Miti, Matrade formulating National Trade Blueprint 2021-2025 (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) are currently developing the National Trade Blueprint
(2021-2025) to enhance the country’s trade competitiveness globally.
In a statement, MATRADE said while exports have been the backbone of the Malaysian economy, with a total value of RM986.38 billion in 2019, contributing 65.3 per cent of the country’s gross
domestic product (GDP), the export dynamics have changed within the last 10 years.
“The blueprint will deep dive into the issues of supply-demand constraints, as well as gaps and challenges within the business environment, which impede trade performance.
“Good practices and strategies by other trading nations and trade promotion organisations will also be further deliberated to help formulate practical action plans and programmes for Malaysia’s
continued trade growth,” it said.
MATRADE said the blueprint would also identify new areas of growth for Malaysia’s export to further propel the country’s economic growth.
It said the COVID-19 pandemic, which swept across the globe, has also caused an unprecedented impact on global trade.
“Hence, it is timely for Malaysia to develop the National Trade Blueprint to reinvigorate the export growth and bolster Malaysia’s economy,” it said.
Hence, MATRADE is seeking cooperation from exporters and aspiring exporters to participate in the nationwide survey to help identify export issues and challenges.
Relevant feedback and insight would chart the trade direction for the next five years, it added. - BERNAMA
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TNB inks PPA with Tadmax’s power plant (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) today signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Pulau Indah Power Plant Sdn Bhd (PIPP) for electricity generated from the combined cycle gas
power plant in Pulau Indah, Selangor.
PIPP is a special purpose company owned by Tadmax Resources Bhd (40%), Worldwide Holdings Bhd (35%) and Korea Electric Power Corp (25%).
Tadmax was awarded the right to develop the power plant in 2016.
The PPA will be for a period of 21 years from the commercial operation date of the first generating block, which is expected on Jan 1, 2024.
PIPP will construct, own, operate and maintain a gas-fired combined cycle electricity generating facility with a total nominal capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW) proposed to be located at Pulau
“The signing of the PPA will have a neutral impact on the earnings of TNB over the term of the PPA since the generation cost is fully passed-through under the Incentive Based Regulation
mechanism,” TNB said in a stock exchange filing.
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BNM’s international reserves up marginally to US$104.2b as at July 30 (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Bank Negara Malaysia’s international reserves stood at US$104.2 billion (RM436.70 billion) as at July 30, 2020, a 0.19% increase from US$104 billion as at July 15, 2020.
“The reserves position is sufficient to finance 8.4 months of retained imports and is 1.1 times total short-term external debt,“ the central bank said today.
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Gunung Capital to acquire renewable energy assets for RM80.9m (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Gunung Capital Bhd’s 90%-owned subsidiary Gunung Hydropower Sdn Bhd has entered into an indicative term sheet with vendors to acquire stakes in companies with hydropower
renewable energy assets for RM80.9 million.
According to the group’s Bursa disclosure, it intends to acquire a 70% stake in Zeqna Corp Sdn Bhd, Koridor Mentari Sdn Bhd, Denai Delima Sdn Bhd, and 100% stake in Cabaran Hijau Sdn Bhd and Selat
Serasi Sdn Bhd.
Gunung Capital stated that the energy asset of the companies have an estimated combined installed capacity of 56MW and upon commissioning it expects a RM78 million topline contribution from hydro
Meanwhile, it gave a breakdown of the indicative valuation of the companies, with RM24.6 million for a 70% stake in Zeqna, RM5.5 million for a 70% stake in Koridor Mentari and RM50.8 million for
the 70% equity in Denai Delima, 100% stake in Cabaran Hijau and Selat Serasi.
Gunung Capital executive director Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa is confident on renewable energy’s prospect moving forward, particularly with the awareness and the urge for governments around the world to
transform from the traditional energy system to energy-efficient renewable power sources.
“This is also in line with the government’s aim to achieve 20% of the country’s electricity generation to be from renewable sources by 2025,” he said in a statement today.
Furthermore, Gunung Capital is poised to become a leading player in the Malaysian renewable energy sector as it continues building and operating small-scale hydro plants and it is upbeat on its
long-term growth prospects, on the back of its strategic plan to create a sustainable and recurring revenue stream.
Ali stated that the group will leverage its sturdy balance sheet with a total cash and cash equivalents of more than RM50 million and insignificant borrowings, to capture opportunities that
promote business expansion.
He elaborated that the feed-in-tariff platform which awards premium tariff for electricity generated from non-fossil fuel sources, is a financially sustainable business that provides a reliable,
cost-effective energy solution, and generates a strong long term cash flow for Gunung Capital.
“The fundamental objective for us is to secure a long-term sustainable income stream for the Group, simultaneously creating value for our shareholders, and to provide an environmentally friendly,
sustainable and a conflict-free energy source,” said the executive director.
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Unemployment rates improves to 4.9% in June (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: The unemployment rate improved to 4.9% in June, a 0.4% month-on-month (mom) decline from 5.3% reported in the previous month as the number of unemployed persons lessened by
52,900 or a 6.4% drop year-on-year to 773,200 persons, according figures by the Department of Statistics Malaysia.
Chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin attributed the drop in unemployment to the improvement in labour supply situation which is in line with the reopening of more economic sectors
including education, social and religious activities following the recovery movement control order (MCO).
For the month, the number of employed persons grew by 0.7% mom from a decline of 0.3% in May 2020 to record 14.99 million persons.
“The increase was apparent in the services sector, as it observed its first month-on-month positive growth since January 2020,” he said in a statement today.
“Among others, employed persons rose within the e-commerce activity, delivery services and information and communication technology related activities.”
The department observed that the number of employed persons working less than 30 hours per week decreased by 35.5% to 470,100 persons as compared to 729,100 persons in May 2020.
It also noted that the number of employed persons who were temporarily not working due to MCO has reduced more than 65% to 768,000 persons compared to 2.27 million persons recorded in May.
The department elaborated that this group of people, who were most likely not able to work from home was not categorised as unemployed as they had work to return to.
Meanwhile, it reported that own-account workers stood at 2.42 million persons in June, which continued the decline that started in March this year, although the monthly change was very much lower
than the change registered during the previous period.
June 2020, saw the total labour force increased by 49,500 persons month-on-month to record 15.76 million persons, while the labour force participation rate (LFPR) for the month stood at 68.1%,
registering an increase of 0.1 percentage point month-on-month.
Likewise, employment-to-population ratio which provides information on the ability of an economy to create employment improved 0.3 percentage points to 64.7% as compared to the previous month.
Outside labour force in June saw a marginal inflows of 0.1% which brought the total sum to 7.4 million persons.
On a quarterly basis, Uzir stated that the unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in the second quarter compared to 3.5% reported for the first quarter of the year.
“During this quarter, labour utilisation was yet to resume at optimum level as businesses had only begun to regain their momentum. Thus, the employed persons decreased 2.4 per cent to 14.88
million persons largely in semi-skilled and low-skilled occupation,” he said.
In terms of status in employment, the chief statistician pointed out that all categories namely employers, employees, own-account workers and unpaid family workers recorded a decline as compared
to the previous quarter.
LFPR in this quarter dropped 0.1 percentage point to 68.1% with both male and female posted lower LFPR at 55.0 per cent and 80.2% respectively.
In regards to the overall labour force condition, he expects the situation to grow and improve in July as the initial stage of recovery kicked off, coupled with short term stimulus packages by the
government and a more promising situation is expected in the second half of 2020.
“The Penjana initiatives also offered the opportunities for entrepreneurs in digitalising their business operations. With higher adoption of technology, as well as focus in digital skills,
creation of more skilled jobs can be accelerated towards higher productivity,” said Uzir.
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China oil imports surge 25% in July from a year ago on buying binge (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
BEIJING/SINGAPORE: China's crude imports surged 25% in July from a year earlier, as massive purchases made while prices collapsed in April arrived and as some shipments delayed at ports in
June finally cleared customs.
China, the world's top crude oil importer, brought in 51.29 million tonnes of oil last month, equal to 12.08 million barrels per day (bpd), data from the General Administration of Customs showed
That is higher than the 9.66 million bpd imported in July 2019 but below a previous record of 12.94 million bpd set in June.
Crude bought by Chinese bargain hunters in April, when oil prices plunged to multi-decade lows, arrived in China while inflows were also boosted as imports held up by congestion at Chinese ports
were finally processed by customs.
The figures did not give a breakdown of country of origin. But Emma Li, an analyst from Refinitiv, estimated that around 5 million tonnes of U.S. crude oil had arrived in China in July - an
all-time high on a monthly basis - and that about 1 million tonnes might spill over into August due to port congestion.
Record arrivals have strained port facilities since late May causing severe congestion at major ports including Qingdao, Rizhao and Zhoushan as tankers have queued for weeks to offload the
cargoes. Analysts and port officials say the congestion could run into this month.
China last month exported only 3.21 million tonnes of refined oil products, the lowest level since January 2017.
That was lower than the 3.88 million tonnes exported in June and down 41.5% from July last year. The slowdown in exports comes even as refineries have been trying to pare back swelling fuel
inventory after a record amount of fuel was produced in June.
Customs data also showed natural gas imports, both piped and liquefied natural gas (LNG), were 7.35 million tonnes in July, down 6.9% from a year earlier. - Reuters
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Malaysia’s manufacturing sales up 4.1% in June (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s manufacturing sales rose 4.1% year-on-year in June 2020 to RM116.7 billion after registering negative growth for three consecutive months, driven by the increase
in food, beverages & tobacco products (25.3%), transport equipment & other manufactures products (23.1%) and electrical & electronics products (12.7%).
On a month-on-month basis, manufacturing sales expanded 30.4% as compared to May 2020.
Chief statistician Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the sub-sectors that grew at a faster pace month-on-month were transport equipment & other manufactures products (87.4%),
electrical & electronics products (45.7%) and non-metallic mineral products, basic metal & fabricated metal products (26.3%).”
He added that the number of employees engaged in the manufacturing sector in June 2020 was 2.19 million persons, a decrease of 2.2% as compared to 2.24 million persons in June 2019. Salaries &
wages paid decreased by 2.0% to RM7.11 billion in June 2020 as against the same month of the preceding year.
Simultaneously, the sales value per employee rose by 6.5% to record RM53,319 as compared with the same month in 2019. Meanwhile, the average salaries & wages per employee was RM3,251 in June
In the second quarter 2020, manufacturing sales shrank 16.5% to RM281.9 billion as compared to 2.2% registered in the previous quarter, due to the decrease in non-metallic mineral products, basic
metal & fabricated metal products (-48.8%), transport equipment & other manufactures products (-24.3%) and electrical & electronics products (-15.6%). The number of employees and salaries
& wages dropped 2.2% and 4.0% respectively in the second quarter 2020.
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Sime Darby Plantation denies allegations on bribery, wage theft, money laundering (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) has refuted new allegations by Hong Kong-based activist group Liberty Shared on the risk of bribery, wage theft and money laundering in the
SDP said in their latest statement, Liberty Shared highlighted these allegations when SDP’s plantation workers hold their account at the same bank as the group, an issue that it had not mentioned
in the previous petition.
“SDP views this statement with serious concerns as it is insinuating the possibility of one of Malaysia’s most respected banking institutions colluding to wage theft with SDP, in addition to money
laundering. This veiled remark must be substantiated with strong and clear evidence, as by implication, it also raises the question on the credibility of the related financial institution that is
subjected to stringent banking laws and regulatory framework,” SDP said in a statement today.
SDP added that it has no means to investigate these issues thoroughly without substantive details.
It pointed out should there be any instances of such allegations, the National Union of Plantation Workers would have brought the issue to light and conducted an immediate probe into the
It also noted that the Malaysian Department of Labour has also been conducting regular inspection on the wages paid and would have taken prompt action against SDP, had wage theft occurred.
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Maybank offers 3 channels for customers to apply for post-moratorium repayment assistance (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: With the six-month moratorium ending on Sept 30, 2020, Maybank is offering the Repayment Assistance Package options to those who may be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bank will continue to reach out to customers but encouraged those who need repayment assistance to contact the bank as soon as possible.
Maybank has made available three easy options for customers to apply for the Repayment Assistance Packages from today, which are:
a. Apply online via Maybank2u (for individual customers excluding hire purchase)
b. Apply via email to firstname.lastname@example.org (for individual customers) or SMErelief@maybank.com (for SME customers), providing name, contact number, type of loan (example mortgage, hire purchase,
term loan financing); vehicle number (for hire purchase) and reason for application, or
c. Visit or call any of our branches, SME Centres or Auto Finance Centres (whichever is relevant) nationwide.
“The Repayment Assistance Packages will be tailored to best suit the needs of our customers and address the challenges they are facing – be it loss of employment, reduction in salary or disruption
in business operations. This may include extension of moratorium for those who lost employment in 2020, rescheduling of their loan/financing facility to extend the tenure or restructuring the
loan/financing to a structure which is more in line with their payment capabilities,“ Maybank said in a statement today.
While the deadline for applications is Sept 30, 2020, the bank urged its customers to start applying early so that the repayment arrangements can be approved and implemented before the moratorium
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Australia’s economic recovery slowed by coronavirus second wave - RBA official (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
SYDNEY: Australia's economic recovery will be slower than hoped and unemployment will stay high for several years even though the contraction driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has been less
severe than forecast, a senior central bank official said on Friday.
A surge in the number of coronavirus cases in Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria since June has worsened the country's broader economic outlook, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)
Assistant Governor Luci Ellis said during a webcast.
"We now think that even though the initial contraction was smaller, the subsequent recovery is likely to be more protracted and progress on reducing unemployment will be slower," Ellis said in a
speech titled "The Economic Outlook".
"The recovery is expected to be slow and uneven, and GDP will probably take several years to return to the trend path expected prior to the virus outbreak."
The dour outlook means the RBA would maintain its "accommodative approach" for as long as required, after slashing interest rates to a record low of 0.25% in an emergency meeting in March.
Australia has dodged a technical recession, defined by two consecutive quarters of contraction, since the early 1990s having come out of the 2008/09 global financial crisis relatively
But it is now facing its deepest contraction in about a century, with the RBA's baseline scenario showing output would fall by 6% over 2020 - an "enormous shock" to the labour market, Ellis
"We expect that employment and total hours worked will decline over the next few months, partly because of the increased activity restrictions in Victoria," Ellis said.
Victoria's capital of Melbourne entered a six-week total lockdown on Thursday, shuttering shops and businesses and requiring its five million inhabitants to stay home to curb the spread of the
novel coronavirus. - REUTERS
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Trump issues orders for US ban on WeChat, TikTok in 45 days (Fri, 07 Aug 2020)
WASHINGTON: U.S. President Donald Trump issued executive orders on Thursday banning any U.S. transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns video-sharing app TikTok, and
Tencent, owner of the WeChat app, starting in 45 days.
The orders come as the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge "untrusted" Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called the Chinese-owned short-video app
TikTok and messenger app WeChat "significant threats."
The TikTok app may be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, and the United States "must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our
national security," Trump said in one order.
In the other, Trump said WeChat "automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal
and proprietary information."
The order would effectively ban WeChat in the United States in 45 days by barring "to the extent permitted under applicable law, any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with
respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd."
Trump said this week he would support the sale of TikTok's U.S. operations to Microsoft Corp if the U.S. government got a "substantial portion" of the sales price but warned he will ban the
service in the United States on Sept. 15.
Tencent and ByteDance declined to comment. - REUTERS
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Lufthansa warns of forced layoffs, says air travel back to pre-Covid levels only in 2024 (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
FRANKFURT: German airline giant Lufthansa said yesterday that demand for air travel will return to pre-crisis levels only in 2024 or even later as it announced forced layoffs on the back of
a significant loss.
Net loss hit €1.5 billion (RM7.44 billion) in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic slammed the brakes on travel.
The airline carried around 1.7 million travellers during the three months to the end of June – a 96% drop from the same period last year as lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus
curtailed air travel worldwide.
The results are "the worst quarterly results in Lufthansa's 65-year history," said the flag carrier's chief executive Carsten Spohr, as the airline warned of a "clearly negative" operating loss in
the second half of 2020.
Quarterly revenue nosedived 80% to €1.9 billion for Lufthansa Group, which also includes Austrian Airlines and Swiss. In the second quarter of last year, Lufthansa reported revenue of more than
Most of the revenue – €1.5 billion – was generated by Lufthansa Cargo and its services company Lufthansa Technik.
With air travel expected to remain heavily disrupted in the coming years, Lufthansa warned that it would have to make painful job cuts. The group, which received a government bailout worth €9
billion, had announced in June that 22,000 jobs would have to go.
Although it said then that it would use schemes for shorter work hours and other crisis arrangements to avoid outright redundancies, the company said yesterday that this was now "no longer
realistically within reach for Germany".
This is due to "market developments" and "disappointing" negotiations with unions on pay cuts and part-time work.
An agreement avoiding redundancies for cabin crew is currently being put to a vote by the employees.
For ground staff, discussions will continue today, announced the Verdi union, calling on Lufthansa to avoid wage cuts "that threaten the existence of employees".
Eight thousand employees have already left the group, mainly in other countries, and 75,000 employees were on short-time working in June, Spohr said.
"We are experiencing a caesura in global air traffic," he added.
In June, Lufthansa secured a €9 billion bailout from the German government, which now has a 20% stake in the group.
The airline said it now has €11.8 billion in liquidity, including government funds. The group said it has so far reimbursed around €2 billion to customers in 2020 due to cancelled flights.
The company now has sufficient funds for "at least 12 months," Spohr said, signalling that "aviation has recovered in the past; it can and will do so again".
In the fourth quarter of 2020, Lufthansa said it wants to bring its short- and medium-haul services up to the 55% level and 50% for its long-haul services, compared with an average of 20% in
In 2021, the airline said it hoped to reach two-thirds of its pre-crisis services.
The company said its fleet will be permanently reduced by at least 100 aircraft, and its 2024 capacity will correspond to that of 2019. Lufthansa's current fleet numbers 760 aircraft. Lufthansa
previously said it would reduce its use of Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s.
With borders slamming shut and strict restrictions placed on arrivals, the entire aviation sector is facing its biggest crisis ever.
Fraport, which runs Frankfurt Airport, Lufthansa's main hub, said this week it plans to cut 3,000 to 4,000 jobs – as much as one-fifth of its workforce.
Passenger traffic at Frankfurt, Germany's busiest airport, fell 94.4% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020 compared with last year. – AFP
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Glencore scraps US$2.6 billion dividend after first-half loss (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
LONDON: Glencore became the first major mining company to scrap its dividend, saying yesterday the economic outlook was too uncertain because of the coronavirus pandemic and that it would
prioritise cutting debt instead.
The mining and commodities trading company said its net debt jumped 12% in the first six months of the year to US$19.7 billion and that it was booking a US$3.2 billion charge, mainly due to the
broader economic fallout on its businesses from the pandemic.
While its trading division's record US$2 billion first-half operating profit helped boost overall adjusted earnings, the hefty charges meant Glencore ended up posting a net loss of US$2.6 billion
(RM10.89 billion) – the same amount it had been due to pay in dividends.
The record trading performance, mainly thanks to oil markets, came at the expense of higher net debt as Glencore used more working capital as a one-off in the exceptional Covid-19 circumstances to
buy and store large amounts of cheap crude.
Glencore shares listed in London had slumped nearly 7% by 1130 GMT, underperforming the 3% drop in the broader index that includes its rivals.
"The board has concluded that it would be inappropriate to make a distribution to shareholders in 2020, instead prioritising the acceleration of net debt reduction to within our target range,"
Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg said.
He said the company would wait to see how the pandemic evolves and then review whether to resume dividend payments next year.
Rivals Rio Tinto and Anglo American have already gone ahead with their payouts and BHP is expected to follow suit.
"We believe Glencore has missed an opportunity to send a strong message to the market about its dividend policy being robust through the cycle," said analysts at Jefferies, which reiterated its
"hold" recommendation for Glencore shares.
The US$3.2 billion in charges were mainly related to its oilfields in Chad, which shut down during the pandemic, its Colombian coal operations, Mopani copper mine in Zambia and zinc mining in
Glencore's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 13% to $4.8 billion in the six months to June from a year earlier, beating the $4.3 billion
expected by 14 analysts in a survey compiled by Vuma.
Thanks to the record first-half trading performance, the company said it expected the division to post operating profit at the top end of the US$2.2 billion to US$3.2 billion range by the end of
Glencore's trading divisions set it apart from other mining companies and it has proved more resilient during commodity downturns.
The trading arms of oil majors such as Royal Dutch Shell , Total and Eni have all also reported bumper profits by storing oil when prices plunged earlier this year and then selling later at higher
Glasenberg told a conference call that cash flow would help it lower debt below its cap of $16 billion by the end of 2020.
"Glencore's value is attractive, its balance sheet robust and commodity mix well positioned for recovery," analysts at UBS said. "We expect it to outperform as visibility improves on management
change, deleveraging, regulatory investigations and the turnaround of African Copper."
Glasenberg said planning for a new generation of managers to take over had not been affected by the Covid-19 crisis and that he would leave once the Glencore old guard was gone.
He said long-time executive and head of coal marketing Tor Peterson was still due to leave the company and another veteran, Daniel Mate, who led its zinc business, left last month.
The change in senior managers that has been taking place over the last two years has been spurred in part by multiple investigations into the company for bribery and corruption, particularly by
the US Department of Justice. – Reuters
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Nintendo reports bumper profit in first quarter (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
TOKYO: Nintendo made a ¥106.5 billion (RM4.22 billion) net profit in the first quarter, it said today, with gamers stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic driving extraordinary demand
for the industry.
The global health crisis has had devastating economic consequences across a broad range of industries but the gaming sector has been a rare beneficiary of lockdowns that kept people indoors around
Nintendo’s ¥106.5 billion net profit for the three months to June was a more than sixfold increase from ¥16.6 billion a year earlier. Sales more than doubled to ¥358 billion as demand for its
popular Switch console showed no sign of dying down, even as the device entered the crucial fourth year since its launch.
"Sales for the entire Nintendo Switch family rose 166.6% year-on-year to 5.68 million units," the firm said, referring to both the original Switch and the stripped-back Switch Lite.
Earlier, Bloomberg News reported that the firm is raising its target for Switch production to around 25 million units this fiscal year from 22 million set in April, to meet robust demand.
The results far exceed the expectations of analysts and come on the back of runaway success by the Switch and Nintendo's hit "Animal Crossing" game.
The leisurely game has struck a chord with players around the world, many of them enjoying a virtual release from the restrictions on movement and social activity imposed to contain
Nintendo is one of a "handful" of major companies seeing significant business opportunities from the coronavirus outbreak, analysts said.
Shares of the Kyoto-based company have surged more than 35% since early March and closed up 0.18% today before its earnings announcement.
"Demand for video games has remained strong among people staying home following the pandemic," Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo, told AFP ahead of the results. "The
lockdown boom is expected to continue for now," he added.
Despite the blockbuster figures, the firm declined to upgrade its full-year forecast, leaving intact its projection of ¥200 billion in net profit for the fiscal year to March, down 23% from the
Yasuda said the popularity of the latest "Animal Crossing" title should continue to drive profits for the current fiscal year.
But he cautioned that despite this, "it is still too early to judge Nintendo's performance as its earnings rely heavily on results from the year-end Christmas season".
The explosive growth in Switch sales appears to buck a trend that has seen many consoles lose popularity around three years after their launch.
Since it hit stores in March 2017, the gadget has become a huge global seller, helped by innovative, family-friendly titles that have wowed critics and gamers alike.
Nintendo has not entirely escaped the effects of the pandemic and acknowledged that the virus has "created some difficulties in procuring the parts required for the manufacture of Nintendo Switch
It said the situation had "almost recovered", but warned that a future surge in the virus could affect manufacturing.
Rival Sony said on Tuesday its net profit surged 53.3% in the first quarter partially due to brisk demand for games downloads. But the PlayStation giant warned annual profits were likely to see
double-digit falls as the pandemic continues to cloud the forecast. – AFP
>> Continua a leggere
New US jobless benefits claims fall to pandemic low of 1.19 million (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
WASHINGTON: New applications for jobless benefits resumed their decline after two weeks of increases, hitting a new pandemic low in a surprise sign of improvement, but economists warn the
battered US job market recovery remains painfully slow.
Workers filing for first-time jobless benefits dropped last week to 1.19 million, well below what analysts had been expecting, and applications for pandemic assistance also fell sharply, the Labor
Department reported today.
However, the four-week average for initial unemployment claims was barely changed at 1.33 million in the week ended Aug 1, the report said.
The data show job losses have continued, but at a slower pace, in recent weeks, as cases of Covid-19 spiked in many states forcing authorities to reimpose some restrictions, with 6.7 million new
claims filed in the month.
Meanwhile, talks in Washington on a new emergency spending plan and expanded unemployment payments continue to drag on with Democratic leaders and President Donald Trump's economic team still far
The additional US$600 (RM2,514) in weekly jobless payments from the federal government expired at the end of July, and Republicans want to slash the amount.
Nancy Vanden Houten of Oxford Economics said the end of the benefits may have discouraged workers from submitting new applications. "If that's the case, initial claims would likely bounce back if
and when those benefits are renewed," she said in an analysis.
First time filings have been above one million for 20 consecutive weeks.
The total workers continuing to receive jobless benefits fell to 16.1 million in the week ended July 25, nearly 10 times higher than a year earlier, and the insured unemployment rate dipped
six-tenths to a still-high 11%.
That "underscores the painfully slow recovery in the labour market," Vanden Houten said.
When all programmes are combined, including pandemic emergency assistance and expanded unemployment benefits, 31.2 million workers were receiving help through the week ended July 18 – compared to
just 1.7 million a year earlier.
Economists warn that the job market may have stalled in July, with the closely-watched government employment report tomorrow expected to show a far smaller increase than in June.
"Repeated shutdowns for virus containment remain a threat to the labouur market, which is already weak. The possibility of mounting layoffs that could become permanent is high," Rubeela Farooqi of
High Frequency Economics said in an analysis.
"Overall, without effective virus containment the recovery remains at risk from ongoing job losses that could further restrain incomes and spending."
And even the good news in the report is not as good as it appears, economist Joel Naroff said, noting that the latest week does not include the states where workers continuing to receive benefits
Although further widespread shutdowns appear unlikely, with layoffs from the second virus wave falling, "the clear slowdown in the rate of decline over the past few weeks is ominous," Naroff said.
Economists warn the battered US job market recovery remains painfully slow. – REUTERSPIX
>> Continua a leggere
Ho Wah Genting unit proposes tie-up with US’s E-Mo Biology for Covid-19 vaccine trials (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Ho Wah Genting Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary HWGB Biotech Sdn Bhd today signed a memorandum of agreement with US-based E-Mo Biology Inc (EBI) to invest in phase IV clinical
trials for a new indication which proposes the use of existing poliomyelitis virus vaccines for prevention of Covid-19 and the research and development, testing, registration, manufacturing and
commercialisation of five provisional patent applications.
EBI is principally engaged in biology research and development. EBI had in June submitted the Initial Investigational New Drug application to the United States Food and Drug Administration, which
is pending approval.
Ho Wah CEO Datuk Lim Ooi Hong believes the eventual collaboration with EBI will enable a preventative vaccine to be made available soon.
“The proposed collaboration is expected to contribute positively to the earnings of Ho Wah upon the successful commercialisation of the vaccines,” Lim added.
The proposed collaboration will see Ho Wah investing US$1 million into EBI entitling the company to 40% of the total profit from the commercialised vaccine. Ho Wah will also have exclusive rights
for the production, distribution and sale of the repurposed vaccine based on the polio vaccine for use in preventing Covid-19 infections in Southeast Asian countries.
In addition, Ho Wah will have the right to retain all profits from the vaccines, as well as a royalty-free licence together with the granting of sublicences for the use of the trademark and other
intellectual property rights in relation to the vaccines in the Southeast Asian countries.
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Borneo Oil: Exploratory works at Bukit Ibam reveal golden potential (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Borneo Oil Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Borneo Oil & Gas Corp Sdn Bhd has completed the first part of exploration on one of the
eight zones in its Bukit Ibam gold prospect in Pahang and has prepared a report under the Australasian Code of Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves.
According to the group’s Bursa Malaysia filing, exploration works covered an area of 2.03ha and have discovered a total resource of 621.92kg of gold in 1.66 million metric tons of ore with an
average grade of 0.42g per ton.
Furthermore, Borneo Oil reported that a recommendation to develop the exploration has been made for the zone as well as other zones in the mining area with similar geology as it may hold
significant potential for additional gold resources by a competent person under the Australasian code.
Subsequent to the findings, it intends to proceed with mining works in the zone through an outsourcing business structure and the group is now in the process of selecting a suitable contractor for
In the prior assessment, it estimated a potential resource of 1.87 tonnes of gold in the 462-acre prospecting area.
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Penjana Tourism Financing opens for application (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: The applications for the Penjana Tourism Financing (PTF) can now be submitted to the participating member banks, according to the
Association of Banks in Malaysia, Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia and Association of Development Finance Institutions of Malaysia.
The PTF, which is aimed at supporting Malaysian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism sector by preserving their capacity and assisting them to adjust and remain viable post
Covid-19, can be utilised for working capital and capital expenditure to enhance their business models and deploy new practices.
Malaysian MSMEs in the core tourism sector and tourism-related sectors which are either MSMEs as defined by SME Corp Malaysia, or MSMEs licensed by/registered with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts
and Culture are eligible to apply for the PTF.
The eligible sectors in core tourism are tourism accommodation premises (example budget hotels, registered homestays, chalets and resorts), travel agencies and tour operators, and transportation
for tourists (example bus, boat and car rental operators). Other eligible tourism related sectors includes medical tourism, meetings, incentives, conference and exhibition ecosystem, money changing
operators who mainly serve inbound and outbound tourists as well as tourism related retail, recreation and wellness businesses with significant reliance on tourists.
The PTF will be offered by 12 banks.
To ensure the PTF benefits more MSMEs, the maximum financing amount is RM300,000 for eligible small and medium companies, and RM75,000 for eligible micro enterprises. In addition, the PTF will
only be accessible to MSMEs that did not benefit from the Special Relief Facility and/or the Penjana SME Financing. Under the PTF, the financing rate will be up to 3.5% per annum for a financing
period of up to seven years. The PTF will also include at least six months’ repayment deferment to ease the cash flow of SMEs.
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Eurocham Malaysia joins hands with SME Association to spur development of small and medium enterprises (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: The EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Eurocham Malaysia) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SME
Association of Malaysia to jointly spearhead the development of SMEs across all sectors in the European-Malaysian economy, inspiring experiential learning and allowing member companies of both
parties to work together in exploring new business opportunities as well as solving common challenges.
Eurocham Malaysia chairman Oliver Roche said it is intensifying its joint efforts in actively promoting industrial transformation, innovation and upgrading in the SME community by encouraging
knowledge sharing and long-term partnerships with European industry leaders.
“Our aim is to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability in SMEs to simultaneously improve their organisational performance and operational efficiency,” he said in a statement.
As companies take the next great leap to Industry 4.0, it does not only indicate a technological revolution but a productivity revolution too.
SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang Hua Keong said it is important for SMEs to drive talent agility in the age of digitalisation, increasing productivity and enhancing global
By signing the MoU, both parties will explore mutually beneficial business opportunities for the European and Malaysian SME community.
Eurocham Malaysia CEO Sven Schneider said this cooperation will allow it to share its expertise and know-how, combining both forces in realising the full potential of the European and Malaysian
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Corporate earnings key to Bursa rally’s sustainability (Thu, 06 Aug 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s corporate earnings picture will be the main clue to the domestic equity market’s outlook in the midst of the Covid-19
RHB Asset Management chief investment officer Mohd Fauzi Mohd Tahir said a comeback in corporate earnings is the most important element for a sustainable rise in Burssa Malaysia’s benchmark index,
the FBM KLCI.
He noted that the index has seen a 32% rebound to a high of 1,611.42 points from a low of 1,219,72 points on March 19, 2020.
Drawing from the lessons of the global financial crisis of 2009, Fauzi said there was a lag of about three months between the index hitting bottom and the end of the earnings downgrade on the
The previous crisis also saw the worst gross domestic product (GDP) performance coinciding with Bursa’s corporate earnings downgrade.
“Back then, corporate earnings between April and December 2009 were upgraded by 23%, but at the time there were no social distancing measures to contend with hence the economy recovered quickly,
compared to what we are experiencing now,” he said at RHB Asset Management’s webinar themed “Malaysia: Time for a Reality Check?” today.
Should history repeat itself, Fauzi expects Bank Negara Malaysia’s upcoming GDP announcement to mark the bottom of the current crisis and the corporate earnings downgrade to end in the second
quarter of 2020, which aligns with the three-month lag seen in the previous crisis.
He pointed out that there was a 4% earnings upgrade in July contributed by the glove sector that signalled the end of the earnings downgrade cycle. “Another good thing to note is, that there has
not been any major downgrade in other sectors of KLCI constituents.”
Meanwhile, Credit Suisse Securities Malaysia head of research Danny Goh said improvements in corporate earnings could lead to a return in foreign investors to the market.
Since the global financial crisis, Malaysia has seen foreign outflow of RM24 billion, which has accelerated to RM18.5 billion in the first six months of 2020, and foreign ownership stands at a
record low 21%.
He attributed the drop in foreign ownership to the deteriorating return-on-equities, which has fallen to under 7% from an average of 10-11% in the past.
Goh pointed out that the country has suffered the second biggest earnings contraction in the region. “As soon as Malaysia can show that earnings can grow better against the rest of the region then
we can expect foreigners to return to Malaysia.”
However, the head of research acknowledged that there has been some foreign inflows into certain sectors such as rubber gloves, which indicated that foreigners do put money into a country where
they see earnings growth and improvement in returns.
Apart from that, he said there is lack of technology representation in the Malaysian market, which remains relatively small against the entire market, as countries with a relatively high
technology weightage have seen better foreign flows into their markets in the last three to four years.
Macquarie Capital Securities head of research and strategist Prem Jearajasingam agreed that the lack of interest by foreign investors boils down to the lack of growth in Malaysia.
However, he believes that there will be a reversal from the current emphasis on equities with a growth trait, which has driven investors into the technology sector, as some investors would move
back to prioritising value.
Prem also believes that the money would shift from the US and back to the emerging markets.
“When that move takes place, you will see a fair amount of capital trickle back into the Asean region and Malaysia could see some of that inflow as the selling over the past few years has been
excessive,” he said.
With regard to the impact of the impending end to the loan repayment moratorium, which could see the retreat of retail investors fuelled by excess liquidity, the strategist opined that the
domestic institutional investors are sitting on a fair amount of cash.
Should the earnings outlook or narrative not deteriorate going into 2021, he said, it could serve to mitigate any lower retail participation.
“If we can see corporate earnings not being materially worse and some political stability, corporate earnings moving upwards, I think the institutional money will come in to smooth out the
sell-off by the retail side.”
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