INVE$T | Market Sentiments
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has rolled out new features and tools on the i-Invest web portal to improve user experience. Various web features of i-Invest such as transactional functions, suitability assessment and useful information on approved unit trust funds, and the fund management institutions (FMIs) offering them, are now available on the i-Akaun mobile application, with additional features to be added in the coming months. In an effort to help members make more informed decisions, the EPF has introduced the Historical Investment Performance Dashboard to enable members to analyse investment performance returns across various time horizons. This new feature, which is the first of its kind in the domestic fund management industry, provides a display of investment returns based on three key categories to enable comparisons to be made at the fund level, FMI level and overall portfolio level. The EPF has also introduced an investment simulator as a tool to help members assess investment decisions based on five key parameters. Investment objectives can now be simulated based on a member’s choice of the initial investment amount, monthly investment amount, investment period, rate of return or ending investment value. The enhanced i-Invest portal has also incorporated Lipper-assigned benchmarks for members to compare against the unit trust funds’ performances. The i-Invest portal, which was launched in August 2019, offers a wide range of functions, flexibility and convenience for members to conduct investment decisions, as well as monitor their investments at any time and from anywhere. Through this facility, members can compare between unit trust funds offered by the FMIs and obtain a consolidated view of their investment holdings, information on investment costs, fund performance history, as well as statutory information related to the FMIs. The EPF said it will continue to ensure that the i-Invest portal is improved from time to time for the benefit of its members and invites feedback on the portal via the link at https://cms.kwsp.gov.my/survey/surveyfront/index?sid=54
Recovery on the horizon for Malaysian economy, but challenges remain – Bursa Chairman
According to Bursa Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, Malaysia must be clear-eyed about the challenges on the horizon despite being fortified by sound economic fundamentals and the economy on its way to a recovery after turning the corner against the pandemic. Speaking at the Malaysian Economic Summit 2022 organised by the KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific, he said there were a number of factors to be optimistic about the country’s growth outlook and most importantly, it was transitioning to the endemic phase with the relaxation of pandemic control measures and reopening of international borders. The endemic phase is likely to contribute to the revival of Malaysia’s tourism industry which supports 3.5 million jobs. The high vaccination rate with close to 80 per cent of the population being vaccinated with two doses is another important factor. This compares favourably against Asean’s rate of 60 per cent. A sound government policy has provided economic relief and support for the people and businesses, including employment incentives, cash transfers and subsidies, which resulted in a significant decline in the unemployment rate from a peak of 5.3 per cent in May 2020 to 4.1 per cent in May 2022. Being also chairman of Economic Club of Kuala Lumpur (ECKL) Advisory Council, he said that Bank Negara Malaysia has forecast that Malaysia’s economic growth to be between 5.3 per cent and 6.3 per cent in 2022 while the World Bank projected the economy to grow by 5.5 per cent. However, it is important to note that these forecasts have been downgraded, underscoring the uncertainties within and beyond the country. If there is upside, there will be downside and we must consider domestic and global challenges that will affect the Malaysian economy. Geopolitical risks threatened Malaysia’s recovery whereby the conflict in Ukraine and the economic sanctions on Russia have created uncertainties and they had exacerbated the supply shocks in commodities such as crude oil, natural gas, wheat and sunflower oil, hence, driven up the prices of food commodities. Malaysia also had to contend with these inflationary pressures where the annual Consumer Price Index went from -1.2 per cent in 2020 to 2.5 per cent in 2021. The inflation rate will continue to rise this year and has been driven by significant increases in transportation and food costs. Food prices have increased between 3.6 per cent and 4.0 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Fortunately, the government’s fuel subsidy has kept a lid on further increases on fuel cost. However, the fuel subsidy is a double-edged sword because while it keeps inflation down, the government’s fiscal space will shrink. Another major domestic issue is the political uncertainties that have afflicted the country since the last general election. The economic boost from the transition to the endemic phase may be neutralised by the adverse global developments such as the conflict in Ukraine, China’s Covid-19 lockdown and the inflationary pressures. Therefore, the short-term goal of economic stabilisation should focus on supporting domestic demand and addressing the impact of imported inflation from weaker exchange rates and higher fuel prices. He was cautiously optimistic that Malaysia will be able to overcome these challenges if Malaysians were to come together, be constructive and do what we can in our respective roles since the country has weathered similar crises in the past. Obviously, there were different factors that will require different sets of solutions which means we cannot rest our laurels and must be persistent and focused.
Eye On The Markets
This week, on Friday (17June), the Ringgit opened at 4.3975 against the USD from 4.4110 on Monday (13June). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.1752 to the Sing Dollar on Friday (17June). On Monday (13June), the FBM KLCI opened at 1483.76. As at Friday (17June) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI is down 31.88 points for the week at 1451.88. Over in US, the overnight Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 741.46 points (-2.42%) to 29,927.07 whilst the NASDAQ shed 453.06 points (-4.08%) to 10,646.10.