26 December 2008 Newz Bits

December 26, 2008 at 2:05 am Leave a comment

HIGHLIGHTS

On Malaysia
· Proton Holdings Bhd is confident of increasing its market share in Iran
· AmBank Group will be more selective in lending to the commercial segment
· PNB has yet to receive any proposal from MMC Corp to buy up to 20% stake in PTP
On The Global Front
· US consumer spending fell less than forecast
· Vietnam’s economy expanded at the slowest pace in nine years

Proton Holdings Bhd is confident of increasing its market share in Iran with sales of 50,000 cars a year by the end of 2012. Managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said the national car company will start pushing 10,000 units a year by the first quarter of 2009, by bringing in other Proton models. This year, it expects to sell 5,000 of its Proton Gen-2 and Wira as well as Waja units, known in Iran as “Impian”, which are used as taxis. (BT)
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AmBank Group will be more selective in lending to the commercial segment as the economic slowdown is dampening corporate earnings, its chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim said. “For core sectors like manufacturing, we have to be more careful because some might get affected by the economic slowdown. But I think banks are mostly going for retail because there is still a push,” he said. (Starbiz)
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Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) has yet to receive any proposal from MMC Corp Bhd to buy up to 20% stake in Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) in Johor, according to PNB’s president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman. He said PNB already has an indirect interest in the country’s second largest container port through its stake in MMC. (BT)
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The Melaka state government fully supports the plan to build a low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Labu, Negeri Sembilan, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said. He said the LCCT will indirectly promote tourist arrivals to Melaka as the proposed location was close to the state. Mohd Ali said by 2010, some 732,000 passengers will not be able to be catered to by the LCCT in Sepang and this figure is expected to go up to four million by 2011. (BT)
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The establishment of a Legoland Malaysia theme park in Iskandar Malaysia by 2013 will help transform Johor into an international tourist hotspot, local tourism officials and authorities say. “Having the presence of such a well-established brand name like Legoland sets us in the right direction in turning Iskandar Malaysia into an international holiday hotspot,” Johor State Tourism and Environmental Committee chairman Hoo Seong Chang said in a statement yesterday. “This, along with Iskandar Investment Bhd’s (IIB) broader master plan to develop a fully integrated tourist hub more than complements our state’s tourism objectives and efforts in driving larger inbound tourist traffic from around Asia,” he added. (BT)
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The Economic Council, a high-level advisory body chaired by the Prime Minister, has proposed to set up an entity to guarantee bond issues with lower ratings. Economic advisers to the government said the entity can help bolster the domestic bond market, which is expected to shrink 10% to RM25bn next year from an estimated RM28bn this year. It can also eventually help stimulate the local economy by guaranteeing debts raised by companies in key sectors like infrastructure and services to finance viable projects. (BT)
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Investors can expect a relaxed framework for short-selling activities in the first half of next year, Bursa Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff said. It is part of initiatives to make the local market more attractive to investors, he said. The exchange is also looking at launching direct market access (DMA) for the equity market in the middle of next year. Yusli said this will provide easier access in the market, especially for larger investors to trade directly. (BT)
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Stocks rose Wednesday, ending a holiday-shortened session on a high note, as investors picked through a raft of reports on the economy. The DJIA gained 49 points (+0.6%, close 8,468.5 pts). The S&P 500 advanced 0.6% (+5.0 pts, close 868.15) and the Nasdaq composite added 0.2% (+3.4 pts, close 1,524.9). In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and the yen. US light crude oil for February delivery slid US$1.32 to settle at US$37.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (CNNMoney)
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US consumer spending fell less than forecast as cheaper gasoline left Americans with more cash, while jobless claims climbed to a 26-year high, signalling purchases will keep sliding into 2009. Spending dropped 0.6% in November, and rose for the first time in six months after accounting for inflation, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. First-time unemployment benefit claims jumped to 586,000, and durable-goods orders declined less than anticipated, other reports showed. The deteriorating job market means consumers will probably further rein in spending; economists estimate more than 400,000 people will lose their jobs this month. (Bloomberg)
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Russia devalued the ruble for the third time in a week, sending the currency to its lowest level against the dollar since January 2006, as oil’s drop below US$37 a barrel dimmed the outlook for growth. The ruble, down 18% against the dollar since the beginning of August, weakened 0.9% against the US currency to 28.6905 and 1.4% versus the euro to 40.1773, near an all-time low. The central bank allowed the ruble to fall about 1% against a basket of dollars and euros, accelerating the slide after spending 27% of reserves, or US$162.7bn, trying to defend the currency over four months. The government requires oil to average US$70 to balance its 2009 budget. (Bloomberg)
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Vietnam’s economy expanded at the slowest pace in nine years because of the global recession, the government said. Gross domestic product increased 6.23% in 2008 after growing a record 8.5% last year, according to a statement published on the government’s Web site Wednesday. That was the slowest since the economy grew 4.77% in 1999. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in the statement that while the figure was “relatively high given difficult global circumstances,” conditions may worsen next year as the world recession deepens. Growth fell short of the government’s forecast of 6.7% expansion. (Bloomberg)
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TM International Partners with Tune Talk 30 December 2008 Newz Bits

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