Fed officials feel rate hikes likely done, but too soon to know (Fri, 01 Dec 2023)
WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve (Fed) policymakers signalled on Thursday that the US central bank’s interest rate hikes are likely over, but left the door open to further monetary policy
tightening should progress on inflation stall, and pushed back on market expectations for a quick pivot to rate cuts.
Fresh data shows price pressures are easing and the labour market is gradually cooling, evidence that the slowdown the Fed has tried to engineer with its rate hikes to date is under way.
Tighter financial and credit conditions after the Fed raised its policy rate 5.25 percentage points in the last 20 months should help bring inflation down further, New York Fed Bank president John
Williams said on Thursday, noting that improvements in supply chains are also easing price pressures.
In balancing the risks of too-high inflation and a weaker economy, “and based on what I know now, my assessment is that we are at, or near, the peak level of the target range of the federal funds
rate”, Williams said.
The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose 3% in October from a year ago, moderating from a three-month string of 3.4% readings though still above the Fed's 2% target, and more
Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, government reports showed on Thursday.
Still, the unemployment rate at last read was 3.9%, only a few tenths of a percentage point above where it was when the Fed began raising rates in March 2022. The government's employment report
for the current month will be released next Friday.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday she believes the US economy does not need further drastic monetary policy tightening to prevent inflation from becoming ingrained and was on
track to achieve a “soft landing” with strong employment.
Traders have been betting heavily that the Fed will keep its overnight benchmark interest rate steady in the 5.25%-5.50% range for the next several months. But they also expect rate cuts to start
in May, with further reductions taking the policy into the 4.00%-4.25% range by the end of 2024 – a view that Williams made plain he does not share.
“I’m not losing too much sleep” over the market’s view “because there’s a lot of uncertainty about the future path of policy”, Williams said.
Models suggest the stance of Fed policy is the most restrictive it has been in 25 years, and it will probably need to stay restrictive for “quite some time”, he said.
Williams said he expects inflation to end this year at 3%, and ebb to 2.25% in 2024, as economic growth slows to 1.25% and the unemployment rate rises to 4.25%.
“If price pressures and imbalances persist more than I expect, additional policy firming may be needed,” he said.
San Francisco Fed president Mary Daly struck a similar tone in remarks to the German newspaper Borsen-Zeitung in an interview published on Thursday, noting her “base case” does not call for
any further rate hikes, though it is “too early to know” if the Fed is finished with the rate increases.
“I’m not thinking about rate cuts at all right now,” she said. “I’m thinking about whether we have enough tightening in the system and are sufficiently restrictive to restore price stability.”
The policymakers spoke before a customary blackout period when they refrain from public comment ahead of a rate-setting meeting. The Fed will hold its next policy meeting on Dec 12-13. Fed chair
Jerome Powell is expected to get a final word in on Friday, when he is due to speak at Spelman College in Atlanta.
Trader bets on Fed rate cuts starting in the first half of 2024 gained steam this week after Fed governor Christopher Waller, an influential and usually hawkish policymaker, suggested rates cuts
by then could be needed to keep policy from becoming overly restrictive in the face of easing inflation.
Daly and Williams were more cautious. Data has previously indicated progress that revisions or a change in momentum later erased, and both policymakers on Thursday emphasised the uncertainty of
the current outlook.
“We still think the Fed will not want to be head-faked again, preferring to see further progress in key policy variables before declaring mission accomplished,” TD Securities strategist Oscar
Munoz wrote. – Reuters
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Opec+ slashes oil output further to boost flagging prices (Fri, 01 Dec 2023)
VIENNA: Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major oil-producing nations on Thursday (Nov 30) announced they would further slash production next year in an effort to prop up volatile prices.
But prices dropped right after the meeting, with analysts saying the market had expected more from the 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its 10 partners.
Following the virtual meeting of Opec+ ministers, Riyadh announced it would extend its voluntary oil production cut of one million barrels per day until March 2024.
Moscow said it would slash oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day – up from 300,000 barrels a day so far – until March, following the tough talks.
Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Algeria and Oman will also make smaller cuts, Opec said in a statement.
Following the meeting, prices failed to rally – with US benchmark West Texas Intermediate falling 3% briefly.
Amid stuttering global economic growth, analysts had largely expected Opec+ producers to extend or deepen production cuts into next year to halt the recent slump in prices.
“It’s a bit of a sweet and sour victory for the Saudis,” said Jorge Leon, an analyst with Rystad Energy, adding Riyadh “only managed to convince seven countries to join the voluntary cuts”.
“The market was expecting cuts at least until the end of the first half of the year,” he added.
With the Opec+ meeting postponed from Sunday to Thursday, Saudi Arabia, which has borne the brunt of the supply cuts, had sought to convince African countries to chip in by accepting lower
But Angola and Nigeria were among those countries reluctant to sign up, seeking to step up production to secure vital foreign currency after they agreed in June to reduce their quotas.
Thursday's meeting also saw major producer Brazil declared as joining Opec+ from next year, according to a statement by the group.
Brazil’s Energy Minister Alexandre Silveira, who attended the meeting, called it a “historic moment for Brazil”, but added his ministry still needed to study “in detail” the invitation to
Brazil is among the world’s top 10 producers and has been the largest oil producer in Latin America since 2016.
Its crude production hit a record 3.7 million barrels per day in September, a near 17% increase from the same month last year and a 6.1% jump from August, according to pricing agency Argus
Opec+ was born in late 2016 when Russia and nine others joined forces with the Saudi-led Opec to prop up falling prices. The cartel faced its biggest crisis in 2020 as countries locked down due to
the Covid pandemic, sending oil demand plunging.
The group agreed in April 2020 to slash output by 9.7 million barrels per day in order to boost sagging prices. It began to raise production again in 2021 as the market improved.
But since last year, Opec+ has once again implemented supply cuts to boost falling prices.
But investors have warned that cutting production might not be enough to prevent prices from plummeting.
Oil prices are far from the near-US$140 a barrel peak reached after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But they remain above the average of the last five years, currently hovering at around US$80
(RM372.92) per barrel after nearly striking US$100 in September.
Concerns among producers persist about demand softening owing to slowing economies, particularly China’s – the world’’s biggest importer of crude – amid mixed signals emerging from Europe and the
On the supply side, crude production in the US and Brazil reached record levels.
According to analyst Neil Wilson of Finalto, Opec “doesn’t have the iron grip on the market it once commanded”. – AFP
>> Continua a leggere
Dell misses quarterly revenue estimates on slow PC market recovery (Fri, 01 Dec 2023)
NEW YORK: Dell Technologies on Thursday (Nov 30) reported third-quarter revenue below estimates due to a slower-than-expected recovery in the hardware and software market, sending its
shares down 4% after the bell.
Revenue for the third quarter came in at US$22.25 billion (RM103.7 billion) for Dell, missing estimates of US$23 billion, according to LSEG data.
Vendors in the market have seen a slowdown in demand following the surge in sales of electronic devices during Covid lockdowns on the back of increased work-from-home measures.
Research firm Gartner said last month that Dell posted a sixth consecutive decline in personal computer (PC) shipments from July to September due to weak spending by its key enterprise customer
base, owing to a sluggish economy.
The company's client solutions group, which includes its consumer and enterprise PC business, posted revenue of US$12.28 billion for the third quarter, nearly an 11% fall compared to a year
Dell chief operating officer Jeff Clarke said the company’s servers and networking business revenue was up 9% sequentially, fuelled by customer interest in generative artificial intelligence
However, server makers have been struggling with supply constraints for AI chips made by Nvidia, used to run large language models that power apps like ChatGPT.
The results mirror PC market trends as rival HP forecast first-quarter profit below estimates on a slow PC market recovery and weak demand in China.
Positive results posted by major PC chipmakers like Intel and AMD signalled that recovery is gathering pace in the market ahead of the much awaited holiday season.
The PC market is expected to bank on demand from AI boost, according to research firm Canalys, as it projects adoption of AI-capable PCs to accelerate from 2025 onward, with such devices
accounting for around 60% of all PCs shipped in 2027. – Reuters
>> Continua a leggere
Oil falls over 2% after Opec+ cuts fall short of expectations (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
NEW YORK: Oil prices fell by more than 2% on Thursday (Nov 30) after Opec+ producers agreed to voluntary oil output cuts for the first quarter next year that fell short of market
Brent crude futures for January settled 27 cents, or 0.3%, lower to expire at US$82.83 (RM386.11) a barrel, and a 5.2% loss for the month. The February contract, which begins trading as the front
month on Friday, fell US$2.00, or 2.4%, to US$80.86 (RM376.92).
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled down US$1.90, or 2.4%, to US$75.96 (RM354.08), and down 6.2% in November.
Saudi Arabia, Russia and other members of Opec+, who pump more than 40% of the world’s oil, agreed to voluntary output cuts approaching two million barrels per day (bpd) for the first quarter of
At least 1.3 million bpd of those cuts, however, were an extension of voluntary curbs that Saudi Arabia and Russia already had in place. Earlier, delegates had said new additional cuts under
discussion were as much as two million bpd.
“For now, the outcome does not live up to the expectation ... in recent days,” said Callum MacPherson, head of commodities at Investec.
The voluntary nature of the cuts left investors nonplussed.
“From what we’ve seen so far, this looks like a paper cut of around 600-700,000 barrels per day (bpd) vs Q4 2023 planned levels,” said James Davis at FGE.
“It could at best be an actual cut of around 500,000 bpd compared to Q4. This might be just enough to keep the market balanced in Q1, but it will be close.”
Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait, Kazakhstan and Algeria were among producers who said cuts would be unwound gradually after the first quarter, market conditions permitting.
The meeting, being held on the same day as global leaders gather in Dubai for the UN climate conference, was originally scheduled for last week but was deferred because of disagreements over
output quotas for African producers.
Opec+ also invited Brazil, a top 10 oil producer, to become a member of the group. The country's energy minister said it hoped to join in January.
Meanwhile crude output in the US, the world’s top producer, continued to grow, rising 1.7% in September to a monthly record of 13.24 million bpd, the Energy Information Administration said.
Crude production in Texas fell by 0.1% to 5.57 million bpd, the lowest since July and the first time production in the state has fallen since April, the EIA said. – Reuters
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Dow rallies to year's highest close, caps blockbuster month (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
NEW YORK: The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday (Nov 30) closed at its highest level since January 2022 as investors crossed the finish line of a banner month for stocks and viewed
cooling inflation data as a harbinger of easing Federal Reserve monetary policy.
The Dow was the clear outperformer, with a solid boost from Salesforce on the heels of its consensus-beating earnings report
.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 520.47 points, or 1.47%, to 35,950.89, the S&P 500 gained 17.22 points, or 0.38%, at 4,567.8 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 32.27 points, or 0.23%, to
Still, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq notched their largest monthly percentage gain since July 2022. November was the Dow's best month for percentage gains since October 2022.
“We’re putting the cherry on top of a banner month,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at Carson Group in Omaha. “It’s a nice reminder for investors how worried everyone was a month ago,
and we just finished one of the best months in history for stocks.”
Among data released on Thursday, the Commerce Department’s closely watched Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) report showed inflation is cooling as expected, along with consumer spending. The
data reinforced expectations that the Fed has completed its rate hiking cycle.
While New York Fed president John Williams reiterated the central bank’s determination to remain data dependent, he would not rule out the possibility of further rate hikes if inflation fails to
continue to moderate.
“Kicking off much of the strength this month was the realisation that inflation is quickly coming back to earth we saw that again today with core PCE data suggesting inflation is no longer a major
headwind,” Detrick added.
Financial markets have priced in a 95.8% likelihood that the central bank will let its key Fed funds target rate stand at 5.25%-5.50% at December’s policy meeting.
“There’s likely no rate hikes any time soon, the next move will likely be a cut, probably in the middle of next year,” Detrick said. “The massive drop in (Treasury) yields this month is the bond
market’s way of saying it thinks the Fed is indeed done raising rates.”
Powell is scheduled to participate in two separate discussions on Friday.
Among the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, healthcare stocks outperformed, while communication services suffered the steepest percentage decline.
Dow Transports, considered a barometer of economic health, advanced 1.4%.
Salesforce jumped 9.4% following the company’s higher-than-expected profit forecast based on solid demand for its cloud services.
Ford Motor Co slid 3.1% after the automaker set the cost of a new labour deal at US$8.8 billion and cut its full-year forecast.
Data cloud company Snowflake surged 7.1% after it forecast fourth-quarter product revenue above Street estimates.
Pinterest and Snap Inc gained 2.4% and 6.5%, respectively, after Jefferies’ upgrade of the social media firms to “buy” from “hold”. – Reuters
>> Continua a leggere
MARC: Palm oil to show slightly positive price trend going into 2024 (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
PETALING JAYA: The palm oil market is expected to show a slightly positive price trend going into 2024, according to Malaysian Rating Corporation Bhd (MARC).
In a statement, it said crude palm oil futures prices for the remainder of the year and going into 2024 are projected to range between RM3,700 and RM4,100 a tonne.
“The edible oils market is currently recovering from the substantial selling pressures witnessed in sunflower oil over the past few months. Seasonal production trends, hotter climate conditions,
and increasing demand for biofuels are expected to exert upward pressure on palm oil prices,” it said, adding that prices of edible oils have been volatile over the past couple of years driven by a
combination of factors, including export restrictions, labour shortages and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, resulting in a lower supply of edible oils.
In 2022, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine led to a global sunflower oil supply shortage, causing palm oil prices to reach record highs. In July 2022, the formation of the Black Sea Grain
Initiative which allowed Ukraine to export sunflower oil through the Black Sea region has resulted in a steady global supply of sunflower oil.
For the marketing year ended Aug 31, 2023, Ukraine’s sunflower oil exports increased by 27.3% to 5.7 million tonnes, and due to its bountiful harvest of seed crop, Russia’s sunflower oil exports
increased by 28.6% to 4.1 million tonnes. This led to sunflower oil prices dropping to below that of soybean oil, and in Europe, even experiencing discounts compared to palm oil prices; typically,
sunflower oil prices trade above soybean oil, followed by palm oil prices.
Soybean oil, a key palm oil substitute and determinant of palm oil price, has also been affected by the El Niño weather conditions. The largest soybean producing country, Brazil, experienced dry
weather in Mato Grosso and excessive rain in Parana which resulted in a slow pace of planting, with some areas potentially requiring replanting. These two regions combined account for around 40% of
Brazil’s soybean production. As such, palm oil price will be supported by potential convergence with soybean oil price as discounts narrow amid uncertain soybean supply.
In the near term, MARC said, supply constraints are expected to drive up palm oil prices.
“Typically, palm oil production declines after peaking in September or October, with the first quarter of the year having the lowest output. This seasonal trend of lower production will reduce
palm oil inventories, exerting upward pressure on prices, especially in first quarter 2024. Furthermore, El Niño’s hotter and drier weather conditions in Southeast Asia have impacted Indonesia, the
largest palm oil producer, said the local rating firm.
With El Niño’s impact on palm oil production typically seen at least a year later, production is expected to be reduced in second-half 2024. Additionally, in the major palm oil producing countries
Malaysia and Indonesia (83% of global production as at November 2023), a stagnation in oil palm plantation area growth, shrinking areas of immature oil palm plantations, and unproductive mature trees
will impede overall production growth.
On the demand side, MARC said usage of biodiesel will be a driving factor. Indonesia has implemented the mandatory usage of biodiesel with 35% of palm oil in the transport sector.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Association expects the use of palm oil for biodiesel to exceed food consumption. For 2024, the US Department of Agriculture is forecasting global palm oil consumption to
increase by 4.9% to 77.2 million tonnes. In addition, the memorandums of understanding signed between China and Malaysia to secure palm oil supplies will support demand for palm oil.
>> Continua a leggere
CelcomDigi network overhaul in full swing (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
SUBANG JAYA: CelcomDigi Bhd is spearheading one of the industry’s largest projects, its network overhaul consisting of modernising 24,000 existing
sites and constructing an additional 16,000 to 18,000 new sites.
CEO Datuk Idham Nawawi said the company is committed to providing superior telecommunications services by modernising and expanding its network infrastructure.
“We have the fastest network. We are modernising the whole network. This is one of the largest, I would say, projects in the industry that is happening now throughout the whole ecosystem,” he told
reporters at the unveiling of CelcomDigi all-in 5G and 4G postpaid plans today.
At the same time, he added the firm is also creating a lot of jobs in delivering this project.
“Imagine we are modernising 24,000 sites, and building brand new 16,000 to 18,000 sites. It’s huge. So what this has done is that this new network is expected to give much better experience to our
customers. And we are, like I said, in the middle of optimising some of the networks that we have already.
“With that, coupled with the kind of packages that we offer to the market, both our existing customers and our future customers, we will be very competitive. We should be able to offer the best
service to Malaysians, not only in 5G, but also a much better experience on our 4G network which will continue to be relevant,” said Idham.
He added that CelcomDigi’s primary objectives for next year will be to continue its network integration between Celcom and Digi, as well as improving the services and offering better packages for
“We will focus on integrating the network, focus on bringing the best service to our customers, and focus on bringing the best packages. That’s what you see today. We hope that we can continue to
align with the expectations (in terms of growth consensus).”
He anticipated that 5G technology will boost the telecommunications market as in the past few years, the telco market has seen low-single digit growth.
“We look forward to 5G when it’s being introduced, and the new packages that we will be introducing will create a bit more excitement in the market,” he said.
On the outlook for next year, he mentioned that, based on current economic conditions telco industry growth does not necessarily correlate with gross domestic product growth.
“If you look at analysts and analysts’ consensus, 2-3% (growth) in terms of the market,” he said.
On the impact a of lower ringgit, he stated that while currency fluctuations affect many, CelcomDigi is shielded from the impact as the company’s operations are confined to only Malaysia although
some of the technology is bought from international parties.
“Because number one, when we acquire some of our technology, we buy from external technologies from international parties. But once we have concluded the contract, most of our contracts are
already in ringgit. So, most of the contract that we need to deploy our network is already concluded and it is done. So, the fluctuation of the ringgit does not affect us as much.
“Number two is our operations are only in Malaysia. So, we do not have any impact of any translation of currency loss etc. So, we are not exposed to that,” he said.
>> Continua a leggere
Early December prelaunch for Armani Signature Residence (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
SHAH ALAM: Property developer Armani Group is set to prelaunch the low-density Armani Signature Residence, comprising 315 units in Shah Alam,
overlooking Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf Club with a gross development value (GDV) of RM220 million in early December.
Group deputy CEO Chris Yong stated that Armani Signature Residence was built in response to market demand – given low-density developments in the Klang Valley are scarce.
“Sitting on a 5.2-acre land, each block consists of only 105 units. Therefore, the density is extremely low. And this land is located right in the middle of the golf course. If there are no other
developments on this golf club, there will be just 315 units within 300 acres,” he told SunBiz.
He said that the development offers three-bedroom, two-bathroom units, full-height glass windows, and an attractive starting price of RM650,000.
“We want to create something that is practical. All our units have three rooms and two bathrooms. There are no five rooms, three baths, and all those things. When you have too many rooms, it
becomes small,” he explained.
He highlighted that each unit has full height glasses of 2.7m with ceiling height of 3m in order to elevate the experience of facing the golf course.
“We want you, whether you are in the living hall or the master bedroom, to still have a full-height window facing the golf course,” he said.
He added that as the development is mainly catered for Malay buyers, it also offers a resort-like 3,000 sq ft surau as well as a 2,000 sq ft multipurpose hall available for rent and a gym.
Yong expressed confidence in the success of Armani Signature Residence due to its alignment with market demand and the scarcity of similar developments in the Klang Valley.
“This development is a hidden gem. At this price point, combined with the unique features and practical layout surrounded by the golf course, it’s an unparalleled offering,” he said.
He revealed that the prelaunch stage has garnered significant interest from buyers.
“Right now, we have only opened one block for registration. So that one block is only 105 units. The registration itself (for the block) is already over 200,” he said.
However, Yong acknowledged that the property market is challenging with inflationary pressure and a higher OPR, but he said that there is still demand.
“This is a buyer’s market, not the seller’s market. A buyer’s market means that the buyer gets to choose,” he said.
He explained that demand is definitely still there because every year there will be new people entering the workforce, new people wanting to rent, new people wanting to buy property.
“Previously, maybe six, seven years ago, you could sell any type of property, and people would buy. Blindly, they would buy, but it is not a dead market now,” he affirmed.
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US economy grows 5.2% in Q3, higher interest rates eroding momentum (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
WASHINGTON: The US economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter as businesses built more warehouses and accumulated machinery equipment, but momentum appears to have
since waned as higher borrowing costs curb hiring and spending.
The growth pace, which was the quickest in nearly two years, however, likely exaggerated the health of the economy last quarter. When measured from the income side, economic activity increased at
a moderate pace. Nevertheless, the report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday (Nov 29) indicated the economy continued to grow despite fears of a recession that have persisted since late
“No sign of darkening skies for the economy in today’s report, but growth is cooling,” said Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS in New York. “There’s simply not as much wind in the
economy’s sails in the final quarter this year.”
Gross domestic product (GDP) increased at a 5.2% annualised rate last quarter, revised up from the previously reported 4.9% pace, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said
in its second estimate of third-quarter GDP. It was the fastest pace of expansion since the fourth quarter of 2021.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected GDP growth would be revised up to a 5% rate. The economy grew at a 2.1% pace in the April-June quarter and is expanding at a pace well above what Federal
Reserve (Fed) officials regard as the non-inflationary growth rate of around 1.8%.
The upward revision to growth reflected upgrades to business investment on structures, mostly warehouses and healthcare facilities. Spending by state and local governments was also revised higher.
Residential investment was also raised, thanks to the construction of more single-family homes, helping to end nine straight quarters of contraction.
Private inventory investment was higher than previously estimated as wholesalers amassed more machinery equipment. Inventory investment added 1.40 percentage points to GDP growth, instead of the
1.32 percentage points estimated last month.
But growth in consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, was lowered to a still-solid 3.6% rate. The downgrade from the previously estimated 4.0% growth
pace was because of cuts to outlays on financial services and insurance as well as used light trucks, likely the result of shortages caused by the recently ended United Auto Workers strike.
Personal income was higher than initially estimated, accounting for increases in wages. The saving rate was raised to 4% from 3.8%. Higher wages contributed to the economy growing at a 1.5% rate
last quarter, the fastest in a year, when measured from the income side.
Gross domestic income (GDI) increased at a rate of 0.5% in the second quarter. But GDI contracted at a 0.2% pace on a year-on-year basis, the first decline in three years.
“The only time the economy measured by incomes has declined at this pace and was not in recession was in the third quarter of 2007. A recession began in the next quarter,” said Conrad DeQuadros,
senior economic advisor at Brean Capital in New York.
In principle, GDP and GDI should be equal, but in practice differ as they are estimated using different and largely independent source data. The gap between GDI and GDP has re-widened after
narrowing when the BEA implemented its annual benchmark revisions in September.
The average of GDP and GDI, also referred to as gross domestic output and considered a better measure of economic activity, increased at a 3.3% rate in the July-September period, quickening from a
1.3% growth pace in the second quarter.
That, however, is in the past as economic activity looks to have cooled significantly at the start of the fourth quarter, with retail sales falling for the first time in seven months in October.
Job growth slowed last month and the unemployment rate rose to a nearly two-year high of 3.9%.
Moderate growth prospects were reinforced by other data from the Census Bureau showing the goods trade deficit widening 3.4% to US$89.8 billion in October as exports declined. That suggested trade
could be a drag on GDP growth this quarter after being a neutral factor in the April-June period. Wholesale inventories dropped, while stocks at retailers were unchanged.
A third report from the Fed showed economic activity slowed from early October through mid-November, “with four districts reporting modest growth, two indicating conditions were flat to slightly
down, and six noting slight declines in activity”.
The GDP report also confirmed inflation was trending lower, with slight downward revisions to measures watched by the Fed for monetary policy.
“The Fed could find themselves in a sweet spot,” said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Inflation is trending lower, the consumer is still spending,
but at a slower pace. The Fed could end its rate-hiking campaign without much pain inflicted on the economy.” – Reuters
>> Continua a leggere
Ottawa, Google reach ‘historic’ deal to support Canadian media (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
OTTAWA: The Canadian government and Google announced on Wednesday (Nov 29) a “historic” deal to support the country’s media, heading off an imminent threat by the digital giant to block
news on its platform.
That threat was made in response to Ottawa's Online News Act, which is due to come into force on Dec 19. Meta has also pushed back against the looming regulations.
“For more than a decade, news organisations have been disrupted by the arrival of large digital platforms like Google. In Canada, nearly 500 media outlets have closed their doors and thousands of
journalists have lost their jobs,” Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge told a news conference.
“Today, I’m announcing that we have found a path forward with Google” to implement the Online News Act, she said.
“This is a historic development. It will establish a fairer commercial relationship between digital platforms and journalism in Canada.”
Sources earlier told AFP the two sides agreed on a framework that would establish regular payments by Google to help Canadian media.
St-Onge said it would see Canadian news continue to be shared on Google’s platforms in return for the company making annual payments to Canadian news companies in the range of C$100 million (RM343
The amount is less than the government had estimated the compensation should be, but heads off a potential online blackout for news in Canada, where Google and Meta are the dominating
St-Onge, however, reserved the right to revisit the deal if “better agreements are struck elsewhere in the world”.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this agreement “is going to resonate around the world in countries and democracies struggling with the same challenges that our media landscape in Canada is
The agreement will give Google the option to negotiate with a single group representing all Canadian media, rather than seeking to secure one-on-one deals that it feared risked opening it up to
The money would then be divided up based on the number of full-time journalists employed by each publisher and broadcaster.
Google global affairs president Kent Walker said the company was “pleased that the government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues with Bill C-18”.
As a result, he said Google “will continue sending valuable traffic to Canadian publishers”.
“This is a good outcome, for sure,” Brent Jolly, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, told AFP.
Marla Boltman, head of the citizen group Friends, also welcomed the “much-needed cash injection into the Canadian media sector”.
However, she added that the Online News Act “will not be a panacea for protecting Canadian journalism” and that “other tools to provide support for news must be put in place”.
The Online News Act builds on similar legislation introduced in Australia and aims to support a struggling Canadian news sector that has seen a flight of advertising dollars.
Meta and Google, which together control about 80% of all advertising revenue in Canada, worth billions of dollars, have been accused of draining cash away from traditional news organisations while
using news content for free.
Ottawa had estimated the Online News Act could cost the pair a combined C$230 million by requiring them to make commercial deals with Canadian news outlets, or face binding arbitration.
According to the draft regulations unveiled in September, it would apply to companies with global annual revenues in excess of C$1 billion, operating a search engine or social media platform
actively used by at least 20 million users and that distributes news.
That effectively means only Google and Meta would be affected.
Meta has called the bill “fundamentally flawed”, and since August has blocked access in Canada to news articles on its Facebook and Instagram platforms. – AFP
>> Continua a leggere
Fed policymakers parse inflation data for signals on rate path (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
WASHINGTON: US central bankers are preparing for their last policy-setting meeting of the year by diving deep into inflation data for signals on whether they have pushed interest rates high
The evidence, to many of them, is that they probably have.
“Monetary policy is in a good place for policymakers to assess incoming information on the economy and financial conditions, Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester said on Wednesday (Nov 29).
One of the Fed’s more reliably hawkish voices, Mester has said for months she feels one more rate hike would likely be needed by year end to get inflation on track for the Fed’s 2% target.
Notably, Wednesday's speech did not contain that line.
The Fed has kept its policy rate unchanged in the 5.25%-5.50% range since July, and after the last meeting over Oct 31-Nov 1, Fed chair Jerome Powell said he is not yet confident policy is
Fed governor Christopher Waller, a policy hawk like Mester, on Tuesday delivered a similar assessment. “I am increasingly confident that policy is currently well positioned to slow the economy and
get inflation back to 2%,” he said.
One reason for their confidence: wage pressures have eased, with average hourly earnings growing just 3.2% in recent months. That moderation, from 4.1% previously, should help slow inflation in
the labour-intensive service industries, Waller said on Tuesday. Another reason: falling rents are expected to drive down housing services inflation.
Indeed, Waller said, if the inflation decline continues for several more months, rate cuts could be in order to keep policy from becoming overly tight.
That said, neither Waller nor Mester say they feel the verdict on inflation is fully in. Both say they'll be watching the data closely and that rates may yet need to rise.
And some of their colleagues are more sceptical.
“I’m still in the ‘looking to be convinced’ category, rather than the ‘convinced’ category,” Richmond Fed president Thomas Barkin said on Wednesday, on whether inflation is on a firmly downward
path, adding that he wants to retain the option of doing more on rates if inflation flares back up.
Strong economic growth will continue to encourage businesses to try to raise prices, Barkin said at a CNBC CFO Council event. Polled after his talk, a majority of the audience said that's exactly
what they planned to do next year; none said they planned to cut prices.
Policymakers will get a fresh read on inflation on Thursday, with the publication of the October personal consumption expenditures price index.
Economists polled by Reuters estimate it rose 3% from a year earlier, down from 3.4% reported in September. Inflation peaked at 7.1% in June 2022.
Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic, who has for months said the Fed policy rate at 5.25%-5.50% is high enough, said Wednesday he feels data backing that view is getting clearer.
“There’s no question the rate of inflation has slowed materially over the past year-plus, and thus far we have avoided a disruptive surge in unemployment that often accompanies a steep slowdown in
price increases,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t think we’ve seen the full effects of restrictive policy, another reason I think we’ll see further cooling of economic activity and
Meanwhile, US economic activity has slowed in recent weeks and the labour market has continued to cool, the Fed announced on Wednesday as it continues its fight against stubborn inflation.
The Fed announced earlier this month that it was holding its key lending rate at a 22-year high as it looks to return inflation firmly to the long-term target of 2% without triggering a damaging
Cutting inflation while avoiding a downturn, commonly known as a “soft landing”, is challenging, but the latest update from the US central bank suggests it could be on track.
“On balance, economic activity slowed since the previous report,” the Fed announced in its regular survey of US economic conditions, known as the “Beige Book”.
Four of the Fed’s 12 regional districts reported “modest” growth between early October and mid-November, while two reported flat conditions.
The remaining six noted “slight declines in activity”, the Fed said.
At the same time, “demand for labour continued to ease”, the Fed announced, adding that most districts reported “flat to modest increases in overall employment”.
Retention appears to have improved in many districts, and some reported reductions in headcounts through layoffs or attrition.
Some employers even “felt comfortable letting go low performers”, the Fed announced.
While this would normally be concerning for the US central bank – which has a dual mandate to tackle both inflation and unemployment – it comes at a time when the US unemployment rate remains
close to historic lows.
Policymakers at the Fed have indicated they expect that some softening in the labour market will be required in order to get US inflation to come down firmly to its 2% target. – Reuters, AFP
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Oil gains near 2% on expectations of deeper Opec+ cuts (Wed, 29 Nov 2023)
NEW YORK: Oil prices rose more than US$1 a barrel on Wednesday (Nov 29) as investors focused their attention on expectations of fresh supply cuts from Opec+ and looked past a jump in US
crude, petrol and distillate stockpiles.
Brent crude futures advanced by US$1.42, or 1.7%, to settle at US$83.10 (RM387.03) a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained US$1.45, or 1.9%, to settle at US$77.86
(RM362.63) a barrel.
Oil markets have found support from hopes of some form of a price-supportive resolution from the Opec+ group, Kpler analyst Matt Smith said.
Members of Opec+, which includes the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies such as Russia, are due to hold a policy meeting on Thursday. Talks ahead of the meeting were
focusing on additional cuts, although details were yet to be agreed, sources close to the group told Reuters.
Another media report earlier said that the cut could be of as much as one million barrels a day.
“All eyes are on the Nov 30 Opec meeting, and the fine details will matter,” CFRA analyst Stewart Glickman said.
The Energy Information Administration reported a surprise build in US crude oil and distillate fuel stocks last week, indicating weak demand. Petrol stocks also rose by more than expected, the
However, the impact of those builds was neutralised by large draws in other refined products, like residual fuel oil, UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.
A severe storm in the Black Sea region has disrupted up to two million bpd of oil exports from Kazakhstan and Russia, according to state officials and port agent data, raising the prospect of
short-term supply tightness.
Kazakhstan’s largest oilfields are cutting combined daily oil output by 56% from Nov 27, the Kazakh energy ministry said. – Reuters
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Dow gains, S&P 500 ends lower on mixed Fed messages (Wed, 29 Nov 2023)
NEW YORK: US stocks edged lower on Wednesday (Nov 29) as a robust upward gross domestic product (GDP) revision eased recession fears, while Federal Reserve (Fed) officials’ remarks raised
questions about the duration of the central bank’s restrictive policy.
The Nasdaq joined the S&P 500 in negative territory, while the Dow ended nominally higher, as investors took a wait-and-see position ahead of Thursday’s crucial personal consumption
expenditure (PCE) inflation report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.44 points, or 0.04%, to 35,430.42, the S&P 500 lost 4.31 points, or 0.09%, at 4,550.58 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 23.27 points, or 0.16%, to
Despite the indices’ languid movement over the last three sessions, November has been a banner month. The S&P 500 remains on track to notch its biggest monthly percentage gain since July
“The market has had huge returns, so there’s certainly profit taking and repositioning; there’s some consolidation going on here,” said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist Ingalls &
Snyder in New York. “We’ve had very strong earnings and there’s a lot of optimism. And because of that, there’s a repositioning of gains.”
In contrast to Barkin, Fed governor Christopher Waller, widely considered a hawk, provided reassurance on Tuesday that the Fed has probably reached the end of its rate hike cycle. He hinted at the
possibility of cutting rates in the near term to engineer a “soft landing” and avoid recession.
“The Fed’s on hold now, but the mantra is still higher for longer,” Ghriskey added. “The economy continues to be relatively strong. There’s no reason for the Fed to lower rates and risk a
re-emergence of inflation.”
Indeed, on Wednesday Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester reiterated the central bank’s need to remain “nimble” in its response to economic data.
Earlier in the session the Commerce Department upwardly revised its initial estimate on third-quarter gross domestic product, which underscored US economic resilience but also appeared to give the
Fed little reason to start cutting rates in the near future, as long as inflation remains well above its 2% target.
The Fed's Beige Book, which provides a region-by-region snapshot of the US economy, was released mid-afternoon, showing economic activity has slowed modestly under the central bank's restrictive
Shares of Humana Inc and Cigna Group were down 5.5% and 8.1%, respectively, after a source familiar with the matter said the health insurers are in talks to merge.
General Motors jumped 9.4% after the automaker announced a US$10 billion (RM46.5 billion) share buyback and a 33% dividend boost. Ford Motor Co shares advanced 2.1%. – Reuters
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Local e-commerce income grows to RM289.5b in Q3 (Wed, 29 Nov 2023)
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia’s e-commerce income recorded RM289.5 billion, grew 5.4% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2023, said Chief Statistician
Malaysia Datuk Sri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin yesterday upon releasing the Malaysia Digital Economy 2023.
The report presents statistics on e-commerce, Information and Com-munication Technology’s (ICT) contribution to the economy, access and usage of ICT, and the performance of the ICT services
For a quarter-on-quarter comparison, he added e-commerce income maintained a positive trend with a 3.2% increase
On Oct 13, 2023 Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) released the Information and Communication Technology Satellite Account (ICTSA) 2022. ICT and e-commerce generated value added of RM412.3
billion in 2022 (2021: RM359.3 billion) with a growth of 14.8% (2021: 12.2%).
The contribution of ICT and e-commerce to the national economy reached 23% as compared to 23.2% in 2021.
The performance was contributed by Gross Value Added of the ICT industry (GVAICT) 13.6%, while e-commerce of other industries 9.4%.
In the breakdown of e-commerce income by market segment for the year 2021, revenue generated from the domestic market significantly surpassed the international market at RM932.7 billion and
constituting 89.9% share.
In contrast, contributions to the international market amounted to RM104.5 billion, accounting for 10.1% share.
Meanwhile, e-commerce income by customer type via Business to Business (B2B) registered the highest income of RM713.1 billion with a 68.8% contribution followed by Business to Consumer (B2C) with
RM308.9 billion (29.8%) and Business to Government (B2G) RM15.2 billion (1.5%).
Mohd Uzir added, “ICT services, comprising activities of publishing; motion picture, video and television programme production, sound recording and music publishing; programming and broadcasting;
telecommunications services; computer programming, consultancy & related activities and information services recorded a gross output of RM182.2 billion in 2021, registered a growth of 5.4% as
compared to 2020.
In line with the increase in gross output, the value of intermediate input rose RM4.6 billion to record RM87.4 billion. This subsequently contributed to a value added of RM94.8 billion for year
Furthermore, 93.8% of establishments used computers, while 90.6% accessed internet in 2021. Putrajaya maintained the highest rates of computer and internet usage in establishments, both
consistently at 100%.
Moving to 2022, the percentage of individuals using computers was 80.2%, and the internet access was recorded at 97.4%. Putrajaya displayed the highest individual computer usage and internet
access, both registering at 97% and 99.9%.
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Berjaya Corp registers higher revenue of RM2.57b for first quarter (Wed, 29 Nov 2023)
PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Corporation Bhd (BCorp) registered a higher revenue of RM2.57 billion in the quarter ended Sept 30, 2023 (Q1’24) contributed by
all business segments compared with revenue of RM2.24 billion in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.
The group recorded a lower pre-tax profit of RM101.99 million in the quarter under review compared with a pre-tax profit of RM107.59 million in the previous year’s corresponding quarter, BCorp
said in a statement yesterday.
The group’s results in the quarter under review were contributed by the following:
• Retail (non-food) segment recorded a higher revenue from HR Owen Plc due to improved new car sales contribution from its new multipurpose showroom, service centres and headquarters at Hatfield,
as well as the favourable foreign exchange effect during the quarter under review.
A lower pre-tax profit reported by HR Owen was mainly due to higher operating expenses incurred coupled with higher finance costs arising from interest rate hike and higher stocking loans as
compared to the previous year corresponding quarter.
• Property segment reported an increase in revenue and reported a pre-tax profit in the current quarter under review mainly due to sales of overseas and local residences units.
• Hospitality segment posted a higher revenue and higher pre-tax profit due to the higher overall average room rates as compared to the previous year corresponding quarter.
• Services segment reported an increase in revenue from gaming operations operated by STM Lottery Sdn Bhd despite having fewer draws conducted in the current quarter (42 draws versus 46 draws in
the previous year corresponding quarter). The higher revenue achieved was driven by the improvement in average sales per draw as well as higher accumulated jackpot prizes in both digit jackpot and
lotto games. This segment also reported a drop in pre-tax profit due to the higher prize payout from STM Lottery in the current quarter under review.
• Retail (food) segment had a marginal drop in revenue due to lower sales recorded by the Kenny Rogers Roasters operations in Malaysia in the current quarter. This segment also reported a lower
pre-tax profit in the current quarter mainly due to the margin compression from inflationary cost pressure.
Overall, the group’s pre-tax profit was impacted by the higher finance costs.
The board declared a first interim share dividend of six treasury shares for every 100 ordinary shares held equivalent to 1.44 sen dividend per share amounting to RM81.53 million in respect of
financial year ending June 30, 2024 to be credited on Jan 26, 2024. The entitlement date has been fixed on Jan 11, 2024.
As for prospects, BCorp said Malaysia’s economic growth is expected to be driven by moderate domestic demand and the moderation of average inflation rate despite the uncertainties arising from
The Number Forecast Operation (NFO) business segment of the group is cognisant of the concerns on the local political developments in the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia, with closures of
outlets in the state of Kedah and Perlis which could lead to proliferation of illegal NFO activities in the underserved areas. The management is continuing to take the necessary steps to address this
The performance of the business segments of the group is expected to improve on the back of moderate consumer spending, rebound of tourism activities and better-than-expected labour market
conditions. The group will monitor the prevailing global and local political development in the countries where the group has business operations.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the directors are cautiously optimistic that the performance of the business operations of the group for the remaining quarters of the financial year ending
June 30, 2024 will be satisfactory.
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Public Bank posts higher Q3 net profit of RM1.7 billion (Wed, 29 Nov 2023)
KUALA LUMPUR: Public Bank Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2023 (Q3’23) rose 6.9% to RM1.70 billion from RM1.59 billion in the
same period last year due to the effect of the Prosperity Tax in 2022.
Revenue surged to RM6.48 billion from RM5.50 billion previously.
For the quarter under review, Public Bank said its net interest income and Islamic banking income decreased RM139.8 million (4.9%) due to the effect of the Overnight Policy Rate increases in the
previous year’s corresponding quarter.
“Other operating expenses increased RM43.2 million (4.0%), whereas non-interest and financing income decreased marginally by RM3.8 million (0.6%).
“These were partially mitigated by the decrease in loan impairment allowance by RM62.0 million (64.6%), as adequate pre-emptive allowance has been made previously,“ it said in a filing with Bursa
For the nine-month period ended Sept 30, 2023, Public Bank saw its net profit expand to RM5.03 billion from RM4.41 billion previously, while revenue jumped to RM18.87 billion from RM15.36 billion
in the corresponding period last year.
In a separate statement, Public Bank said its net interest income increased 0.7% and non-interest income grew 3.4% in the first nine months of 2023 compared with the corresponding period in 2022,
with impaired loans ratio remaining stable at 0.58%.
The group’s total loans increased at an annualised growth rate of 5.9% to RM393.6 billion while domestic loan portfolio recorded a strong annualised growth rate of 5.7% compared with the banking
industry’s growth rate of 4.1% during the same period.
Total customer deposits grew at an annualised growth rate of 4.7% to RM408.6 billion, it added.
The bank said, as of end-September 2023, it sustained a healthy capital level with common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, Tier 1 capital ratio and total capital ratio standing at 14.5%, 14.5% and
17.4%, respectively, with liquidity coverage ratio staying above the regulatory requirement, at a healthy level of 131.4%.
Public Bank said its overseas operations contributed 7.5% to the group’s profit in the first nine months ended September 2023, mainly from its Hong Kong and Indochina operations. – Bernama
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Catcha Digital to acquire 51% stake in Digital Symphony (Wed, 29 Nov 2023)
PETALING JAYA: Catcha Digital Bhd has entered into a letter of intent to acquire a 51% equity interest in Malaysia’s award-winning digital agency DS
Services Sdn Bhd – commonly known as Digital Symphony among industry players – for RM21.165 million.
The acquisition is expected to materially increase Catcha Digital’s earnings per share (EPS).
The consideration payment will be split into two tranches over two years, payable upon Digital Symphony achieving a profit guarantee of audited profit after tax of RM4 million for the first year
post acquisition and RM4.3 million for the second year post acquisition.
Payment for the purchase consideration of Digital Symphony is expected to be funded via a combination of internally generated funds, debt financing and equity financing.
Digital Symphony, data-driven digital agency, operates across Malaysia and Singapore. Leveraging its proprietary software and analytics tool, Digital Symphony provides differentiated performance
marketing solutions to its clients.
The company serves a broad range of enterprise clients with a focus on the property development sector, including prominent companies such as Gamuda Land, Mah Sing, Sunway Property, Tropicana
Corporation and Sime Darby Property.
Digital Symphony was founded by Kuhan Kumar Palaniappan in 2014. Prior to founding Digital Symphony, Kuhan was founder and CEO of Techworks Solutions Sdn Bhd, an IT and software service provider
with clients like Maybank, Sepang International Circuit and Baker Hughes Malaysia.
“We are excited to become part of Catcha Digital as this will enable us to unlock new growth opportunities. At the same time, we look forward to bringing our proprietary software and analytics
tools along with our capabilities in performance marketing to Catcha Digital’s existing clients,” said Kuhan.
Meanwhile, Catcha Digital chairman Patrick Grove said Digital Symphony will form a key part of Catcha Digital’s strategy going forward.
“I am confident with Kuhan and his team and I believe we can grow hand in hand. We look forward to working with the Digital Symphony team to bring the business to greater heights,” he added.
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Mah Sing on track to achieve RM2.2b minimum sales target for 2023 (Wed, 29 Nov 2023)
PETALING JAYA: Mah Sing Group Bhd is confident of achieving its 2023 target of at least RM2.2 billion property sales as it has registered RM1.8
billion for the nine-month period ended Sept 30, 2023 (9M23), an increase of 14.4% compared with RM1.57 billion in the same period last year.
In Q3’23, the group achieved robust revenue and profit before tax (PBT) of RM644.3 million and RM76.1 million, respectively. For 9M’23, it recorded revenue and PBT of RM1.93 billion and RM226.8
million, respectively, marking a 17.3% and 15.6% improvement, compared with RM1.65 billion and RM196.2 million a year ago, Mah Sing said today.
As at Sept 30, 2023, the property development segment recorded an operating profit of RM259.7 million on the back of revenue of RM1.56 billion, which were 4.9% and 20.5% respectively higher than
the operating profit and revenue recorded a year ago. The higher revenue and operating profit were mainly driven by higher property sales and progressive revenue recognition from ongoing construction
progress. The manufacturing segment’s revenue grew slightly by 0.6% to RM328.1 million in the current period ended Sept 30, 2023 compared with RM326.1 million in the preceding year’s corresponding
Mah Sing founder and group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum said, “With our strong product leadership position in affordable homes and ongoing active launches of our products, we are
confident of meeting our full-year sales target of minimum RM2.2 billion. Our highly differentiated product offering, M Series developments meets the market’s demand as shown by the impressive
results of high take-up rates evident in our Q3’23 performance. Our unbilled sales have grown to RM2.42 billion, providing future revenue visibility for the group.”
The group will continue to pursue more acquisitions to develop affordable residential homes as well as to expand its industrial development portfolio. Further to the four new land acquisitions
earlier in the year, the group entered into a joint venture collaboration in Sept 2023 to offer one-stop service solution for foreign businesses looking to set up manufacturing bases in Malaysia. The
joint venture is expected to open up more opportunities for the group to fuel its industrial development portfolio growth.
During the quarter, Mah Sing rewarded and paid RM72.8 million to shareholders in the form of dividends, representing the 17th year of uninterrupted dividend payout record at minimum 40% of annual
Including all new lands acquired to date, the group has a remaining landbank of 2,282 acres with a remaining GDV of RM26.3 billion.
Armed with a healthy cash and bank balance together with low 0.13 times net gearing ratio, the group is seeking to acquire more land, especially in Klang Valley, Johor and Penang.
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Takaful Malaysia makes strategic leap into digital insurance with Kaotim (Thu, 30 Nov 2023)
KUALA LUMPUR: Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Bhd (Takaful Malaysia) is making a strategic leap into digital insurance with Kaotim, its new digital takaful and insurance platform and
Takaful Malaysia group CEO Nor Azman Zainal said Kaotim aims to strengthen its retail direct business and reach a wider market through digital means.
“As the pioneering takaful developer with nearly 40 years of experience, we need to ensure that we stay relevant in the market. The purpose of the digital platform is to reach out to the market
faster and more efficiently. The market is all about digital these days, and we know that’s the future as well. So, whether we like it or not, we must address that,“ he told reporters at the launch
He said the digital platform aims to revolutionise customer experience by addressing gaps in service delivery and capacity within the insurance and takaful industry.
“When we analyse all insurance and takaful in Malaysia specifically, we do notice there are some gaps in the market. The two major gaps ... one is service delivery. When we talk about service
delivery, we mean a faster solution, simplified, you want a simpler version of takaful or insurance and want to give a better customer experience.
“The second gap is capacity. How do you fill the gap in the industry because things are getting more expensive these days so we need to provide a solution which is cheaper, affordable and
accessible by everyone,” he said.
Kaotim aims to provide a secure and enhanced customer experience and streamlined administrative processes that enable customers to enjoy a hassle-free and speedy subscription process.
“With the launch of Kaotim, we introduce Medikad, a cost-effective medical coverage plan with greater savings from as low as RM38 per month to meet the medical protection needs of different age
groups,“ said Nor Azman.
Medikad provides cashless admission to panel hospitals in Malaysia, unlimited hospital admission days on room and board, and daily income for admission to Government hospitals. Offered to
Malaysians between the ages of six and 69 with a coverage period of up to 85 years old, customers can choose from three plans with an optional rider, MediBooster, according to their coverage needs
and are immediately covered after completing a four-step online enrollment and a simple medical questionnaire, without having to undergo a medical check-up.
“Customers can sign up for MediKad online via Kaotim, anytime, anywhere, and complete the transaction in a few minutes with just a few clicks and get covered within the day. We leverage the lower
transaction cost of the digital platform to deliver a better pricing and accessible takaful plan to the market.
“This is part of our digital plan to attract new customer segments directly and better serve Malaysia’s growing population while enhancing the financial resilience of customers whose medical
coverage is inadequate or high-priced. This is also part of our initiative to help cushion the high medical costs faced by Malaysians by offering an affordable medical coverage plan,“ said Nor
He added, “Accessibility and agility are everything in today’s era. Hence, we want to provide customers with a seamless, efficient, and convenient experience through Kaotim and bring them closer
to us anywhere they are.”
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Spain’s Ferrovial to sell its 25% stake in London’s Heathrow for £2.37b (Wed, 29 Nov 2023)
MADRID: Infrastructure giant Ferrovial has reached an agreement with two different buyers to sell its entire 25% stake in Britain's busiest airport, Heathrow, for £2.37 billion (RM13.97
billion) the company said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 28).
Ferrovial said the buyers for the stake in FGP Topco – the parent company of Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd – were private equity fund Ardian and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). Ardian
would acquire a 15% stake and PIF a 10% stake.
The transaction is subject to regulatory conditions and must comply with the right of first offer and full tag-along rights, which may be exercised by the other FGP Topco shareholders, Ferrovial
Ferrovial expects to complete the sale by mid-2024, according to a person familiar with the operation.
The Spanish group bought an indirect stake of 55.87% in Heathrow Airport Holdings in 2006. It sold 10.6% to Qatar Holding in 2012 and eventually reduced its stake to 25% in 2013.
In August 2022, three people familiar with the talks told Reuters about interest in Ferrovial's stake from Ardian, which discussed a possible joint proposal with PIF with its own advisers.
Earlier this month, Ferrovial said that operations at Heathrow remained positive, receiving 59.4 million passengers in the first nine months of this year, up 34.4% from 2022. Passenger traffic in
September exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time.
But the company also warned that British aviation regulator CAA’s decision telling Ferrovial to cut the fees it charges airlines for the period between 2024 and 2026 would hit investments.
The group said it remained fully committed to continuing to invest in the airport business. Ferrovial also has a 50% stake in three other British hubs: Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton.
The company, which seeks to be listed in the United States stock market early next year, has a 49% stake in the new Terminal One at New York City's JFK airport. – Reuters
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