Malaysian business confidence rose to 6pc, says Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton

The optimism level of Malaysian business confidence has risen to 6 per cent which is a major improvement compared to a year ago at -36 per cent, according to the International Business Report (IBR) by Grant Thornton, reported by The Star.

The quarterly business survey which covered 2,500 businesses in 36 economies showed the ASEAN region’s optimism level was performing at its best at 58 per cent, the highest since 2011. The survey revealed that high levels of confidence are driven particularly by surges in Indonesia for 100 per cent, as well as the Philippines at 86 per cent, where optimism has risen by 12 percentage points (12pp) and 6pp. The report stated that the global business optimism is at a positive level too, being at its highest level ever at 58 per cent.

Grant Thornton Malaysia Country Managing Partner Datuk NK Jasani said in the statement that optimism level in Malaysia has boomed, which is at the highest since 2014, despite being the lowest level among ASEAN countries. “In the country, the signs of confidence can be seen as the survey revealed that 62 per centbusiness owners are expecting an increase in revenues up to 22pp from the third-quarter (Q3) in 2017. “Also, 44 per cent of business owners are expecting an increase in exports for the year ahead which is up to 10pp from the same period, which is the highest in ASEAN,” said Jasani. The Managing Partner also said that 58 per cent of business partners are expecting an increase in profits, up to 46pp from Q3 in 2017 and 30 per cent of business owners are looking to increase in selling prices, up to 14 pp from the same period.

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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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Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd to meet RM50b assets under administration by 2018

Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd

The Edge reported that Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd (Affin Hwang AM), an asset management entity is on track to meet its RM50 billion assets under administration (AUA) target by 2018.

In a company update briefing, Affin Hwang AM said charting one of the strongest growth trajectory in the company’s history, the company’s AUA grew by over RM 11 billion last year to reach RM47.3 billion as at Dec’17.

“This is an achievement that is both humbling and exciting for us, but never taken for granted. As an asset management player that puts integrity at the forefront of our core values, we will continue to manage our clients’ wealth responsibly through their hard-earned trust.

“We aim to sustain our growth momentum by building on our existing capabilities and knowledge-base to harness operational efficiencies within the company,” Teng said.

Assets under administration is the value of assets that a third-party administrator or entities provide services for, which include taxes, accounting, and custody of assets.

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Massive Cryptocurrency Heist in Japan puts highlight on security

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, CoincheckInc had on Friday experienced one of the biggest heist in history to the tune of USD$500 million.

Three days later, the theft of nearly USD$500 million in digital tokens is still reverberating through cryptocurrency markets and policy circles around the world.

The episode, disclosed by Coincheck executives at a hastily arranged press conference on Friday night, comes at an awkward time for Japanese regulators, who began rolling out a new licensing system for cryptocurrency venues just a few months ago. It has heightened calls for closer oversight and may influence a closely watched debate in neighboring South Korea over whether to ban digital-asset exchanges outright.

While Bitcoin and its ilk have mostly recovered from their selloff on Friday — thanks in part to Coincheck’s assurances over the weekend that customers would be reimbursed — market observers say concerns over security lapses at cryptocurrency exchanges are likely to persist. They may even push some investors toward peer-to-peer methods of trading that don’t rely on centralized platforms.

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China’s Dalian Wanda Group says 2017 Revenue Down 10.8 percent on Asset Sales

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Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group’s revenue fell by 10.8 percent in 2017, the second consecutive year it declined, as the debt-laden group sold off property assets and faced increasing scrutiny from regulators and lenders.

The  property-to-entertainment group, owned by tycoon Wang Jianlin, reported 227.4 billion yuan ($35.54 billion) in revenue for last year, while net profit remained flat compared with 2016, according to a statement posted on the company’s website on Saturday. It did not reveal the profit figure.Total assets, of which 93 percent are domestic, declined 11.5 percent to 700 billion yuan.The group came under pressure last year from a government crackdown on perceived risky spending overseas and high levels of corporate debt.

Banks heightened their scrutiny and ratings agencies downgraded its property unit to junk status.The Chinese conglomerate is expected to announce the sale of two Australian property projects in the coming days, sources have told Reuters, the latest in a string of asset sales as the firm looks to reduce its portfolio after a major acquisition spree.

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Public to be Aware on the Initial Coin Offering

ico

The two authorities, Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and Bank Negara Malaysia advised members of the public to exercise caution on the initial coin offering (ICO) schemes that may involve activities that are subjected to laws administered by the SC and the Central Bank.

In the statement, SC that carrying on such activities without proper authorisation is an offense.

The issuers of ICO are advised to be mindful on the launching of ICO, the offering of digital tokens in exchange for digital currency or any form of payment and incidental activities that may trigger regulatory requirements under securities laws.

“No person is permitted to carry out any regulated activities such as fundraising, fund management, and dealing in capital market products without obtaining necessary approval or authorisation from the SC,” it said.

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eCCRIS to Digitize and Empower Financial Services & Society

Last week, the Central Bank of Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia has introduced a new initiative to digitize its financial services and empower society called eCCRIS which stands for the electronic Central Credit Reference Information System.

In the bank’s statement, the Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said it is the bank’s efforts to expand the scope of the use of its traditional CCRIS report.

He said the report is used not only by borrowers and lenders, but it also include the purposes of individual financial health screening, debt management and settlement activities, as well as screening of job applicants by employers. This development is in line with Bank Negara’s aspiration to see the wider use of credit scores.

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