Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ PKR Sec-Gen Saifuddin Nasution questioned the lack of Bumiputera companies being awarded digital banking license
3 more top SC officials resigned following its chairman's resignation. Russia may officially declare war on Ukr on May 9. Japan, biggest owner of US national debt offloading billions.
Welcome back! Hope everyone had a good time feasting over the Raya holidays! Now let’s get back to feeding your brain with insights and knowledge!
Also, we have removed the Covid-19 section of our newsletter because the world is also moving on from the pandemic. However, we will continue to report relevant Covid-19 under the local and international sections where we see fit!
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
47.4 — China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a key gauge of manufacturing activity. Beijing’s zero-Covid strategy caused the country’s manufacturing activity to slump to its lowest level since February 2020.
150km — the stretch of jam that started from Rawang to Gopeng on May 1st 2022 (Labour Day), as Malaysians balik kampung to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri for the first time in two years. The longest traffic jam recorded by the Guinness World Records — 176 kilometres from Lyon to Paris, back in Feb 1980.
50 basis points — the US Federal Reserve delivered the biggest interest-rate increase since 2000 to combat soaring inflation.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Traffic congestion to and from the east coast during the festive seasons will be a thing of the past — but only in 2026. Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will be completed in 2026 and will ease the congestion problem. Travel between Kelantan and Gombak will take 4 hours one way. Smoother balik kampung journey by then.
For the uninitiated, the ECRL was plagued with controversies involving 1MDB and the infamous Jho Low.
By now, probably most of you would have read about it - last Friday, BNM announced the five winners of the digital banking licenses. The licenses attracted 29 parties to bid.
Comments that came next playing the racial card shouldn’t come as a surprise too — PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution has criticised the government over the lack of Bumiputera company being awarded the license and Terengganu PKR chief Azan Ismail said the government’s decision would badly affect Bumiputera equity ownership goals. PKR deputy chief G Manivannan comments on Saifuddin’s views - “don’t be trapped in narrow-minded thoughts.”
Following SC chairman Syed Zaid Syed Jaafar’s resignation, three more top officials of SC have also tendered their resignation. One of them, Foo Lee Mei, was instrumental in the Transmile Group Bhd accounting scandal and served the regulator for 28 years. Her resignation came five days before the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) accepted SD”s letter of representation.
The trading suspension on Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd (SD) will be lifted on Monday, 9 May 2022, and resume trading following the company’s compliance with Bursa Malaysia’s orders, amongst others, the findings from the Factual Findings Update (FFU).
Awesome TV’s Berita 7:57 aired its criticism of ex-SC chairman Syed Zaid Syed Jaafar Albar for failing to help Bumiputera companies, specifically referencing SD and another troubled O&G company Sapura Energy Bhd. SC is a regulator to protect the market and weed off bad actors and is not established to protect the private interest of any parties. Awesome TV’s managing director was previously an independent non-executive director of SD.People are asking why Awesome TV is running this baseless story which quotes nobody but the words a producer put into these anchors mouths. Well, the CEO of this station is Adam llyas, son of Ilyas Pakeer, who quit as Serba Dinamik chairman in December after just six months (1/4)
Focus Malaysia reported that SD’s managing director and CEO Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah and a few other directors met PM Ismail Sabri for a “short meeting” back in March during the Expo 2020 Dubai - revealed by someone in the PM’s entourage.
The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund (SWF), Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, with RM5.66 tril of assets under management in its latest updates, disclosed that it has invested in 146, or 15% of listed companies on Bursa Malaysia as of Dec 31, 2021. There were 967 listed companies on Bursa Malaysia in 2021. Its stake in companies like Berjaya Corp Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd, and Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd rose from a year earlier. Its ownership in Bursa Malaysia Bhd, Top Glove Bhd, and Serba Dinamik was reduced.
The SWF has invested in 9,000 companies across 70 countries, making it the largest single owner in the world’s stock markets, owing about 1.5% of all shares in the world’s listed companies.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
President Vladimir Putin may formally declare war on Ukraine on May 9, Russia’s “Victory Day,” according to Western officials. The declaration could see more bloodshed as Putin would be able to deploy thousands of army reservists.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called the bloc to ban oil imports from Russia on top of proposing to remove three major Russian banks from the SWIFT payment system. However, there is no mention of the banning of Russian gas. Why? Because it’s the elephant in the room. In 2019, Russia accounted for 41% of the EU's natural gas imports.
Russia’s war in Ukraine is not the single culprit for higher inflation worldwide — China played a role too. The Peterson Institute for International Economics claims restrictions and tariffs imposed by China on three major commodities — fertiliser, pork and steel. Authorities ordered major Chinese firms to suspend exporting fertiliser in July 2021. It pushes the problem onto others, threatening the global food supply.
Qantas Airways had ordered 12 A350-1000 planes from Airbus to be used for the world’s longest commercial flight — from Sydney to London. Take a guess how many hours the flight would take? Nearly 20 hours. The non-stop flights from Sydney to London will begin in late 2025. The current longest flight is Singapore to JFK in New York — 18 hours and 50 minutes.
Elon Musk wants to fork out less money to acquire Twitter than initially planned. Private equity firms, hedge funds and high net-worth individuals are in talks with Musk about providing preferred equity financing for the acquisition. Musk also quipped that business and government users may need to pay a “slight” fee to continue using Twitter. He assured that casual users will always be able to use the platform for free.
The European Commission issued a Statement of Objections to Apple over its restrictions that prevent third-party services from accessing the NFC capabilities of the iPhone. European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager has put forth the argument that NFC access is a requirement for viable mobile wallet services at brick-and-mortar locations.
Audi and Porsche have decided to join Formula One via partnerships. However, their entrance is only likely to happen in a few years’ time. Audi wants to partner up with McLaren, whereas Porsche intends to enter via a partnership with Red Bull Racing.
The biggest investor outside American soil — Japanese institutional managers — have offloaded almost USD60 billion in US treasury bonds over the past three months as the US Fed pares its USD9 trillion balance sheet. Increased currency-hedging costs have completely offset the appeal of higher nominal US yields.
Airbnb’s revenue in the first quarter — USD1.51 bil, 70% higher than a year earlier, with 102.1 million nights and experiences booked, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. One interesting trend — long-term stays of 28 days or more remained Airbnb’s fastest-growing category by trip length compared to 2019.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
At 609.6m, Bach Long in Vietnam is the world’s longest glass-bottomed bridge in the world (to be verified by Guinness World Records this month).
How we spend our time as we grow older. Click here for the interactive chart.