☕️ 50% of Malaysians earned less than RM2,062 a month in 2020

SG's new 45 football field size solar farm powers 16K HDB flats. DPM teased possibility of NRP Phase 2 by early Aug for whole country. 🇰🇷 Covid-19 new rule: treadmill speed below 3.7 mph in gyms.

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

One of the world’s biggest solar farms containing 122,000 solar panels covering an area equivalent to 45 football fields has begun operation in Singapore’s Tengeh Reservoir with a capacity of 60 megawatt-peak (MWp). It can power 16,000 4-room HDB flats for a year.

43% of Malaysians do not visit bank branches and instead preferring to bank purely online, according to a survey by VISA.

2,895 people onboard Dream Cruises’ World Dream ended their “cruise to nowhere” a few hours earlier after a passenger tested positive for Covid-19. All passengers are being confined to their cabins for the time being. The case’s close contacts will be issued quarantine orders while all other passengers must take an antigen rapid test (ART) before they can leave Marina Bay Cruise Centre.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY

  • Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn Bhd will be delivering 12.4 million doses of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to the government by next week, four months in advance of the initial scheduled delivery in November 2021.

  • Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob teased the possibility that the entire country could move into Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan by early August since one of the thresholds — at least 10% of the population fully vaccinated — has been achieved.

  • The Health Ministry has given conditional approval for Covid-19 home test kits — two have been approved for usage and 15 more are currently undergoing laboratory tests.


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4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾

  1. Malaysia’s high-net-worth individual (HNWI) population rose by 5.9% to “almost 78,000” in 2020 from 73,000 in the previous year according to global consulting firm Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2021.

    On the flip side, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) released its annual salaries and wages statistics for 2020.

  2. A coalition of NGOs has urged Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his Cabinet to resign by Friday after submitting a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the government’s failure to manage the pandemic. Gabungan Bertindak Memorandum Rakyat Malaysia (GBMRM) coordinator Mustafa Mansor and several GBMRM members arrived at Gate 3 of Istana Negara at 10.30am to hand the memorandum over to the Palace.

  3. Businesses in Selangor asked the state’s Menteri Besar to Kuala Lumpur’s method of locking down affected buildings instead of continuing lockdowns for entire districts in Selangor.

    Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (KLSCCCI) pleaded with the MB to adopt alternative measures amid feedback from its members that are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and closure.

News in brief:

  1. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin gets backing from his cabinet to continue as the country’s prime minister. Surprise surprise.

  2. Meydan Group LLC will pay about RM828.25 mil (AED726.57 million) to WCT Holdings Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary WCT Bhd (WCTB) in a full and final settlement linked to the Nad Al Sheba Dubai Racecourse contract dispute. WCT Holdings said the settlement amount is equivalent to 65% of the principal sum of AED1.15 billion awarded to WCTB.

  3. The Cabinet will set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) over pilgrims’ fund Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) audit issues and allegations of mismanagement. The scope of the RCI will focus on the consultant's findings on issues arising from LTH from 2014 to 2020 but does not include the Recovery Plan and LTH Restructuring.

  4. IWH-CREC's RM7.4 billion deal to buy 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia falls through after the Ministry of Finance and IWH CREC Sdn Bhd have mutually agreed to terminate the deal for the latter to buy a 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia.


5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎

  1. Xiaoice, the China-based AI chatbot developer, raised more than RMB500 mil (USD77 mil) at a valuation of USD1 bil in its Series A round led by Hillhouse Capital Management. Interestingly, Xiaoice is a spin-off by US tech giant Microsoft in July last year. Launched in 2014 within Microsoft by Li Di, Xiaoice bills itself as the world’s most popular social chatbot, used by Huawei and Xiaomi’s smart assistants on its device and several in-car systems of Chinese automakers. 

    Some highlights on Xiaoice:

    1. Claims to have more than 660 mil users.

    2. Its technology is embedded in more than 450 mil devices globally.

    3. Its service is available in 5 languages, including English. 

    4. It had more than RMB100 mil in sales for the fiscal year 2020 (USD15.4 mil) and planning to double in 2021.

  2. ‘Buy now pay later’ (BNPL) service is coming to Apple. Bloomberg reported that Apple will be partnering with Goldman Sachs, its partner since 2019 for the Apple Card credit card as the lender for the loans. Known internally as Apple Pay Later, this feature is not tied to the Apple Card and doesn’t require the use of one.

    The interest rate Apple plans to charge is not known yet. Following this news, shares of BNPL like Australia’s Afterpay slid by 10% and Nasdaq-listed Affirm, founded by PayPal co-founder, Max Levchin, tumbled as much as 14% 

    Meanwhile, anticipating higher than usual demand, Apple has asked its suppliers to build as many as 90 mil next-generation iPhones this year, a sharp increase from its 2020 iPhone shipments. Apple previously maintained a consistent level of roughly 75 mil units for the initial run from a device’s launch. 

  3. Indonesia surpassed India’s daily Covid-19 case numbers, marking a new Asian virus epicentre as the spread of the delta variant drives up infection numbers in the largest Southeast Asian economy. Its daily case count has been above 40,000 for 2 days straight - up from less than 10,000 from a month ago.

    However, it’s still far from India’s peak of 400,000 daily cases in May. Indonesia has inoculated just 10% of its population and India 14%, compared to 46% of the European Union’s population and 52% in the US according to Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. 

  4. JP Morgan, the US banking giant, acquired Campbell Global, a forest management and timberland investing company, though the terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Portland-based firm has USD5.3 bil assets under management and manages 1.7 mil acres worldwide. This came as lumber prices collapsed from its peak of USD1,700 per thousand board feet in May to around USD715 currently. However, JP Morgan said this acquisition is to gain a foothold in the growing market for carbon-offsets rather than benefiting from high lumber prices. 

    News in Brief:

  5. India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, has indefinitely banned Mastercard from issuing any new debit, credit, and prepaid cards to customers in India over noncompliance with local data storage rules. 

  6. China’s consumer internet, which has largely split into 2 camps built around arch rivals Alibaba and Tencent, will see a major shift. Both tech giants are looking to open up their ‘walled gardens’ to one another, making life more convenient for consumers and spurring greater competition. 

  7. Oatly, the recently listed plant-based oat milk company fell to an all-time low after short-seller Spruce Capital Management accused the company of misleading investors on multiple fronts and overstating its revenue and gross margins.

  8. As South Korea sees record-breaking Covid-19 daily cases, it will not allow its people to work out hard and fast at the gym under a new rule. Treadmills are capped at 3.7 miles per hour, and music played over the gym speakers cannot exceed 120 beats per minute. that's about the tempo of "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen or the BTS hit "Boy With Luv." Both songs would set the pace for a brisk walk or a really slow jog.


6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁 (Beta Mode)

  1. KYC - know your cables

  2. MP of Padang Rengas having a good time in France now.