Business news summary for Jan 17 to 23

Bank Negara likely to raise interest rate in 2022

  • HSBC Group Asian economics research co-head Frederic Neumann expected Bank Negara to raise its overnight policy rate (OPR) by 50 basis points this year, on the back of stronger domestic demand and strong exports numbers as the world economy recovers from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Bank Negara has kept its OPR at 1.75% since July 2020, when it cut the rate from 2% to support economic growth that was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order to curb infection rate.
  • The OPR at 1.75% is the lowest on record since 2004.

Where is Malaysia heading?

  • Rising hype for the metaverse seemed to spell decline for the physical economy.
  • But, digital natives do need a physical shelter.
  • Future tech does not make physical resources obsolete.

Phase one of Putrajaya MRT line still undergoing rectification

  • The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Putrajaya Phase One line is still undergoing some rectification by the turnkey contractor in preparation for full operations, said MRT Corporation Sdn Bhd.
  • On Nov 16, 2021, MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim said the line may be ready for revenue service in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022.
  • Prior to the announcement, MRT Corp had postponed the opening date for MRT Putrajaya Line Phase One from August to mid-November 2021.

Hong Leong Assurance announces several appointments

  • New chief marketing officer Yoon Szu-Mae's recent tenure was with the AIA Group where she held various positions including CMO in Vietnam, and regional business development director based out of Hong Kong.
  • Chief digital & innovation officer Elmen Tan Yew Seng Tan has diverse experience in various areas of technology spanning artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and leading teams to execute big digital transformation agendas. Prior to joining HLA, Tan was the chief operations offer of AXA Malaysia's General Insurance business.

HSBC Malaysia launches multi-currency digital wallet for SMEs

  • HSBC Malaysia has launched the country's first multi-currency digital wallet that enables small-and-medium enterprises (SME) to make international transactions from one single global account.
  • The bank said the HSBC Global Wallet is fully integrated within its existing business banking platform, HSBCnet.
  • According to HSBC, the Global Wallet significantly reduces the time money can be delivered to an overseas beneficiary and removes the need for third-party providers for international transactions.

Cyber risk alert for banks

  • There will also be additional safeguards, such as a cooling-off period before implementation of requests for key account changes such as in a customer's key contact details as well as dedicated and well-resourced customer assistance teams to deal with feedback on potential fraud cases on a priority basis, the authorities say.
  • Notably, customer vigilance is of paramount importance, according to MAS and ABS.
  • Research fellow at think-thank Centre for Market Education Liew Chee Yoong agrees that banks can tighten the security features of their banking and transaction systems to reduce the likelihood of fraud as well as aggressively educate their clients on how to protect against fraud and other banking security issues.

Oil rises to more than 7-year high on Mideast tensions

  • Oil prices rose on Tuesday to a more than seven-year high on worries about possible supply disruptions after Yemen's Houthi group attacked the United Arab Emirates, escalating hostilities between the Iran-aligned group and a Saudi Arabian-led coalition.
  • Brent crude futures were up 44 cents, or 0.5%, at $86.92 a barrel at 0230 GMT, after earlier hitting a high of $87.00, their highest since Oct. 30, 2014.
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures jumped 81 cents, or 1%, from Friday's settlement to $84.62 a barrel, just off a more than two-month high of $84.78 hit earlier.

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