Highlights:

  1. Record exports in October put Malaysia on right track
  2. Securities Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia working on regulations for digital assets
  3. MIEA eyes five collaborations in first half of 2019
  4. OPEC agrees oil output cut, no final figure yet
  5. China demands clarity from US and Canada over arrest of Huawei CFO

Record exports in October put Malaysia on right track
Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng said the record-high October exports have put Malaysia on the right track under the government’s three-year fiscal consolidation plan. In a statement today, the minister said the resurgent growth in exports to RM96.4 billion and a record trade surplus of RM16.3 billion signalled that the government was on target towards getting the economy back on track. “What is encouraging is that exports of our primary commodities, especially palm oil and natural rubber which had been severely hit by falling prices and falling demand, recorded increases in October 2018 from the previous month,” he said. According to Malaysia external trade statistics released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia yesterday, on a month-on-month basis, exports of palm oil and palm oil-based products increased 10.8 per cent from RM5.6 billion, while exports of natural rubber recorded a growth of 2.7 per cent m-o-m from RM306.5 million. However, Lim warned that the good news on the trade front must be treated with caution. “(This is) because the global trade and economy is still fragile despite the 90-day truce declared in the trade war between the United States and China,” he added.

Securities Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia working on regulations for digital assets
Regulations are currently being put in place to bring digital assets within the remit of securities laws to promote fair and orderly trading and ensure investor protection, the Securities Commission (SC) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said today. Digital assets refer to digital currencies and digital tokens. SC will regulate the issuance of digital assets via initial coin offerings (ICO) and the trading of digital assets at digital asset exchanges in Malaysia. The joint statement said ICO issuers and digital asset exchanges which are involved in the issuance or dealing of digital assets with a payment function will need to comply with relevant BNM laws and regulations relating to payments and currency matters. In addition, ICO issuers and digital asset exchanges are subject to the SC’s Guidelines on Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.

MIEA eyes five collaborations in first half of 2019
The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) is eyeing up to five new collaborations in various segments, including insurance, in the first half of next year. Its President, Eric Lim said the plan would attract real estate agents and negotiators to join MIEA and increase its members from about 5,000 at present moving forward. “Our membership has seen a significant jump from about 1,500 members last year to more than 5,000 members to date and we expect the number to grow beyond that,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

OPEC agrees oil output cut, no final figure yet
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has agreed on a tentative deal to cut oil output but has not yet come up with a final figure, an OPEC delegate said. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said earlier that OPEC needed non-OPEC Russia to come on board with cuts. He said a final decision by OPEC and its allies was likely by Friday evening.

China demands clarity from US and Canada over arrest of Huawei CFO ‘for violating US sanctions on Iran’
China said the US and Canadian authorities had yet to clarify their reason for attesting Huawei CFO, Sabrina Meng Wanzhou (pic). Meng was arrested in Vancouver on 1 December, reportedly for violating US trade sanctions against Iran. The US is seeking her extradition and a bail hearing has been set for tomorrow. Meng is also one of Huawei’s deputy chairpersons and a daughter of its founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had lodged protests with Washington and Ottawa and offered consular assistance to Meng soon after she was detained. Her arrest raises more doubts about a 90-day truce on trade struck between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping on December 1, the day she was detained. Chinese commerce ministry deflected questions that tied Huawei’s crisis to the US-China trade war. “I don’t have information in this regard at the moment,” ministry spokesman Gao Feng said. Ottawa confirmed Meng’s arrest on Wednesday.