☕️ 2 million books destroyed at BookXcess warehouse in Shah Alam due to the flood
Estimated RM2-3 bil in insurance claims due to the floods. SC to charge and arrest once high-flying corporate figure. Is Facebook actually listening to our conversation?
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
S&P500 notched its 69th record close of the year on Monday during the so-called Santa Claus rally. The S&P 500 is now up 27% for the year. Omicron? Wall Street isn’t afraid of it.
886 people were mistakenly tagged as “negative” for Covid-19 when they had tested positive due to a data processing error by SydPath lab. The blunder happened because SydPath had moved from an automatic system to a manual one to deal with its increased workload.
2 million books at the BookXcess warehouse in Shah Alam were disposed of due to the floods last week.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Three updates from the Malaysian government on Covid-19 in the country:
The travel ban on eight southern African countries has been lifted.
The interval for Pfizer and AstraZeneca booster dose has been shortened to three months instead of six previously.
Health Ministry has detected 306 suspected Omicron cases out of 366 samples from travellers who had tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival between Dec 21 and Dec 25.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Politics & Local
Edmund Terence Gomez, a member of MACC’s Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel, has resigned as a protest of the panel’s inaction against MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki’s alleged ownership of close to 2 mil shares in a public listed company. He said he had brought the matter up multiple times but received no response. Public servants are barred from owning more than RM100,000 in value of shares in any company.
The general insurance industry is potentially facing upwards of RM2 billion to RM3 billion in total flood-related claims exposure, due to the unusually severe floods widely reported in various parts of the country. Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM) said these estimates include actual and potential personal lines and commercial risks claims directly resulting from the recent flash floods and the upcoming monsoon season in the weeks and months ahead.
Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) flood relief effort has raised around RM2.06 mil, far exceeding the party’s initial goal of RM10,000. Muda has spent a total of RM789,521.66 on the flood relief mission in several states, with a total of 5,000 families assisted via various means.
The Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) has issued a yellow alert of continuous rain forecast for the states of Sabah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor following the current monsoon surge which is expected to continue until Jan 3 next year. Be careful if you are a non-Myvi driver and travelling to any of these states!
Oil and gas player Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd and its officers have been charged by the Securities Commission (SC) for submitting false statements relating to revenue recorded by the group in its financial report for Q4 ended 31 Dec 2020 to Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd.
The SC also relayed its intent to charge Serba Dinamik group managing director and CEO Mohd Abdul Karim and has filed an application for a warrant of arrest for the once high-flying corporate figure. However, they are still trying to locate him.
Malaysia’s trade surpassed the RM2 tril mark for the first time for the period Jan to Nov 2021, rising 24.6% yoy to RM2.01 tril. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said exports increased by 25.7% to RM1.116 tril and imports rose by 23.3% to RM894.42 bil, with a trade surplus of RM221.53 bil. Exports to major markets, notably ASEAN, China, the US, EU and Japan recorded double-digit growth.
Shares of Country Heights Holdings Bhd hit limit up to close at its multi-year high of RM1.98 yesterday after it announced a collaboration with China’s JD.com to set up a store and develop an omnichannel business model in Malaysia. The last time the stock was trading at around this price was in 2004.
Country Heights said it has inked licensing and collaboration agreements with Beijing Wodong Tianjun Information Technology Co Ltd (JD.com), one of the two largest B2C online retailers in China. JD.com shall grant Country Heights a license to use the JD.com brand for 10 years. Country Heights will set up JDMines Sdn Bhd, which will build the first physical store with about 100,000 sq ft of retail space on the ground floor of Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre. Country Heights current market cap stands at RM545.9 mil.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The end of the line may be near for Cathay Pacific as Hong Kong's strict zero-Covid policy has dampened the pilots and crew’s morale. Dozens of pilots had quit in the weeks since November following a high-profile quarantine fiasco — three pilots who breached quarantine rules during a layover in Frankfurt and tested positive for Covid-19 in Hong Kong were fired. The road to recovery could be long and hard as it is at the mercy of authorities.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) celebrated Christmas by operating the money printing machine. PBOC injected 200 billion yuan (USD31.39 bil) through seven-day reverse repurchase agreements into the banking system. As a result, the yield on 10-year government bonds fell to 2.795%, the lowest level since June 2020. The large amount of injection will help to alleviate liquidity pressure as banks hoard cash to prepare for regulatory checks.
China recently complained that its budding space station, which is still in construction, was twice forced to take evasive action to avoid collision with SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. As a result, Elon Musk was condemned on China’s biggest social media platform, Weibo, with some users calling SpaceX’s satellites “pieces of junk”.
Japanese officials have confirmed that Tokyo and Beijing have agreed to set up a military hotline as an emergency communication mechanism to defuse potential crises over disputed islands and the Taiwan Strait. The hotline will be set up by the end of 2022. People close to the discussions said the agreement might only be for show. Case in point — China has a military hotline for crises with the US, but Washington complained this year that calls often went unanswered.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has received in-principle approval from Bahrain’s central bank to be a crypto-asset service provider in the kingdom. Binance Holdings Ltd would be required to complete the full application process, which its CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said would be completed in due course. If the application is approved, it would be the first regulatory approval for a Binance entity within the Middle East or North Africa.
The mummy of famed Pharaoh Amenhotep I has been digitally “unwrapped” by Egyptian researchers with advanced 3D digital imagery. Sahar Saleem and Zahi Hawass’s research found Amenhotep I was the first pharaoh to be mummified with arms crossed and the last not to have had his brain removed from the skull. The tomography scan revealed the Pharoah had died at the age of 35.
Ark Invest's flagship Disruptive Innovation ETF has fallen more than 20% in 2021, instead of gaining 20% as per Cathie Wood’s expectations. The dismal performance is the fund’s worst return since its inception in 2014. Two main culprits — Teladoc and Zoom Video, which are both down by about 50% this year. There’s a reason why index funds are more popular — the S&P500 is up about 27% YTD.
A group of investors wants to unleash Blockbuster's potential in the next iteration of the internet — BlockblusterDAO. The decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) intends to raise USD5 mil through NFTs to purchase the company. What are its plans? To make Blockbuster a decentralised film-streaming service.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
Here’s an explanation that Facebook is ‘not listening’ to our conversations.
Dear PM, enough of the photo-op. It’s doing more harm than good.
Volcano eruptions size comparison