☕️ The 'Chinese financial weapon' against the US - Bitcoin
Digi and Celcom Axiata to merge. Leaked audio recording of Zahid Hamidi and Anwar's conversation. The potentially only second USD2 trillion American company.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
346,270 people have completed both doses of vaccination in Malaysia.
RM52,715,630 in traffic summonses have been collected by PDRM so far via MyBayar Saman application.
4.8% — Malaysia’s unemployment rate in February 2021, slight drop compared to 4.9% in Jan 2021. Number of unemployed persons in Feb 2021 is 777,500.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Aeon Credit Service Bhd’s 4QFY21 (Feb 28, 2021) ended with improved profits of RM113.7 million on lower impairment losses and higher bad debt recovered compared to RM88.4 mil made a year ago. For the full year, Aeon Credit posted net profit of RM233.4 mil.
Trading of Digi.Com Bhd and Celcom Axiata Bhd shares were suspended yesterday due to the announcement of their merger of operations in Malaysia instead of the previous mega-merger plan of entire operations in Asian region. The merger would create the biggest mobile service provider in Malaysia.
Sovereign wealth fund Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will diversify its portfolio further into renewable energy and 5G technology, logistics and data centres according to group CEO Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn (pictured below). At the end of the financial year ended Dec 31, 2020 (FY20), international investments formed 12% of the portfolio, from 8.5% a year earlier.
Digital cash management space is heating up with new player Versa raking up RM10 million deposits in less than 3 months since launch in January 2021. According to CEO Teoh Wei-Xiang, there are more than 4,000 accounts on the platform with an average balance of RM2,700 per user.
There a leaked audio recording of an apparent conversation between Umno president DS Ahmad Zahid and his counterpart DS Anwar Ibrahim which the latter denied, saying it is Bersatu’s ploy to bring down UMNO. Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah no investigations will be opened as no reports have been made on that matter.
Audio too, like video, can be deep-faked too with AI.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The largest sovereign wealth fund, Norges, with assets in excess of USD1.3 tril has announced its ‘first investment in renewable energy infrastructure’. It announced that it will pay EUR1.375 bil (USD1.63 bil) for a 50% stake in one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms , Orsted’s752 megawatt Borssele 1 and 2 facility that uses 94 wind turbines, which is located 23 km off the Dutch coast.
Orsted is the world’s 2nd largest operational offshore wind farm and supplies renewable energy equivalent to annual power consumption of 1 mil Dutch households.
Amongst the most resilient retailers during the pandemic, Japan’s Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo, reported a 23% jump in its half-yearly profit to JPY168 bil (USD1.53 bil), though its revenue fell, albeit slightly, by 0.5% yoy JPY1,202.8 bil (USD10.95 bil). It raised its full-year profit forecast to JPY255 bil (USD2.32 bil) from JPY245 bil.
Fast Retailing wants to accelerate its expansion in Asia, eyeing 100 store openings a year in a bid to thrive in the era of pandemic according to Tadashi Yanai, its CEO. Currently, Fast Retailing is opening 40 to 50 outlets a year in Asia. In February, it momentarily overtook Inditex, the owner of Zara to be the most valuable company in the global apparel industry with a market cap of USD97.5 bil. Now, Inditex’s market cap is USD103.2 bil vs Fast Retailing’s of USD88.4 bil.
BMW joined its rival Mercedes-Benz in reporting record Q1 vehicle deliveries, driven largely by explosive demand in China and a big boost in EV and hybrid vehicles. Sales of BMW, including its Mini and Rolls-Royce brands surged more than a third to 636,600 in the quarter, with deliveries in China almost doubled. Mercedes sales jumped 22% to 581,270, with a 60% rise in its China deliveries.
Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor that is famously known for being the first outside investor of Facebook, has described Bitcoin as a ‘Chinese financial weapon’ during a virtual roundtable held by the Richard Nixon Foundation. Thiel is a ‘pro-crypto’ and ‘pro-Bitcoin maximalist’.
“I do wonder whether at this point, Bitcoin should also be thought [of] in part as a Chinese financial weapon against the U.S.,” Thiel said during an appearance at a virtual event held for members of the Richard Nixon Foundation. “It threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the U.S. dollar.” He added: “[If] China’s long Bitcoin, perhaps from a geopolitical perspective, the U.S. should be asking some tougher questions about exactly how that works.” - Peter Thiel
Microsoft is nearing a USD2 tril market cap, becoming the only 2nd American company to command this achievement after Apple. Its stock climbed more than 1% on Thursday, hitting a market cap of USD1.9 tril and another 5% move upwards will take it to its new milestone. Its shares are up about 17% this year after leaping by 60% in 2020.
Since Staya Nadella took over from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft stock has shot up 5x since 2014. Apple ‘s market cap is currently USD2.2 tril, hitting as high as USD2.4 tril in Jan. Also in the running to be a USD2 tril company are Amazon (USD1.7 tril) and Alphabet (USD1.5 tril).
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