Brent crude rises 5.33% to US$30.81 per barrel at 2.22pm.
Ringgit up 1.75% to 4.3050 versus the US dollar at 2.46pm.
Top foreign stories
China VP says no plans to devalue yuan: China has no intention to devalue its currency, the country’s Vice-President Li Yuanchao has said, following a sudden drop in the value of the yuan that spooked global markets this month. — AFP
EU is‘falling apart’, Soros warns: The European Union is “falling apart”, American financier George Soros warned as part of wide-ranging remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday. The magnate and philanthropist also said China’s economy was experiencing a hard landing, the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates too late, and Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was “doing the work” of the Islamic State (IS) group. — AFP
Portugal aims to cut budget deficit to 2.6% of GDP: Portugal’s government said on Thursday it aims to cut the country’s budget deficit to 2.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, a more aggressive plan than expected due to European Union pressure. — AFP
Australia’s ASX set to lead in blockchain for public companies: Australian markets operator ASX Ltd on Friday said it has bought a minority stake in a US blockchain developer, positioning itself to become the first stock exchange in the world to use distributed ledger technology for public companies. — Reuters
Japan finance ministry vows to implement 2017 sales tax hike ‘without fail’: Japan will raise its sales tax to 10% from 8% in April 2017 “without fail” to win trust from markets and other countries, Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday. — Reuters
To ease or not to ease; weak oil, wild markets put BoJ in tight spot: The damage done by plunging oil prices and global markets to the Bank of Japan (BoJ)’s hopes of achieving 2% inflation could prompt policymakers to consider easing monetary policy further next week, sources familiar with its thinking say. — Reuters
China’s AgBank may lose US$578m through suspected bill fraud: The Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (AgBank) may lose 3.8 billion yuan (US$578 million) from a bills of exchange scam allegedly carried out by two employees, the influential financial publication Caixin reported. — Reuters
Australia’s Santos seeks to cut more costs amid oil slump: Australian oil and gas producer Santos Ltd, whose shares are at 23-year lows, said on Friday it is looking for more ways to slash costs to help weather the slump in oil prices after cutting capital spending more than expected in 2015. — Reuters
Top local stories
Moody’s says Petronas placed on review for downgrade: Moody's Investors Service has placed the ratings of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and six south and south east Asian exploration and production and integrated oil companies on review for downgrade. The ratings agency said on Friday the review was because oil prices have deteriorated substantially in the past few weeks and have reached nominal price lows not seen in more than a decade.
Sessions court adjourns Repco Low’s sentencing: The Kuala Lumpur sessions court has adjourned the sentencing of Low Thiam Hock, better known as “Repco Low” in stock market circles, to Feb 15. Low was found guilty on Jan 11 for manipulation of Repco Holdings Bhd shares. — StarBiz
Malaysia Airlines offers up to 50% discount for Enrich members: Malaysia Airlines is offering members of its Enrich loyalty programme worldwide eight days of flight redemptions of 30%-50% on selected destinations, including Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo. The redemption period is between Jan 25 and Feb 1, and is valid for travel between Feb 18 and May 31, it said. — Bernama
Mercury Industries unit wins RM106.6m PR1MA contract: MERCURY INDUSTRIES BHD subsidiary Paramount Bounty Sdn Bhd has secured a RM106.6 million contract from Upaya Jernih Sdn Bhd for the construction of 648 serviced apartment units and external works under the Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia scheme. — Bernama
Country Garden unveils RM175b ‘Forest City’ project: “Forest City”, a lush urban getaway on four man-made islands in Iskandar Malaysia was formally unveiled on Friday by Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed property developer. Sprawled over 1,386.05ha, Forest City is a joint development with Johor’s Esplanade Danga 88 Sdn Bhd and has an estimated investment of S$58.3 billion (RM175.8 billion) over the next 20 years. — Bernama
Malaysia’s economy seen stabilising in H2: There is a good chance Malaysia’s economy will stabilise in the second half of this year as there is a possibility the price of global benchmark, Brent crude, will rebound, said OCBC Bank (M) Bhd chief economist Selena Ling. — Bernama
Bukit Bintang City Centre first phase to be launched in Q2: Phase one of the multi-billion ringgit Bukit Bintang City Centre (BBCC) in the city’s Golden Triangle, is expected to be launched by the second quarter of 2016. Master planned by Jerde Partnership, the development at the 19.4-acre site at the junction of Jalan Imbi and Jalan Pudu or the former Pudu Jail, will have a total gross development value of RM8.7bil. — StarBiz
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