1. Outlook for domestic financial stability in 2018 to remain intact
  2. Education Ministry Opens Tender to Pick English Textbooks
  3. Global airline industry sees robust Q4 2017 earnings
  4. e-Commerce sector records significant growth
  5. Female Entrepreneurs Thriving on 11street
  6. Luxurious RM4.6 Million Co-working Space at KL Eco City in June
  7. McDermott eyes USD 5 billion worth of contracts in Asia, with Malaysia as its hub
  8. Fitbit Introduces Fitbit Versa, the Smartwatch for All

Bank Negara: Outlook for domestic financial stability in 2018 to remain intact
Bank Negara Malaysia’s Financial Stability Committee (FSC) assessed that domestic financial stability continues to be preserved and well-supported by sound financial institutions and orderly domestic financial markets. The Central Bank said since the last meeting in November 2017, global financial market volatility has increased amid renewed uncertainties regarding the pace of interest rate normalisation in the advanced economies, commodity price movements and rising trade tensions. External developments are expected to cause bouts of higher volatility amid continued two-way capital flows. Potential risks will be cushioned by the favourable outlook of the Malaysian economy and the presence of large domestic institutional investors. It added that the Malaysian banking, insurance and takaful sectors remain resilient, supported by a high level of capitalisation. Funding and liquidity conditions continue to be favourable, with the banking system’s loan-to-fund ratio and Liquidity Coverage Ratio at 84% and 132% respectively as at end-January 2018. Domestic financial intermediation is expected to remain supportive of economic activity. BNM said that in terms of macro-financial linkages, risks to domestic financial stability from exposures to households are low. The debt servicing capacity of households remains intact amid low impairment levels, underpinned by stronger income and employment growth. Household financial assets were high, and grew faster than debt as at end-December 2017. The outlook for domestic financial stability in 2018 is expected to remain intact. Multi-year solvency stress tests conducted by the Bank affirm the strong capacity of Malaysian banks, insurers and takaful operators to withstand simulated macroeconomic and financial stresses. Overall capitalisation is expected to remain above the regulatory minimum under severe credit, market and insurance-specific shocks that are comparable to past domestic and global crises experience. This reflects the continued strengthening of balance sheets of households and businesses amid stronger economic conditions.

Education Ministry Opens Tender to Pick English Textbooks
The Education Ministry has opened a tender for English textbooks conforming to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) guide and having local content. Deputy Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon said this was to replace two imported textbooks, ‘Super Mind’ and ‘Pulse 2’, were used from this year. “The curriculum, which is streamlined with the CEFR, namely, the European Council’s developed guidelines for measuring foreign language skills, requires books that meet the standard, but the books are still not in the local market. “Nevertheless, we have opened the tender and the ministry will choose the companies that can supply the books,” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Global airline industry sees robust Q4 2017 earnings
The global airline industry saw robust earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) profit margin of 8.6 per cent of revenues in the fourth quarter of 2017 – broadly unchanged compared with the same period in 2016. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the industry´s performance reaffirmed signs that industry profitability stabilised in the second half of 2017 from the weakness seen earlier in the year. “The industry-wide results masked a modest decline in operating margins for North American and European carriers, offset by an increase in Latin America and a marginal improvement in Asia Pacific,” it said in the January-February 2018 edition of its Airlines Financial Monitor released today.

e-Commerce sector records significant growth
The e-commerce sector has recorded significant growth in 2016 and contributed RM74.6 billion, or 6.1 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) from RM68.3 billion, or 5.9 per cent in 2015. Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, said the government had set up a National E-Commerce Strategic Plan 2016-2020 to ensure the sector continued to progress. “The Plan is projected to double the rate of e-commerce growth in Malaysia to 20.8 per cent by 2020 from 10.8 per cent in 2016. “This growth rate will contribute over RM211 billion in value to the GDP compared to the initial target set under the 11th Malaysia Plan of RM114 billion,” he told the Dewan Rakyat here today.

Female Entrepreneurs Thriving on 11street
Malaysia’s number two online marketplace, today announced that in 2017, 56% of its registered sellers were women’ selling products across various categories. CEO of 11street, Hoseok Kim said: “Online shopping has proven to be a boon for female entrepreneurs and they are thriving in the e-commerce industry. The top category with the highest number of registered female sellers is in the health & beauty segment. 30% of the female entrepreneurs on 11street are selling cosmetics, fragrance, dietary supplements & tools, skin & personal care items online.” Hoseok Kim added, “On average, 11street’s sellers have witnessed an increase in sales revenue by 15% to 20% within six months of completing the courses under the 11street Academy, the nation’s first certified e-commerce certification platform. Many of the women entrepreneurs have outperformed the average benchmark, and some have even doubled or tripled their sales performance.” In addition, 11street saw 7% of its female sellers tapping into the categories of large electronic appliances, camera, smartwatches & wearables, audio & gaming and home improvement.

Colony Slated to Open Luxurious RM4.6 Million Co-working Space at KL Eco City in June
On the back of a successful launch of its first co-working space in July 2017, Colony will open its next luxury serviced office at KL Eco City (KLEC). KL Eco City is located in the heart of what is considered the New Golden Triangle, a prime and prestigious location for Colony’s next step as one of the leading co-working spaces in Malaysia. Spanning over 20,000 sqft across 5 floors, the Colony@KLEC co-working space is estimated to accommodate more than 300 guests and will feature Colony’s iconic monochrome designs and signature chic interior. Apart from meeting rooms, there will be nap rooms, nursing rooms, massage rooms, kids’ areas, and an in-house café among the many facilities available. The team at Colony further expressed great excitement for the event space; an entire floor which will able to host up to 250 pax at a time, as well as for the panoramic views of the KL city that can be seen throughout the office. KL Eco City is currently undergoing construction and the co-working space is projected to launch in June 2018.

McDermott eyes USD 5 billion worth of contracts in Asia, with Malaysia as its hub
Malaysia is the springboard for expansion plans in Asia by McDermott, a leading provider of integrated engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) services for offshore and subsea field developments worldwide. McDermott plans to bid for USD 5 billion worth of contracts in the next six months, covering bids in Malaysia, India, Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia. It sees a very strong potential in business expansion in Malaysia and the region. McDermott will utilise its key engineering hub in Malaysia and the region to materialize the potentials and execute the jobs when they are won. The bid pipeline has increased compared to last year (it was USD 4 billion six months ago).  This is a positive sign that the oil and gas industry is on track for recovery.

Fitbit Introduces Fitbit Versa, the Smartwatch for All
Fitbit, the leading global wearables brand, today unveils , a modern, intuitive smartwatch at an approachable price. Fitbit’s lightest smartwatch offers a comfortable design and a new dashboard that simplifies how you access your health and fitness data. Advanced health and fitness features like 24/7 heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts, and automatic sleep stages tracking meet smart features like quick replies on Android, wallet-free payments, and on-device music – all with 4+ days battery life. Fitbit also announces new female health tracking to help women track their menstrual cycle, view holistic health data in one place, and better understand connections to their overall health. Female health tracking will be available on-device for Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ionic™ users, and to all Fitbit® app users starting in May 2018.