Top foreign and local stories at 4pm

  • Business
  • Thursday, 04 Feb 2016

The IMF is pressing Japan to raise the sales tax rate to 10% in October 2015, while also voicing support for the Bank of Japan's (HQ in pix) epic monetary injection into the economy - Reuters Photo.


Brent crude was 1.80% higher to US$35.67 per barrel at 2.16pm.


Ringgit up 1.45% to 4.1573 versus the US dollar at 2.40pm

Top foreign stories 

BoJ not engaging in currency war with negative rates, says Kuroda: Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank was not engaging in a currency war by adopting negative interest rates, stressing that the move was aimed at stimulating the economy through lower borrowing costs. — Reuters

Foxconn gains negotiating rights for Sharp, prevails over Japan fund: Struggling electronics maker Sharp Corp has decided to give Taiwan’s Foxconn preferred negotiating rights in takeover talks, choosing its more generous offer over a rescue plan from a Japanese state-backed fund, sources said. Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, offered to invest around 700 billion yen (US$5.9 billion) in Sharp, more than double the amount of investment proposed by the fund, one source said. — Reuters

RBS calls off planned sale of India banking business: Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) has decided to call off a planned sale of its India banking business and will instead look at options including winding it down, the lender said on Thursday. — Reuters

ChemChina to fund US$43b Syngenta bid with recourse, non-recourse debt
: State-owned China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) plans to borrow about US$30 billion in recourse loans to help fund its US$43 billion bid for Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta, Thomson Reuters LPC said on Thursday, citing banking sources familiar with the plans. — REuters

Patent case jury orders Apple to pay more than US$625m: A Texas jury on Wednesday said that Apple should pay US$625.6 million for violating patents held by a US company devoted to patent litigation. Jurors in a federal court agreed that Apple had infringed on VirnetX Holding Corporation patents in its iMessage and FaceTime services as well as in its VPN on Demand, according to VirnetX lawyers. — AFP

Portugal bows to EU pressure to lower budget deficit: Portugal has agreed to lower its 2016 budget deficit and growth forecasts following pressure from the European Commission, a government official told AFP on Wednesday. The new Socialist-led minority government, allied with the radical left, cut its projected budget deficit to 2.4% of gross domestic product (GDP), from 2.6% announced two weeks before, the source said. — AFP

Pakistan shelves plan to privatise power firms, angering IMF: Pakistan has shelved plans to privatise its power supply companies and will miss deadlines to sell other loss-making state firms, reneging on promises Islamabad had made to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for a US$6.7 billion bailout three years ago. — Reuters

Oil bears closing of US$600m triple-short fund bet seen adding to tumult: This week’s roller-coaster ride in the global crude oil market was likely fuelled in part by the sudden liquidation of a US$600 million leveraged fund bet on falling prices, market sources said on Wednesday. — Reuters

Top local stories

Maxis Q4 earnings up 38% to RM468m: Maxis Bhd’s earnings rose 38% to RM468mil in the fourth quarter on a 2.5% higher revenue of RM2.176bil versus RM2.123bil a year earlier. The telco announced on Thursday earnings per share were 6.2 sen versus 4.5 sen before. It announced a dividend of five sen a share. For FY15, earnings rose 1.2% to RM1.747bil while revenue increased by 2.5% to RM8.601bil. — StarBiz

Mustapa: TPPA promises greater market access: Businesses in Malaysia, including small and medium-scale enterprises, are looking forward to greater market access under the just-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said. — Bernama

Key points of TPPA:

* Reduces over time thousands of small and large tariff and non-tariff barriers on trade between members, from Japanese auto parts to the US market, Australian drugs to Peru, US rice to Japan and New Zealand cheese to Canada.
* The 12 countries must open state procurement further to foreign competition and not give state-owned enterprises undue preference.
* Disputes with foreign investors are to be resolved before expert panels.
* Establishes 5- to 8-year patent protections for certain kinds of cutting-edge drugs, less than the 12-year US threshold but more than Australia’s five years.
* Sets common standards for the cross-border issues of e-commerce and financial services.   
* Requires countries to live up to the labour rights and fairness standards of the International Labor Organisation.
* Signatories are obliged to make strong efforts towards environmental protection. - AFP

Celcom’s net additional expenditure at RM1b to RM2b: Celcom Axiata Bhd is expected to spend an additional RM1bil to RM2bil over the next 10 years for sites and equipment required to achieve its long term plan on network quality and coverage. Its parent Axiata said on Thursday the additional expenditure was to make up for the loss of 7MHz of thr 900MHz spectrum band and 5MHz of the 1800MHz spectrum band. — StarBiz

ASTRO secures EPL rights for next 3 seasons
: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd announced it has won the rights to broadcast English Premier League (EPL) matches for the next three seasons from 2016/17 to 2018/19. The agreement will see all 380 EPL matches in each season being made available live on Astro TV and on all mobile devices via Astro on the Go. — StarBiz

EPF says it will sell BAT stake at right price: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) plans to dispose of its stake in British American Tobacco (BAT) at the right price, deputy chief executive officer (investment) Datuk Mohamad Nasir Ab Latif said. The pension fund has a 6.7% direct stake in the tobacco firm and owns a further 0.7% via an external fund manager. — Bernama
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