News Scan: 17 April 2018

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  1. Property market in Malaysia to stabilise in 2018
  2. MIER revises 2018 real GDP growth projection to 5.5 per cent
  3. EPF outsources RM114.56 bln to external portfolio managers
  4. China posts steady growth in first quarter, but spectre of US trade war looms
  5. Herbalife Launches Asia Pacific Shared Services Center in Malaysia
  6. Digi Telecommunications partners with Sage Asia through its New Digi Business Hub
  7. Subsidized Japanese Cuisine Training Program for non-Japanese chefs

Property market in Malaysia to stabilise in 2018
The property market in Malaysia is forecast to stabilise this year, after a challenging environment in the last two years. Director General of the Valuation and Property Services Department, Nordin Daharom, said the forecast economic growth, the accommodative monetary policy as well as continuous incentives for the housing sector would help sustain the momentum in the property sector. He added that transactions have increased in the first two months of the year by four per cent compared to the first two months of 2017, indicating market conditions have recovered.

MIER revises 2018 real GDP growth projection to 5.5 per cent
Research firm, Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), has revised upwards its real gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection for Malaysia this year by 0.1 percentage point to 5.5 per cent from the previous 5.4 per cent. Executive Director, Emeritus Professor Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid, said this was made to accommodate the actual 2017 data. “The economy will continue to be domestically-driven and the private consumption will remain as the engine of growth. “We can still rely on consumer spending to drive the economy with import and export remain promising even though we experienced absolute trade reduction in February,” he told a press conference after a briefing on Malaysian Economic Outlook. Dr Zakariah however expects the GDP growth to moderate in 2019, ranging between 4.8 per cent and 5.3 per cent.

EPF outsources RM114.56 bln to external portfolio managers
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has outsourced a total of RM114.56 billion to external portfolio managers as at 31 December 2017, an increase of 9.8 per cent from RM104.37 billion in 2016. This allocation, invested in both equity and fixed income instruments, represented 14.5 per cent of the EPF’s total investment assets, it said in a statement today. Chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said as the EPF geared up towards becoming a trillion-ringgit fund, it would continue to outsource a portion of its funds as part of the diversification initiative. “This was also to suitably leverage on the knowledge and skill sets of external fund managers that complemented the pension fund’s own internal fund management capabilities,” he said. “We will continue to increase our exposure in the markets we invest in, especially in alternative investments and infrastructure. However, taking into account the prevailing market volatility and subdued growth, our expansion will be done gradually and in a prudent manner,” said Tan Sri Samsudin.

China posts steady growth in first quarter, but spectre of US trade war looms
China’s US$12 trillion economy maintained a steady 6.8 per cent expansion in the first quarter, but its prospects are darkened by an investment slowdown at home and a looming trade war with the United States. Gross domestic product growth has now been stable between 6.7 and 6.9 per cent for 11 quarters, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday. Consumption contributed to 77.8 per cent of first-quarter growth, far exceeding investment and exports, according to the bureau. Output in the service sector accounted for 56.6 per cent, beating industrial production and agriculture. Zhu Baoliang, chief economist at China’s State Information Centre said the first-quarter data did not factor in the threat of a trade war between Beijing and Washington, which escalated at the end of March. She added that second quarter trade remains worrisome. “Exports remains important to the national economy, considering their links to sectors like manufacturing, packing and logistics.”

Herbalife Launches Asia Pacific Shared Services Center in Malaysia
Global nutrition company, Herbalife, today officially launched its first Asia Pacific Shared Services Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The new SSC is the fifth such center to be launched globally as part of Herbalife’s Global Business Services Centers to support the growing demand for nutrition in the Asia Pacific region, and around the world. The new SSC in Kuala Lumpur joins other centers around the globe in Guadalajara, Mexico; Queretero, Mexico; Krakow, Poland; and Bangalore, India, with the aim of streamlining business operations, standardizing service standards and enabling increased agility for Herbalife’s growing nutrition business. “The launch of Herbalife’s Shared Services Center in Kuala Lumpur, affords the Company the ability to respond more quickly and provide better service to our purpose-driven independent members and customers across the region,” said Neil Spiers, vice president of global business services, Herbalife.

Digi Telecommunications partners with Sage Asia through its New Digi Business Hub
Digi Telecommunications announced a partnership with Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions, to help Digi’s current and new SME customers in Malaysia digitalise their finance and payroll processes, while maintaining compliance with local regulations. This will bolster their digital transformation journey, and empower business builders to focus their efforts on growing their businesses. Through the new Digi Business Hub partnership, Sage will offer popular solutions such as Sage Accounting, Sage UBS and Sage Easy Pay, at 20% off the list price exclusively to Digi’s customers. The offer will last until early September 2018.

Subsidized Japanese Cuisine Training Program for non-Japanese chefs
The Japanese Cuisine and Food Culture Human Resource Development Committee is inviting non-Japanese chefs for a Japanese Cuisine Training Program, subsidized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The Ministry will pay the flight round ticket to Japan, tuition for the Japanese language school and culinary school and accommodation cost for staying in Japan, a statement said. The training program consists of Japanese language training and basic Japanese culinary training followed by eight months practical restaurant training in premium Japanese cuisine and sushi restaurants in Japan. Participants are expected to acquire knowledge and skills of Japanese cuisine to promote Japanese cuisine, food culture and Japan-produced ingredients globally.

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