Wednesday, September 14, 2011

20110914 1104 Local & Global Economic Related News.

The  Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) approved RM31.7bn in  investments for the first seven months of this year. "It is for both new operations and  expansion of existing ones," International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Mustapa  Mohamed said.  
• He noted that some of the existing companies in Melaka and Penang were investing  up to RM1bn while increasing the number of employees to another 1,700 each.  
• On achieving the foreign direct investment (FDI) target of RM55bn for this year,  Mustapa said MIDA was on track to do so. (BT)  

Malaysia has proposed to undertake two oil and gas (O&G)-related projects in Brunei,  PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday. One was by Petronas to build a  petrochemical complex with BASF in Pulau Muara Besar, involving an investment of about  US$1.6bn, while the other was the development of a  fabrication yard by Petronas'  subsidiary, Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd.  
• Meanwhile, Najib said he had also discussed investment opportunities for Brunei in  the Sabah tourism sector and hydro power generation in Sarawak.  
• On the field of finance, Brunei sees the possibility of it getting involved in the  development of Islamic banking in Malaysia because  Malaysia is recognised as the  world Islamic banking centre. The details will be announced later, Najib noted. (BT)

A bridge which had been agreed to be built across Sungai Pandaruan that borders the  Malaysian state of Sarawak and Brunei's Temburong district is expected to be ready by  2013, Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said. The construction of the bridge,  specified to be about 200 metres in length and 60 metres wide, had been planned to start  in Apr next year. Five contractors from Brunei Darussalam and five from Malaysia would be  invited to bid for the tender to construct the bridge which was expected to cost about  RM25m, he said. (Bernama)  

The  Employees Provident Fund (EPF) posted RM6.75bn in  investment income in  2Q11, up by 24.4% yoy or RM1.32bn compared to 2Q10. Top three performing asset  classes were equities (+47.9% yoy  to RM3.27bn), loans and bonds (+11.4% yoy to  RM1.87bn) and Malaysian Government Securities (+5.3% yoy to RM1.39bn) from a  continued steady growth of the Malaysian economy, its CEO Tan Sri Azlan Zainol said.  
• Returns from Money Market Instruments registered RM192.41m (-1.0% yoy), while  investments income from properties recorded RM28.50m (+25.2% yoy).  
• As at 30 Jun 2011, the EPF’s total investment fund stood at RM462.54bn. (BT)

Malaysia will host the  United Federation of Travel Agents' Associations' (UFTAA)  Congress next year as part of the effort to promote Visit Malaysia Year 2013. UFTAA  board member, Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun JP, said the event was expected to attract over  1,500 participants.  
• He said UFTAA board of directors met on 11 Sep 2011 and picked Malaysia to host  the congress, tentatively scheduled from 17-22 Nov next year.  
• The last time Malaysia organised the congress was in 2002, he said. The venue has  yet to be decided. (Bernama)  

Malaysia's position as the  third largest solar panel exporter globally has attracted the  attention of many foreign manufacturers wanting to  set up plants in the country. Deputy  Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said about six foreign  manufacturers had established plants with several more to come. "Currently, we have the  Americans, Germans and Japanese. There are several foreign companies that are keen to  invest here and we are still in the process of evaluating their proposals,” he noted.  (Bernama)  

PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said affirmative actions to help Bumiputeras, which were  introduced under the banner of  New Economic Policy (NEP), would remain but have  shifted to become more market friendly and merit based. The current government strategy  of creating more opportunities for the Bumiputeras rather than imposing quotas on others,  have also attracted the non-Bumiputeras, he said. (Bernama)  

The government will introduce a  goods and services tax (GST) sometime “after” the  general election (GE), PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak  said, without giving any hint on  when the GE will be held. “The question is the timing of it. I guess when the time is right, in  the near future... probably after the next general election, we will introduce the GST," he  said.
• The  economic growth “might touch” 5% this year after strong growth of  7.2% last  year. “To get beyond 5% growth this year, we do need strong external demand. And  for that reason, we would like to see the US recover strongly,” he noted.
• "On  fiscal deficit, our plan is to reduce it from 5.6% to 5.4% this year and down to  about 3.0% in the next few years," Najib said. (BT)

The  U.S. poverty rate rose to the highest level in almost two decades and  household  income fell in 2010, underscoring the lingering impact of the worst economic slump in  seven decades. Data released by the Census Bureau today showed the proportion of  people living in poverty climbed to 15.1% in 2010 (14.3% in 2009), and median household  income declined 2.3%. The number of Americans living in poverty was the highest in the  52 years since the Census Bureau began gathering that statistic. Those figures may have  worsened in recent months as the economy weakened. (Bloomberg)  

US: Import prices fall for second time in three months
Prices of goods imported into the US fell in August for the second time in three months as the cost of oil and food dropped while autos stabilized. The 0.4% decline in the import-price index followed a 0.3% increase in July, Labor Department figures showed. Economists projected a 0.8% decrease, according to the median of 52 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Prices excluding fuel rose 0.2%. Slower growth in Europe and emerging economies like China, together with less US demand, may restrain the cost of goods from abroad. (Bloomberg)

US: Budget deficit widened to USD134.2bn in August
The US government’s budget deficit widened in August, primarily reflecting a calendar- related jump in spending compared with the same month last year. The gap climbed to USD134.2bn last month, exceeding the August 2010 shortfall of USD90.5bn. For the fiscal year to date, the deficit increased to USD1.23trn, less than at the same point in 2010. Improved income-tax collections and efforts to cut spending signal the deficit will stop climbing, according to government and Wall Street analysts. The drive to limit debt prompted President Obama to send a USD447bn job-growth package to Congress this week that he stressed would be paid for with offsetting reductions in outlays and increases in tax revenue over the next decade. (Bloomberg)

US: Small-business index falls to 13-month low on outlook
Confidence among US small businesses dropped to a 13-month low in August as fewer companies projected better economic conditions and improving sales, a private survey found. The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index decreased to 88.1, the weakest reading since July 2010 and the sixth-consecutive decline, from 89.9 in July. The number of small-business owners saying they expected the economy will improve six months from now fell to the lowest level since 1980. (Bloomberg)

The International Energy Agency cut global oil demand forecasts for this year and next  as the economic recovery falters. The adviser reduced its estimate for 2012 consumption  by 400,000 bbl/day, and for 2011 by 200,000 bbl/day. Worldwide demand will rise by 1.2%  to 89.3m bbl/day this year and by 1.6% to 90.7m next year. (Bloomberg)  

The Philippine government's budget deficit this year may be at least 2.6% of GDP, and  will not reach its goal of 3% of GDP, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said. Manila posted  a budget shortfall of PP26.48bn in Jul, which brought the seven-month fiscal gap to just  15% of the full year target. (Reuters)    

Philippines: Exports fall a third month as electronics sales drop
Philippine exports fell for a third straight month in July as demand for electronics products weakened, adding to signs of a faltering global recovery that’s hurting Asian economic expansion. Shipments abroad dropped 1.7% from a year earlier to USD4.43bn after falling a revised 9.4% in June, the National Statistics Office said. The median of five estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 6.8% decline. (Bloomberg)

China's crude steel output fell 0.9% mom to 58.75m tonnes in Aug as several steel mills  reduced production due to maintenance, official figures showed. (Reuters)    

Singapore's employers expect the hiring pace to remain steady for the coming quarter,  with those in the public administration and education sector the most optimistic, according  to a Manpower survey. 57% of employers foresee no change to their workforce, 33%  expect to add employees and 2% anticipate a decrease. (Channel News Asia)    

China's fiscal revenues in Aug rose 34.3% yoy (+27% in Jul) to Rmb754.6bn  (US$118bn), the Ministry of Finance said. Fiscal revenue may grow at a slower clip in the  coming months due to moderating economic growth and a higher threshold on personal  income taxes since Sep. Fiscal expenditure in Aug rose 25.9% yoy to Rmb807.7bn.  (Reuters)  

Bank Indonesia says growth next year may reach 6.5%, lower than the government’s  6.7% target, due to a slowing global economy. The central bank is preparing a number of  measures to anticipate a global economic slowdown, as Indonesia gears up to feel the  impact next year. Global growth was predicted to slow down to 4.2% in 2011 (4.3%  earlier); and to 4% in 2012 (4.5% earlier). (Jakarta Post)

Italy: Borrowing costs jump at USD8.8bn auction
Italian borrowing costs jumped at a EUR6.5bn (USD8.8bn) bond auction as contagion from Europe’s debt crisis leaves investors shunning the region’s most-indebted nations. The Rome-based Treasury sold EUR3.9bn of a new benchmark five-year bond to yield 5.6%, up from 4.93% when similar-maturity securities were sold on 14 July. Demand was 1.28 times the amount offered, down from 1.93 times at the last sale. The Treasury, which fell short of its maximum target of EUR7bn, also sold EUR2.6bn of bonds maturing in 2018 and 2020. (Bloomberg)

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