Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ FGV's AGM focused on the directors' remuneration
Undersea project trial: Lim Guan Eng smiling when receiving money from witness. EU grant Ukraine as ‘candidate’ to join EU - membership might take a decade. Crypto's white knight: Sam Bankman-Fried.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Nearly 1 in 5 American adults who were infected with Covid-19 are still having symptoms of long Covid. The symptoms range from fatigue, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, cognitive difficulties, chronic pain, sensory abnormalities and muscle weakness. If you have had Covid-19 before, do you feel you have long Covid?
The number of tourist arrivals has surpassed the target of 2 million, according to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri. Nancy expected Malaysia to have two mil international tourist arrivals this year, bringing in RM8.6 bil in tourism receipts. That’s a salivating RM4,300 per tourist. It’s either an indication of how weak the Ringgit has become or how big of a tourist trap Malaysia is!
USD600 mil (RM2.6 bil) — the amount of tea Pakistan imports annually. However, the country is asking its people to drink less tea because of its dwindling foreign-exchange reserves (less USD9 bil). The reserves are barely enough to cover 45 days of imports of all goods.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Malaysia’s latest satellite — MEASAT-3D — was successfully launched from French Guiana. Launching this satellite will unlock new communication services and bridge the digital connectivity divide between the urban and rural areas in Malaysia.
French Guiana, which house the Guiana Space Centre, is located in South America and is one of the overseas territories of France. All space launches by the European Space Agency (ESA) are conducted from this French overseas territory.
Instead of discussing the issues faced by Felda settlers (i.e. lack of manpower), FGV’s 14th annual general meeting mainly focused on increasing remuneration for its board of directors, with 6 out of 9 of the AGM’s agenda focusing on that matter. The timing of this pay rise is uncanny as the country is struggling with the rising palm oil-based cooking oil prices.
Monies into politicians’ pockets left, right and centre — in Lim Guan Eng’s undersea tunnel project corruption trial, the star witness and CEO of the company awarded the tender for the project, Zarul Zulkifli, told the court that he paid Lim RM200,000 in exchange for 10% cut of the project’s profits. In the first instalment of the bribe in 2013, Zarul said Lim was smiling when he received the money.
The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) had filed an appeal to reverse the High Court’s verdict in the murder trial of the late Cradle Fund’s CEO, Nazrin Hassan. Previously, the High Court has decided to free Nazrin’s wife, Samirah and her two children from the murder charges.
Under the New Crops Cocoa Production Stimulus program, 300 hectares of land in Kiau, Sabah, will be open for new cocoa planting. With this program, there is a huge possibility to turn Kiau into an agro-tourism hub, with cocoa growers acting as tourist guides.
Among the few sultans that can hold their own, Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Nazrin Shah, is conducting a four-day visit to the island republic of Singapore. In a meeting with the Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, Lee mentioned that he looks forward to fostering stronger ties between the two countries.
Fitch Solutions anticipate the general election could be held in the second half of 2022, ahead of the September 2023 deadline. One of the key factors behind this prediction is the decisive BN victory in the Johor state by-election. Fitch Solutions said that if the Umno-led BN coalition wins the general election, it would improve policymaking and foster political stability. Factors that weren’t considered — the risk of growing cronyism and blatant, entrenched corruption.
As the pandemic profit bubble burst, the world’s largest glovemaker and our very own Top Glove Corp Bhd is shifting strategy from rubber glove output capacity expansion to vertical and horizontal integrations. However, the company is monitoring the global demand/supply for rubber gloves and will greenlight the output capacity expansion when necessary.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
There could be an incoming wave of Covid-19 again. Singapore reported a 23% increase week-on-week in Covid-19 infections in the country. According to the Ministry of Health, the figure is primarily driven by the increased spread of newer Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. Stay safe everyone!
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved from house arrest to solitary confinement in a prison in the capital Nay Pyi Taw. The military government said the move was in accordance with criminal laws in Myanmar. The military is accused of planning to keep her in custody for the rest of her life.
By hook or by crook, China’s President Xi Jin Ping said the country will achieve its economic goals for the year without giving details of how:
Unemployment rate in cities of less than 5.5%.
Inflation of around 3%.
GDP growth of 5.5%.
Many investment analysts have been sceptical of the country’s ability to economic targets after stringent Covid controls restricted business activity. The median GDP forecast among investment banks tracked by CNBC is far lower, at 3.4%.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy may take a breather after European leaders declare they will formally accept Ukraine as a candidate to join the EU. Keyword - candidate. It will take a long time — perhaps more than a decade — to qualify for the membership.
Even after multiple mass shootings as of late, the US Supreme Court has struck down a New York law restricting gun-carrying rights. The decision is expected to allow more people to carry guns legally. Justice Clarence Thomas ruled that Americans have a right to carry “commonly used” firearms in public for personal defence.
Elon Musk called its new factories in Berlin and Texas gigantic money furnaces that are losing billions of dollars from EV-battery shortages and supply-chain snags. In an interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Musk said one of his biggest concerns was how to keep Tesla factories running without going bankrupt.
Also — cryptocurrency’s white knight isn’t Musk nor Michael Saylor, but Sam Bankman-Fried, the crypto billionaire who co-founded digital-asset exchange FTX Trading Ltd. Sam Bankman-Fried is providing almost half a billion dollars worth of funds to leading cryptocurrency platforms — USD250 mil to BlockFi and USD200 mil to Voyager Digital Ltd.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Malaysia Airlines’s controversial safety video.
Disney’s Marvelous acquisition of the Marvel franchise.
3. You are your own pillar.