging-market currencies intensified losses. The rupee slipped as much as 0.2 per cent to 70.08 per dollar in…


Jet Airways lenders wary of extending new loans

MUMBAI, Aug 14 — Jet Airways India Ltd.’s lenders are reluctant to extend additional loans to the cash-strapped airline ahead of a key report by the company’s financial auditor, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter….


EM currencies, shares hit by Turkey’s turmoil

SYDNEY: Emerging market currencies sold off heavily yesterday and Asian stocks were knocked lower as Turkey’s lira plunged to all-time lows on concerns over its diplomatic rift with the United States and the risk of capital flight. Investors fear the lira’s sell-off could have a ripple effect in global financial markets with the euro, the […]