KUALA LUMPUR: Business sentiment in the second half of this year remains buoyant, a survey by the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCIM) shows.
More than 80% of the respondents forecast “good” and “satisfactory” sales performance for their businesses in the period.
The survey covered 286 respondents across all sectors and industries, mainly wholesale and retail, manufacturing, professional and business services, and construction.
About 78% of the respondents said they believed that their firms' sales performance were either “good” or “satisfactory” in the first half this year, a slight drop compared with 82% in the final six months of last year.
ACCIM said the dip in sales performance was in line with the general moderation of economic growth in Malaysia, which in turn was caused by weaknesses in advanced economies and disruptions in the global manufacturing supply chain arising from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier this year.
The chamber also said that on the whole businesses were able to sustain their local sales prices in the first half this year.
About 7% of the respondents said they experienced increased sales prices against 11% in the second half of last year while 70% saw no change in sales prices in the first half this year against 69% in the last six months of 2010. This trend was expected to continue in the second half this year, ACCIM said.
In terms of employment, the survey found the market remained largely unchanged as 78% of businesses recorded “unchanged” number of employees in the first half of this year.
In what may be an indicator of the expected increased level of activities in the coming months, 15% of the respondents said their businesses would experience “increased” number of employees in the second half of this year, ACCIM said.
Meanwhile, at a press conference, ACCIM president Tan Sri William Cheng who is also chairman of the Lion Group said the company was willing for the Government to set a ceiling price for local hot-rolled coils if it felt that the company was “making too much profit”.
Lion Corp's main business is in the manufacture of flat steel products and cold finished steel bars. It also produces steel furniture, and assembles and distributes light trucks.
Cheng said the Government allowed zero import duty on hot-rolled coils from Indonesia and Thailand, which imposed 48% and 43% duties respectively on the same products shipped from Malaysia to those countries.
“We feel that it is not fair and we are asking for a safeguard from the Government to protect us,” he said.
, adding in jest that the group was considering investing in Indonesia in the area of hot-rolled coils.
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