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China bank stocks fall on possible US action linked to North Korea

BEIJING, June 25 — Shares in three large Chinese banks fell today after a media report said a US judge had found the banks in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas related to a North Korean sanctions violations case. The ruling could…


US stocks fall as trade concerns spark growth fears

NEW YORK, May 30 — US stocks fell yesterday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing just above key support levels, as worries that a lengthy US-China trade war would crimp global growth pushed investors into the safety of government bonds. Trade…


European stocks fall on worries about Huawei fallout

LONDON, May 21 ― European stocks recorded broad-based losses yesterday, as a US crackdown on China's Huawei Technologies rekindled concerns about worsening global trade and wilted the continent's trade-exposed tech and auto stocks. Global risk…


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…


Emerging-market currencies hit by strong dollar; stocks fall

NEW YORK, April 24 — Emerging-market currencies fell today against a dollar strengthened by US economic data. Stocks fell, with South Korean shares falling on worries that chip demand would weaken. Data yesterday showed sales of new single-family…


Business conditions remain tough in near term: Analyst

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s business conditions are expected to remain tough in the near term as both output and new orders are still weak based on anecdotal evidence, according to AmBank Research.

The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) deteriorated to a three-month low in March at 47.2, down from 49.6 in February.

It turned out to be the lowest since December 2018’s reading of 46.8 and is the sixth straight month of contraction since October 2018.

“It clearly showed that member companies under the PMI are struggling to lift their production owing to harsher demand conditions, especially those depending on the export market,” AmBank Research chief economist Dr Anthony Dass said in a note today.

“Besides, manufacturers are being cautious on the inventory levels, with both pre- and post-production stocks falling. Although holdings of finished items depleted as firms stepped up efforts to ship orders in a timely fashion, buying remained low,” he said.

Dass said the research house found that Malaysia’s business conditions contradicted that of Asean neighbours like Vietnam and Myanmar where their business environment improved for the first time in 2019.

The Nikkei Asean Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.3 in March as manufacturers expanded their output on the back of a slight rebound in new orders.


Manufacturing PMI continues to decline

PETALING JAYA: The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data indicated that Malaysian manufacturers continued to face a challenging business environment at the end of the first quarter, with key survey gauges such as output and new orders falling.

The headline Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing PMI – a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance – registered 47.2 in March, down slightly from February’s reading of 47.6, and below the long-run survey average.

IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, however, said firms also grew more optimistic about the outlook, citing input cost and output price levels were broadly stable in March, while manufacturers held employment steady.

An analysis of comparable historical official data on Malaysian manufacturing output suggests that, at current levels, the survey data are indicative of annual output growth close to 4%.

A deterioration in the production trend commonly reflected tougher demand conditions, according to the anecdotal evidence from the survey provided by PMI panel member companies, particularly in overseas markets.

Meanwhile, Malaysian goods producers focused additional resources to clearing outstanding business in March. Efficiency gains reportedly helped ease pressures on capacity. Some panel members attributed backlog depletion to higher staffing levels.

However, manufacturing employment was broadly stable overall in March, as hiring in some instances was offset by other firms reducing workforce numbers due to softer demand.

Malaysian manufacturers were cautious towards inventory levels in March, with both pre- and post-production stocks falling. Holdings of finished items were depleted as firms stepped up efforts to ship orders in a timely fashion, while input stocks were cut for efficiency purposes.

Subsequently, the manufacturing industry saw lower purchasing activity. Elsewhere, survey data signalled stable price levels, with input prices and output charges both broadly unchanged since February.

Against the challenges signalled by latest data, Malaysian manufacturers reported their strongest degree of optimism towards future output in almost one year, supported by forecasts of improved sales, new projects and products and successful new contract tenders.

Commenting on the survey data, IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson said Malaysia’s manufacturing companies reported increasing headwinds on current business activity in March, though also reported a brightening outlook which adds to hopes that the recent slowdown will start to ease in coming months.

“While several key survey gauges fell in March, it’s important to bear in mind that, when compared against official measures, the survey is still broadly indicative of the economy growing at an annual rate of 4–4.5%, with manufacturing output increasing at an annual pace of just under 4%.

“As with many other fast-growing economies, in Malaysia the PMI gauges have to drop much further below 50 to indicate either a contracting manufacturing sector or a decline in GDP.”

He said encouragingly, the survey found companies have become more optimistic about the year ahead, with expectations of future output growth rising to the highest for nearly a year. Indices of purchasing and inventories consequently came off recent lows as companies started to plan for demand in coming months.

“However, major headwinds persisted, including a fourth successive monthly deterioration in export business, plus growing concerns over the impact of trade wars and slower global economic growth,” he added.


Manufacturing continues to deteriorate in March, but outlook brightens

PETALING JAYA: The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data indicated that Malaysian manufacturers continued to face a challenging business environment at the end of the first quarter, with key survey gauges such as output and new orders falling.

The headline Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing PMI – a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance – registered 47.2 in March, down slightly from February’s reading of 47.6, and below the long-run survey average.

IHS Markit, which compiles the survey; however, said the firms also grew more optimistic about the outlook, citing input cost and output price levels were broadly stable in March, while manufacturers held employment steady.

Analysis of comparable historical official data on Malaysian manufacturing output suggests that, at current levels, the survey data are indicative of annual output growth close to 4%.

A deterioration in the production trend commonly reflected tougher demand conditions, according to the anecdotal evidence from the survey provided by PMI panel member companies, particularly in overseas markets.

Meanwhile, Malaysian goods producers focused additional resources to clearing outstanding business in March. Efficiency gains reportedly helped ease pressures on capacity. Some panel members attributed backlog depletion to higher staffing levels.

However, manufacturing employment was broadly stable overall in March, as hiring in some instances was offset by other firms reducing workforce numbers due to softer demand.

Malaysian manufacturers were cautious towards inventory levels in March, with both pre- and post-production stocks falling. Holdings of finished items were depleted as firms stepped up efforts to ship orders in a timely fashion, while input stocks were cut for efficiency purposes.

Subsequently, purchasing activity was lowered. Elsewhere, survey data signalled stable price levels, with input prices and output charges both broadly unchanged since February.

Against the challenges signalled by latest data, Malaysian manufacturers reported their strongest degree of optimism towards future output in almost one year, supported by forecasts of improved sales, new projects and products and successful new contract tenders.

Commenting on the survey data, IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson, said: “Malaysia’s manufacturing companies reported increasing headwinds on current business activity in March, though also reported a brightening outlook which adds to hopes that the recent slowdown will start to ease in coming months.

“While several key survey gauges fell in March, it’s important to bear in mind that, when compared against official measures, the survey is still broadly indicative of the economy growing at an annual rate of 4%–4.5%, with manufacturing output increasing at an annual pace of just under 4%.

“As with many other fast-growing economies, in Malaysia the PMI gauges have to drop much further below 50 to indicate either a contracting manufacturing sector or a decline in GDP.

“Encouragingly, the survey found companies to have become more optimistic about the year ahead, with expectations of future output growth rising to the highest for nearly a year. Indices of purchasing and inventories consequently came off recent lows as companies started to plan for demand in coming months.

“However, major headwinds persisted, including a fourth successive monthly deterioration in export business, plus growing concerns over the impact of trade wars and slower global economic growth,” he added.


US Treasuries signal trouble, stocks fall on global growth worries

NEW YORK, March 23 — Stocks around the world fell and US Treasuries yields sent warning signals for a possible recession today after weaker-than-expected US and European data intensified fears of a global economic slowdown. After weak US…


US stocks fall as ECB cuts growth outlook

NEW YORK, March 7 — Wall Street stocks fell in early trading today, extending a negative streak as the European Central Bank slashed its growth forecast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has fallen the last three days, dropped 0.7 per cent…