KUALA LUMPUR: CGS-CIMB Equities Research estimates the daily economic losses due to the second round of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO), which takes effect from Jan 13 to 26, at RM750mil.
In its strategy report issued on Tuesday, it said the losses would be higher than the RM200mil incurred under the existing Conditional MCO (CMCO) but significantly less painful than the RM2.4bil lost during the first MCO from March to May last year.
“As such, we expect each fortnight of MCO implementation to reduce our full-year GDP growth forecast of 7.5% for 2021F by RM10bil, or 0.7 percentage point, ” it said.
CGS-CIMB Research issued the report ahead of the King's proclamation of a state of emergency nationwide from Tuesday (Jan 12) until Aug 1 as a proactive measure to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah agreed to the decision after a meeting with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday (Jan 11).
The research house said its projections also face downside risks arising from potential delays in the administration of Covid-19 vaccines with the government anticipating it would take 18 months to inoculate 70%-80% of the population relative to its baseline scenario of vaccination by end-2021.
“Given the risk the MCO may be extended beyond Jan 26, additional policy support may be needed to support the economy.
“The government could accelerate or augment measures under Budget 2021, including cash payments, though fiscal constraints, particularly on the government debt ceiling, may curb its ability to announce large fiscal stimulus measures in the near term, ” it said.
CGS-CIMB Research also expected Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to debate further monetary policy easing at its next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Jan 20 and it did not discount further cuts to the overnight policy rate (OPR), currently at 1.75%.
The research house said the number of new Covid-19 cases have recently surged to a new record high of 3,027 (Jan 7) and the pandemic has overwhelmed the country’s major public hospitals.
“Based on our preliminary assessment, the MCO could negatively impact:
1) brewers (due to weaker on-trade sales);
2) consumer (due to lower footfall, reduced dining-out activities and shorter operating hours);
3) gaming (due to lower NFO sales and reduced visitors to Genting Highlands due to travel restrictions);
4) REITs (due to lower retail mall footfall/visitations and tenant sales, cancellation of hotel bookings); and
5) airlines/airports (due to interstate travel ban) and 6) banks (as it raises the possibility of OPR cuts).
“Overall, the new restrictions are not expected to significantly impact KLCI earnings if it is not extended beyond two weeks. However, it is likely to dampen market sentiment on concerns over potential earnings disappointment.
“We maintain our end-2021 KLCI target of 1,759 (based on an unchanged 16.2 times forward P/E), though we expect near-term sentiment to be impacted by this news on corporate earnings risk concern. Our top three picks remain intact: Inari, Public Bank and Telekom, ” it said.
The research house has an Add call for Inari-Amertron Bhd with a target price of RM3. Inari is a proxy for rising demand for radio frequency (RF) chips, on the back of 5G mobile network migration and its new system-in-package capacity expansion at P34. It expects Inari's RF division to deliver 35% yoy sales growth in FY6/21F.
As for Public Bank, which it has an Add call, its target price is RM25. The bank is its top pick among Malaysian banks as it believes the bank is the most defensive against credit risks arising from the Covid-19 outbreak. The credit charge-off rate of 20-25bp it guided for FY20F is the lowest in the sector.
It has an Add call and target price of RM5.60 for Telekom. It said the telco is its top Malaysia telco pick due to its robust FY21F/22F core EPS growth (+11%/+6%), driven by higher Internet and data service revenue plus cost containment. Telekom's FY21F EV/operating free cashflow is also at a c.20% discount to its mobile peers.