1. Chinese army’s Hong Kong chief says troops are ready to protect nation’s sovereignty
  2. New high for Malaysia-China bilateral trade
  3. ACCCIM: Business delegation to China’s Greater Bay Area to be multiracial
  4. Foreign investors heading back to Malaysia, eyeing Big Cap players
  5. Malaysia optimistic over economic growth despite lower PPI
  6. RAM Ratings expects Malaysia’s trade expansion to continue in June
  7. Jakarta records worst air quality in the world again

Chinese army’s Hong Kong chief says troops are ready to protect nation’s sovereignty
The chief of the Chinese military garrison in Hong Kong has warned that violent clashes would not be tolerated and that the army was determined to protect China’s sovereignty. Chen Daoxiang, the commander of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) Hong Kong garrison, made the warning at a reception in Hong Kong, when the garrison also released a promotional video that stated that troops stationed in the city were able to protect its long-term stability. Chen’s comments marked the first time he had commented on Hong Kong since protests erupted in early June against the city’s controversial extradition bill. The bill proposed the transfer of suspects to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong has no extradition agreement, including mainland China.

New high for Malaysia-China bilateral trade
China’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian said China-Malaysia trade value will hit another record high this year due to a strong increase in bilateral trade. He told the annual general meeting of the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) in Shah Alam that in the first six months of this year, bilateral trade grew 10.7% compared to the first half of 2018. “China-Malaysia bilateral trade totalled US$57.35bil (RM238bil) in the first half of this year. If you multiply that by two, the total trade figure for 2019 will be much more than last year. “This means that the bilateral trade for 2019 will hit another record high this year,” he said. According to Chinese data, which also captured Malaysia’s indirect trade with China via Singapore and Hong Kong, trade between Malaysia and China totalled slightly more than US$100bil (RM415bil) in 2018. Bai believes the strong relations between the two countries will further boost cooperation in trade, investment and tourism. Due to the strong Malaysia-China relations, Bai said Malaysia would be invited to set up a Malaysia Pavilion in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in November. Last year, Shanghai successfully hosted the first CIIE to encourage more foreign companies to export to China, and local firms to import more from outside.

Speaking at the same function, President of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM), Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap said ACCCIM plans to include Bumiputra and Indian entrepreneurs in its business investment delegation to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area later this year. He said that this would help Malaysians understand the business opportunities, incentives and development packages the Greater Bay Area had to offer. “Given our wide networks, vast experience and contacts, together with the fact that many ACCCIM members have long been investing and doing business in China, we are more than willing to join hands with fellow Malaysians of other ethnic communities to explore opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, ” he said. He added that the ACCCIM had set up a Greater Bay Division in its secretariat to provide advice and other assistance to the business community. “Compared to the world’s three major bay areas, namely New York Bay, San Francisco Bay and Tokyo Bay, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area is a new bright spot in the global economic map, ” he said. Ter said the development kick-started by the Greater Bay Area covered a wide spectrum of vibrant conventional and new enterprises.

Foreign investors heading back to Malaysia, eyeing Big Cap players
A Bloomberg report said foreign capital that exited Malaysia after the general election are returning to the local market and set to provide an infusion for blue chip counters. The report said the return would be a major fillip for Bursa Malaysia. Major funds withdrew from Malaysia following the results of the 14th general election, taking out over US$3 billion (RM12.4 billion) from the local market since May 2019. Assuaged by the returning stability in the government and Malaysian political scene, they have slowly been making their way back, bringing along with them US$61 million this month alone. “We are pretty positive for the second half,” Danny Wong, who oversees RM1.6 billion in assets under management, told Bloomberg. Wong added that he is expecting strong results from firms with large market values but was less optimistic for smaller players, anticipating as much as a 10 per cent bump in the Bursa Malaysia by the end of this week’s trading.

Malaysia optimistic over economic growth despite lower PPI
The Malaysian government is optimistic over the country’s economic growth despite the producer price index (PPI) shrinking by -1.8 per cent year-on-year in June 2019. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said the PPI for the last three consecutive months was much higher than what the market had forecast. “The data show that we are moving in the right direction and can manage to bring down the numbers for unemployment, while our inflation rate is moderate. “The country’s gross domestic product in the first quarter 2019 advanced by 4.5 per cent, which is a good percentage,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, MIDF Research said it foresees the PPI growing further into deflation this year at -1.5 per cent from -1.1 per cent in 2018. The research firm said this was mainly due to domestic oil prices which are expected to be on the low side even with the removal of the RON95 price cap, in line with declining global crude oil prices.

RAM Ratings expects Malaysia’s trade expansion to continue in June
RAM Rating Services expects Malaysia’s exports to continue experiencing expansion in June, albeit at a more moderate pace of 1.1 per cent compared to 2.5 per cent in May. The rating agency said the moderate growth in exports was partly due to the Hari Raya holidays in June and a generally subdued global trade. Meanwhile, imports were anticipated to increase 1.6 per cent in June against 1.4 per cent in May, in line with a sustained export performance which would bring Malaysia’s overall trade surplus to RM5.7 billion at month-end, it added. Looking ahead, the Japan-South Korea trade row was envisaged to exert further downside pressure on weak regional trade momentum, particularly for the electrical and electronics (E&E) supply chain. The direct impact on Malaysia’s exports from a potential shortfall in supply as well as a potential loss in demand from South Korea appears limited, as the former does not rely heavily on the latter’s E&E sector. However, it said, Malaysia could be indirectly affected via a disrupted global E&E production chain.

Jakarta records worst air quality in the world again
Jakarta’s air quality is the worst in the world again on Thursday morning, according to air quality index monitor AirVisual, the second time in a span of two months. The air quality in Jakarta reached 161 – “unhealthy” level – at Thursday noon based on the US Air Quality Index (AQI), news portal Tempo reported. The Indonesian capital topped the list by taking the first spot from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, ahead of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Hong Kong; Lahore, Pakistan; and Shenyang, China. Jakarta has been making frequent appearances on the list of global cities with the worst air. On Jun 4, it clinched the top spot with an AQI of 210 in the “very unhealthy” level. Environmentalists have blamed the bad air on vehicle fumes and emissions from coal-fired power plants. On Thursday, President Joko Widodo urged the Jakarta government to switch to electric mass transportation in an effort to reduce emission of air pollutants in the city.

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