☕️ Finance Minister: No windfall taxes, for now.

Special Branch: MY 'safe haven' transition country for foreign terrorists. PM: all cabinet ministers must announce 100-Day report card. China's hidden local government debt estimated at USD8.2 bil.

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

45,000 kilometres — the length of 2Africa subsea communications cable. It will be the world’s longest after its completion. Backed by Facebook, the cable would serve an estimated 3 billion people in 33 countries.

USD 27 billion worth of bad loans in India will be “cleaned up” by the government’s long-talked-about bad bank — i.e. Danaharta equivalent.

830 stores — the number MR DIY Group (M) Bhd stores nationwide by the end of October 2021 as it plans to open 35 new stores this month.

USD 96 million — the average valuation of an early-stage U.S. startup in 1H2021, up over 50% from UDS61.7 million at the end of 2020. Other than the founders, university endowments are raking in hefty returns by investing in these startups.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY


4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾

Politics and Local

  1. The chief of the Special Branch’s counter-terrorism division Normah Ishak said foreign terrorists usually view Malaysia as a safe haven or transition country before continuing their activities elsewhere.

    Ishak added Malaysia’s friendly immigration policies, with the visa-on-arrival facility for citizens from many countries is one of the pull factors.

  2. Perikatan Nasional (PN) announced today it would proceed with discussions on seat allocations for the 15th general election (GE15), without Barisan Nasional’s (BN) or UMNO’s approval.

  3. Another U-turn by the government: Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) will postpone the enforcement of the ban on liquor sales by Chinese medicine halls, grocery shops and convenience stores until Oct 31, 2021.

  4. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has instructed all cabinet ministers to announce their respective Report Card on 100-Day Achievement of Keluarga Malaysia Aspirations to the public. The 100 days started from Sept 1, after the cabinet’s first meeting.

  5. Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim said amendments to the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 are being reviewed. The amendments would allow the Houses to prohibit any member of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara facing ongoing court charges from attending Parliament proceedings.

    Rais added these transformations are in line with the Memorandum of Understanding on Transformation and Political Stability.

    Are we going to see more acquittals soon?

Business

  1. Rompin MP Hasan Arifin has been appointed as Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB)’s chairman, the fourth in under 20 months.

    The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) discourages the appointment of active politicians to public-listed companies’ (PLCs) board of directors under a revised Corporate Governance Code. Is there any exemption for UMNO MPs that the public is unaware of?

    Anyway, Hasan was the previous Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman. During the PAC's inquiry into 1MDB, Hasan didn’t call Mr Najib to testify. He said, "I have to earn a living." He never shared a letter from Bank Negara Malaysia on USD1 bil transfers made by 1MDB. This is how UMNO works. Sadly.

  2. Sapura Energy Bhd reported a net loss of RM1.52 billion for 2QFY22 ended July 31, 2021. The integrated oil and gas (O&G) services provider said its third straight quarter of losses due to recognition of foreseeable losses and higher project costs.

  3. Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary's plan to privatise MMC Corp Bhd will proceed as 99.75% of the shareholders voted in favour of the tycoon’s privatisation plan in an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Thursday.

  4. NPC Resources Bhd (NPC) said Syarikat Kretam Plantations Sdn Bhd had accepted its offer to sell a total of 2,109 acres (853 hectares) of land in Kinabatangan, Sabah, for RM52.7mil. NPC snubbed IOI Corp Bhd after it aborted the deal on Tuesday.

  5. Solarvest Energy Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of Solarvest Holdings Bhd, has secured a RM22.2 million contract from NEFINB Solar Asset 2 Sdn Bhd for a rooftop solar photovoltaic energy generating facility.

  6. Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz assured the government does not intend to impose a windfall profit levy on glove makers or other businesses whose profits grew manifold during the Covid-19 pandemic, for now.


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5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎

  1. China — the land of the debt-shackled dragon. According to economists at Goldman Sachs, China’s hidden local government debt has swelled to more than half the size of its economy. Known as local government financing vehicles (LGFV), it allows governments to borrow money without it appearing on the balance sheets, but it is still deemed as a government liability by financial markets. 

    LGFVs total debt rose to RMB53 tril (USD8.2 tril) at the end of last year, up from RM16 tril in 2013 - 52% of GDP and larger than the amount of official outstanding government debt. 40% of the total LGFV debt are mostly constructed in construction, transportation, and industrial conglomerate sectors. Jiangsu, is the most highly indebted LGFV with total debt of RMB8 tril (USD1.24 tril). Worse still, instead of the debt being used for new investment, 60% of the bonds issued are used to repay maturing debt in 2020-2021. 

    China doesn’t have an official account of local governments’ hidden debt, as it’s technically against the law, and private estimates by different institutions vary significantly. Goldman’s calculation is based on an analysis of more than 2,000 LGFVs’ statements of their interest-bearing debt, including bonds and bank loans. 

  2. Japan’s venerable institution, the University of Tokyo plans to start investing directly into startups spawned from the school through a new JPY60 bil (USD536 mil) fund. The university has already invested in over 110 startups through a private sector VC. The university will start investing with JPY10 bil and seek further funding from external investors. It plans to increase the size of its investment to JPY60 bil in 10 years and to invest in 300 startups.

    Currently, national universities are prohibited from directly investing in startups, but an upcoming legal amendment taking effect in April will allow this university, Kyoto University, Tohoku University and six other institutions conducting world-class research to invest in new companies directly. 

    In the US, large college endowments have made a killing and notched their most significant investment gains in decades thanks to investments in startups via venture capital funds and the soaring stock market. 

  3. Singapore’s Mapletree Investments has acquired two portfolios of logistic assets in the US for USD3 bil, boosting its presence there. With this acquisition, Mapletree will have about USD25.5 bil worth of logistics under management, with an estimated net lettable area of 224 mil sq feet across Asia Pacific, Europe and the US. The company also hold about USD14.8 bil of real estate across the US.

    Singaporean company, playing in the big boys league. 

    News in Brief: 

  4. Ferrari has announced a partnership with a design firm ,LoveFrom, headed by Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief design officer, to create a range of cars, including its first-ever electric vehicle with a planned release in 2025. 

  5. Kim Yong-jo, the sister of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has been promoted to the State Affairs Commission, becoming a member of the country’s top decision-making body. The promotion has fueled speculation that she could be named as her brother’s successor. 

  6. Myanmar’s currency, the kyat, has plunged by more than 60% since the beginning of September, caused by the political turmoil from the military coup, increased fighting and the second wave of coronavirus infections that started in June.


6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁

  1. The cost of pumping fuel around the world

  2. Something to ponder upon over the weekend, when did you realise it was time for you to go out on a high note?

    ‘Quitting – or adjusting, or changing paths – on top is so hard, because no one knows where the top is. But if there’s any reliable way to sense when it’s approaching, it’s when your success pushes you away from doing things that had been fundamental to that success.’

    Morgan Housel, on Humble Exits

  3. Motivational quote to end the week!

  4. Steve Jobs was trying to stop Google from hiring Apple’s employees.