Lion Industries stays in the red in Q3,. net loss narrows to RM57m (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: Lion Industries Corporation Bhd remained in the red in the third quarter ended March 31, 2020 (Q3 2020) but its net loss narrowed to RM57.87 million from RM72.17 million in
the same period last year.
Revenue declined to RM555.19 million versus RM693.36 million previously due to the lower sales volume of steel products, it said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today.
“However, the group recorded a lower loss from operations of RM27.4 million due to higher sales prices and improved margins,” it said.
For the nine-month period (9M FY20), the company’s net loss widened to RM267.32 million from RM96.57 million in the same period last year, while revenue declined to RM1.85 billion from RM2.42
billion previously, mainly due to lower revenue registered by its steel division due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) that began on March 18, 2020.
Lion Industries said its businesses, being non-essential businesses, were temporarily closed during the MCO period, resulting in a higher operating loss of RM175.17 million for the period from
RM38.68 million a year ago.
It added that the company’s net assets per share as at March 31, 2020 stood at RM2.06, a decrease of 40 sen from that of the last financial year.
On prospects, Lion Industries said its businesses were not spared from the crisis sparked by the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, causing global economic activities to grind to a halt with global
supply chains and international trade disrupted.
“While the challenges ahead are highly uncertain, the company has implemented strict cost control measures to contain operating costs,” it said.
It added that the group would stay vigilant and responsive to market changes and to improve its operating performance for the next quarter. -Bernama
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Parkson’s unit signs tenancy agreement with Wuzhou City (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: Parkson Holdings Bhd’s (Parkson) indirectly-owned unit, Nanning Brilliant Parkson Commercial Co Ltd has signed a 20-year tenancy agreement with Wuzhou Sankee Investment Co Ltd
for approximately RM51.91 million.
Nanning Brilliant Parkson Commercial is a 54.97 per cent-owned subsidiary of Parkson Retail Group Ltd, which is Parkson’s Hong Kong Exchange-listed subsidiary.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, Parkson said the tenancy agreement is in respect of the tenancy of the first to fourth floor of Sunshine 100 Sankee City, Wuzhou City, China.
“The principal activities of the group are the operation and management of a network of department stores in China.
“The tenancy of the property plays an important role in the development of the group’s business in Wuzhou City and is in line with the group’s development strategy in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous
Region,” it said.
The board believes that the tenancy will have a positive impact on the future development of the company. -Bernama
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MISC appoints former minister Noh Omar as chairman (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: Former minister Tan Sri Noh Omar has been appointed as the new chairman of Petronas’ subsidiary MISC Bhd, succeeding Datuk Ab. Halim Mohyiddin.
The appointment, effective today, was announced by the shipping company in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.
The Tanjung Karang Member of Parliament, 62, served as Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Minister from 2008 to 2009.
Noh was subsequently the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister from 2009 to 2013.
From 2014 to 2016, he served as the Selangor Federal Action Council chairman before returning to the Federal Cabinet as Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister from 2016 to
Meanwhile, Ab. Halim, 74, remains on the company’s board as an independent director.
MISC, which is 57.56 per cent owned by Petronas, provides energy-related maritime solutions and services. -Bernama
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Ringgt ends stronger as dollar remains under pressure (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit ended higher today as the dollar lost its lustre in the global market amid the Covid-19 economic recovery optimism.
At close, the ringgit stood at 4.3150/3200 against the greenback compared with Friday’s 4.3450/3500.
AxiCorp global chief market strategist Stephen Innes said the dollar was sold on general global reopening optimism.
In addition, local risk sentiment has been improving due to a relief rally as US President Donald Trump’s reaction to a Hong Kong law fell well short of markets fears, as some had even expected
tariffs to escalate.
“This strengthens the yuan and benefits regional currencies, and the dollar is being sold on general global reopening optimism,” he told Bernama.
On Friday, Trump said he would eliminate special trade privileges for Hong Kong in reaction to China’s decision to impose a national security law on the financial hub, but did not announce any
specific measures against Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Innes said oil prices were stabilising at the recent high level as it is expected that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)+ production agreement will be
extended for three months.
OPEC was reportedly considering convening a meeting as soon as this week to discuss whether to extend record production cuts beyond end-June.
He said besides central bank meetings such as the European Central Bank, Reserve Bank of Australia Bank of Canada, the US employment report for May is a potential flash points for investors this
Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded mostly higher against a basket of benchmark currencies, except against the British pound, where it declined to 5.3454/3533 from 5.3435/3514.
The local note rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.0620/0660 from 3.0768/0810, gained against the Japanese yen to 4.0099/0156 from 4.0528/0586 and was higher against the euro at 4.7953/8021
from 4.8369/8433 last Friday. - Bernama
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Bursa Malaysia riding the bull to close higher (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia rode the regional trend wave to close higher today supported by index-linked counters and commendable performance by rubber-based producers, dealers said.
The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) rose 16.89 points to end the day at 1,490.14 from 1,473.25 at last Friday’s close.
The index, which opened 1.61 points stronger at 1,474.86 this morning, hovered between 1,473.55 and 1,492.55 throughout the day.
The overall market breadth was however negative with decliners marginally outpacing gainers 574 to 511, while 343 counters were unchanged, 440 untraded and 23 others suspended.
Total volume rose to a staggering 10.3 billion shares worth RM6.73 billion from 9.04 billion shares worth RM9.31 billion last Friday.
AmInvestment Bank representative, Joshua Ng said the FBM KLCI has seen a recent massive re-rating of the already high protective equipment glove sector (now with a 9.0 per cent weighting in the
“This was due to the strong demand for personal protective equipment amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and it will probably go beyond the pandemic as a result of stronger hygiene awareness and
practices of the entire world population,” he said in a note today.
AmInvestment Bank said the ferocity of the domestic liquidity has been driven by the risk-on sentiment globally triggered by the massive monetary and fiscal stimulus packages put in place by
central banks and governments around the globe.
In the case of the US Fed, the monetary stimulus promised is an ‘unlimited’ one.
Other factors include optimism on the reopening of the economy and Covid-19 vaccine development; as well as the reality that risk-free assets such as cash and the Malaysian Government Securities
(MGS) are hardly generating any positive inflation-adjusted yield following a series of cuts in the overnight policy rate (OPR) by Bank Negara Malaysia to a level last seen during the global
financial crisis in 2008/2009.
Regionally, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.21% to 22,142.6, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng expanded 3.06% to 23,664.71 and Singapore’s Straits Times improved 2.04% to 2,561.89.
Among the heavyweights, Tenaga improved 64 sen to RM11.90, IHH Healthcare rose 13 sen to RM5.56 and Hartalega garnered 64 sen to RM13.18.
Meanwhile, Maybank eased two sen to RM7.48 and, Public Bank declined eight sen to RM14.58.
Of the actives, K-One bagged 12.5 sen to 44.5 sen, BCM Alliance rose 13 sen to 35.5 sen, LKL International garnered 29.5 sen to 85 sen, KNM Group added 3.5 sen and Nexgram improved one sen to 2.5
On the index board, the FBM Emas Index was 83 points firmer at 10,463.85, the FBMT 100 Index rose 85.5 points to 10,398.71, the FBM Emas Shariah Index advanced 199.42 points to 12,224.64, the FBM
ACE soared 311.51 points to 5,931.32 while the FBM 70 eased 23.49 points to 13,171.71.
Sector-wise, the Plantation Index added 36.96 points to 6,822.13 while the Financial Services Index decreased 59.45 points to 12,423.29 and the Industrial Products and Services Index declined 0.34
of-a-point to 129.72.
Main Market volume trimmed to 4.88 billion shares worth RM4.71 billion from 5.64 billion shares worth RM8.20 billion last Friday.
Warrants turnover improved to 592.96 million units worth RM206.25 million from 563.18 million units worth RM175.79 million last Friday.
Volume on the ACE Market exponentially widened to 4.82 billion shares worth RM1.81 million from 2.83 billion shares worth RM930.71 million previously.
Consumer products and services accounted for 796.59 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (791.95 million), construction (368.5 million), technology (448.28
million), SPAC (nil), financial services (76.61 million), property (320.82 million), plantations (142.28 million), REITs (7.89 million), closed/fund (25,800), energy (1.34 billion), healthcare
(132.09 million), telecommunications and media (210.23 million), transportation and logistics (186.98 million), and utilities (60.22 million). - Bernama
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Eversendai’s orderbook hits all time high of RM2.9b with 2 awards from Europe (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Eversendai Corp Bhd’s outstanding construction order book hit an all time high of RM2.88 billion with the award of two European offshore wind renewable energy projects, via
its wholly-owned subsidiary, Eversendai Offshore.
It revealed the first project entails the fabrication and construction of an offshore wind substation platform, jacket and piles in the United Kingdom.
The other project is for the fabrication and construction of jacket & piles for the Hollandse Kust Zuid (HKZ) Beta offshore wind substation platform for TenneT in the Netherlands.
Eversendai Offshore’s CEO Narish Nathan commented that the awards mark the group’s continued expansion in the offshore wind renewable energy sector; a market that it recognises as vital for the
world’s future clean energy needs.
““This diversification into the offshore wind renewable energy sector continues to promote our diversification efforts of growing our business into industries that leverages on our fabrication
facilities and core expertise in engineering, fabrication and construction”, he said in a press release.
Both contracts were awarded by Petrofac Ltd with a total contract value of RM186 million and will be executed in its waterfront fabrication yard in RAK Maritime City, United Arab Emirates.
It elaborated that the scope of the contract in the UK includes engineering, fabrication, construction, sea- fastening and loadout of the offshore substation platform topside, jacket and piles as
well as pre-commissioning of the substation platform topside.
Eversendai said the substation will have the highest capacity in the world, and is expected to generate clean energy that will be enough to power approximately one million homes in that
On the other hand, its work scope for the HKZ Beta project includes engineering, fabrication, construction, sea-fastening and loadout of the jacket & piles.
The group expects the offshore wind renewable energy projects to be a substantial contributor to its revenue and profits moving forward and these newly secured projects will further add value to
the Eversendai’s track record for future projects which are currently being bid.
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UMW’s Badrul Feisal passes away (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
PETALING JAYA: UMW Holdings Bhd has announced the sudden passing of its president & group CEO Badrul Feisal Abdul Rahim on May 31, leaving the postiion vacant.
Badrul Feisal, 50, served as the president & group CEO of UMW Group since his appointment on Oct 1, 2015.
He joined UMW Group as senior general manager at the president & group CEO’s office in December 2010 and was appointed as the acting executive director for the UMW oil & gas division from
April 2011 to December 2011.
He was also the executive director of group corporate development division before being appointed group COO of UMW in January 2013.
“Badrul Feisal was instrumental in the success of key value creation projects at various business divisions, particularly making UMW as the first Malaysian company to be a tier-1 aerospace engine
component manufacturer to Rolls-Royce plc. Badrul Feisal consistently demonstrated the highest values in business, governance and integrity and had made an indelible mark on his great service,
personal relationship and outstanding stewardship as the president and group CEO.
“The board acknowledges Badrul Feisal’s enormous contributions over his 10 years with the UMW Group. The board, management and staff of UMW Holdings Bhd are greatly saddened by the loss and our
thoughts and prayers are with the family of Badrul Feisal at this most difficult time,” it said.
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Proton appoints Roslan Abdullah as vice president, sales & marketing (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd has appointed Roslan Abdullah as vice president, sales and marketing as well as CEO of Proton Edar Sdn Bhd effective today.
Proton Edar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Proton involved in the distribution of Proton cars and providing sales and after sales services to customers.
In a statement, Proton said Roslan has close to three decades in the automotive sector.
“His stint in the industry covered finance, operations and sales roles. Prior to his move to PROTON, the Finance & Accountancy degree holder from the University of Brighton, United Kingdom,
oversaw the operations of DRB-HICOM Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd (DEFTECH).”
His appointment will further strengthen Proton’s team to achieve its long-term goal and objectives.
“We are happy to welcome Roslan Abdullah to the Proton family and we look forward to his positive contributions to Proton’s performance during this challenging period,” said Dr Li Chunrong, Chief
Executive Officer, PROTON.
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Manufacturing downturn eases sharply during May (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s manufacturing sector showed signs of approaching stabilisation midway through the second quarter, with rates of reduction in output, new orders and employment all
Nevertheless, in each case, survey data showed further marked declines as the global Covid-19 pandemic and the associated measures taken to stem its spread led to severe supply chain disruption
and extended factory shutdowns.
The headline IHS Markit Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose sharply to 45.6 in May, from April’s survey-record low of 31.3. Despite such a large month-on-month rise in the
headline figure, it remained below the neutral 50.0 mark and was therefore indicative of a further deterioration in manufacturing sector conditions. That said, the latest decline was considerably
weaker than at the start of the second quarter.
Latest survey data pointed to a further reduction in manufacturing output across Malaysia, although the rate of contraction eased substantially since April. The downturn lost strength amid reports
that some firms had restarted production following a partial lifting of lockdown rules. Nevertheless, there remained widespread mentions of extended factory shutdowns and further production cutbacks
in response to the pandemic.
New orders placed with Malaysian goods producers continued to fall during May, which panel members attributed to the ongoing measures both domestically and overseas to stem the spread of the
coronavirus. The deterioration in demand was solid, although significantly weaker than seen in April. Of the minority of companies that recorded sales growth, clients reopening their businesses had
led to new work intakes.
Weak export demand persisted in May, weighing heavily on overall order books. Where a decline in overseas sales was reported, this was linked to unfavourable economic conditions at key trade
Supply-side hindrances remained unprecedented in May and continued to disrupt Malaysia’s manufacturing sector. Input delivery times lengthened markedly and to an extent which was similar to
April’s record. Labour shortages at vendors, transportation restrictions and the extension of the movement control order were all reported to have contributed to the sharp lengthening in supplier
Purchasing activity declined sharply in May as a result of delayed shipments and lower production requirements. This led to a further marked drawdown of pre-production inventories. In both cases,
however, the rates of reduction were much softer than seen in April.
Meanwhile, manufacturing employment in Malaysia was held broadly stable during May, with 98% of firms signalling no change in their payrolls. This contrasted with April, where staffing numbers
fell at the fastest rate on record.
Looking ahead, there were signs of optimism as survey data pointed to a rise in business confidence. The Future Output Index rose to a three-month high, with stronger sentiment underpinned by
expectations of a recovery in demand. Firms hoped that this would drive production volumes higher in the coming months.
Commenting on the latest survey results, IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson said a strong rise in the PMI provides the first major indication that the economic downturn caused by
the pandemic appears to have bottomed out.
“While manufacturing activity continued to fall at a steep rate in May, declines in output and order books were notably less severe than seen in April. Barring any second wave of infections, the
coming months should see signs of at least stabilisation as restrictions to contain the virus are gradually eased both at home and in export markets.
“While we may see a return to growth as we head into the third quarter, it still looks like a recovery to pre-pandemic production and GDP levels will be long and slow. Export demand in particular
looks set to be weak for some time as Covid-19 restrictions will inevitably need to stay in place and continue to dampen economic activity around the world.”
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Berjaya Corp suspends share trading (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) has suspended the trading of its shares between 9am to 5pm from June 1 to June 2.
This is pending “an announcement of a material transaction”, according to the group’s Bursa disclosure.
BCorp shares closed at 19 sen last Friday.
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Nikkei rallies to 3-months high as U.S.-China worries ease for now (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
SYDNEY: Japanese stocks rose to a three-month high on Monday, as U.S. President Donald Trump's threats against China over new security laws for Hong Kong were less threatening than
The benchmark Nikkei average gained 1.2% to 22,135.75 by the midday break, a high last seen in late February.
The rally was led by short-covering as some investors had worried Trump could ditch his trade deal with China or call an immediate end to privileges to Hong Kong after the Chinese parliament
passed new security legislation for the semi-autonomous city last week.
Investors are now focused on the global economic recovery as more countries gradually move to re-open their economies -- the main driving force of the market's rally since late March.
Clouding the outlook, however, are jitters over protests and riots in many U.S. cities after an unarmed black man died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.
Highly cyclical securities brokerages and shippers were among best-performing sectors on the main bourse, up 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.
Chipmaking-related stocks also did well after the U.S. Philadelphia semiconductor index gained 2.7% on Friday on hopes of strong demand related to new technologies such as 5G wireless
Screen Holdings Co Ltd climbed 5.3%, while Tokyo Electron rose 4.1% and Advantest Corp jumped 6.4%.
Elsewhere, the index of Mothers start-up shares advanced as much as 2.0% to clear the 1,000 mark for the first time since early December 2018.
The broader Topix edged up 0.5% to 1,571.34 though decliners outnumbered gainers by a ratio of 54 to 46. - Reuters
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Foreign selling on Bursa slows to RM663.8m last weeek (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
PETALING JAYA: The intensity of foreign net selling activity on Bursa Malaysia softened last week during the holiday-shortened week as international investors sold RM663.8 million net of
local equities compared with RM714.7 million disposed in the week before.
“For the month of May 2020, foreign investors disposed RM3.0 billion net, the second highest monthly foreign net outflow so far this year after March. This brings the year-to-date foreign net
outflow from Malaysia to RM13.3 billion which is still the third smallest foreign net outflow among the seven Asian markets we monitor,“ MIDF Research said in its fund flow report today.
As Bursa reopened from a long weekend last week, international investors dumped RM362.5 million net of local equities on Wednesday. This was the highest foreign net outflow in a day since the
middle of March 2020. Nevertheless, retail and local institutional investors mopped up local equities at a tune of more than RM100 million net with strong interest in rubber glove counters, pushing
the local bourse 1.0% higher on the same day.
Offshore investors continued to sell on Thursday but at a slower pace of RM227.1 million net. Risk-on sentiment on that day was boosted by Wall Street’s overnight rally which saw the Dow Jones
soar 553 points on mounting optimism that global authorities were taking measures to enhance economies. For instance, the European Commission proposed an US$826 billion stimulus package to aid
recovery from the economic slowdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foreign net selling on Friday reduced to a level below RM100 million at RM74.2 million as positivity grew for economies in Asia will gradually reopen from pandemic lockdowns. The local stock
barometer followed suit to settle 1.0% higher at 1,473.3 points, the highest close in more than a month.
In terms of participation, only foreign investors saw a substantial weekly increase in their average daily traded value (ADTV) to reach RM3.5 million. This is the largest weekly ADTV since the
week ended June 1, 2018.
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Australia’s stalled migrant boom derails golden economic run (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
SYDNEY: Australia's three decades of uninterrupted prosperity are coming to an abrupt end as the global coronavirus pandemic crashes one of its most lucrative sources of income –
The country has been successful in managing the outbreak and reopening its A$2 trillion ($1.33 trillion) economy, thanks in part to an early closure of its borders.
But the policy has led to a halt in mass immigration - a key source of consumer demand, labour and growth - in an economy which is facing its first recession since the early 1990s.
Net immigration, including international students and those on skilled worker visas, is expected to fall 85% in the fiscal year to June 2021, curbing demand for everything from cars and property
to education and wedding rings.
Gurmeet Tuli, who owns a jewellery store in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta, said his business is already hurting in a neighbourhood which is home to tens of thousands of migrants.
"My main clientele is young people who come here to study, they find work here and settle down, fall in love and want to get married," Tuli said.
"I have not sold a single diamond ring in the past two months," he added, noting business is down about 40% so far this year.
So critical is migration to Australia that analysts reckon the economy would have slipped into a recession last year without new arrivals to boost population growth.
AMP Capital Chief Economist Shane Oliver estimates that population growth in recent years has boosted the economy by about one percentage point per year.
But as migration stalls, education, housing and tourism sectors are seen among the worst hit.
The drought in international student arrivals, who in recent years made up about 40% of the migrant intake, is expected to hit the A$37 billion education sector, Australia's second largest
services export after tourism.
A fall in new arrivals could also dampen the construction boom in Australia's all important housing sector, which has been fuelled by migrants in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
Even though immigration is a politically divisive topic in Australia, there is a broad recognition that the country needs its 200,000 to 300,000 annual intake to grow consumption demand and fill
skills shortages in various sectors.
While a large share of these migrants arrive on what are considered "temporary" visas, many later gain permanent residency and employment, adding to long-term population growth.
Australia's population would grow an average 1.6% annually over the decade to 2027, according to the latest official projections from 2018. Without immigration, it was forecast to grow only
"During a slowdown and when the unemployment rate is high there is popular pressure to slow down migration," said AMP Capital's Oliver. "But if we want the economy working back again, we need
migration to return."
Concerns over immigration range from sustainability and housing affordability to more populist complaints about social integration and foreigners taking local jobs.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week Australia needed 160,000 to 210,000 arrivals to sustain GDP per capita growth, and acknowledged the great uncertainty current restrictions cast over
"It's going to be one of the real impacts of this crisis because our borders aren't opening anytime soon," he said.
That has prompted urgent calls for solutions from some businesses and political leaders.
The premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, is lobbying her federal counterparts to allow international students in to rescue universities, which contribute A$13 billion to the economy of
the country's most populous state.
Australia's government is also working with New Zealand to establish a "Trans-Tasman bubble" that would re-open the movement of people between the two closely integrated economies.
New Zealand is a large source of labour for Australia, home to about 600,000 kiwi expatriates.
To be sure, Australia still enjoys its "lucky country" status, benefiting from resilient global demand for some commodities and having been able to re-open large parts of the economy sooner than
many other advanced economies..
But even though Australia's central bank expects the economy to expand 6% next year after a projected 6% contraction in 2020, analysts and businesses warn a sustained recovery is unlikely without
the full resumption of immigration.
Over the years, immigration has helped transform Australia's retail and urban landscape, reviving down-at-heel suburban high streets, spurring swanky commercial property development and creating
new consumer markets.
Gotcha Fresh Tea is one of a host of bubble tea franchises that has expanded rapidly in Australia, with demand fuelled in large part by international students but also by growing interest for the
Asian tapioca beverage from the wider community.
Orlando Sanpo, business development manager at EFC Group Australia, the chain's franchisor, said the student freeze has hit sales by up to 80% in some downtown stores and even closed an outlet at
a Sydney campus.
"We need people to come back to the country," Sanpo said. - Reuters
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Asia cautious as U.S. riots weigh on S&P futures (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
SYDNEY: Asian share markets started on a cautious note and gold gained on Monday as images of riots in burning U.S. cities unnerved investors already tense over Washington's power struggle
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 retreated 0.5% in early action, while gold rose 0.77% to $1,739 an ounce. Oil prices also slipped, while sovereign bonds picked up the usual safe-haven bid.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.2%, as did Japan's Nikkei.
"If American consumers were reluctant to come out of their Covid19 lockdown cocoon, fearing a secondary spreader with police cars ablaze, freeways blocked, and videos of mass looting shared
through social media like wildfire, they're not going to feel any safer,' said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp.
Major U.S. cities were cleaning up streets strewn with broken glass and burned out cars as curfews failed to stop confrontations between activists and law enforcement.
Protesters have flooded streets after weeks of lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic that threw millions out of work and hit minority communities especially hard.
The turmoil was a fresh setback for the economy which was only just emerging from a downturn akin to the Great Depression. Following poor data on spending and trade out on Friday, the Atlanta
Federal Reserve estimated economic output could drop a staggering 51% annualised in the second quarter.
The May jobs report due out on Friday is forecast to show the unemployment rate surged to 19.8%, smashing April's record 14.7%. Payrolls are expected to drop by 7.4 million, on top of the 20.5
million jobs lost the previous month.
"Current unemployment numbers go far beyond what has been experienced in any post-war recession," wrote Barclays economist Christian Keller in a note.
"To the extent that some sectors may never return to pre-pandemic business-as-usual, labour faces a substantial challenge to reallocate workers," he added. "Such a process could be a matter of
years rather than months or quarters and in the meantime it would weigh on consumer demand."
In Asia, an official business survey from China over the weekend showed its factory activity grew at a slower pace in May but momentum in the services and construction sectors quickened, pointing
to an uneven recovery.
Bond investors suspect economies will need massive amounts of central bank support long after they reopen and that is keeping yields super low even as governments borrow much more.
Yields on U.S. 10-year notes were trading at 0.66% having recovered from a blip up to 0.74% last month when the market absorbed a tidal wave of new issuance.
The decline in U.S. yields has been a burden for the dollar, but the world's reserve currency also tends to benefit from safe-haven status to limit the losses.
Early Monday, the dollar was a fraction softer on a basket of peers at 98.223 having touched an 11-week low of 97.944 on Friday. It was steady on the yen at 107.76.
Much of the dollar's recent decline has come against the euro which has been broadly boosted by plans for an EU stimulus package. The single currency was last at $1.1114 after climbing 1.8% last
Markets are awaiting a meeting of the European Central Bank on Thursday where it is widely expected to raise its asset buying by around 500 billion euros to 1.25 trillion.
In commodity markets, oil prices started soft on worries about U.S. demand, but found some support from reports Russia had no objection to the next meeting of OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+,
being brought forward to June 4 from the following week.
Brent crude futures were off 8 cents at $37.76 a barrel, while U.S. crude dipped 13 cents to $35.36. - Reuters
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Oil prices slip as wary traders eye upcoming OPEC+ meeting (Mon, 01 Jun 2020)
SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell nearly 1% on Monday as traders hedged bets with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) considering meeting as soon as this week to discuss
whether to extend record production cuts beyond end-June.
Brent crude fell 34 cents to $37.50 a barrel, in the first day of trading in the contract with August as the front month.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for July delivery were at $35.17 a barrel, down 32 cents, by 0123 GMT.
The price falls come after front-month Brent and WTI prices posted their strongest monthly gains in years in May. Gains were boosted by OPEC crude production dropping to its lowest in two decades
with demand is expected to recover as more nations emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.
"The focus is very much on OPEC+," OCBC economist Howie Lee said, referring to the grouping of OPEC and its allies including Russia. OPEC+ agreed in April to reduce output by an unprecedented 9.7
million barrels per day (bpd) in May and June after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged demand.
"We might see a cautious pullback in (crude) prices given that downstream prices haven't caught up ... but if OPEC+ does come up with a three-month extension, there's a possibility that prices may
hit the $40 level," Lee said.
Still, tensions between the United States and China weighed on global financial markets while traders are also keeping an eye on riots over the weekend that have engulfed major U.S. cities.
Saudi Arabia is proposing to extend record cuts from May and June until the end of the year, but has yet to win support from Russia, sources have told Reuters.
Algeria, which currently holds the OPEC presidency, has proposed an OPEC+ meeting planned for June 9-10 be brought forward to facilitate oil sales for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and
Kuwait. Russia has no objection to the meeting being brought forward to June 4.
Meanwhile supply in North America is also falling as data from Baker Hughes Co showed that the U.S. and Canada oil and gas rigs count dropped to a record low in the week to May 29. -
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Malaysia, Singapore defer high-speed rail project until year-end (Sun, 31 May 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and neighbouring Singapore said today they had agreed to suspend until Dec 31 a high-speed rail (HSR) project between
Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, and the city-state, to allow discussion of changes.
Analysts estimate the project, first announced by both nations in 2013, will cost about US$17 billion (RM74 billion), though the two have tried to renegotiate the terms of an initial pact.
“The government of Malaysia and the government of Singapore have agreed to resume discussions on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail infrastructure project in the near future,“ said Datuk
Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Minister of International Trade and Industry.
“The discussions will encompass some of the proposed changes in the commercial and technical aspects of the project,“ he said in a statement.
Singapore’s transport ministry said in a separate statement that it had agreed to a “final extension” and that it looked forward to receiving Malaysia’s formal proposal on the changes soon.
Singapore’s transport minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post today that the extension should provide sufficient time for Malaysia to clarify its proposal and for both sides to assess the
implications of the proposed changes.
“The key is joint commitment to the project’s vision and mutual trust. Nevertheless, the HSR is a complex project, and both sides have to be convinced that the changes do not undermine the
original intent of the project,“ he said. – Reuters
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Swingvy eyes huge potential in HR tech solutions (Sun, 31 May 2020)
PETALING JAYA: For many SMEs in Malaysia, human resources (HR) processes are often treated as a chore, which is either outsourced to agencies or done manually by business owners.
This is what Swingvy’s CEO Jin Choeh observed during his six year stint with an internet security company, which led to the creation of the HR tech platform.
“Most SMEs in the region do not have a proper business-to-business (B2B) solution for HR , accounting and other processes, and rely on manual processes instead, which is very inefficient,” he told
“We thought that being in the 21st century we need proper tools for SMEs.”
In the US and Europe, markets which are accustomed to HR solutions companies, Choeh pointed out that there has been a boom in new generation HR tech companies in the last three to five years.
With that, he came to the conclusion that the trend would be coming to the Asean region too, as the SME market here is biggest in the region with 60-70 million SMEs compared to the US and Europe,
which has five million and 10 million, respectively.
“Swingvy found that there is a big opportunity but there are no players. Doing further research, we found that our potential customers really struggle with paperwork,” said the CEO.
“Our assumption is that if we provide a beautiful, intuitive and easy-to-use platform for SMEs at the right price, it will have a great impact in the market,” he said.
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Swingvy has found its stride as companies scramble for a solution that fits work from home policies.
In this environment, Choeh explained that the startup has ensured that their HR operations are up and running, and subsequently it has also received many requests from companies looking to adopt
Over the past two consecutive years, he revealed that the HR tech startup’s revenue has grown over 300% annually and expect to maintain the same level of performance for this year.
Currently, the HR tech platform has over 7,000 companies subscribing to its service from its primary market in Malaysia and Singapore and hopes to double its customer pool to 15,000 SMEs by the
end of the year.
The company has also been expanding overseas, with the latest launch happening in Taiwan on May 13.
Choeh added that the company has received an encouraging number of enquiries, despite being in its initial stage. Given the encouraging response, Swingvy stated it aims to be among Taiwan’s top
three HR and payroll software solutions providers within the year.
For the South Korean-born Choeh, the decision to base the startup in Malaysia was a strategic one.
“Swingvy is my third startup and from the get-go, we wanted to go international. Since South Korea is an isolated market, we decided to have our research & development team there but have the
other aspects of the business in Malaysia and other markets,” he shared.
For the CEO, selecting its base of operations was not a hard task, as Malaysia is where he first noticed the opportunity for HR tech services.
“Furthermore, as a software service provider, there is a magic number in the industry which is GDP per capita. Whenever a country has more than US$8,000 (RM34,800) per capita, the customers will
realise that relying on software will provide a higher return on investment, compared to a manual process,” he explained.
Moving forward, to fuel its growth ambitions, Swingvy completed a round of Series A funding last year, which raised RM30 million led by investments from Samsung Venture Investment Corp.
The CEO shared that with the fund, Swingvy plans to double up its team members, improve its product, develop a new product line up and improve its sales and marketing process.
“This year, we aim to focus expanding vertically with its product rather than into new markets, as we want to transform our position from a HR platform into a people operations platform,” he
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CIMB names Abdul Rahman Ahmad as new group CEO (Fri, 29 May 2020)
PETALING JAYA: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd has appointed Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad (pix) as its group CEO/executive director and CEO/executive director of CIMB Bank Bhd.
Rahman, who is currently the chairman of Sime Darby Bhd and Velesto Energy Bhd, succeeds Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, who relinquished his post to join the government as the Finance
Minister. His appointment will take effect on June 10, 2020.
CIMB chairman Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad said Rahman, with more than 20 years in leadership roles across several industries, has demonstrated a strong track record in organisational transformation,
driving results, strengthening operational risk and compliance, and innovation amid a rapidly evolving landscape.
“As the industry undergoes fundamental changes, he will bring a fresh perspective to lead CIMB’s continued transformation and build upon its successful Asean franchise,“ he said in a statement
Rahman started his career at Arthur Andersen, London and worked at Trenergy (M) Berhad/Turnaround Managers Inc (M) Sdn Bhd and Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd.
He was appointed as the group managing director/CEO of Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd and subsequently served the same position for Media Prima Bhd.
Rahman then helped established Ekuiti Nasional Bhd, a government linked private equity firm, serving as its CEO for seven years before being appointed in 2016 as the president and group CEO of
Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB). At PNB, Rahman was instrumental in driving the strategic diversification of assets as well as enhancing consumer experience through operational and digitisation
Rahman holds an MA in Economics from Cambridge University, UK, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
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SC warns of rising clone firms scams (Fri, 29 May 2020)
PETALING JAYA: The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has warned investors over the rise of clone firms scams, in which a fraudulent company will set itself up to look like a capital
market intermediary that is licensed or registered with the regulator to deceive investors.
It highlighted that the fraudsters will use names, logos, credentials, websites and other details of a legitimate capital market intermediary to promote bogus investment schemes via social media
channels such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, promising extraordinarily high returns with little risks.
According to the regulator, the victims are often instructed to deposit monies into personal bank accounts of individuals who claim to represent a legitimate licensed entity, and/or a corporate
“A number of capital market licensed entities have lodged reports on the cloning of their corporate identities by unknown persons or organisations,” it said in a statement today.
The SC highlighted that any person who engages in securities fraud, holds himself out as a capital market intermediary or carries out any regulated activities without a valid licence or
registration from the SC, commits an offence under the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 and if convicted, may be punished with imprisonment of up to ten years and fined.
It also reminded investors to always exercise due caution when considering investment opportunities, especially those promising extremely high returns with little or no risks.
The regulator encouraged investors to verify the status of individuals or companies offering investing opportunities via its website.
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Ringgit higher against US dollar on improved global sentiment (Fri, 29 May 2020)
KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit ended the week slightly higher against the US dollar today on improved global sentiment despite lower oil prices, a dealer said.
As at 6pm, the local note was quoted at 4.3450/3500 versus the greenback compared with Thursday’s close of 4.3540/3600.
FXTM market analyst Han Tan said most Asian currencies were able to take advantage of the waning interest on the US dollar this week, as the local note broke below its 50-day moving average
against the greenback and traded below the 4.35 psychological level.
“Risk-on sentiment had been taking hold in global markets, allowing Asian currencies to push back against the US dollar.
“However, the optimism surrounding the global economy’s reopening could be punctured by the US President Donald Trump’s latest move on China,” he told Bernama.
At press time, Brent crude fell 2.58% to US$34.38 per barrel.
Against a basket of benchmark currencies, the ringgit traded lower.
The local currency fell against the Singapore dollar to 3.0768/0810 from Thursday’s close of 3.0664/0719 and slipped versus the Japanese yen to 4.0528/0586 from 4.0412/047.
The ringgit depreciated against the euro to 4.8369/8433 from 4.7933/7012 and declined against the British pound to 5.3435/3514 from 5.3363/3454 previously. - Bernama
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