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Ringgit at nearly 3-month low against US dollar on FTSE Russell concerns

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit closed at a nearly three-month low against the US dollar today, dampened by weak sentiment towards the local currency following the possible downgrade of Malaysian bonds by global index provider, FTSE Russell.

At 6pm, the ringgit fell to 4.1330/1360 against the US dollar from 4.1310/1350 at Tuesday’s close.

The local currency was traded at 4.1410/1450 versus the greenback on Jan 24, 2019.

Phillip Capital Management senior vice-president (investment) Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said concerns over the potential downgrade had influenced investors risk-appetite and offset the weaker US dollar sentiment.

Although the impact might be temporary, he expected the ringgit downtrend to prolong until the end of this week.

“Our foreign fund (selling) has stabilised, so supposedly the outflow will stabilise soon. This concern (FTSE Russell) is just a knee-jerk reaction.

“The government needs to address this concern of bond managers and boost their confidence,” he told Bernama.

In its first Fixed Income Country Classification Review, FTSE Russell has put Malaysia and China under its full Watch List of fixed income markets that will be reviewed for potential changes to their Market Accessibility Levels.

“Malaysia – currently assigned a ‘2’ and included to the WGBI (World Government Bond Index) since 2004, is being considered for a potential downgrade to ‘1’ which would render Malaysia ineligible for inclusion in the WGBI.

“FTSE Russell said it will continue to engage with local regulators and market participants in Malaysia and China to assess the potential changes to a country’s classification,” it said on April 15.

Nazri Khan said the strong economic data from China had helped cushion the sentiment towards the ringgit today.

China’s economy grew faster than expected at 6.4 per cent in the first three months of this year, as stimulus measures began to reflect in the country’s economic activity, thus easing worries over the recovery in the world’s second largest economy.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mixed against other major currencies.

It rose against the Japanese yen to 3.6892/6925 from 3.6923/6963 on Tuesday, and strengthened versus the British pound to 5.3890/3946 from 5.4033/4102.

The local unit, however, depreciated against the Singapore dollar to 3.0551/0583 from yesterday’s 3.0485/0526 and weakened vis-a-vis the euro to 4.6736/6774 from 4.6639/6688. — Bernama


Kelington secures RM53m new orders

PETALING JAYA: Kelington Group Bhd has clinched new orders totalling RM53 million, bringing the group’s total value of new orders secured to RM146 million in the first quarter ended Dec 31.

The group said in a statement that the new contracts secured were largely for specialised engineering works under the ultra high purity (UHP) segments for wafer fabs in China.

The RM146 million accumulated new orders represent a year-on-year growth of 87% from RM78 million achieved a year ago, on the back of higher project orders from the UHP and process engineering segments.

“Our UHP business remains robust and continue to be the anchor growth driver for the group. We have been receiving strong project flows beyond the domestic market. Our growing presence in China and Singapore have been instrumental in driving growth for the group. The two markets account for approximately 71% of our outstanding orderbook with project orders mainly from the UHP division,” said its CEO Raymond Gan.

The new orders bring the Kelington’s total outstanding orderbook to RM406 million, the bulk of which are from the UHP segment. The UHP segment makes up 73% of the total outstanding orderbook, followed by 19% from process engineering segment and 7% from general contracting segment.

The group expects most of these contracts to be completed and recognised in the financial year ending 2019 and 2020.

Its tenderbook currently stands at about RM1.2 billion.


MeGroup awarded Hyundai dealership in Malaysia

Hyundai Santa Fe 2

SINGAPORE (Apr 16): Catalist-listed MeGroup has been appointed official distributor of Hyundai automobiles in Malaysia by Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors Sdn Bhd. In its Tuesday filing, MeGroup will be able to operate a Hyundai 3S automobile dealership Bandar Bukit Raja in Klang, Selangor, with the award. Slated to be fully operational in the second half of the calendar year, the dealership will offer new Hyundai models such as Elantra, Ioniq, Tucson, SantaFe and Starex. For the purpose, MeGroup has incorporated a new wholly-owned subsidiary, MN Automart  under subsidiary Menang Nusantara Holdings.Read More


Matrade: Trade with EU not affected by palm oil issue

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The trade issue between Malaysia and the European Union (EU) over palm oil will not affect other forms of exports to the EU, says the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade). Chief executive officer…


Ringgit lower against US dollar in early trading

KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The ringgit was traded lower against the US dollar in early trading today due to profit-taking following yesterday’s gains, amidst lack of market moving factors. At 9.06am, the local unit was traded…


Gamuda, IJM tipped to be big winners in ECRL revival

PETALING JAYA: The potential beneficiaries in the revival of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project include companies with rail-related experience and specialist contractors, while the big winners could be the likes of Gamuda Bhd and IJM Corp Bhd, said PublicInvest Research.

The research house said the beneficiaries could be the “usual suspects” with rail-related experience such as Gamuda, IJM Corp, WCT Holdings Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), TRC Synergy Bhd, TSR Capital Bhd, Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd, Gadang Holdings Bhd, Gabungan AQRS Bhd, Sunway Construction Group Bhd, FajarBaru Builder Group Bhd, Mudajaya Group Bhd, Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd, Ekovest Bhd and UEM Construction.

Specialist contractors such as Advancecon Holdings Bhd for earthworks, Econpile Holdings Bhd for piling, EITA Resources Bhd for system, Kimlun Corporation Bhd as a supplier for precast components like segmental box girders as well as tunnel lining segment, HSS Engineers Bhd for technical studies, Lafarge Cement and Tasek Corporation Bhd could also be beneficiaries.

“Amongst all, we think the big winners could be Gamuda given its expertise, and IJM Corp for its engineering construction capabilities and strong presence in the East Coast Economic Region corridor. IJM also owns 60% stake in Kuantan Port including 700 acres of industrial land near the port,” it said.

MIDF Research opined that Lafarge Malaysia Bhd and HSS Engineers Bhd could be the immediate beneficiaries as both companies have clinched sizeable jobs from China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCC) previously.

While the local construction sector may see brighter prospects with order book replenishment, the size of contract, number of packages and the real contribution to the companies’ bottom line are unknown at this juncture, said PublicInvest Research.

About 40% of subcontractor jobs are expected to benefit local players, translating into RM17.6 billion worth of contracts that will be available to local construction players.

“The ECRL project aside, we don’t see any other catalyst or major development that could re-rate our stance on the sector. The 11th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review and Budget 2019 have thrown up guidance of lower growth going forward and reduction in development expenditure. With share prices of construction companies having already re-rated ahead of this somewhat-expected development, we believe much of the positives have already been priced-in,” said PublicInvest while maintaining its neutral rating on the sector.

Meanwhile, HLIB Research opined that the potential beneficiaries of resumption of the ECRL project are Gamuda, IJM, HSS Engineers, Gabungan AQRS, Econpile and Advancecon.

“Although we do not expect the domestic construction industry prospects to go back to where they were during the period of pre-GE14, we opine that the worst is over for the industry.”

It added that the probability of revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project is lower than that of the ECRL given its larger cost (RM60-70 billion) and lower compensation amount (RM500 million).

“Should the project revival materialise, we reckon that interest would be on Gamuda and MRCB which was previously appointed as the project delivery partner.”

HLIB Research maintained its “neutral” call on the sector as it deemed year-to-date surge in construction counters has been reflected the positive sentiment.

On Bursa Malaysia today, the construction index fell 1.14% to 203.32 points against the FBM KLCI’s 0.07% gain.


Petronas ventures into global renewable energy market through Singapore’s Amplus Energy Solutions buy

PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is venturing into international renewable energy market with the acquisition of a 100% stake in Singapore-based Amplus Energy Solutions Pte Ltd (M+).

The state-owned oil major said in a statement that it has inked an agreement with infrastructure investor I Squared Capital for the acquisition.

The acquisition is expected to be completed later this month.

Established in 2013, M+ is specialised in end-to-end solutions for rooftop and ground-mounted solar power project, for commercial and industrial customers. It currently serves over 150 commercial and industrial customers in over 200 locations across India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with a cumulative capacity in the excess of 500 MW.

“This acquisition reflects Petronas’ strategic intent to grow in the renewable energy space as part of our strategy to step out beyond oil and gas into the new energy business,” said Petronas president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.

He stated that this also represents the group’s first international solar venture and it looks forward to providing energy solutions to customers in the high growth energy markets.

Meanwhile, I Squared Capital founding partner Gautam Bhandari noted that M+ grew over 400% annually to become a world-class, end-to-end company serving the corporates in Asia to reduce their greenhouse gases and combat climate change.

“We believe that M+ will continue to play a leading role in building a greener future thanks to an outstanding management team and wish them and Petronas the best in their future endeavours.”

At home, Petronas earlier announced a collaboration with UiTM Holdings Sdn Bhd, the investment arm of Universiti Teknologi Mara, to jointly develop large scale solar photovoltaic power plants and on-campus energy optimisation and solar rooftop projects.


Petronas makes international foray into renewable energy with M+

KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has made a foray into renewable energy internationally through the acquisition of Amplus Energy Solutions Pte Ltd, also known as M+. The national oil and gas (O&G) company today…


ECRL project’s revival to support ringgit next week

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is likely to trade at the current level of around 4.11 against the US dollar next week, supported by news on the revival of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the current resistance level of the ringgit was at 4.11 versus the greenback, whereby the next resistance level was at about 4.15.

“I suppose the ringgit would linger around the current resistance level of 4.11, as news on the ECRL should provide some impetus to the currency,“ he told Bernama.

The Prime Minister’s Office announced on Friday that the ECRL project would resume at a reduced cost of RM44 billion compared with RM65.5 billion previously, following the signing of a supplementary agreement between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd and China Communications Construction Company Ltd.

Meanwhile, FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga pointed out that further weakness for the ringgit-US dollar pair would see the local note re-test its year-to-date high of 4.14, as the level of 4.10 became the new support level.

He said with no major economic data releases in the week ahead, the spotlight would be mainly on external factors, particularly from the United States and China, that could drive the ringgit’s performance.

“US dollar bulls could be inspired by the country’s economic indicators released next week that surprise on the upside, which in turn may weigh negatively on Asian currencies.

“However, any data releases that appear to lower the bar on a US Federal Reserve’s interest rate cut, coupled with more dovish tones detected from Fed officials’ scheduled speeches next week, could result in a weaker greenback that alleviates pressure on riskier assets,“ he said.

On the impact from China, Otunuga said the country would announce its first quarter gross domestic product data, as well as last month’s industrial production and retail sales data, next week.

“Further signs of stabilisation in the world’s second largest economy could alleviate concerns surrounding global growth, and encourage more risk-on appetite among investors,“ he added.

For the week just ended, the ringgit traded mostly lower against the US dollar, and it hit a 10-week low of 4.1120/1160 versus the greenback on Thursday, mainly due to the disappointing data on February 2019 Industrial Production Index, which grew only 1.7%-on-year, as well as the downward revision of the global growth forecast by the International Monetary Fund.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the ringgit fell to 4.1120/1170 against the US dollar from 4.0870/0900 previously.

The ringgit also traded easier against other major currencies last week.

It retreated against the Singapore dollar to 3.0367/0406 from 3.0182/0207 previously, depreciated against the euro to 4.6519/6596 from 4.5889/5927 and decreased against the pound to 5.3760/3842 from 5.3458/3509.

Vis-a-vis the yen, the local note also weakened to 3.6744/6798 from 3.6583/6613. — Bernama


ECRL’s project revival to support the ringgit next week

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 ― The ringgit is likely to trade at the current level of around 4.11 against the US dollar next week, supported by news on the revival of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project. Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr…