world economy


G-20 sees global tension, end to cheap money as risk to growth

BRASILIA, March 17 — Global finance chiefs are set to warn that the broadest and strongest economic expansion since the turn of the decade would be thrown into jeopardy if governments turn inward. In the draft of a statement that finance…

OECD urges world to play by trade rules as tariff row rages

PARIS: Governments should stick to established rules of trade and avoid escalating disputes if they want to safeguard economic growth and protect jobs, the OECD said. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s call comes amid a deepening row over US tariffs on steel and aluminium that has brought on fears of a global trade […]

South Korean won leads Asia currency gains as risk appetite returns

SINGAPORE, March 12 — The South Korean won rose to a six-week high today, extending gains from the previous session as political tensions over the Korean peninsula eased on the prospects of talks between the US and North Korean heads of state….

China says trade war with US will bring disaster to global economy

BEIJING: Any trade war with the United States will only bring disaster to the world economy, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said today, as Beijing stepped up its criticism on proposed metals tariffs by Washington amid fears it could shatter global growth.

After pressure from allies, the US has opened the way for more exemptions from tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium that US President Donald Trump set last week.

On Saturday, the European Union and Japan urged the US to grant them exemptions from metal import tariffs, with Tokyo calling for “calm-headed behaviour”.

But the target of Trump's ire is China, whose capacity expansions have helped add to global surpluses of steel. China has repeatedly vowed to defend its “legitimate rights and interests” if targeted by US trade actions.

Zhong, speaking on the sidelines of China's annual session of parliament, said China does not want a trade war and will not initiate one.

“There are no winners in a trade war,” Zhong said. “It will only bring disaster to China and the United States and the world.”

China can handle any challenges and will resolutely protect its interests, but the two countries will continue to talk, he said.

“Nobody wants to fight a trade war, and everyone knows fighting one harms others and does not benefit oneself.”

Trump's announcement on tariffs underlined concerns about rising US protectionism, which has sparked bouts of turmoil in global financial markets over the past year as investors feared
a damaging trade spat will shatter a synchronised uptick in world growth.

China's metals industry issued the country's most explicit threat yet in the row, urging on Friday for the government to retaliate by targeting US coal – a sector that is central to Trump's political base and his election pledge to restore American industries and blue-collar jobs.

The US is the world's biggest importer of steel, purchasing 35 million tonnes of raw material in 2017. Of those imports, South Korea, Japan, China and India accounted for 6.6 million tonnes.

Trade tensions between China and US have risen since Trump took office. China accounts for only a small fraction of US steel imports, but its massive industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has driven down prices.

The dispute has fuelled concerns that soybeans, the US' most valuable export to the world's second largest economy, might be caught up in the trade actions after Beijing launched a probe into imports of US sorghum, a grain used in animal feed and liquor.

Zhong said US official trade deficit figures had been overestimated by about 20%, and in any case would be a lot lower if the US relaxed export restrictions on some high-tech goods.

He also reiterated a previous pledge that China would lower import tariffs on consumer goods including automobiles, as part of an effort to boost domestic consumption.

Trump believes the tariffs will safeguard American jobs, though many economists say the impact of price increases for users of steel and aluminium, such as the auto and oil industries, will destroy more jobs than curbs on imports create.

Nonetheless, there is growing bipartisan consensus in Washington, and support within some segments of the US business community, for the US government to counter what are
seen as Beijing's predatory industrial policies and market restrictions on foreign firms.

Trump's administration has said the United States mistakenly supported China's membership in the World Trade Organisation in 2001 on terms that have failed to force Beijing to open its economy.

Diplomatic and US business sources say the US has frozen a formal mechanism for talks on commercial disputes with China because it is not satisfied Beijing has met its promises to ease market restrictions. – Reuters

China: Trade war with US will only bring disaster to global economy

BEIJING, March 11 ― Any trade war with the United States will only bring disaster to the world economy, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said today, as Beijing stepped up its criticism on proposed metals tariffs by Washington amid fears it…

KESM profit up 12% in Q2

PETALING JAYA: KESM Industries Bhd reported a 12.1% rise in net profit to RM11.18 million for the second quarter ended Jan 31 compared with RM9.98 million in the previous corresponding period, driven by higher demand for burn-in and testing services.

Revenue for the quarter under review expanded 10.1% from RM83.12 million to RM91.47 million.

KESM’s six-month net profit increased 12.8% from RM19.99 million to RM22.55 million, while revenue was 11.6% higher at RM182.18 million versus RM163.23 million it made a year ago.

Looking ahead, the group said it is intensifying its efforts to improve production efficiency in light of recent capacity expansion.

“This effort and the positive industry trend as well as the improving world economy will continue to drive our business forward.”

KESM’s share price gained 34 sen or 1.8% to close at RM19.50 today on some 98,100 shares traded.

Australia central bank chief slams Trump tariffs as ‘bad policy’

SYDNEY: Australia’s central bank chief yesterday slammed Donald Trump’s decision to levy steel tariffs as ‘bad policy’ and warned of ‘a very big shock’ to the global economy if it sparks retaliation. The US president plans to impose a 25 per cent tax on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium in a move […]

GDB to raise RM43.8 million from upcoming IPO

KUCHING: Construction services firm GDB Holdings Bhd (GDB) plans to raise RM43.8 million from its initial public offering (IPO) to fund future expansion. GDB focuses on the construction of high rise residential, commercial and mixed development projects. Completed projects include One Central Park in Desa ParkCity, which was delivered 107 days ahead of the contractual […]

Wall Street flat with Powell’s testimony in focus

NEW YORK, Feb 27 — US stocks were little changed today, with losses in media stocks weighing on major indexes, while investors braced for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s first congressional testimony. Powell hinted in prepared…

Hong Leong Bank Q2 earnings up 24%, declares 16 sen dividend

PETALING JAYA: Hong Leong Bank Bhd's net profit for the second quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 rose 24.2% to RM683.07 million from RM549.94 million a year ago mainly due to higher net income, lower allowance for impairment losses on loans, advances and financing as well as higher share of profit from associated company.

Its revenue was up 4.2% to RM1.23 billion compared with RM1.18 billion in the previous year's corresponding quarter.

The bank proposed an interim single tier dividend of 16 sen per share for the current quarter.

For the six months period, its net profit increased 21% to RM1.32 billion RM1.09 billion mainly due to higher net income, write back of impairment losses on financial investments and higher share of profit from associated company.

Revenue, meanwhile, went up 5.8% to RM2.41 billion compared with RM2.27 billion in the previous year's corresponding period.

Its gross loans, advances and financing expanded marginally by 1.8% to RM125.5 billion for the first half of the year, due to moderate industry credit growth and cautious business sentiment. Net interest margin remained healthy at 2.13%, an increase of 8 basis points on prudent pricing and funding cost management.

In terms of asset quality, the bank's gross impaired loan ratio and loan impairment coverage ratio stood at 0.97% and 96% respectively, with no significant credit stresses in its portfolio.

On prospects, Hong Leong Bank said continued moderate growth outlook in the world economy is expected to facilitate further expansion of the Malaysian economy in 2018. In addition, a steady labour market and continuous wage growth are expected to boost consumer sentiments whilst providing the backdrop for improving private consumption growth and base for sustained domestic demand.

“This improving outlook will provide the bank with the impetus to continue pursuing growth in both our domestic and regional business via our strategic branches by embedding ourselves in the communities that we serve and strengthening our digital banking offerings.”

At 12.30pm, Hong Leong Bank shares gained 32 sen or 1.8% to RM18.54, with some 200,000 shares changing hands.