Election give-aways are the oldest political trick in the book.
But in Malaysia the prime minister, Najib Razak, is taking them to a new level with the distribution of cash handouts to low-income workers as he prepares to fight a tight election with the country’s opposition.
With the opposition making its own splurge pledges, the voters face some tempting offers. But investors may be less enthralled by the potential pressure on future budgets. Continue reading »
Bose, the US maker of speakers and home entertainment systems, has chosen what to some might seem an unexpected location for its first manufacturing plant in Asia: Penang, on Malaysia’s western coast.
The plant will be the sixth for Bose worldwide, allowing it to supply markets in Asia more easily than from places such as Mexico, where it already has a plant. Continue reading »
By Christian Lewis and Shaun Levine of Eurasia
The government is unlikely to be unseated in Malaysia’s upcoming parliamentary election, which is good news for the business environment. A win by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will eliminate most investors’ concerns about instability that have recently contributed to market volatility.
That said, given the complexities of Malaysian politics, a reduced margin of victory for the incumbent could still impact the speed with which BN’s ambitious reforms are introduced. Continue reading »
Promoting investment into places like Sabah, on the eastern tip of Malaysia’s bit of Borneo, isn’t easy at the best of times. It is a remote part of Southeast Asia known mostly for spectacular diving and eco-tourism in lush rain forests.
But with the launch on Tuesday of air and ground assaults against Filipino insurgents in eastern Sabah, a few brave souls from the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority appeared at a Singapore hotel at an exhibition showcasing investing in Malaysia. Continue reading »
While much of the rest of the world is sneezing, Malaysia is successfully fending off a cold. The economy exceeded expectations on Friday – not for the first time in recent months – with year-on-year GDP growth of 5.2 per cent in the third quarter. Continue reading »
Investors haven’t loved Malaysia this year, but they’ve liked it enough. The ringgit is one of the better performing currencies in the region, while bankers have been able to get away a number of big ticket IPOs – albeit with some help from the country’s pension funds.
But, with an election a maximum of six months away, is the market showing complacency? Continue reading »
Emerging markets haven’t quite lost their capacity to deliver a pleasant surprise. With the global economy slowing fast, economists had forecast 4.6 per cent for Malaysia’s GDP growth in the three months to the end of June.
On Wednesday, the central bank came out with a figure of 5.4 per cent year-on-year, and, for good measure revised upwards its estimate for the first quarter from 4.7 per cent to 4.9 per cent. Powering the way was investment, both private and public, with the government splurging ahead of parliamentary elections expected later this year. While that raises questions about the prospects for next year, for the moment, investors like what they see. Continue reading »
It’s not all doom and gloom. Malaysian exports were up 5.4 per cent year on year in June, and up 5.9 per cent for the first half of 2012, beating market expectations comfortably.
Sales to China played a large part, up 13.2 per cent and representing nearly 14 per cent of all Malaysia’s exports. Continue reading »
The last glimmer of light before the storm? Malaysia’s exports rebounded sharply in May by 6.7 per cent, after two months of decline, while imports rose 16.2 per cent, cutting the trade surplus to $1.5bn, its lowest in 10 years.
Evidence, perhaps, of the resilience of Asian exports and the strength of Malaysian consumer demand, driven by the ever-present rise of the middle class? Up to a point – but don’t pin too much hope on one set of numbers. Continue reading »