CGC Confident of Meeting 2017 Target Despite Slower First Half
Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd (CGC) is confident of achieving its target of providing 9,500 guarantees valued at RM4.7 billion this year despite recording slightly over 40 per cent below target in the first half of this year. President and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Mohd Zamree Mohd Ishak said as at June 30 this year, CGC has guaranteed about 3,100 companies valued at RM1.5 billion. He said even though the country’s economy was growing in the first half of this year, small and medium enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs were a bit cautious in making further financial commitments. However, CGC expects the sentiment to improve based on past trends as there will be more borrowings among SMEs in the second half of this year. “CGC is confident of achieving the target by leveraging on several ongoing major infrastructure projects like the Pan Borneo Highway, East Coast Rail Link, High-Speed Rail and LRT3, as we believe there are rooms for small contractors and for us to play a part,” Mohd Zamree said.

China Expects Trade to Surpass US$2.5 tln With BRI
China expects its annual trade with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to surpass US$2.5 trillion in the next decade, says HSBC. HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd, Head of International Subsidiary Business, Ian McElwain said China’s BRI, a developmental programme designed to link the country’s southern and eastern commercial hubs with Europe and Africa, will greatly benefit ASEAN growth and plug a huge infrastructure gap. “The emphasis on creating better-connected economies to help facilitate trade and investment and the flow of goods and people, will get a further boost from China’s BRI, which is key to government ambitions to double bilateral trade between China and ASEAN to US$1 trillion by 2020 from around US$500 billion last year,” he added. McElwain said the increase in trade and investment through China’s BRI will accelerate the use of the Renminbi (RMB) as a global trade, financing and investment currency. More than 300 Chinese-funded enterprises have been set up in 26 economic cooperation zones in eight ASEAN countries, investing a total of US$1.77 billion. China is Malaysia’s biggest export market, and largest trading partner since 2009, displacing Singapore, with two-way trade last year valued at US$83.4 billion.

Lazada Malaysia To Expand Automotive Products Range
Lazada Malaysia aims to expand the range of products under its automotive segment within two years. Its Chief Executive Officer, Hans-Peter Ressel said there are about one million automotive products currently available on its platform, including oil and fluids as well as accessories, adding, demand for these had been increasing. “We are looking to add more products. Our sister company (Lazada Indonesia) has been selling motorcycles and we are considering that as well. But, we will still be focusing on accessories, because the demand is there,” he said.

AirAsia Passenger Traffic Up 14 % In 2Q17
AirAsia Bhd’s passenger traffic increased to 15.81 million in the second quarter of 2017 (2Q17), a 14 per cent increase year-on year (y-o-y), from 13.91 million in the same quarter last year. The airline said this was equivalent to a more than 11 per cent increase in capacity. During the 2Q17, the group recorded a solid load factor of 88 per cent compared to 85 per cent y-o-y previously. Meanwhile, AirAsia Bhd’s consolidated operations with air operator certificates (AOCs), comprising Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India, achieved a load factor of 89 per cent, up by two percentage points from the same period last year. “Strong demand for air travel led to a 10 per cent y-o-y growth in the number of passengers to 9.61 million, a more than eight per cent increase in capacity,” it said. At the end of 2Q17, the group’s total fleet size stood at 180 aircraft, including two which had been delivered to AirAsia Japan, but have yet to commence operation.

Singapore property ‘bottoming out’
Singapore’s biggest developer, CapitaLand Ltd, detects signs that the city’s residential property market is “bottoming out” after a run of price declines. Chief Executive Officer Lim Ming Yan said many investors are seeing Singapore as relatively more attractive than Hong Kong, London or Australian cities. Extra liquidity was a factor in higher transaction volumes and slower price declines in recent months, he said. “For a rebound to take place on a more sustainable basis, there has to be overall improvements in the fundamentals.” The government’s efforts to cool a red-hot market have triggered a record 15-quarter decline in home prices, in contrast with cities such as Hong Kong, where property keeps soaring to records. In March, Singapore eased some restrictions, but cautioned that those adjustments didn’t signal any bigger unwinding of curbs. Home sales jumped 72% during the first half from a year earlier as developers sold 6,567 units, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Global fintech investment rebounds in 2Q17
Total global fintech investment more than doubled quarter over quarter in 2Q17 to US$8.4 billion, up from US$3.6 billion in 1Q17, according to the KPMG Pulse of Fintech report. Global M&A investment helped drive the fintech market rebound, with US$5.9 billion in deal value for M&A for the quarter. Comparatively, global VC funding to fintech companies declined slightly, with just over US$2.5 billion in VC funding raised by fintechs in the quarter. Total fintech funding in Asia remained relatively steady quarter over quarter, with US$760 million invested across 51 deals during 2Q17, compared to US$790 million across 56 deals in 1Q17. Asia’s 2Q fintech financing trends were characterised by geographic diversity and a lack of mega-financings. Corporate participation continues to soar in the region, with CVC investment growing from a strong 22.5% in 1Q17 to a record high of 36.6% in 2Q17, revealing a deep interest in fintech innovation from strategic players in Asia.

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