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Monday, 21 August 2017

Deepening Capital Markets in Asean: Opportunities and Challenges.

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Malaysia: The overall deepening of Asean's capital markets will remain challenging if advanced countries do not create an inclusive environment for their less developed counterparts, said the Securities Commission.
"The development of capital markets is a main objective of the Asean Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) as we see Asean capital markets to have the potential to grow as much as US$3.5 trillion in the near term," said its executive chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh at CIMB Asean Research Institute (CARI)'s Asean Roundtable Series this morning.
"However, we have seen that when it comes to the discussion of deepening of Asean capital markets, there are only two or three countries within Asean that would be able to participate because they already have the depth that is needed, while the majority of countries don't."
Ranjit called for the ACMF and all countries involved to create a more inclusive environment when it comes to cross-border initiatives so that all of Asean would be able to reap the benefits.
He went on to say that though he understands that these countries would prefer to focus on their own domestic markets first, they must also be aware of the benefits of going cross border while doing so.
"The key take-away is that, for the Asean preposition to work, all Asean countries need to work together," he said.
"Though I understand that some of the countries need to work on the deepening of their own domestic capital markets, it is still important for them to also capitalise on the burgeoning interconnectivity of Asean markets. They do not have to go at it alone as they can readily tap into the existing strength of Asean."
Ranjit called upon the industry to submit recommendation papers to their respective regulators so that the regulators will be aware of their restrictions and work at it together on the ACMF level.
"The Asean preposition can only work if we work together, which we already are. However, there are still much to be done if we want to reach the goals that were outlined in the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025."
Goals of the AEC 2025 include trade liberalisation, behind-the-border reforms and policy harmonisation; all of which is critical to Asean's future economic prosperity.
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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Medical insurance claims rise 14 per cent annually, now stands at 12 per cent.

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Malaysia: Bank Negara Malaysia will come out with a framework to reduce medical insurance inflation, which now stands at 12 per cent.
Bank Negara governor Datuk Seri Muhammad Ibrahim said the current inflation rate is quite high, thus measures needed to be taken to address the issue.
Rising medical claims had increased pressure on medical insurance premiums.
"On average, medical insurance claims rise 14 per cent annually," Muhammad said at a press conference on the country's second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) performance here today.
The central bank noted that net claims paid to policyholders had increased to RM4.9 billion in 2016 compared with RM4.5 billion in 2015, of which these claims were driven by demand for better healthcare, ageing population and higher prevalence of chronic and lifestyle diseases.
Muhammad said the increase in the cost of drugs and treatments were among the factors that led to the higher insurance claims.
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Friday, 18 August 2017

Malaysian economy grows at fastest quarterly, as private investments rose by 7.4 %.


Malaysia: The Malaysian economy continued to power strongly at an annualised 5.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2017.
The 5.8 per cent was the fastest quarterly growth since the first quarter of 2015.
Beating market expectations, the gross domestic product overall recorded a 5.7 per cent growth for the first half of the year.
Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Seri Muhammad Ibrahim announced that the full-year growth will be above 4.8 per cent.
Minister of Finance Datuk Sri Najib Razak will announce the revised growth projections during the tabling of Budget 2018.
"Growth prospects will continue to be driven by domestic demand with some lift from exports," Muhammad told a media briefing today.
He was referring to the steady wage and employment growth, ongoing implementation of infrastructure projects and continued external demand.
The strong and resilient fundamentals of the economy will enable Malaysia to manage the current challenges.
On the second quarter, he said all the economic sectors, led by the services and manufacturing sectors, continued to expand between April and June.
Private consumption rose by 7.1 per cent supported by improvements in labour market conditions.
Private investments also rose by 7.4 per cent during the period.
Inflation moderated to 4 per cent during the second quarter and will decline further in line with lower oil prices.
"But we need to watch the oil prices," he added.
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Thursday, 17 August 2017

U.S. shale oil continues to rise, peaking due to improving fuel efficiency and the rise of fuel energy.

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SINGAPORE: Oil prices edged up on Wednesday, lifted by declining U.S. crude inventories, although markets were still restrained by general oversupply.
Market focus was turning to the release of official U.S. Energy Information Administration data later on Wednesday for a further update on inventories.
Brent crude futures were at $51.06 per barrel at 0651 GMT, up 23 cents, or 0.45 percent, from their last close.
Traders said that reports of a dip in Libyan output to between 130,000 and 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), down from 280,000 bpd, had supported Brent.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $47.71 a barrel, up 16 cents, or 0.3 percent.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 9.2 million barrels in the week to Aug. 11 to 469.2 million, industry group the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday.
That compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 3.1 million barrels.
"The market took this as a mildly bullish report," said William O'Loughlin of Australia's Rivkin Securities.
However, gasoline stocks climbed by 301,000 barrels, compared with analyst expectations for a 1.1 million barrel decline.
More broadly, analysts said ample supplies were preventing prices from moving much higher.
"Excessive supply ... is continuing to weigh on oil prices ... Not a lot has changed despite the OPEC and Russia efforts recently. While these producers have tried to limit their oil output, U.S. shale oil continues to rise," said Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at futures brokerage Forex.com.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries together with non-OPEC producers like Russia has pledged to restrict output by 1.8 bpd between January this year and March 2018.
Offsetting much of that effort, however, U.S. oil production has soared by almost 12 percent since mid-2016 to 9.42 million bpd.
"OPEC and Russia still face an uphill battle in reducing the global supply surplus in the face of growth in output elsewhere and less than compliant behaviour in their midst (Iraq, UAE)," said French bank BNP Paribas.
On the demand side, analysts see a gradual slowdown in fuel consumption growth.
In the United States, energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said gasoline demand was already peaking due to improving fuel efficiency and the rise of electric vehicles.
In China, state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) said on Wednesday that gasoline demand would likely peak around 2025 and outright oil consumption would top out around 2030.
This means that oil demand from the world's two biggest consumers may soon stall, while consumption has already peaked in Europe and Japan.

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Malaysia's Exchange rate risk, total external debt is denominated in foreign currency.

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Malaysia: Moody's Investors Service has maintained Malaysia's sovereign rating at A3, saying the credit profile remains resilient despite external vulnerabilities.
The narrower current account surplus has provided less of a cushion than in the past.
In its latest assessment, it cautioned that the strong presence of non-resident investors in the financial markets makes it vulnerable to sudden capital flow swings.
Foreign holdings of outstanding Malaysian government debt stands at about 24 per cent, and non-residents account for close to 27 per cent of total stock market capitalisation.
"This exposes the country to sudden movements in portfolio investment flows," it said in a note today.
The rise in short-term external debt, held by local and foreign currency debt, also raises its fragility.
Moody's said although total external debt, at 72.6 per cent of gross domestic product, is in line with the median for A-rated sovereigns, since mid-2016, short-term external debt by original maturity has risen to 45.1 per cent of external debt since mid-2016.
It added that almost 60 per cent of total external debt is denominated in foreign currency, which gives rise to some exchange rate risk.
In the case of the growing foreign reserves which are still larger than short term debt, Moody's warned that the ratio of annual external liabilities due to reserves – as measured by its external vulnerability indicator (EVI) – has been significantly above the 100 per cent threshold for years.
The credit rating agency has forecast it at 143 per cent for 2018.
Despite these vulnerabilities, Moody's view on the credit profile does not change during periods of heightened external volatility".
The agency said it would take a significant deterioration of external metrics from current levels for Malaysia's credit profile to weaken.
Other sources of credit risk would be a sharp growth slowdown or meaningful deterioration in the public finances, neither of which is likely at this time.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Malaysia are operating beyond terminal design capacities average of RM5.1 billion.

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Malaysia: The domestic passenger traffic market, which ranks the third largest in Asean, grew 10.4 per cent year-on-year for the first seven months of 2017, with a total of 56.9 million passengers.
However, capital expenditure needs to be increased significantly as seven airports in Malaysia are operating beyond terminal design capacities.
This was cited in the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) 2017 outlook report for the industry, which was launched today.
"On the back of this growth MAVCOM expects total passenger traffic for the year to grow by 7.8 per cent to 8.8 per cent, translating into 98.3 million to 99.2 million passengers,” the report, which is prepared bi-annually, stated.
Malaysia's airports made the country the third most connected in Asean as they offer passengers direct and indirect flights to 116 international destinations.
"This is the third highest in Asean after Singapore (153) and Thailand (151),” the report said.
It also cited that the industry contributed an average of RM5.1 billion annually to the Malaysian economy.
"In 2014 the industry employed nearly 44,000 full time workers across various services.
"Based on the latest available data from the Statistics Department in 2010, the industry generated twice the (returns) for the economy for every RM1 (it generated),” stated the report, adding that this was the 28th highest multiplier of the 122 industries in Malaysia.
The total fleet size of Malaysian airlines increased from 213 to 278 aircraft in the six years leading to 2016, it stated.
"The capacity increase coincided with a period of decreasing average fares, whereby those for domestic and international routes decreased by 5.9 per cent and 8.0 per cent per annum respectively.
"This contributed towards Malaysian carriers overall reporting negative spreads between revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK) and cost per available seat from 2010 to 2016.”
Based on the latest audited reports available, the 20 non-scheduled service providers collectively reported RM1.6 billion in revenue and RM156.8 million in operating profits in 2015.
"Only firms operating in the on-demand charter and oil and gas markets reported positive operating profit margins indicating stiff competition in the non-scheduled services sub-sector.”

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