Cabotage policy reinstatement is top maritime council agenda

KUALA LUMPUR: The reinstatement of the cabotage policy and dealing with freight losses worth billions due to cargoes transported by foreign vessels were among the major issues discussed during the recent National Shipping and Port Council (NSPC) meeting. Lifting the cabotage policy has resulted in loss of business for Malaysian vessels with local freight carried […]

Reinstatement of cabotage policy tops agenda at maritime council meeting

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 ― The reinstatement of the cabotage policy and dealing with freight losses worth billions due to cargoes transported by foreign vessels were among the major issues discussed during the recent…

Alibaba-backed Lazada appoints new CEO

SINGAPORE: Lazada Group, a Southeast Asia’s e-commerce firm, has announced, as part of succession planning in the group, that its executive president Pierre Poignant will succeed Lucy Peng as chief executive officer of Lazada Group with immediate effect. Peng will remain Lazada Group executive chairwoman. Poignant, who was appointed group executive president in August 2018, […]

Ringgit to strengthen to below RM4 against US dollar by early 2019: Rakuten Trade research head

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit is expected to gradually appreciate against the US dollar towards end of the year and strengthen below the RM4 level by early 2019, according to Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd’s head of research Kenny Yee.

The local unit weakened 0.1% to 4.1865 against the greenback as at 5pm yesterday. Year-to-date, it has depreciated 3.4%.

“By end of this year, I expect it to improve to the RM4.05-RM4.10 level and should dip below RM4 early next year. Hopefully the foreign funds have started to flow back into Malaysia by that time,” Yee told the media during the fully online broker’s market outlook briefing here today.

“Initially, early this year we expect the ringgit to hover around RM3.80-RM3.90 level, but looking at what had happened in the US (rate hikes) and the recent (weakening of) Chinese renminbi, I think the ringgit has performed worse than expected,” he added.

Hence, Yee said the foreign funds are likely to return in the near term to take advantage of the lower ringgit.

Year-to-date, he said the foreign net selling stood at almost RM11 billion.

Moreover, Yee said Malaysia, which has a lower average market volatility compared with Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, is known as the region’s safe haven for foreign funds and is likely to attract foreign investors’ interest.

“Malaysia is usually known as the region’s more defensive market, and it is a preferred destination for foreign funds,” he added.

The firm however substantially reduced its corporate earnings growth forecast for 2018 and 2019 to 4.1% and 4.2% respectively, from 6.8% and 8.3% previously on the back of the sharp earnings downgrade in the gaming, telecommuni-cation and plantation sectors.

“Going forward, we expect banking sector will continue to be the main catalysts for earnings growth,” he said.

However, for 2020, the firm expects a better performance for Malaysian com-panies with an estimated 7.6% growth.

Rakuten Trade’s top picks among the FBM KLCI component stocks are Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Genting Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd and Gamuda Bhd.

Yee noted that the index-linked blue chips are ripe for the picking following some of the heaviest sell-off seen in May and June.

In the small and mid cap space, Rakuten Trade favours Kelington Group Bhd, HSS Engineers Bhd, Malaysia Building Society Bhd, Perak Transit Bhd and Vizione Hold-ings Bhd.

According to Yee, the FBM KLCI is anticipated to grow over 7% or 100 points from the current 1,660 points to touch 1,780 points by year-end and reach 1,840 points in 2019 based on 16 times the market’s forecast earnings.

Poh Huat Resources earnings rise 16.9% in Q4

PETALING JAYA: Poh Huat Resources Holdings Bhd’s earnings in the fourth quarter ended Oct 31 rose 16.9% to RM20.86 million from RM17.84 million in the previous corresponding quarter due to higher profits from Malaysian and Vietnamese operations.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said its Malaysian and Vietnamese operations recorded higher pre-tax profit of RM14.29 million and RM11.6 million respectively during the quarter.

Revenue for the quarter rose 10.4% to RM189.5 million, compared with RM171.68 million in the same period last year mainly due to higher shipment of furniture from Malaysian operations.

Year-on-year, the group’s US dollar denominated sales increased by 9.2% to US$151.2 million (RM632.2 million), of which Malaysian operations achieved a 29.7% growth to US$65.4 million due to the strong shipment for panel-based bedroom furniture.

In Vietnam, US dollar denominated sales fell slightly by 2.4% to US$85.8 million due to the shift in US consumers’ trend for more affordable furniture.

For the full year, its net profit fell 15.5% to RM47.1 million, from RM55.77 million a year ago, while revenue grew slightly by 1.2% to RM621.9 million, against RM614.3 million previously.

The group recommended a final single-tier dividend of 2 sen per share for the financial year ended Oct 31 (FY18). The total dividends paid and proposed in respect of FY18 are 6 sen per share.

Commenting on its prospects, the group said that the imposition of duties on China-sourced furniture, while at a reduced rate of 10%, have resulted in furniture made elsewhere more competitive.

“US furniture importers, which have already responded by diverting part of their orders to other furniture exporters in Southeast Asia prior to the imposition of the duties, will likely place more orders with producers in Vietnam and Malaysia,” it said.

CIMB’s 3D Conquest nurtures young talent for digital age

KUCHING: CIMB Group’s (CIMB) inaugural 3D Conquest hackathon in Kuala Lumpur recently shortlisted 35 teams from an initial list of 715 teams, comprising 3,000 university students. Running on three tracks – Data Science, FinTech and Coding – the 3D Conquest was organised to identify the region’s young digital talents as part of CIMB’s contribution towards […]

Malaysia’s E&E industry well positioned

KUCHING: With the global semiconductor industry expected to record another healthy year, driven by the rapid expansions of the internet of things (IoT) industry, analysts viewed Malaysia’s electrical and electronics (E&E) sector as “well positioned” in this highly demanding global tech supply chain. The research team at AmInvestment Bank Bhd (AmInvestment) highlighted that the global […]

Can eCommerce’s current state of employment realise Southeast Asia’s US$240 billion dream?

In November 2018, Google & Temasek updated their industry study stating that eCommerce in Southeast Asia will be worth US$240 billion by the year 2025. The updated figures upped last year’s predictions by US$40 billion due to exponential development in online vacation rentals, online food delivery, subscription music and video on demand products. The study […]

AirAsia eyes low cost carrier in Vietnam

KUCHING: AirAsia has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in Hanoi, reaffirming its intention to set up a low-cost carrier in Vietnam with local partners. The memorandum was signed by AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes and Vietnamese businessman Tran Trong Kien, in his capacity as CEO of Thien Minh Travel Joint Stock Company (TMG) and general […]

Slow train to China: India’s trade ties with Beijing taking time to ripen

NEW DELHI: China and India may be talking about improving their trade relationship but there is little action to go with the words. According to Indian government officials and representatives of various Indian trade bodies, progress is very slow – and may even be getting slower after last weekend’s truce between the United States and […]