Brand Finance reveals Top 100 Malaysian Brands 2020 Ranking

Joint session between ministries to be held in preparing Budget 2021

According to Samir Dixit, managing director of Brand Finance Asia Pacific, the Malaysia 100 Brands  2020 ranking remains very top heavy this year and hopes to see a more diverse mix at the top and more significant brand value increases at the bottom. To do so, brands must start to focus on building both brand value and strength, rather than being sales and offers driven. These tactics will help in the short term but might destroy the long-term value and strength of brands. It is the brand strength for most Malaysian brands that remains a concern – these have remained stagnant this year. Brand has to be a strategic agenda for senior management and boards and must be treated like any other business asset and not just a legal trademark. See the complete ranking from pages 13 to 19.

Joint session between ministries to be held in preparing Budget 2021

According to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz, a joint session will be held between ministries to discuss proposals as well as the operational and development needs in relation to Budget 2021. The Finance Ministry is in the process of drafting Budget 2021, which will be tabled on Nov 6. Economic continuity would be given priority to ensure the momentum of economic recovery was maintained. The government calls on the people to work together in combating the COVID-19 pandemic by always practicing the new norms and physical distancing, maintaining hygiene and health, as well as be disciplined in complying with the standard operating procedures issued by the government. The government was constantly monitoring developments on the COVID-19 situation and was always ready to increase allocations, as and when needed. The government has allocated RM1.7 billion to combat the spread of COVID-19, channelled via 14 ministries and state governments. The government, through the Health Ministry, has also channelled an additional allocation of RM44 million to strengthen Sabah’s healthcare front-liners. Apart from that, the government, through the National Security Council, recently approved an additional allocation of RM50 million to the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA). These additional provisions are in line with the commitment to ensure preparedness in the face of increasing COVID-19 infections nationwide. Meanwhile, 11.36 million people had successfully received RM50 in their eWallets, amounting to RM567.9 million, under the RM50 eWallet credit programme that ended on Sept 30. The eWallet providers such as Boost, GrabPay and TouchnGo eWallet had also contributed benefits in the form of credit matching and various other incentives, amounting to RM433.8 million, in an effort to boost the Malaysian economy.

China remains Malaysia’s largest foreign investor in manufacturing sector

According to Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong, China remains Malaysia’s largest foreign investor in the manufacturing sector for four consecutive years since 2016, with 32 foreign direct investments (FDIs) amounting US$452.43million approved in the first six months of 2020. Malaysia approved 79 FDIs worth US$3.74 billion from China in 2019. In terms of total trade, the bilateral trade between Malaysia and China stood at US$80.06 billion from January to August 2020, while in 2019, the two-way trade hit US$123.96 billion. Despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia and China continued to show sincere friendship to support each other and overcome difficulties together in these trying times. It is hoped that the corporate elites from both countries would continue to collaborate in sectors such as digital economy big data, innovative economy, as well as industrial innovation and modern agriculture.

DOSM expects Malaysian economic recovery to continue

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, the country’s economy is expected to continue its recovery trend based on the smoothed growth rate of leading index (LI), a predictive tool to anticipate upturns and downturns in the economy. The LI registered 108.5 points in August 2020 from 100.8 points in August 2019, maintaining an annual growth of 7.6 per cent. However the LI slipped to negative 0.5 per cent, dragged by the number of new companies registered (negative 0.6 per cent), real imports of semi- conductors (negative 0.4 per cent), and the number of housing units approved (negative 0.1 per cent). Despite the softening LI for the reference month, the growth rate of smoothed LI is consistently above trend and moving upwards. This implied that the Malaysian economy is expected to continue its recovery trend in the months ahead. Nevertheless the downside risk to growth remained amid the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile Coincident Index (CI), which measures the current economic performance, anticipated a better year-on-year growth to register negative 2.3 per cent in August 2020 from negative 2.4 per cent in July 2020. On a monthly basis, the CI rose to 0.5 per cent supported by the increase in volume index of retail trade (0.5 per cent) and real salaries and wages in manufacturing sector (0.1 per cent). The current situation was supported by the performance of volume index of wholesale and retail trade which depicted a sign of recovery to register 130 points with a growth of negative 2.4 per cent year-on-year. This was the smallest negative growth since March 2020. Besides that, in terms of labour force statistics, the number of employed persons improved 0.5 per cent to 15.2 million persons, contributed mainly in the services sectors.

On The Markets

This week, on Thursday (22Oct), the Ringgit eased to 4.1495 against the USD from 4.1470 on Monday (19Oct). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0593 to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (22Oct). On Monday (19Oct), the FBM KLCI was up 14.27 points (0.95%) to 1518.11 from previous Friday’s close of 1503.84. As at Friday (23Oct) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI continued sideways over the past month at 1500.06. US stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, even as lawmakers worked to strike a stimulus deal but buoyed by a surprise upside on the economic data front, reduced jobless claims and higher home sales. The DJIA rose 0.54% to 28,363.66 while the NASDAQ added 0.19% to 11,506.01.

FBM KLCI 3 Years Chart

Top 100 Malaysian Brands 2020 Ranking exclusively in Inve$t next week Oct 23 issue

Bursa first virtual listing – Samaiden Group

In an exclusive deal with Brand Finance, Inve$t will be featuring the Top 100 Malaysian Brands 2020 Ranking. Look out for it in our October 23 issue. For a better insight into the power of brands, join the IAA/Brand Finance free webinar. Refer to their advertisement on Page 5 and use the interactive links to register.   

Bursa’s first virtual listing – Samaiden Group

According chief executive officer Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift, Bursa Malaysia welcomed Samaiden Group Berhad as its newest “member” on the ACE Market via a virtual listing ceremony. This first virtual listing is a new offering by the exchange arising from the reinstatement of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. In line with the CMCO requirements, the exchange introduced this virtual listing service, enabling flexibility for new issuers during CMCO. Samaiden Group is one of Malaysia’s leading consultants of renewable energy and environmental service provider. Historically, listing ceremonies on the local bourse marked a significant milestone in a company’s life cycle. The event would usually attract many invited guests of the company who come together to celebrate the event with the company’s owners and promoters. Notwithstanding the CMCO, the exchange is happy to maintain this long standing tradition. It will continue to leverage on technology to adapt traditions to the continuously changing environment while always prioritising the health and safety of our stakeholders.

BNM sees spike in property market risks as MCO takes toll

According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the risks in the real estate sector have risen due to both prevailing oversupply and a re-evaluation of business property needs due to the various movement control orders. In its Financial Stability Review for 1H 2020 Report that was prepared prior to the latest CMCO that has been imposed on the entire Klang Valley, the most apparent loser of the movement curbs was the retail space sector with consumers either shying away due to restrictions or perceived risks amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, property transactions fell by over 25 per cent by volume in the first half and by nearly 27 per cent in terms of value. Amid pre-existing oversupply conditions and changes to consumption behaviour since the pandemic, rental rates in the retail commercial property market are likely to remain depressed in the period ahead. The estimated timeline for a recovery could be as long as 12 months, according to industry experts cited in the report. Another loser was the office space sector citing the shift towards telecommuting and home-working arrangements that were forced by the initial MCO and which were kept up by some firms even after restrictions were relaxed. The report suggested that some firms may make such arrangements permanent or at least incorporate more of these into their operations in the immediate term. Such a trend would further depress both office occupancy and rental rates. Both the retail and office space sectors already had significant overhang prior to the MCO first imposed in March. More worryingly from the report was the conclusion that the property market risk could also extend to the residential market. The pandemic may increase risks of a broader decline in house prices due to a deterioration in income and weaker demand conditions. This in turn would increase risks to financial stability given that loans for the purchase of residential properties account for the bulk of banks’ total property-related exposures. For the residential sector, however, it cited previous findings that four in five mortgages were for owner-occupied homes, which reduced the risk of default. It also said mortgages were also typically held by “higher-income” borrowers with monthly incomes of above RM5,000 who were financially more resilient. Repeated cuts to the overnight policy rate should also support demand for residential property.

Total value of loan repayments reached 70% of pre-moratorium levels

According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) deputy governor Jessica Chew, data showed that the total value of loan repayments had reached 70% of what it was prior to the blanket loan moratorium period. Many borrowers are starting to repay their loans. The data revealed that two million borrowers had been engaged by banks by the end of September, out of which 514,000 were R&R (rescheduling and restructuring) applications received with a 98% approval rate. For businesses, banks approved 6.3 times applications compared to total outstanding R&R loans at the end of 2019. Just this month, Malaysia transitioned into a targeted moratorium after the blanket automatic loan moratorium period ended on Sept 30, 2020. According to BNM’s latest Financial Stability Review Report for 1H 2020, at the start of the blanket moratorium period, more than 95% of individuals and small and medium enterprise (SME) borrowers took up automatic repayment deferment. Up to Sept 25, 2020, a total of 840,000 individuals and SME borrowers had opted out or already started to resume repayments in line with improved economic conditions. This number is expected to increase further following the end of automatic repayment deferment. With the automatic moratorium in place, aggregate impairment and delinquency ratios remained low at 1% and 0.9% of total outstanding household debt respectively (2019: 1.2% and 1.1%). Household asset quality is expected to see some deterioration in 2H2020 and throughout 2021 with the automatic moratorium ended, but banks are well positioned to absorb higher credit losses. At its peak, close to 90% of household borrowers with about 87% of outstanding household loans in the banking system were under the moratorium as most borrowers elected to defer their loan repayments to secure greater flexibility in managing their cash flows during a highly uncertain period. Many of these borrowers would have been able to continue servicing their debt if chosen to. Based on the enhanced financial margin framework, it estimated that household borrowers who may experience difficulties (such as those with negative financial margins) in servicing their debt as a result of income and unemployment shocks are unlikely to account for more than 15% of total borrowers. Among these borrowers, about 1% of total borrowers with 3% of outstanding household debt are expected to default after accounting for financial buffers held and targeted repayment assistance extended to borrowers in need. It also noted that about 40% of potential defaults arise from housing debt with an average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 70%, thus limiting financial exposure of affected borrowers and losses for the banking system. It noted that household loan impairments are projected to double — albeit from historically low levels. Higher household impairments are expected to emerge in 2H21 given the extended repayment assistance programmes that will remain in place through the first quarter of 2021 (1Q21) for individuals who have experienced a loss in income.

This week, on Thursday (15Oct), the Ringgit eased to 4.1480 against the USD from 4.1385 on Monday (12Oct). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0553to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (15Oct). On Monday (12Oct), the FBM KLCI was down 11.92 points (0.78%) to 1518.43 from previous Friday’s close of 1530.35. As at Friday (16Oct) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI was sideways for the week at 1518.33. US stocks were lower after the close on Thursday as fears of a resurgence in Covid-19 cases and a lack of additional fiscal stimulus led investors to safer havens like the USD. At the close in NYSE, the Dow shed 19.80 points (-0.07%) to 28,494.20 while the NASDAQ declined 54.86 points(- 0.47%) to 11,713.87.

FBM KLCI 3 Years Chart

Bursa aims to educate investors on fraud & scams

2020 GDP projection kept at -5.5% to -3.5% despite Covid-19 resurgence

According to Bursa Malaysia Bhd’s chief executive officer Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift, its education programmes are aimed to increase investor awareness of financial frauds and scams, which are on the rise, as financial products become more complex. An educated investor is less likely to fall prey to financial frauds. He sounded the exchange’s ceremonial gong in front of the session’s virtual audience to mark the ‘Ring the Bell for Financial Literacy’ ceremony held on Wednesday in conjunction with World Investor Week 2020. It is a global initiative by the World Federation of Exchanges to promote financial literacy and boost financial inclusion. This year, nearly 40 exchanges have come together in support of this cause. He added that Bursa Malaysia has a strong commitment towards advocating financial literacy in its marketplace and the wider community. It is an important agenda, not just for encouraging retail participation but also to enhance investor protection through education. Bursa Malaysia, over the last 12 months, had accelerated the use of digital technology to effectively reach large segments of the population and promote financial inclusion. In June, the exchange had launched Bursa Academy, a comprehensive one-stop e-learning platform targeted at retail investors across the securities, derivatives and Islamic capital markets. Since its launch, Bursa Academy has continued to grow in traction, registering close to 93,000 users with more than 217,000 pageviews as at end-September 2020. Through its digital learning webinars conducted at the onset of the pandemic, the exchange has reached out to 51,943 investors.

2020 GDP projection kept at -5.5% to -3.5% despite Covid-19 resurgence

According to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, there is no further deceleration of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) projection despite the sudden rise in Covid-19 infections and the 2020 growth projection remains between -5.5% and -3.5%. The second wave is very much concentrated and more than 60% is confined. We did not implement a movement control order (MCO) so all business activities are allowed to go on. However for this year, Malaysia, along with 150 other countries, is undergoing a recession. But come 2021 the economy would pick up and Malaysia’s GDP growth is expected to be around 5.5% to 8%, a projection that is in line with the stronger GDP forecast by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government had announced various stimulus packages which would end this year but will continue to look at various avenues to save the people’s livelihood and focus on the recovery momentum in the upcoming Budget 2021.

More small- and mid-cap companies aim to have 30% of board comprising women directors

According to the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC), gender diversity on boards of listed companies showed slight improvement at 24.82% of the top 100 listed companies as at Aug 31, 2020, up from 23.68% in 2018. Across all listed companies, the ratio stood at 16.96% as at Aug 31 compared with 15.69% in 2018. There are five companies with all-male boards on the top 100 listed companies, namely Comfort Glove Bhd, Focus Dynamics Group Bhd, Frontken Corp Bhd, Guan Chong Bhd and Pentamaster Corp Bhd. Overall, the number of companies with all-male boards stood at 248. The data shows that there’s progress in relation to gender diversity on the boards. However, it appears unlikely to achieve the 30% target [for the top 100 PLCs] by Dec 31, 2020. While the SC, together with other relevant stakeholders will continue to drive greater gender diversity on boards, other measures and interventions are also being considered to accelerate progress. It is worth noting that the number of large companies that had adopted the target of having 30% or more women directors in 2019 remained at 42, the same as in 2018. Among mid-cap companies, however, the number of adopters increased to 28 in 2019 (25 in 2018) and among small-cap companies, the number of adopters rose to 342 in 2019 (302 in 2018) according to data in the CG Monitor 2020. Overall, a total of 412 companies adopted the target in 2019, up from 369 in 2018. There are 682 public-listed companies with at least one woman director on the board, up from 634 in 2018. A total of 165 listed companies here have complied with the target of having 30% women directors, up from 145 in 2018. In 2019, women accounted for 21% of new board appointments. The trend of appointing younger women directors continued, with 41% of women directors below 50 years old and 11% below 40 years old. More listed companies adopted best practices as outlined in the Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance (MCCG) in 2019, compared to the year before. Areas which show an increase in adoption include the two-tier voting process and board practices to determine the remuneration of directors and senior management. The CG Monitor 2020, which is available on the SC’s website, also presents observations on three thematic reviews on the adoption of two-tier resolutions, board remuneration of listed companies on the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Top 100 Index and the conduct of fully virtual general meetings by listed companies since the Movement Control Order.

OPEC, in major shift, says oil demand to plateau in late 2030s

According to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the world oil demand will plateau in the late 2030s and could by then have begun to decline in a major shift for the producer group that reflects the lasting impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy and consumer habits. The prediction, made in its 2020 World Oil Outlook, comes amid a growing number of other forecasts that the pandemic may prove the tipping point for peak oil demand. Oil use will rise to 107.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2030 from 90.7 million bpd in 2020, a 1.1 million bpd below its 2030 forecast last year and over 10 million bpd below its 2007 prediction of 2030 demand. Global oil demand will grow at relatively healthy rates during the first part of the forecast period before demand plateaus during the second half. Future demand will likely remain persistently below past projections due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19-related shutdowns and their impact on the global economy and consumer behaviour. While oil use to fuel cars, trucks and industry will rebound as economies recover, it voiced concern that future growth may be partly offset by factors like a post-pandemic shift to homeworking and teleconferencing over commuting, as well as efficiency improvements and a shift to electric cars. Even before the pandemic, rising climate activism in the West and widening use of alternative fuels were putting the strength of long-term oil demand under more scrutiny. This year will also see potential for demand to begin to decline after 2030 given developments like faster adoption of electric cars, more fuel efficiency and a larger reduction in business and leisure travel after the pandemic. This year OPEC, with Russia and other allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, agreed record output cuts of 9.7 million bpd, the equivalent of 10% of global supply.

This week, on Thursday (08Oct), the Ringgit gained to 4.1555 against the USD from 4.1595 on Monday (05Oct). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0573 to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (08Oct). On Monday (05Oct), the FBM KLCI was up 12.13 points (0.81%) to 1512.43 from previous Friday’s close of 1500.30. As at Friday (09Oct) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI continued marginally upwards for the week gaining only 4.2 points to 1516.63 dragged by a surge in Covid-19 infections, continued political uncertainty and lacklustre regional markets. Meanwhile US stocks were higher after the close on Thursday despite uncertainty over proposed stimulus aid as investors’ focus on value stocks saw gains in the Financial Services, Industrials and Energy sectors. At the close, the Dow added 122.05 points (+0.43%) to 28,425.51 and the NASDAQ climbed 56.38 points (+0.50%) to 11,420.98.

FBM KLCI 3 Years Chart

PM announces RM35 billion Penjana to generate short-term recovery

“Malaysia’s economy is expected to recover with a return of growth in 2021…The World Bank” 

By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 12 June 2020 issue

Last Friday (5Jun), Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled a RM35 billion stimulus package which will cover 40 initiatives to help stimulate the economy recovery from the impact of Covid-19. The short-term Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) package called “Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara” or “Penjana” was launched with three major goals to empower the people, propel businesses and to stimulate the economy. 

The automotive, plantation and property sectors are some of the beneficiaries from the Economy Recovery Plans (Penjana). The PM announced that for the automobile sector there is a 100% sales tax exemption on locally assembled Completely Knocked Down (CKD) models while a 50% exemption on fully imported Completely Built-Up (CBU) models starting from June15 until Dec31. This move is expected to help overcome the lost sales and production during MCO.

In order to tackle the problem of unemployment, Prime Minister stated that the government will allocate RM9 billion to ensure job sustainability during the national recovery period post Covid-19. The allocation will be channelled through various initiatives which will benefit three million workers in the country. The initiatives will be set at RM600 per worker for up to 200 workers per company.

In addition the government will allocate RM50 million in matching grants for companies in the gig economy to make SOSCO and EPF contributions for their workers. There will be a special committee chaired by the ministers of Finance and Human Resources with members comprising leaders from the public as well as private sector to monitor initiatives related to the workers. In line with the government’s call to encourage SMEs to implement work-form-home practices, insurance coverage and tax incentives will be provided.

As businesses had been struggling with cashflow issues and reduced demand, the government assured that there would be help for all businesses regardless of size through various initiatives such as Shop Malaysia Online to encourage online shopping through the provision of promotion codes among others. There will be a RM700 million allocation to help SMEs digitalise their operations. Tax incentives would be extended for companies purchasing equipment such as Property, Plant and Equipment as well as thermal scanners. The government also will provide income tax rebates of up to RM20,000 for three years of assessment for SMEs set up between July1 and Dec31 in this year.

Furthermore, there will be a reintroduction of the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) which will see various incentives such as stamp duty exemptions for the purchase of homes costing between RM300,000 and RM2.5 million from June1, 2020 to May31, 2021 subject to a developer’s discount of at least 10%. The ERP will also encourage foreign direct investments (FDI) where companies both foreign and local, which make capital investment of between RM300 million and RM500 million will be able to enjoy zero investment tax for 10 years. While for capital investment above RM500 million, companies will be given 15 years of tax holidays. For Malaysian companies which relocate their overseas facilities back to home, will be entitled to a 100% Investment tax allowance for five years, which the tax holidays are subject to location transfer.

On 7 June, PM also has announced that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) will be replaced by the Recovery MCO (RMCO) with more relaxed conditions from June10 to Aug31 which will allow interstate travel, meetings and workshops and this augurs well for the tourism industry and marks the beginning of the recovery of domestic tourism. 

According to The World Bank’s representative Firas Raad, Malaysia’s economy is expected to recover from the end of this year with a return to growth in 2021. With the pro-growth policies coupled with incentives, it would help to push the private sector which is the engine for growth from the current economic downturn. Firas Raad also added that Malaysia should continue its efforts on the reform agenda such as governance, regulatory environment and competition in economic sectors as well as education reformation in its bid to achieve a high-income nation status. The World Bank is also in the midst of reviewing the economic impact of Covid-19 before deciding whether to revise the country’s 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth target this month. Business activities in Malaysia are resuming as the country gradually eases itself from the Covid-19 MCO measures.  

This week, on Thursday (11Jun), the Ringgit was 4.2495 against USD from 4.2753 on Tuesday (9Jun). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0493 to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (11Jun).  

On Monday (8Jun), the FBM KLCI gained 18.83 points or 1.21% to 1575.16 from previous Friday’s close of 1556.33. But as at Friday (12Jun) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI was at 1529.79 seeming to have followed the global markets which have all taken a breather from the bullish ride over the past 2 months.


PM to announce short-term Economy Recovery Plan today at 3pm

Bursa Malaysia sees continued surge in Trading Volume and Value

By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 5 June 2020 issue

According to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, in line with the reopening of the economy which saw nearly 70% of the workforce returning to work in various sectors, Malaysia has the capacity that is set to spur an economy recovery in 2021. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had forecast a 3% contraction in the global economy for this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva also stated that the global contraction might be even worse than the 3% forecast it made last month. 

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is set to announce later today a slew of initiatives to kick start the economy. The short-term Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) will be focusing on three main goals ie (i) empowering the people (ii) propelling businesses and (iii) stimulating the economy.  

Last Friday (29May), the local stock exchange’s daily traded value hit a record high of RM9.03 billion which surpassed its previous highest of RM9 billion in May 2018 with a turnover of 9.308 billion of shares. On Monday (1Jun), the FBM KLCI has gapped up 16.89 points or 1.15% to 1490.14 from previous Friday’s close of 1473.25, while the trading volume across Bursa Malaysia topped 10 billion securities for the second time in less than a month driven mainly by the rubber glove manufacturers. 

On Tuesday (2June), both Maybank Investment Bank and RHB Bank Investment Bank Berhad tightened their share margin valuation on glove related counters following the recent rush for glove makers’ stocks which sent the stock prices to new heights. The margin financing caps will be imposed on the shares of Hartalega Holdings Berhad, Top Glove Corporation Berhad, Kossan Rubber Industries Berhad, Supermax Corporation Berhad, Rubberex Corporation Berhad and Comfort Gloves Berhad at a lower valuation compared to their current share prices. Share prices of those stocks took a temporary breather upon the announcement but appear to have recovered since. 

On Wednesday (3June), the oil and gas (O&G) stocks dominated the list of most active stocks on Bursa Malaysia after oil prices reached a three-month high. It is expected that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia may extend the production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd), equivalent to 10% of global output in July or August. The cuts are currently due to run through May and June, scaling back to a reduction of 7.7 million bpd from July to December but Saudi Arabia has been pushing to keep the deeper cuts in place for longer.  

According to MIDF Research, Malaysia saw the third least foreign selling of RM13.3 billion for year to date (YTD) among seven Asian countries as foreign selling of Malaysian equities narrowed to RM663.8 million last week from RM714.7 million sold in the week before.  

According to the Statistics Department, Malaysia’s exports declined faster than imports to RM64.9 billion, lower by 23.8% resulting in a trade deficit of RM3.5 billion.  

This week, on Thursday (4Jun), the Ringgit strengthened to 4.2738 against USD from 4.3145 on Monday (1Jun). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0570 to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (4Jun). As at Friday (5Jun) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI was at 1550.65 


More businesses to reopen next week towards full productivity in coming weeks …Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed

“Foreign selling of Malaysian equities slowed down to RM714.7 million last week … MIDF Research”

By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 29 May 2020 issue

Last Friday (22May), the FBM KLCI shed 15.35 points or 1.06% at 1436.76 as news of China’s plan to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong to tighten its grip on the riots & demonstrations ravaged island state. The news battered global equity markets and crude oil markets. The FBM KLCI resumed trade on Wednesday (27May) after the two days Hari Raya holiday on a strong note to gain 14.97 points or 1.04% to 1451.73 from the previous Friday’s close of 1436.76 led by a rally of index-linked glove manufacturers.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed says the government is anticipating more businesses to reopen next week after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations and resume their full productivity level in coming weeks which is to ensure that jobs are kept intact and businesses can run as usual to stabilise the economy. The government is dealing with the challenges and is focusing on problem solving through their regular interaction with various stakeholders, while ensuring that the foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic investments continue to grow, as well as to boost consumer’s confidence. The long-term plan for the country will be expected to be announced in the next three to four months as government agencies are currently working on implementing measures to address challenges faced by various economic sectors. 

According to MIDF Research’s Adam M Rahim, the foreign selling of Malaysian equities on Bursa Malaysia slowed down to RM714.7 million last week, from RM843.2 million in the preceding week. In comparison to its other six Asian peers, Malaysia remains as the nation with the third smallest foreign net outflow on a year-to-date basis after Indonesia and Philippines. The foreign investors have so far taken out RM12.6 billion net of local equities from Malaysia. The foreign net selling surged to RM320.2 million, the highest during the week as investors anticipated an escalation of US-China tension after Beijing effectively proposed that China security laws be applied inside Hong Kong. MIDF also stated that the risk-off sentiment has prevailed as the US Senate passed a bill that could bar Chinese companies from listing on American exchanges.

According to Fitch Ratings, Malaysian Islamic fund’s asset under management (AUM) has decreased by around 15% due to the Covid-19 pandemic but it is expected to experience incremental growth in the longer term boosted by tax and policy initiatives. The rating agency also stated that Malaysia’s Islamic fund mix is more balanced and therefore aggregate fund AUM are less sensitive to future declines in the Islamic Fund AUM and in the event of a sustained market recovery leading to outflows from the money market funds (MMFs).

On Thursday (28May), the oil prices fell in early trade after the U.S. crude, gasoline and heating oil inventories all rose more than expected, dousing hopes of a smooth recovery in demand from the coronavirus lockdowns. The decline extended loses from Wednesday (27May) on uncertainty about Russia’s commitment to deeper oil production cuts in the lead-up to a June 9 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies. According to Bursa Derivatives Berhad (BMD), the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Futures (FKLI) contract registered an all-time high on May 27 in a daily trading volume of 65,000 contracts. Chairman Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift said the new FKLI contract   all-time high recorded surpassed the previous record of 61,429 contracts registered on Oct 29, 2019. He added “As we continue to build upon the strong momentum achieved last quarter, I am encouraged to see growing interest of foreign institutions which accounted for 80% of total trading volume. This is an indication of consistent growth in confidence in BMD’s products by local and international market participants to manage their price risk exposure amid the global uncertainties”.

This week, on Thursday (28May) the Ringgit was 4.3516 against USD from 4.3542 on Wednesday (27May). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0693 to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (28May). As at Friday (29May) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI was up at 1454.21


Malaysia’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped 2.9% in April

Next monetary policy committee meeting to be held on 7 July 2020

By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 22 May 2020 issue

On Monday (18May), the FBM KLCI gained 6.72 points or 0.48% to 1410.16 from previous Friday’s close of 1403.44 as trade volume across Bursa Malaysia rose to another record high at 11.21 billion securities worth RM4.41 billion. The surge in trade volume was attributed to heavy trading of shares in Bursa Malaysia-listed oil and gas (O&G) related companies as a result of the rising price of crude oil. 

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has cut interest rates three times this year by a total of 100 basis points (bps), with the most recent cut of 50 bps on May 5. It had earlier cut OPR by 25bps in January and by another 25 bps in March. The current OPR rate stands at 2%. The next monetary policy committee meeting will be held on July 7, 2020. 

Malaysia’s consumer price index (CPI) for April fell at a sharper rate of -2.9% from a year ago compared with Bloomberg’s survey of a -1.6% decline due to the drop in prices of transport, housing, water, electricity and fuel. Not only is this the second consecutive month of decline in CPI after the 0.2% drop in March 2020 but it is also the sharpest contraction in more than five decades. The hugely lower average price of RON95 fuel in April 2020 at RM1.27 per litre compared to RM2.08 in April 2019 contributed to the decrease in the transport component and the overall index. Nevertheless, food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to increase in April 2020 by 1.2% to 133.9 as compared to 132.3 in April 2019. Food and non-alcoholic beverages contributed 29.5% of CPI weight. Similarly, miscellaneous goods and services also rose by 2.3% followed by communication (1.6%), health (1.2%) and education (1.2%).

On Wednesday (20May), short-term interbank rates ended stable on Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) operations to absorb surplus liquidity from the financial system. The surplus in the conventional system declined to RM39.71 billion from RM48.72 billion while the Islamic system fell to RM20.90 billion from RM22.78 billion. BNM has also revised the Murabahah overnight tender from RM18.9 billion to RM20.9 billion. The average Islamic overnight interest rate stood at 1.97 percent, while the one-, two- and three-week rates stood at 2.04 percent, 2.09 percent and 2.13 percent, respectively.

According to RAM Rating Services Berhad, foreign holdings of Malaysian bonds contracted RM2 billion in April 2020 compared with the RM12.3 billion drop in the preceding month as global and domestic liquidity-boosting measures were seen stabilising market sentiment. 

RAM also stated that the lowering of statutory reserve requirement (SRR) while allowing principal dealers to recognise up to RM1 billion of MGS (Malaysian Government Securities) and MGII (Malaysian Government Investment Issues) as part of their SRR compliance may also have supported domestic demand for fixed-income securities which in turn lowered yields. The yield of the benchmark 10-year MGS fell 51.3bps to 2.9% as at end of April, reversing the 56.9bps surge in March. Looking ahead, RAM said the bond yields still face downside pressure as the recent measures of broadening the usage of MGS and MGII to meet SRR should support demand for government bonds. 

This week, on Thursday (21May) the Ringgit was 4.3462 against USD from 4.3550 on Monday (18May). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0659 to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (21May). As at Friday (22May) 10:00 am, the FBM KLCI was at 1445.76 

All of us at ShareInvestor Malaysia wish all our Muslim readers Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.


Malaysia’s GDP Grow 0.7% in 1Q20 – Lowest in 10 years

“Foreign Selling of Malaysian equity at a total of RM11.08 billion …. MIDF Research”

By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 15 May 2020 issue

On Sunday (10May), PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the fourth extension of the movement control order (MCO) with further loosened restrictions under the conditional MCO (CMCO) for another four weeks from May 13 until June 9. Since the period will cover several major Malaysian celebrations, namely Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Kaamatan Festival and Hari Gawai, when it usually involves in heavy movement of people, such movement will not be allowed.  

On Tuesday (12May), the FBM KLCI shed 2.38 points or 0.17% to 1379.93 from previous Friday’s close of 1382.31. The FBM KLCI has reversed the trend and inched up to 1397.25 on Thursday (14May). Based on feedback from Bursa Malaysia, the MCO has had a positive impact on its trading activity. 

For YTD April 2020, Millennials were responsible for 49% of total new individual accounts opened. For the same period, Retail investors continued to post a net buy position of RM4,011mil. And the Retail Net Buy Position YTD Apr 2020 is currently higher than FY2019. 

Malaysia’s Industrial Production Index (IPI) dropped 4.9% in March 2020 from a year earlier due to the decrease in all three components (manufacturing, electricity and mining) of the index. According to the Statistics Department, the IPI’s manufacturing component fell 4.2% in March 2020 after recording an increase of 6.2% in February 2020. The major sub-sectors contributing to the decrease in the manufacturing sector in March 2020 were electrical and electronic products (-5%), non-metallic mineral products, basic metal and fabricated metal product (-9.8%), food & beverage and tobacco (-9.9%). While the electricity index and mining index recorded a reduction of 0.4% and 1.8% respectively.

According to MIDF Research, the foreign selling of Malaysian equity swelled almost nine times to RM774.1 million last week from RM87.6 the prior week. Based on the weekly fund flow report on Tuesday (12May), the foreign investors have so far taken out RM11.08 billion net of equities from Malaysia. In comparison to the other six Asian peers, Malaysia remains as the nation with third smallest foreign net outflow on a year-to-date basis after Indonesia and the Philippines.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) stated that Malaysia’s average headline inflation in 2020 is likely to turn negative due to mainly projections of substantially lower global crude oil prices and other commodity prices including food as well as evolving demand conditions. Malaysia’s economic growth in gross domestic product (GDP) terms has dipped sharply to 0.7% in 1Q20 (4Q19: 3.6%) which is the lowest since third quarter of 2009 due to the impact of measures taken both globally and domestically to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to BNM, during the first quarter (1Q20), headline inflation remained modest at 0.9% mainly reflecting the lapse in the remaining impact from Sales and Services Tax (SST) implementation and lower price-volatile inflation. The core inflation moderated slightly to 1.3%. BNM also stated that the sizeable fiscal, monetary, and financial measures and progress in transport-related public infrastructure projects will provide further support to growth in 2H20. In line with projected improvement in global growth, the Malaysian economy is expected to register a positive recovery in 2021. 

According to the Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, the government will announce a six months short-term recovery plan by the end of May to revive the economy. Following the recovery plan, government also plans to table a medium-term revitalization plan under the 2021 Budget in November, followed by a long-term reform plan which will be under the 12th Malaysia Plan that is scheduled to be revealed in January 2021. 

This week, on Thursday (14May) the Ringgit was 4.3405 against USD from 4.3336 on Monday (11May). Meanwhile the Sing Dollar to Ringgit was 3.0513 on Thursday (14May). As at Friday (15May) 10:00 am, the FBM KLCI was at 1402.52

Bank Negara Malaysia cuts another 50 basis points and lowers overnight policy rate to 2%

Malaysia’s economy in 2020 could shrink more than initially forecast …. Finance Minister

By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 8 May 2020 issue

Last Friday (1May), PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that on Monday (4May) Malaysia will move to Conditional MCO and will reopen nearly all businesses but under strict health standard operating procedures (SOP). This is to help steer the economy recover after having lost almost RM63 billion due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However not all sectors are open so as to better manage the movement of people within a short time. During the MCO, Muhyiddin said Malaysia had absorbed losses of RM2.4 billion each day.

On Monday (4May), the FBM KLCI shed 31.19 points or 2.22% to 1376.59 points from previous Thursday’s close of 1407.78 as investors weighed the prospect of a renewed US-Sino trade tension and the on-going spat over the origin of the Covid-19 virus. The FBM KLCI continued to shed 12.62 points from 1389.55 on Tuesday (5May) to 1376.93 on Wednesday (6May). Meanwhile the headline HIS Markit Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) has slumped to 31.3 in April from 48.4 in March. 

On Tuesday (5May), Bank Negara Malaysia cut its Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 50 basis points (the third reduction) with a total of 100 basis points cut to 2% since starting the year to ease the pain of the Covid-19 impact. According to Bloomberg, it is the lowest level since 2.5% in 2010 according to 14 of 20 economists surveyed.

According to Moody’s Investors Services, banks will be facing a sharp deterioration in asset quality and reduction in profitability from already low levels, while central banks are providing remarkable amounts of liquidity as the government’s strong incentives to support banking systems. The banking institutions may use Malaysian Government Securities (MGS) and Malaysian Government Investment Issues (MGII) to meet statutory reserve requirement (SRR) effective from May 16 until May 31, 2021. BNM will effectively release RM16 billion worth of liquidity into the banking system. The SRR ratio remains unchanged at 2%.

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, the domestic financial markets saw non-resident portfolio outflow totalling RM17.7 billion (US$4.1 billion) in March as risk sentiments intensified amid heightened uncertainties on the severity of COVID-19 pandemic impact on the economy. The global risk aversion remained elevated despite the large-scale monetary and fiscal stimulus measures introduced worldwide as funds sought safety in more liquid assets such as cash and US Treasury securities. 

According to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Malaysia’s economy in 2020 could shrink more than initially forecast due to extended curbs on movement imposed to stem an outbreak of Covid-19. Malaysia’s central bank had forecast in April for growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of between -2% and 0.5% this year. 

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, Malaysia’s exports fell 4.7% Y-o-Y in March to RM80.1 billion, mainly driven by a decline in exports of electrical and electronics products. Similarly imports also fell 2.7% Y-o-Y to RM67.8 billion in March. Total trade in March was at RM147.9 billion, a 3.8% Y-O-Y decline whereas the trade surplus, compared to a year ago, shrank by 14.2% to RM12.3 billion.

This week, on Thursday (7May) the Ringgit was 4.3241 against USD from 4.3161 on Monday (4May). As at Friday (8May) 10:00 am, the FBM KLCI was at 1384.53

MCO restrictions to be relaxed further under Phase 4

Short selling temporary ban extended another two months by SC & Bursa 

By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 30 April 2020 issue

On Tuesday (28Apr), the FBM KLCI edged up higher by 2.04 points to 1372.20 from Monday’s close of 1370.16 after the International Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin announced that all the economic sectors allowed to operate at half capacity during phases 1, 2 & 3 of MCO are allowed to conduct business at full capacity with effect from Wednesday (29Apr). And Chairman of special Cabinet Committee Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri has said that under Phase 4, MCO restrictions will be relaxed to allow people to go out in pairs beyond 10km but person accompanying must be a family member and must still have good reason to go out together. 

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and Bursa Malaysia announced that the temporary suspension of short selling on Bursa, which initially was targeted to end on April 30, has been extended to June 30. Both SC and Bursa will continue to monitor the developments affecting the securities market while evaluating the adequacy of existing measures to support an orderly market and mitigate any potential risks.

According to Reuters, the Brent crude fell below $20 a barrel and U.S crude plunged 25% on Monday (27Apr), driven lower by skittish investor fleeing the U.S. benchmark due to lack of available storage to deal with a coronavirus-induced collapse in demand. The economic concerns continue to plague the oil market as the global economic output is expected to contract by 2% this year which will be worse than the financial crisis while global demand is expected to collapse by 30% due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to MIDF Research, foreign selling of local equity on Bursa Malaysia surged to RM1.13 billion last week from RM638.6 million the week before. Bursa started the week seeing foreign investors pull out RM215.4 million net of local equities despite news that China slashed its benchmark lending rate for the second time this year to boost the nation’s economy. And amid reports that Gilead Sciences Inc’s potential antiviral drug for the Covid-19 had failed in its first randomised clinical trial, the foreign net outflow grew to RM240.6 million on Friday (24Apr).

According to the Moody’s Analytics, Malaysia is currently facing several challenges in continuing its growth trajectory, despite having made commendable progress over the past four decades. The challenges include income inequality, which is a growing issue among Malaysia’s states, particularly between the richer manufacturing hubs and states that rely on agriculture and other natural resources like palm oil and mining. However Malaysia is moving towards diversifying its economy through services such as tourism and Islamic banking. Malaysia needs to adapt to broader trends as being a net exporter of petroleum and palm oil, it is heavily dependent on volatile commodity prices and vagaries in global demand.

This week, the Ringgit was USD to 4.3437 on Wednesday (29Apr) from 4.3580 on Monday (27Apr). Also this is a short week with Friday (1May) being a Labour Day holiday, the KLCI on Thursday (April 30) at 10am was up 13.2% at 1395.24.


Site last updated November 13, 2020 @ 4:49 am