SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on global growth slowdown worries; Indonesia worst hit

Indonesia led losses as most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Friday, as worries of a global growth slowdown continued to hamper investor sentiment, while Vietnam continued to rise for the fifth straight session.

Investors are also exercising caution amid trade talks between the U.S. and China with the tit-for-tat tariffs between the world’s two largest economic powers having already disrupted international trade and slowed the global economy since the trade war started several months ago.

“Slowing global growth is underway, evidenced by falling exports growth in trade-sensitive countries… An improved US-China relation may not provide an immediate boost to demand against the backdrop of peaking trade growth,” said Zhu Huani, an economist at Mizuho Bank said in a note.

The Indonesian benchmark dropped 0.7 percent, leading losses in the region, following the central bank’s decision to hold key rate on Thursday. But for the week, the index is set to snap two straight weeks of losses.

Indonesia’s central bank kept interest rates on hold on Thursday and said it was looking at ways to boost loan growth.

Financial and consumer stocks dragged the index with Telekom Indonesia and Bank Negara Indonesia falling 1 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Malaysian stocks fell 0.6 percent, ahead of the country’s January inflation data to be released later today. The index is, however, set to post its third consecutive weekly gain.

Malaysia’s consumer prices are expected to fall in January, the first decline in nearly a decade, amid a drop in domestic fuel prices, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

The central bank however, said last week that the country was not at risk of deflationary pressure. The index was dragged by losses in healthcare and telecom stocks, with IHH Healthcare Bhd and Maxis Bhd shedding as much as 1.7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

Singapore’s index shed 0.5 percent after the country’s second-biggest listed lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd posted disappointing quarterly financial earnings.

OCBC missed market estimates with a 10 percent drop in quarterly profit, due to a weak performance in its insurance business.

Shares of OCBC dropped as much as 2.2 percent, while those of its peer United Overseas Bank Ltd dipped as much 2.2 percent.

The Vietnam index continued to surge for the fifth straight day and rose 0.4 percent, with gains concentrated in financial stocks. Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam rose 2.8 percent.

Meanwhile, Philippine stocks edged marginally higher.

Thai Vietjet wins “Global Best Employer Brand 2019” Award

KUCHING: New-age carrier Thai Vietjet was recently honoured with the “Global Best Employer Brand 2019” Award at the 27th World HRD Congress held in Mumbai, India from February 14 to 18, 2019. The award recognises both the airline’s innovative solutions in recruitment and its efforts in creating an internationally standardised, professional working environment for all […]

Sime Darby confident of better FY19 results after strong first half

PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Bhd, which posted a 3.9% rise in its net profit for the second quarter ended Dec 31, 2018 (Q219), expects its FY19 results to be better than FY18 based on the strong results reported in 1H19.

“If you look at the half-year results, they’re already ahead of the game, compared to last year. We have a pretty good chance of being better than last year,” Sime Darby group CEO Datuk Jeffri Salim Davidson (pix) told a press conference after announcing its 1H19 financial results today.

Sime Darby’s net profit for Q219 rose 3.9% to RM317 million from RM305 million a year ago mainly thanks to its motors division with the absence of a loss of RM109 million from the group’s discontinued BMW operations in Vietnam in Q218.

Its revenue was 6.9% higher at RM9.42 million compared with RM8.82 million in the previous year driven by the industrial division.

For the six-month period (1H19), the group’s net profit fell 66.6% to RM542 million from RM1.62 billion a year ago which included profit from its discontinued operations.

For a like-for-like year-on-year comparison, Sime Darby’s continuing operations posted a 69.4% increase in net profit to RM542 million for 1H19, from RM320 million for the same period last financial year, supported by a strong showing in the group’s industrial division.

Its revenue for its continuing operations stood at RM18.27 billion in 1H19, representing a 7.7% increase year-on-year, from RM17.96 billion in 1H18.

The group announced an interim dividend of 2 sen per share for FY19.

Jeffri said Sime Darby’s performance in 1H19 was pretty solid due largely to its industrial division in Australia. Demand for its products and services from the mining and construction sector there have been strong.

“Results (1H19) were strong compared to last year and that strong trend, particularly industrial (division) will continue for the next six months,” he added.

However, it is seeing a slight softening in the group’s motors business, particularly in China and Singapore.

Sime Darby CFO Mustamir Mohamad said there is room for the group to gear up given its current gearing ratio of 21.6% against the optimal level of 60%.

“If we’re targeting to double our profit in the next five years, we have to do some acquisitions. We can’t do it organically,” he said, adding that any acquisitions will be mainly for the industrial division.

He said the group’s focus is in its industrial and motors divisions, where both divisions currently contribute 95% of its profit.

Meanwhile, it is also looking at opportunities to divest its logistics business, but not in a hurry to do so.

‘Sarawak construction sector behind on BIM innovation’

KUCHING: The Sarawak construction sector is behind on Building Information Modelling (BIM), as seen in the latest round of training in Building Information Modelling (BIM) in January. This follows the state’s first and only myBIM Satellite Centre, set up in conjunction with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in June last year. In this round, […]

Sabah's ASB to unveil blueprint to tackle challenges in next decade

LABUAN, Feb 18 — Sabah government's linked-company Asian Supply Base Sdn Bhd (ASB) will unveil a blueprint next month as it braces itself against challenges in the next decade. The way forward plan will enable the offshore supply base and logistic…

Trade war boogeyman hangs over giant US toy show

NEW YORK, Feb 18 — The US-China trade war has dealt a glancing blow to American toys, hitting putty and arts and crafts items, while sparing superhero action figures, toy cars and most best-selling offerings. Yet uncertainty about the trading…

Power sector’s third round of LSS tenders a positive devt

KUCHING: The power sector’s third round of large scale solar (LSS) tenders is ‘undoubtedly a positive development’, analysts say, given the government’s plan to significantly increase the country’s electricity. According to Bernama, Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the 500 megawatt (MW) capacity LSS3 scheme would be offered through […]

AmorePacific to grow figures by 20 pct this year

KUALA LUMPUR: Global beauty company, AmorePacific Malaysia Sdn Bhd targets its sales and profit to grow by 20 per cent this year, bolstered by expanding brands portfolio and sales channels, as well as extensive marketing plans. AmorePacific Malaysia general manager, Margaret Chin said the company, a wholly-owned unit of AmorePacific Corp based in South Korea, […]

Travel in China grows over Lunar New Year holiday — Xinhua

SHANGHAI: People in China made 415 million domestic trips during the Lunar New Year holiday, an increase of 7.6 per cent from the same period last year, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday as the week-long break drew to a close. Domestic tourism during China’s biggest holiday generated revenue of 513.9 billion yuan […]

US abandons decades-old nuclear treaty

Fundamental outlook EARLIER this month, US suspended its participation in the decades-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty that bans ground-launched medium-range missiles with a range of 310 to 3,400 miles. Analysts reckoned the US military may have plans to set nuclear missiles aimed at Iran, China and North Korea. In his address at the State […]