Business summary from April 26 to May 2

Bank Negara Malaysia has appointed Abd. Rahman Abu Bakar as assistant governor effective May 1.

Business summary from April 26 to May 2


Banks to cut down on branches, office space
  • This week alone, Standard Chartered said it would shut down half its branches and slash office space worldwide by a third in order to save costs as global lockdowns have greatly reduced the need for physical branches and offices.
  • Across the Causeway, OCBC Bank said this week that it would review its current need for office space and could be reducing the number of its branches as well.
  • In Malaysia, this trend is set to take place soon if it has not already, according to banks as well as industry observers.
Bank Negara appoints Abd. Rahman as assistant governor
  • Bank Negara Malaysia has appointed Abd. Rahman Abu Bakar as assistant governor effective May 1.
  • He has served various departments in the bank, including financial intelligence and enforcement, special investigation, insurance regulation, strategic planning, human resource management and economics.
  • Abd. Rahman succeeds Mohd Adhari Belal Din, who is leaving the bank on May 11 following 14 years of service.
Maybank Islamic launches MAIA Global Healthcare
  • Maybank Islamic Bhd launched its second Multi-Asset Investment Account-i (MAIA) called MAIA Global Healthcare.
  • Opened to investors since April 22 this year, the fundinvests equally in the bank's stable financing assets and global shariah healthcare equities.
  • Maybank Islamic said MAIA Global Healthcare is an 18-month closed ended multi-asset investment account with the investment objective to achieve a target return of 6% over 18 months or 4% per annum.
Zeti steps down as PNB chairman
  • The chairman of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz will be stepping down with effect from April 30 after three years with the board.
  • PNB said Zeti had officially written to the Prime Minister and Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputra (YPB) chairman to express her intention not to renew her tenure as group chairman upon the completion of her three-year term on April 30.
  • PNB president and group chief executive Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn said the board and management were grateful to Zeti for her visionary leadership and invaluable contribution to PNB, ASNB, and the PNB group of companies these past three years.


Palm oil benchmark shoots past RM4,000
  • The crude palm oil (CPO) futures contract on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives rallied to post its biggest single-day gain and close at a 31-day high on April 27, with the benchmark July contract hovering above the RM4,000 level.
  • Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics owner and co-founder Dr Sathia Varqa said the CPO futures buying was sparked by a surge in the related soybean oil, which hit limit-up to lock in a 3.59 per cent rise on the Chicago Board of Trade.
  • "Palm oil was riding on the back of the gains in soybean oil today. However, demand outlook for May is gloomy from the devastating impact of COVID-19 enveloping the world’s largest buyer, India.

Malaysia clinches major oil palm deal with Saudi Arabia
  • In what is seen as a major breakthrough for Malaysia, Saudi Arabia will become Malaysia's hub for the import and distribution of palm oil and palm oil related products into the lucrative Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Middle East and North African (MENA) markets.
  • International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia would also increase the import of palm oil and related products from Malaysia.
  • Malaysia would also look into the setting up of palm oil refinery and processing plants in the region, he wrote in his twitter account, highlighting the highly-successful outcome of his trade and investment mission to Saudi Arabia.

Honda Malaysia recalls additional 77,708 vehicles over fuel pump issue
  • Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd is recalling 77,708 vehicles to replace fuel pumps as a precautionary measure.
  • Honda Malaysia said the recall was to replace the fuel pump in these vehicles as a precautionary measure.

Bitcoin facing make-or-break moment
  • Bitcoin is facing a make-or-break moment following a recent bout of selling, according to technical analysis.
  • Though the cryptocurrency has rebounded above its average price over the past 100 days, it's still trading below its 50-day moving average.
  • Technical indicators suggest breaking out might not be an easy feat - bitcoin failed to do so on several occasions last week.

Inflation inching up
  • The low base effect is a key reason, as petrol and diesel prices are much higher compared with the levels seen a year ago, despite government subsidy.
  • Alliance Bank chief economist Manokaran Mottain said inflation would continue to pick up in the next two to three months.
  • He urged the government to strengthen price control enforcement to prevent unscrupulous traders from taking advantage of consumers.
  • The government has fixed the RON95 and diesel prices at RM2.05 and RM2.15 per litre respectively.
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