The Week That Was - Covid pressures ringgit

The local currency is down 1.3% against the US dollar so far in May as Malaysia overtook the global pandemic hotspot of India in confirmed infections per capita.

Covid-19 heaps pressure on ringgit

THE worsening Covid-19 pandemic in the country is taking a toll on the ringgit, as the government tightens movement restrictions to curb the spread of the highly-infectious virus.

The local currency is down 1.3% against the US dollar so far in May as Malaysia overtook the global pandemic hotspot of India in confirmed infections per capita.

The currency has come under siege on concerns that the curbs on movements aimed at tackling a fierce new wave of infections will hurt an economy showing nascent signs of a recovery.

Still, the weaker ringgit would help make exports more competitive.

The Department of Statistics is scheduled to release the latest monthly trade figures today, with the market projecting another record month in April thanks to surging commodity prices.

The benchmark crude palm oil futures contract continued to hold above RM4,000 a tonne.

It had rallied to as high as RM4,525 a tonne this month. Meanwhile, Brent crude oil was traded at around US$69 (RM285.52) per barrel yesterday, near the year’s high of US$71.38 (RM295.37).

RWG suspends casino business

Genting Malaysia Bhd on Monday announced it had suspended casino operations at Resorts World Genting (RWG) to comply with the latest movement control order (MCO 3.0), while its other businesses remained open.

This was the latest blow suffered by the group, which was already struggling with a steep drop in visitors due to the pandemic.

Its domestic leisure and hospitality business registered a loss in the first quarter ended March 31 (Q1) after RWG was closed from Jan 13 to Feb 16 under MCO 2.0.

CGS-CIMB Research said RWG’s cash burn while closed was RM4mil a day.

The ongoing travel restrictions, coupled with the casino closure, are likely to hit its results in the second quarter.

Meanwhile work on the Genting SkyWorlds outdoor theme park remained on track for completion in Q3 of this year, but the company has not set an opening date due to the Covid-19 uncertainties

Prasarana chairman Tajuddin sacked

THE government on Wednesday terminated Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman from his post as the non-executive chairman of Prasarana Malaysia Bhd with immediate effect.

The move came amid a massive public backlash over his disastrous and embarrassing conduct at a Tuesday press conference following a train accident that had resulted in more than 200 people injured.

Prasarana, the urban transport company, is 100% owned by the Ministry of Finance Inc.

On Monday night, two light rail trains (LRTs) from opposite directions on the Kelana Jaya line collided in an underground tunnel near Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).

The incident left 47 people severely injured and 166 others with light injuries in the worst accident so far involving LRTs.

Tajuddin, the Member of Parliament for Pasir Salak, was appointed to the post on May 11,2020.

Strong start for Axiata

SHARES in Axiata Group Bhd, the regional telecommunication company, climbed yesterday after its core earnings in the first quarter beat market expectations.

Analysts said the firm has reiterated its guidance for a single-digit growth for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) despite tough competition in key markets.

Potential re-rating catalysts for the stock include the Celcom-Digi merger materialising and faster-than-expected earnings recovery.

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