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BTS: Ekonomi Semakin Bercelaru
By Kapal Berita
3/1/2001 7:57 pm Wed
Lapuran Bernama berikut menyebut tambang untuk sistem STAR dan PUTRA LRT
mungkin akan dinaikkan. BTS Singapura meramalkan iklim ekonomi mungkin
tidak menyenangkan akibat kecelaruan dalam gabungan sistem perbankan.
Sebelum ini kita dimaklumkan tambang bas sudah dinaikkan - samada bas
persekolahan ataupun bas yang berkeliaran di pusat bandar (sistem tambang
mengikut zon). MAS yang dibeli kembali baru-baru ini mungkin akan melakukan
sesuatu kepada tambang dan para jemaah haji perlu menyediakan wang yang
lebih sedikit untuk menunaikan ibadat fardhu itu tahun ini.
Ekonomi di Amerika Syarikat dijangka lembab dan tidak menentu dan ia akan
mempengaruhi sentimen pasaran negara ini. Korea dijangka menjadi kayu pengukur
prestasi ekonomi rantau Asia sebelah sini manakala negara Cina pula mendapat
perhatian istimewa para pelabur kerana kestabilan dan kemurahan tenaga.
Kita jangkakan inflasi akan menghinggap bumi Malaysia yang tercinta ini
dan bank akan mengeluh lagi. Malaysia akan dipenuhi kembali oleh penerbangan
projek yang terbengkalai sebagai ubat mee segera untuk kroni. Rakyatlah nanti
yang menanggung semua ini....... Itu lah 'kepandaian' pak menteri menguruskan
January 01 , 2001 18:57PM
Govt will not neglect welfare of Mas workers
When privatising the national flag carrier, the government made it a
pre-condition that none of the staff should be displaced unless they
themselves chose to leave MAS, he said.
"We'll look after them. We've never let workers down," Dr Mahathir told
reporters who approached him on the matter at the People's Progressive
Party open house and new year reception at the Putra World Trade Centre
Malaysia was unlike some other countries which absconded its obligations to
workers upon a privatisation exercise on the excuse of cutting down on
costs or improving efficiency, the prime minister said.
He was asked on the fate of MAS workers upon the government's re-purchase
of the 29.09 per cent in MAS held by Naluri Berhad last Dec 20 at RM8 a
share or for RM1.792 billion.
The prime minister was also asked who would replace Naluri's owner Tan Sri
Tajudin Ramli as MAS executive chairman following the government's take
over or Naluri's stake in the airline.
Dr Mahathir said he had no idea as the matter was being handled by Finance
Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.
Citing Telekom Malaysia as an example, Dr Mahathir said the privatisation
of several government agencies had so far been a success.
In fact, he said, Klang Container Terminal (KCT) and Northport workers have
also requested for their entities to be privatised as they believed such a
move would be better for them income-wise.
Dr Mahathir indicated that as for the next exercise, the government was
mulling over privatising public transportation within Kuala Lumpur.
Despite government's assistance, companies operating public transportation
in the capital city suffered losses because of high operating costs
compared to cheap fares, he said.
Dr Mahathir hinted that restructuring of the city's public transportation
may involve raising the fares. - BERNAMA
Economists warn stocks may plunge after bank merger delayed
Only six out of 10 core banking groups successfully met the
government-directed merger programme, the central bank said Sunday, while
three banking groups were in the final stages of merger completion.
Last February the central bank announced that it had approved the merger of
all 54 of Malaysia's banks and finance houses into 10 groups in order to
strengthen the sector against international competition. Mergers were to be
completed by December 31.
Ramon Navaratnam, former deputy secretary general of the treasury expressed
disappointment that the merger was not completed by the planned deadline.
"It is disappointing. Banks have been given a long time to negotiate and
"Sometimes the authorities must use the stick," he told AFP.
Navaratnam, who is now corporate adviser to construction giant Sungeiway
Group, said the delays were unfair to banks which met to the deadline,
adding that those who failed to merge "should be penalised."
"They should have worked out a compromise. Others have succeeded," he said.
Bank Negara Malaysia named the 10 "anchor" banks as Malayan Banking
(Maybank), Bumiputra-Commerce Bank, RHB Bank, Public Bank, Arab Malaysian
Bank, Hong Leong Bank, Perwira Affin Bank, Multi-Purpose Bank, Southern
Bank and EON Bank.
An anchor bank is a lead bank which groups together other banks and
The central bank Sunday said 50 of the 54 banks have been grouped into 10
core banking groups.
"Effectively, 94 percent of the total assets of the domestic banking sector
have been rationalised and consolidated," it said.
The Arab-Malaysian Banking Group -- a core banking group -- which
terminated a sale and purchase agreement with Utama Banking Group has been
allowed to begin talks with Danamodal Nasional Bhd. on a possible merger
with MBf Finance Bhd.
Danamodal which took over MBf is Malaysia's national bank recapitalisation
The central bank also approved a similar agreement between Multi-Purpose
Bank Bhd. and MBf Finance Bhd. to be terminated. It also allowed Utama
Banking Group to begin merger talks EON Bank Bhd., which is already an
anchor bank. It did not set a new deadline.
The central bank said the agreement between Malayan Banking Bhd. and Phileo
Allied Bhd. for the acquisition of Phileo Allied Bank has been extended by
Navaratnam said the central bank must set a new time frame for the banks to
resolve their impasse and merge.
"They must be pushed to comply within a new deadline of one to three
months," he said.
Navaratnam said failure by the central bank get tough to overcome any
deadlock could cause others to unwind their mergers.
"The rules must be applied with consistancy. Otherwise it would reflect
weak governance," he said.
An economist with a foreign bank expressed fears that financial stocks,
especially banks that failed to merge may take a beating when the bourse
"Finance stocks may plunge by one to two percent," he warned.
The economist, who requested anonymity, said he was suprised that even the
country's top bank Maybank failed to complete the merger exercise.
"If Maybank is unable to meet the extended 21-day deadline, the whole
banking merger exercise can be regarded as a failure," he said.
The economist said negative sentiments would emerge on banks that canceled
their sales and purchase agreement as it would reflect badly on its
The failure by some banks to merge reflects on the central bank as being
"not an efficient controller," since they had initially said the merger
deadline would be met.
From The Business Times, Singapore
KL stocks: brighter outlook in H2 [? - Editor]
<>Market expected to move sideways rather than downwards in Q1
THE year 2001 is expected to be a very challenging one for the Kuala
Lumpur Stock Exchange, The Star reported yesterday. It cited analysts
saying that in the first quarter, the market is likely to move
sideways, and that prospects will only start to improve in the second
Generally, analysts are in a limbo over the outlook of the KLSE due to
uncertainties in the US and Japanese economies.
Sentiments were further bruised when the much anticipated window
dressing on the last trading day of December 26, 2000, did not take
However, all is not lost. The report quoted analysts saying that if
the US were to hit a recession, a wave of funds may flow into this
region in the second half.
Also Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad predicts a 5 per cent gross
domestic product (GDP) growth next year, considered healthy by
Jupiter Securities head of research Pong Teng Siew expects the market
to stabilise in the first quarter and improve in the second half this
year when domestic liquidity improves. "We expect the local stock
market to move sideways rather than downwards," Mr Pong said.
He expects the Composite Index to hover around 760 to 770 points in
the first quarter of this year, and he also thinks there could be a
modest Chinese New Year rally.
But Perdana Merchant Bankers Bhd first vice-president (investment) Tan
Kee Keat is not banking on a Chinese New Year rally. However, Mr Tan
expects the market to improve in the second half.
Asked for full year predictions, Mr Tan said: "It is a tough call to
make unless the picture becomes clearer in the US as a lot depends how
things will unfold there.
"We are going to see a quiet period for equities worldwide this year.
But we hope that will not be the case, and a soft landing in the US
would be ideal. In fact, every time the US Federal Reserve cuts
interest rates, there is an even chance of going into a soft landing,"
said Mr Pong.
Talk of a soft landing in the US economy is fast evaporating. Analysts
there are predicting a semi-hard (GDP of 2.5 per cent) to hard (GDP
zero) landing in the US.
They also expect interest rate cuts of about 75 basis points over a
three to six months period.
If that happens, the US funds will need new markets to invest in, and
the Asian region is an ideal location, the Star report said.
However, one potentially sore spot is that the Japanese economy is not
improving. The recession in Japan is worsening, and that may drag the
region down a bit, the analysts felt.
For full year 2000, the KLSE Composite Index fell 154 points from its
close of 833 on Jan 3, 2000, to 679 points on Dee 26, 2000.
Compared to regional markets, the KLSE was not worse off. In fact, it
only fell 18 per cent in the year 2000 compared to Seoul which was
down 52 per cent, Tokyo (down 27 per cent), Hong Kong (13 per cent),
Singapore (25 per cent), Thailand (45 per cent), Taiwan (GINO),
Indonesia (38 per cent), and the Philippines (32 per cent).
That would also make Malaysia less attractive compared to Seoul (Seoul
would be cheaper) if there is a wave of money flowing back to the
region from US and Europe.
For foreign funds to return, Mr Tan of Perdana Merchant said the
government should make more effort to improve corporate governance,
the main concern of foreign investors.
A dealer added that government linked agencies should not support the
market and let it fall to 600 which will make it attractive for
foreign funds to enter the market.
A dealer added that government linked agencies should not support the market and let it fall to 600 which will make it attractive for foreign funds to enter the market.
"We believe the performance of the KLSE will be more internally
driven, with reduced influence from foreign investors," he said.
"There is no longer the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI)
index boost as seen in early 2000," said Surf88.com, an online
"We believe foreign interest would be relatively muted in the short
term," Surf88 said.
Mr Tan said fundamentals and valuations would prevail and not
speculation. The theme this year should be to go for selected stocks
with healthy earnings per share.
"Stocks such as Malaysian Airports Holding Bhd, Konsortium Logistic
Bhd and Johor Port Bhd will benefit from increased cargo volume," he
A dealer said YTL Corp, YTL Power, AMMB Holdings Bhd, RHB Capital and
telecom stocks such as DiGi.Com were good picks.
Mr Pong said even though technology stocks worldwide were expected to
experience slow growth, those in Malaysia would be driven by
government spending on the Multimedia Super Corridor flagship
Jan 01, 2001
Asia 'can weather US slowdown'
Weakening demand for IT goods will put a drag on growth but is unlikely to
lead to recession, say economists
No one is predicting a repeat of the crippling recession ushered in by the
region's 1997 balance-of- payments crisis: Trade balances remain strong,
foreign debt has been cut, currencies are not overvalued and foreign
exchange reserves are high.
Asia, thus, has a plump cushion to soften the blow of a long-feared
weakening in US capital expenditure on the information technology (IT)
goods in which the region specialises.
This year and next, East Asian economies 'are likely to slow down
substantially', said Mr Tomoo Kinoshita of Nomura Research Institute's
Asian economic research unit.
'But this does not mean East Asia is headed towards recession. The most
likely scenario is for growth to slow to a pace more consistent with
potential economic growth rates.'
Asia will be coming back to earth after two strong years of export-led
recovery, with the US as the main locomotive.
US imports of IT from Asia last year are expected to reach US$130 billion
(S$224.9 billion), 5 per cent of the region's gross domestic product (GDP),
up from US$29 billion in 1990, according to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
IT demand is worth one percentage point of the 7.8 per cent Asian growth
forecast by Morgan Stanley for last year.
US consumption will account for another percentage point of Asia's growth.
A slowdown after US' record boom was inevitable.
IT COULD HAVE BEEN LESS PAINFUL THOUGH
What disappoints economists is that policymakers did not make better use of
the interval of strong growth to push through banking and corporate
If they had been more forceful, domestic consumption and investment would
be more buoyant now, and thus able to take up some of the slack left by
'The growth slowdown has just started, and given that external conditions
are not likely to be particularly friendly, the upward turn in the Asian
business cycle will depend on resurrecting domestic demand,' UBS Warburg
economists wrote in their Asian Economic and Strategy Perspectives for last
'That will require accelerated reforms. Both history and current policy and
political imperatives suggest that most likely, this is wishful thinking.'
South Korea is perhaps the best barometer of Asia's economic roller-coaster
After almost going bust, Seoul signed a US$58 billion bail-out plan with
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Dec 4, 1997, that led to a
spectacular rebound in growth.
The three-year IMF programme ended last month, yet the financial and
corporate reforms demanded by the fund are, by the admission of Finance
Minister Jin Nyum, only half-complete.
Growth, moreover, is grinding to a halt. Prices for semiconductors, the
country's main export, are depressed, while its oil bill has surged.
Unemployment is rising again, and both industrial production and consumer
spending are falling.
Although Mr Jin said that another meltdown was possible, economists are
'Is this the beginning of a replay of the 1997-98 crisis? Hardly. The
downturn under way is best characterised as a more traditional cyclical
downswing, following a vigorous post-crisis boom,' said Ms Jiwon Lim, an
economist with JP Morgan in Seoul.
Still, the pain is real. With exports accounting for 40 per cent of South
Korea's GDP, the economy is likely to contract this quarter, she wrote in a
The central bank expects growth this year to slow to 5.3 per cent, from 9.3
per cent last year, but Ms Lim said the figure could be closer to 3 per
cent if there is a hard landing in the US.
Goldman Sachs downgraded recently its growth forecast for South Korea next
year to 4 per cent from 5.5 per cent, but it does not believe Seoul is on
the verge of a new currency crisis.
'Foreign exchange reserves exceed US$92 billion, and Korea is still racking
up monthly surpluses of US$1-US$1.5 billion on the trade account,' said
Goldman economist Sun Bae Kim.
South Korea is emblematic in other ways of the wrenching changes Asia is
undergoing. For instance, the epic struggle of its deeply indebted
family-owned conglomerates to keep creditors at bay is repeated daily
across the region.
The country's attempts to nurse its battered financial system back to
health are also mirrored throughout Asia. The difficulty facing reformers
was underlined last month when the country's largest commercial bank,
Kookmin Bank, had to halt government-backed merger talks with its largest
mortgage bank, Housing and Commercial Bank, in the face of union protests.
In fact, with the government due to inject yet more capital into the
banking sector early this year, South Korea has grasped the nettle of
financial reform more firmly than many of its neighbours.
As a result, bank-lending to the private sector is rising again.
Mr Michael Spencer of Deutsche Bank in Hongkong said data suggest Malaysian
banks are on the mend, too. But banks in the Philippines, Taiwan and
Thailand are still cutting back, judging that lending to private borrowers
is too risky.
'Until banks start intermediating risk capital, and unless financing is to
be turned over entirely to offshore institutions, economic growth in these
countries is unlikely to return to anything near potential,' he wrote in
Deutsche's World Outlook for next year.
The other side of the lending equation is a lack of credit-worthy
borrowers. As Hyundai illustrates, too many firms are still hobbled by huge
debts incurred to finance investments in better times that are now simply
no longer viable.
But weak bankruptcy and foreclosure laws, coupled with the political
difficulty of taking on vested interests, are keeping thousands of walking
dead companies across Asia in business, thereby preventing capital from
being re-allocated to better use.
'Without massive reduction in the debt overhang of the corporate sector or
further significant progress in banking sector recapitalisation, the
current growth momentum in South-east Asia risks reform, running out of
steam,' said Mr Wong Chee Seng of DBS Bank.
Asia would be placed better to cope if Japan, the world's second-largest
economy, was not in the doldrums. Instead, recent business surveys show the
economy already turning down after a brief, half-hearted recovery in the
first half of last year.
'At the very least, the momentum is peaking out. Whether we are going into
recession is less obvious,' said Mr Peter Morgan, a senior economist with
HSBC Securities in Japan.
With most analysts sceptical that Japan can rise from its sick bed as long
as the gerontocracy of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party clings to power,
China is likely to grow both in political and economic importance to the
rest of the region.
Noting that China makes up 45 per cent of non-Japan Asia's economy, Mr Andy
Xie of Morgan Stanley said China is the one country in the region that has
attracted sufficient capital to permit it to boost domestic demand and so
offset export weakness.
'We expect China to remain a source of stability,' he said in a note to clients. 'The additional scope for infrastructure spending provides further insurance against a shortfall in economic growth.' --Reuters