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Asian shares dip, euro weighed by sagging German business morale

TOKYO, April 25 — Asian shares slipped today as a surprise deterioration in German business morale rekindled fears of slowing global growth, while oil prices pulled back slightly after a sharp run-up earlier in the week. The euro slumped to a…


Wall Street edges lower, energy stocks fall

NEW YORK, April 25 — The S&P 500 slipped yesterday after ending the previous session with a record and the Nasdaq failed to hold all-time highs reached earlier in the day while investors waited for more earnings reports. Energy stocks were the…


World Bank keeps M’sia 2019 growth forecast at 4.7%

KUALA LUMPUR: The World Bank Group has maintained Malaysia’s 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast at 4.7%, driven by private consumption.

Lead economist for Malaysia Richard Record said private consumption would continue to be the main driver of growth, albeit expanding at a more measured pace.

“Household spending will be buoyed by stable labour market conditions and income support measures such as the Cost of Living Aid (Bantuan Sara Hidup),“ he told reporters at the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) Economic Update briefing today.

He said gross fixed capital formation was expected to increase slightly, driven by the private sector, while public investment was expected to remain subdued in the near term.

“The external sector may be negatively affected by heightened uncertainty surrounding the global environment, particularly the possible escalation of US-China trade tensions,“ he said.

Record said monetary poverty was expected to continue its downward trend in 2019, with a projected decline to 1.4% based on the upper middle-income countries (UMIC) poverty line of US$5.50 (RM22.70) per person per day in 2011.

“Several initiatives for low-income households, including the national B40 Health Protection Fund, an insurance scheme for the B40 group, and affordable housing initiatives are in the pipeline to improve both monetary and non-monetary wellbeing,“ he said.

Going into 2020, he said Malaysia’s economy was projected to expand at 4.6%, and the country was expected to achieve high-income country status by 2024.

He said the country’s fiscal deficit was expected to narrow to 3.4% of GDP in 2019 and subsequently to 3% in 2020.

“Near-term fiscal consolidation efforts are expected to be achieved primarily through rigorous expenditure rationalisation, with broad-based declines (in percentage of GDP) projected across major components of operating and economic development outlays.

In terms of risks and challenges, Record said the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the US-China trade tensions and shifts in global financial market sentiment would pose downside risks to Malaysia’s economy in the near term, due to the country’s high degree of trade and financial integration.

“On the domestic front, the relatively high levels of government liabilities and increased dependency on oil-related proceeds could potentially constrain the flexibility of fiscal adjustment against future macroeconomic shocks,“ he said.

He said in the private sector, the relatively high level of household debt remained a source of macro-financial stability risk and would act as a constraint on household spending.

Record said the principal challenge to more rapid and inclusive economic growth lies in increasing labour productivity, which in turn depends on stronger human capital development.

“Malaysia’s score on the Human Capital Index (HCI) is 0.62, which is about as expected compared to other UMICs but well below that of its aspirational comparators,“ he said.

He said Malaysia performed well on the child survival and years of schooling components of the HCI but did poorly relative to its economic peers in child nutrition and the quality of education.

“Key priorities are thus enhancing learning outcomes, reducing child under-nutrition and strengthening social protection systems to enable households to both invest in and protect human capital,“ he said.


Asian shares fall despite strong Wall Street, oil retreats

SHANGHAI, April 24 — Equity markets in Asia faltered today amid losses in South Korea and uncertainty over China's plans for further stimulus as the economy shows signs of regaining its footing. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside…


Asian shares up after Nasdaq, S&P 500 hit record highs

SHANGHAI, April 24 — Equity markets in Asia rose this morning after upbeat earnings helped the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes reach record closing highs on Wall Street overnight, while oil retreated from its near six-month highs. MSCI's broadest…


Malaysian small businesses big on growth, says CPA Australia

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Malaysia's small business sector in 2018 experienced positive business conditions, as confidence in business and economic growth marks its highest point since 2012. This is among the findings of CPA Australia's 10th annual…


Asian shares steady after Easter weekend, oil hits 2019 highs

TOKYO, April 23 — Asian shares were little changed today, hovering not far from nine-month peaks hit last week, with concerns China may slow the pace of policy easing curbing the market's enthusiasm. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares…


Asia stocks firm, oil hits five-month peak on Iran sanctions report

TOKYO, April 22 — Asian shares were steady today as investors took stock of recent data suggesting global growth may be stabilising, while oil prices spiked on a report the US is likely to ask all importers of Iranian oil to end their purchases or…


Wall Street closes slightly higher, industrials lead

NEW YORK, April 19 — Industrials led the S&P 500 and the Dow moderately higher yesterday after robust US economic data and some healthy corporate earnings reports. All three major US stock indexes closed in positive territory heading into the…


Wall Street slips as healthcare slumps again

NEW YORK, April 18 — US stocks dipped in volatile trading today, ahead of a long Easter weekend, as another drop in healthcare stocks overshadowed gains from industrials after upbeat earnings. In a bright spot, US retail sales increased by the…