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Ringgit weakens as 3% UST yield dims EM appeal

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 25): Ringgit falls as most emerging Asian currencies come under pressure after the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield breached the key 3 percent level. * USD/MYR gains 0.1% to 3.9100 ** Support 3.8465, 3.8000, 3.7310; resistance 3.9313, 3.9430, 3.9488 * Pair may see further rebound toward 3.92 to 3.95 as the dollar could extend its rise on the back of higher UST yields, Maybank analysts led by Saktiandi Supaat write in note Wednesday ** Still, Maybank maintains view for medium-term MYR strength due to improving domestic factors andRead More


Ringgit retreats against US dollar at opening

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — The ringgit opened marginally lower against the US dollar today on deterioration of risk sentiment, said dealers. At 9am, the ringgit was quoted at 3.9050/9100 from 3.9030/9080 recorded at yesterday’s close. OANDA Head…


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KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — The ringgit extended its downtrend to close lower against the US dollar today on strong buying interest for the greenback as US bond yields increased, a dealer said. At 6pm, the ringgit was quoted at 3.9030/9080 from…


Ringgit extends downtrend against US dollar

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit extended its downtrend to close lower against the US dollar today on strong buying interest for the greenback as US bond yields increased, a dealer said.

At 6pm, the ringgit was quoted at 3.9030/9080 from 3.8965/8995 on Monday.

It was reported that the 10-year US Treasury yield, which could potentially hit and break the three per cent level, could cause problems for the global economy as borrowing money would become more expensive.

OANDA Head of Trading Asia-Pacific, Stephen Innes, said the sell-off of local bonds also weakened the ringgit.

“Investors continue to pare back the ringgit's exposure as locals are turning increasingly risk-averse as they think the (coming) general election results could be a lot tighter than initially predicted,” he said.

The ringgit, however, closed mixed against a basket of major currencies.

The local note fell against the Singapore dollar to 2.9510/9559 from 2.9452/9481 on Monday and eased against the British pound to 5.4466/4552 from 5.4411/4464 yesterday.

It rose against the yen to 3.5860/5913 from 3.6005/6043 on Monday and strengthened versus the euro to 4.7644/7713 from 4.7658/7706 yesterday. — Bernama


Bursa Malaysia closes at intra-day low

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended at an intra-day low today on selling pressure across-the-board in tandem with most Southeast Asian bourses, taking the cue from the weaker overnight performance on Wall Street, dealers said.

The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) ended at 1,865.34, down 15.02 points from Monday's close of 1,880.36.

It opened 3.39 points higher at 1,883.75 and moved between 1,865.34 and 1,885.32 throughout the day.

Market breadth was negative with losers outpacing gainers by 573 to 291 while 387 counters remained unchanged, 663 untraded and 28 others suspended.

Volume fell to 1.93 billion units worth RM2.32 billion from 1.94 billion units worth RM1.66 billion yesterday.

A dealer said Bursa Malaysia extended profit-taking consolidation today due to an overbought technical momentum after hitting an all-time high of 1,895.18, up 15.86 points, on Thursday last week.

“Concerns over the rising yields in US government bonds and the downturn among technology companies sapped optimism in most Southeast Asian equities markets which prompted a sell-off,” he said

Bursa Malaysia opened higher but succumbed to profit-taking after 15 minutes of trading with selling in blue-chips led by Press Metal Aluminium and telecommunication stocks.

Regionally, Japan's Nikkei gained 0.86% to 22,278.12, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.26% to 30,636.24, South Korea's Kospi declined 0.40% to 2,464.14, the Singapore's Straits Times Index was 0.08% better at 3,582.54 and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index slipped 1.19% to 6,232.88.

Among heavyweights, Public Bank and CIMB shed two sen each to RM24.10 and RM7.22 respectively, Petronas Chemicals bagged three sen to RM8.49 while Maybank and Tenaga were flat at RM10.62 and RM15.88 respectively.

For actives, Sapura Energy and PUC eased 1.5 sen each to 70.5 sen and 22 sen, Hibiscus shed 3.5 sen to 82.5 sen and Nexgram eased half-a-sen to 39.5 sen.

The FBM Emas Index fell 105.25 points to 12,974.41, FBM Emas Shariah Index dropped 114.34 points to 13,131.70, FBMT 100 Index eased 106.52 points to 12,790.59 and the FBM 70 dipped 139.57 points to 15,286.24.

The FBM Ace bagged 23.83 points to 5,322.46.

Sector-wise, the Finance Index declined 104.94 points to 18,305.04, Industrial Index slipped 41.44 points to 3,211.79 and the Plantation Index shed 11.64 points to 7,991.96.

Main Market volume fell to 1.18 billion shares worth RM2.19 billion from 1.21 billion shares worth RM1.51 billion on Monday.

Warrants volume widened to 458.49 million units valued at RM78.38 million from 430.75 million units valued at RM96.66 million yesterday.

Volume on the ACE Market shrank to 284.65 million shares worth RM51.80 million from 299.25 million shares worth RM50.37 million on Monday.

Consumer products accounted for 33.13 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products (306.97 million), construction (66.09 million), trade and services (555.33 million), technology (72.09 million), infrastructure (14.69 million), SPAC (6.68 million), finance (46.20 million), hotels (3.46 million), properties (47.87 million), plantations (17.10 million), mining (8,000), REITs (11.19 million) and closed/fund (nil). — Bernama


Oil tops US$75, highest since 2014 Opec meeting that led to pump war

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Shareholders positive after Lotte’s bumpy start

KUALA LUMPUR: Lotte Chemical Titan Holdings Bhd shareholders remain buoyant on the prospects of the petrochemical firm after a series of unfortunate events – share price slump, stop-work order and fire at its plant – in the first six months of listing marred the fanfare of being one of the largest listings the stock exchange has seen in the last five years.

Shareholders met by SunBiz at the group’s AGM today said they are more relieved now after all the distractions, as the business operations are back on the right track.

They acknowledged that while the share price movement is something beyond the group’s control, its rebound to above RM6 is seen as a good sign for the group which hit a low of RM4.14 just a month into its listing at RM6.50.

“I managed a handsome paper gain after I bought into the stock when it fell to below RM5 last year,” a minority shareholder said.

At today’s market close, the stock gained 2 sen or 0.3% to RM6.23, just 4.2% shy from its initial public offering (IPO) price which was slashed from the RM8 set initially, due to weak market sentiment.

Its share price dipped to a low of RM4.14 last August after announcing a 72% plunge in second-quarter net earnings ended June 30, 2017 on the back of high inventory cost carried forward from turnaround activities as well as higher production cost due to water supply interruption.

Giving truth to the adage of trouble coming in threes, in September, Lotte’s Pasir Gudang factory caught fire due to contact between residual vapour from the quench water drain pit and the steam line, causing an estimated loss of less than RM50,000.

The same plant was also issued a stop-work order by the Department of Environment in October after being identified as the source of a stench, which reached Singapore’s shores.

Looking ahead, Lotte’s executive vice-president of corporate planning Philip Kong believes the group will continue to see a reasonable profit margin given strong demand for petrochemical products with limited market supply capacity.

This is despite the rising oil prices, which could put pressure on petrochemical players. As at 7pm today, Brent crude oil stood at US$74.95 a barrel.

“Our business is a margin game. As long as there is strong demand with limited supply, the margin will be maintained. If oil prices go up, the polymer prices will pick up as well,” he told reporters after the group’s first AGM since its listing.

Lotte produces olefins and polyolefins, which are raw materials for plastic product manufacturing.

For the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017, its net profit declined 19.1% from RM1.32 billion to RM1.06 billion, due to lower sales volume resulting from two routine statutory turnaround exercise at the Malaysian site and water disruption in Johor.

For 2018, its utilisation rate is expected to increase to 90% from 75% currently in the absence of plant shut down and water disruption.

Speaking on the integrated petrochemical facility in Indonesia, Kong said Lotte will make a final decision on its planned integrated petrochemical facility in Indonesia within the year or early next year. The estimated cost of the project is between US$3 billion (RM11.7 billion) and US$4 billion (RM15.6 billion) and is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

He added that Malaysia and Indonesia, which make up 70% of the overall business, remain the two important markets for Lotte on the back of huge population and a slight premium against the international prices.


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Heat is on emerging-market currencies with Indonesia stepping in

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JAKARTA (April 24): From Indonesia to India, central banks in emerging markets face rising pressure to prop currencies battling a surging US dollar. Indonesia’s central bank has intervened in the currency and bond markets by a “sizable” amount, Governor Agus Martowardojo said in a statement overnight. He pledged to take more action to support the rupiah after it slid to a two-year low on Monday. “To maintain the stability of the rupiah exchange rate according to its fundamentals, Bank Indonesia has intervened in both the foreign exchange market” and theRead More