Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ 46% of Malaysian workers said they are willing to compromise their values on a job - survey
World's biggest glove maker's RM1.2 bil paper loss on share buybacks. Thailand - marijuana and same-sex union legalised. Spotify 2030: 1 bil listeners, USD100 bil revenue.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing some 600,000 tonnes of its grain and exporting some of it. Russia denies it is stealing grain. The New York Times reported that the US alleges that Russia is trying to sell stolen Ukrainian wheat to drought-stricken African countries.
46,000 people have fallen victim to cryptocurrency scams since the beginning of 2021, according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Collectively, the victims have lost more than USD1 bil.
3.9% — Malaysia’s unemployment rate in April 2022, the lowest since the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).
USD80.5 bil (RM353.92 bil) — the combined wealth of tycoons on the 2022 Forbes list of Malaysia’s 50 richest. Their wealth fell by 10% from a year ago. Robert Kuok still tops the list, with a fortune of USD11 bil. The complete list can be found here.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
The 1MDB-Tanore trial updates:
1MDB had instructed AmBank to remove the name of the RBS Coutts account, which was previously stated as PetroSaudi International Limited (Saudi), for the USD30 million and USD65 million transactions.
Former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi had testified that Jho Low told him the bank account above belongs to Good Star Limited instead of PetroSaudi.
Fatehah Md Salleh, assistant vice president of global market operations at Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Berhad, said Deutsche Bank received instructions to transfer USD110 mil to the RBS Coutts Bank account number above, but PetroSaudi International had then asked for bank records to omit its name as the recipient.
Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani, the former director of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB), may have just admitted to the High Court that corruption happened (by Transparency International’s definition). TI defined corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Wan Quoris said the financial assistance given to Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was aimed at strengthening the company’s position as a Home Ministry’s contractor (for the Foreign Visa System — VLN).
“Datuk Seri Zahid asked for assistance, so we gave him assistance.”
Two sub-variants of the Omicron variant — BA.5 and BA.2.12.1 — have been detected in the country, according to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. Both sub-variants are thought to be more transmissible.
Jimmy Chai, an online luxury watch store owner, got robbed when a “customer” brought six parang wielding men to the exchange meet up in Taman Mount Austin, Johor Bahru. The robbers stole three timepieces believed to be worth RM500,000 in total.
Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Ronald Kiandee said the government has agreed to set up a chicken stockpile via the Farmers Organisation Board (LPP) to address the supply shortage. The process of payment of chicken price subsidy claims will also be simplified, enabling claims for subsidy amounting to RM157.53 million to be paid immediately.
The ending of the pandemic is great for many but not so good for glove makers. Top Glove Corp Bhd reported a net profit of only RM15.29 mil for its 3QFY22 ended May 31, 2022 — a whopping 82.5% lower than the preceding quarter. Revenue for the quarter was RM1.46 bil, from RM1.45 bil in 2QFY22, but normalisation in demand and average selling prices (ASPs) for gloves hammered its net profit. Top Glove has decided to put its expansion plans on hold. It is sitting on a RM1.19 bil paper loss after spending RM1.42 bil on share buyback in 2021 — a 83.8% loss. Shareholders would have been better off with a dividend payout.
Malaysian employers are a lucky bunch — almost 46% of Malaysian workers said they are willing to compromise their values on a job as long as they “don’t have to do anything illegal”, according to a study by Milieu (n=1,000).
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4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Changing laws in Thailand:
Thailand became the first Asian country that legalises the growing of marijuana and its consumption in food and drinks to promote its agriculture and tourism sectors. However, it is not promoting recreational use, and the smoking of pot remains illegal. The plant will be removed from the category of narcotic drugs and decriminalised for medical and industrial use. 3,071 prisoners serving jail term due to cannabis offence was released nationwide yesterday.
The government will distribute 1 mil marijuana seedlings to encourage farmers to cultivate the crop, and it expects the industry to bring in USD435.16 mil by 2026.
Thailand will be the first Southeast Asian country to legalise same-sex unions as its Cabinet has approved the draft bill and will now await Parliament’s approval. The essence of this law will give same-sex couples almost the same rights as heterosexual couples, such as adopting children, securing inheritance, and acting on behalf of their partners in making medical decisions.
The US and Europe are coming to terms that it is hard to stop Russian oil from flowing around the world despite sanctions imposed and now aim to limit the revenue Russia can earn from its oil sales. One suggested method is for the allies to come together and buy as a bloc, putting a cap on the price it’s willing to pay. It is estimated that Moscow could make USD800 mil of O&G revenues a day, USD285 bil this year — up 20% compared to 2021.
Finance experts from the Institute of International Finance are predicting that the Ukraine invasion will wipe out 15 years of economic growth in Russia primarily due to 3 reasons: companies exiting Russia and laying off workers, collapse in exports due to sanctions and talented Russians leaving the country.
Lawrence Wong, Singapore’s latest deputy PM and PM-in-waiting, is a story of humble beginnings. He is a second-generation Chinese, grew up in public housing estates, attended a public university in the US and had no intentions of becoming. Being an ordinary citizen, not from an elite background, would make it easier for him to understand and empathize with the struggles of Singaporeans. Quick read here on his life.
Google Maps, please meet GrabMaps. Grab announced the launch of their mapping and location-based services to tap into the USD1 bil market opportunity in Southeast Asia. Its tech is better in optimising routes and 4x lower error rates compared to an undisclosed third party mapping provider. GrabMaps will be made available to enterprises and offered as a B2B solution.
On its first investor day since its listing four years ago, Spotify opened up to its investors about its plans to assuage fears over its profitability and that it is not a “bad business”. Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek said the streaming service will reach one bil listeners by 2030, and generate USD100 bil in revenue annually (10x its current revenue) with a 40% gross margin.
For comparison, in its recent Q1 2022 results, Spotify revealed it has 422 mil monthly active users, 182 mil premium subscribers (43% conversion) and posted revenue of USD2.82 bil.
Collectable trading cards is a serious business. eBay launched a 31,000 sq feet, temperature-controlled facility with 24/7 security to store cards worth at least USD750. The vault, although physical, will also serve as a digital marketplace to browse and purchase cards without having to re-authenticate or shipped elsewhere. eBay plans for the vault to include other collectable items and luxury goods by 2023 and expects to hold USD3 bil in assets in a few years.
Fun fact: the most expensive Pokeman card is a Pikachu Illustrator card worth USD5.275 mil owned by YouTuber Logan Paul.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
The RM80 mil beachfront property in Tanjung Bungah, Penang.
The largest 7-Eleven Cafe in Puchong that comes with a cafe, book store and Niko Neko Matcha.