Daily Highlights: 13 June 2018

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Highlights:

  1. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir confident of runaway success
  2. Malaysian government’s fiscal policies pivotal to credit quality, says Moody’s
  3. Process, product innovations top two focus areas in Malaysian Financial Services Industry
  4. Automated segmentation discovery tools optimise customer engagement
  5. Neutral impact on industry players if ECRL cancelled
  6. Singapore’s Labour Market Improved Slightly in 1Q 2018
  7. Toyota to invest US$1 billion in Grab
  8. Japan enacts law to lower adulthood age to 18

Malaysia will achieve runaway success – Dr M
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is confident that Malaysia will achieve runaway success following his three-day working visit to Japan. He said during the visit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had given him ample time to hear out the problems faced by Malaysia. And he gave his assurance that he would do his best to help,” Dr Mahathir said in his official Twitter account. It is first foreign visit since taking office as Prime Minister of Malaysia last month.

Malaysian government’s fiscal policies pivotal to credit quality, says Moody’s
Moody’s Investors Service said fiscal measures are a particular area of focus for Malaysia given that the country’s high debt burden acts as a credit constraint. “Consequently, to what extent the new government achieves fiscal deficit consolidation will be vital in gauging the eventual effects on Malaysia’s fiscal metrics and credit profile,” it said. Moody’s said this in a report titled “Government of Malaysia: FAQ on credit implications of the new government’s policies”. The report analyses the implications of the new Malaysian government’s (A3 stable) policies on the sovereign’s credit profile. It said the transition of power, following the 14th General Election last month has introduced some policy uncertainty. Moody’s said it would examine any new government’s policies holistically to gauge their impact on the credit profile.

Process, product innovations top two focus areas in Malaysian Financial Services Industry
A new study by the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) said process and product/service innovations are the top two areas of focus for the Malaysian financial services industry (FSI). The study revealed that 90 per cent of leaders in the Malaysian FSI agree that innovation is important for the sustainability of their organisations, while around 48 per cent said their companies were quick to innovate to gain first-mover advantage. Malaysia is ranked 37 on a list of 127 countries in the latest Global Innovation Index rankings reported in 2017. “However, much remains to be done to achieve the long-term objective of becoming one of the top 20 nations in terms of economic development, social advancement and innovation,” said AIF in a statement in Kuala Lumpur. The report also suggested that over the next three years, the majority of Malaysian financial institutions (FIs) will invest in digitalising their businesses with a focus on mobile devices as the key channel for consumers. “It also revealed that opportunities for FIs and financial technology (fintech) start-ups to collaborate remain largely untapped, with strong interest shown by both parties to work together to create game-changing innovation across financial services,” it said. The study, entitled ‘Fostering Innovation: A Perspective from the Financial Services Industry and FinTech in Malaysia’, aims among others to provide better clarity on the current state of play regarding innovation in the FSI and what the future looks like for the industry for the next three years. Over 50 senior managers including C-suite executives and 247 junior to middle-level employees in the Malaysian FSI took part in the online survey. It also includes interviews and focus group discussions with FSI leaders and fintech companies. AIF is a think tank jointly established by Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia to enhance human capital development and talent management across the FSI in Asia.

Automated segmentation discovery tools optimise customer engagement
Marketers can now optimise their customer engagement by using industry-first suite of automated user segmentation tools — known as Discovery Tools. Developed by CleverTap, a leading mobile marketing platform, the tools will empower marketers to significantly increase campaign yield and return on investment. The company in a statement said the Discovery Tools will instantly identify champion users, loyal customers differentiated from hibernating users and about to churn users. By exposing these user segments, it allows marketers to focus on finding the best ways to engage with these segments – run a loyalty program for champion users and run some win back campaigns on users likely to churn to get their interest back. Chief Executive Officer at CleverTap, Sunil Thomas said the company launches the tools to automate a large part of how marketers discover their valuable customer segments. He added that these tools will significantly improve marketing efficiency and help marketers spend their marketing dollars effectively.

Neutral impact on industry players if ECRL cancelled
Analysts believe that the cancellation of the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) will only have a neutral impact on ports and last-mile delivery players. This is due to the complexity of costs of intermodal logistics to be borne by companies in having to use other transportation such as trucks to transport cargo to rail, said Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) Research Analyst Adam Mohamed Rahim. “Even though the ECRL claims to take a shorter time to transport rather than solely using ships passing through the Straits of Malacca, the cargo volume using a ship is way higher than using railway. “For example, ships from China unload cargo at Kuantan Port and then may use trucks to transport to rail. The railway then carries the cargo to Port Klang and when unloaded, it will need trucks to transport the cargo from rail to port. “This process will incur higher charges for the companies than by using ships,” he told Bernama.

Singapore’s Labour Market Improved Slightly in 1Q 2018
Supported by sustained expansion in economic activity, Singapore’s labour market improved slightly in 1Q 2018. Resident unemployment and long-term unemployment rates declined in March 2018. There were significantly fewer retrenchments and more job vacancies. Total employment grew slightly, as growth in the Services sectors more than offset declines in Work Permit Holders in the Construction and Marine Shipyard sectors. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined at the overall (2.1% in December 2017 to 2.0% in March 2018) and for residents (3.0% to 2.8%), and remained unchanged for citizens (3.0%). The decline in resident unemployment rate was due to those aged 30 & over, and those with post-secondary and degree qualifications. At the same time, the seasonally adjusted resident long-term unemployment rate declined from 0.8% in December 2017 to 0.7% in March 2018. The decline was largest among residents aged below 30 (from 0.9% to 0.6%), and those with post-secondary qualifications (from 0.9% to 0.5%). The main reason for retrenchment continued to be business restructuring and reorganisation. With more job vacancies and fewer unemployed persons, the seasonally-adjusted job vacancies to unemployed ratio improved from 0.92 in December 2017 to 1.04 in March 2018. This was the first time since March 2016 (1.05) where there were more job vacancies than unemployed persons. In 2018, overall labour demand is expected to expand, but unevenly across sectors. Job opportunities will be available in Services sectors such as Finance & Insurance, Infocomms & Media, Healthcare, Professional Services, Logistics and Wholesale Trade. However, hiring is expected to remain cautious in Construction and Marine Shipyard.

Toyota to invest US$1 billion in Grab
Toyota Motor Corporation has agreed to invest US$1 billion in ride-hailing firm Grab, making it the lead investor in the company’s ongoing financing round. The investment by Toyota is the largest-ever by an automaker in the global ride-hailing sector. It is also the latest collaboration between a global vehicle maker and a technology firm, raising the possibility of a future where car ownership declines in favour of ride-hailing services. Toyota’s investment will allow Grab to further expand its range of online to offline services, such as food delivery and digital payments in the region. Toyota executive, Shigeki Tomoyama said “Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia.”

Japan enacts law to lower adulthood age to 18
The Diet today enacted a law to revise the Civil Code and lower the age of adulthood to 18 from 20, with the aim of spurring social participation by youth in rapidly aging Japan. The revised Civil Code, which will take effect in April 2022, will change the definition of an adult, enabling 18- and 19-year-olds to marry without parental consent. Males aged 18 and older and females aged 16 and older in Japan can currently marry, but parental consent is required for people under 20. The revision will also lift the legal age of marriage for women to 18. In line with the lowering of the adulthood age, revisions will be made to 22 related laws including those on nationality and passports, but people under 20 will still be prohibited from drinking alcohol, smoking and gambling.

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