Highlights:

  • Malaysia’s trade to jump 10 per cent to RM1.6 trillion
  • More American companies looking to invest or expand in Malaysia
  • GST Act amendment to target major online business
  • E-Usahawan Participants to Capitalise On #MYCYBERSALE
  • #MyCyberSale 2017 targets RM300m sales
  • Houses Above RM250,000 Constitute 80 per cent of New Launches In Q1
  • Maybank Incorporates New Unit In India
  • Singapore Airlines plans wide-ranging cost cuts to offset stiff competition
  • Hong Kong stocks breach highest intraday level in a decade

Malaysia’s trade to jump 10 per cent to RM1.6 trillion
Malaysia’s trade is likely to exceed 10 per cent this year, beating an earlier estimated growth target of three per cent, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. Last year, total trade grew 1.5 per cent to RM1.49 trillion from RM1.46 trillion in 2015. So, earlier this year, the government had forecast trade to only grow 2.7 per cent to RM1.53 trillion. Datuk Seri Mustapa however is optimistic. He said trade surplus has been healthy, rising to RM60.84 billion and he expects this to increase further. He also said the RM1 trillion total trade for Malaysia was achieved in July, earlier than expected. “We foresee that Malaysia will benefit from the increase in global trade with our trade remaining robust for 2017,” he said. “Increases in exports have been across the board for the past eight months,” the minister added.

More American companies looking to invest or expand in Malaysia
United States Ambassador to Malaysia, Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said several prominent American companies, currently operating in Malaysia, are looking to expand their businesses with further investments on the cards soon. She said new American companies have also expressed their intentions to invest in Malaysia in general and Penang in particular. She said this to reporters after a special dialogue session with the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Penang. Lakhdir said American companies have invested up to RM14 billion in Malaysia to-date. Meanwhile, AMCHAM believes Penang has great potential for economic growth, but hopes to see improvement in terms of infrastructure. Lakhdir, who joined the dialogue session today, said that the firm operators did raise concerns about the current state of infrastructure. The dialogue session is held annually to discuss arising issues about the American companies operating in Malaysia and also to be updated with the business climate back in the United States. 150 representatives from up to 40 companies in the country, attended the dialogue session.

GST Act amendment to target major online business
Amendment to the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014 will enable Malaysia to tax major online business platforms, the Finance Ministry said. Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said the proposed amendment, to incorporate digital economy, will not affect small-time online business owners. He said among the companies the ministry was looking at were Google, Amazon, GrabCar, Uber and Airbnb to create level playing field among companies operating in the country.

E-Usahawan Participants to Capitalise On #MYCYBERSALE
100 e-usahawan will participate in the #MYCYBERSALE 2017 from 9-13 October. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Talent and Digital Entrepreneurship Vice President, Sumitra Nair said, “This is the first time that e-Usahawan is taking part (in #MYCYBERSALE 2017) and we hope the 100 entrepreneurs will set success stories for the next edition where we aim to have more than 500 to take part,” she said. e-Usahawan is a government initiative to encourage youth and micro entrepreneurs embrace the digital economy. MDEC aims to boost the products produced by e-Usahawan by using online platforms and at the same time, to capitalise on the 600 million ASEAN population. Since 2015, more than 120,000 e-Usahawan entrepreneurs have been trained by MDEC, of whom 30 per cent have started to generate business income.

#MyCyberSale 2017 targets RM300m sales
Meanwhile, the National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) in collaboration with MDEC, is targeting a 42 percent increase in gross merchandise value (GMV) of RM300 million throughout its five-day online sales festival #MYCYBERSALE 2017. Pikom deputy chairman and e-commerce Malaysia chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah said the bulk of the sales is expected to derive from the healthcare and beauty segment. “We have a 66 per cent increase with over 1,000 merchants participation, compared to 607 merchants last year. “The far exceeding merchants participation target expectations would be the key driver to achieve our sales target.”

Houses Above RM250,000 Constitute 80 per cent of New Launches In Q1
The high-end property market remains in the glut as 80 per cent of new launches in the first quarter of this year were units priced above RM250,000 which is considered affordable to only 58 per cent of Malaysian households. Second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said the oversupply of higher-end properties resulted in 83 per cent of the unsold units currently are in the RM250,000 and above price segment. “As compared to the first quarter of 2012, there are 54,000 unsold houses, with high-end properties making up around 19,000. But currently, out of 130,000 unsold units, 108,000 were high-end properties,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. He said despite a high demand for affordable houses, only 24 per cent of new offerings fell into that category as compared to demand of 42 per cent.

Maybank Incorporates New Unit In India
Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) has incorporated a new subsidiary in India, namely MBB Labs Pvt Ltd (MBB Labs), via its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Dourado Tora Holdings Sdn Bhd (DTH) and Maybank Shared Services Sdn Bhd (MSS). MBB Labs will be providing information technology development services to the Maybank group. In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Maybank said the issued and paid-up share capital of MBB Labs stood at INR15 million (RM970,766), comprising 1.5 million equity shares of INR10 (RM0.65) each.

Singapore Airlines plans wide-ranging cost cuts to offset stiff competition
Singapore Airlines Ltd is pursuing more than 50 cost-cutting initiatives including reducing fuel burn and reviewing its relationship with key suppliers as part of a three-year plan to make the airline more competitive, a newsletter to staff shows. Both Singapore Airlines and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd have come under pressure due to growing competition from Chinese and Middle Eastern rivals. Both also lack domestic flight markets to help offset the international competition. Singapore Airline set up a dedicated transformation office to review its strategy in May after a surprise fourth-quarter loss. In a September staff newsletter obtained by Reuters, CEO Goh Choon Phong said the airline was working on 56 initiatives, which also include more self-service options for customers and reducing in-flight food and beverage wastage.

Hong Kong stocks breach highest intraday level in a decade
Hong Kong stocks breached their highest intraday level in a decade on Friday morning, and traders expect it is now poised to close at a 10-year high, after rising for a fourth straight session. The Hang Seng Index rose as much as 0.9 per cent, or 250.23 points, to 28,626.41, its best intraday level since December 2007, on the back of record highs on Wall Street. By lunch, it had pared its gains, but had still added 0.4 per cent, or 101.33 points, to 28,480.51, above the close of 28,433.59 on April 27, 2015 – the highest in 10 years. Market sentiment is quite optimistic. People are primarily looking at positive factors, with all three major US indices hitting fresh highs yesterday and a better prospect on tax reform

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