Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Finance Minister: 53% of the RM4 bil petrol subsidies from Jan to Mar enjoyed by T20, only 15% benefitted B40
Grab Q1 FY22 - revenue up, loss down. Tony Pua: nation has stupid ministers (BN+PH) because smart people don't join politics. EU readying USD220 bil investment to cut down Russian energy dependence.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
Indonesia’s government made a u-turn on its crude palm oil export ban. The ban will be lifted following Monday, May 23, 2022.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Seven — the number of countries that allow abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, including the US. However, that could soon change as the US Supreme Court struck down the ruling that declared abortion a constitutional right.
Even rich people can’t escape from Macau scammers — a businessman from Port Dickson lost RM21 mil to an alleged Macau scam. It was probably a very properly planned social engineering scheme. We wrote a post a year ago on the Macau scam. Check it out here.
Pablo Picasso’s 1932 “Femme nue couchée” was sold for USD67.5 mil in New York. Translate from French, “Femme nue couchée” means “nude reclining woman”.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Former Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) director Harry Lee Vui Khun told the court that the cash given by the company to former deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was a political donation and not for corrupt purposes. If it isn’t for an illegal purpose, the payment could have been done via bank transfers and in MYR instead of in cash denominated in SGD at the DPM’s residence.
PM Ismail Sabri said that the Cabinet Special Committee on Anti-Corruption has agreed to put in place the Political Funding Bill that will focus on the regulatory aspects of political contributions to prevent corruption and power abuse. Read more here to learn how political funding is regulated in the UK.
Armed forces veteran group Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan president Mohamed Arshad Raji has expressed his horror over Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s appointment as Malaysia’s Ambassador to Malaysia and called for it to be revoked. Sign the petition at Change.org here — 19.6k people have supported to reject his appointment. Truly sorry Indonesia. You deserve better.
The blanket subsidy method on fuel subsidy has disproportionately benefitted the T20 group. The lion's share of 53% of more than RM4 bil in fuel subsidies the government has spent until March whilst only 15% benefitted the B40. Finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz added that the government is revising the mechanism for electricity and petrol subsidies to be more targeted and focused on the needy. Malaysia’s inflation rate is artificially kept low due to such subsidies relative to other developed and developing nations.
During a DAP fundraising event, Damansara MP Tony Pua told the crowd the reason the nation has stupid ministers, both in PH and BN (more in the latter, Tony said!), as smart people in the country don’t join politics. Selangor BN information chief Isham Jalil rebuked Tony’s claims by posting a list of 21 blunders involving PH ministers during its administration.
Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin has denied that the recent massive data leak that is being sold online did not belong to the National Registration Department (JPN). Investigation showed that the leak came from several agencies which were given some access to obtain information from JPN and the SOP for extracting info from JPB will be reviewed in light of this alleged incident.
Johor is facing a significant shortage of between 15,000 - 18,000 nurses as most opt to make a living in Singapore instead. Some nurses are getting paid more than specialist doctors in Johor after conversion (even worse with the weakening MYR). The current nurse to patient ratio stands at 1:297 vs the target of 1:200.
The Hanoi 2021 SEA Games medal tally as of May 19, 2022:
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Russia-Ukraine conflict updates:
Google’s Russian subsidiary is due to file for bankruptcy as its bank account and assets are seized by local authorities for failing to comply with Russia's regulations. But their free services like Youtube and Gmail are allowed to continue their services.
Russia’s first war-crimes trial from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw a Russian soldier pleading guilty to killing an unarmed man.
The EU is preparing an investment plan of US$220 billion for the next five years to cut down dependency on Russian energy. Ultimately, the spending is to drive up green energy use and long term energy savings, but in the words of Frans Timmermans, EU Green Deal Chief, “it’s hard, bloody hard, but it’s possible.”
Timeline of Putin’s deteriorating health, as Ukraine officials claim he is concealing a serious illness.
There is a first time for everything — Sri Lanka has defaulted on its debt for the first time. The default came after a 30 day grace period to repay USD78 mil of unpaid debt interest payments expired on Wednesday. Sri Lanka is seeking to restructure debts of more than USD 50bil.c
A rare but potentially serious virus is on the rise as at least 13 cases are suspected to be infected by the Monkeypox virus in Quebec, Canada. Spain and Portugal detected over 40 cases. Starts with flu-like symptoms before rashes break out on the body of the infected. But the cases seem to be occurring within ‘sexual networks’ according to a CDC expert, and pose no public threat.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is pressing the Biden administration to drop specific tariffs on Chinese imports. The tariffs set by the Trump administration are causing more harm to consumers and businesses as it does not address the main issues the US has against China, like unfair trade practices or national security issues. It may help ease the inflation faced by the nation as well, but others argue that keeping them in place will protect U.S. jobs and China's behaviour in global markets.
Melvin Capital, a hedge fund once ranked among Wall Street’s most successful, announced that it would close its funds and return cash to its investors. Melvin Capital’s prowess in shorting stocks could not match the power of Redditors (r/wallstreetbets) after the firm lost big on meme stocks last year. Melvin bet against GameStop Corp. early last year.
Grab’s Q1 FY22 results is out. Some highlights:
Revenue up 6%yoy to USD228 mil from USD216 mil.
Burning less — loss narrowed to USD435 mil from USD666 mil.
Gross merchandise value (GMV) grew 32% YoY to USD4.8 bil.
30.9 mil transacting users, up 10% YoY from 28 mil.
Consumer incentives of USD344 mil spent in Q1, up 85% from USD186 mil - thanks for subsidising our lifestyle and helping with inflation!
Cash balance of USD8.22 bil
The company forecasts an increase in the next quarter and the expected increase in ride-sharing demand as people return to their pre-pandemic routines and more online food delivery demands.
View here for Grab’s earnings presentation deck.
Carousell decided against a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp which could have valued it at around USD1.5 billion. Wise decision — growing macro uncertainties, fading SPAC hype and monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve could result in an underwhelming share performance.
Tesla has been kicked out from S&P 500's ESG Index, with the stock dropping almost 30% in the past month. Reason for removal:
Lacking a low-carbon strategy;
Codes of business conduct and;
Involvement in multiple controversial incidents like racial discrimination and labour issues.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
One of the greatest ever Freudian slips by former US President George W.Bush. He blamed it on age.
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