News Bites: 8 January 2018

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  • Malaysia’s Exports Hit All-time Monthly Record High in November 201
  • Malaysian Business Sentiment Improves in Q1 2018
  • Lower Taxi Orders Lowers Proton’s Sales in 2017
  • Medilife Ambulance Services Partners Digi’s iFleet to provide time critical tracking of its operations
  • Singapore tech and innovation companies to pilot new innovations in India
  • More Chaos at New York’s JFK Airport as Water Gushes through Terminal

Malaysia’s Exports Hit All-time Monthly Record High in November 2017
Malaysia’s total trade in November 2017 surged by 14.8% to RM157.05 billion compared with the year before. The growth was mainly buoyed by trade with ASEAN, the European Union (EU), China, Hong Kong, South Korea, the USA and Taiwan. Exports in November 2017 expanded by 14.4% to RM83.5 billion, the highest monthly export value ever recorded after the RM82.62 billion registered in March 2017. Imports rose by 15.2% to RM73.55 billion. Trade surplus amounted to RM9.95 billion, the 241st consecutive month of trade surplus since November 1997.

On a month-on-month basis, total trade, exports and imports expanded by 1.9%, 1.5% and 2.4%, respectively. Total trade for the first eleven months of 2017 amounted to RM1.622 trillion, grew by 20.8% compared with the same period of 2016. Exports totalled RM856.05 billion, surged by 20.4% while imports stood at RM766.07 billion, rose by 21.2%. Trade surplus of RM89.98 billion was recorded, higher by 13.6% compared to the corresponding period of 2016. The total value of trade, exports, imports and trade balance for the first 11 months of 2017 had surpassed that of the whole of 2016, respectively.

Export growth was driven by Manufactured Goods. Exports of manufactured goods in November 2017 increased by 18.2% or RM10.63 billion y-o-y to RM68.98 billion, accounting for 82.6% of Malaysia’s total exports. The expansion was mainly on account of higher exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products and chemicals and chemical products, collectively contributing 55% to total of manufactured exports. All subsectors registered growth in exports except for processed food and jewellery. (MITI)

Malaysian Business Sentiment Improves in Q1 2018
Business sentiment among Malaysian companies improved further in the first quarter 2018 (Q1 2018), reaching a new peak, as growth momentum continued to pick up, based on the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Malaysia’s Business Optimism Index (BOI) survey. D&B is one of the world leading business information providers and the survey was the 20th D&B BOI study being released in Malaysia, to measure business confidence in the economy. The survey revealed that overall BOI climbed to 7.25 percentage points in Q1 2018 from 5.52 percentage points in Q4 2017. On a year-on-year (Y-O-Y)) basis, D&B said the BOI rose from 1.65 percentage points in Q1 2017 to 7.25 percentage points in Q1 2018. The survey found that four business indicators had risen upwards on a quarter-on-quarter basis in Q1 2018, while five indicators improved on a y-o-y basis. (Bernama)

Lower Taxi Orders Lowers Proton’s Sales in 2017
Proton Holdings Berhad’s sales for 2017 was slightly lower at 70,991 units from the 72,291 sold the previous year, due to lower taxi orders. In a statement, the national car manufacturer said the Saga, Persona and Ertiga made up 80 per cent of total Proton car sales for 2017. “Our best-selling car, the Saga registered steady sales at above 30,000 units in 2017. As the most affordably-priced sedan, the Saga is still viewed as the best value-for-money car in its segment, and hence, maintained its popularity among first time Proton car-buyers or as a second car. “The Persona, however, registered a 27 per cent increase with 19,510 units sold compared with 15,390 units in 2016. The Ertiga also gained healthy acceptance in the market with 6,091 units sold in 2017,” it said. Proton Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Abdul Rashid Musa said the company would intensify efforts this year at implementing activities which were aligned to the new three to 10 years Business Plan, which is key to its turnaround. (Bernama)

Medilife Ambulance Services Partners Digi’s iFleet to provide time critical tracking of its operations
Medilife Ambulance Services announced its partnership with iFleet today to provide time critical tracking and greater visibility of its operations based in Sepang/Penang. iFleet is a B2B solution targeted at commercial vehicles, the first IoT solution Digi is introducing from its range of Connected Vehicle offerings. The intelligent fleet tracking solution enables businesses to track their fleet in real-time and is currently the most robust all-in-one solution available in the market. According to a statement from Digi, between 2010 and 2013, the public complained that ambulances were taking up to 45 minutes to arrive at emergency scenes. Medilife Ambulance Services expects to significantly reduce response times with iFleet.

Singapore tech and innovation companies to pilot new innovations in India
With India emerging as the world’s third largest startup base, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a leading business association driving India’s economic development, to facilitate business partnerships and knowledge exchange between Singapore and Indian technology and innovation companies. Singapore companies in the technology and innovation sector can participate in activities and programmes jointly organised by IE Singapore and CII to better understand India’s technology landscape and connect to partners in the technology ecosystem. With this, Singapore companies can pilot new innovations and technology solutions among the CII Indian business community, as well as learn best practices and share networks. Both organisations will also build engagement platforms to bring together next generation Indian and Singaporean business leaders in the technology and innovation sectors. India’s technology and innovation ecosystem is rapidly developing with over 5,000 technology startups in 2017. Today, India is the world’s third largest startup base in the world, with the United States and United Kingdom taking the top two positions. (Sg Press Centre)

More Chaos at New York’s JFK Airport as Water Gushes through Terminal
Chaos reigned at New York’s flagship airport for a third consecutive day Sunday with one terminal flooded and irate passengers stranded by chronic delays blamed on brutal cold and a deadly winter storm. Arrivals were significantly disrupted into Terminal Four where a water pipe broke. The incident highlighted complaints about poor infrastructure serving the US financial capital, home to 8.5 million people, with a crisis in the subway and derailments in recent years on commuter trains. Officials said the cause of the break appeared to be “weather-related” but would be investigated. Terminal 4 is used by more than 30 airlines. The US East Coast has been gripped by days of record-breaking cold temperatures after a storm Thursday, dubbed a “bomb cyclone,” which was blamed for at least 22 reported deaths. (SCMP)

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