Janet Yellen to depart US Fed in February

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 — US central bank chief Janet Yellen announced yesterday she will leave the Federal Reserve in February once her successor as chair is sworn in.  The decision comes less than three weeks after President Donald Trump broke…

US sues to stop AT&T buying Time Warner, says would hike rates

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 — The US Department of Justice sued AT&T Inc yesterday to block its US$85.4 billion (RM353.6 billion) acquisition of Time Warner Inc, saying the deal could raise prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers. The lawsuit is the…

Analysts raise GDP picks from Malaysia’s strong 3Q

KUCHING: Analysts are brightly optimistic over an uptick in Malaysia’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which grew by a stronger growth of 6.2 per cent year on year (y-o-y) in the third quarter of 2017 (3Q17). The team at RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd (RHB Research) said this was its quickest pace in three years. […]

Malaysia, Europe to cooperate to raise MSPO benchmark

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Europe are willing to collaborate with European experts to raise the benchmark for Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification to ensure it will be accredited and accepted as a certifcation system. Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the Malaysian government was committed to ensuring the […]

No respite for properties in the near term — Analyst

KUCHING: AllianceDBS Research Sdn Bhd (AllianceDBS Research) believes the tightening measure by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur to freeze approvals for four development types following the warning of oversupply by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) may do little to resolve the grave issue of supply glut in the near term. Also, there was no clarity yet if […]

Malaysian ringgit up 0.1pc, highest for more than a year

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Most Asian currencies were muted this morning in the face of political uncertainty in Germany and lingering doubts about the prospects for US tax reform, dimming sentiment. The dollar index, which measures the greenback…

Court case shines light on murky side of Hong Kong stock market

HONG KONG, Nov 20 — A case winding its way through Hong Kong’s courts is shining a light on a murky corner of the city’s stock market that has drawn increased scrutiny from regulators. Jones Chan, founder and chief executive officer of…

Any adjustment to policy a normalisation

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has the flexibility to adjust the degree of its monetary policy accommodativeness, which it stressed will be a “normalisation” of interest rates, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim.

“We’ve hinted that once the growth of economy is entrenched, economic expectation is positive, inflation is what we’ve expected and financial imbalances have not increased significantly or becoming a problem, it will give us a bit of flexibility to adjust the degree of monetary policy accommodativeness. It’s not a tightening but a normalisation of interest rates,” Muhammad said after announcing the country’s Q3 GDP last Friday.

He said real interest rates have been negative for almost a year, which is not something abnormal. Moreover, he said the economy has gone through longer periods of negative real interest rates, such as in 2009, where negative real interest rates were present for over one-and-a-half-year.

Despite the different scenario now with the elevated household debt being a recent phenomena, Muhammad said there are still certain things that we can link with.

“For example, if there is a negative interest rate, there will be some financial imbalances and if it’s too long, if we have an opportunity to correct that imbalance, we should take it. At this moment, we have that flexibility,” explained Muhammad.

Standard Chartered Bank head of Asean Economic Research Edward Lee said with the latest Monetary Policy Committee statement clearly highlighting the central bank’s hawkish stance, it sees the overnight policy rate being hiked by 25bps in January 2018.

“But this is not the start of a tightening cycle. If anything, the risk is for no hike rather than more hikes,” Lee told SunBiz.

OCBC Bank economist Barnabas Gan said BNM’s persistent rhetoric in indicating it wants to adjust monetary policy suggests that the central bank is gearing up market expectation for an eventual rate hike in its upcoming meetings, and look for BNM to deliver at least a one-time rate hike into 2018 then. – by Ee Ann Nee

Proton sales jumps 13pc in Oct 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — Proton has recorded a 13 per cent jump in sales in October 2017 to 5,083 units compared with 4,498 units in the previous month. For the January—October 2017 period, it registered a 6.0 per cent increase in sales to…

Despite Amazon, brick stores are not dead yet

NEW YORK, Nov 18 ­— Just in time for the Black Friday kick-off to holiday season shopping, stock market investors have been handed tools to bet on the decline of brick-and-mortar retail. As of yesterday, these tools were not yet for sale on…