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Malaysia's construction Stocks Are Ready to Grow

Malaysian construction stocks including Gamuda Bhd., IJM Corp. and WCT Bhd. are set to benefit from several "fat years" as the government accelerates a slew of development projects, Maybank Investment Bank Bhd. said.

Prime Minister Najib Razak is yet to award 12 billion ringgit ($3.4 billion) of contracts from two stimulus packages, Wong Chew Hann, a Kuala Lumpur-based analyst at Maybank, said in a report today. The first-quarter economic slump of 6.2 percent underlines the need for faster project implementation, Wong said. "The momentum of awards for construction jobs should quicken," Wong said in the report, reiterating an "overweight" rating on the industry. "Tenders and awards ought to lift the valuations of construction stocks." The rollout of all outstanding contracts has the potential to trigger Malaysia's first building boom since the Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport projects before the 1997-1998 regional financial crisis, Maybank said. Steelmakers, property developers and construction stocks are already among the year's top climbers on the nation's main index. IJM, helping to build a tunnel for an interstate Malaysian water project, has almost doubled in 2009 and is the second-best performer on the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index. Gamuda, jointly building a railway in the north of Malaysia, has surged 33 percent. WCT has jumped 27 percent.

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Malaysia: Ringgit Bond Issuance To Drop In 2009

The Malaysian Rating Corporation Bhd (MARC) is expecting that Ringgit bond issuance will drop further to between RM25 billion and RM30 billion as the global economic downturn continues.

The Malaysian Rating Corporation Bhd (MARC) is expecting that Ringgit bond issuance will drop further to between RM25 billion and RM30 billion as the global economic downturn continues. Total bond issuance dropped by 8.3 percent to RM49 billion in 2008 after hitting a record high of RM54 billion in 2007. It is hoped that the establishment of the Financial Guarantee Institution (FGI) will encourage lower rated issuers to come back to the market.

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Malaysia To Take Extra Measures If Global Economy Worsens

Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that Malaysia has the capacity to take additional measures if the global economy worsens and financial conditions fail to stabilize after the second half of the year.

Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that Malaysia has the capacity to take additional measures if the global economy worsens and financial conditions fail to stabilize after the second half of the year. These measures include stimulus measures and monetary measures. The central bank has forecast growth in 2009 between 0.1 percent and 1 percent and unemployment to increase from 3.7 percent last year to 4.5 percent this year.

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New Dutch Investment in Malaysia

The Netherlands is set to launch a new investment in Malaysia during the Netherlands' Council for Trade Promotion chairman, Jochum Haakma's visit to the country on March 25.

The Netherlands is set to launch a new investment in Malaysia during the Netherlands' Council for Trade Promotion chairman, Jochum Haakma's visit to the country on March 25. The Netherlands has invested over RM1.8 billion in Malaysia, making it the country's 8th largest foreign investor. A statement from the Dutch embassy said that the current economic climate will not stop Dutch traders and investors from looking into opportunities abroad, particularly in the Asian region.

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Malaysia To Forge New Economic Model

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Thursday that Malaysia will use the current economic downturn as a springboard to forge a new economic model by using knowledge as its lead.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Thursday that Malaysia will use the current economic downturn as a springboard to forge a new economic model by using knowledge as its lead. The government will invest in education and technology to strengthen the country's information technologies, renewable energy and emerging sectors of the new economy. The goal is to harness the talent, energy and drive of all Malaysians.

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Malaysia To Tap Growing Islamic Tourism

Malaysia launched the Islamic Tourism Center (ITC) today in Malacca with hopes to encourage tourist arrivals from Muslim nations and Muslim communities abroad.

Malaysia launched the Islamic Tourism Center (ITC) today in Malacca with hopes to encourage tourist arrivals from Muslim nations and Muslim communities abroad. They see the Islamic tourism sector as a potential boon for the country's tourism industry. Islamic tourism covers numerous aspects, including the economy and the arts. ITC was set up after several Muslim nations requested for it to help Malaysia share their tourism experience.

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Malaysian Government Unveils RM60b Stimulus Package

The Malaysian government has unveiled a stimulus package worth RM60 billion, about 9 percent of gross domestic product to boost economic activity.

The Malaysian government has unveiled a stimulus package worth RM60 billion, about 9 percent of gross domestic product to boost economic activity. The package will run through 2009 and 2010. Of the RM60 billion, RM15 billion is fiscal injection, RM25 billion guarantee funds, RM10 billion equity interests, RM7 billion private finance initiative and off budget projects and RM3 billion in tax incentives. The higher government expenditures will increase the federal budget deficit from 4.8 percent to 7.6 percent this year.

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Malaysia Plans Biggest Debt Auction Since 2004

Malaysia's finance ministry will be selling RM4.5 billion ($1.21 billion) of securities maturing in April 2014 on March 12.

Malaysia's finance ministry will be selling RM4.5 billion ($1.21 billion) of securities maturing in April 2014 on March 12. This is the biggest single debt auction the country is holding since 2004, when the treasury sold RM5 billion of three-year notes. The government aims to boost public spending to prevent a recession. Next week's auction will take the government's bond sales this year to RM20 billion, making it the busiest start to a year since the publishing of auction statistics in 1999. The government is also set to unveil a "bigger and more comprehensive" stimulus package on March 10.

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Malaysia's Palm Oil At 'Manageable' Level

Malaysia's Commodities Minister, Datuk Peter Chin, recently said that palm oil has been trading at a "manageable" level since the country introduced measures to cut output last year.

Malaysia's Commodities Minister, Datuk Peter Chin, recently said that palm oil has been trading at a "manageable" level since the country introduced measures to cut output last year. Malaysia, the world's second-biggest producer of palm oil after Indonesia, has been trading the commodity for between RM1,400 and RM1,900 per metric ton, which, according to Chin, is sufficient to provide the country with the export earnings that it needs . Malaysia and Indonesia, who together accounts for 90 percent of global palm oil output, agreed in November to replant old estates, effectively cutting annual output by as much as 800,000 metric tons

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Malaysia Cuts Key Interest Rate To 2%

The Bank Negara Malaysia, the country's central bank, cut its key rate by 50 basis points to 2 percent on Tuesday.

The Bank Negara Malaysia, the country's central bank, cut its key rate by 50 basis points to 2 percent on Tuesday. It cited their rising concern about Malaysia's economic growth as a reason for cutting the rate. It also cut the commercial banks' statutory reserve requirement by 100 basis points to 1 percent, starting on March 1. This was the third interest rate cut and came after a 75 basis point cut in January.

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Malaysia's Commodities Earn Record in 2008, Expected To Slow This Year

Malaysia earned a record RM112.4 billion for exporting commodities in 2008.

Malaysia earned a record RM112.4 billion for exporting commodities in 2008. Palm oil makes up the majority of the country's commodity exports, accounting for over 57 percent of earnings last year. But exports of commodities are expected to fall this year as prices have fallen. Palm oil prices have fallen from RM4,486 per tonne in March last year to around RM1,900 this month.

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Spike in Dengue Cases May Hit Malaysia's Economy

Malaysia's rising dengue fever cases may have crippling affects on the economy, stated the the country's health minister.

Malaysia's rising dengue fever cases may have crippling affects on the economy, stated the the country's health minister. It was reported yesterday that dengue cases in Malaysia have doubled this year with 4,221 cases and 12 deaths reported in the first three weeks of 2009, compared to 2,223 infected in the same period last year. The increasing number of infected people can affect productivity and heavily impact the tourism sector. The Health Ministry calls for more efforts in the war against the disease.

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Malaysia, Qatar to Set Up US$1b Investment Fund

Malaysia and Qatar have agreed to set up a $1 billion investment fund for mutual investments.

Malaysia and Qatar have agreed to set up a $1 billion investment fund for mutual investments. The deal will be finalized in the next couple weeks. The fund will be shared equally between the two countries. Sime Darby Berhad, Malaysia's largest conglomerate, will also invest in the construction of an RM 1 billion oil platform in Qatar.

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Malaysia's Khazanah to Invest RM58b in Local Projects

Over the next three years, Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional plans to invest over RM58 billion in domestic projects.

Over the next three years, Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional plans to invest over RM58 billion in domestic projects. The agency plans to mainly invest on Malaysia's special economic zones and the national high-speed broadband roll-out. Khazanah aims to invest over RM10-12 billion on the south Iskandar Malaysia special economic zone, which has already received over RM 1.9 million worth of government paid infrastructural projects.

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Malaysia: Retrenched Workers Fund to be Disbursed Next Month

Malaysia has set a RM100 million fund to train retrenched workers for jobs.

Malaysia has set a RM100 million fund to train retrenched workers for jobs. The fund is expected to be disbursed next month. The fund will aim to enable retrenched workers to regain employment by facilitating skills training and helping with job placements. The unemployment rate in Malaysia is currently between 3.4% and 3.7%. Since October of 2008, 7,500 workers in Malaysia have been laid off, including many foreign workers.

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malaysia

RAM: Malaysia Govt May Spend RM10b More

RAM Holdings Bhd expects the government to inject a second stimulus package of RM10 billion into Malaysia's economy to prevent an economical recession.

RAM Holdings Bhd expects the government to inject a second stimulus package of RM10 billion into Malaysia's economy to prevent an economical recession. Malaysia hopes that the second stimulus package will help to decrease interest rates, open credit lines, maintain consumer confidence and support domestic demand. The country's first stimulus package totaled RM 7 million and is expected to start impacting the economy as soon as this current quarter. The country has widened its deficit forecast for 2009 to 4.8% because of the additional spending.

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Malaysia to Win Another RM400 million in Foreign Investments and Reinvestments

Malaysia is expected to gain RM400 million in new foreign investments and reinvestments this year.

Malaysia is expected to gain RM400 million in new foreign investments and reinvestments this year. The investments are likely to come from the biotechnology, semiconductor and medical devices sector. The reinvestments are expected to come form European and US companies. These investments will lead to the creation of around 2,000 to 3,000 jobs. Moreover, the federal government plans to invest RM500 million aimed at retraining and redeploying unemployed workers. The government also hopes to create a committee to monitor the welfare of the unemployed and assist them during these uncertain times.

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Malaysia Cuts Visitor Arrival Target by 9%

Malaysia has cut its 2009 tourist arrival target by 9% to 20 million, the first reduction seen in over 6 years

Malaysia has cut its 2009 tourist arrival target by 9% to 20 million, the first reduction seen in over 6 years. Malaysia has enjoyed great tourism expansion, with 2008 accounting for 22 million arrivals, a 5% growth from 2007. More than half of last years tourist arrivals came from ASEAN, with Singapore alone h accounting for 11 million arrivals. With no immediate sign of a global economic upturn, Malaysia not only cut tourism expectations, but also turned its marketing attention towards mainly ASEAN, China and India, increasing marketing promotion expenditure to those countries by RM50 million. Tourism is now one of Malaysia's top service sectors and a major money maker, consequently, the sector currently enjoys increasing investments and funding.

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Malaysian Exports Shrink a Sharp 14.2% in October

The global recession has hit Malaysia as the country experienced a 14.2% drop in exports in October.

The global recession has hit Malaysia as the country experienced a 14.2% drop in exports in October. The sharp decline was due mainly to lower exports of electrical and electronic products and commodities, particularly petroleum and palm oil. Economists expect this trend to continue into 2009.

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Iran, Malaysia sign US$14 billion Gas Deals

Iran signed deals worth $14 billion with Malaysia aimed at the production of liquefied natural gas and the development of two gas fields.

Iran signed deals worth $14 billion with Malaysia aimed at the production of liquefied natural gas and the development of two gas fields. The deals also includes exports of Iranian crude and 120,000 barrels of gas condensates.

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Malaysia's Bank Negara Cuts Interest Rates

In order to help protect the country from a global recession, Malaysia's central bank cut interest rates for the first time since 2003.

In order to help protect the country from a global recession, Malaysia's central bank cut interest rates for the first time since 2003. Bank Negara cut interest rate by a quarter to 3.25%. Malaysia has been experiencing a slowdown in export performance which has affected the country's overall growth.

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Malaysia's Scomi and Partner Win Mumbai Monorail Deal

Malaysia's Scomi Engineering along with its Indian partner Larsen & Toubro Ltd, have closed a $775 million contract to build India's first Monorail. significantly decreasing the congestion currently present in that area.

Malaysia's Scomi Engineering along with its Indian partner Larsen & Toubro Ltd, have closed a $775 million contract to build India's first Monorail. The 19.54 km monorail network will link the west and north-east of Mumbai, significantly decreasing the congestion currently present in that area.

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Malaysia To Speed Up Rubber Replanting

As an effort to improve market conditions, Malaysia will accelerate its replanting plan by doubling this year's replanted area.

As an effort to improve market conditions, Malaysia will accelerate its replanting plan by doubling this year's replanted area. In the upcoming years, Malaysia will be removing 32,000 to 38,00 metric tons of rubber from the market. A meeting between the major rubber producing countries in Asia will be held tomorrow in an effort to improve business by coordinating market activities.

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CapitaLand to list RM2b REIT on Bursa

THE Singapore-based property group CapitaLand Ltd plans to list its RM2 billion real estate investment trust (REIT) on Bursa Malaysia before the end of the year.

CapitaLand Ltd the largest real estate company in South East Asia by market capitalisation. Whose CEO, Kee Teck Koon, said the company had already submitted the proposal to Bursa Malaysia and is awaiting approval. The company will group its shopping mall assets in Malaysia, namely the Gurney Plaza in Penang, the Mines Shopping Fair in Seri Kembangan, Selangor and Sungai Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur for the trust, he told reporters after the topping-up ceremony of Tower D at Lot J, KL Sentral today.

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HSBC: Ringgit will weaken to 3.5 per dollar

Ringgit weakens to 3.5 per dollar amidst drop in price of commodities.

Malaysia's ringgit will not strengthen until 2010 at the soonest due to falling commodity prices and the rising political tension. Crude oil and palm oil which accounts for 14.5% of Malaysia's exports in the first half of the year has fallen 23% and 45% respectively. Strategist Daniel Hui says "Falling commodity prices will be a net negative for the trade account, national income and the fiscal balance"

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Malaysia economy may grow 6 percent this year

International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told reported that Gross domestic product may grow in a slower pace of about 6 per cent in 2008.

International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reported that Gross domestic product may grow at a "modest" pace of about 6 per cent in 2008. In fact, manufacturing investments in the first six months of 2008 accounted for US$7.2 billion or around 236 projects were approved during the period.However, Malaysia approved US$2.97 billion of manufacturing investments in the second quarter which 61 per cent decline from a year earlier.

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Malaysia sets up high-powered economic body

Based on underlining growing worries about the impact of global economic slowdown on the country, Malaysia set up plan to fight inflation.

The Malaysia government has set up a plan, including nine ministers, the central bank chief, top finance ministry officials and representatives from the private sector, to ensure food and fuel supply security and to review the system of subsidies and price controls in case of rising inflation and a slowing economy.

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Malaysia to review guidelines for foreign investment

Malyasia will soon be made more friendly to foreign investments

An investment magnet for the greater part of the 1990s, Malaysia has since seen a significant reduction in FDI in recent year as foreign investors focus on emerging economic powers China and India, as well as other regional markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.

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Petronas Profit Jumps to Record RM61b

Petronas, Malaysia's state oil company, reported a 31% profit increase from a year ago.

Petronas, Malaysia's state oil company, reported a 31% profit increase from a year ago. The company's net income was RM61 billion (US$19 billion) as compared to RM46.4 billion a year earlier. With operations in more than 33 countries, international operations was the biggest contributor to Petronas' earnings. It accounted for 40.3% of the company's total revenue.

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D-8 Agrees to Ensure Smooth Flow of Goods, Services among Members

The Group of Eight Developing Countries (D-8) finished its summit with a pledge to grant more privileges to one another with the goal of smoothing the flow of trade of goods and services among member states.

The Group of Eight Developing Countries (D-8) finished its summit with a pledge to grant more privileges to one another with the goal of smoothing the flow of trade of goods and services among member states. Under the agreement, member states would grant tax relief to each other's products and would set up visa-free facilities. The two-day summit, the sixth for the D-8, was held in Kuala Lumpur.

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Calls to Limit Production of Biofuels

Malaysian government looks to cut the production of biofuels to assuage the global food crisis.

The leaders of Malaysia are calling for limited production of biofuels from crops and vegetable oils in order to ease a global food crisis. Since crude prices have reached record highs, the use of alternative fuels and the demand for biofuel crops have reached record highs as well. The prices of grains such as rice, corn, wheat, and soybean have hit a high, too. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Malaysian Prime Minister, urges countries to increase investment in agriculture as a response to all this. Abdullah also expresses fear that the global food scarcity issue will deepen unless such heavy production of biofuels is stopped.

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Hoteliers Feel the Pinch

Hoteliers are experiencing large decreases in revenue mainly because of the limit on the number of events they can hold, put into place by the Malaysian government.

To cut cost, the government placed a limit on the number of events that could be held in hotels. At the start of June, ministries, government departments and agencies were asked to refrain from holding courses, seminars, workshops and retreats at hotels and resorts. Events other than international level functions are now also limited and held at other facilities. Today, less than a month since the limitation was enforced, hoteliers have estimated that they lost roughly RM100 million in revenue.

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Future for Global Aviation 'Really Bleak'

Unless changes in the global aviation industry are made almost immediately, the future of the industry could face a collapse.

As the price of oil continues to surge and the global economy continues to slow, the aviation industry faces a less than optimal future. Unless the industry takes drastic measures including mergers and substantial fare increases, the outlook for global aviation is "really bleak," says Malaysia Airlines. The national carrier's managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala claims that the airline industry will collapse and cause a ripple effect throughout the entire world economy unless adjustments are made quickly.

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Credit Suisse Cuts Rating on Malaysia Property Mart

Credit Suisse Group reduces its ratings on Malaysia's property market due to beliefs that home purchases will slow as consumer confidence declines.

Earlier this month, the government increased gas prices by 41 per cent and plans to raise electricity prices next month. This government decision to raise fuel and power prices as well as political uncertainty will likely decrease consumer confidence and thus slow home purchases, claims Credit Suisse. This belief has led Credit Suisse to reducing its ratings on Malaysia's property market from "overweight" to "market weight."

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CIMB to Buy BankThai Stake for US $177m

CIMB Bank outbid four others and will pay roughly US $177 million for a 42 percent stake in Thailand's BankThai.

CIMB Bank, Malaysia's second-largest lender, outbid four other bidders by paying a 59 per cent premium to BankThai's closing price on Wednesday. CIMB agreed to buy a 42 percent stake in BankThai for approximately 5.9 billion baht (US $177 million). The other bidders that lost the stake to CIMB are Britain's HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Thailand's Tisco Bank, and US private equity firm TPG Newbridge.

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Vivo Bio to Invest RM450m in Malaysia

An investment of RM 450m has been made by India's Vivo Bio to set up an integrated biotechnology facility in Malaysia.

RM 450 million will be invested in the setting up of an integrated biotechnology facility in Malacca, which is expected to begin operation in 2010. This investment by India's Vivo Bio Tech Ltd. is set in place to hopefully commercialise bio-therapeutics in Malaysia. The facility will include a small animals' facility, primate facility, canine facility, and a cGMP facility.

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Malaysia to Boost Rice Production

In April the government announced that it planned to begin growing large amounts of rice in Sarawak to create a more self sufficient country.

Malaysia imports more than a fifth of its rice needs. In April the government announced that it planned to begin growing large amounts of rice in Sarawak to create a more self sufficient country. Controversy surrounds the means by which Malaysia will accomplish this, involving palm oil production which destroys natural resources and rain forests in order to produce the product.

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No U-turn on Malaysia Fuel Hike

Despite growing opposition and protests, the Malaysian government will not turn away from its decision to cut fuel subsidies and lets the costs of gasoline rise.

Despite growing opposition and protests, the Malaysian government will not turn away from its decision to cut fuel subsidies and lets the costs of gasoline rise. Just yesterday, the price of gasoline increase 41% to MYR 2.70 (USD 0.87). The trade minister, Shahrir Samad, said the policy was a "wise" one, but suggested that the government would keep the price at the current level "for a while" before allowing a further increase.

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Malaysia to Lift Fuel Price Controls

Malaysia, whose citizens now enjoy some of the lowest fuel prices in Asia, will remove price controls on gasoline and diesel, allowing stations to sell at world market prices beginning in August.

Malaysia, whose citizens now enjoy some of the lowest fuel prices in Asia, will remove price controls on gasoline and diesel, allowing stations to sell at world market prices beginning in August. The government is making the move because of the costly burden of fuel subsidies, which are expected to cost the treasury about USD 14 billion this year.

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Malaysia Stops Selling Gasoline to Thais

Thais will have to go somewhere else to find cheap gasoline.

Thais will have to go somewhere else to find cheap gasoline. The Malaysian government Monday began enforcing the ban on sales of gasoline to Thai citizens, thousands of whom drive into Malaysia everyday to take advantage of subsidized fuel that keeps retail prices at a level nearly half as in China. The subsidies are expected to cost Kuala Lumpur USD 14 billion this year.

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Malaysia PM Says 2008 GDP Growth Seen On Track

Malaysia's economy is expected to grow between 5 and 6 percent in 2008.

Malaysia's economy is expected to grow between 5 and 6 percent in 2008. The actual numbers so far this year are definitely within that forecast. This is very good, especially with the uncertainty of the global economy.

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Malaysia May Ban Local Rice from Being Taken Out of Country

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Shahrir Abdul Samad, urged Malaysia to ban rice exports since he fears a shortage due to global food crisis. The rice in Malaysia is cheaper than its neighboring countries; therefore, Singapore and Thailand cross over to buy cheaper rice.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Shahrir Abdul Samad, urged Malaysia to ban rice exports since he fears a shortage due to global food crisis. The rice in Malaysia is cheaper than its neighboring countries; therefore, Singapore and Thailand cross over to buy cheaper rice.

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Malaysia Set to Maintain Interest Rates

Bank of Negara Malaysia is refraining from increasing interest rates; govern Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that raising interest rates would not resolve the food inflation crisis since it is a supply problem.

Bank of Negara Malaysia is refraining from increasing interest rates; govern Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that raising interest rates would not resolve the food inflation crisis since it is a supply problem. Inflation rose to a 13 month high lat month, it is expected to average 2.5 to 3 percent this year.

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Bursa Malaysia Could Return Money to Shareholders

Bursa Malaysia Could Return Money to Shareholders

Stock exchange operator could return money if they are in a comfortable position. However, it would be difficult for Bursa to reach last year's performance due to the US recession.

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Malaysia’s Feb Inflation at 1-Year High

Driven by an increase in commodity prices, Malaysia's annual inflation jumped to 2.7 percent from 2.3 percent in January.

Driven by an increase in commodity prices, Malaysia's annual inflation jumped to 2.7 percent from 2.3 percent in January. However, the current inflation rate is lower than the 3.1 percent increase in February of last year.

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KL Shares Tumble

Malaysian shares dropped 9.5 percent Monday to 1,173.22.

Malaysian shares dropped 9.5 percent Monday to 1,173.22. Surprise weekend election shaped the volatile trading. Over the weekend, the Barisan National Coalition lost its two-thirds majority in the parliament.

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Ringgit at Highest Level since Oct 1997

The Malaysian ringgit strengthened to the highest level in over a decade.

The Malaysian ringgit strengthened to the highest level in over a decade. The ringgit hit 3.2011 per dollar at 11:03 am in Kuala Lumpur surpassing the Oct 1997 value of 3.2.

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IDB To Issue Half Billion Bond to Finance Infrastructure Projects

The Islamic Development Bank is going to issue a MYR 500 million bond to invest in infrastructure projects

The Islamic Development Bank is going to issue a MYR 500 million bond to invest in infrastructure projects. IDB's president said that the bond will be in the Malaysian market within 2-3 months.

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Malaysia’s 2007 Total Trade Hits Record MYR 1.1 trillion

Total trade in Malaysia increased 3.7 percent to MYR 1.11 trillion from MYR 1.07 trillion in 2006, the second year that total trade has passed MYR trillion.

Total trade in Malaysia increased 3.7 percent to MYR 1.11 trillion from MYR 1.07 trillion in 2006, the second year that total trade has passed MYR trillion. Although there was a 14.5 percent decline in exports to the US, strong trade growth to emerging ASEAN markets offset some of the losses. Manufactured products topped all lists with a MYR 452.48 billion export total for 2007.

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Perisai Petroleum to buy Singapore Rival

Malaysia's Perisai Petroleum has agreed to buy SJR Marine Ltd for MYR 136.1 million.

Malaysia's Perisai Petroleum has agreed to buy SJR Marine Ltd for MYR 136.1 million. 40 percent of the purchase is to be paid in cash and the rest in shares. There are some stipulations though: if SJR posts an average profit after tax of MYR 35.6 million for three years after 2009 or if Perisai fails to hit MYR 40 million during the same period, Perisai will be subject to a MYR 32.4 million fine.

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Inflation for December up 2.4 percent

December 2007 posted a 2.4 percent inflation increase, the highest in 10 months.

December 2007 posted a 2.4 percent inflation increase, the highest in 10 months. Most of the increase came from food price inflation; which posted a two year high of 4.2 percent during December. Malaysia's CPI I grew a modest 2 percent in 2007.

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Malaysia to Float MYR 840 million Islamic ETF

The Malaysian Government, in its plan to gradually sell shares in state-controlled firms, will introduce a MYR 840 million exchange traded fund on Bursa Malaysia.

The Malaysian Government, in its plan to gradually sell shares in state-controlled firms, will introduce a MYR 840 million exchange traded fund on Bursa Malaysia. In addition to being Asia's first Islamic ETF, this fund will provide investors with access to 25 leading Malaysian stocks. Although there is no set project to sell off all state-controlled entities, the Government plans to set up more exchange traded funds and sell bonds that are convertible to shares.

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IOI Sells USD 600 million Exchangeable Bond

A USD 600 million exchangeable bond is being offered in January by IOI Corp, one of Malaysia's largest palm oil producers.

A USD 600 million exchangeable bond is being offered in January by IOI Corp, one of Malaysia's largest palm oil producers. Priced to yield 1.25 percent per year, it is the largest exchangeable bond offered by a Malaysian company since 2002. The bond is going to be listened on the Singapore Exchange Securities and the Labuan International Financial Exchange.

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Malaysian Company Wins Bid for Monorail Job

The Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) is expected to have beaten out several competing firms for an estimated cost of RM 1.6 billion.

The Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) is expected to have beaten out several competing firms for an estimated cost of RM 1.6 billion. The bidders had submitted their proposals on November 14th of last year. The Penang monorail project will be the platform for MRCB to showcase its capability when bidding for similar rail projects overseas including India. They said MRCB was also negotiating for a USD 2 billion (RM 6.5 billion) transport and housing development job in Saudi Arabia.

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Malaysia Reports 6.7 Percent Economic Growth in Third Quarter

Malaysia saw 6.7 percent growth in the third quarter this year due to increases in the manufacturing (3.4 percent) and services sectors (10.5 percent increase).

Malaysia saw 6.7 percent growth in the third quarter this year due to increases in the manufacturing (3.4 percent) and services sectors (10.5 percent increase). Private final consumption and gross fixed capital formation also saw double digit growth. Both exports and imports slowed to 1.2 percent against 3.0 percent and 1.4 percent growth achieved respectively in the prior quarter

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Free Trade Agreement to be Signed Between Malaysia and Pakistan Today

A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be signed today between Malaysia and Pakistan which cover trade in goods, services and investment.

A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be signed today between Malaysia and Pakistan which cover trade in goods, services and investment. The agreement is Pakistan's first ever. The agreement will come into effect January 1, 2008 and will reduce customs duties on both sides. The agreement has been divided into four tracks which will control the tariff decreases over several years. The agreement also lists several products which will not have their tariffs reduced. The majority of these products are related to national security, human safety and animal or plant health.

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Malaysia Has Atttracted Major Middle East Investors

The new opening of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) has attracted some major Middle East investors to invest in Malaysia new economic zone.

The new opening of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) has attracted some major Middle East investors to invest in Malaysia new economic zone. Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, is optimist that these foreign investors will bring huge opportunity for Malaysia's Economic. Some of the investment firms have already signed a contract to invest huge sums of money to develop various commercial and industrial projects.

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Malaysia and Singapore Open Competition for Main Air Route

In a rare instance of cooperation, Malaysia and Singapore have opened the competition on the main air route connecting the two capital cities.

The Malaysian Prime Minister has decided to allow (in principle) twice-daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Singapore has fully committed to liberalizing bilateral air service. The launch in January will be a full year before the route is due to be opened up to competition under a regional "open skies" pact agreed by the Association of South East Asian Nations. The opening of the route early to budget airlines will allow Malaysia's AirAsia and Singapore's Tiger Airways to get a foothold in the market, while softening the blow to state-controlled Malaysia Airlines.

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malaysia

Malaysia's Economic Growth to Slow in 2008

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) cut its economic growth forecast for Malaysia in 2008 to 5.4 percent, citing external uncertainties.

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) cut its economic growth forecast for Malaysia in 2008 by 5.4 percent. MIER cites the fallout from higher oil prices and a slower global economy. MIER said it expects the government, which heavily subsidizes local prices of natural gas, petrol and diesel, to cut fuel subsidies in 2008. MIER has kept its 2007 growth forecast at 5.7 percent, which come in below the government projections that range between 6 and 6.5 percent.

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malaysia

Third Group Interested in Buying Stake in RHB Capital

An additional foreign group is interested in purchasing a stake in financial services group RHB Capital Bhd from EPF.

Employees Provident Fund (EPF) expects to meet with Goldman Sachs Group, Inc to discuss the three parties interested in buying into RHB Capital. EPF had said before that it would be divesting its stake in RHB Capital and would be comfortable with about 35 percent to 40 percent compared with the current 82 percent. Under the Banking and Financial Institution Act (Bafia), the EPF has to reduce its interest in RHB Capital as institutions can only hold up to 20 percent in the holding company of a bank, unless they have exemption from the Finance Minister.

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malaysia

Prudential to Expand Islamic Based Funds In 2008

Prudential Fund Management Bhd (PFMB) plans to launch several Islamic-based funds next year, according to cheif executive officer Mark Toh Chin Hian.

Prudential Fund Management Bhd (PFMB) announced that eight new funds will come out next year and the bulk of them will be Islamic based. PFMB is the only unit of Prudential Plc (United Kingdom) with the experience to manage Syria related products in Asia. As of June 30, 2007, PFMB manages RM 9 billion in insurance funds and RM 4 billion in unit trust funds.

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malaysia

MYR at 10-Year-High

The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) has reached an exchange rate against the USD of 3.3600, a value it had last time taken in December 1997. Besides the global depreciation of the USD, improvement in the local economic fundamentals and the weakening U.S. economy

The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) has reached an exchange rate against the USD of 3.3600, a value it had last time taken in December 1997. Besides the global depreciation of the USD, improvement in the local economic fundamentals, such as healthy level of reserves, surplus current account in the balance of payments, net positive inflow of foreign funds and improving fiscal deficit, has supported the current development as well as the overall weakening U.S. economy did.

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Bursa Malaysia: Crude Palm Oil Futures Gain Strongly

Amid rising crude oil prices, many expect an increased demand for biodiesel, which in turn spurs crude palm oil (CPO) futures prices. CPO futures Prices for November and December 2007 have risen to MYR 2,845 and 1,795 respectively.

Amid rising crude oil prices, many expect an increased demand for biodiesel, which in turn spurs crude palm oil (CPO) futures prices. CPO futures prices for November and December 2007 have risen to MYR 2,845 and MYR 2,795 respectively. Beside soaring oil prices, strong export growth and lower outputs in production are responsible for this development.

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malaysia

Goldman Sachs Raises Three Months Forecast

Goldman Sachs Group Inchas revised their three months forecasts for six Asian currencies in the light of expected Central Bank interventions in the respective countries. As inflation and growth accelerate the central banks are expected to try to strengthen their currencies.

Goldman Sachs Group Inchas revised their three months forecasts for six Asian currencies in the light of expected Central Bank interventions in the respective countries. As inflation and growth accelerate the central banks are expected to strengthen their currencies. The currencies under revisions are INR 39.50 per USD, from previous 41.30, MYR 3.33 compared to 3.41, PHP 43.50 from 45.50. Singapore's dollar is expected to gain to SGD 1.45 compared to SGD 1.51, TWD 32.00 from a prior TWD 32.50, THB 32.00 instead of THB 35.00.

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malaysia

Malaysia: CIMB Fund Management Joint Venture Targets 35 Percent

Malaysia's CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd is targeting an unusual high 35 percent growth hrough the Unit Trust Investment Corner at CIMB Bank branches. To reach this goal, the CIMB Group joint venture with Principal Financial is planning to establish investment corners, initially in five branches.

Malaysia's CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd is targeting an unusual high 35 percent growth hrough the Unit Trust Investment Corner at CIMB Bank branches. To reach this goal, the CIMB Group joint venture with Principal Financial is planning to establish investment corners, initially in five branches. Until the end of next year, they will be introduced to selected CIMB Bank branches nationwide.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Early Achiever on Way to Millennium Development Goals

The United Nations has published their report "The Millennium Development Goals: Progress in Asia and the Pacific 2007" attesting Malaysia an early achiever status in 16 out of 21 categories. These categories include surpassing the poverty level of USD 1 income per day, underweight children, child and infant mortality, gender equality and provision of water and sanitation.

The United Nations have published their report "The Millennium Development Goals: Progress in Asia and the Pacific 2007" attesting Malaysia an early achiever status in 16 out of 21 categories. These categories include surpassing the poverty level of USD 1 income per day, underweight children, child and infant mortality, gender equality and provision of water and sanitation. Sectors of further necessary focus on the other hand include HIV prevalence, forest cover and carbon dioxide emission.

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malaysia

Malaysia 14th Most Favorable Country for FDI

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has released their World Investment Prospects Survey 2007-2009 report, stating that Malaysia ranks 14th amongst the 20 most favorable countries for foreign direct investments.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has released their World Investment Prospects Survey 2007-2009 report, stating that Malaysia ranks 14th amongst the 20 most favorable countries for foreign direct investments. Besides China and India topping the list, Vietnam ranks amongst the top ten countries for FDI.

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malaysia

Malaysia to Tap into New Business Areas

According to Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin, in the light of growing global competition, Malaysia needs not only to focus on improving the quality of its products, but to enter new areas of business as well.

According to Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin, in the light of growing global competition, Malaysia needs not only to focus on improving the quality of its products, but to enter new areas of business as well. Areas to tap into in the future include biotechnology, construction, engineering, oil and gas, and ICT.

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malaysia

Malaysia to Tap Niche Industries for FDI

The Malaysian Industrial Development Authority has announced that Malaysia wants to strike new paths in the competition for Foreign Direct Investments in Asian countries. Thus, the country is going to focus on small and medium sized enterprises in emerging, still relatively unknown sectors, such as equipment testing, distribution services, or solar cell technology.

The Malaysian Industrial Development Authority has announced that Malaysia wants to strike new paths in the competition for Foreign Direct Investments in Asian countries. Thus, the country is going to focus on small and medium sized enterprises in emerging, still relatively unknown sectors, such as equipment testing, distribution services, or solar cell technology.

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malaysia

Mega Economic Development Plan for Malaysia's East Coast States

Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has presented a "mega economic development plan" for the development of the country's east coast states. The plan shall be launched this month and is expected to create great economic activity.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has presented a "mega economic development plan" for the development of the country's east coast states. The plan shall be launched this month and is expected to create great economic activity. According to Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the sectors in focus are oil, gas and education.

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malaysia

Malaysia's AirAsia X plans IPO

Malaysia's long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X has decided to go public. Whereas the date of the Initial Public Offering has not been disclosed yet, the company has stated that their purpose is to raise MYR 1 billion (USD 294 million) at the Malaysian Stock Exchange.

Malaysia's long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X has decided to go public. Whereas the date of the Initial Public Offering has not been disclosed yet, the company has stated that their purpose is to raise MYR 1 billion (USD 294 million) at the Malaysian Stock Exchange. The raised capital then shall be spent on new aircraft for European routes. A contract with Airbus has been signed already.

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malaysia

Malyasia Considering Increasing Natural Gas Prices

On Monday,Malaysian Prime Minister Abudllah Ahmad Badawi stated that Malaysia may reduce a goverment subsidy on natural gas sold to power producers and other industries due to rising gas prices.

On Monday,Malaysian Prime Minister Abudllah Ahmad Badawi stated that Malaysia may reduce a goverment subsidy on natural gas sold to power producers and other industries due to rising gas prices. The national oil and gas company Petronas has been pushing for a reduction in subsidies, stating it has provided nearly 50 billion ringgit (US$14 billion) in natural gas subsidies since 1997. Prime Minister Badawi said the goverment will conduct a study on the situation, including the implications of a price hike on the public and various industries.

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malaysia

Malaysia and U.S Negotiations to Conclude in a Free Trade Agreement

The United States envoy has arrived in the city of Kuala Lumpur, urging to conclude negotiations for a free trade agreement between both countries.

The United States envoy has arrived in the city of Kuala Lumpur, urging to conclude negotiations for a free trade agreement between both countries. The US intends to continue their discussions after a missed deadline which had appeared to decelerate the discussions process. The meeting with the Malaysian King will be held next month and will mainly focus on trade and security issues.

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malaysia

China's ICBC and Malaysia's CIMB interested in Thai ACL Bank Shares

Malaysia's Investment Bank CIMB and China's ICBC bank have shown interest in stakes in Bangkok Bank's shares of Thai ACL Bank. According to Central Bank's regulations, Bangkok Bank is required to reduce its share in ACL Bank to a maximum of 10 percent, as both firms are players in the same sector.

Malaysia's Investment Bank CIMB and China's ICBC bank have shown interest in stakes in Bangkok Bank's shares of Thai ACL Bank. According to Central Bank's regulations, Bangkok Bank is required to reduce its share in ACL Bank to a maximum of 10 percent, as both firms are players in the same sector. Still, in case the acquisitions will be finalizes, they will be subject to approval by the Thai Finance Ministry as foreign companies' stakes are generally not allowed to exceed 5 percent.

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malaysia

Malaysian Government Overspends Unauthorized

According to the report of the auditor general for 2006, departments of the Malaysian government have spent large amounts of money on unauthorized payments or paying inflated prices for goods.

According to the report of the auditor general for 2006, departments of the Malaysian government have spent large amounts of money on unauthorized payments or paying inflated prices for goods. The misspending includes payments to unregistered non-governmental organizations and projects as well as the provision of public financial means for organizations that still had funds.

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malaysia

Singapore looking for Suppliers of Liquefied Natural Gas Abroad

In order to appoint a sole supplier for liquefied natural gas (LNG) by next year's April, Singapore's Energy Market Authority has decided to visit international road shows.

In order to appoint a sole supplier for liquefied natural gas by next year's April, Singapore's Energy Market Authority has decided to visit international road shows. Plans are to import LNG as of 2012. The need for Singapore to seek for alternative suppliers arises as well from Malaysia's indication of a greater domestic demand.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Islamic Banking Sector has Strong Capital Base

According to the Economic Report 2007/2008 released by the Finance Ministry on Friday, the Islamic banking sector remains well capitalized at the end of June as the capital base increased to MYR 14.7 billion and a risk-weighted capital of 17.1 percent. During the first six months of the year, the total assets of the Islamic banking sector grew by 8 percent to MYR 143.7 billion. When the figure is juxtaposed to the total MYR 133 billion at the end of last year, the words of the Malaysian Finance ring true that indeed the industry grew strongly with combined takaful contribution income.

According to the Economic Report 2007/2008 released by the Finance Ministry on Friday, the Islamic banking sector remains well capitalized at the end of June as the capital base increased to MYR 14.7 billion and a risk-weighted capital of 17.1 percent. During the first six months of the year, the total assets of the Islamic banking sector grew by 8 percent to MYR 143.7 billion. When the figure is juxtaposed to the total MYR 133 billion at the end of last year, the words of the Malaysian Finance ring true that indeed the industry grew strongly with combined takaful contribution income.

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malaysia

Malaysian Exports Up 2.7 Percent for July

Malaysian exported goods and services tallied MYR 50.52 billion in the month of July, which is, when compared to June 2007 export totals of MYR 49.03 billion figures, is a 2.7 percent increase in one month, according to figures released from the Statistics Department.

Malaysian exported goods and services tallied MYR 50.52 billion in the month of July, which is, when compared to June 2007 export totals of MYR 49.03 billion figures, is a 2.7 percent increase in one month, according to figures released from the Statistics Department. Furthermore, a trade surplus was recorded as net exports for July steered clear of the red at MYR 7.98 billion, which puts July 2007 as the 117th consecutive month of the Malaysian economy of running a trade surplus that started in November 1997. Electrical and electronic products (E&E) totaled MYR 21.85 billion, or 43.3 percent of total exports, while palm oil, chemicals and chemical products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude oil all made a substantial impact.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Plastic Waste Imports Will Soon Be Under 5 Year Ban

According to Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, the Southeast Asian Nation will introduce a 5 year ban on plastic waste imports to commence on the first of October. This decision is in line with the nation's adoption of more clean and environmentally friendly technologies and methods, which adhere to Malaysia's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz stressed that Malaysia will not become a cleaning and processing destination for other countries' contaminated waste. Malaysia exported MYR 7.85 billion worth of plastic in 2006 and, in the first six month of this year, it was MYR 3.89 billion.

According to Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, the Southeast Asian Nation will introduce a 5 year ban on plastic waste imports to commence on the first of October. This decision is in line with the nation's adoption of more clean and environmentally friendly technologies and methods, which adhere to Malaysia's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz stressed that Malaysia will not become a cleaning and processing destination for other countries' contaminated waste. Malaysia exported MYR 7.85 billion worth of plastic in 2006 and, in the first six month of this year, it was MYR 3.89 billion.

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malaysia

Malaysian Economy’s Q2 Expansion Beats Expectations

According to figures released by the Malaysian Central Bank's Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the Malaysian economy expanded 5.7 percent in the second quarter of 2007, which is .2 percentage points higher than market expectation that placed growth at 5.5 percent. Domestic demand also increased over the previous quarter to 10.8 percent from 8.7 percent, attributed to private equity activities and more public investment spending. Governor Zeti said that the domestic economy has done extremely well as consumption remained robust, investment activities and inflow of foreign direct investment stayed strong.

According to figures released by the Malaysian Central Bank's Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the Malaysian economy expanded 5.7 percent in the second quarter of 2007, which is .2 percentage points higher than market expectation that placed growth at 5.5 percent. Domestic demand also increased over the previous quarter to 10.8 percent from 8.7 percent, attributed to private equity activities and more public investment spending. Governor Zeti said that the domestic economy has done extremely well as consumption remained robust, investment activities and inflow of foreign direct investment stayed strong.

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malaysia

JPEPA Compared to Japanese Trade Agreements With Indonesia and Malaysia

IBON Foundation Inc, and independent research institution, has examined the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and found that it compares poorly to trade agreements Japan has formed with Malaysia and Indonesia. Japan's other trade pacts were used as comparisons because of the similar conditions for the trade deals, but IBON research head Sonny Africa has cited that the other countries were able to retain tariff protections on many more products and investment controls than the Philippines has under the JPEPA.

IBON Foundation Inc, and independent research institution, has examined the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and found that it compares poorly to trade agreements Japan has formed with Malaysia and Indonesia. Japan's other trade pacts were used as comparisons because of the similar conditions for the trade deals, but IBON research head Sonny Africa has cited that the other countries were able to retain tariff protections on many more products and investment controls than the Philippines has under the JPEPA.

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malaysia

Malaysian Projects Will Increase Steel Consumption Next Year

The President of the Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong said that local steel consumption is expected to increase by 7 percent next year from last year's total of 7.7 million tones.

While at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Steel conference in Kuala Lumpur, the President of the Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong said that local steel consumption is expected to increase by 7 percent next year from last year's total of 7.7 million tones. He continued to elaborate upon steel consumption per capita, which is slated to reach 318 kilograms in 2010 from this year's total of 297 kilograms. Much of the growth, he added, is likely to come from more infrastructural projects.

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malaysia

ASEAN, Japan Now Keen on Free Trade Area by November

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area.

After nearly four years of talks, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) may come to terms by November to form a free-trade area. As part of Asean's annual summit of dialogue between trade ministers, Japan's Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari held meetings over the weekend in Manila with his Asean counterparts. Currently, Japan is Asean's largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) with direct spending rising 50 percent last year to USD 10.8 billion. According to Asean data, Asean-Japan trade totaled USD 154 billion in 2005, which accounted for 13 percent of the groups total exports and imports. Asean members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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malaysia

Japan-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Reached

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

Japan has reached a trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) known as the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the free trade agreement, Japan will immediately repeal 90 percent of its import tariffs from ASEAN in order to be able to compete with China and South Korea. Japan and ASEAN will sign the agreement in Singapore when the leaders meet in November.

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malaysia

Malaysia En Route to Becoming Regional Model for Islamic Finance

Malaysia is quickly becoming a model for the development and implementation of a successful Islamic financial system in the Asia-Pacific Region.

According to Datuk Dr Tan Tiong Hong, chairman of the Association of Business Executives (ABE), Malaysia is quickly becoming a model for the development and implementation of a successful Islamic financial system in the Asia-Pacific Region. The establishment of an Islamic financial system working in concert with the conventional Malay banking system was put into place through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the ABE, the International Society of Business Administrators (ISBA) UK, the Centre for Islamic Business Research (CIBR) Malaysia and Zheng He Education 1421. The MoU is created to provide study modules and certification for distance education network students.

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malaysia

Japan and Malaysia Cooperate to Deal With Political and Security Issues

The two countries issued a joint statement stating that they will be promoting cooperation between themselves in order to deal with political and security issues facing the East Asia region. The areas of focus include economic, human resource development, environment and energy, as well as the international arena.

The two countries issued a joint statement stating that they will be promoting cooperation between themselves in order to deal with political and security issues facing the East Asia region. The areas of focus include economic, human resource development, environment and energy, as well as the international arena.

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malaysia

Hovid Bhd to Expand Into Macau, Hong Kong

Hovid Bhd, a Malaysian pharmaceutical company, will expand its presence into Macau and Hong Kong. The company said that rather than depending upon a distributor, it will set up a joint-venture company.

Hovid Bhd, a Malaysian pharmaceutical company, will expand its presence into Macau and Hong Kong. The company said that rather than depending upon a distributor, it will set up a joint-venture company. As China is the ninth largest pharmaceutical market in the world, it is a good choice for Hovid's expansion.

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malaysia

Thailand, Malaysia to Cooperate in Development of South

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and his Malaysian colleague Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have agreed on social and economic cooperation to promote progress in three southern provinces of Thailand. The mainly muslim provinces in focus have been facing insurgency since 2004. The focus of the agreement signed on Tuesday lies in cooperation on an educational level, sending 100 Thai teachers to Malaysia for training purposes.

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and his Malaysian colleague Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have agreed on social and economic cooperation to promote progress in three southern provinces of Thailand. The mainly muslim provinces in focus have been facing insurgency since 2004. The focus of the agreement signed on Tuesday lies in cooperation on an educational level, sending 100 Thai teachers to Malaysia for training purposes.

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malaysia

Malaysia and Thailand to Discuss Islamic Banking

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont will be arriving in Penang next week to discuss cooperation in Islamic banking, micro-financing, education, and resolution of the southern Thailand conflict. A Thai government spokesperson stated that a memorandum of understanding will be signed during the consultation on August 21, 2007.

Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont will be arriving in Penang next week to discuss cooperation in Islamic banking, micro-financing, education, and resolution of the southern Thailand conflict. A Thai government spokesperson stated that a memorandum of understanding will be signed during the consultation on August 21, 2007.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Ringgit at 5 Month Low

The ringgit, the Malaysian currency, has fallen to a five month low against the US dollar at MYR 3.5055. This is a result of the crisis in global financial markets that caused outflows of foreign funds from emerging markets. However, given Malaysia's strong fundamentals and the impetus of the economy's current growth, analysts are optimistic in the long run that we will see a reversal in the value of the ringgit.

The ringgit, the Malaysian currency, has fallen to a five month low against the US dollar at MYR 3.5055. This is a result of the crisis in global financial markets that caused outflows of foreign funds from emerging markets. However, given Malaysia's strong fundamentals and the impetus of the economy's current growth, analysts are optimistic in the long run that we will see a reversal in the value of the ringgit.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Poverty Eliminated by 2010

At an international conference on "Poverty and Distribution Amidst Diversity" at Universiti Malaya, distinguished economist, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, has stated that the country could potentially eliminate poverty within its borders. Professor Sachs applauded the Malaysian government's efforts in being proactive about addressing the problem instead of relying on the developing economy's growing success to slowly permeate the impoverished population.

At an international conference on "Poverty and Distribution Amidst Diversity" at Universiti Malaya, distinguished economist, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, has stated that the country could potentially eliminate poverty within its borders. Professor Sachs applauded the Malaysian government's efforts in being proactive about addressing the problem instead of relying on the developing economy's growing success to slowly permeate the impoverished population.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Miscalculation in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index

Confusion ensued among stockbrokers and investors following a miscalculation in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) on Monday. As a result of the error, the KLCI was shown to have closed up 8.78 points when it was actually down 0.11 of a point. When the market opened Tuesday morning, it opened 1,288.48 or down 8 points instead of opening up 0.89 points. The exchange was able to correct the miscalculation during the midday break yesterday and posted the correct Monday closing value of 1,287.59 instead of the erroneous 1,296.48. A market official attributed the error to adjustments made following a corporate exercise.

Confusion ensued among stockbrokers and investors following a miscalculation in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) on Monday. As a result of the error, the KLCI was shown to have closed up 8.78 points when it was actually down 0.11 of a point. When the market opened Tuesday morning, it opened 1,288.48 or down 8 points instead of opening up 0.89 points. The exchange was able to correct the miscalculation during the midday break yesterday and posted the correct Monday closing value of 1,287.59 instead of the erroneous 1,296.48. A market official attributed the error to adjustments made following a corporate exercise.

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malaysia

Malaysian Government Committed to Improving Financial Reporting

In the last few years, the Malaysian government has shown its commitment to improving the country's financial reporting through the acceleration of policies that will align its standards with those of the International Financial Reporting Standards. Moving towards achieving a knowledge and value based economy may positively impact the confidence of the investing public, both domestically and internationally. Additionally, maintaining uniformity with international standards will facilitate Malaysia's pursuit of becoming a major global player.

In the last few years, the Malaysian government has shown its commitment to improving the country's financial reporting through the acceleration of policies that will align its standards with those of the International Financial Reporting Standards. Moving towards achieving a knowledge and value based economy may positively impact the confidence of the investing public, both domestically and internationally. Additionally, maintaining uniformity with international standards will facilitate Malaysia's pursuit of becoming a major global player.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Subprime Market Issues Opportunity for Growth

Amidst the US subprime market woes, many global firms are scrambling to reduce its spillover effects. This presents an opportunity for other financial institutions such as CIMB, Malaysia's second largest financial services provider, to expand their reach. As global firms focus their attention on mitigating problems at home, other institutions can take advantage and focus their attention on Southeast Asia.

Amidst the US subprime market woes, many global firms are scrambling to reduce its spillover effects. This presents an opportunity for other financial institutions such as CIMB, Malaysia's second largest financial services provider, to expand their reach. As global firms focus their attention on mitigating problems at home, other institutions can take advantage and focus their attention on Southeast Asia.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Banks Permitted to Set Up ICBUs

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is now allowing commercial and investment banks to set up International Currency Business Units (ICBU) to carry out international transactions in currency under Islamic finance in Malaysia. The banks that are licensed under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 are permitted to set up ICBUs to carry out Islamic banking business transactions under their existing entities.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is now allowing commercial and investment banks to set up International Currency Business Units (ICBU) to carry out international transactions in currency under Islamic finance in Malaysia. The banks that are licensed under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 are permitted to set up ICBUs to carry out Islamic banking business transactions under their existing entities.

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malaysia

Malaysian Exchange Share Prices Fall

Amidst renewed concerns over U.S. subprime loan problems, Malaysian share prices continued to fall after opening sharply lower than the previous day. U.S. markets deteriorated after a major European bank had frozen 3 funds affected by subprime loan problems.

Amidst renewed concerns over U.S. subprime loan problems, Malaysian share prices continued to fall after opening sharply lower than the previous day. U.S. markets deteriorated after a major European bank had frozen 3 funds affected by subprime loan problems.

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malaysia

Despite Doubts, Malaysia Maintains Pipeline Plans

Although some analysts have doubts about the economic benefits and feasibility of plans to build the proposed gas pipeline across the country, Malaysia remains confident that there is enough investment to support its development. Syed Izhar, the deputy chairman of Trans-Peninsula Petroleum, insists that this project will become reality and the pay back period will not be far off despite the previous history of this method of gas transport.

Although some analysts have doubts about the economic benefits and feasibility of plans to build the proposed gas pipeline across the country, Malaysia remains confident that there is enough investment to support its development. Syed Izhar, the deputy chairman of Trans-Peninsula Petroleum, insists that this project will become reality and the pay back period will not be far off despite the previous history of this method of gas transport.

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malaysia

Malaysia to Invest in Laos

Malaysian organization, Roxwell Group, has expressed interest in investing in oil and gas in four southern Lao provinces. According to the Project Coordinator, Thavone Vixaysak, this will be the first time a Malaysian based private company would run a business in Lao mining sector. The director of the company went on to say that geology of the area is very complex, however, it expects the production to be around 190 million barrels of oil and 1.4 million cubic feet of gas. The project proposal has been sent to the government of Laos.

Malaysian organization, Roxwell Group, has expressed interest in investing in oil and gas in four southern Lao provinces. According to the Project Coordinator, Thavone Vixaysak, this will be the first time a Malaysian based private company would run a business in Lao mining sector. The director of the company went on to say that geology of the area is very complex, however, it expects the production to be around 190 million barrels of oil and 1.4 million cubic feet of gas. The project proposal has been sent to the government of Laos.

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malaysia

Malaysia: Economy Well Prepared to Continue to Grow

The Malaysian economy is in a good position to sustain it's current growth of 5.5 percent up to the year 2020. Strong fundamental economic factors are driving the economy to continue to grow, such as emphasis on human capital development and trade openness. Focusing on building a knowledge-based economy will contribute more skilled labor, which is a necessary component for long-term economic stability.

The Malaysian economy is in a good position to sustain it's current growth of 5.5 percent up to the year 2020. Strong fundamental economic factors are driving the economy to continue to grow, such as emphasis on human capital development and trade openness. Focusing on building a knowledge-based economy will contribute more skilled labor, which is a necessary component for long-term economic stability.

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malaysia

Oil Companies in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia Form Joint Stock Company

Oil companies in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia are expected to sign a contract today to explore oil and gas reserves in Block Randu Gunting, Indonesia. The three oil companies are forming a joint venture company, Joint Operating Company (PCPP), to extract energy resources from the region in Indonesia but also plan on expanding their business into Vietnam and Malaysia.

Oil companies in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia are expected to sign a contract today to explore oil and gas reserves in Block Randu Gunting, Indonesia. The three oil companies are forming a joint venture company, Joint Operating Company (PCPP), to extract energy resources from the region in Indonesia but also plan on expanding their business into Vietnam and Malaysia.

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malaysia

Malaysia Deported 900 Indonesian Illegal Workers

Until July, Malaysia has deported 900 Indonesian migrant workers through the Entikong checkpoint in West Kalimantan for not having the required immigration documents, such as passport and working permit visa. The workers had generally entered Malaysia through unofficial channels relying only on the tourist visa to work in Malaysia; without any working permit, the workers are not legal to work in Malaysia.

Until July, Malaysia has deported 900 Indonesian migrant workers through the Entikong checkpoint in West Kalimantan for not having the required immigration documents, such as passport and working permit visa. The workers had generally entered Malaysia through unofficial channels relying only on the tourist visa to work in Malaysia; without any working permit, the workers are not legal to work in Malaysia.

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malaysia

Malaysian Fundamentals Intact

Malaysian shares continue to fall as stock prices across the globe continue to react to the plunge in Wall Street. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell 44.52 points or 3.3 percent down to 1,290.90. Head of TA Research Kaladher Govindan said there is no direct exposure of Malaysian companies to low quality housing loans in the US, but hedge funds that have been affected by the subprime loan crisis may be withdrawing their investments in Malaysia. However, analysts and fund managers are still confident that Malaysia's bull market is still intact given the strength of the country's economic fundamentals.

Malaysian shares continue to fall as stock prices across the globe continue to react to the plunge in Wall Street. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell 44.52 points or 3.3 percent down to 1,290.90. Head of TA Research Kaladher Govindan said there is no direct exposure of Malaysian companies to low quality housing loans in the US, but hedge funds that have been affected by the subprime loan crisis may be withdrawing their investments in Malaysia. However, analysts and fund managers are still confident that Malaysia's bull market is still intact given the strength of the country's economic fundamentals.

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Malaysia Joins Uganda in Oil Production

On Monday afternoon, Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, and Malaysian Prime Minister, Sein Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, reached an agreement to enter a cooperative endeavor for the prodcuction and refinement of oil. According to the agreement, the Prime Minister will travel to Uganda accompanied by a team of experts to conduct a feasibility study in the areas of interest. In addition, both leaders agreed to collaborate on the development of railways, agricultural processing, and the promotion of trade.

On Monday afternoon, Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, and Malaysian Prime Minister, Sein Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, reached an agreement to enter a cooperative endeavor for the prodcuction and refinement of oil. According to the agreement, the Prime Minister will travel to Uganda accompanied by a team of experts to conduct a feasibility study in the areas of interest. In addition, both leaders agreed to collaborate on the development of railways, agricultural processing, and the promotion of trade.

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Oilfab Wins MYR 290 Million Joint Contract

Oilcorp Bhd's subsidiary, Oilfab Sdn Bhd, wins a MYR 290 million joint contract for the building of structures for four new platforms in the Malaysian-Thailand Joint Development Area (JDA) off the coast of Kelantan. Oilfab's chief executive officer, Datuk Mohamed Hazali Abu Hassan, expects there to be an increasing amount of demand for the building of new structures and platforms in the near future.

Oilcorp Bhd's subsidiary, Oilfab Sdn Bhd, wins a MYR 290 million joint contract for the building of structures for four new platforms in the Malaysian-Thailand Joint Development Area (JDA) off the coast of Kelantan. Oilfab's chief executive officer, Datuk Mohamed Hazali Abu Hassan, expects there to be an increasing amount of demand for the building of new structures and platforms in the near future.

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Corporate Social Responsibility: The Asian Impact

Over the years, Asian companies have begun to realize the significant effects that corporate social responsibility can have on businesses, employees and stakeholders alike. The move towards building more socially responsible enterprises has been gradually gaining momentum across the region. In recent years, many Asian governments have initiated a series of measures aimed at encouraging private organizations to participate more effectively in community development projects. This, they believe, will not only help raise the economic welfare of the local populace but also result in a more equitable distribution of domestic economic resources. Such steps are critical if the end goal of preventing the lopsided concentration of economic power in the region and ultimately promoting social stability are to be achieved in the near future.

CSR: The story so far

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not an entirely unknown concept in the Asian region. In the past, national leaders like Indira Gandhi of India and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, have stressed that local businesses should act with a greater sense of responsibility and consider the social, moral and environmental consequences of their enterprises and their resultant effects on the safety and well-being of the communities which they serve. However, the overall record of many countries on the ethical business front has been disappointing. This has been attributed to factors like poor work conditions prevalent in many factories existing in the low-cost manufacturing hubs of the region and the lack of concerted efforts on the part of local governments to enforce stricter compliance standards for both domestic and foreign companies. In recent years, much criticism has been directed toward developed countries for using developing nations as a dumping ground for "e-waste" and other environmentally hazardous materials. There has been a spike in the number of mass protests and demonstrations being staged by international and local human rights groups to highlight the abysmal work conditions and massive exploitation of human labor being carried out in particular countries. Also, certain organizations like India's ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) are already leading the way in terms of incorporating more employee-centric policies and promoting a greater degree of transparency in their financial reporting and public accountability standards. These organizations clearly believe that the private sector should play a greater role in improving infrastructure, health and safety standards in the local economies and act as a catalyst in the broader economic development process. Even corporate heavyweights like Nike have started implementing better corporate standards in Indonesia after the backlash they received in the international news media over the unfair labor standards..

Future of CSR in the region

Despite all the above measures, the overall success on the CSR front remains largely limited. There are several corporations who believe that advancing the greater common good and realizing bigger profits are mutually exclusive goals. Also, questions have been raised about the efficacy of the CSR initiatives undertaken by the companies in the region. It is believed that the kind of CSR that merely goes through the motions, delivering no new resources to worthy causes gives the firm's workers or customers no good reason to think more highly of it (perhaps the opposite) and may ultimately involve a net loss of welfare. This occurs when the costs of enforcing the requisite CSR measures outweigh the overall social welfare gains realized. Therefore, organizations that desperately want to be perceived in a flattering light by the general public must rationally consider the potential costs and resultant benefits arising from the various socially responsible initiatives that are implemented. Only then can corporate social responsibility truly fulfill its role of achieving a fairer distribution of resources, thereby disseminating the benefits of social welfare across the various strata of society across the Asian region.

Over the years, Asian companies have begun to realize the significant effects that corporate social responsibility can have on businesses, employees and stakeholders alike. The move towards building more socially responsible enterprises has been gradually gaining momentum across the region. In recent years, many Asian governments have initiated a series of measures aimed at encouraging private organizations to participate more effectively in community development projects. This, they believe, will not only help raise the economic welfare of the local populace but also result in a more equitable distribution of domestic economic resources. Such steps are critical if the end goal of preventing the lopsided concentration of economic power in the region and ultimately promoting social stability are to be achieved in the near future.

CSR: The story so far

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not an entirely unknown concept in the Asian region. In the past, national leaders like Indira Gandhi of India and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, have stressed that local businesses should act with a greater sense of responsibility and consider the social, moral and environmental consequences of their enterprises and their resultant effects on the safety and well-being of the communities which they serve. However, the overall record of many countries on the ethical business front has been disappointing. This has been attributed to factors like poor work conditions prevalent in many factories existing in the low-cost manufacturing hubs of the region and the lack of concerted efforts on the part of local governments to enforce stricter compliance standards for both domestic and foreign companies. In recent years, much criticism has been directed toward developed countries for using developing nations as a dumping ground for "e-waste" and other environmentally hazardous materials. There has been a spike in the number of mass protests and demonstrations being staged by international and local human rights groups to highlight the abysmal work conditions and massive exploitation of human labor being carried out in particular countries. Also, certain organizations like India's ICICI (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India) are already leading the way in terms of incorporating more employee-centric policies and promoting a greater degree of transparency in their financial reporting and public accountability standards. These organizations clearly believe that the private sector should play a greater role in improving infrastructure, health and safety standards in the local economies and act as a catalyst in the broader economic development process. Even corporate heavyweights like Nike have started implementing better corporate standards in Indonesia after the backlash they received in the international news media over the unfair labor standards..

Future of CSR in the region

Despite all the above measures, the overall success on the CSR front remains largely limited. There are several corporations who believe that advancing the greater common good and realizing bigger profits are mutually exclusive goals. Also, questions have been raised about the efficacy of the CSR initiatives undertaken by the companies in the region. It is believed that the kind of CSR that merely goes through the motions, delivering no new resources to worthy causes gives the firm's workers or customers no good reason to think more highly of it (perhaps the opposite) and may ultimately involve a net loss of welfare. This occurs when the costs of enforcing the requisite CSR measures outweigh the overall social welfare gains realized. Therefore, organizations that desperately want to be perceived in a flattering light by the general public must rationally consider the potential costs and resultant benefits arising from the various socially responsible initiatives that are implemented. Only then can corporate social responsibility truly fulfill its role of achieving a fairer distribution of resources, thereby disseminating the benefits of social welfare across the various strata of society across the Asian region.

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Private Equity Firm in Asia: An Emerging Presence in Emerging Economies

Over the past decade, the amount of private equity deals in Asia has grown exponentially. According to Dealogic, the total value of private equity deals in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, tripled in 2006 to USD 26 billion. This has been attributed to factors like strong economic growth in the region, severe competition for deals in the developed markets of Europe and America and more efficient local capital markets in the Asian region. Moreover, there exists a vast network of domestic companies in these emerging economies that have an immense desire to acquire global recognition via the expertise and network of foreign investors. Factors like shoddy infrastructure, poor corporate governance standards, hostile local governments, severe shortage of skilled personnel and a relatively higher cost of borrowing, however, may tend to severely disrupt the current pace of expansion. It is critical for the governments of these emerging economies to take the requisite measures to remove the aforementioned shortcomings if they still hope to remain attractive investment destinations in the near future.

Challenges to growth

Private equity firms primarily function as follows: They purchase publicly traded companies, take them private, restructure the acquired firms in the hope of reselling these companies at a huge profit a couple of years later. Yet in countries like India-despite the active presence of several heavyweights of the private equity arena like the Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, the Blackstone Group etc.-the size and volume of the deals have been comparatively smaller as compared to similar deals being struck in North America and Europe. In fact, most of the big private-equity deals in India so far have involved the purchase of small, passive stakes in companies. This is an unusual strategy for most of the big players who prefer to call the shots by acquiring a controlling stake in the target companies. In India, this can be explained by the fact that most large, publicly traded companies are family-owned, which makes it extremely difficult for a foreign company to aspire to buy a majority stake. Even more, these private equity firms are viewed with a considerable degree of suspicion by local governments and local citizens. The massive restructuring steps that typically accompany any large private equity deal invariably do result in countless jobs being lost and other cost-cutting measures. Another factor limiting the size of the deals in the region is the fact that most emerging economies of Asia like China and India remain grossly overvalued, which drives up the prices that the acquirer would have to pay for deals being struck with potential targets. According to a survey conducted by the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, most of the private equity firms seek returns of at least 25 percent on their investments in the emerging economies.

One principal reason why bank shares in a country like Taiwan seem particularly attractive to the private equity players is the fact that these shares are some of the region's least expensive-trading at an average of 1.1 times 2007 book value as compared to 1.5 for the South Korean banks and 2.8 for the mainland China bank shares.

What lies ahead?

Despite the above setbacks, Asia still has immense growth potential as a region for several private equity players. Industry giants like Texas Pacific, which has earmarked roughly USD 4 billion for the future in the region, desire to make continued investments in Asia. Although these private equity players are driven primarily by the profit motive, they can still prove to be an advantage to the local economies they invest in. They possess the requisite global expertise, immense international experience, a highly professional code of conduct and a wide network. All these strengths can be leveraged by ambitious domestic firms who partner with these firms in the hope of eventually growing into full-fledged thriving global players in the years to come. Thus, the influx of long-term capital into Asia, coupled with the potential advantages that can be realized by the local firms via mutually advantageous partnerships with foreign firms, can help to further accelerate the economic expansion process in the Asian region in the immediate future.

Over the past decade, the amount of private equity deals in Asia has grown exponentially. According to Dealogic, the total value of private equity deals in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, tripled in 2006 to USD 26 billion. This has been attributed to factors like strong economic growth in the region, severe competition for deals in the developed markets of Europe and America and more efficient local capital markets in the Asian region. Moreover, there exists a vast network of domestic companies in these emerging economies that have an immense desire to acquire global recognition via the expertise and network of foreign investors. Factors like shoddy infrastructure, poor corporate governance standards, hostile local governments, severe shortage of skilled personnel and a relatively higher cost of borrowing, however, may tend to severely disrupt the current pace of expansion. It is critical for the governments of these emerging economies to take the requisite measures to remove the aforementioned shortcomings if they still hope to remain attractive investment destinations in the near future.

Challenges to growth

Private equity firms primarily function as follows: They purchase publicly traded companies, take them private, restructure the acquired firms in the hope of reselling these companies at a huge profit a couple of years later. Yet in countries like India-despite the active presence of several heavyweights of the private equity arena like the Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, the Blackstone Group etc.-the size and volume of the deals have been comparatively smaller as compared to similar deals being struck in North America and Europe. In fact, most of the big private-equity deals in India so far have involved the purchase of small, passive stakes in companies. This is an unusual strategy for most of the big players who prefer to call the shots by acquiring a controlling stake in the target companies. In India, this can be explained by the fact that most large, publicly traded companies are family-owned, which makes it extremely difficult for a foreign company to aspire to buy a majority stake. Even more, these private equity firms are viewed with a considerable degree of suspicion by local governments and local citizens. The massive restructuring steps that typically accompany any large private equity deal invariably do result in countless jobs being lost and other cost-cutting measures. Another factor limiting the size of the deals in the region is the fact that most emerging economies of Asia like China and India remain grossly overvalued, which drives up the prices that the acquirer would have to pay for deals being struck with potential targets. According to a survey conducted by the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, most of the private equity firms seek returns of at least 25 percent on their investments in the emerging economies.

One principal reason why bank shares in a country like Taiwan seem particularly attractive to the private equity players is the fact that these shares are some of the region's least expensive-trading at an average of 1.1 times 2007 book value as compared to 1.5 for the South Korean banks and 2.8 for the mainland China bank shares.

What lies ahead?

Despite the above setbacks, Asia still has immense growth potential as a region for several private equity players. Industry giants like Texas Pacific, which has earmarked roughly USD 4 billion for the future in the region, desire to make continued investments in Asia. Although these private equity players are driven primarily by the profit motive, they can still prove to be an advantage to the local economies they invest in. They possess the requisite global expertise, immense international experience, a highly professional code of conduct and a wide network. All these strengths can be leveraged by ambitious domestic firms who partner with these firms in the hope of eventually growing into full-fledged thriving global players in the years to come. Thus, the influx of long-term capital into Asia, coupled with the potential advantages that can be realized by the local firms via mutually advantageous partnerships with foreign firms, can help to further accelerate the economic expansion process in the Asian region in the immediate future.

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malaysia

Malaysian Stocks Close Mixed

Malaysian stocks had mixed closes going into this past weekend, surrounded by concerns about the US credit crunch and subprime mortgages. The hesitation of the Malaysian stocks from following the recovery of the US stocks may be an indication that investors are still nervous. However, construction, technology, and consumer stocks helped to keep the key index positive overall in addition to the economic growth potential driven by domestic factors.

Malaysian stocks had mixed closes going into this past weekend, surrounded by concerns about the US credit crunch and subprime mortgages. The hesitation of the Malaysian stocks from following the recovery of the US stocks may be an indication that investors are still nervous. However, construction, technology, and consumer stocks helped to keep the key index positive overall in addition to the economic growth potential driven by domestic factors.

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Malaysian Real Estate Trusts to Get More Incentives

Regulators may soon add incentives for real estate investment trusts in order to enhance the attractiveness of the sector. Plans include allowing property trusts a limited exposure to development activities of up to 10 percent of the total asset value. They also will be given the flexibility of buying strata-title properties until that asset category hits a fifth of the total asset value. The government hopes that these changes will provide more options for property trusts to grow their asst portfolios.

Regulators may soon add incentives for real estate investment trusts in order to enhance the attractiveness of the sector. Plans include allowing property trusts a limited exposure to development activities of up to 10 percent of the total asset value. They also will be given the flexibility of buying strata-title properties until that asset category hits a fifth of the total asset value. The government hopes that these changes will provide more options for property trusts to grow their asst portfolios.

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Public Bank to Loan MYR 12 Billion in Malaysia

Public Bank in Malaysia is increasing its SME loans and microfinancing to MYR 12 billion from MYR 6.9 billion last year. The managing director explained this increase as a result of easy financing by the government, a large pool of entrepreneurial talent, and strong government support. Currently SME lending and microfinancing account for 35 percent of the bank's lending. MYR 46 million will be allocated to the Malaysian Independent Business Ownership (MIBO) Programme, a program designed by J&C Pacific to assist entrepreneurs with business planning and marketing.

Public Bank in Malaysia is increasing its SME loans and microfinancing to MYR 12 billion from MYR 6.9 billion last year. The managing director explained this increase as a result of easy financing by the government, a large pool of entrepreneurial talent, and strong government support. Currently SME lending and microfinancing account for 35 percent of the bank's lending. MYR 46 million will be allocated to the Malaysian Independent Business Ownership (MIBO) Programme, a program designed by J&C Pacific to assist entrepreneurs with business planning and marketing.

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Malaysian Car Sales Predicted to Grow in 3rd Quarter

Despite a 12 percent drop in the first half of 2007, experts are predicting an increase in the third quarter due to increases in registration and sales of cars in June. This increase exceeded sales for both June last year, and May this year. New car models and Bank Rakyat's financing scheme are also expected to increase sales. The new financing scheme is an effort to make buying a car affordable for Malaysians, offering up to 90 percent financing.

Despite a 12 percent drop in the first half of 2007, experts are predicting an increase in the third quarter due to increases in registration and sales of cars in June. This increase exceeded sales for both June last year, and May this year. New car models and Bank Rakyat's financing scheme are also expected to increase sales. The new financing scheme is an effort to make buying a car affordable for Malaysians, offering up to 90 percent financing.

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Advertising Market Grows 9 Percent in Malaysia

In the first half of 2007, gross advertising expenditure has increased by 9 percent in Malaysia. Television and newspapers account for 29 and 59 percent, respectively, of the MYR 2.4 billion spent in advertising so far this year. Conventions such as Visit Malaysia 2007 and the 50th Merdeka celebration have experts believing that total advertising spending for the year will outperform 2006. Newspaper advertising alone grew over 6 percent from last year.

In the first half of 2007, gross advertising expenditure has increased by 9 percent in Malaysia. Television and newspapers account for 29 and 59 percent, respectively, of the MYR 2.4 billion spent in advertising so far this year. Conventions such as Visit Malaysia 2007 and the 50th Merdeka celebration have experts believing that total advertising spending for the year will outperform 2006. Newspaper advertising alone grew over 6 percent from last year.

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Malaysian Northern Corridor to Receive MYR 177 Billion Investment

Malaysian Prime Minister announced a plan for the Northern Corridor Economic Region which includes a MYR 177 billion investment over 18 years. The plan is conceived with the hopes of spurring growth and increasing income levels in the corridor. The money for the investment is going to come equally from the government, Private Finance Initiatives, and private investors. A special focus for the development region will be teaching inhabitants to use new techniques and modern technology for crop cultivation an harvesting.

Malaysian Prime Minister announced a plan for the Northern Corridor Economic Region which includes a MYR 177 billion investment over 18 years. The plan is conceived with the hopes of spurring growth and increasing income levels in the corridor. The money for the investment is going to come equally from the government, Private Finance Initiatives, and private investors. A special focus for the development region will be teaching inhabitants to use new techniques and modern technology for crop cultivation an harvesting.

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Malaysian Bank Rakyat to Give Out MYR 50 Million in SME Loans

Backed by Credit Guarantee Corp. Malaysia Bhd, Bank Rakyat Malaysia Bhd will give out over MYR 50 million in loans to small and medium scale enterprises until 2010. The bank director expects to loan out between MYR 5 million and MYR 10 million in this year alone. This new disbursal of funds comes in response to the government's requests for more financing for entrepreneurs.

Backed by Credit Guarantee Corp. Malaysia Bhd, Bank Rakyat Malaysia Bhd will give out over MYR 50 million in loans to small and medium scale enterprises until 2010. The bank director expects to loan out between MYR 5 million and MYR 10 million in this year alone. This new disbursal of funds comes in response to the government's requests for more financing for entrepreneurs.

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Thailand Exposition Draws in Malaysian Businesses

The Thailand Franchise and Business Opportunity (TFBO) exposition this week has caught the attention of ten Malaysian companies and agencies that wish to promote their products and seek networking in Thailand. The exposition will be held at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center on Thursday. An economic counselor at the Malaysian Embassy, Syaromi Ramli, said Wednesday: "This is a good platform for our companies to franchise their business as there are not many [Malaysian businesses] in Thailand now."

The Thailand Franchise and Business Opportunity (TFBO) exposition this week has caught the attention of ten Malaysian companies and agencies that wish to promote their products and seek networking in Thailand. The exposition will be held at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center on Thursday. An economic counselor at the Malaysian Embassy, Syaromi Ramli, said Wednesday: "This is a good platform for our companies to franchise their business as there are not many [Malaysian businesses] in Thailand now."

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Malaysian Vehicle Sales Down 12 Percent in First Half

Total vehicle sales in Malaysia have dropped 12 percent in the first half of the year when compared to the same period last year, with only 220,739 units sold. The president of the Malaysian Automotive Association believes this fall may be due to low used car values, difficulty for buyers to get higher purchase loans, and shorter repayment periods. Although both commercial and personal vehicle sales dropped, sales for just the month of June increased. Experts expect sales to rise in the next few months due to new model launches, an improving stock market, and a salary increase for civil servants.

Total vehicle sales in Malaysia have dropped 12 percent in the first half of the year when compared to the same period last year, with only 220,739 units sold. The president of the Malaysian Automotive Association believes this fall may be due to low used car values, difficulty for buyers to get higher purchase loans, and shorter repayment periods. Although both commercial and personal vehicle sales dropped, sales for just the month of June increased. Experts expect sales to rise in the next few months due to new model launches, an improving stock market, and a salary increase for civil servants.

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Malaysian Central Bank to Leave Overnight Policy Rate Unchanged

At its fifth meeting of the year, the Monetary Policy Committee of Bank Negara Malaysia has decided to leave the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3.50 percent. They cited the fact that economic growth should remain strong, that there is stronger growth in domestic demand, and that inflation has remained low, in the reasoning behind their decision. Experts are hoping that the growth in the economies of Malaysia's trading partners will contribute to growth in Malaysia's exports.

At its fifth meeting of the year, the Monetary Policy Committee of Bank Negara Malaysia has decided to leave the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3.50 percent. They cited the fact that economic growth should remain strong, that there is stronger growth in domestic demand, and that inflation has remained low, in the reasoning behind their decision. Experts are hoping that the growth in the economies of Malaysia's trading partners will contribute to growth in Malaysia's exports.

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KLCI Hits All-Time High

Due to portfolio adjustments by blue chips and anticipation of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) launch next week, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) hit an all-time high, closing at 1,392.18, up 0.8 percent on the day. Although the launch of the NCER is predicted to boost the market, the masterplanner for the project, Sime Darby, fell 20 sen to MYR 10.30. Construction and property stocks both rose between 1.0 and 2.7 percent.

Due to portfolio adjustments by blue chips and anticipation of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) launch next week, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) hit an all-time high, closing at 1,392.18, up 0.8 percent on the day. Although the launch of the NCER is predicted to boost the market, the masterplanner for the project, Sime Darby, fell 20 sen to MYR 10.30. Construction and property stocks both rose between 1.0 and 2.7 percent.

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Entrepreneur Exhibition in Brunei Draws Well-Known Businessmen

At an international exhibition at the Bumiputra Trade and Commercial Centre in Brunei, entrepreneurs came together to observe art from silk, satin and chiffon and explore business possibilities. Among some of the notable guests were Syarikat Hj Sulaiman and Hkh Halimah Sdn Bhd, entrepreneurs from Kelantan, Malaysia.

At an international exhibition at the Bumiputra Trade and Commercial Centre in Brunei, entrepreneurs came together to observe art from silk, satin and chiffon and explore business possibilities. Among some of the notable guests were Syarikat Hj Sulaiman and Hkh Halimah Sdn Bhd, entrepreneurs from Kelantan, Malaysia.

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Retail Sales to Reach MYR 65 Billion in Malaysia

Experts have forecasted Malaysia's retail sales to grow 10 percent this year, reaching MYR 65.45 billion. The original forecasts were only a growth of 8 percent, which would be MYR 1 billion less. This year will have greater growth than last year, when the retail sales growth rate was 8.4 percent with a total of MYR 59.5 billion spent. Several factors which may have spurred this growth include the performance of the stock market, higher tourism, higher crude palm oil prices, and the civil servant salary increase.

Experts have forecasted Malaysia's retail sales to grow 10 percent this year, reaching MYR 65.45 billion. The original forecasts were only a growth of 8 percent, which would be MYR 1 billion less. This year will have greater growth than last year, when the retail sales growth rate was 8.4 percent with a total of MYR 59.5 billion spent. Several factors which may have spurred this growth include the performance of the stock market, higher tourism, higher crude palm oil prices, and the civil servant salary increase.

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Malaysia Against Early Liberalization for Airlines

Citing the need to fully complete its turnaround plan, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) does not want to see early liberalization of flights. MAS is strictly against allowing low-cost airlines to fly from Malaysia to Singapore. MAS agrees with the set timeline, but is worried by recent talks from the Transport Minister, who is considering allowing low-cost carriers to operate flights to and from Singapore. MAS still needs time to get itself turned around and profitable again.

Citing the need to fully complete its turnaround plan, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) does not want to see early liberalization of flights. MAS is strictly against allowing low-cost airlines to fly from Malaysia to Singapore. MAS agrees with the set timeline, but is worried by recent talks from the Transport Minister, who is considering allowing low-cost carriers to operate flights to and from Singapore. MAS still needs time to get itself turned around and profitable again.

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Malaysian Consumer Price Index Up 2 Percent

Malaysia's consumer price index (CPI) increased from 103.0 to 105.1 for January to June, compared to the same period last year. This 2.0 percent increase is due to improvements in the CPI for all main groups excluding clothing and footwear and communication, which dropped by 1.5 and 1.4 percent respectively. The largest increases were in transport with a 3.6 percent increase and food and non-alcoholic beverages with 2.9 percent.

Malaysia's consumer price index (CPI) increased from 103.0 to 105.1 for January to June, compared to the same period last year. This 2.0 percent increase is due to improvements in the CPI for all main groups excluding clothing and footwear and communication, which dropped by 1.5 and 1.4 percent respectively. The largest increases were in transport with a 3.6 percent increase and food and non-alcoholic beverages with 2.9 percent.

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Kiswire to Build USD 125 Million Plant in Malaysia

South Korea's Kiswire Ltd plans to build a steel wire rope plant in Johor, Malaysia, investing USD 125 million. The plant will produce Neptune rope, used as mooring wire in the offshore oil field industries. The new plant hopes to cover between 8 and 10 hectares, and begin operations in 2009. Currently, Kiswire exports 65,000 tons of Neptune Rope to about 70 countries.

South Korea's Kiswire Ltd plans to build a steel wire rope plant in Johor, Malaysia, investing USD 125 million. The plant will produce Neptune rope, used as mooring wire in the offshore oil field industries. The new plant hopes to cover between 8 and 10 hectares, and begin operations in 2009. Currently, Kiswire exports 65,000 tons of Neptune Rope to about 70 countries.

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Malaysian Tax Collection Expected to Surpass Goal

According to the Second Finance Minister, an effective tax collecting system may allow the tax inflow to surpass the expected target of MYR 69 billion. The government has collected MYR 41.15 billion so far, which is 11.5 percent higher than last year. Malaysia is heavily dependent on corporate taxes; only one of every twelve Malaysian workers pay taxes.

According to the Second Finance Minister, an effective tax collecting system may allow the tax inflow to surpass the expected target of MYR 69 billion. The government has collected MYR 41.15 billion so far, which is 11.5 percent higher than last year. Malaysia is heavily dependent on corporate taxes; only one of every twelve Malaysian workers pay taxes.

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Malaysia's Private Investment Booms

Due to the Malaysian government introducing attractive corporate tax incentives, private investment has increased to over 45 percent of total investment in Malaysia. Foreign direct investment has also grown to be about 6 percent of the GDP. Recent government policy changes have transformed Malaysia into having a highly attractive value-added manufacturing environment.

Due to the Malaysian government introducing attractive corporate tax incentives, private investment has increased to over 45 percent of total investment in Malaysia. Foreign direct investment has also grown to be about 6 percent of the GDP. Recent government policy changes have transformed Malaysia into having a highly attractive value-added manufacturing environment.

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Malaysia Looks to India and China for Agricultural Exports

Due to their large populations, the Malaysian government is looking at China and India to be its next destinations for its agricultural exports. China and India have a combined growth rate of 8 percent and a joint population of 2.5 billion people. Malaysia hopes to focus on product development, competitive marketability, and promotion of quality in order to gain a larger market share. Future plans also include venturing into Latin American, African, and Russian markets.

Due to their large populations, the Malaysian government is looking at China and India to be its next destinations for its agricultural exports. China and India have a combined growth rate of 8 percent and a joint population of 2.5 billion people. Malaysia hopes to focus on product development, competitive marketability, and promotion of quality in order to gain a larger market share. Future plans also include venturing into Latin American, African, and Russian markets.

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New Malaysian Market Regulations to Take Effect this Year

The drafting of the new Capital Market and Services Act (CMSA), a law set to regulate the capital market and set up a licensing framework for all intermediaries, has been completed according to the Securities Commission senior executive director Ranjit Ajit Singh. He announced that the new legislation is a part of the Capital Market Master Plan, to modernize the legal framework for Malaysia's capital market. This is expected to improve the recent issues with financial reporting irregularities.

The drafting of the new Capital Market and Services Act (CMSA), a law set to regulate the capital market and set up a licensing framework for all intermediaries, has been completed according to the Securities Commission senior executive director Ranjit Ajit Singh. He announced that the new legislation is a part of the Capital Market Master Plan, to modernize the legal framework for Malaysia's capital market. This is expected to improve the recent issues with financial reporting irregularities.

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Malaysia Expects 7.6 Percent Growth Rate in Rubber Exports

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin announced that he expects a 7.6 percent growth rate in Malaysia's rubber export products. He attributes the growth to current conservation efforts and the industry cooperating with the government, despite the setbacks of a strengthening currency and increasing fuel costs. The value of the exports are expected to hit MYR 23.6 billion in 2020, up from MYR 9.3 billion in 2006.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin announced that he expects a 7.6 percent growth rate in Malaysia's rubber export products. He attributes the growth to current conservation efforts and the industry cooperating with the government, despite the setbacks of a strengthening currency and increasing fuel costs. The value of the exports are expected to hit MYR 23.6 billion in 2020, up from MYR 9.3 billion in 2006.

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Malaysia Ranked 5th in Outsourcing

According to a study by consulting firm Frost and Sullivan, Malaysia is ranked 5th in the world for shared services and outsourcing, an improvement over last year's rank of 6th. Frost and Sullivan attribute this to the efforts of the Malaysian government, and Malaysia's infrastructure of good quality. Malaysia is ranked behind India, China, Ireland, and Singapore, ranked first through fourth respectively.

According to a study by consulting firm Frost and Sullivan, Malaysia is ranked 5th in the world for shared services and outsourcing, an improvement over last year's rank of 6th. Frost and Sullivan attribute this to the efforts of the Malaysian government, and Malaysia's infrastructure of good quality. Malaysia is ranked behind India, China, Ireland, and Singapore, ranked first through fourth respectively.

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Malaysia Airports Secures MYR 8.9 Billion Contract

Malaysia Airports secured a MYR 8.9 billion contract to manage Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Malaysia Airports beat out four other bidders to take over operations, maintenance, and revenues of the airport for 20 years, and includes construction of a new international terminal. The airport, with two terminals, will be Malaysia Airports' fourth foreign airport.

Malaysia Airports secured a MYR 8.9 billion contract to manage Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Malaysia Airports beat out four other bidders to take over operations, maintenance, and revenues of the airport for 20 years, and includes construction of a new international terminal. The airport, with two terminals, will be Malaysia Airports' fourth foreign airport.

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Oil & Gas Counters Drive Positive Sentiment on KL Composite

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) gained 4.85 points on Monday to close at 1,378.69, though market correction on Tuesday brought the index down 7.24 points to 1,371.45. The market's positive tone continues to be led by oil and gas counters, with KNM surging 60 sen and Petra and Kecana rising 19 and 14 sen respectively.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) gained 4.85 points on Monday to close at 1,378.69, though market correction on Tuesday brought the index down 7.24 points to 1,371.45. The market's positive tone continues to be led by oil and gas counters, with KNM surging 60 sen and Petra and Kecana rising 19 and 14 sen respectively.

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Malaysia-Shenzhen Trade to Reach USD 8 Billion

With a 30 percent growth in the first five months of this year, experts are expecting a total of USD 8 billion in trade between Malaysia and Shenzhen, China. Last year's trade hit USD 6 billion, over half of the total trade between Malaysia and the Guangdong province. Malaysia's ambassador to China believes that Malaysia has a lot to learn from Shenzhen's free trade zone and its dedicated focus on industry.

With a 30 percent growth in the first five months of this year, experts are expecting a total of USD 8 billion in trade between Malaysia and Shenzhen, China. Last year's trade hit USD 6 billion, over half of the total trade between Malaysia and the Guangdong province. Malaysia's ambassador to China believes that Malaysia has a lot to learn from Shenzhen's free trade zone and its dedicated focus on industry.

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Malaysia to Maintain Budget Deficit Until 2010

Second Finance Minister Yakcop has announced that Malaysia will maintain its budget deficit until the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan in 2010. Keeping the deficit under 3.4 percent is a sustainable goal, according to Yakcop. This year's target deficit is 3.4 percent, a drop from a high of 5.7 percent in 2006. The government wants to run a deficit now, in order to invest in capacity building for the future, especially in the areas of education, transportation, and public amenities. Malaysia hopes to become more of a higher value-added manufacturing and service-based economy.

Second Finance Minister Yakcop has announced that Malaysia will maintain its budget deficit until the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan in 2010. Keeping the deficit under 3.4 percent is a sustainable goal, according to Yakcop. This year's target deficit is 3.4 percent, a drop from a high of 5.7 percent in 2006. The government wants to run a deficit now, in order to invest in capacity building for the future, especially in the areas of education, transportation, and public amenities. Malaysia hopes to become more of a higher value-added manufacturing and service-based economy.

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Malaysia's Industrial Output Rises 3.1 Percent in May

Malaysia's industrial production index has increased 3.1 percent for May on a year-on-year basis, and by 4.3 percent since April. This increase reflects high growth in the mining, electricity and manufacturing indexes. The manufacturing sector experienced a boost from growth in refined petroleum products and food and beverage products.

Malaysia's industrial production index has increased 3.1 percent for May on a year-on-year basis, and by 4.3 percent since April. This increase reflects high growth in the mining, electricity and manufacturing indexes. The manufacturing sector experienced a boost from growth in refined petroleum products and food and beverage products.

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Malaysia Expects 6 Percent Growth Due to Domestic Demand

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, expanding domestic demand is driving the economy to a 6 percent growth rate. Private consumption is the largest contributor to the GDP, unlike the previous year when exports dominated the GDP. This strong demand can be attributed to increased government spending, including the civil service pay increase, and increased private investment into plants and machinery.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, expanding domestic demand is driving the economy to a 6 percent growth rate. Private consumption is the largest contributor to the GDP, unlike the previous year when exports dominated the GDP. This strong demand can be attributed to increased government spending, including the civil service pay increase, and increased private investment into plants and machinery.

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Fueled by Chipmakers, Asian Securities on Six-day Rise

Samsung Electronics Co. and BHP Billiton Ltd. led the way as Asian stocks rose for a sixth straight day, reflecting the current strength and rising prices of computer chips and metals. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to hit a record of 156.67 at 8:03 PM in Tokyo, and the region's leading benchmark index, the Nikkei 225, rose 0.3 percent. China's CSI 300 Index paced losers as questions swirled concerning the impact of new share sales. The markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand also took losses on the day.

Samsung Electronics Co. and BHP Billiton Ltd. led the way as Asian stocks rose for a sixth straight day, reflecting the current strength and rising prices of computer chips and metals. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent to hit a record of 156.67 at 8:03 PM in Tokyo, and the region's leading benchmark index, the Nikkei 225, rose 0.3 percent. China's CSI 300 Index paced losers as questions swirled concerning the impact of new share sales. The markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand also took losses on the day.

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Malaysia-Indonesia Trade Grows

Prima, the association for Malaysian-Indonesian friendship, announced that bilateral trade between Malaysia and Indonesia increased over the last year to USD 8.6 billion. Malaysia is the largest foreign investor in Indonesia, with an investment of USD 2.6 billion last year. The Indonesian workforce in Malaysia contributes significantly to the Malaysian economy.

Prima, the association for Malaysian-Indonesian friendship, announced that bilateral trade between Malaysia and Indonesia increased over the last year to USD 8.6 billion. Malaysia is the largest foreign investor in Indonesia, with an investment of USD 2.6 billion last year. The Indonesian workforce in Malaysia contributes significantly to the Malaysian economy.

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Malaysian Government Bonds Recieve Millions in New Funds

Since Citigroup World Government Bond Index acquired Malaysian government bonds, between USD 300 and USD 400 million in new funds have been invested. Malaysia is the twenty-third country to be included in the index, and has received a positive response from investors. Since January 2005, Malaysia has returned the highest cumulative profits of all the countries included.

Since Citigroup World Government Bond Index acquired Malaysian government bonds, between USD 300 and USD 400 million in new funds have been invested. Malaysia is the twenty-third country to be included in the index, and has received a positive response from investors. Since January 2005, Malaysia has returned the highest cumulative profits of all the countries included.

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Malaysia's Leader Calls for Economic Cooperation with Brunei

Tuanku Mizan, King of Malaysia, is calling for Malaysia to explore options in Brunei for economic development. He announced that Malaysian companies would be encouraged by the government to invest in Brunei to help diversify its economy. Recognizing that the two countries have similar stances in global politics, Mizan hopes to assist Brunei in developing its Islamic banking and investment sector in addition to the defense industry. Last year's bilateral trade with Brunei reached MYR 1.54 billion, an 11% increase from the previous year.

Tuanku Mizan, King of Malaysia, is calling for Malaysia to explore options in Brunei for economic development. He announced that Malaysian companies would be encouraged by the government to invest in Brunei to help diversify its economy. Recognizing that the two countries have similar stances in global politics, Mizan hopes to assist Brunei in developing its Islamic banking and investment sector in addition to the defense industry. Last year's bilateral trade with Brunei reached MYR 1.54 billion, an 11% increase from the previous year.

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CIMB-Principal Increases Malaysian Islamic Fund Size

CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd announced its intention to raise the Islamic Fund size to 1.35 billion units. This increase was made in response to high demand, and the original issued 400 million units selling out. This growth fund potentially offers higher returns using the best-performing combination of international equity, property and commodity asset classes.

CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd announced its intention to raise the Islamic Fund size to 1.35 billion units. This increase was made in response to high demand, and the original issued 400 million units selling out. This growth fund potentially offers higher returns using the best-performing combination of international equity, property and commodity asset classes.

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Malaysia's Oil Fields Reach Record High Numbers at 85

Malaysia now has 85 oil and gas producing fields, hitting a record high number. Petronas intends on starting Malaysia's first deepwater project next year, with a potential capacity of 50,000 barrels a day. Though it has a record number of fields, total national production dropped last year to 588.1 million barrels of oil equivalent. This decline is attributed to the fact that several facilities were shut down to perform repairs and maintenance.

Malaysia now has 85 oil and gas producing fields, hitting a record high number. Petronas intends on starting Malaysia's first deepwater project next year, with a potential capacity of 50,000 barrels a day. Though it has a record number of fields, total national production dropped last year to 588.1 million barrels of oil equivalent. This decline is attributed to the fact that several facilities were shut down to perform repairs and maintenance.

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Malaysian Sukuks Receive Overwhelming Response

Exchangeable Islamic trust certificates known as Sukuks, received an overwhelming response from investors when they were issued at 100 percent of the principal amount by Khazanah Nasional Bhd. They were originally launched at an issue size of USD 600 million but was later increased to USD 850 million. This set a record for being the largest exchangeable instrument out of Malaysia.

Exchangeable Islamic trust certificates known as Sukuks, received an overwhelming response from investors when they were issued at 100 percent of the principal amount by Khazanah Nasional Bhd. They were originally launched at an issue size of USD 600 million but was later increased to USD 850 million. This set a record for being the largest exchangeable instrument out of Malaysia.

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Malaysian Cars Granted Entry to Thailand

Under the Asean Free Trade Area's 0 to 5 percent tariff, Malaysian-made automobiles will be allowed to enter Thailand, Asia's largest automobile producer. Thailand had previously been hesitant to remove the current 20 percent tariff, believing that Malaysia's policy of Approved Permits was a non-tariff barrier enacted to hinder foreign made cars from entering the country.

Under the Asean Free Trade Area's 0 to 5 percent tariff, Malaysian-made automobiles will be allowed to enter Thailand, Asia's largest automobile producer. Thailand had previously been hesitant to remove the current 20 percent tariff, believing that Malaysia's policy of Approved Permits was a non-tariff barrier enacted to hinder foreign made cars from entering the country.

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Thailand's Import Tax on Malaysian Automobiles Eradicated

As of Tuesday, Thailand's import tax on Malaysian cars is abolished, according to an assistant government spokesperson in Thailand. Malaysia recently abolished its own trade restrictions for automobiles, and both moves were made in accordance with the ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement. The government spokesman added that both countries are attempting to make gestures of goodwill in an attempt to work toward an integrated regional trade area.

As of Tuesday, Thailand's import tax on Malaysian cars is abolished, according to an assistant government spokesperson in Thailand. Malaysia recently abolished its own trade restrictions for automobiles, and both moves were made in accordance with the ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement. The government spokesman added that both countries are attempting to make gestures of goodwill in an attempt to work toward an integrated regional trade area.

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Saudi Telecom Buys 25 Percent Stake in Malaysia's Maxis

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) bought a 25 percent stake in Malaysia's Maxis Communications Bhd for USD 3.05 billion, making it the largest foreign investment into Malaysia so far. Malaysia's prime minister believes it shows that Saudi Arabia has confidence in Malaysia's economy and the direction that it is taking. STC hopes to use its stake to enter the telecommunications markets in Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) bought a 25 percent stake in Malaysia's Maxis Communications Bhd for USD 3.05 billion, making it the largest foreign investment into Malaysia so far. Malaysia's prime minister believes it shows that Saudi Arabia has confidence in Malaysia's economy and the direction that it is taking. STC hopes to use its stake to enter the telecommunications markets in Malaysia, Indonesia, and India.

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Outlook Positive for Malaysian SMEs

A recent survey performed by HSBC revealed that 44 percent of small and medium enterprises are positive about their economic prospects and are looking to invest more in their company. Another 29 percent expected the same rate of growth as the previous year. and only 27 percent expected a slowdown in growth. Almost half of the survey respondents plan to invest in the year, and 32 percent plan to increase their workforce.

A recent survey performed by HSBC revealed that 44 percent of small and medium enterprises are positive about their economic prospects and are looking to invest more in their company. Another 29 percent expected the same rate of growth as the previous year. and only 27 percent expected a slowdown in growth. Almost half of the survey respondents plan to invest in the year, and 32 percent plan to increase their workforce.

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Malaysian Real Estate Sector Booming

Malaysian real estate developers are encountering record-breaking demand for both residential and commercial properties. Last year, residential property prices hit a all-time high, as a result of high demand from foreign and local buyers and competitive pricing. These high prices are expected to continue into the next year.

Malaysian real estate developers are encountering record-breaking demand for both residential and commercial properties. Last year, residential property prices hit a all-time high, as a result of high demand from foreign and local buyers and competitive pricing. These high prices are expected to continue into the next year.

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Malaysian Workers Picket for Minimum Wage Law

In hopes of pressuring the government into enacting a minimum wage law, over 1000 private sector workers picketed Malaysian government buildings. Currently, there is a MYR 300 Cost of Living Allowance, but no minimum wage laws. The picket, organized by trade unions, resulted in the government announcing that they would look into the need for a wage council.

In hopes of pressuring the government into enacting a minimum wage law, over 1000 private sector workers picketed Malaysian government buildings. Currently, there is a MYR 300 Cost of Living Allowance, but no minimum wage laws. The picket, organized by trade unions, resulted in the government announcing that they would look into the need for a wage council.

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Corporate Tax Cuts in Malaysia

Hoping to make Malaysia's manufacturing sector more competitive, Malaysia's corporate tax rate is getting cut from 28 percent to 26 percent within the next two years. Government officials believe that this will be a positive step for the government, since Malaysia has many resource-based industries, which increase revenues due to export duties. Malaysian businesses are also preparing for the ratification of a free trade agreement being negotiated between Malaysia and the U.S.

Hoping to make Malaysia's manufacturing sector more competitive, Malaysia's corporate tax rate is getting cut from 28 percent to 26 percent within the next two years. Government officials believe that this will be a positive step for the government, since Malaysia has many resource-based industries, which increase revenues due to export duties. Malaysian businesses are also preparing for the ratification of a free trade agreement being negotiated between Malaysia and the U.S.

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Malaysian PM Urges Businesses to Expand in Bosnia

Prime Minister Abdullah is urging Malaysian businessmen to expand and create a stronger presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the two governments have strong diplomatic ties. He believes that Malaysians should contribute to Bosnia in the development of highways, telecommunications, tourism, and power generation. Abdullah also signed agreements on avoiding double taxation and preventing tax and income evasion with Bosnia.

Prime Minister Abdullah is urging Malaysian businessmen to expand and create a stronger presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the two governments have strong diplomatic ties. He believes that Malaysians should contribute to Bosnia in the development of highways, telecommunications, tourism, and power generation. Abdullah also signed agreements on avoiding double taxation and preventing tax and income evasion with Bosnia.

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Russian President and Malaysian PM Meet to Discuss Increased Cooperation

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin Tuesday to discuss increasing the political, economic and social ties between the countries. The meeting affirmed the countries' desire to increase cooperation between their respective State petroleum monopolies, Russia's Gazprom and Rosneft and Malaysia's Petronas with attention toward studying the formation of mechanisms to control gas prices. The two leaders expressed wishes to diversify cooperation beyond energy, emphasizing cooperation in technology including the exchange of technologies and investment in manufacture.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin Tuesday to discuss increasing the political, economic and social ties between the countries. The meeting affirmed the countries' desire to increase cooperation between their respective State petroleum monopolies, Russia's Gazprom and Rosneft and Malaysia's Petronas with attention toward studying the formation of mechanisms to control gas prices. The two leaders expressed wishes to diversify cooperation beyond energy, emphasizing cooperation in technology including the exchange of technologies and investment in manufacture.

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Chinese Chamber of Commerce Forecasts 7-8% Growth in Malaysia

Predicting that Malaysia would not be affected by an economic bubble in China, the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) forecasts a 7-8 percent economic growth for Malaysia. The Chamber's president cites a large push in the construction and related industries as the reason for his prediction, which is 1-2 percent higher than the Malaysian government's estimation.

Predicting that Malaysia would not be affected by an economic bubble in China, the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) forecasts a 7-8 percent economic growth for Malaysia. The Chamber's president cites a large push in the construction and related industries as the reason for his prediction, which is 1-2 percent higher than the Malaysian government's estimation.

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Malaysian Agricultural R & D to Collaborate with Iran

Focusing on commercializing agricultural research findings, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) announced a cooperation with the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII). Both institutes are hoping to develop halal food ingredients and enzymes to market to the Muslim population. Malaysian researchers were impressed by the innovations developed by Iranian researchers who are limited by economic sanctions imposed on their country.

Focusing on commercializing agricultural research findings, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) announced a cooperation with the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII). Both institutes are hoping to develop halal food ingredients and enzymes to market to the Muslim population. Malaysian researchers were impressed by the innovations developed by Iranian researchers who are limited by economic sanctions imposed on their country.

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Malaysia to Turn to Asean, Middle East, and Africa for Markets

Citing a heavy dependence on European and American markets, Malaysia has announced that it will focus on expanding its markets in Asean, Middle East, and African markets. The foreign minister hopes to utilize Malaysia's technical cooperation program to help with capacity building. He also announced Malaysia's interest in finding niches to avoid competing head-to-head with China and India.

Citing a heavy dependence on European and American markets, Malaysia has announced that it will focus on expanding its markets in Asean, Middle East, and African markets. The foreign minister hopes to utilize Malaysia's technical cooperation program to help with capacity building. He also announced Malaysia's interest in finding niches to avoid competing head-to-head with China and India.

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VW and Malaysia's Proton Close to Partnership

After a second round of discussions, Malaysia's national carmaker Proton and Germany's Volkswagen AG are close to a partnership according to officials. Malaysia is looking for a strong foreign partner to make Proton a commercially viable company, and is willing to grant Volkswagen a majority stake. The government had previously been opposed to giving control of the national company to foreign hands, but is now responding to the pressure to end the decline in market shares and financial losses.

After a second round of discussions, Malaysia's national carmaker Proton and Germany's Volkswagen AG are close to a partnership according to officials. Malaysia is looking for a strong foreign partner to make Proton a commercially viable company, and is willing to grant Volkswagen a majority stake. The government had previously been opposed to giving control of the national company to foreign hands, but is now responding to the pressure to end the decline in market shares and financial losses.

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Malaysia Named as Potential Hub for Deepwater Oil Industry

Due to its strategic geographical location, emerging local deepwater oil industry, and educated yet low-cost labor force, Subsea UK has named Malaysia to be a potential hub for the deepwater oil industry. Subsea UK, which represents 155 multinational oil producers, recommends that Malaysia look to Norway and Brazil as examples of success. The company is looking to strengthen economic ties between the UK and Malaysia.

Due to its strategic geographical location, emerging local deepwater oil industry, and educated yet low-cost labor force, Subsea UK has named Malaysia to be a potential hub for the deepwater oil industry. Subsea UK, which represents 155 multinational oil producers, recommends that Malaysia look to Norway and Brazil as examples of success. The company is looking to strengthen economic ties between the UK and Malaysia.

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Malaysia Looks to Attract More FDIs

Experts believe that Malaysia's next step is to move up in the higher value-added chain of services in order to attract more foreign direct investments. Impressive in the Islamic financial services sector, Malaysia will soon have a hard time competing with China and India based on wages alone. There are many sectors with promising investment opportunities, such as the energy or real estate sectors.

Experts believe that Malaysia's next step is to move up in the higher value-added chain of services in order to attract more foreign direct investments. Impressive in the Islamic financial services sector, Malaysia will soon have a hard time competing with China and India based on wages alone. There are many sectors with promising investment opportunities, such as the energy or real estate sectors.

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Chevron to Expand in Malaysia

Despite recent industry reports claiming that petroleum retailers in Malaysia are pulling out of the local market, Chevron Malaysia has announced that it plans on expanding further into the Malaysian market. Chevron expects to open its 400th station this year, adding to the current 390 stations in Malaysia.

Despite recent industry reports claiming that petroleum retailers in Malaysia are pulling out of the local market, Chevron Malaysia has announced that it plans on expanding further into the Malaysian market. Chevron expects to open its 400th station this year, adding to the current 390 stations in Malaysia.

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Bursa Malaysia to Increase Margin Rate

Bursa Malaysia announced yesterday that it would begin to implement measures to slow down the market after a year on a hot streak. Starting on June 15th, traders will be required to deposit MYR 7,000 with their brokers per contract for palm oil and palm kernel oil contracts. Furthermore, for forward delivery months, the margin rate has increased by 41 percent to MYR 6,750 per contract. These changes have come in response to a sharp increase in price volatility.

Bursa Malaysia announced yesterday that it would begin to implement measures to slow down the market after a year on a hot streak. Starting on June 15th, traders will be required to deposit MYR 7,000 with their brokers per contract for palm oil and palm kernel oil contracts. Furthermore, for forward delivery months, the margin rate has increased by 41 percent to MYR 6,750 per contract. These changes have come in response to a sharp increase in price volatility.

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Malaysia Raises Civil Servant Salary

Next month, Malaysia is set to raise salaries for civil servants between 7.5 percent to 35 percent. Prime Minister Badawi hopes that this increase will be a way to attract and retain talent in the civil service, and maintains that it is logical due to the recent economic growth. Police and military personnel will also receive a 20 percent pay increase.

Next month, Malaysia is set to raise salaries for civil servants between 7.5 percent to 35 percent. Prime Minister Badawi hopes that this increase will be a way to attract and retain talent in the civil service, and maintains that it is logical due to the recent economic growth. Police and military personnel will also receive a 20 percent pay increase.

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Thailand's Shin Corp. Sells its Stake in Malaysia's AirAsia

Thailand's Shin Corp. announced that it will sell its entire 49 percent stake in Malaysia's AirAsia to the airline's management. Shin Corp. is owned by Temasek Holdings, Singapore's state-owned investment arm, who wanted to sell AirAsia since it does not fit into Shin's telecom business. The deal cost THB 472.1 million, and is expected to take the pressure off the legal questions surrounding Shin's foreign ownership of Malaysia's domestic airlines.

Thailand's Shin Corp. announced that it will sell its entire 49 percent stake in Malaysia's AirAsia to the airline's management. Shin Corp. is owned by Temasek Holdings, Singapore's state-owned investment arm, who wanted to sell AirAsia since it does not fit into Shin's telecom business. The deal cost THB 472.1 million, and is expected to take the pressure off the legal questions surrounding Shin's foreign ownership of Malaysia's domestic airlines.

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Electronics Largest Contributor to Malaysian Economy

Malaysia's electrical and electronics sector has continued to contribute the largest amount to sales, manufacturing output, export, and employment in 2006. The sector has helped Malaysia's growth, and has attracted multinational companies and foreign investment. Production in that sector expanded by 8.7 percent last year, and produced a sales value of MYR 195.7 billion. Furthermore, due to an increasing demand for consumer electronics, this trend is expected to continue.

Malaysia's electrical and electronics sector has continued to contribute the largest amount to sales, manufacturing output, export, and employment in 2006. The sector has helped Malaysia's growth, and has attracted multinational companies and foreign investment. Production in that sector expanded by 8.7 percent last year, and produced a sales value of MYR 195.7 billion. Furthermore, due to an increasing demand for consumer electronics, this trend is expected to continue.

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Gazprom, Petronas Sign Cooperation Agreement

Russia's Gazprom and Malaysia's Petronas have signed an agreement pledging 'comprehensive' joint cooperation on oil and gas projects in Russia, Malaysia, and other countries. The two companies are looking to develop production and storage capability in Central Asia, and along with France's Total are developing fields in Iran.

Russia's Gazprom and Malaysia's Petronas have signed an agreement pledging 'comprehensive' joint cooperation on oil and gas projects in Russia, Malaysia, and other countries. The two companies are looking to develop production and storage capability in Central Asia, and along with France's Total are developing fields in Iran.

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Petronas to Increase Natural Gas Production in Malaysia

Petronas, wholly owned by the Malaysian government, will increase its liquefied natural gas production at its three plants in Bintulu, Malaysia, and is looking at the possibility of increasing production at their oil refinery in Malacca, Malaysia. Currently, the liquefied natural gas plant has a production capacity of about 23 million tons per annum (MTPA). Petronas hopes to expand by 1.5 MTPA at Bintulu, and 100,000 barrels of oil per day at Malacca.

Petronas, wholly owned by the Malaysian government, will increase its liquefied natural gas production at its three plants in Bintulu, Malaysia, and is looking at the possibility of increasing production at their oil refinery in Malacca, Malaysia. Currently, the liquefied natural gas plant has a production capacity of about 23 million tons per annum (MTPA). Petronas hopes to expand by 1.5 MTPA at Bintulu, and 100,000 barrels of oil per day at Malacca.

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Malaysian Ringgit Continues to Appreciate

According to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, the Malaysian ringgit (MYR) is expected to strengthen to MYR 3.30-MYR 3.50 against the US dollar by the end of the year. It hit the highest in May at MYR 3.383 since it was changed to a floating currency in 2005. Slower economic growth in the United States is believed to be the cause of the recent slowdown in Malaysia's exports, not the currency appreciation. The institute forecasts Malaysia's growth this year to be 5.6 percent.

According to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, the Malaysian ringgit (MYR) is expected to strengthen to MYR 3.30-MYR 3.50 against the US dollar by the end of the year. It hit the highest in May at MYR 3.383 since it was changed to a floating currency in 2005. Slower economic growth in the United States is believed to be the cause of the recent slowdown in Malaysia's exports, not the currency appreciation. The institute forecasts Malaysia's growth this year to be 5.6 percent.

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Malaysian PM: Close Cooperation Needed for Energy Security

Highlighting the energy interdependence of Asian national oil companies, the Malaysian Prime Minister called on producers, consumers, businesses, and governments to work on multilateral cooperation. Investment in infrastructure along the entire energy value chain will hit USD 7.8 trillion between the years 2004-2030 in Asia alone. Yet, energy security is the biggest concern for Asian oil producers.

Highlighting the energy interdependence of Asian national oil companies, the Malaysian Prime Minister called on producers, consumers, businesses, and governments to work on multilateral cooperation. Investment in infrastructure along the entire energy value chain will hit USD 7.8 trillion between the years 2004-2030 in Asia alone. Yet, energy security is the biggest concern for Asian oil producers.

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Investors Call for More Liquidity in Malaysian Stock Exchange

Top officials from world financial companies are calling on the Malaysian government to create more liquidity, increase the free float, and improve their standing in Islamic banking. These steps would increase foreign investment and improve the current condition, where foreign investors have found the exchange to be too small and not active enough. There are current plans to increase the free float by MYR 3.5 billion, but that would only improve it by around 1 percent.

Top officials from world financial companies are calling on the Malaysian government to create more liquidity, increase the free float, and improve their standing in Islamic banking. These steps would increase foreign investment and improve the current condition, where foreign investors have found the exchange to be too small and not active enough. There are current plans to increase the free float by MYR 3.5 billion, but that would only improve it by around 1 percent.

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Malaysian Private Investment on the Rebound

Malaysia's Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop told US ratings agencies that net foreign direct investment (FDI) is on the rebound, and that their ratings should be adjusted to reflect this recent development. FDI inflows in Malaysia are beginning to exceed those of their neighbors, with the private sector accounting for 46 percent of total investment. Nor Mohamed added that Malaysia will continue to run sustainable deficits as a result of the economy's position of strength.

Malaysia's Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop told US ratings agencies that net foreign direct investment (FDI) is on the rebound, and that their ratings should be adjusted to reflect this recent development. FDI inflows in Malaysia are beginning to exceed those of their neighbors, with the private sector accounting for 46 percent of total investment. Nor Mohamed added that Malaysia will continue to run sustainable deficits as a result of the economy's position of strength.

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Malaysia Eases Restrictions on Foreign Retail Investment

In an attempt to attract foreign hypermarket operators, Malaysia will be easing restrictions on foreign investment. It was only five years ago when Malaysia enacted stricter laws to keep foreign hypermarket operators out in order to protect local retailers. Now, the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs wishes to attract such hypermarkets as Wal-Mart, Germany's Metro, and Carrefour.

In an attempt to attract foreign hypermarket operators, Malaysia will be easing restrictions on foreign investment. It was only five years ago when Malaysia enacted stricter laws to keep foreign hypermarket operators out in order to protect local retailers. Now, the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs wishes to attract such hypermarkets as Wal-Mart, Germany's Metro, and Carrefour.

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malaysia

Malaysian Timber Boom in Middle East

Off the success of booming economies, oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are importing Malaysian timber at increasing rates. From January to November in 2006, GCC countries imported USD 288 million in Malaysian timber, making up 78.4 percent of all Malaysian timber exports. Analysts attribute the increase to the boom in construction and real estate in GCC countries.

Off the success of booming economies, oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are importing Malaysian timber at increasing rates. From January to November in 2006, GCC countries imported USD 288 million in Malaysian timber, making up 78.4 percent of all Malaysian timber exports. Analysts attribute the increase to the boom in construction and real estate in GCC countries.

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Malaysia: New Focus on Technology in Attempt to Spur Growth

The Malaysian state of Penang is trying to focus on high technology and research and development in order to continue economic growth and attract more foreign investors. The Chief Minister wants to see a transformation from labor-intensive industries to industries built around capital and skills. Last year, Penang saw a 25-year record of MYR 5.3 billion in foreign investment.

The Malaysian state of Penang is trying to focus on high technology and research and development in order to continue economic growth and attract more foreign investors. The Chief Minister wants to see a transformation from labor-intensive industries to industries built around capital and skills. Last year, Penang saw a 25-year record of MYR 5.3 billion in foreign investment.

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Malaysia Adds 412 Tariff Lines to ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement

Malaysia has added 412 tariff lines to the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA), which takes effect this month. 356 of the lines were put on the sensitive list and 56 were placed on the highly sensitive list in the agreement's tariff liberalization program. Some of the products include plastic, rubber, iron and steel, textiles and apparel, glass, machinery, and automobiles. The requirements state that the products must have at least 40 percent value added in the AKFTA countries. Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry has announced that the tariffs on the sensitive list products will be reduced to 0 to 5 percent by 2016.

Malaysia has added 412 tariff lines to the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA), which takes effect this month. 356 of the lines were put on the sensitive list and 56 were placed on the highly sensitive list in the agreement's tariff liberalization program. Some of the products include plastic, rubber, iron and steel, textiles and apparel, glass, machinery, and automobiles. The requirements state that the products must have at least 40 percent value added in the AKFTA countries. Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry has announced that the tariffs on the sensitive list products will be reduced to 0 to 5 percent by 2016.

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Malaysia's Amanah Raya to Launch Investment Bank

Amanah Raya, a trustee company wholly owned by the government, plans to launch the Amanah Raya Investment Bank this July in an attempt to tap the global financial market. They hope to provide corporate finance and advisory services to local companies who are operating on a worldwide basis. So far it has managed financing for businesses in India worth USD 37 million.

Amanah Raya, a trustee company wholly owned by the government, plans to launch the Amanah Raya Investment Bank this July in an attempt to tap the global financial market. They hope to provide corporate finance and advisory services to local companies who are operating on a worldwide basis. So far it has managed financing for businesses in India worth USD 37 million.

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Malaysia Facing 100,000 Vacancies in Civil Service

In dire need of doctors, dentists, teachers, and other medical personnel, Malaysia's civil service sector is facing a shortage of workers, with the health and education sectors suffering the most. The Democratic Action Party has accused the government of creating more vacancies just to provide jobs for over 60,000 unemployed graduates in Malaysia. Civil service employees will receive a pay raise between 7.5 to 35 percent in July, but for now the government is urging civil servants to improve their quality of service.

In dire need of doctors, dentists, teachers, and other medical personnel, Malaysia's civil service sector is facing a shortage of workers, with the health and education sectors suffering the most. The Democratic Action Party has accused the government of creating more vacancies just to provide jobs for over 60,000 unemployed graduates in Malaysia. Civil service employees will receive a pay raise between 7.5 to 35 percent in July, but for now the government is urging civil servants to improve their quality of service.

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Malaysia's Maxis Launches Groundbreaking Money Transfer Service

Maxis, Malaysia's number one telecommunication services provider, has launched the world's first international mobile to mobile money transfer service. Under a partnership with Philippines' Globe Telecom, this service will allow Filipino workers to transfer Ringgits to Pesos across the border instantly. Maxis is hoping to extend this service to Indonesia by the end of the month, thus capitalizing on the USD 4.2 billion a year that Filipino and Indonesian workers send home from Malaysia.

Maxis, Malaysia's number one telecommunication services provider, has launched the world's first international mobile to mobile money transfer service. Under a partnership with Philippines' Globe Telecom, this service will allow Filipino workers to transfer Ringgits to Pesos across the border instantly. Maxis is hoping to extend this service to Indonesia by the end of the month, thus capitalizing on the USD 4.2 billion a year that Filipino and Indonesian workers send home from Malaysia.

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Malaysia Attracts MYR 12.6 Billion in Foreign Investment

For the first four months of 2007, foreign direct investment made up 62.7 percent of the MYR 12.6 billion invested in Malaysian projects. Domestic investment contributed the remaining 37.3 percent, with MYR 4.7 billion. The government hopes to increase domestic investment to 60 percent of total investment in manufacturing and services between 2006 and 2020. Already on its way to that goal, domestic investment in manufacturing rose to MYR 25.8 billion last year, setting a record at 56.1 percent of the total.

For the first four months of 2007, foreign direct investment made up 62.7 percent of the MYR 12.6 billion invested in Malaysian projects. Domestic investment contributed the remaining 37.3 percent, with MYR 4.7 billion. The government hopes to increase domestic investment to 60 percent of total investment in manufacturing and services between 2006 and 2020. Already on its way to that goal, domestic investment in manufacturing rose to MYR 25.8 billion last year, setting a record at 56.1 percent of the total.

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Malaysian Government Still Searching for a Partner for Carmaker

The Malaysian national carmaker, Proton, is continuing its search for a strategic partner, though it has several requirements and a deadline of three months. The Malaysian government's investment group, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, owns 43 percent of Proton, but is looking for a way to turn around its full-year pre-tax loss of MYR619.9 million. Prior talks with Volkswagen AG have failed, and Volkswagen has stated that they have no more interest.

The Malaysian national carmaker, Proton, is continuing its search for a strategic partner, though it has several requirements and a deadline of three months. The Malaysian government's investment group, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, owns 43 percent of Proton, but is looking for a way to turn around its full-year pre-tax loss of MYR619.9 million. Prior talks with Volkswagen AG have failed, and Volkswagen has stated that they have no more interest.

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Malaysian Stocks Continue 11-Month Climb

On an 11-month upward streak, experts believe that Malaysian stocks, Southeast Asia's most expensive, will continue to soar in the months to come due to increasing wages and government spending. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index has already grown 23 percent this year, in part fueled by foreign investors hoping to benefit from the recent gains of the ringgit, which has appreciated 12 percent since July 2005. It is expected to grow even more with a flood of new investors being drawn to the favorable conditions.

On an 11-month upward streak, experts believe that Malaysian stocks, Southeast Asia's most expensive, will continue to soar in the months to come due to increasing wages and government spending. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index has already grown 23 percent this year, in part fueled by foreign investors hoping to benefit from the recent gains of the ringgit, which has appreciated 12 percent since July 2005. It is expected to grow even more with a flood of new investors being drawn to the favorable conditions.

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Malaysia Considers Compensating Palm Oil Manufacturers

The Malaysian government is considering compensating palm oil manufacturers and packers for their losses due to soaring world prices and Malaysian price controls. In mid-May, the government compensated the manufacturers for 10 percent of their losses, but is now considering a higher compensation of 40 percent of their losses. The money is set to be drawn from a tax on palm plantation companies, which is expected to collect MYR712 billion over one year.

The Malaysian government is considering compensating palm oil manufacturers and packers for their losses due to soaring world prices and Malaysian price controls. In mid-May, the government compensated the manufacturers for 10 percent of their losses, but is now considering a higher compensation of 40 percent of their losses. The money is set to be drawn from a tax on palm plantation companies, which is expected to collect MYR712 billion over one year.

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Malaysia Banking System Stays Strong

According to Bank Negara, the Malaysian banking system is still going strong, with total deposits increasing by MYR4.3 billion and a risk-weighted capital ratio of 13.1 percent in April. Outstanding loans increased by 6.2 percent on an annual basis. Net non-performing loans improved by 4.4 percent, which Bank Negara attributed to write-offs by banks and recoveries.

According to Bank Negara, the Malaysian banking system is still going strong, with total deposits increasing by MYR4.3 billion and a risk-weighted capital ratio of 13.1 percent in April. Outstanding loans increased by 6.2 percent on an annual basis. Net non-performing loans improved by 4.4 percent, which Bank Negara attributed to write-offs by banks and recoveries.

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APEC to Study State-Owned Oil Firms

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers plan to study the impact of state ownership of oil and gas companies among its 21-member body by focusing on their trade and investment. The study expects to form partnerships between state-controlled and private oil companies in order to efficiently develop reserves.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) energy ministers plan to study the impact of state ownership of oil and gas companies among its 21-member body by focusing on their trade and investment. The study expects to form partnerships between state-controlled and private oil companies in order to efficiently develop reserves.

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Malaysia Looks to Introduce Islamic Venture Capital

Hoping to capitalize on the increasing amounts of venture capital funds coming into Asia, Malaysian Securities Commission chairman Datuk Zarinah Anwar will introduce an Islamic venture capital market. Anwar hopes to use Malaysia's strength in the Islamic finance and capital market to gain a competitive advantage. This development should offer Islamic investors a chance to increase returns and diversify portfolios, while still appealing to conventional investors. The Ninth Malaysian Plan currently provides MYR1.6 billion for venture capital.

Hoping to capitalize on the increasing amounts of venture capital funds coming into Asia, Malaysian Securities Commission chairman Datuk Zarinah Anwar will introduce an Islamic venture capital market. Anwar hopes to use Malaysia's strength in the Islamic finance and capital market to gain a competitive advantage. This development should offer Islamic investors a chance to increase returns and diversify portfolios, while still appealing to conventional investors. The Ninth Malaysian Plan currently provides MYR1.6 billion for venture capital.

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Malaysia Economic Growth Expected to Continue Into 2008

Due to the economic growth resulting from such projects as the Ninth Malaysia Plan, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has predicted that Malaysia will not only achieve its goal of a six percent growth rate for 2007, but it will also continue that trend into 2008. In 2006, Malaysia had a real GDP growth of 5.9 percent. Areas of high growth include construction, the service industry, and tourism. Also helping are the strong commodity prices, and investor confidence which helped the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index breaking a 13 year record when it hit 1,367 points in May.

Due to the economic growth resulting from such projects as the Ninth Malaysia Plan, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has predicted that Malaysia will not only achieve its goal of a six percent growth rate for 2007, but it will also continue that trend into 2008. In 2006, Malaysia had a real GDP growth of 5.9 percent. Areas of high growth include construction, the service industry, and tourism. Also helping are the strong commodity prices, and investor confidence which helped the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index breaking a 13 year record when it hit 1,367 points in May.

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Malaysia's Naim Cendera to Buy 45% Stake in Oil and Gas Service Provider

Naim Cendera Holdings Bhd will spend RM87.8 million to get a 45% stake in Dayang Enterprise Group, an oil and gas service provider with an average annual pre-tax profit of RM30 million. Dayang Enterprise's managing director expects that the partnership with Naim Cendera will make the company strong enough to venture into onshore fabrication and offshore marine engineering jobs.

Naim Cendera Holdings Bhd will spend RM87.8 million to get a 45% stake in Dayang Enterprise Group, an oil and gas service provider with an average annual pre-tax profit of RM30 million. Dayang Enterprise's managing director expects that the partnership with Naim Cendera will make the company strong enough to venture into onshore fabrication and offshore marine engineering jobs.

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Malaysians Interested In Vietnam

By catching the attention of wealthy individuals and companies with economic growth averaging over 7 percent over the past decade, Malaysian attendance at talks on infrastructure investment in Vietnam has increased markedly. It's estimated that by 2020 US$140 billion in infrastructure investment will be needed, and investment returns in excess of 20 percent are expected. Several funds that have been set up have reported growth from US$10 million to US$1 billion and higher in the last four years.

By catching the attention of wealthy individuals and companies with economic growth averaging over 7 percent over the past decade, Malaysian attendance at talks on infrastructure investment in Vietnam has increased markedly. It's estimated that by 2020 US$140 billion in infrastructure investment will be needed, and investment returns in excess of 20 percent are expected. Several funds that have been set up have reported growth from US$10 million to US$1 billion and higher in the last four years.

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Ringgit Rises to Nine-Year High

Speculation that Asian currencies would benefit from China's decision Monday to increase the width of the Yuan's trading band has pushed the Ringgit to a nine-year high against the US Dollar of 3.392. This reflects a 4 percent increase over the year to date, making the Ringgit the third-best performer in South-East Asia. The appreciation is expected to help offset higher oil prices, and its mixed rise against other regional currencies may affect export competitiveness while at the same time making for cheaper imported intermediate goods.

Speculation that Asian currencies would benefit from China's decision Monday to increase the width of the Yuan's trading band has pushed the Ringgit to a nine-year high against the US Dollar of 3.392. This reflects a 4 percent increase over the year to date, making the Ringgit the third-best performer in South-East Asia. The appreciation is expected to help offset higher oil prices, and its mixed rise against other regional currencies may affect export competitiveness while at the same time making for cheaper imported intermediate goods.

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Salary Raise Expected to Increase Malaysian Domestic Demand

Following the government's announcement Monday of pay increases for civil servants and pensioners ranging from 7.5 to 35 percent, expectations have arisen of an increase in Malaysian domestic demand. These would be the first pay increases for civil servants in 15 years and are expected to compensate for increases in food and fuel prices. Combined with lower export demand, this increased demand is not expected to lead to an increase in inflation.

Following the government's announcement Monday of pay increases for civil servants and pensioners ranging from 7.5 to 35 percent, expectations have arisen of an increase in Malaysian domestic demand. These would be the first pay increases for civil servants in 15 years and are expected to compensate for increases in food and fuel prices. Combined with lower export demand, this increased demand is not expected to lead to an increase in inflation.

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Malaysia and Singapore Working Together to Develop the Region

Singapore's prime minister recently pledged to support the Iskandar Development Region (IDR). Both Malaysian and Singaporean leaders will discuss areas of co-operation such as the use of smart cards to make traveling between regions easier. Both leaders are seeking quality development and the see their future relationship to be much like that of Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Singapore's prime minister recently pledged to support the Iskandar Development Region (IDR). Both Malaysian and Singaporean leaders will discuss areas of co-operation such as the use of smart cards to make traveling between regions easier. Both leaders are seeking quality development and the see their future relationship to be much like that of Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

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ILO Urges ASEAN Members to Boost Productivity Growth

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase productivity growth rates if it has any hopes of remaining competitive with its powerhouse neighbors China and India. Furthermore, the ILO warns that failure to lift productivity growth, even in instances of overall economic growth, will add to the already severe levels of poverty most of the ASEAN member nations face, while simultaneously widening the economic gap amongst them.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to increase productivity growth rates if it has any hopes of remaining competitive with its powerhouse neighbors China and India. Furthermore, the ILO warns that failure to lift productivity growth, even in instances of overall economic growth, will add to the already severe levels of poverty most of the ASEAN member nations face, while simultaneously widening the economic gap amongst them.

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Malaysia to Invest in Brunei's Developing IT Sector

The Malaysia Multimedia Development Corporation (MdeC) plans to assist neighboring countries, most notably Brunei Darussalam, in the development of their budding IT sectors. With vast experience stemming from their development of the Multimedia Super Corridor over the past 10 years, Malaysia expects that such assistance will be extremely beneficial to all nations involved, and that Malaysia will become a center of reference for its southeast Asian neighbors.

The Malaysia Multimedia Development Corporation (MdeC) plans to assist neighboring countries, most notably Brunei Darussalam, in the development of their budding IT sectors. With vast experience stemming from their development of the Multimedia Super Corridor over the past 10 years, Malaysia expects that such assistance will be extremely beneficial to all nations involved, and that Malaysia will become a center of reference for its southeast Asian neighbors.

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Brunei Imposes Tougher Regulations on Malaysia's Fruits and Vegetables

After a meeting on Thursday, the Federal and state authorities from Sabah, Sarawak and the sultanate agreed to raise stringent controls on Malaysia's fruits and vegetables in order to ensure only very high quality products are traded between the two countries. Both governments hope, sellers and buyers will support the new regulations.

After a meeting on Thursday, the Federal and state authorities from Sabah, Sarawak and the sultanate agreed to raise stringent controls on Malaysia's fruits and vegetables in order to ensure only very high quality products are traded between the two countries. Both governments hope, sellers and buyers will support the new regulations.

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Privatization Trend in Malaysia's Stock Market Continues to Climb

In Malaysia, the privatization trend in the local stock market is attracting many business people. People are beginning to realize the potential in privatizing companies and its attractiveness in the ability of companies to go public as well as private. The privatization trend is expected to help further development in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the privatization trend in the local stock market is attracting many business people. People are beginning to realize the potential in privatizing companies and its attractiveness in the ability of companies to go public as well as private. The privatization trend is expected to help further development in Malaysia.

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Breakthrough for Johor's IDR as Ministerial Committee in the Works

Johor's Iskandar Development Region (IDR) project will soon have the benefit of a joint steering committee that will oversee progress in the region, as announced by the prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore. The installment of the committee reflects the positive state of bilateral ties between the nations, and the prime ministers hope to build on these good conditions through cooperation in investments, tourism, and interpersonal relations.

Johor's Iskandar Development Region (IDR) project will soon have the benefit of a joint steering committee that will oversee progress in the region, as announced by the prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore. The installment of the committee reflects the positive state of bilateral ties between the nations, and the prime ministers hope to build on these good conditions through cooperation in investments, tourism, and interpersonal relations.

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Malaysia's Palm Oil Supply Falls Short

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), palm oil stockpiles fell to their lowest level since May 2004 as exports rose. Palm oil reserves fell 11.6% to 1.18 million tonnes from 1.34 million tonnes in a one month period. Malaysia is known as the world's biggest palm oil producer, followed by Indonesia, which accounts for 85% of production.

According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), palm oil stockpiles fell to their lowest level since May 2004 as exports rose. Palm oil reserves fell 11.6% to 1.18 million tonnes from 1.34 million tonnes in a one month period. Malaysia is known as the world's biggest palm oil producer, followed by Indonesia, which accounts for 85% of production.

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Malaysian Ministry of Finance Lifts Tenaga Foreign Equity Cap

Despite fears that its largest company by market value would fall under foreign control, the Malaysian Ministry of Finance lifted a long-standing 25 percent foreign investment cap on state-owned power firm Tenaga Nasional Bhd. Analysts applaud the move for immediately increasing foreign investment interest in the firm, as well as helping the perception of Malaysia as an increasingly liberalized economy.

Despite fears that its largest company by market value would fall under foreign control, the Malaysian Ministry of Finance lifted a long-standing 25 percent foreign investment cap on state-owned power firm Tenaga Nasional Bhd. Analysts applaud the move for immediately increasing foreign investment interest in the firm, as well as helping the perception of Malaysia as an increasingly liberalized economy.

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ADB Reform Questions Produce Tension, Not Answers

The Asia Development Bank (ADB) seeks to enact reforms after their initial mission of poverty eradication in the region seems to be coming to a close. Richer members argue for a diversification of their interests to environmental preservation and sustainable development, while poorer nations insist that economic development in their countries is no where near finished.

The Asia Development Bank (ADB) seeks to enact reforms after their initial mission of poverty eradication in the region seems to be coming to a close. Richer members argue for a diversification of their interests to environmental preservation and sustainable development, while poorer nations insist that economic development in their countries is no where near finished.

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ASEAN+3 Agree to Establish Foreign Reserves Pool

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

The finance ministers of ASEAN plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea have agreed on setting up a pooling fund from their foreign reserves. This self-managed reserve pooling will be conducted by a single contractual agreement with a gradual approach to ensure the liquidity for currencies and protect the Asian economy against a possible future crisis. Additionally, all ministers announced to accelerate and deepen structural reforms and implement macro-economic policies in order to strengthen cooperation and to support sustainable economic growth.

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Malaysia's Oil Pipeline Project Estimated at US$7b

Malaysia plans to build a pipeline worth US$7 billion to transport oil from the Middle East across to East Asian countries. The pipeline will run from northwestern Kedah across Perak to Kelantan, which faces the South China Sea. It is estimated to cost two million dollars for two million barrels of oil per day with investment increases of US$4.5b and US$7b upon completion of the project.

Malaysia plans to build a pipeline worth US$7 billion to transport oil from the Middle East across to East Asian countries. The pipeline will run from northwestern Kedah across Perak to Kelantan, which faces the South China Sea. It is estimated to cost two million dollars for two million barrels of oil per day with investment increases of US$4.5b and US$7b upon completion of the project.

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ASEAN-EU Launch Free Trade Negotiations

Free trade negotiations were launched by Southeast Asian states and the European Union. The agreement was made when EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson reached an agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AESEAN) economic ministers. The ASEAN-EU free trade zone will cover one billion people and will be one of the largest free trade zones in the world.

Free trade negotiations were launched by Southeast Asian states and the European Union. The agreement was made when EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson reached an agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AESEAN) economic ministers. The ASEAN-EU free trade zone will cover one billion people and will be one of the largest free trade zones in the world.

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High ROE for Alliance Bank of Malaysia

After two years of book cleaning and revamping operations, returns from Alliance Bank of Malaysia have finally matched and/or exceeded global banks with high returns on equity. They are expected to deliver double-digit returns on equity (ROE) within the new fiscal year to March 2008.

After two years of book cleaning and revamping operations, returns from Alliance Bank of Malaysia have finally matched and/or exceeded global banks with high returns on equity. They are expected to deliver double-digit returns on equity (ROE) within the new fiscal year to March 2008.

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Strong Economic Growth and Performance in Malaysia

Malaysia's growing domestic market has economic growth looking strong, with hopes of the country's performance exceeding this year's expectations. It is also believed that low inflation, high savings, and a strong external position have aided in the solidity of their domestic demand market. Moreover, in the corporate sector, reforms from government-linked corporations hope to bring further strength.

Malaysia's growing domestic market has economic growth looking strong, with hopes of the country's performance exceeding this year's expectations. It is also believed that low inflation, high savings, and a strong external position have aided in the solidity of their domestic demand market. Moreover, in the corporate sector, reforms from government-linked corporations hope to bring further strength.

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Asian Financial Chiefs Meet to Discuss Financial Cooperation

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

The Finance ministers from ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea will hold a conference on Saturday in Kyoto to discuss ways to improve financial cooperation, including a deal on multilateral currency swaps. During the meeting, all the issues being discussed are ways to ensure necessary liquidity in a prompt manner in the event of a crisis and to enhance the capabilities of local rating organizations and securitization.

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Malaysian Business Club Will Visit New York

The Kuala Lumpur Business Club (KLBC), composed by 20 members, will spend four days in New York from May 1 to 4 to benefit country and members, especially the younger business leaders. The program includes three presentations with question-and-answer sessions, a luncheon round-table, and visits to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The Kuala Lumpur Business Club (KLBC), composed by 20 members, will spend four days in New York from May 1 to 4 to benefit country and members, especially the younger business leaders. The program includes three presentations with question-and-answer sessions, a luncheon round-table, and visits to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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New Asean Body to Reduce Agriculture Risks

Thailand would serve as the center of the Asean Rapid Alert System on Food (RASF) in order to reduce farm and market risks and trade regulations for agricultural goods to member countries' farmers by distributing information on crops, livestock and aquaculture.

Thailand would serve as the center of the Asean Rapid Alert System on Food (RASF) in order to reduce farm and market risks and trade regulations for agricultural goods to member countries' farmers by distributing information on crops, livestock and aquaculture.

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Malaysia's Shares Ended Lower

Due to heavyweights' sentiment on Wall Street's weak performance and without stimulating news to boost the market, the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index was influenced by profit-taking activities and lost 3.86 points to 1,317.50 at the close. One dealer thought the trading mood remained cautious and was also affected by the political tension in Nigeria, which has caused rising oil prices.

Due to heavyweights' sentiment on Wall Street's weak performance and without stimulating news to boost the market, the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index was influenced by profit-taking activities and lost 3.86 points to 1,317.50 at the close. One dealer thought the trading mood remained cautious and was also affected by the political tension in Nigeria, which has caused rising oil prices.

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Petronas Rebrands Service Stations in Thailand

Petronas, Malaysia's national oil and gas company, will rebrand its service stations and convenience stores in Thailand in order to improve customized service. Because Petronas is a long-term player in the very competitive Thai market, their plans are to increase the profit margin from both selling petrol and providing services.

Petronas, Malaysia's national oil and gas company, will rebrand its service stations and convenience stores in Thailand in order to improve customized service. Because Petronas is a long-term player in the very competitive Thai market, their plans are to increase the profit margin from both selling petrol and providing services.

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Malaysian Bank's Bond Offering is First to Comply With Islamic Principles

Maybank's recent bond offer drew $2.4 billion in orders. Maybank is Malaysia's biggest bank. Maybank's bond offer is Asia's first Islamic subordinated debt sale by a bank. Malaysia is positioning itself as a center for Islamic financial services in order to attract investors from the Middle East and compete with Persian Gulf states.

Maybank's recent bond offer drew $2.4 billion in orders. Maybank is Malaysia's biggest bank. Maybank's bond offer is Asia's first Islamic subordinated debt sale by a bank. Malaysia is positioning itself as a center for Islamic financial services in order to attract investors from the Middle East and compete with Persian Gulf states.

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BNM Will Revise Capital Frameworks to Protect Depositors

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will be issuing revised capital frameworks for the banking institutions and insures. This will promote more protection for stakeholders, especially depositors and policy holders.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will be issuing revised capital frameworks for the banking institutions and insures. This will promote more protection for stakeholders, especially depositors and policy holders.

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Malaysia's Initiative in Boosting Foreign Investment

Malaysia hopes to boost up foreign investment by presenting a more liberalized set of amendments to the Cabinet. New initiatives such as online systems are also being utilized with hopes of bringing economic efficiency in the corporate sector.

Malaysia hopes to boost up foreign investment by presenting a more liberalized set of amendments to the Cabinet. New initiatives such as online systems are also being utilized with hopes of bringing economic efficiency in the corporate sector.

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ASEAN Regional Financial System to be Established

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has published its plan to develop a regional financial system to "contribute to a prosperous and competitive ASEAN region". As ASEAN capital markets have tripled their size since 1997, the main goals of the yet to be established financial system include the harmonization of standards, rules and regulations; the mobilization of capital and savings for regional infrastructural development; the facilitation of greater capital flows within the region, and the participation of the private sector.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has published its plan to develop a regional financial system to "contribute to a prosperous and competitive ASEAN region". As ASEAN capital markets have tripled their size since 1997, the main goals of the yet to be established financial system include the harmonization of standards, rules and regulations; the mobilization of capital and savings for regional infrastructural development; the facilitation of greater capital flows within the region, and the participation of the private sector.

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New Oil Pipeline through Malaysia in 2010

To reduce the costs of oil transportation and to minimize the risk of pirates' attacks on oil tankers, the Malaysian government plans to build an oil pipeline through northern Malaysia. 70% of the costs for this bypass of the Strait of Malacca, notorious for armed raids, are estimated to be born by foreign investors.

To reduce the costs of oil transportation and to minimize the risk of pirates' attacks on oil tankers, the Malaysian government plans to build an oil pipeline through northern Malaysia. 70% of the costs for this bypass of the Strait of Malacca, notorious for armed raids, are estimated to be born by foreign investors.

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Singapore Sees 'New Relationship' with Malaysia

Malaysia's southern most state Johor is looking for investments from Singapore as well as other nations. The development of Johor would be "mutually beneficial" to both Malaysia and Singapore says Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Malaysia's southern most state Johor is looking for investments from Singapore as well as other nations. The development of Johor would be "mutually beneficial" to both Malaysia and Singapore says Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

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Third Day Rise for Asia Stocks -- Record Highs in China, South Korea and Indonesia Indexes

Asia stocks rose for a third day, with some indexes reaching record highs. Advances were seen in the technology, transportation and mining sectors.

Asia stocks rose for a third day, with some indexes reaching record highs. Advances were seen in the technology, transportation and mining sectors.

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malaysia

Malaysia Expects Record Palm Oil Output

A Malaysian official announced today that the country is expecting a record palm oil harvest and increasing prices in 2007. The country expects to produce 16.5 million tons of palm oil this year, up from 15.9 million tons in 2006. The prices of the commodity are also expected to rise as increased demand has been created by its popularity in foods and as an alternative fuel. Malaysia and Indonesia combine to produce 85% of the world's palm oil.

A Malaysian official announced today that the country is expecting a record palm oil harvest and increasing prices in 2007. The country expects to produce 16.5 million tons of palm oil this year, up from 15.9 million tons in 2006. The prices of the commodity are also expected to rise as increased demand has been created by its popularity in foods and as an alternative fuel. Malaysia and Indonesia combine to produce 85% of the world's palm oil.

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Emerging Stock Markets Surge Back

The MCSI index of emerging market stocks rose yesterday for the first time since tumbling 10% last week. Indices in China, Malaysia, and the Philippines rose 2.7%, 2.3%, and 3% respectively. The surges came on the heals of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announcing that global economic growth is 'solid.'

The MCSI index of emerging market stocks rose yesterday for the first time since tumbling 10% last week. Indices in China, Malaysia, and the Philippines rose 2.7%, 2.3%, and 3% respectively. The surges came on the heals of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announcing that global economic growth is 'solid.'

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Singapore Works with Malaysia and Indonesia

Foreign Minister George Yeo announced yesterday that Singapore will work to strengthen ties to both Indonesia and Malaysia. Among the plans for Malaysian cooperation is a planned Iskandar Development Region (IDR) and a consulate in Johor Baru. Singapore also plans to settle several ongoing issues, including an extradition treaty, with Indonesia. Minister Yeo emphasized that a strong and united ASEAN is needed to be an effective negotiator with major trading partners.

Foreign Minister George Yeo announced yesterday that Singapore will work to strengthen ties to both Indonesia and Malaysia. Among the plans for Malaysian cooperation is a planned Iskandar Development Region (IDR) and a consulate in Johor Baru. Singapore also plans to settle several ongoing issues, including an extradition treaty, with Indonesia. Minister Yeo emphasized that a strong and united ASEAN is needed to be an effective negotiator with major trading partners.

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APEC's Free Trade Area Woes

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Hanoi from November 17 to 19 resulted in renewed discussions on trade. APEC leaders drafted a statement on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda and the Hanoi Action Plan. The leaders agreed on the need to continue the stalled round of Doha trade negotiations. However, they refuse to empower negotiators to execute this goal until all members are better prepared for liberalization.

The longer APEC nations put off negotiating a multilateral agreement, the more difficulties they are likely to face. It will be considerably harder to catch up with developed nations and trade blocs such as the EU. APEC will also be losing potential profits. To prevent unequal economic gains, protection of smaller, vulnerable nations is necessary. However, all will lose if Asian economies continue to interact with one another as inefficiently as they currently do. If these nations are going to remain internationally competitive, they must consolidate economic power.

The slow pace of progress invites criticism. Is APEC really as inefficient as its detractors claim? APEC allows smaller nations to balance against stronger players such China and the US, while still cooperating with them for economic gain. With the kinds of obstacles that the leaders face, some wariness is justified. A free trade area only has potential if developing countries in APEC take necessary precautions. They must be strong enough to withstand fluctuations in international markets before they open their economies to free trade. Capacity-building measures and the flexibility for leaders in determining national trade policies will prevent an agreement from benefiting members unequally.

APEC nations should not delay too long, or they risk lagging behind economically. A free trade agreement between APEC nations would facilitate trade within the bloc and internationally. These countries already control nearly half the world's trade and 56 percent of global gross domestic product. WTO negotiations had come to a halt because of disagreement on subsidies. In Hanoi, the US and Japan did not complete unfinished discussions on reductions in agricultural subsidies. China and Australia also have yet to consider further tariff cuts on industrial goods. The conference, however, did open debate for the first time since Doha and concessions are likely to follow. The Hanoi Action Plan outlines details of a multinational agreement. The agreement will streamline the negotiation process and replace 50 bilateral treaties. It proposes that members institute measures which will prepare economies for trade liberalization. The Plan also identifies corruption as an obstacle to growth. The leaders also focused on energy security. Development of renewable technologies and cleaner use of fossil fuels are among the issues of concern. The difficulties in WTO negotiations have made leaders wary.

The chances for success may be higher for a regional trade area. The EU for instance has proved more successful, but APEC will face different challenges. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thinks that the EU trade bloc was easier to create because of greater political similarities between nations. APEC includes some of the world's richest and poorest countries. The disparity in economic backgrounds also makes it difficult to find common ground. The conference agenda included discussions of pandemic diseases such as AIDS and disaster response plans. Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet issued a statement on North Korea's nuclear arsenal. Some are critical of the meeting's success since no declaration was issued. APEC does provide a forum for world leaders to discuss pressing concerns, but international security is not the organization's primary focus. Those types of discussions would diffuse its main purpose which is to discuss economic development and trade.

APEC should begin negotiations much sooner than it plans. It can simultaneously help its smaller members strengthen their economies. The bloc could integrate weaker economies, seeking to strengthen vulnerable industries, at a slower pace. Other necessary measures include improving infrastructure and reforming laws. Meanwhile, nations can continue to sign bilateral or even smaller multilateral agreements. They can also provide aid to some of the lesser developing nations. APEC should also begin to develop enforcement procedures. As a trade bloc, the organization could later leverage its influence to more effectively address security and health issues.

 

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Indonesian and Malaysian Currencies Sag

The Indonesian rupiah and the Malaysian ringgit both declined significantly Thursday as fund managers trimmed back riskier investments in the wake of the stock plunge on Tuesday. The rupiah hit a 5-month low while the ringgit closed at its lowest this year. South Korea's won hit a low and then rebounded slightly for a net loss 0.3%.

The Indonesian rupiah and the Malaysian ringgit both declined significantly Thursday as fund managers trimmed back riskier investments in the wake of the stock plunge on Tuesday. The rupiah hit a 5-month low while the ringgit closed at its lowest this year. South Korea's won hit a low and then rebounded slightly for a net loss 0.3%.

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Asian Markets Fall Again After Rebound

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

Chinese stocks fell again after rebounding Wednesday from their biggest drop in a decade. Elsewhere, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand markets were all down. The Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia indices were up, with the Philippines' rise as the region's biggest gain of the day after seeing Asia's biggest drop Wednesday at 7.9 percent.

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Malaysia's Economy Remains Robust

Malaysia's economy remains strong and need not worry about the skid in the KL Composit Index, according to the country's second financial minister. No capital controls or other special measures are needed because of the stcok market dive on Wednesday. Elsewhere, China's stock market rebounded from yesterday's dip, while Wall Street opened at a higher note.

Malaysia's economy remains strong and need not worry about the skid in the KL Composit Index, according to the country's second financial minister. No capital controls or other special measures are needed because of the stcok market dive on Wednesday. Elsewhere, China's stock market rebounded from yesterday's dip, while Wall Street opened at a higher note.

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The State of Labor Migration in Southeast Asia

The migration of people to other countries in search of employment has occurred throughout history, and is by no means a new occurrence. This phenomenon has become especially prevalent in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines for instance, human resources is the main export. In year 2000, more than 1 million Filipinos left home to seek work abroad as sailors, maids, nurses, and in other low-paying jobs.1 More and more South-east Asians have become wandering workers, moving out of their countries to work for their better-off neighbors.

The Case of the Philippines

Many overseas workers eventually return to their home countries—but not before sending home substantial sums. In the case of the Philippines, remittances from abroad account for over 10% of its GDP, enough to compensate for the opportunity cost of having over 8 million of its best and brightest workers abroad. From January to November of 2006, remittances summed to $11.4 billion, up 18% from the same period during 2005.2 This does not include the wads of cash returning in workers' luggage. Although poverty and unemployment are still a source of serious concern in the Philippines and many other labor-exporting countries, their situation would be far worse if the outflow of bodies and immense inflow of capital did not occur.

Labor Migration in South East Asia

Out of the ten ASEAN countries, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia export labor while Singapore and Brunei import it. The UN's International Labor Organization believes that the total labor force of the worker exporting countries should grow by about a third within the next ten years. However, labor migration, both legal and illegal, is growing twice as fast. A 2005 study estimated that over 8.4 million Southeast Asians worked outside their home country.3 This figure fails to include the large number of illegal and undocumented workers. To combat the growing problem of illegal and undocumented workers, the leaders of ASEAN met on January 13th and signed an agreement to aid and regulate migrant workers. Although the agreement is full of loopholes, it is a first step for governments to guarantee workers' rights and welfare services.4

Negative Reception by the Locals

Labor-importing nations are terrified that attempts to improve immigrant circumstances will only encourage more masses to enter their countries. Competition for jobs is creating a negative response to the establishment of welfare structures for immigrant workers in these nations. Malaysians believe that foreign workers have worsened crime rates. Additionally, over 59% of Thais believe that their government should stop admitting foreign workers, and even in Singapore, over half of the population opposes more foreign workers.5

Conclusion

Opinions might change if the public receives a more balanced picture of the pros and cons of importing labor to do the jobs that none of the locals would ever consider taking. Locals need to realize that their economies are dependent on the foreign workers for stability. These large migrations should not be thought of as a transient or temporary phenomenon. Labor receiving countries should attempt to formulate a suitable migration policy based on longer run considerations of their labor market needs and the basic human rights of migrant workers rather than ad hoc decisions. Incentives and taxes may be levied on enterprises to discourage the perpetuation of unproductive non-competitive industries based on cheap unskilled foreign workers. At the same time, migrant-exporting countries should attempt to reduce undue dependence on overseas employment through efforts to reduce labor-outflow pressure at home. It is a delicate balance that Southeast Asia has yet to strike.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

The migration of people to other countries in search of employment has occurred throughout history, and is by no means a new occurrence. This phenomenon has become especially prevalent in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines for instance, human resources is the main export. In year 2000, more than 1 million Filipinos left home to seek work abroad as sailors, maids, nurses, and in other low-paying jobs.1 More and more South-east Asians have become wandering workers, moving out of their countries to work for their better-off neighbors.

The Case of the Philippines

Many overseas workers eventually return to their home countries—but not before sending home substantial sums. In the case of the Philippines, remittances from abroad account for over 10% of its GDP, enough to compensate for the opportunity cost of having over 8 million of its best and brightest workers abroad. From January to November of 2006, remittances summed to $11.4 billion, up 18% from the same period during 2005.2 This does not include the wads of cash returning in workers' luggage. Although poverty and unemployment are still a source of serious concern in the Philippines and many other labor-exporting countries, their situation would be far worse if the outflow of bodies and immense inflow of capital did not occur.

Labor Migration in South East Asia

Out of the ten ASEAN countries, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia export labor while Singapore and Brunei import it. The UN's International Labor Organization believes that the total labor force of the worker exporting countries should grow by about a third within the next ten years. However, labor migration, both legal and illegal, is growing twice as fast. A 2005 study estimated that over 8.4 million Southeast Asians worked outside their home country.3 This figure fails to include the large number of illegal and undocumented workers. To combat the growing problem of illegal and undocumented workers, the leaders of ASEAN met on January 13th and signed an agreement to aid and regulate migrant workers. Although the agreement is full of loopholes, it is a first step for governments to guarantee workers' rights and welfare services.4

Negative Reception by the Locals

Labor-importing nations are terrified that attempts to improve immigrant circumstances will only encourage more masses to enter their countries. Competition for jobs is creating a negative response to the establishment of welfare structures for immigrant workers in these nations. Malaysians believe that foreign workers have worsened crime rates. Additionally, over 59% of Thais believe that their government should stop admitting foreign workers, and even in Singapore, over half of the population opposes more foreign workers.5

Conclusion

Opinions might change if the public receives a more balanced picture of the pros and cons of importing labor to do the jobs that none of the locals would ever consider taking. Locals need to realize that their economies are dependent on the foreign workers for stability. These large migrations should not be thought of as a transient or temporary phenomenon. Labor receiving countries should attempt to formulate a suitable migration policy based on longer run considerations of their labor market needs and the basic human rights of migrant workers rather than ad hoc decisions. Incentives and taxes may be levied on enterprises to discourage the perpetuation of unproductive non-competitive industries based on cheap unskilled foreign workers. At the same time, migrant-exporting countries should attempt to reduce undue dependence on overseas employment through efforts to reduce labor-outflow pressure at home. It is a delicate balance that Southeast Asia has yet to strike.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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The Asian Stock Markets: Boom or Bust?

The year 2006 for the Asian stock markets saw unprecedented gains of the kind rarely witnessed. The stock markets of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam hit record highs while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also posted muted though respectable gains. With this state of affairs, it was perhaps unsurprising that global investors flocked to the Asian markets just hoping to reap some of the big rewards. However, some people feel that the amazing growth of these stock markets needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of caution since the nightmarish memories of the 1997-meltdown in the region's equity markets just refuse to die out. This has raised a few doubts among analysts studying the region and has prompted many to be skeptical about the potential growth prospects of these markets in the future.

A Year of Skyrocketing Growth

During the last few years, many stock markets in Asia have been rising rapidly. In China, during 2006, stocks in the home market sizzled, at long last reflecting the country's gathering economic might after years of paltry returns. The MSCI China A, an index of domestically listed stocks, soared 128 percent.1 The scenario was also quite rosy in India when the Bombay stock exchange rocketed another 46.7 percent in 2006.2 Elsewhere in the region, markets bolted ahead on sound economic fundamentals, with markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore returning 55.3 percent, 42.3 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively.3 Even the so-called stragglers, Taiwan and Malaysia, clocked returns of 19.5 percent and 21.8 percent in 2006, a reflection of just how turbo-charged the growth trend has been. The only disappointments were South Korea which rose by a modest 4 percent last year and Japan, which, contrary to expectations, managed to end the year up only 6.9 percent. This is creditable given that these enormous returns occurred despite a plunge in the region's stock markets during May and June, when foreign investors were spooked by the prospect of rising interest rates and fled riskier assets.4 With massive investor confidence and a huge amount of global liquidity, it is no wonder that there has been a mad rush by global investors to invest in the region.

Factors Driving the Growth

Many changes have transformed the domestic economies of the Asian region radically over the last decade. Many market watchers believe that these emerging economies are on a much surer financial footing than in the past. Many have pared their deficits, increased their reserves and reduced their dependence on exports to the US, thereby decreasing their vulnerability to a potential US economic slowdown.5 Some investors believe that these countries are finally beginning to decouple from the US economy either by trading more among themselves or relying more on local consumer demand.6 Skeptics discount this hypothesis and consider it too early to draw conclusions. A slow US economy could still trigger a region-wide recession in the near future.

Impediments to Sustainable Growth

Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Asian economies and their booming stock markets, the future growth outlook for these economies is strangely benign. Experts believe that even though Asia is presently more resilient to a US slowdown than in the past, a drastic slowdown to the US economy might seriously upset the status quo. Currently, investor sentiment remains strong as evidenced by several positive factors like lower international oil prices and a recovery staged by Wall Street after the mid-year slump in 2006. However, financial markets might feel the impact if institutional investors in the US and Europe become more risk-averse, or if the global liquidity that has been funding portfolio investment in Asia dries up.7 The region is still highly export-dependent and vulnerable to developments in the US. In fact, many of the goods traded within Asia are still used as inputs for products that are ultimately sold to the US and other OECD economies.8 These emerging economies are currently characterized by weak inflation levels, strong growth, solvent governments and a lesser degree of dependence on foreign money to finance their investment requirements.9 Although the domestic economies in Asia seem to be in impressive shape, they remain vulnerable to disruption if investment-positive factors begin to wane. Potential investors should exercise a significant degree of caution and restraint while deciding whether or not to invest their money in Asia's growing bourses.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

The year 2006 for the Asian stock markets saw unprecedented gains of the kind rarely witnessed. The stock markets of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam hit record highs while Japan, South Korea and Taiwan also posted muted though respectable gains. With this state of affairs, it was perhaps unsurprising that global investors flocked to the Asian markets just hoping to reap some of the big rewards. However, some people feel that the amazing growth of these stock markets needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of caution since the nightmarish memories of the 1997-meltdown in the region's equity markets just refuse to die out. This has raised a few doubts among analysts studying the region and has prompted many to be skeptical about the potential growth prospects of these markets in the future.

A Year of Skyrocketing Growth

During the last few years, many stock markets in Asia have been rising rapidly. In China, during 2006, stocks in the home market sizzled, at long last reflecting the country's gathering economic might after years of paltry returns. The MSCI China A, an index of domestically listed stocks, soared 128 percent.1 The scenario was also quite rosy in India when the Bombay stock exchange rocketed another 46.7 percent in 2006.2 Elsewhere in the region, markets bolted ahead on sound economic fundamentals, with markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore returning 55.3 percent, 42.3 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively.3 Even the so-called stragglers, Taiwan and Malaysia, clocked returns of 19.5 percent and 21.8 percent in 2006, a reflection of just how turbo-charged the growth trend has been. The only disappointments were South Korea which rose by a modest 4 percent last year and Japan, which, contrary to expectations, managed to end the year up only 6.9 percent. This is creditable given that these enormous returns occurred despite a plunge in the region's stock markets during May and June, when foreign investors were spooked by the prospect of rising interest rates and fled riskier assets.4 With massive investor confidence and a huge amount of global liquidity, it is no wonder that there has been a mad rush by global investors to invest in the region.

Factors Driving the Growth

Many changes have transformed the domestic economies of the Asian region radically over the last decade. Many market watchers believe that these emerging economies are on a much surer financial footing than in the past. Many have pared their deficits, increased their reserves and reduced their dependence on exports to the US, thereby decreasing their vulnerability to a potential US economic slowdown.5 Some investors believe that these countries are finally beginning to decouple from the US economy either by trading more among themselves or relying more on local consumer demand.6 Skeptics discount this hypothesis and consider it too early to draw conclusions. A slow US economy could still trigger a region-wide recession in the near future.

Impediments to Sustainable Growth

Despite all the hype and hoopla surrounding the Asian economies and their booming stock markets, the future growth outlook for these economies is strangely benign. Experts believe that even though Asia is presently more resilient to a US slowdown than in the past, a drastic slowdown to the US economy might seriously upset the status quo. Currently, investor sentiment remains strong as evidenced by several positive factors like lower international oil prices and a recovery staged by Wall Street after the mid-year slump in 2006. However, financial markets might feel the impact if institutional investors in the US and Europe become more risk-averse, or if the global liquidity that has been funding portfolio investment in Asia dries up.7 The region is still highly export-dependent and vulnerable to developments in the US. In fact, many of the goods traded within Asia are still used as inputs for products that are ultimately sold to the US and other OECD economies.8 These emerging economies are currently characterized by weak inflation levels, strong growth, solvent governments and a lesser degree of dependence on foreign money to finance their investment requirements.9 Although the domestic economies in Asia seem to be in impressive shape, they remain vulnerable to disruption if investment-positive factors begin to wane. Potential investors should exercise a significant degree of caution and restraint while deciding whether or not to invest their money in Asia's growing bourses.

 

This article was originally published in Asia Economic Institute Vol. 1 No. 5.

 

Tell us what you think about this issue by adding a comment.

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malaysia

Malaysian Currency Could be Traded

Central Bank Chief Zeti Akhtar Aziz announced yesterday that Malaysia's currency, the ringgit, may be traded offshore in the future. Offshore trade has been banned since 1998 to avoid trouble associated with the Asian financial crisis. An internationally traded ringgit could serve to make Malaysia's financial markets more efficient though the country is cautious to avoid speculative cash inflows.

Central Bank Chief Zeti Akhtar Aziz announced yesterday that Malaysia's currency, the ringgit, may be traded offshore in the future. Offshore trade has been banned since 1998 to avoid trouble associated with the Asian financial crisis. An internationally traded ringgit could serve to make Malaysia's financial markets more efficient though the country is cautious to avoid speculative cash inflows.

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Trade Between China and Malaysia Up

Malaysia's trade with China rose 20.8% last year due to the electrical and electronic componenets industry. There was also growing imports of palm oil by Malaysia, which has a trade surplus of $10 billion. Malaysia is China's biggest import source among Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and its eighth-biggest trading partner. The future looks bright for both countries as they continue to utilize their bilateral trade and further develop their economic status in the world.

Malaysia's trade with China rose 20.8% last year due to the electrical and electronic componenets industry. There was also growing imports of palm oil by Malaysia, which has a trade surplus of $10 billion. Malaysia is China's biggest import source among Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and its eighth-biggest trading partner. The future looks bright for both countries as they continue to utilize their bilateral trade and further develop their economic status in the world.

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Asian Markets Close with Mixed Results

Asian stock markets closed with mixed results Friday. Japanese shares fell after a five-session winning streak. Thailand's shares suffered the same fate, slipping 0.8 percent. The Philippines' shares also declined as investors cashed in gains during the last two sessions. The big winners were Malaysia, where stocks surged to the highest mark this year and Hong Kong, with shares edging up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Asian stock markets closed with mixed results Friday. Japanese shares fell after a five-session winning streak. Thailand's shares suffered the same fate, slipping 0.8 percent. The Philippines' shares also declined as investors cashed in gains during the last two sessions. The big winners were Malaysia, where stocks surged to the highest mark this year and Hong Kong, with shares edging up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

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Malaysia, Ghana Sign Infrastructure Dev't Memo

Malaysia and Ghana signed a memorandum of understanding on infrastructure development. This pact paved the way for more construction jobs for Malaysian workers in the African region. The other countries in which Malaysia has participated in infrastructure development agreements include India, Pakistan, Libya, Middle East countries, Bosnia Herzegovina, and other African countries.

Malaysia and Ghana signed a memorandum of understanding on infrastructure development. This pact paved the way for more construction jobs for Malaysian workers in the African region. The other countries in which Malaysia has participated in infrastructure development agreements include India, Pakistan, Libya, Middle East countries, Bosnia Herzegovina, and other African countries.

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Malaysia Working To Attain Greater Transparency

Prime Minister Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok of Malaysia stated in a World Ethics and Transparency Forum that the government had identified institutional infrastructures and the eradication of corruption as key strategies in attaining greater transparency. The minister also mentioned that the country is acknowledging the fact the they need to better themselves in order to achieve greater transparency.The nation is currently ranked 44th of 163 countries surveyed on the Transparency International's 2006 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

Prime Minister Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok of Malaysia stated in a World Ethics and Transparency Forum that the government had identified institutional infrastructures and the eradication of corruption as key strategies in attaining greater transparency. The minister also mentioned that the country is acknowledging the fact the they need to better themselves in order to achieve greater transparency.The nation is currently ranked 44th of 163 countries surveyed on the Transparency International's 2006 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

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Thailand, Malaysia hope to Improve Border Security, Economic Cooperation

Thai PM Surayud Chulanont met with Malaysian PM Abdullah Ahmed Badawi to Discuss the 3-year-old seperatist conflict along the border between southern Thailand and Malaysia. "A peaceful and secure environment is crucial to the economic development and prosperity for these areas," Surayud told reporters. Both Leaders expressed desire to improve conditions, though no concrete plans were made.

Thai PM Surayud Chulanont met with Malaysian PM Abdullah Ahmed Badawi to Discuss the 3-year-old seperatist conflict along the border between southern Thailand and Malaysia. "A peaceful and secure environment is crucial to the economic development and prosperity for these areas," Surayud told reporters. Both Leaders expressed desire to improve conditions, though no concrete plans were made.

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The Rise of Organized Crime in Asia

ORGANIZED CRIME presents a challenge to sustained economic growth for many Asian countries. Cargo theft, piracy, counterfeit currency, and corruption have become more prevalent as the region has developed and become more connected to the global economy. The failure of host governments to curb organized crime has eroded the profitability of investment in the region and seems to have discouraged prospective trade partners. In addition to the economic loss, these elements pose a broader threat as gang revenue has been used to fund terrorist groups and other non-state actors. Given these threats, the business community and host governments must collaborate to address the rise in organized crime.

Types of criminal activity vary widely . Cargo theft has been among the most common. Cargo holds are often poorly secured, and cargo containers poorly sealed. For gangs, cargo theft has proven to be less costly than the drug trade and so offers higher returns. Many former drug smugglers and established gangs have shifted their focus to ports where they siphon off cargo. Sea piracy has been another concern. In fact, Asia has the highest piracy rate worldwide. According to the International Maritime Organization, there were 266 reported cases of piracy in 2005. Southeast Asia accounted for 117 cases.1 Counterfeit currency has recently become another problem. In March 2006, the Chinese government announced an influx of counterfeit American $100 bills. The fake currency was presumably made in North Korea to be sold to Chinese and Taiwanese gangs. North Korea earns approximately $15 to $25 million each year from counterfeit currency.2

Roots of Organized Crime
There are several factors behind the growth of crime syndicates in Asia. Generally speaking, global commerce and the reduction of the state sector have presented an opportunity for criminal elements. Gangs have benefited from the deregulation of the economy. They have often stepped up activity to fill the gap left by a government scale-back.3 Furthermore, e-commerce can not yet be effectively regulated, and the reliance on the Internet as a means of growth poses problems. Gangs have used electronic communications to establish transnational ties, and the current lack of Internet oversight allows these groups to compromise the security of online transactions of legitimate businesses. Many groups have successfully hacked bank systems and online government records.4

Another component which is more specific to Asia concerns the role of labor shortages. The acute need for labor has affected the quality of the Asian workforce. To take the case of Malaysia, the need for manufacturing labor has led companies to employ foreign workers. Up to 75 percent of a factory workforce can be foreign-born.5 Many argue the prevalence of non-native workers has helped erode the quality of the regional workforce. Background checks are extremely lax, and many workers have ties to criminal gangs or come from regions hostile to American and Western business interests.

The linkage between organized crime, host governments, and legitimate businesses are also an important factor. Corruption has become common throughout the region and threatens long-term development. Organized crime has thrived in part because it can operate alongside a legitimate business. Crime exploits, rather than disrupts, a legitimate business.6 Gangs have established extensive contacts with government officials and private business and have integrated themselves with the broader economy. Gang-controlled front businesses have become more common, and many legal groups have acquiesced to gang demands. The longer gangs can operate in such a manner, the harder it will be for governments to disentangle organized crimes from legitimate businesses.

Assessing Threats
There is significant debate as to which country constitutes the greatest threat to the business community. Malaysia and Indonesia were traditionally seen as among the most severe threats. The Malaysian Mamuk gang has been the bane of the Malaysian transport system and has siphoned cargo away from legitimate businesses for over twenty years.7 China has usually been seen as comparatively crime-free and uncorrupt. However, some now argue that the extensive links between the government and Chinese Triads make China the number one threat to foreign businesses.8 Moreover, there seems to be no consensus over which type of criminal activity is most prevalent or most threatening. Asian officials are more likely to see gambling and extortion as more threatening than corruption or human smuggling.

The effects of crime on legitimate business are well documented.-studied. The United States are primarily concerned with the piracy of intellectual property . Many organized crime groups work exclusively with pirated materials. Piracy has undercut profit for players throughout the globe, making investment in the region less likely. Cargo theft and extortion have a similar deterrent effect.
A more general concern has to do with the infiltration of organized crime to legitimate sectors. Most criminal groups want to be seen as legitimate. They foster relationships with government officials and local businesses. The result is corrupt operating environment that is biased against foreign businesses and consumers.

There are several measures companies can take to counteract the effects of organized crime. Risk management firm FirstAdvantage recently conducted a multiyear study to assess the risks of operating in less developed countries.9 The study found the majority of businesses do not take adequate safeguards. Employees are not sufficiently screened hence many workers have maintained contacts to gangs. Many businesses rely on third parties for the storage of inventory, and the use of external groups can expose cargo to gang elements. The study also found many companies often misallocate security spending. Businesses have employed a cookie-cutter approach to security that does not account for differences in criminal activity.

The FirstAdvantage study offers suggestions for those companies that operate in less developed regions. Suggested measures include constant vigilance, extensive employee training to recognize security threats, and a holistic view toward security. FirstAdvantage recommends companies evaluate port security throughout the supply chain. They should become familiar with common gang tactics used during cargo heists. There are several private sector efforts to address the threats of organized crime. The Technology Asset Protection Association includes over 200 multinational corporations and mandates transportation security requirements. TAPA requirements have helped reduce losses through theft by up to 40 percent.10 These ventures help minimize the effects of organized crimes on businesses. But in the long-term, the actions of regional governments will be more important than measures taken by the private sector.

Asian organized crimes remain mostly a regional problem. Regional cooperation at the government level therefore appears to be the most effective defense against organized crimes. Right now, local law enforcement groups have been more focused on traditional criminal activities like prostitution and violence than they are on transnational crimes. But, there have been encouraging first steps towards regional cooperation. Last November, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, and eight other countries signed a treaty to cooperate on anti-piracy measures. The Japanese Coast Guard has agreed to step up patrols, especially in the Malacca Straits, and the Japanese government has pledged to help lead regional efforts against organized crime.11

The private sector should encourage these regulatory measures and pressure governments to take more aggressive stands against organized crimes and corruption. At the government level, the United States and other countries should be more forthcoming toward Asian law enforcement groups, helping them develop effective countermeasures against organized crime. Asian local law enforcement spokesmen have complained that the United States and Western governments do not offer sufficient investment or treat Asian counterparts as equals. Without global cooperation throughout public and private sectors, organized crime will continue to expand.

ORGANIZED CRIME presents a challenge to sustained economic growth for many Asian countries. Cargo theft, piracy, counterfeit currency, and corruption have become more prevalent as the region has developed and become more connected to the global economy. The failure of host governments to curb organized crime has eroded the profitability of investment in the region and seems to have discouraged prospective trade partners. In addition to the economic loss, these elements pose a broader threat as gang revenue has been used to fund terrorist groups and other non-state actors. Given these threats, the business community and host governments must collaborate to address the rise in organized crime.

Types of criminal activity vary widely . Cargo theft has been among the most common. Cargo holds are often poorly secured, and cargo containers poorly sealed. For gangs, cargo theft has proven to be less costly than the drug trade and so offers higher returns. Many former drug smugglers and established gangs have shifted their focus to ports where they siphon off cargo. Sea piracy has been another concern. In fact, Asia has the highest piracy rate worldwide. According to the International Maritime Organization, there were 266 reported cases of piracy in 2005. Southeast Asia accounted for 117 cases.1 Counterfeit currency has recently become another problem. In March 2006, the Chinese government announced an influx of counterfeit American $100 bills. The fake currency was presumably made in North Korea to be sold to Chinese and Taiwanese gangs. North Korea earns approximately $15 to $25 million each year from counterfeit currency.2

Roots of Organized Crime
There are several factors behind the growth of crime syndicates in Asia. Generally speaking, global commerce and the reduction of the state sector have presented an opportunity for criminal elements. Gangs have benefited from the deregulation of the economy. They have often stepped up activity to fill the gap left by a government scale-back.3 Furthermore, e-commerce can not yet be effectively regulated, and the reliance on the Internet as a means of growth poses problems. Gangs have used electronic communications to establish transnational ties, and the current lack of Internet oversight allows these groups to compromise the security of online transactions of legitimate businesses. Many groups have successfully hacked bank systems and online government records.4

Another component which is more specific to Asia concerns the role of labor shortages. The acute need for labor has affected the quality of the Asian workforce. To take the case of Malaysia, the need for manufacturing labor has led companies to employ foreign workers. Up to 75 percent of a factory workforce can be foreign-born.5 Many argue the prevalence of non-native workers has helped erode the quality of the regional workforce. Background checks are extremely lax, and many workers have ties to criminal gangs or come from regions hostile to American and Western business interests.

The linkage between organized crime, host governments, and legitimate businesses are also an important factor. Corruption has become common throughout the region and threatens long-term development. Organized crime has thrived in part because it can operate alongside a legitimate business. Crime exploits, rather than disrupts, a legitimate business.6 Gangs have established extensive contacts with government officials and private business and have integrated themselves with the broader economy. Gang-controlled front businesses have become more common, and many legal groups have acquiesced to gang demands. The longer gangs can operate in such a manner, the harder it will be for governments to disentangle organized crimes from legitimate businesses.

Assessing Threats
There is significant debate as to which country constitutes the greatest threat to the business community. Malaysia and Indonesia were traditionally seen as among the most severe threats. The Malaysian Mamuk gang has been the bane of the Malaysian transport system and has siphoned cargo away from legitimate businesses for over twenty years.7 China has usually been seen as comparatively crime-free and uncorrupt. However, some now argue that the extensive links between the government and Chinese Triads make China the number one threat to foreign businesses.8 Moreover, there seems to be no consensus over which type of criminal activity is most prevalent or most threatening. Asian officials are more likely to see gambling and extortion as more threatening than corruption or human smuggling.

The effects of crime on legitimate business are well documented.-studied. The United States are primarily concerned with the piracy of intellectual property . Many organized crime groups work exclusively with pirated materials. Piracy has undercut profit for players throughout the globe, making investment in the region less likely. Cargo theft and extortion have a similar deterrent effect.
A more general concern has to do with the infiltration of organized crime to legitimate sectors. Most criminal groups want to be seen as legitimate. They foster relationships with government officials and local businesses. The result is corrupt operating environment that is biased against foreign businesses and consumers.

There are several measures companies can take to counteract the effects of organized crime. Risk management firm FirstAdvantage recently conducted a multiyear study to assess the risks of operating in less developed countries.9 The study found the majority of businesses do not take adequate safeguards. Employees are not sufficiently screened hence many workers have maintained contacts to gangs. Many businesses rely on third parties for the storage of inventory, and the use of external groups can expose cargo to gang elements. The study also found many companies often misallocate security spending. Businesses have employed a cookie-cutter approach to security that does not account for differences in criminal activity.

The FirstAdvantage study offers suggestions for those companies that operate in less developed regions. Suggested measures include constant vigilance, extensive employee training to recognize security threats, and a holistic view toward security. FirstAdvantage recommends companies evaluate port security throughout the supply chain. They should become familiar with common gang tactics used during cargo heists. There are several private sector efforts to address the threats of organized crime. The Technology Asset Protection Association includes over 200 multinational corporations and mandates transportation security requirements. TAPA requirements have helped reduce losses through theft by up to 40 percent.10 These ventures help minimize the effects of organized crimes on businesses. But in the long-term, the actions of regional governments will be more important than measures taken by the private sector.

Asian organized crimes remain mostly a regional problem. Regional cooperation at the government level therefore appears to be the most effective defense against organized crimes. Right now, local law enforcement groups have been more focused on traditional criminal activities like prostitution and violence than they are on transnational crimes. But, there have been encouraging first steps towards regional cooperation. Last November, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, and eight other countries signed a treaty to cooperate on anti-piracy measures. The Japanese Coast Guard has agreed to step up patrols, especially in the Malacca Straits, and the Japanese government has pledged to help lead regional efforts against organized crime.11

The private sector should encourage these regulatory measures and pressure governments to take more aggressive stands against organized crimes and corruption. At the government level, the United States and other countries should be more forthcoming toward Asian law enforcement groups, helping them develop effective countermeasures against organized crime. Asian local law enforcement spokesmen have complained that the United States and Western governments do not offer sufficient investment or treat Asian counterparts as equals. Without global cooperation throughout public and private sectors, organized crime will continue to expand.

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malaysia

Malaysia Now in the League of Top Exporting Countries

Malaysia's strong growth in exports has placed the country in the league of top exporting nations such as Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands. The country's total trade hit RM1.069 trillion last year and exports grew 10.3 percent which resulted to a trade surplus for the ninth consecutive year. The nation's top exporting destinations are the United States, Singapore, Japan and China.

Malaysia's strong growth in exports has placed the country in the league of top exporting nations such as Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands. The country's total trade hit RM1.069 trillion last year and exports grew 10.3 percent which resulted to a trade surplus for the ninth consecutive year. The nation's top exporting destinations are the United States, Singapore, Japan and China.

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malaysia

Free Trade Agreement Between US and Malaysia Pressed Ahead

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab has said that the US and Malaysia are pushing to complete the proposed free trade agreement by the end of March. Earlier, Schwab had raised concern over Malaysia's energy deal with Iran, which increased tension between the US and Malaysia. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, had urged Schwab to suspend talks on the pact. Malaysia's Trade Ministry has stated that the country is willing to continue with the talks, but wants the US to make their stand known.

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab has said that the US and Malaysia are pushing to complete the proposed free trade agreement by the end of March. Earlier, Schwab had raised concern over Malaysia's energy deal with Iran, which increased tension between the US and Malaysia. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, had urged Schwab to suspend talks on the pact. Malaysia's Trade Ministry has stated that the country is willing to continue with the talks, but wants the US to make their stand known.

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malaysia

Emerging Asia’s Growth and Integration - How Autonomous are Business Cycles?

Against the background of the rapid integration of emerging Asia into the global economy, this paper investigates the role of domestic and external factors in driving individual emerging economies in Asia. We estimate VAR models for ten countries over the period 1979Q1-2003Q4, controlling for external factors, and use sign restrictions to identify structural domestic shocks. Variance decompositions indicate that Asian emerging economies are to a large part driven by external developments, and even more so employing a more recent sample. We analyse to what extent structural domestic shocks exhibit a regional dimension by comparing shocks across countries using correlation and principal component analysis. The extent of regional co-movement between structural shocks is relatively limited. While the principal components analysis indicates a moderate increase in co-movement over time, the correlation analysis finds a decline. This may reflect a broadening of regional integration at the expense of bilateral economic ties.

Against the background of the rapid integration of emerging Asia into the global economy, this paper investigates the role of domestic and external factors in driving individual emerging economies in Asia. We estimate VAR models for ten countries over the period 1979Q1-2003Q4, controlling for external factors, and use sign restrictions to identify structural domestic shocks. Variance decompositions indicate that Asian emerging economies are to a large part driven by external developments, and even more so employing a more recent sample. We analyse to what extent structural domestic shocks exhibit a regional dimension by comparing shocks across countries using correlation and principal component analysis. The extent of regional co-movement between structural shocks is relatively limited. While the principal components analysis indicates a moderate increase in co-movement over time, the correlation analysis finds a decline. This may reflect a broadening of regional integration at the expense of bilateral economic ties.

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malaysia

Exchange Rate Pass-Through in ASEAN: Implications for the Prospects of Monetary Integration in the Region

This paper investigates, for the first time, the degree of exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices in all five founding members of ASEAN. For this purpose, a three variable recursive VAR model was applied which uses the Choleski decomposition method along the distribution chain of pricing, using data for the period 1968 to 2001. The results show that a strong case for entering a currency union can only be made for the cases of Singapore and Malaysia as in these countries there appears to be a case of exchange rate disconnect. A case for a common currency can also be made for Indonesia but for entirely different reasons. For this country, an independent monetary policy is a clear source of shocks to the economy and therefore a currency union would tend to eliminate then. A weaker case for a common currency can be made for the Philippines as evidence of some exchange rate pass-through to inflation was found but not to import prices. Finally, Thailand exhibits a clear case of exchange rate pass-through to import prices (but not to inflation) and thus evidence that a flexible exchange rate might be preferable as it provides the means to improve the country's price competitiveness.

This paper investigates, for the first time, the degree of exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices in all five founding members of ASEAN. For this purpose, a three variable recursive VAR model was applied which uses the Choleski decomposition method along the distribution chain of pricing, using data for the period 1968 to 2001. The results show that a strong case for entering a currency union can only be made for the cases of Singapore and Malaysia as in these countries there appears to be a case of exchange rate disconnect. A case for a common currency can also be made for Indonesia but for entirely different reasons. For this country, an independent monetary policy is a clear source of shocks to the economy and therefore a currency union would tend to eliminate then. A weaker case for a common currency can be made for the Philippines as evidence of some exchange rate pass-through to inflation was found but not to import prices. Finally, Thailand exhibits a clear case of exchange rate pass-through to import prices (but not to inflation) and thus evidence that a flexible exchange rate might be preferable as it provides the means to improve the country's price competitiveness.

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malaysia

Currency Futures Volatility During the 1997 East Asian Crisis: An Application of Fourier Analysis

We analyze a recently proposed method to estimate volatility and correlation when prices are observed at a high frequency rate. The method is based on Fourier analysis and does not require any data manipulation, leading to more robust estimates than the traditional methodologies proposed so far. In the first part of the paper, we evaluate the performance of the Fourier algorithm to reconstruct the time volatility of simulated univariate and bivariate models. In the second part, the Fourier method is used to investigate the volatility and correlation dynamics of futures markets over the Asian crisis period, with the purpose of detecting possible interdependencies and volatility transmissions across countries amid a period of financial turmoil.

We analyze a recently proposed method to estimate volatility and correlation when prices are observed at a high frequency rate. The method is based on Fourier analysis and does not require any data manipulation, leading to more robust estimates than the traditional methodologies proposed so far. In the first part of the paper, we evaluate the performance of the Fourier algorithm to reconstruct the time volatility of simulated univariate and bivariate models. In the second part, the Fourier method is used to investigate the volatility and correlation dynamics of futures markets over the Asian crisis period, with the purpose of detecting possible interdependencies and volatility transmissions across countries amid a period of financial turmoil.

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malaysia

Progress toward a Common Currency Basket System in East Asia

Ogawa and Shimizu (2005, 2006a) have proposed a possible way to create an Asian Monetary Unit (AMU) as a weighted average of the thirteen East Asian currencies (ASEAN + China, Japan, and Korea) and developed AMU Deviation Indicators for a surveillance process under the Chiang Mai Initiative. Both the AMU and the AMU Deviation Indicators are important in helping the countries in the region to recognize the necessity of moving toward a common currency basket system. However, there remains an open question about how to implement this system in East Asian countries. The purpose of this paper is to compile the latest issues of currency basket itself and to develop concrete steps toward a common currency basket system in East Asia. Particularly, we simulate possible individual currency basket weights based on trade shares of each East Asian country and convert them to G3 currency (the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen) basket weights. We also investigate the discrepancies between the converted G3 currency basket weight of the AMU and the weights of the common G3 currency basket, which is to illustrate the reality of implementing a common currency basket system. We propose a possible way to shift from an individual G3 currency basket system to the AMU currency basket system. In this process, we expect that the Japanese yen would play a varying role at each stage toward monetary coordination in East Asia.

Ogawa and Shimizu (2005, 2006a) have proposed a possible way to create an Asian Monetary Unit (AMU) as a weighted average of the thirteen East Asian currencies (ASEAN + China, Japan, and Korea) and developed AMU Deviation Indicators for a surveillance process under the Chiang Mai Initiative. Both the AMU and the AMU Deviation Indicators are important in helping the countries in the region to recognize the necessity of moving toward a common currency basket system. However, there remains an open question about how to implement this system in East Asian countries. The purpose of this paper is to compile the latest issues of currency basket itself and to develop concrete steps toward a common currency basket system in East Asia. Particularly, we simulate possible individual currency basket weights based on trade shares of each East Asian country and convert them to G3 currency (the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen) basket weights. We also investigate the discrepancies between the converted G3 currency basket weight of the AMU and the weights of the common G3 currency basket, which is to illustrate the reality of implementing a common currency basket system. We propose a possible way to shift from an individual G3 currency basket system to the AMU currency basket system. In this process, we expect that the Japanese yen would play a varying role at each stage toward monetary coordination in East Asia.

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malaysia

Japanese FDI into Malaysia Stages Strong Comeback

Japanese foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Malaysia staged a strong comeback during the second half of 2006, following the Japanese-Malaysia Economic Partnership Agreement (JMEPA), a Free Trade Agreement which took effect in July. FDIs between July and October jumped to 203 billion yen (RM58.5 billion), five times more than the six months of investments in the previous year. Currently, Japan is Malaysia's third-largest trading partner and export market, with trade totaling RM112.9 billion in 2005.

Japanese foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Malaysia staged a strong comeback during the second half of 2006, following the Japanese-Malaysia Economic Partnership Agreement (JMEPA), a Free Trade Agreement which took effect in July. FDIs between July and October jumped to 203 billion yen (RM58.5 billion), five times more than the six months of investments in the previous year. Currently, Japan is Malaysia's third-largest trading partner and export market, with trade totaling RM112.9 billion in 2005.

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malaysia

Malaysia Not Concerned With Foreign Fund Inflow

Malaysia is content with the increase in inflows of foreign funds as local currency strengthens. The local currency recently reached its strongest value in nine years -- RM3.5010 to the dollar. Although the Malaysian Government seems to be happy about the inflow of foreign funds, Asian Central Bankers warn that rising capital flows can pose a major challenge concerning its impact on economic and foreign-exchange policies.

Malaysia is content with the increase in inflows of foreign funds as local currency strengthens. The local currency recently reached its strongest value in nine years -- RM3.5010 to the dollar. Although the Malaysian Government seems to be happy about the inflow of foreign funds, Asian Central Bankers warn that rising capital flows can pose a major challenge concerning its impact on economic and foreign-exchange policies.

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malaysia

An Empirical Study of Asian Stock Volatility Using Stochastic Volatility Factor Model: Factor Analysis and Forecasting

This paper is an empirical study of Asian stock volatility using stochastic volatility factor (SVF) model of Cipollini and Kapetanios (2005). We adopt their approach to carry out factor analysis and to forecast volatility. Our results show some Asian factors exhibit long memory that is in line with existing empirical findings in financial volatility. However, their local-factor SVF model is not powerful enough in forecasting Asian volatility. This has led us to propose an extension to a multi-factor SVF model. We also discuss how to produce forecast using this multi-factor model.

This paper is an empirical study of Asian stock volatility using stochastic volatility factor (SVF) model of Cipollini and Kapetanios (2005). We adopt their approach to carry out factor analysis and to forecast volatility. Our results show some Asian factors exhibit long memory that is in line with existing empirical findings in financial volatility. However, their local-factor SVF model is not powerful enough in forecasting Asian volatility. This has led us to propose an extension to a multi-factor SVF model. We also discuss how to produce forecast using this multi-factor model.

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malaysia

Real Estate and the Asian Crisis

This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.

This paper suggests that activities in the real estate markets in Southeast and East Asian economies were an important contributing force to the financial crises of 1997 in the Asian economies. The analysis relies upon unpublished data reported contemporaneously by financial institutions and market watchers to document the extent of the imbalances in the real property market that were evident to informed observers at the time of the financial collapse. The analysis argues that a series of reforms in the regulation of the property market and the treatment of real property loans by financial institutions are necessary to prevent the recurrence of the kind of speculative bubble that contributed to the financial crises in Asia. Given the recentness of the crisis, the nature of the data and the absence of definitive statistical sources, the results are tentative, but they are certainly consistent with a financial collapse whose proximate cause was unchecked activity in the property market.

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malaysia

Monetary and Exchange Rate Stability in South East Asia

Regaining exchange rate stability has been a major monetary policy goal of East Asian countries in the aftermath of the 1997/98 currency crisis. While most countries have abstained from re-establishing a formal US Dollar peg, they have typically managed the US Dollar exchange rate de facto. We show that most of these countries were able to regain their monetary credibility within a relatively short time period. The Argentine crisis in 2001 caused a minor setback in this process for some countries. We measure the credibility of monetary policy by separating the fundamental and excess volatility of the exchange rate on the basis of a chartist fundamentalist model. The degree of excess volatility is interpreted as the ability of the central bank to manage the exchange rate via the coordination channel.

Regaining exchange rate stability has been a major monetary policy goal of East Asian countries in the aftermath of the 1997/98 currency crisis. While most countries have abstained from re-establishing a formal US Dollar peg, they have typically managed the US Dollar exchange rate de facto. We show that most of these countries were able to regain their monetary credibility within a relatively short time period. The Argentine crisis in 2001 caused a minor setback in this process for some countries. We measure the credibility of monetary policy by separating the fundamental and excess volatility of the exchange rate on the basis of a chartist fundamentalist model. The degree of excess volatility is interpreted as the ability of the central bank to manage the exchange rate via the coordination channel.

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malaysia

Post-crisis Exchange Rate Regimes in ASEAN:A New Empirical Test Based on Intra-daily Data

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what affected the post-crisis exchange rates of three ASEAN countries: Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Our critical departure from previous studies is the use of intra-daily exchange rates. The use of the intra-daily data is useful in removing possible estimation biases which the choice of numeraire may cause. It can also contrast exchange rate movements during the time zone when the government intervention is active with those when the intervention is not active. We examine how and when the ASEAN currencies changed their correlations with the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen. We find significant structural breaks in the correlations during the time zone when East Asian market is open. In the post-crisis period, the first structural break happened when Malaysia adopted the fixed exchange rate and the second break happened when some East Asian countries introduced inflation targeting. The structural breaks suggest strong monetary and real linkages among the ASEAN countries.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what affected the post-crisis exchange rates of three ASEAN countries: Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Our critical departure from previous studies is the use of intra-daily exchange rates. The use of the intra-daily data is useful in removing possible estimation biases which the choice of numeraire may cause. It can also contrast exchange rate movements during the time zone when the government intervention is active with those when the intervention is not active. We examine how and when the ASEAN currencies changed their correlations with the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen. We find significant structural breaks in the correlations during the time zone when East Asian market is open. In the post-crisis period, the first structural break happened when Malaysia adopted the fixed exchange rate and the second break happened when some East Asian countries introduced inflation targeting. The structural breaks suggest strong monetary and real linkages among the ASEAN countries.

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malaysia

Impact of FDI on Economic Development: A Causality Analysis for Singapore, 1976 - 2002

This study examines the relationship between economic growth as measured by GDP per capita and foreign direct investment for Singapore, using the methodology of Granger causality and vector auto regression (VAR). Evidence shows that there is a unidirectional Granger causation from foreign direct investment to economic growth.

This study examines the relationship between economic growth as measured by GDP per capita and foreign direct investment for Singapore, using the methodology of Granger causality and vector auto regression (VAR). Evidence shows that there is a unidirectional Granger causation from foreign direct investment to economic growth.

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malaysia

Can Fluctuations of Money (M2) Help Predict Future Fluctuations of Income (GDP)? An Empirical Investigation on Malaysian Data

The paper aims at establishing whether the fluctuations of money help predict future fluctuations of income, that are not already predictable on the basis of fluctuations of income itself or other readily observable variables. For this purpose vector autoregression (VAR) modelling is used to test whether changes in money supply (M2) has any deterministic or predictive content for movements in Income (GDP). The analysis is performed using quarterly macroeconomic data from Malaysia spanning the period between 1980 and 2001. The results suggest that money (M2) and interest rates have information content for future movements in real GDP beyond that contained in past values of GDP itself. This relationship only establishes itself with a fairly long lag. The finding suggests the possibility of making use of the money-income relationship for forecasting purposes.

The paper aims at establishing whether the fluctuations of money help predict future fluctuations of income, that are not already predictable on the basis of fluctuations of income itself or other readily observable variables. For this purpose vector autoregression (VAR) modelling is used to test whether changes in money supply (M2) has any deterministic or predictive content for movements in Income (GDP). The analysis is performed using quarterly macroeconomic data from Malaysia spanning the period between 1980 and 2001. The results suggest that money (M2) and interest rates have information content for future movements in real GDP beyond that contained in past values of GDP itself. This relationship only establishes itself with a fairly long lag. The finding suggests the possibility of making use of the money-income relationship for forecasting purposes.

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malaysia

Proposed Rules of Origin in Emerging Asia-Pacific Preferential Trade Agreements: Will PTAs Promote Trade and Development?

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

World trade is increasingly being dominated by preferential trade agreements that have taken precedence over multilateral trade negotiations. Within Asia and the Pacific an explosion of bilateral deals is taking place that seems likely to produce a tangle of hub-spoke trade blocs centered on major Asian or Pacific countries.

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malaysia

ASEAN Summit Comes to a Close

The 12th association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held at Cebu, Philippines drew to a close yesterday. The North Korean nuclear situation was one of the biggest issues discussed during these meetings. ASEAN is highly involved in the effort to denuclearize North Korea. Also discussed was the idea of economic integration in Southeast Asia and an overall community building in the region. The next ASEAN summit meeting will be held on Nov. 21st in Singapore.

The 12th association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held at Cebu, Philippines drew to a close yesterday. The North Korean nuclear situation was one of the biggest issues discussed during these meetings. ASEAN is highly involved in the effort to denuclearize North Korea. Also discussed was the idea of economic integration in Southeast Asia and an overall community building in the region. The next ASEAN summit meeting will be held on Nov. 21st in Singapore.

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malaysia

Malaysia's FM Foresees Continual Economic Growth

Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop believes that the Malaysian economy will continue to positively grow throughout the upcoming year. An increase in wealth creation from Bursa Malaysia and a "feel good factor" among investors are the main reasons for Nor Mohamed's sentiments. Over the past five years the Malaysian stock Markets have been increasing as market capitalisation has almost doubled during that time.

Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop believes that the Malaysian economy will continue to positively grow throughout the upcoming year. An increase in wealth creation from Bursa Malaysia and a "feel good factor" among investors are the main reasons for Nor Mohamed's sentiments. Over the past five years the Malaysian stock Markets have been increasing as market capitalisation has almost doubled during that time.

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malaysia

India Expands Trade Ties with ASEAN

India said on Thursday it was close to reaching a free-trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and expected to have it wrapped up by July. India, an emerging economy which adopted a free-market policy in the early 1990s, is keen to expand in the global market.

India said on Thursday it was close to reaching a free-trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and expected to have it wrapped up by July. India, an emerging economy which adopted a free-market policy in the early 1990s, is keen to expand in the global market.

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malaysia

Asian Stock Markets Fell

Asian stocks and regional currencies declined due to the proposed nationalization of Venezuela's utilities and the fall of oil prices to a 15-month low. Among the Asian stock markets, Jakarta was hard-hit losing 3.96% or 70.51 points to 1710.36. In addition, the country's currency also fell 0.55 percent to a two-week low. Other bursars in the region also did not perform well.

Asian stocks and regional currencies declined due to the proposed nationalization of Venezuela's utilities and the fall of oil prices to a 15-month low. Among the Asian stock markets, Jakarta was hard-hit losing 3.96% or 70.51 points to 1710.36. In addition, the country's currency also fell 0.55 percent to a two-week low. Other bursars in the region also did not perform well.

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malaysia

Understanding the Latest Wave and Future Shape of Regional Trade and Cooperation Agreements in Asia

Asia accounts for more than 30% of world GDP and contributes half of the global growth in recent years. Despite high growth rates, Asia is still facing considerable socio-economic challenges. If Asia is to reemerge as a major power in the global economy and in order for the region to successfully address its own challenges and issues there is a need to make the region's economies more integrated regionally and internationally. Following the recent global trend, Asia witnessed a wave of subregional and bilateral trade agreements. This paper analyzes the recent trends and patterns and nature of regional trade and cooperation agreements (RTCAs) in Asia and associated problems and prospects. It also attempts to understand the latest wave and the future shape of RTCAs and examines if these RTCAs provide the basis for a new Asia-wide cooperation or for the emergence of new regional trade in blocs of several subregional groupings.

Asia accounts for more than 30% of world GDP and contributes half of the global growth in recent years. Despite high growth rates, Asia is still facing considerable socio-economic challenges. If Asia is to reemerge as a major power in the global economy and in order for the region to successfully address its own challenges and issues there is a need to make the region's economies more integrated regionally and internationally. Following the recent global trend, Asia witnessed a wave of subregional and bilateral trade agreements. This paper analyzes the recent trends and patterns and nature of regional trade and cooperation agreements (RTCAs) in Asia and associated problems and prospects. It also attempts to understand the latest wave and the future shape of RTCAs and examines if these RTCAs provide the basis for a new Asia-wide cooperation or for the emergence of new regional trade in blocs of several subregional groupings.

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malaysia

Asian Economic Integration: ASEAN+3+1 or ASEAN+1s?

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

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The Evolution of the East Asian Currency Baskets – Still Undisclosed and Changing

Both before and after the Asian crisis, the dollar has been the dominant anchor and reserve currency in East Asia. Due to underdeveloped capital markets and the limited international role of their domestic currencies, the East Asian countries (except Japan) are likely to continue to stabilize exchange rates and to accumulate international reserves. Yet expectations of further dollar depreciation may trigger a re-orientation of exchange rate policies based on basket strategies. Rolling econometric estimations of the basket structures in East Asia suggest growing weights for the Japanese yen in most East Asian currency baskets. The role of the euro as a reserve currency in East Asia remains uncertain.

Both before and after the Asian crisis, the dollar has been the dominant anchor and reserve currency in East Asia. Due to underdeveloped capital markets and the limited international role of their domestic currencies, the East Asian countries (except Japan) are likely to continue to stabilize exchange rates and to accumulate international reserves. Yet expectations of further dollar depreciation may trigger a re-orientation of exchange rate policies based on basket strategies. Rolling econometric estimations of the basket structures in East Asia suggest growing weights for the Japanese yen in most East Asian currency baskets. The role of the euro as a reserve currency in East Asia remains uncertain.

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Asian Equity Markets: Growth,Opportunities, and Challenges

Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.

Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.

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Is Asia Prepared for an Aging Population?

Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.

Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.

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malaysia

IBOR Rates in Asia

Inter Bank Offered Rates (Ibor Rates), Benchmark Rates, and Date Last Changed.

Inter Bank Offered Rates (Ibor Rates), Benchmark Rates, and Date Last Changed.

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malaysia

Malaysia's Commodities Earnings May Hit RM70 Billion

Malaysia's plantation-based commodities are expected to reap more than RM70 billion export earnings this year, buoyed by higher export prices of palm oil, rubber and plywood. According to Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Chin, there's stronger demand for the country's palm oil, rubber, timber, cocoa and pepper from their customers all over the world. The commodities sector has been the nation's second largest contributor to export earnings after manufacturing in the last decade.

Malaysia's plantation-based commodities are expected to reap more than RM70 billion export earnings this year, buoyed by higher export prices of palm oil, rubber and plywood. According to Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Chin, there's stronger demand for the country's palm oil, rubber, timber, cocoa and pepper from their customers all over the world. The commodities sector has been the nation's second largest contributor to export earnings after manufacturing in the last decade.

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Economic Integration in Asia: Bilateral Free Trade Agreements Versus Asian Single Market

Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII's CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia's economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion.
Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.

Institutional regionalisation has come late to East Asia compared to Europe, but its pace has accelerated since the mid-1990s. Many agreements, including bilateral ones such as those signed between Singapore and Japan, and plurilateral ones such as those between ASEAN countries (e.g. ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA below)), cover an ever-increasing portion of the East Asian region, including China. We first analyse regional economic integration in East Asia, questioning the notion of open regionalism. In a second part we explore the possible consequences of different kind of agreements. We rely on the CEPII's CGE model (MIRAGE), adapted to the specificity of Asia's economic integration. As regards the geometry of the agreement(s), two sets of scenarios are considered, following a Hub-and-Spoke versus a Full-FTA assumption, with or without sensitive products inclusion.
Among the main results, we find that Asian countries do have diverging interests. While ASEAN maximises its benefit in the bilateral scenario including agricultural liberalisation (SC1); Japan and Korea are the best in the Asia global agreement scenario, including sensitive products for Japan (SC2) but excluding these products for Korea (SC 4). For EU- 25, it appears that increased competition within Asia has a negative impact on its goods exports but positive impact on its service exportations. The main losers are the close countries and primary goods producers such as Taiwan, South Asia (excluding India), North of Africa, South America.

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malaysia

Malay Ringgit Post Strongest Gain in Nine Years

The ringgit posted its strongest gain against the US dollar since the currency was pegged to the greenback nine years ago, partly due to the recent capital restrictions imposed by Thailand.

Traders said the restrictions may have caused funds to exit Thailand and head for Malaysia instead.

Some market watchers also felt foreign cash flows could have been spurred by the recent spate of good news on Malaysia - a strengthening economy, lifting of restrictions on foreign ownership of properties and the proposed sale of national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd to a foreign entity.

Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, when asked at a Bank Simpanan Nasional function in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, said the Government is not worried about the ringgit's strength and its impact on the country's trade-driven economy.

"It's actually dollar weakness because against the cross currencies, we are not that strong," he said.

Nor Mohamed also said that the Government has no intention of allowing the ringgit to be traded offshore.

"There's no plan to internationalise the ringgit. We are a small country. Why should we internationalise the ringgit like the euro?"

Asked whether there would be a repeat of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Nor Mohamed said: "It won't happen. The next few years are going to be good.

"We are sure that 2007 is going to be a good in terms of economic growth, investment, consumption and development," he added.

At 9.10am, the ringgit strengthened against the greenback at 3.5310/3.5340 from 3.5330/3.5370 on Thursday.

It closed trading ahead of Christmas holidays at 3.5360/3.5370 against the US dollar.

The ringgit expanded by 7 per cent against the greenback since early this year.

K&N Kenanga Securities economist Wan Suhaimi Saidi said despite the appreciation, the ringgit is still lagging in terms of valuation.

He expects it to strengthen further to 3.50 to the dollar in three to six months, without hurting export competitiveness.

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research recently described the ringgit as trailing regional currencies as the others further strengthened against the US dollar.

The ringgit posted its strongest gain against the US dollar since the currency was pegged to the greenback nine years ago, partly due to the recent capital restrictions imposed by Thailand.

Traders said the restrictions may have caused funds to exit Thailand and head for Malaysia instead.

Some market watchers also felt foreign cash flows could have been spurred by the recent spate of good news on Malaysia - a strengthening economy, lifting of restrictions on foreign ownership of properties and the proposed sale of national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd to a foreign entity.

Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, when asked at a Bank Simpanan Nasional function in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, said the Government is not worried about the ringgit's strength and its impact on the country's trade-driven economy.

"It's actually dollar weakness because against the cross currencies, we are not that strong," he said.

Nor Mohamed also said that the Government has no intention of allowing the ringgit to be traded offshore.

"There's no plan to internationalise the ringgit. We are a small country. Why should we internationalise the ringgit like the euro?"

Asked whether there would be a repeat of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Nor Mohamed said: "It won't happen. The next few years are going to be good.

"We are sure that 2007 is going to be a good in terms of economic growth, investment, consumption and development," he added.

At 9.10am, the ringgit strengthened against the greenback at 3.5310/3.5340 from 3.5330/3.5370 on Thursday.

It closed trading ahead of Christmas holidays at 3.5360/3.5370 against the US dollar.

The ringgit expanded by 7 per cent against the greenback since early this year.

K&N Kenanga Securities economist Wan Suhaimi Saidi said despite the appreciation, the ringgit is still lagging in terms of valuation.

He expects it to strengthen further to 3.50 to the dollar in three to six months, without hurting export competitiveness.

The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research recently described the ringgit as trailing regional currencies as the others further strengthened against the US dollar.

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malaysia

Malaysian Rules on Foreign Property Buy Relieved

Foreigners can now buy properties about RM250,0000 without seeking approval from the Foreign Investment Committee. Furthermore, there will no longer be any conditions regarding limit or usage to the number of units purchased. These measures are passed to remove bureaucracy. But, there will be protection for Malays since there will be bumipitra allocations and discounts, according to the Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohd Yakcop.

Foreigners can now buy properties about RM250,0000 without seeking approval from the Foreign Investment Committee. Furthermore, there will no longer be any conditions regarding limit or usage to the number of units purchased. These measures are passed to remove bureaucracy. But, there will be protection for Malays since there will be bumipitra allocations and discounts, according to the Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohd Yakcop.

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Regional Intergration and Industrial Growth Among Developing Countries - three case of three ASEAN members

Has the revival of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the early 1990s affected the industrial growth of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines? The author uses two mechanisms to capture this potential impact: scale effects, and intermediate imports variety. She performs the analysis on twenty two industries (at the three-digit level of the International Standard Industrial Classification) over the period 1971-95. The results show significant heterogeneity in industry-level returns to scale. Moreover, the three ASEAN members have very small, mostly negative cross-industry scale effects. As a result, they may not achieve large, or across-the-board gains from their regional arrangement through scale effects. The author finds unexpected results with respect to the role of intermediate imports variety in industrial growth. She finds no support for the hypothesis that non-regional (rest of the world) suppliers, and goods variety have a positive effect on ASEAN industries through the channel of imported intermediate inputs. The regional variety measure, however, seems to have a positive effect on the output growth of a handful of industries. This result seems due to the fact that these countries have long had a strong intra-regional, and intra-industry trade, whose history predates, and outweighs the ASEAN revival.

Has the revival of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the early 1990s affected the industrial growth of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines? The author uses two mechanisms to capture this potential impact: scale effects, and intermediate imports variety. She performs the analysis on twenty two industries (at the three-digit level of the International Standard Industrial Classification) over the period 1971-95. The results show significant heterogeneity in industry-level returns to scale. Moreover, the three ASEAN members have very small, mostly negative cross-industry scale effects. As a result, they may not achieve large, or across-the-board gains from their regional arrangement through scale effects. The author finds unexpected results with respect to the role of intermediate imports variety in industrial growth. She finds no support for the hypothesis that non-regional (rest of the world) suppliers, and goods variety have a positive effect on ASEAN industries through the channel of imported intermediate inputs. The regional variety measure, however, seems to have a positive effect on the output growth of a handful of industries. This result seems due to the fact that these countries have long had a strong intra-regional, and intra-industry trade, whose history predates, and outweighs the ASEAN revival.

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malaysia

The Predictability of ASEAN-5 Exchange Rates

In an attempt to determine the predictability of ASEAN exchange rates, five currencies including Malaysian ringgit, Thailand baht, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah and the Philippines peso, denominated in US dollar as well as Japanese yen, were modeled using advanced time series analysis. Results suggested that Singapore exchange rate could be better predicted when denominated in US dollar, most probably because the East Asian Financial Crisis did not affect them both. On the other hand, other Asean exchange rates were better predicted when denominated in Japanese yen, as they had closer economic ties with Japan. However, while Japan had undergone serious recession after the crisis, it did not experience dramatic political instability as experienced by Indonesia, hence Indonesian rupiah remained unpredictable by yen. These results show that although advanced time series analysis dealt with economic fundamentals implicitly; it still could be a powerful tool for exchange rates modeling and forecasting, especially in the medium to long term.

In an attempt to determine the predictability of ASEAN exchange rates, five currencies including Malaysian ringgit, Thailand baht, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah and the Philippines peso, denominated in US dollar as well as Japanese yen, were modeled using advanced time series analysis. Results suggested that Singapore exchange rate could be better predicted when denominated in US dollar, most probably because the East Asian Financial Crisis did not affect them both. On the other hand, other Asean exchange rates were better predicted when denominated in Japanese yen, as they had closer economic ties with Japan. However, while Japan had undergone serious recession after the crisis, it did not experience dramatic political instability as experienced by Indonesia, hence Indonesian rupiah remained unpredictable by yen. These results show that although advanced time series analysis dealt with economic fundamentals implicitly; it still could be a powerful tool for exchange rates modeling and forecasting, especially in the medium to long term.

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malaysia

Malaysia's Petroleum Players Set to Compete for Growth

Retail petroleum players in Malaysia are ready to compete for growth in their efforts to increase market share in a more challenging environment. The players are focusing their efforts on customer service, productivity, and technology to improve their bottom line. These companies have been embracing different strategies to improve revenue and profit. In fact, BH Petrol, a unit of Boustead Holdings Bhd, included a loyalty programme and introduced a contactless fuel payment system at all its stations. With different kinds of approach, small players in the petroleum industry are hoping to increase their market share in the country.

Retail petroleum players in Malaysia are ready to compete for growth in their efforts to increase market share in a more challenging environment. The players are focusing their efforts on customer service, productivity, and technology to improve their bottom line. These companies have been embracing different strategies to improve revenue and profit. In fact, BH Petrol, a unit of Boustead Holdings Bhd, included a loyalty programme and introduced a contactless fuel payment system at all its stations. With different kinds of approach, small players in the petroleum industry are hoping to increase their market share in the country.

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malaysia

Hong Kong, Singapore And The East Asian Crisis: A First Look At The Importance Of Trade Spillovers

The literature on the East Asian crisis has concentrated almost exclusively on the five crisis-hit econmoies of Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (Asia-5). Relatvely scant attention has been paid to Hond Kong and Singapore, both of which also suffered from contagious fallout from the crisis despite being well acknowledged as having relatively sound finacial and economical fundamentals.This paper examines the extent to wihich trade spillovers, both direct and indirect, have been impprtant in transmitting the regional downturn from the Asia-5 economies to Kong Kong and Singapore.

The literature on the East Asian crisis has concentrated almost exclusively on the five crisis-hit econmoies of Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines (Asia-5). Relatvely scant attention has been paid to Hond Kong and Singapore, both of which also suffered from contagious fallout from the crisis despite being well acknowledged as having relatively sound finacial and economical fundamentals.This paper examines the extent to wihich trade spillovers, both direct and indirect, have been impprtant in transmitting the regional downturn from the Asia-5 economies to Kong Kong and Singapore.

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malaysia

Regional Responses To The Southeast Asian Economic Crisis:A Case Of Self-Help Or No Help?

The currency crises of the 1990s, particularly the one that hit Southeast Asia since the devaluation of the Thai baht on July 2, 1997, are suggestive of the relevance and pervasiveness of contagion or negative spillover effects that are largely regional in scope. As such, one of the mantras since the onset of the Southeast Asian economic crisis has been the need for "regional solutions to regional problems". Given that the two focal institutions in Southeast Asia, viz. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) were perceived as being successful in their past attempts in problem-solving, there were high expectations
that such regionalism would be key in finding solutions to the Southeast Asian economic crisis and mitigating the after-shocks. Accordingly, this paper evaluates the regional responses to the crisis, taking stock of both preventive and curative initiatives of significance. While the focus is on ASEAN and APEC, consistent with the concept of ‘loose' or ‘non-institutionalised' regionalism in Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region, other ad hoc unilateral or bilateral initiatives of significance by other Asian member countries in APEC are also examined, particularly those
by the region's dominant economic power, Japan.

The currency crises of the 1990s, particularly the one that hit Southeast Asia since the devaluation of the Thai baht on July 2, 1997, are suggestive of the relevance and pervasiveness of contagion or negative spillover effects that are largely regional in scope. As such, one of the mantras since the onset of the Southeast Asian economic crisis has been the need for "regional solutions to regional problems". Given that the two focal institutions in Southeast Asia, viz. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) were perceived as being successful in their past attempts in problem-solving, there were high expectations
that such regionalism would be key in finding solutions to the Southeast Asian economic crisis and mitigating the after-shocks. Accordingly, this paper evaluates the regional responses to the crisis, taking stock of both preventive and curative initiatives of significance. While the focus is on ASEAN and APEC, consistent with the concept of ‘loose' or ‘non-institutionalised' regionalism in Southeast Asia and the larger Asia-Pacific region, other ad hoc unilateral or bilateral initiatives of significance by other Asian member countries in APEC are also examined, particularly those
by the region's dominant economic power, Japan.

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malaysia

Asian Economic Integration: ASEAN +3+1 or ASEAN +1s?

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

In this paper an attempt is made to evaluate the most efficient approach to regional economic integration in Asia. For the purpose, Asia is defined as inclusive of ASEAN, the plus three economies of China, Japan, Korea and India that is the ASEAN plus four. Given that ASEAN is an existing regional bloc in Asia, alternative approaches to the alignment of the plus four economies with ASEAN for the formation of the ASEAN+4 trade bloc have been evaluated to determine if there are efficiency costs by way of distortion in the patterns of trade away from those expected on the basis of comparative advantage. The findings of our analysis underscore the efficiency of a prior alignment with ASEAN for all the plus four economies.

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malaysia

Maybank, CapitaLand to Invest US$250m in Property Sector

Top lender Maybank has partnered Singapore's CapitaLand to set up a US$250 million (RM885 million) closed-end private equity fund that will invest in Malaysia's property sector.

The move is a bet on the country's real estate industry which has "tremendous growth potential", said property developer CapitaLand.

"The Malaysian real estate market is undergoing a stage of rapid growth underpinned by healthy economic performance frequently boosted by the provisions in the five-year Ninth Malaysia Plan," the firm said in a statement.

The fund, which will be set up via a company called Malaysia Commercial Development Fund Pte Ltd (MCDF), is domiciled in Singapore.

It will invest in the development and redevelopment of commercial, retail, residential, offices and mixed-developments in Malaysia.

It will be CapitaLand's first and one of its largest funds in Malaysia, with an expected gross development value (GDV) of US$1 billion (RM3.54 billion).

The fund manager is MCDF Management Pte Ltd, also a subsidiary within the CapitaLand Group.

Aseambankers will act as the principal adviser to the fund manager, providing advisory services on Malaysian capital market and funding issues.

Aseambankers and CapitaLand Group are currently holding a number of road shows like in Bahrain and Dubai to woo investors to take part in the fund.

The fund is due to close by the first quarter of next year.

The fund allows investors to have access to prime real estate development projects in the country namely in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.

MCDF's seed investment is One Mont' Kiara, a mixed-development comprising two office towers, a retail podium and car parks.

Work on the development is due to start in the first quarter of 2007 and should be completed by the third quarter of 2010.

"In Malaysia, we are pleased to partner with the Maybank Group, the largest and most established bank in Malaysia, and together we will leverage on the skills and resources of several experienced real estate developers to tap into the tremendous growth potential in the Malaysian real estate market," CapitaLand president and chief execuitev officer Liew Mun Leong said in a statement.

Top lender Maybank has partnered Singapore's CapitaLand to set up a US$250 million (RM885 million) closed-end private equity fund that will invest in Malaysia's property sector.

The move is a bet on the country's real estate industry which has "tremendous growth potential", said property developer CapitaLand.

"The Malaysian real estate market is undergoing a stage of rapid growth underpinned by healthy economic performance frequently boosted by the provisions in the five-year Ninth Malaysia Plan," the firm said in a statement.

The fund, which will be set up via a company called Malaysia Commercial Development Fund Pte Ltd (MCDF), is domiciled in Singapore.

It will invest in the development and redevelopment of commercial, retail, residential, offices and mixed-developments in Malaysia.

It will be CapitaLand's first and one of its largest funds in Malaysia, with an expected gross development value (GDV) of US$1 billion (RM3.54 billion).

The fund manager is MCDF Management Pte Ltd, also a subsidiary within the CapitaLand Group.

Aseambankers will act as the principal adviser to the fund manager, providing advisory services on Malaysian capital market and funding issues.

Aseambankers and CapitaLand Group are currently holding a number of road shows like in Bahrain and Dubai to woo investors to take part in the fund.

The fund is due to close by the first quarter of next year.

The fund allows investors to have access to prime real estate development projects in the country namely in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.

MCDF's seed investment is One Mont' Kiara, a mixed-development comprising two office towers, a retail podium and car parks.

Work on the development is due to start in the first quarter of 2007 and should be completed by the third quarter of 2010.

"In Malaysia, we are pleased to partner with the Maybank Group, the largest and most established bank in Malaysia, and together we will leverage on the skills and resources of several experienced real estate developers to tap into the tremendous growth potential in the Malaysian real estate market," CapitaLand president and chief execuitev officer Liew Mun Leong said in a statement.

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malaysia

Malaysia's Mergers & Acquisitions Excite Economists

The recent wave of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Malaysia augurs well for the performance of Bursa Malaysia as it shows it is able to catch up with regional trends, said a regional economist.

"It could reflect winds of change and a more active approach to globalisation and foreign investment interest into Malaysia," said Citigroup's global capital markets vice-president for Asia Pacific economic and markets analysis, Sim Moh Siong.

Malaysia has slipped in its ranking in terms of stock market capitalisation and turnover this year from the pre-1997 economic crisis level as well as in the foreign direct investment (FDI) performance index between 1990 and 2005.

"To avoid marginalisation and regain its shine, Malaysia may have to look at relaxing its non-internationalisation ringgit policy, which would regain the confidence of investors," he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Other areas Malaysia could look at would be to gradually liberalise foreign limits in services, accelerate tax restructuring, have a lower reliance on petroleum-related revenue and reduce income tax rates.

Sim said infrastructure spending under the Ninth Malaysia Plan that included the Iskandar Development region will boost public investment and spill over to private investment.

The modest pullback in consumption should not derail the growth story, said Sim, who has a general benign outlook for the Malaysian economy against a backdrop of a slowing growth in the US economy.

Citigroup has revised its growth forecast for the Malaysian economy upwards from 5.5 per cent to 5.7 per cent year-on-year and expects growth to be sustained at the same level in 2008.

"The Malaysian economy will cruise smoothly next year but the challenge it faces is the need to 'turbo-charge' it and that is likely through investments," he said.

The US economy is reportedly heading for a soft landing next year to a 2.8 per cent growth from 3.3 per cent this year but is expected to rebound, which would mean that Malaysia's exports prospects to its largest trading partner would stay resilient.

On the wobbly global technology cycle, Sim said the electronics sector is now in a consolidation mode and expects a pick-up in pace in the second quarter of next year.

The recent contracted growth in exports for Malaysia was due to the festive season.

Sim also believes that the recent strengthening of the ringgit is "not just a flash in the pan," adding that the currency can be expected to strengthen to RM3.50 to the US dollar especially when the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen are expected to appreciate during the second half of next year.

With the strength of the economy, there is no need for a monetary stimulus in Malaysia now like a cut in the overnight policy rates. Citigroup is looking at two hikes of 25 basis points each next year.

Citigroup is looking at the Consumer Price Index, the official barometer of inflation, to decline below 3 per cent.

The recent wave of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Malaysia augurs well for the performance of Bursa Malaysia as it shows it is able to catch up with regional trends, said a regional economist.

"It could reflect winds of change and a more active approach to globalisation and foreign investment interest into Malaysia," said Citigroup's global capital markets vice-president for Asia Pacific economic and markets analysis, Sim Moh Siong.

Malaysia has slipped in its ranking in terms of stock market capitalisation and turnover this year from the pre-1997 economic crisis level as well as in the foreign direct investment (FDI) performance index between 1990 and 2005.

"To avoid marginalisation and regain its shine, Malaysia may have to look at relaxing its non-internationalisation ringgit policy, which would regain the confidence of investors," he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Other areas Malaysia could look at would be to gradually liberalise foreign limits in services, accelerate tax restructuring, have a lower reliance on petroleum-related revenue and reduce income tax rates.

Sim said infrastructure spending under the Ninth Malaysia Plan that included the Iskandar Development region will boost public investment and spill over to private investment.

The modest pullback in consumption should not derail the growth story, said Sim, who has a general benign outlook for the Malaysian economy against a backdrop of a slowing growth in the US economy.

Citigroup has revised its growth forecast for the Malaysian economy upwards from 5.5 per cent to 5.7 per cent year-on-year and expects growth to be sustained at the same level in 2008.

"The Malaysian economy will cruise smoothly next year but the challenge it faces is the need to 'turbo-charge' it and that is likely through investments," he said.

The US economy is reportedly heading for a soft landing next year to a 2.8 per cent growth from 3.3 per cent this year but is expected to rebound, which would mean that Malaysia's exports prospects to its largest trading partner would stay resilient.

On the wobbly global technology cycle, Sim said the electronics sector is now in a consolidation mode and expects a pick-up in pace in the second quarter of next year.

The recent contracted growth in exports for Malaysia was due to the festive season.

Sim also believes that the recent strengthening of the ringgit is "not just a flash in the pan," adding that the currency can be expected to strengthen to RM3.50 to the US dollar especially when the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen are expected to appreciate during the second half of next year.

With the strength of the economy, there is no need for a monetary stimulus in Malaysia now like a cut in the overnight policy rates. Citigroup is looking at two hikes of 25 basis points each next year.

Citigroup is looking at the Consumer Price Index, the official barometer of inflation, to decline below 3 per cent.

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malaysia

Indonesia and Malaysia Agreed to Collaborate on Palm Oil Development

Some Malaysian and Indonesian businessmen have agreed to work together on palm oil development. The goal of the cooperation is to minimize, and if possible, to eliminate all kinds of obstacles that may hinder the two countries' efforts to make palm oil as the foundation of their main export, according to the chairman of the combined Indonesian Palm oil Producers Deron Bangun. He also said that serious attention is badly needed to develop palm oil in order to revive the growth of this export commodity.

Some Malaysian and Indonesian businessmen have agreed to work together on palm oil development. The goal of the cooperation is to minimize, and if possible, to eliminate all kinds of obstacles that may hinder the two countries' efforts to make palm oil as the foundation of their main export, according to the chairman of the combined Indonesian Palm oil Producers Deron Bangun. He also said that serious attention is badly needed to develop palm oil in order to revive the growth of this export commodity.

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malaysia

Malaysia Wants to Reduce Huge Food Import Bill

Malaysia spends RM13 billion on imported food products every year and produces only RM7 billion of its own food necessities. The country is blessed with fertile land and a climate conducive for farming, hence, the government is making efforts to exploit Malaysia's potential in food production and reduce its huge food import bill. One of the many sub-sectors that the country wants to explore is the cattle and livestock industry. Under the National Meat Policy, Malaysia aims to increase its cows and buffaloes from about 1 million to 1.6 million in 2015. With this increase, Malaysia's self-sufficiency in meat products will increase to 40 percent from 25 percent currently.

Malaysia spends RM13 billion on imported food products every year and produces only RM7 billion of its own food necessities. The country is blessed with fertile land and a climate conducive for farming, hence, the government is making efforts to exploit Malaysia's potential in food production and reduce its huge food import bill. One of the many sub-sectors that the country wants to explore is the cattle and livestock industry. Under the National Meat Policy, Malaysia aims to increase its cows and buffaloes from about 1 million to 1.6 million in 2015. With this increase, Malaysia's self-sufficiency in meat products will increase to 40 percent from 25 percent currently.

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malaysia

Trade Between Malaysia and China Set to Grow to US$36b this Year

According to a Chinese government official, the China-Malaysia bilateral trade is projected to grow to US$36 billion this year. During the first 10 months of the year trade between the two countries grew by 22.5 percent to US$30.1 billion. Trading between the two nations increased from US$160 million in 1974 to US$30.7 billion in 2005.

According to a Chinese government official, the China-Malaysia bilateral trade is projected to grow to US$36 billion this year. During the first 10 months of the year trade between the two countries grew by 22.5 percent to US$30.1 billion. Trading between the two nations increased from US$160 million in 1974 to US$30.7 billion in 2005.

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malaysia

Asean-India Trade Agreement Expected by June

India is expecting to sign a free trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by June next year after both sides failed to meet the December deadline due to some conflicts on goods to be excluded from the agreement. Both parties are in disagreement on items such as agricultural products that India wants to exclude from tariff cuts. If the free trade agreement will push through, ASEAN will open up new overseas market for India's software and other services. In turn, the pact will give ASEAN more access to the world's second fastest growing economy.

India is expecting to sign a free trade pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by June next year after both sides failed to meet the December deadline due to some conflicts on goods to be excluded from the agreement. Both parties are in disagreement on items such as agricultural products that India wants to exclude from tariff cuts. If the free trade agreement will push through, ASEAN will open up new overseas market for India's software and other services. In turn, the pact will give ASEAN more access to the world's second fastest growing economy.

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malaysia

Manila Postpones ASEAN Summit to January

An official announcement released by Ambassador Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said that the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled next week in Cebu, has been postponed to January due to a strong storm heading the island. The ambassador also denied reports that the postponement was made due to possible terrorist attacks at the site of the summit.

An official announcement released by Ambassador Marciano Paynor, head of the Philippine organizing committee, said that the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled next week in Cebu, has been postponed to January due to a strong storm heading the island. The ambassador also denied reports that the postponement was made due to possible terrorist attacks at the site of the summit.

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malaysia

Malaysia to Liberalise Foregin Currency Bond Trading

MULTINATIONAL institutions will soon be allowed to issue foreign currency bonds in Malaysia, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said. The move represents further liberalisation of the Malaysian bond market.

Recently, the Government allowed multilateral financial institutions, multilateral development banks, foreign governments and their agencies, as well as multinational companies to raise funds from the ringgit bond market.

"Soon, these institutions will be able to raise foreign currency-denominated bonds in the Malaysian market as well," Nor Mohamed said at the opening of the two-day second Asian Bond Markets Initiative technical assistance workshop on infrastructure financing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He noted that Malaysia, similar to a few other countries in the region, had decided to liberalise its bond market.

Nor Mohamed also spoke of the overall bond market in Malaysia, saying that the corporate bond market had grown exponentially to RM210 billion, or US$58 billion (RM205.32 billion), the third largest in East Asia, excluding Japan, and the second largest market as measured by its size to gross domestic product.

"Our corporates have successfully tapped the bond market to finance infrastructure projects, particularly highways, power generation and water projects.

Within the region, he called on the economies to build regional arrangements and cross-border issuance of bonds.

"I am confident that our regional bond markets can be tapped successfully for cross-border issuance of bonds to fund infrastructure projects," he said.

Quoting the Asian Development Bank, Securities Commission chairman Datuk Zarinah Anwar said that infrastructure funding needs for the East Asian countries will amount to US$1 trillion (RM3.54 trillion) in the next five years.

"It may not be easy to raise the huge amount domestically but we are fortunate that the region is also home to the world's highest domestic savings and largest US dollar foreign exchange reserves.

"Cross-border issuances can therefore play a catalytic role in mobilising these savings and reserves to meet the region's infrastructure financing needs," she said.

On bond financing for infrastructure projects in Malaysia, Zarinah said RM11.5 billion worth of new debt papers was raised this year.

With new projects worth some RM46.8 billion to be implemented over the next five years under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010), infrastructure financing will remain a priority, she added.

MULTINATIONAL institutions will soon be allowed to issue foreign currency bonds in Malaysia, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said. The move represents further liberalisation of the Malaysian bond market.

Recently, the Government allowed multilateral financial institutions, multilateral development banks, foreign governments and their agencies, as well as multinational companies to raise funds from the ringgit bond market.

"Soon, these institutions will be able to raise foreign currency-denominated bonds in the Malaysian market as well," Nor Mohamed said at the opening of the two-day second Asian Bond Markets Initiative technical assistance workshop on infrastructure financing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He noted that Malaysia, similar to a few other countries in the region, had decided to liberalise its bond market.

Nor Mohamed also spoke of the overall bond market in Malaysia, saying that the corporate bond market had grown exponentially to RM210 billion, or US$58 billion (RM205.32 billion), the third largest in East Asia, excluding Japan, and the second largest market as measured by its size to gross domestic product.

"Our corporates have successfully tapped the bond market to finance infrastructure projects, particularly highways, power generation and water projects.

Within the region, he called on the economies to build regional arrangements and cross-border issuance of bonds.

"I am confident that our regional bond markets can be tapped successfully for cross-border issuance of bonds to fund infrastructure projects," he said.

Quoting the Asian Development Bank, Securities Commission chairman Datuk Zarinah Anwar said that infrastructure funding needs for the East Asian countries will amount to US$1 trillion (RM3.54 trillion) in the next five years.

"It may not be easy to raise the huge amount domestically but we are fortunate that the region is also home to the world's highest domestic savings and largest US dollar foreign exchange reserves.

"Cross-border issuances can therefore play a catalytic role in mobilising these savings and reserves to meet the region's infrastructure financing needs," she said.

On bond financing for infrastructure projects in Malaysia, Zarinah said RM11.5 billion worth of new debt papers was raised this year.

With new projects worth some RM46.8 billion to be implemented over the next five years under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010), infrastructure financing will remain a priority, she added.

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malaysia

ADB: Economic Growth in East Asia to Remain Strong in 2007

Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that East Asia's economic growth will continue to be strong next year after the expected robust performance of East Asian economies this year. However, the bank warned that the danger of financial market turbulence which could affect Asia is also increasing. Also, ADB suggested that there could be a slight decrease on the demand for East Asia's exports, due to an expected slowdown in growth in the US and euro area. Coupled with strong domestic consumption, this should maintain economic expansion across the East Asian region, the lender bank argued.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that East Asia's economic growth will continue to be strong next year after the expected robust performance of East Asian economies this year. However, the bank warned that the danger of financial market turbulence which could affect Asia is also increasing. Also, ADB suggested that there could be a slight decrease on the demand for East Asia's exports, due to an expected slowdown in growth in the US and euro area. Coupled with strong domestic consumption, this should maintain economic expansion across the East Asian region, the lender bank argued.

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malaysia

Malaysia's Stock Market's Performance Reflects Strong Economy

Malaysian Prime Minister Badawi said that the good performance of Malaysia's Stock Market is an indication of the economy's sound performance. He defended that the performance of the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index could not be speculative and it is growing up slowly. In addition, he said that the index had no violent fluctuations.

Malaysian Prime Minister Badawi said that the good performance of Malaysia's Stock Market is an indication of the economy's sound performance. He defended that the performance of the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index could not be speculative and it is growing up slowly. In addition, he said that the index had no violent fluctuations.

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malaysia

Malaysia Needs More Flexible Exchange Rate Policy

According to Malaysia Institute of Economic Research executive director Ariff, Malaysia needs a more flexible exchange rate policy to avoid losing out to the global competition. He also said that the Malaysian currency ringgit is undervalued and not adjusting as much as it should. Furthermore, ringgit is appreciating against the dollar, but it is depreciating against other regional currencies, which shows that other currencies are more flexible. However, implementing flexible exchange rates will have adverse implications on exports and interest rate reductions. He also stated that even if there are adjustments, it would not be large, and Malaysia would not lose against other nations.

According to Malaysia Institute of Economic Research executive director Ariff, Malaysia needs a more flexible exchange rate policy to avoid losing out to the global competition. He also said that the Malaysian currency ringgit is undervalued and not adjusting as much as it should. Furthermore, ringgit is appreciating against the dollar, but it is depreciating against other regional currencies, which shows that other currencies are more flexible. However, implementing flexible exchange rates will have adverse implications on exports and interest rate reductions. He also stated that even if there are adjustments, it would not be large, and Malaysia would not lose against other nations.

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malaysia

US and Asian Economies Differ Over Free Trade Bloc Process

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

The United States and Asian economies are at odds on how to implement a plan to set up a Asia-Pacific free trade area. The Asian economies want to start a free trade area among themselves before considering a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific. However, the US government wants to implement these plans simulataneously. Washington is pushing a prompt implementation of the Asia-Pacific plan because it would jolt non-Apec members, such as Brazil and India, to restart talks for a new global trace pact.

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malaysia

Malaysia and Australia Set No Date for the FTA Deal

Both leaders of Malaysia and Australia refused to set a date for the completion of a free trade pact. Australian Prime Minister Howard thinks that the negotiations should be done methodically. Furthermore, he mentioned that there should not be any pressure for a timeline on the free-trade agreement talks which began in April 2005.

Both leaders of Malaysia and Australia refused to set a date for the completion of a free trade pact. Australian Prime Minister Howard thinks that the negotiations should be done methodically. Furthermore, he mentioned that there should not be any pressure for a timeline on the free-trade agreement talks which began in April 2005.

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malaysia

Integration of ASEAN Economies a Sound Way to Navigate Globalizing World

Economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to endorse plans to step up regional economic integration and create a common market by 2015. ASEAN aims to eliminate tariffs by 2015 under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The free trade pact will provide members "a sound way to navigate" the rapidly globalizing world by liberalizing and integrating economies.

Economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to endorse plans to step up regional economic integration and create a common market by 2015. ASEAN aims to eliminate tariffs by 2015 under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The free trade pact will provide members "a sound way to navigate" the rapidly globalizing world by liberalizing and integrating economies.

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malaysia

Malaysia to Form the World's Biggest Palm Oil Producer

Malaysia is set to join three state-owned plantation firms to form the world's largest listed palm oil producer. The country aims to take advantage of the growing demand for palm oil, which can be used to make biofuels. The planned merger is focused at improving productivity and saving costs on the building of biofuel refining plants.

Malaysia is set to join three state-owned plantation firms to form the world's largest listed palm oil producer. The country aims to take advantage of the growing demand for palm oil, which can be used to make biofuels. The planned merger is focused at improving productivity and saving costs on the building of biofuel refining plants.

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malaysia

Singapore and Malaysia Must Work Together to Face Economic Giants China and India

Malaysia and Singapore must stop competing against each other, instead, they must collaborate in order to face the growing economic giants of China and India. Malaysia's DPM stated that the two countries must build the necessary partnerships to take advantage of new opportunities present within the region. SIngapore's DPM also stressed the importance of being in a position to take advantage of the growth of China and India. This shows that both countries are aware of the need to cooperate with each other, however, experts say that there's a long way to go to overcome mutual suspicion. Furthermore, both countries will have to work close together and leave their political issues behind.

Malaysia and Singapore must stop competing against each other, instead, they must collaborate in order to face the growing economic giants of China and India. Malaysia's DPM stated that the two countries must build the necessary partnerships to take advantage of new opportunities present within the region. SIngapore's DPM also stressed the importance of being in a position to take advantage of the growth of China and India. This shows that both countries are aware of the need to cooperate with each other, however, experts say that there's a long way to go to overcome mutual suspicion. Furthermore, both countries will have to work close together and leave their political issues behind.

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malaysia

Malaysia Government Adopts Neutral Stance on Software Platforms Development

Malaysia's Government will not officially promote the use of one software platform over another. Whether its open source or proprietary software the government will let the market decide which platform serves Malaysia best.

Malaysia's Government will not officially promote the use of one software platform over another. Whether its open source or proprietary software the government will let the market decide which platform serves Malaysia best.

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malaysia

Central Bankers Upbeat Over Global Growth Next Year

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

The world's top central bankers discussed the future of global growth. There seems to be a consensus that the global economy was strong and sustainable, but in order to mitigate risks banks would have to fix their attention on inflation. Some hint to continued raises in interest rates to offset "overly optimistic investment".

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malaysia

APEC Shelves Free Trade Zone Plans

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

The Asian Pacific Economic Co-operation forum has shelved plans to create a "vast free trade area" that would aggregate the numerous bi-lateral and regional tarde agreements in the region. The ambitious proposal lost mometum to various side deals at the forum. APEC has shifted its focus to resurrecting talks on the Doha round of the WTO.

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malaysia

No Russia-ASEAN Summit This Year

The Russian President Vladimir Putin won't be coming to Cebu, the Philippines, and that's as good as official and final. The reason is, the second Russia-ASEAN Summit that could have been organized back-to-back with an annual ASEAN Summit in that city, is not fit for a show.

Officially in any Foreign Ministry worth its salt, be it Russian or Asian ministry, you may get a comment that there was no invitation for Mr. Putin to come to the summit, so we are talking about wrong assumptions and failed expectations. Besides, the first Russia-ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur on December 13th last year ended with an obligation to hold "regular", not "annual", summits.

But that's very feeble explanation, because there was a lot of unofficial talk about the Cebu summit. So what really happened? First of all, the Russian leader takes Moscow's ties to Asia in general, and the ASEAN 10 in particular, very close to his heart. You may say there's a lot of expectations in Moscow from everything and anything Asia-oriented (and we shall elaborate on that a bit later). But there is one thing that Mr. Putin hates, and that is "summits for summit's sake". The style of his presidency presumes that a presidential visit is a culmination of work of a lot of people, with serious agreements signed and shown to the voters. Making a trip across the globe and delivering a speech is definitely not enough to stir Mr. Putin's juices.

A year ago in KL three documents have been signed between Russia and ASEAN. These were: the Joint Declaration on progressive & comprehensive partnership; the Program of Action for 2005-2015 (mentioning trade, industry, energy, transport, antiterrorist cooperation, natural disaster prevention, etc); finally, the agreement on Economic and Development Cooperation. But nothing much happened in these 11 or so months after that summit.

On November 3 a joint committee on cooperation between Russia and ASEAN was hold in Moscow, the co-chairmen being the department heads of the Foreign Ministries. From the Russian side that was Mr. Bakhtiar Khakimov, from the ASEAN side Mr. Luis Cruz, the Philippines. The main issue was a cooperation fund – about 1 million US Dollars that Russia has to invest into a cooperation infrastructure. E-commerce development and studies of the Russian language – that's how some of this money will be spent. But in any case the programs will start only in 2007.

Several discussion groups are agreed to be set up – like, on transnational crime and technological cooperation. Energy security will also be under discussion, as well as many other subjects. But Moscow thinks that all this is not enough to justify a summit right now. You have to start carrying out the agreements reached at the previous summit, first.

The diplomatic sources are saying that the ASEAN side understands and even "respects" Moscow maximalism on the matter. To add, a lot of blame might be put on the Russian bureaucracy, too, and nobody is denying it.

You may feel, though, Russian leadership's deep dissatisfaction with its relations with ASEAN behind all the niceties. The reasons for this can be summed up as "too little, too slow" in business, in spite of almost complete harmony in political and diplomatic contacts.

Gone are the days when the Soviet Union was causing plenty of uneasy feelings in South East Asia. 10 years ago Russia has become ASEAN's Dialogue Partner, and 1 year ago it was elevated to the status of a Summit Partner. Look who is ASEAN's Summit Partner, and especially who is not, and you will see that Moscow is very, very close to ASEAN in global diplomacy and in its views on what the world should look like.

But thinking alike is not making us big trade partners, and that's the source of Moscow's frustration, and sometimes overreaction. The trade between Russia and ASEAN 10 has reached 4 billion dollars in 2004, 5 billion in 2005 and may touch 6 billion in 2006. It's a good show if you look at the growth rate, but a very weak one if you consider that it is still less than 1% of overall trade of both ASEAN and Russia. Moscow is trailing far behind US or China or Australia in that regard.

If you look close at the model of that trade, you will see that basically Russia is supplying ASEAN countries with metals, fertilizers and chemicals in exchange for purchases of commodities like the palm oil, and foodstuffs.

But this is definitely not what Russia wanted from that part of the world. Russia's basic economic problem is not unlike what Indonesia struggled with in the 70-s and 80-s – to diversify export, to eliminate dependence on oil and gas supplies to the world, to develop hi-tech export, be it in aerospace or nuclear power stations or anything else that the Russia researchers are good at.

You cannot hope for that with partners and regions where your hydrocarbon exports are bringing as much revenue as they do now to Russia. But Asia, notably in its South East, does not need Russia oil and gas. You just have to rely on hi-tech in all the exchanges with this area.

Essentially, Moscow was pinning high hopes on Asia to help diversify the Russian economy. And so far these hopes stay almost where they were.
Being a participant in the first and second Russia-ASEAN business forums, as well as in many similar meetings, I may say that we see some measure of success only in the aircraft sales – be it fighter jets or a wonderful Be-200 forest firefighter supplied to Indonesia. That's not enough, compared to the volume of offers made by the various Russian companies.

It's worth noting that anything good that happened to the Russian-ASEAN trade happened on bilateral basis, between businessmen of Russia and some particular countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam as leaders. While the capabilities of ASEAN as an organization in facilitation of the hi-tech cooperation may be put in serious doubt. You may even say that the Russia-ASEAN relations history is the history of declarations signed. And you cannot really blame Mr. Putin for trying to change that situation, even by some rather dramatic gestures.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin won't be coming to Cebu, the Philippines, and that's as good as official and final. The reason is, the second Russia-ASEAN Summit that could have been organized back-to-back with an annual ASEAN Summit in that city, is not fit for a show.

Officially in any Foreign Ministry worth its salt, be it Russian or Asian ministry, you may get a comment that there was no invitation for Mr. Putin to come to the summit, so we are talking about wrong assumptions and failed expectations. Besides, the first Russia-ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur on December 13th last year ended with an obligation to hold "regular", not "annual", summits.

But that's very feeble explanation, because there was a lot of unofficial talk about the Cebu summit. So what really happened? First of all, the Russian leader takes Moscow's ties to Asia in general, and the ASEAN 10 in particular, very close to his heart. You may say there's a lot of expectations in Moscow from everything and anything Asia-oriented (and we shall elaborate on that a bit later). But there is one thing that Mr. Putin hates, and that is "summits for summit's sake". The style of his presidency presumes that a presidential visit is a culmination of work of a lot of people, with serious agreements signed and shown to the voters. Making a trip across the globe and delivering a speech is definitely not enough to stir Mr. Putin's juices.

A year ago in KL three documents have been signed between Russia and ASEAN. These were: the Joint Declaration on progressive & comprehensive partnership; the Program of Action for 2005-2015 (mentioning trade, industry, energy, transport, antiterrorist cooperation, natural disaster prevention, etc); finally, the agreement on Economic and Development Cooperation. But nothing much happened in these 11 or so months after that summit.

On November 3 a joint committee on cooperation between Russia and ASEAN was hold in Moscow, the co-chairmen being the department heads of the Foreign Ministries. From the Russian side that was Mr. Bakhtiar Khakimov, from the ASEAN side Mr. Luis Cruz, the Philippines. The main issue was a cooperation fund – about 1 million US Dollars that Russia has to invest into a cooperation infrastructure. E-commerce development and studies of the Russian language – that's how some of this money will be spent. But in any case the programs will start only in 2007.

Several discussion groups are agreed to be set up – like, on transnational crime and technological cooperation. Energy security will also be under discussion, as well as many other subjects. But Moscow thinks that all this is not enough to justify a summit right now. You have to start carrying out the agreements reached at the previous summit, first.

The diplomatic sources are saying that the ASEAN side understands and even "respects" Moscow maximalism on the matter. To add, a lot of blame might be put on the Russian bureaucracy, too, and nobody is denying it.

You may feel, though, Russian leadership's deep dissatisfaction with its relations with ASEAN behind all the niceties. The reasons for this can be summed up as "too little, too slow" in business, in spite of almost complete harmony in political and diplomatic contacts.

Gone are the days when the Soviet Union was causing plenty of uneasy feelings in South East Asia. 10 years ago Russia has become ASEAN's Dialogue Partner, and 1 year ago it was elevated to the status of a Summit Partner. Look who is ASEAN's Summit Partner, and especially who is not, and you will see that Moscow is very, very close to ASEAN in global diplomacy and in its views on what the world should look like.

But thinking alike is not making us big trade partners, and that's the source of Moscow's frustration, and sometimes overreaction. The trade between Russia and ASEAN 10 has reached 4 billion dollars in 2004, 5 billion in 2005 and may touch 6 billion in 2006. It's a good show if you look at the growth rate, but a very weak one if you consider that it is still less than 1% of overall trade of both ASEAN and Russia. Moscow is trailing far behind US or China or Australia in that regard.

If you look close at the model of that trade, you will see that basically Russia is supplying ASEAN countries with metals, fertilizers and chemicals in exchange for purchases of commodities like the palm oil, and foodstuffs.

But this is definitely not what Russia wanted from that part of the world. Russia's basic economic problem is not unlike what Indonesia struggled with in the 70-s and 80-s – to diversify export, to eliminate dependence on oil and gas supplies to the world, to develop hi-tech export, be it in aerospace or nuclear power stations or anything else that the Russia researchers are good at.

You cannot hope for that with partners and regions where your hydrocarbon exports are bringing as much revenue as they do now to Russia. But Asia, notably in its South East, does not need Russia oil and gas. You just have to rely on hi-tech in all the exchanges with this area.

Essentially, Moscow was pinning high hopes on Asia to help diversify the Russian economy. And so far these hopes stay almost where they were.
Being a participant in the first and second Russia-ASEAN business forums, as well as in many similar meetings, I may say that we see some measure of success only in the aircraft sales – be it fighter jets or a wonderful Be-200 forest firefighter supplied to Indonesia. That's not enough, compared to the volume of offers made by the various Russian companies.

It's worth noting that anything good that happened to the Russian-ASEAN trade happened on bilateral basis, between businessmen of Russia and some particular countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam as leaders. While the capabilities of ASEAN as an organization in facilitation of the hi-tech cooperation may be put in serious doubt. You may even say that the Russia-ASEAN relations history is the history of declarations signed. And you cannot really blame Mr. Putin for trying to change that situation, even by some rather dramatic gestures.

read source article
malaysia

APEC Leaders Ponder Region-Wide FTA While Doha Round Struggles

APEC business leaders see an Asia-Pacific-wide free trade agreement as an alternative way to boost regional commerce if efforts to resuscitate the collapsed Doha Round of world trade talks fail.

Initiated by the US and labelled the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), the arrangement would link all 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) grouping, which accounts for nearly half of the world trade and 70 per cent of world economic growth.

"We want the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade talks to succeed, but obviously it does not look that easy although many bilateral efforts are still going on," said Tan Sri Azman Hashim, chairman of the AmBank Group and Malaysian representative to the annual Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting in Hanoi yesterday.

"There are suggestions that if we don't succeed in reviving the WTO talks, then how about the FTAAP as the next step," he told newsmen.

He added that the mechanics of establishing a region-wide FTA may be complex as Apec was a diverse group and not all members may be ready or able to join the effort at the same time. "Some may have to join first and others later," he said.

Apec leaders are determined, officials say, to make a last ditch effort to revive the failed WTO talks at their Hanoi summit over the weekend.

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy is due to attend the Apec Ministerial Meeting mid week and hold talks with Apec officials to see if there are ways to revive the failed trade talks.

The Doha Round of WTO talks, seen as the way to global trade liberalisation and eradication of poverty and imbalances, collapsed after four years in July 2006 following disagreements between the US and the European Union over farm subsidies.

Australia's ABAC representative Peter Charlton said business leaders believed that if there was no way forward for the failed WTO talks, then the FTAAP would be the fall- back.

"Although the best position is to have a successful outcome to the WTO negotiations, the primary position is that if everything else fails and the WTO fails on the Doha Round, then the FTAAP is the secondary choice," he said.

With the US lending its weight to the FTAAP proposal, Apec leaders could take it up seriously and set a foundation for the path towards making the plan a success in future.

There are at present over 50 bilateral FTAs between Apec member countries floating around at various stages of agreement and some officials see one region-wide FTA as a way to overcome duplications and problems arising from a proliferation of bilateral FTAs.

On the question of Apec reform, ABAC business leaders believed that there was a need to refresh some of Apec's goals and aspirations.

Bogor Goals adopted at an Apec meeting in Indonesia seek to realise free and open trade and investment by 2010 for developed countries and 2020 for developing countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is due to address ABAC delegates on Saturday as will his counterparts from Singapore, Thailand, the US and others.

Businessmen and some Apec officials are concerned that the regional trade and economic grouping's meeting of ministers on November 15-16 and summit of heads of governments on November 18-19 may be distracted by other major non-trade issues such as the South Korean diplomacy expected to be pursued on the sidelines by the US, China, Japan and South Korea.

On Malaysian businessmen's interest in Apec, Azman said: "We, just like everybody else are interested to see what happens in Apec is good for our business in Malaysia. When Apec talks about liberalisation, we have to keep an eye on how it is done.

"We try to slow them down a bit (on liberalisation) as there is always a push to open up (our economies) tomorrow. In many ways we are not ready yet for it."

Azman said Malaysia was pushing for Apec to focus on capacity building so that the country and its businesses can get more prepared and ready to absorb greater globalisation.

This article was provided courtesy of The Business Times.

APEC business leaders see an Asia-Pacific-wide free trade agreement as an alternative way to boost regional commerce if efforts to resuscitate the collapsed Doha Round of world trade talks fail.

Initiated by the US and labelled the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), the arrangement would link all 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) grouping, which accounts for nearly half of the world trade and 70 per cent of world economic growth.

"We want the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade talks to succeed, but obviously it does not look that easy although many bilateral efforts are still going on," said Tan Sri Azman Hashim, chairman of the AmBank Group and Malaysian representative to the annual Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting in Hanoi yesterday.

"There are suggestions that if we don't succeed in reviving the WTO talks, then how about the FTAAP as the next step," he told newsmen.

He added that the mechanics of establishing a region-wide FTA may be complex as Apec was a diverse group and not all members may be ready or able to join the effort at the same time. "Some may have to join first and others later," he said.

Apec leaders are determined, officials say, to make a last ditch effort to revive the failed WTO talks at their Hanoi summit over the weekend.

WTO director-general Pascal Lamy is due to attend the Apec Ministerial Meeting mid week and hold talks with Apec officials to see if there are ways to revive the failed trade talks.

The Doha Round of WTO talks, seen as the way to global trade liberalisation and eradication of poverty and imbalances, collapsed after four years in July 2006 following disagreements between the US and the European Union over farm subsidies.

Australia's ABAC representative Peter Charlton said business leaders believed that if there was no way forward for the failed WTO talks, then the FTAAP would be the fall- back.

"Although the best position is to have a successful outcome to the WTO negotiations, the primary position is that if everything else fails and the WTO fails on the Doha Round, then the FTAAP is the secondary choice," he said.

With the US lending its weight to the FTAAP proposal, Apec leaders could take it up seriously and set a foundation for the path towards making the plan a success in future.

There are at present over 50 bilateral FTAs between Apec member countries floating around at various stages of agreement and some officials see one region-wide FTA as a way to overcome duplications and problems arising from a proliferation of bilateral FTAs.

On the question of Apec reform, ABAC business leaders believed that there was a need to refresh some of Apec's goals and aspirations.

Bogor Goals adopted at an Apec meeting in Indonesia seek to realise free and open trade and investment by 2010 for developed countries and 2020 for developing countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is due to address ABAC delegates on Saturday as will his counterparts from Singapore, Thailand, the US and others.

Businessmen and some Apec officials are concerned that the regional trade and economic grouping's meeting of ministers on November 15-16 and summit of heads of governments on November 18-19 may be distracted by other major non-trade issues such as the South Korean diplomacy expected to be pursued on the sidelines by the US, China, Japan and South Korea.

On Malaysian businessmen's interest in Apec, Azman said: "We, just like everybody else are interested to see what happens in Apec is good for our business in Malaysia. When Apec talks about liberalisation, we have to keep an eye on how it is done.

"We try to slow them down a bit (on liberalisation) as there is always a push to open up (our economies) tomorrow. In many ways we are not ready yet for it."

Azman said Malaysia was pushing for Apec to focus on capacity building so that the country and its businesses can get more prepared and ready to absorb greater globalisation.

This article was provided courtesy of The Business Times.

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malaysia

Malaysia's Financial Service group ASK Holdings Bhd Seeks Global Investors

Malaysia's financial services group OSK Holdings Bhd is seeking more global investors to achieve its aim of becoming one of the top 50 stockbroking firms in Hong Kong in terms of business volume.

OSK Holdings, which last January launched its subsidiary OSK Asia Holdings Ltd in Hong Kong, is ranked among the top 100 entities out of some 450 stockbroking companies there.

"OSK's business in Hong Kong has been profitable, and we hope to be among the top 50 very soon," OSK Asia group managing director Stephen Hui told reporters at a Hong Kong capital market seminar organised by the company in Petaling Jaya last Saturday.

"What we should do is to capture investors from outside Hong Kong to invest in Hong Kong," added Lee, who is also committee vice chairman of the Hong Kong Stockbrokers Association.

Hong Kong is the place to be in given the growing number of mainland China-based companies getting listed there.

Of great interest is the recent US$19 billion (RM69.3 billion) share sale in Shanghai and Hong Kong by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which had lifted investors' sentiments in Asia.

Besides Hong Kong, OSK Holdings had also obtained its shareholders' consent last February to buy a controlling 51 per cent stake in Singaporean rival DMG & Partners Securities Pte Ltd.

OSK Holdings' chief executive Ong Leong Huat had indicated that the group may buy more foreign entities to further reduce reliance on the home market.

It was reported that OSK Holdings' Singapore and Hong Kong operations are expected to generate up to a fifth of the group's net profit in the first year.

OSK Holdings' net profit rose 80 per cent to RM45.4 million in the year ended December 2005 although revenue declined 13 per cent to RM335.9 million.



The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Business Times.

Malaysia's financial services group OSK Holdings Bhd is seeking more global investors to achieve its aim of becoming one of the top 50 stockbroking firms in Hong Kong in terms of business volume.

OSK Holdings, which last January launched its subsidiary OSK Asia Holdings Ltd in Hong Kong, is ranked among the top 100 entities out of some 450 stockbroking companies there.

"OSK's business in Hong Kong has been profitable, and we hope to be among the top 50 very soon," OSK Asia group managing director Stephen Hui told reporters at a Hong Kong capital market seminar organised by the company in Petaling Jaya last Saturday.

"What we should do is to capture investors from outside Hong Kong to invest in Hong Kong," added Lee, who is also committee vice chairman of the Hong Kong Stockbrokers Association.

Hong Kong is the place to be in given the growing number of mainland China-based companies getting listed there.

Of great interest is the recent US$19 billion (RM69.3 billion) share sale in Shanghai and Hong Kong by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which had lifted investors' sentiments in Asia.

Besides Hong Kong, OSK Holdings had also obtained its shareholders' consent last February to buy a controlling 51 per cent stake in Singaporean rival DMG & Partners Securities Pte Ltd.

OSK Holdings' chief executive Ong Leong Huat had indicated that the group may buy more foreign entities to further reduce reliance on the home market.

It was reported that OSK Holdings' Singapore and Hong Kong operations are expected to generate up to a fifth of the group's net profit in the first year.

OSK Holdings' net profit rose 80 per cent to RM45.4 million in the year ended December 2005 although revenue declined 13 per cent to RM335.9 million.



The content of this article has been provided courtesy of Business Times.

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malaysia

India and Malaysia Form Tech Alliance

Malaysia and India have signed an initial bilateral agreement to ride on each other's strengths in the technology industry.

"We have formed alliances in terms of market, technology creation, protection of intellectual property and funding," Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis said.

The minister was in New Delhi, India, to attend the Asean-India Technology Summit on Tuesday and a memorandum of understanding was signed between Malaysia, representing the Asean region, and India.

Asean countries hope to draw on India's muscle in technology while India can use the region as a springboard to China and to other Islamic countries, Jamaludin told Malaysian journalists in Bangalore.

India has a Silicon Valley in Bangalore, which houses more than 250 technology giants of the world.

"India has many qualified scientists. Malaysia can ride on their talent pool and knowledge. We are working on an early tsunami warning system with the country," he said.

Jamaludin hopes to present these initiatives in a formal meeting with his Asean counterparts in Myanmar next year.

The minister met up with two Indian giants during his visit - business consulting firms Infosys Technologies Ltd and Satyam Computer Services Ltd.

The firms have expressed interest to expand their presence in Malaysia, and one of them is eyeing to invest in outsourcing business that will help create 2,500 jobs. The minister declined to reveal further. Satyam is the only one between the two that has an office in the country.

"Indian biotechnology firms have also expressed interest to invest in Malaysia, particularly in research and development, and in commercialising end products," Jamaludin said.

So far, there are 55 technology companies from India based in Malaysia.

Countries plan to ride on each other's strengths in the technology industry

Malaysia and India have signed an initial bilateral agreement to ride on each other's strengths in the technology industry.

"We have formed alliances in terms of market, technology creation, protection of intellectual property and funding," Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis said.

The minister was in New Delhi, India, to attend the Asean-India Technology Summit on Tuesday and a memorandum of understanding was signed between Malaysia, representing the Asean region, and India.

Asean countries hope to draw on India's muscle in technology while India can use the region as a springboard to China and to other Islamic countries, Jamaludin told Malaysian journalists in Bangalore.

India has a Silicon Valley in Bangalore, which houses more than 250 technology giants of the world.

"India has many qualified scientists. Malaysia can ride on their talent pool and knowledge. We are working on an early tsunami warning system with the country," he said.

Jamaludin hopes to present these initiatives in a formal meeting with his Asean counterparts in Myanmar next year.

The minister met up with two Indian giants during his visit - business consulting firms Infosys Technologies Ltd and Satyam Computer Services Ltd.

The firms have expressed interest to expand their presence in Malaysia, and one of them is eyeing to invest in outsourcing business that will help create 2,500 jobs. The minister declined to reveal further. Satyam is the only one between the two that has an office in the country.

"Indian biotechnology firms have also expressed interest to invest in Malaysia, particularly in research and development, and in commercialising end products," Jamaludin said.

So far, there are 55 technology companies from India based in Malaysia.

Countries plan to ride on each other's strengths in the technology industry

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malaysia

Asian Market: Potential Risks Ahead

Although Asian stock markets have performed very well this past year, analysts foresee a risk ahead. The next 12 months are said to prove extremely volatile for equity markets in Asia, as regional instability increases.

Although Asian stock markets have performed very well this past year, analysts foresee a risk ahead. The next 12 months are said to prove extremely volatile for equity markets in Asia, as regional instability increases.

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malaysia

ASEAN Countries Discuss Open Skies

Singapore's Prime Minister proposed an open skies agreement between China and ASEAN countries to be implemented in the coming year. Along with other sets of open-transit initiatives that are being planned, ASEAN hopes to work towards a free trade agreement with China by year 2010. With 1.7 billion people, this could be the world's biggest free trade area.

Singapore's Prime Minister proposed an open skies agreement between China and ASEAN countries to be implemented in the coming year. Along with other sets of open-transit initiatives that are being planned, ASEAN hopes to work towards a free trade agreement with China by year 2010. With 1.7 billion people, this could be the world's biggest free trade area.

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malaysia

Ringgit Appreciates Against Major Currencies

In the period from Sept. 1st to October 27th, 2006, the Malaysian ringgit appreciated against the US Dollar and most other major currencies. According to Bank Negara, the appreciation was influenced by trade and investment flows, as well as development in the G3 currencies. Depreciation on the part of other major currencies such as the euro and yen also aided the relative strengthening of the ringgit.

In the period from Sept. 1st to October 27th, 2006, the Malaysian ringgit appreciated against the US Dollar and most other major currencies. According to Bank Negara, the appreciation was influenced by trade and investment flows, as well as development in the G3 currencies. Depreciation on the part of other major currencies such as the euro and yen also aided the relative strengthening of the ringgit.

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malaysia

Asia: Stocks at a Five-Month High

Asian stocks were at a five-month high Monday as word spread that strong earnings would be reported for Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor companies. Toyota advanced ¥80 to ¥6,960. Hyundai Motor climbed 1,300 won to 77,800 won.

Asian stocks were at a five-month high Monday as word spread that strong earnings would be reported for Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor companies. Toyota advanced ¥80 to ¥6,960. Hyundai Motor climbed 1,300 won to 77,800 won.

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malaysia

Malaysia Approves US $11 Billion Worth Investments by 3 Companies

The Malaysian Government today approved 40 billion ringgit (US $11.11 billion) worth of investments by 3 companies. According to Prime Minister Najib Razak, the companies represent "various fields of the economy" although he refused to elaborate, not wanting to pre-empt company announcements.

The Malaysian Government today approved 40 billion ringgit (US $11.11 billion) worth of investments by 3 companies. According to Prime Minister Najib Razak, the companies represent "various fields of the economy" although he refused to elaborate, not wanting to pre-empt company announcements.

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malaysia

Asian Exports Slow as US Demand Eases

High oil costs and rising interest rates in the last few months has slowed US demand for Asia-made products, consequently slowing Asian exports. The US economy grew at a rate of only 2.6% in the second quarter, which is less than half of the 5.6% pace in the first quarter. Malaysia, a production base for Intel Corp. and Dell Inc, has reported a decrease in overseas sales. Bank Negara's annual growth forecast has been lowered to 5.8% from the 6.0% estimated in March. Taiwan and Singapore also saw unexpected drops in exports. Despite the ailing US economy, increased demand in other markets such as China and the EU, have already begun to compensate for the effect of the US slowdown.

High oil costs and rising interest rates in the last few months has slowed US demand for Asia-made products, consequently slowing Asian exports. The US economy grew at a rate of only 2.6% in the second quarter, which is less than half of the 5.6% pace in the first quarter. Malaysia, a production base for Intel Corp. and Dell Inc, has reported a decrease in overseas sales. Bank Negara's annual growth forecast has been lowered to 5.8% from the 6.0% estimated in March. Taiwan and Singapore also saw unexpected drops in exports. Despite the ailing US economy, increased demand in other markets such as China and the EU, have already begun to compensate for the effect of the US slowdown.

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malaysia

Asian Bankers Push for Market Reforms

An Asian Development Bank official has stated that creating a region-wide free-trade area is a realistic goal in contrast to the hopes of establishing a common market, which is currently blocked by major obstacles.  According to the official, there are currently 183 free trade agreements either signed or in negotiation across Asia, where intra-regional trade has risen to 55% last year compared to ~40% in the early 1990's.  The ultimate goal would be "consolidating these various inter-Asian FTA's into a single, Asia-wide, best practices FTA."  Howeover, many domestic issues must be resolved before most countries would be able to fully open up their markets.

An Asian Development Bank official has stated that creating a region-wide free-trade area is a realistic goal in contrast to the hopes of establishing a common market, which is currently blocked by major obstacles.  According to the official, there are currently 183 free trade agreements either signed or in negotiation across Asia, where intra-regional trade has risen to 55% last year compared to ~40% in the early 1990's.  The ultimate goal would be "consolidating these various inter-Asian FTA's into a single, Asia-wide, best practices FTA."  Howeover, many domestic issues must be resolved before most countries would be able to fully open up their markets.

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malaysia

EU Clears Malaysia of Dumping Accusation: China and Thailand Slapped with Duties

The EU has cleared Malaysia of allegations that they were dumping plastic bags (selling them at below production costs) to Europe.  An investigation was launched in June 2005 after European manufacturers complained that plastic bags exported from Asia were unfair competition, and adversely affected the local industry.  On Monday, the investigation cleared Malaysia but concluded that they would now impose duties of 28.8% and 14.3% on bags and sacks from China and Thailand, respectively.

The EU has cleared Malaysia of allegations that they were dumping plastic bags (selling them at below production costs) to Europe.  An investigation was launched in June 2005 after European manufacturers complained that plastic bags exported from Asia were unfair competition, and adversely affected the local industry.  On Monday, the investigation cleared Malaysia but concluded that they would now impose duties of 28.8% and 14.3% on bags and sacks from China and Thailand, respectively.

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malaysia

Oil Prices Fall Below $60 in Asia

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

Crude oil fell to below $60 a barrel this morning in the Asian markets. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25% since mid July. Experts say this is still a strong price, but some say its expected to rise before the end of the year.

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malaysia

Malaysia's Palm Oil Exports to India May Fall

Despite a 10% import duty cut, Malaysia's palm oil exports to India are likely to fall to 500,000 tons in 2006 from 650,000 tons in 2005.  The Indian government reduced import duties on palm oil and palmolein in August, with duties on crude products dropping to 70% from 80% and refined products dropping from 90% to 80%.  On another note, Malaysia's biofuel production should rise to 500,000 tons in 2007 from a projected 100,000 tons at the end of 2006.

Despite a 10% import duty cut, Malaysia's palm oil exports to India are likely to fall to 500,000 tons in 2006 from 650,000 tons in 2005.  The Indian government reduced import duties on palm oil and palmolein in August, with duties on crude products dropping to 70% from 80% and refined products dropping from 90% to 80%.  On another note, Malaysia's biofuel production should rise to 500,000 tons in 2007 from a projected 100,000 tons at the end of 2006.

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malaysia

Brunei to Complement Malaysia in Islamic Finance Efforts

Mr. Surachet Chaipatamanont, CEO and Director of Aseambankers Malaysia Berhad, has stated that Malaysia and Brunei could play complimentary roles in capturing the Islamic Financial Capital Market.  He advises Brunei's government to create a legal infrastructure that will establish a benchmark in Sukuk.  Sukuk is the trade of financial certificates in accordance with Islamic law, which scorns profiting from money itself - in otherwords, interest created from using money as an asset.  Strengthening ties between Brunei and the Maybank group could provide vast opportunities in strategic Islamic financing options.

Mr. Surachet Chaipatamanont, CEO and Director of Aseambankers Malaysia Berhad, has stated that Malaysia and Brunei could play complimentary roles in capturing the Islamic Financial Capital Market.  He advises Brunei's government to create a legal infrastructure that will establish a benchmark in Sukuk.  Sukuk is the trade of financial certificates in accordance with Islamic law, which scorns profiting from money itself - in otherwords, interest created from using money as an asset.  Strengthening ties between Brunei and the Maybank group could provide vast opportunities in strategic Islamic financing options.

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malaysia

Long Term China-Malaysia Gas Deal

China National Offshore Oil Corp, the country's largest global natural gas company, has signed a deal with Petronas of Malaysia to supply a large energy terminal chain located in Shanghai.  This is the first liquid natural gas deal that China has signed since 2002, and is targeted to account for 8-10% of domestic energy used by the end of this decade.   The US $5-6 per BTU price is well below the current market price for liquid natural gas delivered to North Asia, which lies in the $9-11 range, and should help foster a long term relationship between the two nations.

China National Offshore Oil Corp, the country's largest global natural gas company, has signed a deal with Petronas of Malaysia to supply a large energy terminal chain located in Shanghai.  This is the first liquid natural gas deal that China has signed since 2002, and is targeted to account for 8-10% of domestic energy used by the end of this decade.   The US $5-6 per BTU price is well below the current market price for liquid natural gas delivered to North Asia, which lies in the $9-11 range, and should help foster a long term relationship between the two nations.

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malaysia

Morgan Stanley Suggests Southeast Asian Currency

Morgan Stanely's Chief Asia Economist Andy Xie suggests purchase of some Southeast Asian currencies, as he expect them to grow more quickly than North Asian currencies. By the end of the month, Xie expect the following gains:Indonesia's Rupiah is expected to gain 1.7% to 9,000 per US$ with 14.9% on-year inflation.Thailand's Baht is expected to gain 0.7% to 37.20 per US$ with 3.8% on-year inflation.Malaysia's Ringgit is expected to gain 0.7% to 3.65 per US$ with 4.1% on-year inflation.On the other hand, South Korea's Won is expected to grow only 0.5% relative to the US$.

Morgan Stanely's Chief Asia Economist Andy Xie suggests purchase of some Southeast Asian currencies, as he expect them to grow more quickly than North Asian currencies. By the end of the month, Xie expect the following gains:Indonesia's Rupiah is expected to gain 1.7% to 9,000 per US$ with 14.9% on-year inflation.Thailand's Baht is expected to gain 0.7% to 37.20 per US$ with 3.8% on-year inflation.Malaysia's Ringgit is expected to gain 0.7% to 3.65 per US$ with 4.1% on-year inflation.On the other hand, South Korea's Won is expected to grow only 0.5% relative to the US$.

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malaysia

Malaysia Thrives on Rubber Glove Demand

Demand for medical rubber gloves has increased an average 10% growth in recent years.  Malaysia, the world's largest supplier of medical rubber gloves has enjoyed the trend, with 64.5% of it's rubber product exports coming from gloves.

Demand for medical rubber gloves has increased an average 10% growth in recent years.  Malaysia, the world's largest supplier of medical rubber gloves has enjoyed the trend, with 64.5% of it's rubber product exports coming from gloves.

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malaysia

Most Asian Markets Rise as Lower Oil Prices Boost Shares in Tokyo

Indices in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from recent loss-streaks as a fall in crude oil prices has alleviated market tension, boosting investor confidence and increasing activity.  Most east-Asian exchanges shared similar change of pace while trade in Southeast Asia remained relatively flat or declined slightly.

Indices in Hong Kong and Japan rebounded from recent loss-streaks as a fall in crude oil prices has alleviated market tension, boosting investor confidence and increasing activity.  Most east-Asian exchanges shared similar change of pace while trade in Southeast Asia remained relatively flat or declined slightly.

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malaysia

ASIA DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK 2007

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

Despite challenges from rising oil costs, commodity costs, and interest rates, the Asia Development Bank expects 7.7% growth for 2007.

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malaysia

Bank Negara's International Reserves at RM291bil

As of Aug. 30, 2006, Bank Negara Malaysia is holding international reserves of RM291.3 billion (equal to $79.3 billion).  The central bank says that it is sufficient to finance 8.1 months of retained imports and is 6.2 times the short-term external debt.  Overall assets (on balance with liabilities) are also sitting at a healthy RM320.5billion, although slightly down from the RM334.5billion posted at this time last year.  International reserves, however, are up 11.2% from the RM261.9billion (US $71.3 billion) of January this year.

As of Aug. 30, 2006, Bank Negara Malaysia is holding international reserves of RM291.3 billion (equal to $79.3 billion).  The central bank says that it is sufficient to finance 8.1 months of retained imports and is 6.2 times the short-term external debt.  Overall assets (on balance with liabilities) are also sitting at a healthy RM320.5billion, although slightly down from the RM334.5billion posted at this time last year.  International reserves, however, are up 11.2% from the RM261.9billion (US $71.3 billion) of January this year.

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malaysia

CIMB Becomes CIMB Group: Costs RM80mil

CIMB, Malaysia's top investment bank, announced yesterday that it has finished its change into a universal banking group called CIMB Group.  The rebranding is expected to cost the group RM80mil and would affect all 383 branches of CIMB.  In its new form, the group will operate three brand entities, each emphasising different types of client interactions:  CIMB Bank to represent consumer, business and direct banking, CIMB Investment Bank for investment banking, and CIMB Islamic (formerly Commerce Tijari Bank Berhad) would represent corporate banking, asset management, and private banking.  The decision to make this transformation into a universal bank began in 2004, and in the 18 months following, CIMB's staff skyrocketed from 1,000 to 20,000 persons in 12 countries worldwide.  Assets grew from RM14.7billion to RM155 billion.  CIMB Group is considering opening branches in India and China as well.

CIMB, Malaysia's top investment bank, announced yesterday that it has finished its change into a universal banking group called CIMB Group.  The rebranding is expected to cost the group RM80mil and would affect all 383 branches of CIMB.  In its new form, the group will operate three brand entities, each emphasising different types of client interactions:  CIMB Bank to represent consumer, business and direct banking, CIMB Investment Bank for investment banking, and CIMB Islamic (formerly Commerce Tijari Bank Berhad) would represent corporate banking, asset management, and private banking.  The decision to make this transformation into a universal bank began in 2004, and in the 18 months following, CIMB's staff skyrocketed from 1,000 to 20,000 persons in 12 countries worldwide.  Assets grew from RM14.7billion to RM155 billion.  CIMB Group is considering opening branches in India and China as well.

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malaysia

Alert: Swiss Cash/Swiss Mutual Funds are Not Approved

The Malaysian Securities Commission and Bank Negara issued a statement to inform the public that neither the Swiss Cash Fund, nor its promoting company the Swiss Mutual Fund, have been licensed to perform asset management or services in Malaysa. The Swiss Cash Fund is an internet-based investment program, and the Swiss Mutual Fund is a fund management firm claimed to registered overseas. Local investors are advised not to do business with these companies, as they are not licensed and therefore unprotected.

The Malaysian Securities Commission and Bank Negara issued a statement to inform the public that neither the Swiss Cash Fund, nor its promoting company the Swiss Mutual Fund, have been licensed to perform asset management or services in Malaysa. The Swiss Cash Fund is an internet-based investment program, and the Swiss Mutual Fund is a fund management firm claimed to registered overseas. Local investors are advised not to do business with these companies, as they are not licensed and therefore unprotected.

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malaysia

Trans-Borneo Highway Makes Headlines

Long-awaited highway to link Sarawak, Brunei, and Sabah.  Agreement made between Malasia and Brunei's government should mean less hassle, fewer checkpoints.  Curently the 300 km road from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kota Kinabalu requires passport endorsment ateight border checkpoints.

Long-awaited highway to link Sarawak, Brunei, and Sabah.  Agreement made between Malasia and Brunei's government should mean less hassle, fewer checkpoints.  Curently the 300 km road from Bandar Seri Begawan to Kota Kinabalu requires passport endorsment ateight border checkpoints.

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malaysia

Asian Stocks Up During U.S. Trading

Asian stocks rose due to heavy US trading for third day in a row.  Precious Metals also rallied.

Asian stocks rose due to heavy US trading for third day in a row.  Precious Metals also rallied.

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malaysia

Intel to Announce Job Cuts Today

Intel Corporation is set to announce, later on Tuesday, sweeping job cuts that could affect up to 10% of its 100,000 person staff.  This follows a second-quarter net profit decrease of 56%.  The crash is being attributed to Intel's recent price slashing so as to remain competitive with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).  Intel employs around 10,000 workers in Malaysia alone, where sources say, up to 2000 workers will be offered voluntary layoffs.

Intel Corporation is set to announce, later on Tuesday, sweeping job cuts that could affect up to 10% of its 100,000 person staff.  This follows a second-quarter net profit decrease of 56%.  The crash is being attributed to Intel's recent price slashing so as to remain competitive with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).  Intel employs around 10,000 workers in Malaysia alone, where sources say, up to 2000 workers will be offered voluntary layoffs.

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editor picks 

Other Important News In Malaysia


Malaysia: Ringgit Bond Issuance To Drop In 2009

The Malaysian Rating Corporation Bhd (MARC) is expecting that Ringgit bond issuance will drop further to between RM25 billion and RM30 billion as the global economic downturn continues.

The Malaysian Rating Corporation Bhd (MARC) is expecting that Ringgit bond issuance will drop further to between RM25 billion and RM30 billion as the global economic downturn continues. Total bond issuance dropped by 8.3 percent to RM49 billion in 2008 after hitting a record high of RM54 billion in 2007. It is hoped that the establishment of the Financial Guarantee Institution (FGI) will encourage lower rated issuers to come back to the market.

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Malaysia To Take Extra Measures If Global Economy Worsens

Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that Malaysia has the capacity to take additional measures if the global economy worsens and financial conditions fail to stabilize after the second half of the year.

Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz said that Malaysia has the capacity to take additional measures if the global economy worsens and financial conditions fail to stabilize after the second half of the year. These measures include stimulus measures and monetary measures. The central bank has forecast growth in 2009 between 0.1 percent and 1 percent and unemployment to increase from 3.7 percent last year to 4.5 percent this year.

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New Dutch Investment in Malaysia

The Netherlands is set to launch a new investment in Malaysia during the Netherlands' Council for Trade Promotion chairman, Jochum Haakma's visit to the country on March 25.

The Netherlands is set to launch a new investment in Malaysia during the Netherlands' Council for Trade Promotion chairman, Jochum Haakma's visit to the country on March 25. The Netherlands has invested over RM1.8 billion in Malaysia, making it the country's 8th largest foreign investor. A statement from the Dutch embassy said that the current economic climate will not stop Dutch traders and investors from looking into opportunities abroad, particularly in the Asian region.

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Malaysia To Forge New Economic Model

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Thursday that Malaysia will use the current economic downturn as a springboard to forge a new economic model by using knowledge as its lead.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Thursday that Malaysia will use the current economic downturn as a springboard to forge a new economic model by using knowledge as its lead. The government will invest in education and technology to strengthen the country's information technologies, renewable energy and emerging sectors of the new economy. The goal is to harness the talent, energy and drive of all Malaysians.

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Malaysia To Tap Growing Islamic Tourism

Malaysia launched the Islamic Tourism Center (ITC) today in Malacca with hopes to encourage tourist arrivals from Muslim nations and Muslim communities abroad.

Malaysia launched the Islamic Tourism Center (ITC) today in Malacca with hopes to encourage tourist arrivals from Muslim nations and Muslim communities abroad. They see the Islamic tourism sector as a potential boon for the country's tourism industry. Islamic tourism covers numerous aspects, including the economy and the arts. ITC was set up after several Muslim nations requested for it to help Malaysia share their tourism experience.

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Malaysian Government Unveils RM60b Stimulus Package

The Malaysian government has unveiled a stimulus package worth RM60 billion, about 9 percent of gross domestic product to boost economic activity.

The Malaysian government has unveiled a stimulus package worth RM60 billion, about 9 percent of gross domestic product to boost economic activity. The package will run through 2009 and 2010. Of the RM60 billion, RM15 billion is fiscal injection, RM25 billion guarantee funds, RM10 billion equity interests, RM7 billion private finance initiative and off budget projects and RM3 billion in tax incentives. The higher government expenditures will increase the federal budget deficit from 4.8 percent to 7.6 percent this year.

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Malaysia Plans Biggest Debt Auction Since 2004

Malaysia's finance ministry will be selling RM4.5 billion ($1.21 billion) of securities maturing in April 2014 on March 12.

Malaysia's finance ministry will be selling RM4.5 billion ($1.21 billion) of securities maturing in April 2014 on March 12. This is the biggest single debt auction the country is holding since 2004, when the treasury sold RM5 billion of three-year notes. The government aims to boost public spending to prevent a recession. Next week's auction will take the government's bond sales this year to RM20 billion, making it the busiest start to a year since the publishing of auction statistics in 1999. The government is also set to unveil a "bigger and more comprehensive" stimulus package on March 10.

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Malaysia's Palm Oil At 'Manageable' Level

Malaysia's Commodities Minister, Datuk Peter Chin, recently said that palm oil has been trading at a “manageable” level since the country introduced measures to cut output last year.

Malaysia's Commodities Minister, Datuk Peter Chin, recently said that palm oil has been trading at a "manageable" level since the country introduced measures to cut output last year. Malaysia, the world's second-biggest producer of palm oil after Indonesia, has been trading the commodity for between RM1,400 and RM1,900 per metric ton, which, according to Chin, is sufficient to provide the country with the export earnings that it needs . Malaysia and Indonesia, who together accounts for 90 percent of global palm oil output, agreed in November to replant old estates, effectively cutting annual output by as much as 800,000 metric tons

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Malaysia Cuts Key Interest Rate To 2%

The Bank Negara Malaysia, the country's central bank, cut its key rate by 50 basis points to 2 percent on Tuesday.

The Bank Negara Malaysia, the country's central bank, cut its key rate by 50 basis points to 2 percent on Tuesday. It cited their rising concern about Malaysia's economic growth as a reason for cutting the rate. It also cut the commercial banks' statutory reserve requirement by 100 basis points to 1 percent, starting on March 1. This was the third interest rate cut and came after a 75 basis point cut in January.

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Malaysia's Commodities Earn Record in 2008, Expected To Slow This Year

Malaysia earned a record RM112.4 billion for exporting commodities in 2008.

Malaysia earned a record RM112.4 billion for exporting commodities in 2008. Palm oil makes up the majority of the country's commodity exports, accounting for over 57 percent of earnings last year. But exports of commodities are expected to fall this year as prices have fallen. Palm oil prices have fallen from RM4,486 per tonne in March last year to around RM1,900 this month.

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