Malaysia steps up the gas on hydropower

Malaysia steps up the gas on hydropower

Speculation as to Malaysia’s future economic priorities have frequently focused on the country’s oil and gas reserves, palm oil production, high-tech manufacturing, real estate and, of course, tourism.

While its potential strengths in the hydropower sector have remained largely overlooked, two high-profile dam projects may be about to change all that, with Sarawak’s long-mooted Corridor of Renewable Energy now set to become a reality.

Last month, Sarawak Energy Berhad, the power generation company owned and operated by the state government of Sarawak, completed its purchase of the 2,400 mW Bakun Dam from Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance.

The company paid RM2.5 billion in cash, with a further RM6 billion in loan facilities, to take possession of one of Southeast Asia’s most significant – and controversial – power projects. Work on the dam was originally completed in 2010, but the site didn’t come fully online until July 2014.

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Slower export growth pace in 2018

export growth

Malaysia’s export growth pace in 2018 may throttle down on the back of the stronger ringgit and a slowing global electronics cycle, following a record of high performance last year, The Star reported.

In fact, the slowdown in the exports momentum was already seen in December 2017, as total exports edged up well below market expectations.

According to The Star, Malaysia’s export growth in 2018 could decelerate also due to the result of the technical high base effect, which was caused by the surge in the country’s exports last year.

Moving forward, despite the projected moderation in overall trade, analysts continue to be optimistic on the country’s exports performance.

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Yellen stops short of saying markets are in a bubble

janet yellen

Outgoing Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said U.S. stocks and commercial real estate charges are on the high side but stopped short of saying the markets are in a bubble.

“Well, I don’t want to say too high. But I do want to say high,” Yellen said on CBS’s “Sunday Morning” in an interview recorded Friday as she prepared to leave the central bank. “Price-earnings ratios are near the high end of their historical ranges.”

Commercial real estate prices are now “quite high relative to rents,” Yellen said. “Now, is that a bubble or is it too high? And there it’s very hard to tell. But it is a source of some concern that asset valuations are so high.”

Yellen, 71, stepped down as Fed leader on Saturday after one term after President Donald Trump opted to replace her with Republican Jerome Powell, who’s been a Fed governor since 2012.

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Bond market is expected to remain strong in 2018, amounting up to RM90b – RM100b, says RAM Ratings

ram ratings

The bond market is expected to remain robust this year, with RM90 billion to RM100 billion of gross corporate bond issuance to take place, said RAM Rating Services Bhd (RAM Ratings) in a report by The Star on Jan 25, 2018.

“The strong corporate bond issuance is driven by a healthy pipeline of issuances from the financial institutions and infrastructure, as well as utility sectors which have traditionally issued the largest share of the market’s corporate bonds,” said RAM Ratings Services Bhd Head of Research Kristina Fong.

The latest RAM’s Bond Market Monthly stated that in 2017, the gross issuance of corporate bonds hit a record high of RM124.9 billion, surpassing its expectation of RM105 billion to RM115 billion.

“The robust issuance in 2017 was supported by both sub-segments of the corporate bond market – quasi-government and private, which posted double-digit year-over-year rates of 46.1 per cent and 45.6 per cent respectively,” it said.

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