3 Common Risks When You Invest In Stock Market

By Stella Goh – Market Data Analyst | 26 July 2018

The stock market could be one of the valuable investment tools. However, some people may be reluctant to invest in the stock market because the fear of possible significant losses occurred due to the uncertainty and riskiness of the stock market. The risks associated with the stock market is not fully understood. Wise investors will always seek to minimise their risk as much as possible without diluting the potential of rewards. Let us look at the 3 significant risks faced by investors and the ways to avoid it.

Market Risk

Market risks is a type of systematic risk that may cause investors to suffer losses due to the factors affecting the financial market’s overall performances, such as stock market bubbles, recession and so on. When there is a decline in the stock market, all the stocks would be affected regardless if they are large cap, small cap, mid-cap, growth stock, etc. This kind of risk cannot be diversified away, but investors can reduce the market risk by using tools such as portfolio construction. The examples, investors can protect themselves by investing in different types of securities such as stocks of both large or small companies, or bonds from both corporate and government issuers.

Business Risk

Business risk happens to the company when there is a new competition, or unexpected events occurred causing the company to suffer loss rather than earning a profit. This risk may occur due to several reasons such as disappointing earnings reports, change in leadership, outdated products, wrongdoing within the company, competitions, government regulations, overall economic climate, etc.

We frequently see such scenario, that when a specific company is facing any problematic event, the news will spread across to various media platforms. Therefore, the negative sentiment will be aroused and causes the shares price of the company drop. However, the other business with the same industry may not be affected and could be even profitable from it. To lower the exposure to the business risk, investors can invest in different companies categorised by sector.

Liquidity Risk

Liquidity risk arises when the investment is lack of buyer and seller in the open market. This type of risk will become higher when some investors wish to cash out their investment. Investors may find it hard to convert the assets into cash without incurred some loss due to widening spread on pricing.

Diversification in an investment portfolio can help investors to reduce the liquidity risk. Investors can diversify their portfolio that consists of investment that has higher liquidity such as top 30 KL Index stock with some lesser known potential growth companies stock or bonds. Therefore, investors should always keep enough for his liquid asset to cover their short-term obligations. The practice will allow them to sell their long-term investments when they have risen in value, not when they desperate for cash and may need to take a loss or limit their profit.

There is a way to evaluate the liquidity of an asset before purchase. Investors can observe the bid-ask spread of the stock over time. Illiquid assets will have a wider of bid-ask spread relative to other assets. The narrower the bid-ask spread and the higher of volume indicate that there is a higher of liquidity.


The common saying of high-risk, high return only reflects a gambler’s mindset. As a seasoned investor, one should minimise the risk and maximise the profit growth. To do so, each investor should spend the time to equip themselves with relevant knowledge and skills. Just like the teaching of Sun Tzu, “To Know One’s Own Strength And The Enemy’s Is The Sure Way To Victory”. Thus, maximum and continuous profits come from well versed with the market.

5 Fundamental Factors That Will Affect Futures Crude Palm Oil Trading

By Evelyn Yong | 19 July 2018

Due to the high liquidity and low cost of trading, a lot of investors will opt to trade in derivatives market especially Futures Crude Palm Oil. FCPO is one of the popular derivatives traded in Bursa Malaysia market, and most of the traders are focusing on technical analysis and market news or arbitraging. However, the fundamental part should not be neglect as it can be a decisive factor to determine the market trend as well.

  1. Weather Season
  2. The Festive Season
  3. Competition from producing Country
  4. Competition from other edible oils
  5. Tariff & Policies

Weather and Season Factor

The plantation of Palm Oil Tree follows their specific season and period. The whole process from planting to harvesting takes up to 4 years, and the lifespan of the tree can be up to 25 years. Palm Oil Tree requires warm weather with high humidity environment to grow up healthily as too much rainfall could flood the plantations and hamper the harvesting and dry spell would affect the plants’ growth thus lowering the production. For example, the El Nino effect influenced Malaysia’s palm oil yield in 2016. The production dropped to 3.12 tonnes per hectares which the lowest of these years (average 3.7 and above). Hence, drought or flood season can affect the yield of palm oil which the lower the production translate to a higher the palm oil price in the market.

The Festive Season

The festive season can increase the demand for oil. For example, Chinese buys for the Lunar New Year holidays, Indian buys for Deepavali while Pakistan, Bangladesh and Middle East countries buy for Eid. People use it for the religious praying purpose. With the high demand for oil use, the price will increase too.

Other than the festive season, China, India and Europe are among the largest importers of palm oil. While crisis arises in those countries like eurozone debt crisis, slowing food demand and global economic downturn, it can lead to a decrease in demand for palm oil. The consequences can cause the supply more than demand which can lower the palm oil price.

On the other hand, the short of labour on harvesting the palm fruit will affect the supply to the market too. Recently, nearly 70% of the palm industry’s workforce has extended their holiday and delaying the palm fruit harvest. There is expected a 5% to 8% drop in production due to losses of overripe fruit. Harvest the palm fruit on time can make sure the quality of palm oil and also avoid the production overcapacity or lack of supply which can affect the price.

Competitor – Indonesia

The production of palm oil in Malaysia and Indonesia has taken up around 90% of the supply to the world. Malaysia is currently the second largest palm oil exporter in the world who is surpassing by Indonesia in 2006. Indonesia expects to double their production by the end of 2030. While Indonesia keeps increasing the output, it can cause the price decrease, and the profit margin of Malaysia can be affected. Or there might be another situation is if Indonesia can supply most of the demanders in the market and with better tariff rate, Malaysia will lose our competitive ability or been forced to sell at a lower price.

Competitor- Prices of Vegetable Oils

The price of palm oil can be affected by other vegetable oils like sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, corn oil and especially soybean oil. When the bad weather falls on the soybean plantation, it can help in increasing palm oil prices. US, Brasil and Argentina are soybean producer countries, once their oil supply is below the market needs, palm oil will be the substitution.

Other than that, China is a world biggest oil-import country, when those countries have a massive production on vegetable oil like early of this year which had lower down the price of vegetable oils, China has tended to import vegetable oil instead of palm oil. The data has shown that China might break their record on the amount of vegetable oil importation. Hence, there is an inverted relationship between the vegetable oil and palm oil.

Tariff and Policies

Malaysia relies on exporting to build up the country’s economy. Hence, to hit the GDP higher government may lower down the tax rate to help in strengthening the exports and reduce the inventory level. This action can make the liquidity if the market higher which is more favourable to traders.

Besides, the tariff issue of the importing countries can suffer the palm oil producer. India is the world second largest oil-import country, and they rely on imports for 70% of its edible oil consumption. Early of this year, they had raised their import duty on crude and refined palm oil to the highest level in more than a decade which up to 54% to protect their local farmers. With this action implemented, it has forced a palm oil producer country to compete with local farmers in business.

Australia had proposed a bill of enforcing labelling palm oil as a product ingredient instead of vegetable oil. It was due to boycott as they believe palm oil plantations have contributed to deforestation. With the lower demand for palm oil-based products, therefore, affecting the palm oil price to go lower.


FCPO trading should not only focus on technical trade as the fundamental factors can affect the price trend. Other than the factors listed above, there is still another factor like Ringgit exchange rate. A fall in the Ringgit makes the price attractive to foreign buyers and therefore increased demand from them will raise the FCPO price. Hence, FCPO traders should not only focus on the chart but more on the essential factors of the palm oil.

The Basic of Commodity Derivative – Crude Palm Oil Futures (FCPO)

By Evelyn Yong | 4 July 2018

FCPO is a Ringgit Malaysia (MYR) denominated crude palm oil futures contract traded on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives which providing market participants with a global price benchmark for the Crude Palm Oil Market since 1980 in the Commodity Futures Exchange. It is a legal agreement to buy or sell crude palm oil at a predetermined price at a specific time in future.

FCPO were standardised for 25 metric tons for a contract with minimum price fluctuation of RM1 per metric ton. The settlement of FCPO is on physical delivery. Hence, the buyer of the futures contract is taking on the obligation to buy the agreed amount of crude palm oil when the futures contract expires.

FCPO trading market available with 2 categories of market participants, hedgers and speculators. For those oil-related businessmen such as plantation companies, refineries, exporters and millers, they trade FCPO to manage price risk. To control their product cost and profit margin, they will hedge into FCPO to against unfavourable price movement in the physical market. For traders, they act as speculators in the market and gain leverage exposure to price movements of crude palm oil and earn the spread.

There are some rules and limits in trading FCPO. The daily price limits for FCPO are controlled to trade within the 10% of price varying in the spot month (the futures contract month closest to expiration). Once the FCPO price has raised or (dropped) by its daily limit, there will be not allowed to trade at any higher (lower) price until the next trading day. When there are at least 3 non-spot month contracts are traded at within 10% limit, the Exchange will announce a 10-minute cooling off period for all contract months (excluding the spot month). During the 10 minutes, all trades are only able to take place in the 10% limit. After this cooling off period, all contract months shall specify as interrupted for 5 minutes. Then, all contract months shall not be in trading more than 15% vary from the settlement price of the preceding business day.

The contract months for FCPO are spot month and the next 11 succeeding months, and after that, other months up to 36 months ahead. So, producers can hedge the prices by up to 3 years forward and with the first year of 12 consecutive contract months. For traders, the most active trading month usually will be the 3rd month of the contract due to the contract liquidity. The final trading day for a contract will be at noon of 15th (or preceding business day if 15th is the holiday) of the delivery month. The tender period of FCPO will be from the 1st to 20th of calendar day of spot month.

The trading hours for FCPO separated into 2 sessions, which morning trading session is from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and afternoon trading session is from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. As FCPO is a global trading platform, there are high volumes of trade from China’s traders in morning trading session while afternoon session is more attracted to European countries’ traders .

Bursa Malaysia Derivatives has restricted speculative position limits to prevent large price swings associated with excessive speculative trading. Hence, there are only 800 contracts allow for the spot month, 10,000 contracts for any contract month except for spot month and 30,000 contracts for all months combined.

FCPO is considered the most actively traded CPO futures contract in Malaysia and widely recognised as the Global Pricing Benchmark for Crude Palm Oil. Beside, FCPO is also the most price sensitive to the Palm Oil trading community. To increase the market liquidity and trading volume, Bursa Malaysia Derivatives had extended trading hours and the contract period of FCPO in the past February to encourage more trades and stimulate the market. Hence, traders can try to explore this market while seeking another investment tool.