Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ 2 Malaysians convicted in Singapore's largest-ever share manipulation case that saw SGD8 bil (RM25.1 bil) in market value destroyed
Singapore PM, wife to receive state honour from Sultan Johor. Water crisis in California, heatwave in India - growing climate crisis. Uber's Q1 very red USD5.9 bil net loss no thanks to Didi and Grab.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
USD7 bil — the worth of military equipment left by the US in Afghanistan after its abrupt withdrawal, according to a report released by the Pentagon ordered by Congress. Scores of weapons, planes, vehicles and other equipment were left behind.
14.9 million — the actual death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic, which is almost more than three times the official figures (5.4 mil), according to WHO.
20% of time spent on Instagram is spent on Reels, according to Meta. While the short-form video product doesn’t monetise as well as Stories currently do, the company is optimistic about Reels’s potential.
The price of tomatoes in India increased by 69.7% YoY in April 2022. The Russia-Ukraine war is hurting Indian household diets.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Malaysians Soh Chee Wen and Quah Su-Ling have been convicted by the Singapore High Court yesterday over Singapore’s largest-ever case of share manipulation that saw SGD8 bil in market value destroyed in 2013. The trial, which commenced in Mar 2019, concluded after 194 hearing days.
The High Court found that Soh and Quah carried out their manipulation using 187 trading accounts which belonged to 58 individuals and corporate nominees to trade in 3 penny stock counters. Both will be sentenced at a later date.
A summary here by The Star is how the manipulation scheme took place.
Padang Rengas UMNO MP Nazri Aziz has criticised Gua Musang UMNO MP Tengku Razaleigh for the latter’s decision to remain in the independent bloc and not abide by the party’s backing the current government and disciplinary action should be taken. Commonly known as Ku Li, the longest-serving MP since 1974, he requested the Parliament speaker to change his seat to the independent bloc.
It was recently reported Ku Li would head a new coalition to topple the PAS-led Kelantan state government in the upcoming election.
Just last week, after announcing that Penang will ban short-term rental homes and homestays, the Penang government said it is still open to the option of regulating the activity. State Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, however, said the ban would be imposed on high-rise buildings with residential titles and was intended toward online marketplaces like Airbnb. He added the ban would not apply to kampung-style homestays.
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong will receive Johor’s highest state honour, conferring the title Dato’ Seri Paduka Mahkota Johor, whilst his wife Ho Ching will receive a state award, becoming the first Singaporean to be conferred the title Dato’ Sri Mulia Sultan Ibrahim Johor. Ho Ching was the former CEO of Singapore’s SGD300 bil sovereign wealth fund. The couple will visit the state to attend the ceremony, and Sultan Ibrahim will host an official brunch in their honour. Both individuals have just helped to average up, albeit by a small margin, the quality of datuk-datuk in Malaysia.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Since Russia’s war in Ukraine broke out, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been a safe haven for Russians. Wealthy Russians have been arriving in unprecedented numbers — notably, property purchases in Dubai by Russians surged by 67% in the first quarter of the year. The UAE has not put sanctions on Russia or criticised its invasion of Ukraine.
Inflation — is probably the word of 2022 despite only five months into the year—Turkey’s official inflation rate in April was 69.97% YoY. The headline figure is posting a huge challenge to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The UK is also tackling inflation — the Bank of England’s (BOE) Monetary Policy Committee raised the base interest rate to 1%, the highest level in 13 years. BOE expects inflation to hit 10% this year.
Soon we will no longer be able to sing California Dreamin’ (on such a winter’s day) because California is facing a prolonged drought fuelled by the climate crisis. The state in the US is warning six million California residents to cut back their water usage this summer or risk dire shortages. Less snowfall over the years has exacerbated the situation.
Meanwhile, India’s record-setting heatwave has surprised many as it’s supposed to happen in May or June, as those are typically the hottest months for India. Last month was the third-hottest April the country has seen over the past 122 years — the average maximum temperature was 35.3 degrees Celsius.
Besides being great at memes, Elon Musk is also a good fund-raiser. He secured about USD7.1 billion of new financing commitments, including from billionaire Larry Ellison, a Saudi Prince, and Sequoia Capital, for his USD44 bil acquisition of Twitter. The funding essentially reduces the risk for his lenders as the margin loan is reduced to USD6.25 bil (vs USD12.5 bil). Musk could potentially be the interim CEO after the deal completes.
Oil-giant Shell reported a record first-quarter profit of USD9.13 bil, mainly contributed by higher oil and gas prices stoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The record quarter came even after writing down USD3.9 billion post-tax as a result of its decision to exit operations in Russia.
Whereas for Uber, their Q1 didn’t look too good - it posted a net loss of USD5.9 bil largely due to the falling share prices of its stakes in Didi and Grab. Performance-wise, Uber saw bookings soaring 35% to USD26.4 bil, quarterly revenue grew 136% YoY to USD6.9 bil, and average daily trips grew 18% YoY to 19 mil trips.
Shopify, the giant e-commerce solutions provider, is vertically expanding with its latest announced acquisition of Deliverr, the San Francisco-based e-commerce fulfilment startup, for USD2.1 bil in cash and stock (80:20). This will enable the company to create an “end-to-end logistics” platform for millions of its merchants.
Deliverr was founded in 2017 and had raised USD490.9 mil with its latest funding round valuing it at USD2 bil.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Convicted former PM Najib Razak attending the Raya celebration in Kuantan hosted by YDPA Sultan Abdullah.
Dinosaurs? No. It’s King Julien (Madagascar) and clan in reverse.
A rare encounter captured by researchers in Tijamuchi River, Bolivia of 2 Bolivian male dolphins, sexually aroused, playing and carrying around an apex predator — an anaconda.