• MIER revises 2017 GDP upwards to 5.4%
  • MITI Minister leading Trade and Investment Mission to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium
  • ABSS, Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation journey for Malaysian SMEs
  • Seventy-five percent of online shoppers said they rarely or never buy groceries online
  • Merger & Acquisition activity in EMU Sector continues decline globally
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MIER Revises Upwards 2017 GDP to 5.4 %

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) has revised upwards Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to 5.4 per cent for this year, driven by domestic and stronger external demands. Executive Director, Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said the revision was 0.6 percentage point higher from its July forecast of 4.8 per cent. “The economy performed strongly in the first half of the year, with the 5.7 per cent GDP growth driven by domestic demand. “However, we think that household and private investments in the second half of 2017 will not be growing as fast as the first half,” he told a press conference on the Malaysian Economic Outlook for the third quarter in Kuala Lumpur. He said domestic demand was expected to grow by 4.8 per cent this year, an upward revision of 0.2 percentage point, while private consumption was expected to grow by 6.1 per cent, an upward revision of 0.1 percentage point.

Trade and Investment Mission in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium

Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed is currently leading a Trade and Investment Mission to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Covering Hamburg, Amsterdam and Brussels, the mission aims to strengthen Malaysia’s economic bilateral relations with these countries. The focus sectors during this mission are electric and electronics (automotive/automation parts), logistics, palm oil and oleo chemicals as well as development and application of industry 4.0 elements in the manufacturing sector. A delegation of 37 people comprising 10 officials from MITI and agencies, as well as 27 businessmen from 14 organisations are participating in the mission. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed will be engaging various stakeholders and businesses including the chambers of commerce and industry as well as meeting industry captains in the three countries to promote Malaysia as their ideal trade and investment partner. In 2016, total trade with the European Union (EU) increased by 0.4% to RM149.1 billion. Malaysia’s exports to the EU rose by 1.2% to RM79.8 billion while imports decreased slightly by 0.5% to RM69.2 billion compared with 2015. For the period January-August 2017, Malaysia’s total trade with the EU amounted to RM113.4 billion, an increase of 18.3% from the corresponding period in 2016.  Germany and the Netherlands are the top two investors from the EU, whilst Belgium is ranked in the top ten. As of December 2016, Malaysia has approved RM69.2 billion of investments with German, Dutch and Belgian participation involving 949 manufacturing projects. These have created more than 140,428 employment opportunities.

ABSS, Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation journey for Malaysian SMEs

FINANCIO, a wholly owned entity within Asian Business Software Solutions (ABSS) signed a strategic agreement with Microsoft to empower micro SMEs in Malaysia and accelerate their digital transformation journey.Designed for start-ups, small business owners and non-accountants, this platform will be the first freemium accounting application in Malaysia that has adopted Microsoft cloud services to provide end-to-end, scalable solutions for micro SMEs in the digital economy. Financio gives companies access to a secure solution that tracks business finances by leveraging Microsoft’s cloud solutions. Microenterprises will be able to migrate their accounting portfolio to a more secure, stable and agile cloud platform with an uptime of 99.5%. Paul Conway, CEO, ABSS said, “Today, Financio is helping small businesses save over 384,000-man hours a year and powering more than 4500 small businesses across Malaysia. We are aiming to increase this number to 125,000 by March 2018, and our partnership with Microsoft will play a crucial role in achieving this target.”

Online groceries are a hard sell even to avid Internet shoppers

Most US shoppers are fiercely loyal to local food stores, calling them better than online options, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll that raises questions about how much Amazon.com’s US$13.7bil (RM57.8bil) purchase of Whole Foods will shake up the supermarket business.  Shares in Kroger Co, the largest US. supermarket operator, have tumbled 40% from this year’s highs on worries that the newly merged company will be quick to siphon business from traditional food sellers. Seventy-five percent of online shoppers said they rarely or never buy groceries online, according to the survey of nearly 8,600 adults from August 12 to September 1. Even among frequent online shoppers who make Internet purchases at least weekly, almost 60% said they never buy groceries online or do so just a few times a year, according to the poll. The poll also found that around 60% of all adults said their local food markets win on price, selection, quality and convenience.

Merger &Acquisition Activity In Energy, Mining and Utilities Sector Continues Decline Globally

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in energy, mining and utilities (EMU) continued to wane, underlining a continued downtrend for deal activity in 2017, and despite oil prices rallying in the third quarter (Q3) of this year. According to Mergermarket’s Global Energy, in the mining and utilities trend report for the first until the third quarters of this year, total deals for EMU’s accounted for 316 transactions globally, marking the sector’s lowest quarterly activity since Q1 2015 (301 deals). Global Head of Deals and Data Content, Sola Akinola said Asia saw the sharpest decline in value at only US$8.8 billion, down 45 per cent compared to both the last quarters (US$16.1 billion), as well as the same period in 2016 (US$16 billion). “The Q3, 2017 was the slowest third quarter in six years since Q3 2011 (308 deals), while this quarter’s aggregate deal value of US$133.4 billion, is down 27 per cent compared to the same period last year (US$181.5 billion). “Geographically, the United States still dominates the landscape, accounting for 33 per cent and 55 per cent of total EMU deal counts and value over the last three months, respectively,” he said.