Thursday, May 20, 2010

20100520 1806 FCPO EOD Daily Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 2476, changed : +41 points, volume : higher.
Bollinger band reading : side way downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : reversed upward, seller reduce exposure.
Support : 2470, 2450, 2400 level.
Resistant : 2500, 2521, 2550 level.
Comment :
Increasing volume and improved wider range FCPO ended the day on higher ground following a better soy oil and crude oil price development. Despite the daily chart reading showing a side way downside biased market, there is also a similar potential classic candlestick island reversal signal spotted right at support level.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20100520 1734 FKLI EOD Daily Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1303.5, changed : -0.5 point, volume : lower.
Bollinger band reading : downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : continue lower, seller patrolling their territory.
Support : 1300, 1290, 1280 level.
Resistant :1318, 1325, 1330 level.
Comment :
Wild swing day on FKLI that opened and traded higher due to profit taking followed by seller intensified their attack to push price lower with second round of profit taking to lifted price to closed off the low above crucial support level. Daily chart candle formed a long upper and lower shadow doji bar at below lower Bollinger band level that could trigger a potential pullback correction before continue its downside biased movement.
When to buy : buy at support or weakness with quick cut loss and profit target.
When to sell : sell at resistant or strength with quick cut loss and profit target.

20100520 1254 FKLI Mid Day Hourly Chart Study.

FKLI closed : 1304, changed : unchanged, volume : high.
Bollinger band reading : downside biased.
MACD Histrogram : recovering, seller in control.
Support : 1300, 1290, 1280 level.
Resistant :1310, 1318, 1325 level.
Comment :
Pullback correction FKLI opened and traded higher through out the morning and resumed its downward movement to closed the first half unchanged. Hourly chart reading remained unchange showing a downside biased movement market testing crucial support level.

201000520 1243 FCPO Mid Day Hourly Chart Study.

FCPO closed : 2440, changed : +5 points, volume : low.
Bollinger band reading : side way little upside biased.
MACD Histrogram : reversed downward, seller retreat.
Support : 2400, 2370, 2340 level.
Resistant : 2450, 2470, 2500 level.
Comment :
FCPO traded marginally higher in light volume. Overnight recover soy oil price lead to a higher opening price but didn't lasted long as selling pressure follow due to a dropped in export figures release by ITS cargo surveyor. Hourly chart suggesting a side way range bound correction market.

20100520 1121 Malaysia Corporate News.

Kencana Petroleum has terminated its proposed JV with Global Offshore. Both parties could not arrive at mutually agreed terms and therefore will not proceed with the proposal. (BMSB)

Genting Bhd has subscribed for a 51% stake in Hari Hareshwar Power Company Private Ltd (HHPC) for INR 104,550 (RM7,419). HHPC is a pre-operating company and its intended principal activity is to make investments. (BMSB) The group's power arm currently has interests in two power plants in India – a 30% stake in 368MW Lanco Kondapalli plant and a 36% stake in the 113MW Aban Power plant.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission will let Sime Darby complete its internal investigations first, says MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will open an investigation file into the financial affairs of conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd if any element of corruption is suspected in its massive losses.
  • "If Sime Darby doesn't have the experience on how to pinpoint corruption, they can ask for MACC's help," he said. Sources say an internal probe started some eight months ago had extended its scope of investigations into determining the real extent of the losses and whether they came about from anything beyond just making bad investment calls. 
  • While losses identified so far came from its energy and utilities division, the sources did not discount the possibility that the probe may also look into other divisions in the group and, possibly, other projects. (BT)
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said that conglomerate Sime Darby's losses in the Bakun hydroelectric dam project occurred because its bid of RM1.8 bn (S$775m) was too low.
  • 'Without accusing Sime of anything, Dr Mahathir attempted to guess why the bid was so low. 'Sometimes, and I am not saying this of the contractor . . ., sometimes a very low price would be proposed to win the contract,' said the former premier. 'Then as the construction is in progress, there would be cost overruns and eventually the total cost is higher than the price of the bid. The owner of the project would be asked to pay for the new cost.' 
  • Dr Mahathir maintained that the actual cost overruns were greater than what Sime admitted. 'Now the CEO has been dismissed because of cost overruns in Bakun amounting to RM900m,' he wrote. 'But I believe . . . the overrun is more . . . because the government has compensated Sime Darby with about RM700m. So the total . . . would be almost equal to RM1.8bn. The price has doubled!' 
  • The former premier then began asking questions. 'How come the bid was so low?' asked Dr Mahathir. 'I would think the engineers would know that they would not be able to build at RM1.8bn.' 
  • 'Who are the consultants in Sime Darby?' he continued. 'How come they okayed such a low cost for the project? Is it only the CEO who was responsible? Who are the others who were involved with the project and failed to see that the cost overrun was very high with the project (having) been delayed by almost three years.'
  • 'I think responsibility should be shared,' Dr Mahathir maintained. 'I was told of this cost overrun and delay three years ago.'
  • 'Have we, or rather has Sime Darby, learnt lessons and begun to look at other major projects it is handling?' Dr Mahathir inquired. 'I think the people are entitled to know when a public company loses over a billion RM.' (Spore Press)
PPB Group, the largest shareholder in Wilmar International Ltd, reiterated Wilmar's denial of fraudulent tax claims for its operations in Indonesia. "Wilmar's announcement says it all. Nowadays, people can claim anything," PPB chairman Datuk Oh Siew Nam. Oh was responding to reports that some of Wilmar's Indonesian units are being investigated over questionable and fictitious value-added tax restitutions.
  • Wilmar told the Singapore stock exchange that its Indonesian units, collectively the biggest exporters of Indonesian palm oil, are and have at all times been complying with all relevant Indonesian tax laws. The statement also revealed that Wilmar's Indonesian units collectively export more than US$3bnworth of palm oil annually from 2007-2009. 
  • On the group's outlook, MD Tan Gee SooiTan said it will start to produce and sell sandwich loaves and buns from its new RM100m factory in Port Klang. This new business will compete with other bread brands like Gardenia, High 5 and Mighty White. Earlier this year, PPB Group completed the sale of its entire stake in two sugar units and land used for sugar cane cultivation to a unit of Felda for RM1.29bn. (BT)
The Bursa Malaysia bourse may have been hit with another technical glitch yesterday, which caused a temporary disruption on its stock indices, including the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI. The exchange, in a statement, said that all the FTSE Bursa Malaysia indices could not be disseminated since 11.09am and it was investigating the cause of the problem. The problem was resolved just over an hour later — at 12.16pm, when the exchange resumed its normal dissemination of all indices.
  • Bursa Malaysia said all its offices will be closed on 28 May 10 in conjunction with the Wesak Day public holiday. The stock exchange will resume operations on 31 May 10. (BT)
RHB Capital said it hopes to conclude its purchase and subsequent listing of Indonesian lender Bank Mestika Dharma in the 3Q of this year. Its plan to buy 80% of the lender for RM1.16bn, first announced in Oct last year, was supposed to have been completed in the second quarter. It, however, ran into delays because of queries from the Indonesian central bank relating to "structure and disclosure", group CEO Datuk Tajuddin Atan said.
  • Right after it completes the purchase, it will take Bank Mestika for a listing on the Jakarta Stock Exchange, he said. Bank Mestika, though small, is efficiently run and has consistently produced profits in the last ten years, he said. Last year, it made a net profit of about RM65m. He expects the bank to start contributing significantly to the RHB group only from next year. 
  • RHB doesn't need to inject capital into Bank Mestika for business expansion purposes till possibly two or three years later, he said. 
  • RHB's shareholders yesterday approved a plan to raise RM1.3bn via a renounceable rights issue to help fund the Bank Mestika purchase.
  • On another matter, Tajuddin said RHB is aiming for its net profit to rise to RM1.4 billion this year from RM1.2 billion last year on the back of an improvement in fee-based and treasury income, as well as business banking. 
  • It is also targeting for loan growth to improve to 15% this year from 10% last year. Net interest margin is expected to remain stable at 2.78%. 
  • He hopes to finalise the appointment of a MD for RHB Islamic Bank "soon", as several candidates have already been identified. The previous MD, Jamelah Jamaluddin, left in Feb to helm Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia). (BT)
Bank Negara Malaysia and the Australian Treasury have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate cross border co-operation in the financial services industry, including Islamic finance and the regulation of financial products. The MoU aims to foster long-term strategic business development in conventional and Islamic finance between Malaysia and Australia, focusing on several key areas –
  • enhancing mutual co-operation on capacity building and human capital development in the financial services industry, 
  • the exchange of information and experience in the legal, regulatory and supervisory frameworks, 
  • facilitating and promoting the development of an effective and conducive financial market infrastructure and
  • enhancing cross-border financial activities including research on Shariah matters in Islamic finance products and services to promote consistent application for cross-border transactions. (BNM)
Maxis will be spending RM1.4bn in 2010, believed to be one of the highest commitment in the company's history. It hopes to expand its (3G) coverage from 60% to around 80% of the country's population by year-end. "As we have expanded to most parts, I expect the annual capex moving forward to be lower than 2010," Maxis executive VP and head of network and technology Mark Dioguardi said.
  • Dioguardi said that it may take another two years to see all its sites operating on 3G technology.The company said about one-third of its capex will be used on 3G, another one-third on 2G technology, while the remaining will be spent on other areas like enterprise infrastructure. (BT)
Tan Chong Motor is bullish that car sales could improve by 8-10% this year, despite interest rates increasing. Edaran Tan Chong Motor executive director Datuk Dr Ang Bon Beng said it is working to improve car sales to cushion any shortfall in the coming months.
  • "Our strategy is to sell more cars now and have a 15% buffer. It things are encouraging in the second half, then it will be a bonus for us," Ang said. It is expected to roll out a facelift version of its Nissan X-Trail (in completely built-up form) and CKD version of Teana. "Our long-term plan is to introduce one CKD and one CBU per year. New products are a way to improve our car sales and have repeat buyers," he said. (BT)
Stop-work orders for hillslope developments in Kuala Lumpur remain in force, Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said. "We're still waiting for the cabinet to make the decision on the other projects. Aside from UMLand's project in Bukit Ceylon, the status quo remains for other hillslope developments in KL. One of the projects affected by the freeze on the hillslope developments in KL is Selangor Dredging's Damansara 21 project in Damansara Heights. (Financial Daily)

Malaysia's steel consumption will rise 10-12% this year, helped by a resurgent manufacturing sector and continued government spending, said Chow Chong Long, president of the Malaysian Iron and Steel Federation (Misif). Steel demand could reach 8.3-8.4m tonnes, compared to 7.5m tonnes last year, he said.
  • Malaysia's important manufacturing sector should swing back to 6.5% growth this year, after declining 9.3% last year, he said, but also warned that economic turbulence in developed economies could hurt local steelmakers. “Europe and the US are a big market for finished manufacturing goods produced in Malaysia, and when global demand falls, local industries will cut purchases and this could affect local demand for steel,” he said. 
  • Consumption of flat products is likely to be higher than long products this year, which was the case for five years until 2009, he said. 
  • Steel demand has been "good" so far in 2010, but much of the steel purchasing has been speculative. “The real demand is still there. But I would say 50% of the demand is because of speculation,” he said. “We are still waiting for private sector to come back. The growth in Malaysia’s steel demand this year will be slow but steady,” said Chow. (Metal bulletin)
The privatisation of Astro may be a “done deal. ”An industry source say some shareholders of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) are in favour to the terms and conditions of the proposed privatisation. “We believe the deal is likely to go through once consensus by the EPF shareholders is achieved,” he said,
  • The final outcome of the privatisation is expected to be announced tomorrow. As it stands, about 84% of Astro shareholders are in favour of the privatisation. There must be at least 90% acceptance of the other shareholders for the deal to go through. Shareholders of EPF, which hold an 8.61% stake in Astro, have become the deciding factor to make or break the deal. (Star)
Alam Maritim Resources has proposed a 1-for-2 bonus issue of up to 274.48m shares of 25 sen each. The bonus issue would be wholly capitalised from its share premium account for RM68.12m, assuming all the ESOS options were exercised prior to the entitlement date. It will make the applications to the authorities within one month for completion of the exercise in 3Q10. (Financial Daily)

Petra Energy's wholly-owned unit Petra Resources Sdn Bhd (PRSB) has, based on the findings in a preliminary confidential status report by Ferrier Hodgson MH Sdn Bhd dated 26 Apr, filed a writ of summons and statement of claim against seven defendants at the High Court of Malaya at Kuala Lumpur on 13 May. The defendants were in 2005 either employees of the then holding company of PRSB or persons connected to or associated with those employees. (BMSB)

Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) has awarded two exploration blocks, SB307 and SB308, offshore Sabah under a single production-sharing contract (PSC) to a partnership comprising Lundin Malaysia BV, Nio Petroleum Ltd and Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd. The two blocks measured about 6,230 sq km and were located in water depths of up to 70 metres, Petronas said. (Financial Daily)

Retired MD Datuk Ramli Ismail has been removed from K&N Kenanga Holdings' board, a move said to have been initiated by its majority shareholders. Ramli, who was redesignated as a non-executive director on 31 Mar this year, was to have stood for reelection at annual general meeting (AGM).
  • Apart from Ramli, three other directors stood for re-election yesterday, namely Kevin How Kow, Datuk Syed Ahmad Alwee Alsree and Ismail Harith Merican. Successful reappointments included chairman Tengku Datuk Paduka Noor Zakiah Tengku Ismail, Abdul Aziz Hashim and Raja Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Raja Salim. 
  • K&N Kenanga said it had hired a recruitment firm to find a candidate for the post of managing director following the resignation of Tengku Zafrul Aziz as group director.
  • On its Saudi Arabian joint venture, Kenanga Investment Bank CEO Lee Kok Khee said the company should break even by the year-end now that it has an asset management licence. (BT)
Tradewinds Corp’s group CEO Shaharul Farez Hassan will go on a year's sabbatical beginning June 1 2010, sources say. Shaharul will take leave to pursue his MBA. A chief operating officer is expected to be in charge in his absence. Tradewinds is expected to make an announcement on the matter soon.(BT)

Kurnia Setia plans to invest up to RM2bn over the next 15 years to develop an integrated township called Kota Sri Ahmad Shah (KotaSAS) in Kuantan, Pahang. The group's maiden venture into property development will be via its property arm, KotaSAS.
  • "We plan to build 10,000 units of residential and commercial units and the development will be carried out in several phases spanning 15 years," KSB director Tengku Datuk Zubir Tengku Datuk Ubaidillah said. Nevertheless, plantation of oil palm will remain its core business. (BT)
Dutch Lady Milk Industries expects to grow both revenue and net profit this year and to possibly pay as much dividend as it did in 2009. Recently appointed managing director Sebastian Van Den Berg said the improving economy will be reflected in consumer behaviour and spending trend which he expects will contribute to the dairy market growth.
  • Moreover, the company will raise its advertisement and promotion budget this year to push sales. "We will increase it by 20% this year," Van Den Berg said. Dutch Lady does not expect to raise the price of its products at least until August 2010. (BT)
Amway (Malaysia) Holdings will launch seven new products that will help contribute about 6% of its total sales this year. "We are not happy with the 3% sales growth posted last year. This year we hope to grow a better single digit," said Amway Malaysia ED Paul Yee.
  • Amway Malaysia is optimistic of growth this year after it moved to its new RM100m HQ, which will provide increased capacity and brand new facilities to its distributors and customers. The new headquarters is much larger and has an advanced warehouse that can process up to 6,000 orders daily. 
  • Previously, the group was processing about 2,000 orders per day.Amway Malaysia will invest RM4.8m capex this year to open three more shops and for infrastructure upgrading and maintenance, including information technology. (BT)
KKB Engineering has been appointed as a sub-contractor to undertake some RM20m worth of structural steel works for the MEMC Merdeka Project within the Sama Jaya Free Industrial Zone in Kuching. KKB said the structural steel job was due for completion in the second half of this year. (Financial Daily)

SEG International (SEGi) has proposed a 2-for-5 bonus issue of 71m shares of RM1 each. SEGi said the proposed bonus issue shall be effected via the capitalisation of reserves of RM35.6m entirely from the company's share premium account. The proposed bonus issue is expected to enlarge the issued and paid-up capital to RM124.7m comprising 249.4m subdivided shares. The proposed bonus exercise is estimated to be completed by mid-July 2010. (Malaysian Reserve)

20100520 1111 Malaysian Economic News.

Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said inflation will remain modest this year and the process of rate normalisation will be dynamic. If there was any slowing down, the rate normalization would take a pause. But in a period of very strong growth, there is potential room to normalise further.
  • She stressed that local financial institutions had limited exposure to the debts crisis in Europe. Thus, the central bank expected the local economic situation to improve further despite the uncertainties coming out from Europe. (Bernama)
Bank Negara Malaysia and the Australian Treasury have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate cross border co-operation in the financial services industry, including Islamic finance and the regulation of financial products. It focus on several key areas:
  • Ehancing mutual co-operation on capacity building and human capital development in the financial services industry. 
  • The exchange of information and experience in the legal, regulatory and supervisory frameworks. 
  • Facilitating and promoting the development of an effective and conducive financial market infrastructure.
  • Enhancing cross-border financial activities including research on Shariah matters in Islamic finance products and services to promote consistent application for cross-border transactions. (BNM, Bernama)
Malaysia for the first time since 1999 has earned a position among the top 10 most competitive countries in the world with an index score of 87.2228, jumping eight notches to 10th place this year(18th in 2009), according to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2010.
  • International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said this strengthened position rests largely on significant improvements in Government and Business Efficiency rating, moving up to 9th (19th in 2009) and 4th (13th in 2009) respectively, demonstrated that the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) was beginning to deliver results. 
  • Among middle-income countries, with GDP per capita under US$20k, Malaysia ranks second only to Taiwan. (MITI, Bernama)
PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on 19 May launched a benchmark US dollar denominated Global Sukuk under the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) initiative. The sukuk, which will be listed on Bursa Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Labuan financial exchange, is assigned a rating of A- by Standard and Poor's and A3 by Moody's. The rating “reflects the strength of the transaction documentation, including the lease and purchase undertaking agreements,” Standard & Poor’s said. (Bernama, BT)

Malaysia is on track to reduce its fiscal deficit to 5.6% or lower of the GDP this year from 7.0% in 2009, PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said. External debt has improved to 34.4% of GDP and notably, as a result of prudent debt management strategies. The Government’s external debt is presently at only 2% of the GDP. (StarBiz)

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) expects its investments to touch RM500bn mark by end-2013, said Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Investment) Shahril Ridza Ridzuan. Its investments stood at RM385bn as at 1Q10. (Bernama)

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) plans to tighten the guideline for members to invest in unit trust funds to ensure their investments are protected. It will set a certain minimum criteria before a unit trust fund is made available under the EPF scheme for withdrawal from members’ accounts.
  • At present, there are more than 300 unit trust funds approved by EPF, managed by 37 different unit trust managers. In Jan-Mar 10, an average of RM2.18bn was withdrawn (RM3.31bn in 2009) out of an average of RM3.35bn of contributions received every month. (NST, The Star)
Five separate memorandum of agreement (MoA) worth a total US$125.3m were signed at the 6th World Islamic Economic Forum yesterday. The first MoA valued at US$30m, was on strategic partnership for the global distribution of Islamic investment products. The second MoA worth US$33m, was on collaboration on customization of Islamic investment products and hedging solutions. The third MoA was for the sale and purchase of Malaysian fresh fruits and frozen chicken, valued at US$7.3m. The fourth and fifth agreements with a total value of US$58m. (StarBiz)

20100520 1107 Global Economic News.

U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly dropped 0.1% mom in April (0.1% in Mar) for the first time in more than a year, signaling the economy is recovering without causing prices to flare. The decline was largely due to a 1.4% drop in the energy index while food prices rose 0.2%.
  • Excluding food and fuel, the so-called core rate was unchanged, capping the smallest 12-month gain in four decades. Economists had expected consumer prices and core inflation to rise 0.1% each. On an annual basis, CPI up 2.2% in April (2.4% in Mar). (Bloomberg)
The Mortgage Bankers Association's purchase index plunged 27.1% in the 14 May week on top of the 9.5% plunge in the 7 May week to pull the index to its lowest level since 1997 following the expiration of second-round housing stimulus. These results point to very weak home sales for this month and a new weight on home prices. Falling mortgage rates failed to limit the fall in purchase applications, but they did give a big boost to refinance applications which jumped 14.5%. Mortgage rates for 30-year loans down 13bp in the week to an average 4.83%. (Bloomberg)

Wall Street is poised to score a victory in its efforts to beat back a crackdown on banks that trade the complex financial products known as derivatives. On Tuesday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., proposed a compromise change to the Wall Street reform bill that would water down a proposed ban on derivatives trading by many financial firms. (CNN Money)

US competitiveness fell for first time in 16 years. The US, number 1 since 1994, has been topped by Singapore and Hong Kong in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2010. (Bloomberg)

Federal Reserve officials raised their growth estimates for 2010 and lowered forecasts for unemployment and inflation, according to minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on 27-28 Apr. Central bankers said the economy will expand in a range of 3.2-3.7% this year, leaving their 2011 forecast unchanged at 3.4-4.5%. In January, central bankers forecast 2010 growth of 2.8-3.5%.
  • Fed officials’ central tendency forecast for the average unemployment rate in the final three months fell to 9.1-9.5% vs. 9.5-9.7% in January. Their estimate for 2011 unemployment was in a range of 8.1-8.5% vs. 8.2-8.5% in January. 
  • The personal consumption expenditures price index minus food and energy will rise 0.9- 1.2% this year, down from January’s estimates of 1.1-1.7%. Estimates for 2011 core inflation were also lowered to 1.0-1.5% vs. the January forecast of 1.0-1.9%. (Bloomberg)
Federal Reserve policy makers last month said they were in no rush to sell US$1.1tr of mortgage-backed securities, with a majority preferring to wait until after the central bank starts raising interest rates, the Fed said in minutes of its 27-28 Apr meeting. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his colleagues are still trying to reach a consensus over when and how fast to reduce the Fed’s balance sheet as the economy recovers. The Fed aimed to lower home-loan costs and boost growth by buying mortgage securities through last March after cutting the benchmark interest rate almost to zero in Dec 08. (Bloomberg)

Rioting erupted across Bangkok after Thai security forces backed by armored vehicles cleared an anti- government protest camp and forced its leaders to surrender. In a televised broadcast, army spokesman San sern Kaewkamnerd earlier said troops “completely control” the protest camp, announcing an end to a six-week standoff that roiled the country and killed more than 60 civilians and soldiers.
  • The government announced a curfew in the city from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. today, and extended it to two northeastern provinces. All financial institutions will be closed for the rest of the week. (Bloomberg)
Credit-default swaps soared as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s curb on using the contracts to speculate on European sovereign debt sparked concern among investors about increasing government regulation. The Markit iTraxx Crossover index of swaps on 50 European companies surged 50bp to 582, according to Markit Group Ltd.
  • The Markit iTraxx Asia index on investment- grade borrowers outside Japan climbed 10bp to 131.5, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc prices show. The jump in the indexes signals deterioration in investor perceptions of credit quality. (Bloomberg)
China is unlikely to undertake a “large” one-time appreciation of the renminbi when it lets the currency move against the dollar, former Hong Kong Monetary Authority head Joseph Yam said. Policy makers will allow flexibility “sooner or later,” with the timing dictated by economic and financial conditions rather than political events, Yam said in a speech in Singapore yesterday. (Bloomberg)

China’s central banks limited orders for a three-year bill sale to ensure that a surge in demand for the securities won’t disrupt the market, according to three traders at primary dealers. The monetary authority today told banks not to add to the amounts or change yields of their bids indicated on Monday, said the people, who work at finance companies obliged to support demand during auctions. Primary dealers are normally allowed to add to their orders on Wednesday for the three-year bill auction. (Bloomberg)

Oil prices continued to fall, hitting a 7-month low Wednesday, as investors were unnerved by reports that Germany will ban some types of short-selling. Crude for June delivery fell by as much as US$1.51, or about 2%, to US$67.90 a barrel in intra-day trade Thursday morning. That's its lowest level since 30 Sep 09 when oil slumped to US$66.33 a barrel in intra-day trade. (CNNMoney)

Japan’s industrial production rose 1. 2% mom in March. It rose sharply from a preliminary reading of 0.3% for the month has been attributed to increased demand for Japanese passenger cars and electrical machinery and marks the first month- on-month increase in two months. The capacity utilization index was up 0.6% mom in March to a seasonally adjusted 90.6 (vs. preliminary reading of 0%). (Bloomberg)

Moody’s Investors Service says it will maintain its stable outlook on Thailand’s banking system despite the violent conflict between protestors and security forces in the country. Moody’s, which changed the credit outlook to stable from negative in January for the banking system, said the sector’s asset quality and earnings have shown “considerable resilience” to political turbulence in recent years. (Bloomberg)

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono named career banker Agus Martowardojo as finance minister to replace outgoing Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who joins the World Bank as one of three managing directors next month. Yudhoyono also named Anny Ratnawati, director general of budget affairs at the Finance Ministry, as vice finance minister. (Bloomberg)

The euro’s current level is close to an “equilibrium” value and its decline to the weakest in four years against the dollar may help Europe’s exports, the International Monetary Fund’s First Deputy Director John Lipsky said. “The current level of the euro does not appear to pose problems. The euro is rather close to what we would consider equilibrium value (debuted at a value of US$1.17) after an extended period at which it traded above that value,” he said. (Bloomberg)