Friday, 12 July 2013

CIMB Malaysian Economic News - 12 July 2013

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) decided to maintain the overnight policy rate at 3% yesterday, matching market expectations. It considers the current stance of monetary policy to be appropriate given the outlook for inflation and growth. In addition to domestic conditions, the central bank will continue to carefully assess the global economic and financial developments and their implications on the overall outlook for inflation and growth of the Malaysian economy. (BNM)

The industrial production index (IPI) rose 3.4% yoy in May (+4.6% in Apr), better than market expectations of a 2% gain. The increase was contributed by all indices: manufacturing (+3.1% vs. +5.9% in Apr), mining (+4.1% vs. -0.1% in Apr) and electricity (+4.8% vs. +8% in Apr). In Jan-May 2013, IPI increased by 1.5%. (Department of Statistics, Bloomberg) 

The manufacturing sales declined by 2.4% yoy to RM50.7bn in May (-5.1% to RM49.7bn in Apr). On a month-on-month basis, it increased by 1.9% (-3.8% in Apr). 5M13 manufacturing sales contracted 3.6% to RM248.7bn.
  • Total employees engaged in sector increased 1.3% yoy to 1.04m persons in May (+1.2% to 1.04m persons in Apr). 
  • Total salaries & wages paid in May up 6.6% yoy to RM2.68bn (+6.1% to RM2.73bn in Apr). 
  • Average salaries & wages per employee rose 5.3% yoy to RM2,574 (+4.8% to RM2,622 in Apr). 
  • The productivity declined 3.7% yoy in May (-6.2% in Apr). (Department of Statistics)


The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry uses national and international standards as guidelines for the environmental assessment impact (EIA) study for the integrated refinery and petrochemical project (RAPID) in Pengerang, Johor. Its deputy minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said the evaluation through the two standards used could show the extent of environmental pollution caused by the project in a more specific manner. (Bernama) 

Malaysia's total textile and apparel exports are projected to increase by 20% with the implementation of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the Malaysian Textile Manufacturers Association said yesterday. The association said with the elimination of duties upon the TPP agreement's entry into force, consumers in these negotiating countries would find Malaysian textile and apparel products to be more competitive. (Bernama) 

Legoland Malaysia announced the official opening of Legoland Water Park scheduled to open on 21 Oct while the Legoland Hotel will open early next year. Limited number of premium annual passes, which are valid for the new water park and theme park, will cost RM395, which can be used for 12 months, will be on sale from early next month. (Bernama) 

The government is yet to decide on the electricity tariff review. Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, said there is a need to look at the cost of fuel, gas and other inputs, which have been increasing. (Bernama) 

Professional bodies have made submissions to the government on the review of existing incentives to encourage construction of buildings using green technology. Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said his ministry was talking to the Finance Ministry on the matter.
  • The government has announced incentives in the form of tax exemptions and stamp duty waivers for owners of buildings with Green Building Index (GBI) certificates and buyers of GBI-certified properties, he said. 
  • Meanwhile, Malaysian Institute of Architects' President Chan Seong Aun said they have asked for the incentives, which will lapse in mid-2014, to be extended until 2020. (Bernama)

PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday announced the establishment of a National Small-and-Medium Entreprise (SME) Advisory Panel which will give relevant inputs and formulate entrepreneurship strategies in a move to create world-Class SME companies. He said the setting up of the panel was in tandem with the country's aspiration to increase the contribution of the SME sector to the country's economy and prosperity.
  • The panel will comprise successful entrepreneurs, not necessarily those who are well-known, but have an excellent track record and the time to serve on the panel, he said. 
  • The panel would be headed by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. 
  • Some 155 programmes, costing RM18.4bnn, has been planned for implementation and would benefit 467,838 SMEs. 
  • About RM23.2bn has been approved to 56,000 SMEs under the Bank Negara Malaysia SME Fund and as at end-May, RM2.2bn was still available for disbursement, he added. (Bernama)

The government yesterday announced a new definition of small medium enterprises (SMEs), which should see an increase in the number of such firms and facilitate the country's transformation into a high income nation. The new definition is effective from 1 Jan 2014. PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the proposal to enhance the qualifying threshold for annual turnover and number of workers for all SME sectors had been approved.
  • For the manufacturing sector, he said SMEs are classified as companies with an annual turnover not exceeding RM50m (RM25m or less at present) or having less than 200 workers (less than the 150 now). 
  • For the services sector, he said the value threshold was also raised, with SMEs defined as firms with annual sales not exceeding RM20m (RM5m or less, now) or not more than 75 workers (less than 50 workers currently). 
  • Micro enterprises are firms with annual sales of less than RM300,000 or fewer than five workers. (Malaysian Insider)

A total of 218,588 Malaysians were emplaced on the employment market through the Job Emplacement Programme (3P) last year, said Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Ismail Abdul Muttalib. Meanwhile, as of June this year, 73,769 workers were emplaced in the various sectors under the same programme.
  • "This is among the measures taken by the government to raise the number of local workers and reduce dependency on foreign workers," he said. 
  • He said so far the number of Malaysian nationals working in the private sector stood at 6.5m. 
  • Immigration Department statistics showed that there were 1.5m foreign immigrants holding temporary work permits. 
  • As of Aug last year, there were 1.3m illegal immigrants working in the country. (The Sun)

The government has recovered RM79.9m from RM250m loan given to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC). Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the debt recovery was made by freezing NFC's accounts through the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
  • Two plots of land in Putrajaya, three lots of land in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan and two properties at Menerong Township with a total asset value of RM23.3m were also seized by the government to recover the loan. 
  • The ministry took three measures to resolve the controversial NFC project, namely bringing the case to court, recovering its debts and assets and looking for a new company to take over the project. 
  • To date, he said a renowned Japanese agro firm, Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd had expressed interest in taking over NFC. (The Star)


The government will set aside 10% of low-cost houses (PPR) for rent to young and newly-married couples at RM124 per month, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan. "The couples have two years to stay at what we call 'transit homes'. It is a temporary measures to help them out before getting a place of their own to stay," he said.
  • Only couples below 30 years old with a monthly household income of RM2,500 and below are eligible to apply for the scheme. 
  • However, the government is considering increasing the eligibility to RM3,000 per month pending discussion with relevant parties. 
  • Asked to comment on the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), he said that he would be holding talks with Bank Negara Malaysia on increasing it to avoid property speculation. "We are in favour of an increase to 30% (vs. 15% currently) because it will help to curb speculation. This, however, depends on market conditions," he added. (NST)

The prices of local beef in most parts of Kedah has skyrocketed by up to 27%, averaging RM28/kg and errant butchers at the wet markets are to be blamed for the situation. Barely a week ago, Kedahans had to dig deeper into their pockets after the price of chicken rose steeply to as much as RM9/kg from RM6.30/kg. (NST) 

Iskandar Malaysia has attracted more than RM100bn in cumulative committed investments through 2012, said Khazanah Nasional Bhd. In its Khazanah Report 2012, the company said 41.1% of the investments were realised and it has resulted in strong progress. These includes the roll out of key catalytic projects and physical infrastructure, with critical infrastructure to boost liveability and connectivity.
  • More than 154,000 jobs in the manufacturing and services-related sectors have been created since 2006 and it is forecasted that over the course of Iskandar Malaysia's 20-year development, nearly 350,000 jobs would have been generated in those sectors, it said. 
  • The total labour force is forecast at 1.5m, with a population expected to reach 3m by then. Thus, investments totaling RM383bn will be required to achieve these aspirations. (BT)


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