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.


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