☕️ To peg or not to peg (again) MYR to USD?
Giant glove maker Hartalega first ever quarterly loss due to Cukai Makmur. Immigration DG: enough passports to last until June, offices open until 10pm for renewal. New Zealand borders reopen 31 July.
First thing today - share the tweet below with friends who haven’t had their coffee break (as in, our newsletter!).
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
21 years ago, the way we listened to music changed forever, thanks to the iPod. It’s time to bid farewell to the revolutionary product as Apple announced it is discontinuing the iPod touch, the final iPod in the lineup. A thousand songs in your pocket.
What uncontrolled inflation looks like (i.e. soaring oil prices + depreciating MYR) — RON97 hitting an all-time high of RM4.31 per litre.
Inflation is coming in hot (not new at this point) — US Consumer Price Index climbed to 8.3% in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure beats the 8.1% estimate.
USD800 bil - value lost over the past month in the crypto-asset industry, touching a new low of USD1.4 tril in total market capitalisation, far from its all-time high of USD2.9 tril in Nov 2021.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Former PM Tun Mahathir suggested for the ringgit to be re-pegged against the US dollar to stabilise the exchange rate. Malaysia first pegged the MYR to the USD in 1998 during the Asian Financial Crisis and subsequently de-pegged it in 2005. The downside to a pegged currency? A large amount of reserves is needed to protect the peg (read the following post on how much reserves BNM has). Read more on the pros and cons of pegged currency here.
Luxury car brand meets B40 - BMW Group Malaysia announced its NEXTStep Subsidy programme to promote car safety advocacy for children through offering fully subsidised child car seats to the B40 group together with its long-term partner Safe ‘n Sound. A family with a household income below RM3.5k will be eligible for this subsidy and can apply here.
Immigration Department says there is enough passport booklets stock to last demand until June with 1.2 mil passports in inventory. The Immigration Director-General commented that only 30 to 40 people turned up at the Jalan Duta immigration office after 7 pm to renew their passports due to the lack of awareness that six immigration offices will be open until 10 pm daily from 11 May onwards.
BNM surprised the market with a 25 basis points (0.25%)* increase in its overnight policy rate (OPR), marking its first hike since July 2020. This is in contrast to a near-unanimous Bloomberg survey where 14 of 19 economists expected the hike to occur in July instead. Your interest income is now going to improve — slightly.
The central bank also announced that its international reserves amounted to USD112.5 bil (RM492.4 bil) as of Apr 29 2022 - sufficient to finance 5.9 months of imports of goods and services and 1.2x total short-term external debt.
*1 basis point = 0.01%
Hartalega, the world’s largest nitrile glove maker with a production capacity of 44 bil gloves per year, reported its first-ever quarterly net loss of RM197.9 mil in its Q4 ended Mar 31 FY2022. Reason? A one-off provision for Cukai Makmur that was introduced in Budget 2022. Companies with earnings above RM100 mil will be taxed at 33% instead of the standard 24%. In its Q4 alone, the company paid RM408.1 mil in taxes and in its FY2022, it paid RM1.39 bil in taxes. To view Hartalega’s quarterly report, click here.
Fast-food chain Subway has signed a new master franchise agreement with Pegacorn Sdn Bhd to expand its footprint in Malaysia further. 500 new Subway locations will be opened in Peninsular over the next 10 years - 3x of its current count.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Ukraine’s counter-offensive could shift the war’s momentum following days of advances north and east of the second largest city Kharkiv. Ukrainian forces were within just several kilometres of the Russian border. Ukraine also made moves to cut off Russian gas supplies through territory held by Russian-backed separatists, increasing natural gas prices by more than 6.4% yesterday.
Shanghai’s lockdown is going from worse to worst as officials will impose a lockdown over the next few days, further restrict access to food and hospitals in some parts of the city. The lockdown is the most severe phase, but Shanghai officials insist that people living in half the city's districts are now free to leave their homes and walk around.
Shireen Abu Aqla (pictured below), 51, a Palestinian-American correspondent for Al Jazeera, has been killed while covering a raid by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. She was unfortunately killed when she went to the Jenin refugee camp to report on a raid by Israeli soldiers and security forces. RIP.
Philip Morris International Inc. is going into the US market again after splitting off its US business operation (Altria Group Inc) 14 years ago. Philip Morris has agreed to buy Swedish Match AB, a maker of nicotine pouches, for USD16 billion. The deal gives Philip Morris a vast distribution network in the US, the world's largest market for smoking alternatives.
Manchester City has agreed to sign Norway Striker Erling Haaland after activating a £51.2 mil release clause in his current contract with Borussia Dortmund. Haaland will join the football club in July. Haaland has scored 85 goals in 88 appearances for Dortmund since joining from Red Bull Salzburg. City’s red neighbours Manchester United could be burying their heads in the sand since the underperforming Fred was more expensive — £61.2 mil including bonuses.
New Zealand will fully open its borders on July 31 to welcome tourists, students and migrants from non-visa-waiver countries like China and India, two months ahead of its scheduled October 2022.
Elon Musk said he would reverse Twitter’s ban of former President Donald Trump, calling the decision morally wrong decision and foolish in the extreme. Musk thought the ban amplified Trump’s voice among the right.
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace claimed downed Russian fighter planes are being found with rudimentary GPS receivers “taped to the dashboards” because their inbuilt navigation systems are so bad.
Why has there been a lack of updates following the crash of the China Eastern flight MU5735 back in March 2022?
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Mohamed Khairul Anwar, the son of Baling MP (UMNO)Abdul Azeez Rahim - living the life. Police are investigating two police outriders after a video allegedly showed Anwar driving in Penang with these outriders.
The history of alcohol