Analyst upgrades view on plantation sector

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd’s research arm (MIDF Research) upgraded its rating on Malaysia’s plantation sector to ‘positive’, premised on its better prospects in 2018.

In a report, it saw that while the KL Plantation Index (KLPLN) has weakened throughout the year, it believed that the underperformance of the index has now reached an end.

“We upgrade the plantation sector to positive due to five reasons; consensus palm oil price forecasts are too pessimistic, demand outlook for palm oil is better in 2018, supply growth for palm oil to weaken in 2018, soybean production should decline for both Brazil and Argentina in 2018, and strong set of earnings (are) expected in the upcoming November result season,” it said.

It explained the KLPLN decline was mainly caused by the decline in futures palm oil price to the lowest point of RM2,398 per metric tonne (MT) at June 13, 2017 (from RM2,822 per MT as of March 8, 2017) before it rebounding to RM2,778 per MT as of October 24, 2017.

“Our expectation that palm oil price peak should have been reached (at that time) and price is unlikely to surge above RM3,000 per MT has generally materialise.

“Over the same period, KLPLN Index performance of negative five per cent has also underperformed FBM KLCI’s 0.4 per cent. We believe that the underperformance of KLPLN was justified but it has now reached an end,” it opined.

The research team believed that the cnsensus’ palm oil price forecasts for average palm oil price in 2017, which range between RM2,600 to RM2,700 per MT, are too pessimistic.

“With year to date (YTD) palm oil price of RM2,850 per MT and three-months futures palm oil price traded at above RM2,700 per MT, we believe that consensus forecasts are too pessimistic.

“For 2018, our contrarian average palm oil price estimate of RM2,900 per MT differs from consensus range of RM2,400 to RM2,600 per MT.

“We believe that the key difference is our view on demand as we estimate that the demand growth of four per cent to 66.49 million MT in 2018 to exceed 2017 growth of 2.5 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to 63.93 million MT. For 2017, we have also increased our average CPO price estimate to RM2,825 per MT (from RM2,725 per MT),” it said.

Aside from that, MIDF Research believed that demand for palm oil is expected to be better in 2018.

“We estimate global palm oil consumption to increase by four per cent or by 2.56 million MT to 66.49 million MT. This is expected to surpass the growth of 2.5 per cent or 1.55 million MT in 2017 to 63.93 million MT.

“The higher palm oil consumption is in line with better economy condition expected for 2018,” it opined, noting that World Bank estimated a better GDP growth in 2018 at 2.9 per cent (against 2.7 per cent in 2017).

It also noted that Indonesia is expected to lead the consumption growth at nine per cent y-o-y or 0.85 million MT to 10.38 million MT in view of the supportive biodiesel mandate in the country.

With the rise in demand, MIDF Research opined that supply growth for palm oil could weaken in 2018. It also believed that the uptrend in production of palm oil would end soon.

“We expect global palm oil production growth to slow down to 4.3 per cent or 2.82 million MT to 68.23 million MT in 2018.

“The minimal growth of 4.3 per cent is likely to be significantly lower than 2017’s 12.3 per cent growth y-o-y or 7.19million MT to 65.41m MT in 2017,” it explained, noting that 2017 is a production recovery year from the El Nino which has affected production in 2016.

“In our view, the uptrend for production recovery is coming to an end soon. Note that Malaysia September production of 1.78 million MT represents a minimal 3.8 per cent growth against the first eight months 2017 growth of 13.6 per cent y-o-y to 12.35 million MT,” it added.

As for the plantation sector’s performance for the upcoming third quarter of 2017 (3Q17), MIDF Research expected strong sets of numbers by planters.

Overall, for the average palm oil prices in 2018, MIDF Research upgraded its forecast to RM2,900 per MT from RM2,725 per MT, based on higher soybean oil price assumption, better demand outlook for palm oil in 2018, and weaker supply growth in 2018 after strong recovery in 2017.

“For 2017, we have also increased our average CPO price estimate to RM2,825 per MT (from RM2,725 per MT),” it added.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

BIMP-EAGA delegates meet to chart tourism collaboration

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

LABUAN: Malaysian business leaders yesterday met their counterparts from Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines to explore joint-venture collaborations in the tourism sector.

They made up the East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) delegates attending the 14th BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area) Joint Tourism Development Cluster Meeting here from Oct 24-27.

The delegates delve into, among others, community-based ecotourism, United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture’s (UNESCO) world heritage sites, national and marine parks, signature events, halal tourism and culinary experience.

They also discuss on the development and promotion of ecotourism, tourism destinations, tourism circuits (intra and inter-regional), joint promotion and marketing activities, and participation in local and international expos and events in their respective countries.

Other issues are tourism access, connectivity, and infrastructure to ecotourism sites, air linkages, cruise tourism, human resource development (sustainable ecotourism and ASEAN standards) and tourism data.

Welcoming the 46 BIMP-EAGA delegates to Labuan, Member of Parliament for Labuan Datuk Rozman Isli said the meeting would greatly contribute to the island’s efforts in enhancing trade and investments  within BIMP-EAGA, as well as promoting tourism.

“The visit is a great opportunity for Labuan to showcase our local products to our EAGA counterparts.

“We expect succeeding business sessions to occur by next year to finalise partnerships and joint ventures developed and discussed during the meeting,” he told Bernama.

Rozman, who is also Labuan Corporation chairman, said the government has always encouraged more business groups from the sub-region to actively participate in inter-EAGA business ventures.

“EAGA’s private sector plays a crucial role of stirring the sub-region’s business climate and we urge them to pursue joint-venture collaborations that will expand their market reach,” he said.

As Malaysia’s only international financial and oil and gas hub, he said Labuan has a lot to offer in terms of investment and tourism development opportunities.

SOURCE— BERNAMA

Malaysia eyes more NZ investments

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR– Malaysia is looking to attract more investments from New Zealand (NZ) and expand its collaboration with the country in many areas, including information technology and tourism.

Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, said there were still potentials for trade to grow between both countries, especially in areas such as biotechnology and agri-technology.

“We have signed the free trade agreement with NZ in 2010 and since then the relationship has been growing smoothly.

“Beginning last year, we (Malaysia and NZ) have held discussions to review and improve the agreement, specifically involving new investments for both countries,” he told reporters after officiating the Discover Aotaroa New Zealand Festival here today.

The festival started yesterday and will end on Oct 29.

He said Malaysia-NZ bilateral trade had grown by this year, registering about 50 per cent increase to-date compared to the same period last year, driven by close diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Meanwhile, NZ’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Dr John Subritzky, said the festival was a great way to celebrate the long-standing bilateral relationship by sharing unique NZ’s stories with Malaysians.

“For the next few days, this festival will showcase New Zealand as a young, multi-cultural and innovative nation, as well as a great place for Malaysians to visit and study.

“The key exhibits will further strengthen New Zealand’s position as a provider of high-quality products and services in Malaysia,” he said.

NZ’s Trade Commissioner to Malaysia, Matt Ritchie, said having such products in Malaysia would not only bring to light the increasing preference the Malaysian consumers have for New Zealand goods, but also the importance of Malaysia as trading partner.

“Over the last 60 years, Malaysia has grown to become one of our fastest-growing export markets and is currently out ninth largest export market worth approximately NZ$1.17 billion (NZ$1 = RM2.91). The key exports to Malaysia include milk powder, butter and dairy spread, meat products and fruits and vegetables,” he said.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

KL ranked among fastest-growing tourism cities

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

NEW YORK— A newly released list of the world’s fastest growing tourism destinations is made up entirely of cities in Asia-Pacific, with China leading the charge.

Analysts at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) put together a ranking of the top 10 fastest growing tourism destinations based on travel and tourism GDP and found that six of the 10 cities are found in China.

With 14 per cent growth predicted over the next decade, Chongqing in southwest of China tops the leader board, followed by Guangzhou (13 per cent) and Shanghai (13 per cent).

Double-digit growth will make Shanghai an even bigger tourism powerhouse, as the city currently generates an annual tourism GDP contribution of US$30 billion (RM127 billion), the largest in the world, says the WTTC.

Authors credit the explosive growth in China to domestic leisure and business travel, with rising prosperity and wealthier Chinese households fuelling travel demand.

At nearly 6 per cent, the average growth rate for Asia-Pacific outpaces the average growth rate of 4 per cent a year at the global level.

Along with driving up demand for domestic tourism, China is also a major source market for neighboring cities in the region like Tokyo, where nearly a quarter of tourism spending can be traced to Chinese visitors.

China is Tokyo’s largest market.

Chinese travellers also make up 38 per cent of tourist spending in Bangkok.

Here are the fastest growing tourism cities according to the WTTC:

1. Chongqing
2. Guangzhou
3. Shanghai
4. Beijing
5. Chengdu
6. Manila
7; Delhi
8. Shenzhen
9. Kuala Lumpur
10. Jakarta   — AFP-Relaxnews
SOURCE:- THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

Campaign to plant 20,990 trees in Lahad Datu – Kota Kinabalu Court Working Group on Environment

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: The “1Heart 1Tree” campaign 2017 which is a reforestation project spearheaded by the Kota Kinabalu Court Working Group on Environment (KKCWGE) and supported by World Wide Fund (WWF) is aiming to plant 20,990 trees in Bukit Piton, Lahad Datu.

WWF Malaysia executive director cum chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said that the planting of this latest plot in Bukit Piton was a collaboration with WWF Malaysia itself, WWF Singapore and Sabah Forestry Department funded by Binjaitree, Holywell Foundation, The Silent Foundation and Foord Asset Management Singapore.

“We will plant 156 trees per hectare in this plot, which translates into 20,990 trees in total.

“The planting has just commenced this month and by end of December 2017 we estimated that 30 hectares will be planted with 4,680 trees,” said Dionysius in his speech at the ceremony held at the Kota Kinabalu Court House here yesterday.

He said WWF Malaysia had been reforesting the formerly degraded Bukit Piton since 2007 for the survival of tree-dependent Borneon orangutans in the area.

“To date we have planted almost one million trees in Bukit Piton and we have observed orangutans using them as food, shelter and for travel from as early as five years after the planting,” he said, adding that each year, our orangutan research team had reported seeing new orangutan babies in Bukit Piton which means that the species is thriving in the area.

Therefore, he hoped that this project movement would continue to grow and achieve its target of one million trees planted in Sabah by the end of 2017.

He added that they are currently fundraising for another reforestation project in collaboration with Sabah Forestry Department, which is located in Trusan Sugut Class I Forest Reserve, Beluran.

“We are aiming to restore a degraded area of 150 hectares with trees that can support these apes at the estimated cost of RM1.835 million.

“Everyone can be a catalyst for change by clicking on wwf.org.my/orangutan and donating towards this project, ” he said.

Also present at the event were High Court Justices Datuk Nurchaya Hj Arshad and Ravinthran Paramaguru, High Court Judicial Commissioners Ismail Brahim and Bexter Agas Michael, Sabah Law Society (SLS) president and also WWF Malaysia Trustee Brenndon Keith Soh, WWF Malaysia conservation director Dr Sundari Ramakrishna, WWF Malaysia head of conservation Sabah Dr John Tay, KKCWGE chairwoman Elsie Primus, judges and magistrates.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

Sabah’s second MARA Junior Science College will be in Ranau

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

RANAU– Sabah will have a fourth MARA Junior Science College (MRSM) by 2021 when the educational institution to be built in Ranau is ready.

The construction of the RM135 million Ranau MRSM on a 26,000-square metre site is expected to start in the second quarter of 2018 and can accommodate 450 people at any one time.

The joint initiative project with Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), Sabah state government and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) is part of Petronas’ corporate responsibility programme to develop human capital in Sabah through the education sector.

Upon completion, MRSM will be equipped with academic blocks, science labs, dormitories, multipurpose halls, sports facilities, teachers’ quarters and surau.

The launch of the Ranau MRSM project was officiated by Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

Petronas has contributed a lot to the people and Sabah, including the development of the deep sea oil exploration industry, Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT) project in Kimanis, Sabah Ammonia-Urea (SAMUR) project in Sipitang which have put Sabah as one of the country’s main investment locations for the oil and gas indsutry,” Musa said at the event.

He said Petronas was also helping the community in various aspects, mainly relating to education and human capital development, community well-being and environmental rehabilitation.

Hence, he wanted Sabahans to be highly committed and take full advantage of the opportunities and facilities by Petronas in relevant fields.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

PETRONAS praised for contributions to Sabah – CM

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

RANAU: National oil company, PETRONAS, has contributed significantly to Sabah and its people, said Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman.

The Chief Minister said among its contributions are development of deepsea oil exploration industry, Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT) in Kimanis and Sabah Ammonia-Urea (SAMUR) in Sipitang.

“This has made Sabah among the major oil and gas investment locations,” he said when officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony for the PETRONAS-funded Ranau Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) and SK Pulau Balambangan rural hostel project (Kudat) at the Sports Complex here yesterday.

He said apart from helping to strengthen Sabah’s economy through oil and gas investments, PETRONAS has also assisted the people, especially in education and human capital development.

“The company too has contributed to environmental conservation, for instance the close co-operation with Yayasan Sabah to conserve 30,000 hectares of rainforests in Imbak Canyon and the setting up of a research and scientific study centre in the area.

“And, apart from that PETRONAS has established the Kimanis Training Centre to provide opportunities for young Sabahans to find a career in the oil and gas industry,” the Chief Minister added.

He said what was important was to seize the opportunities provided by PETRONAS in the related fields.

“The setting up of the MRSM in Ranau and rural hostel will enable the students to acquire knowledge and discard the worries about having to walk long distances to school,” he said.

Musa also said the economic well-being and welfare of the people were the state government’s top priority. “We appreciate PETRONAS’ noble efforts through its corporate social responsibility to complement the government’s endeavour to achieve its development objectives for the benefit of the people throughout the state,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said that in January the Planting Tomorrow, Food Basket and Youth Development programmes were launched in Kota Marudu.

“I welcome such initiatives and collaborations between the state government, Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) and PETRONAS in ensuring the success of these noble efforts for the good of the young generation.”

Also present yesterday were Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun who is also the minister in charge of education in Sabah, PETRONAS chairman/CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, PETRONAS senior vice president (group human resource management) Dato’ Raiha Azni Abd Rahman and MARA board member Datuk Yusuf Yakub.

SOURCE:- NEW SABAH TIMES

How the Heart of Borneo came about – former Executive Director of WWF Malaysia, Dato Dr Mikaail Kavanagh

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

PERSONAL interest in connectivity is the hidden first cause of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative.

We have nailed that first active interest down to Dato’ Dr Mikaail Kavanagh, former CEO of WWF-Malaysia, because he was recognised as such as a keynote speaker at the latest HoB conference.

“I have always been interested in connectivity,” he told Daily Express.

So now we know this intensifying connectivity drive in Sabah originated from Kavanagh who thinks it’s indispensable for the permanent future of wildlife.

“The idea is, say you have a 500ha national park and another 500ha national park and you put them together to make 1,000ha, you save much more genetical and biological diversity than if they were spread out into two.

“This is because you don’t have the depth of mixing the pool and genes of a bigger area,” explained Kavanagh who started young as a primatologist working in remote Sarawak.

Size matters: Kavanagh Borneo has the luck that Kavanagh landed his first job in Sarawak.

That was 1981 when WWF-Malaysia made him a junior conservation officer in Lanjak Entimau, for obvious reason – orangutan population, about 1,400 of them.

Well-rated as a man of ideas, his efforts quickly turned Lanjak-Entimau in southeast Sarawak into one of the State’s largest wildlife sanctuaries, in 1983.

Even so, at mere 1,870sq km, Lanjak Entimau was obviously not big enough for Kavanagh because, he says: Size matters.

Most important of all – connectivity is imperative.

As he has said, where animal movements are blocked, opening up just a few smart connections can suddenly turn isolated forests into a hugely bigger whole and free flow of genes and healthy cargoes of wildlife is enhanced.

Small wonder the HoB now covers such an ambitious expanse of 122,000sq km which people, like Kavanagh, believe is a basic condition to secure Borneo’s rich biodiversity for perpetuity.

How it started It all began at a meeting of WWF Pacific Region CEOs in Phuket, Thailand.

Kavanagh remembers drawing a map of Borneo showing the protected areas along the boundaries between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

“What I suggested was why don’t we have an initiative to join up either sides along the borders of all these areas, talk to the governments of the three countries… everybody got very excited and that’s how the idea took off,” recalled Kavanagh who was given the job of looking for the money.

He started to coordinate and Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei started working together “I must admit I was just thinking of a parks and sanctuary landscape setup but an Indonesian colleague raised the need to bring in the human landscape – people who depend on the whole landscape such as water catchment, forest produce and climate regulator,” he said.

More meetings, more discussions, the bigger significance of what they initially called Borneo Forest Initiative, sank in, which attracted some interest.

“When it changed into the name Heart of Borneo, everybody was suddenly interested because HoB has the kind of charisma which kind of fit the whole idea.

“People got excited. We spent seven years on dealing with governments,” Kavanagh noted.

The Brazil connection “We went to Brazil and talked about what Sabah was doing at a Conference of the Party (COP) on Biological Diversity in the 2000s and the whole thing took off,” Kavanagh reminisced.

Kavanagh couldn’t remember the exact year but it could be Feb 12, 2007 when Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia signed a declaration in support of WWF’s HoB initiative during the COP8 meeting in Brazil.

In 2007, a very important meeting among 170 NG0s, academicians etc in Brunei thrashed out HoB’s reasons-to-be

Adlin – the man who rallied everybody in Kavanagh credited princely Tengku Datuk Dr Zainal Adlin, then Chairman of WWF-Malaysia, as the guy who rallied everyone to support the formation of the Heart of Borneo, including the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.

“When Sultan Bolkiah was having a private luncheon at Nexus Resort Karambunai during a visit to Sabah, I just asked His Majesty: What if we were to combine all the national parks in Borneo together as a contiguous whole – a network?”

“He said: ‘I think it is a good idea’,” Adlin remembered.

“That was good enough for us. He did not say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, he could say approve but we could feel a general blessing for us to write to him what it’s all about,” Adlin remembered.

So what’s the big deal about the Heart of Borneo?

“Of course, this is 220,000sq km of national parks!” Adlin said.

“This is one of the biggest, if not one of the biggest conservation, programmes on the planet.

It’s incredible what’s been done,” Kavanagh said.

A keynote speaker on the founding mission and vision at the latest HoB Conference on Oct 24-25, Kavanagh said he was “blown away” by the efficiency as well as the depth and width of the HoB initiative the first idea of which started from him. – Kan yaw Chong

SOURCE:- DAILY EXPRESS

Bumiputera SMEs must break free of the traditional business cocoon

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Bumiputera entrepreneurs, especially small medium enterprises (SMEs) must strive to break free of the traditional business cocoon which only seeks to sell products already saturated in the market.

Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Bumiputera entrepreneurs at present were too focused on sales of textiles or products cheaply brought in from countries within the region to be resold in the local market.

“We must graduate from such businesses and switch to those that are more sophisticated and of high value such as premium value textiles,” he said after his keynote address at the Forum Explorasean: Opportunities and the Way Forward on Wednesday.

He said Bumiputera SMEs must also take advantage of the e-commerce platform apart from exploring regional markets towards expanding their businesses.
Mustapa  said among the government initiatives to extend the e-commerce sector in the country is through the creation of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) which will open up opportunities for 1,500 e-commerce entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.

”The primary objective of the DFTZ is to encourage SMEs to venture into overseas markets, including China.

“We want to see among the 1,500 e-commerce companies, also Bumiputera entities, representing each state,” he added.

According to Mustapa, local SMEs, including Bumiputera SMEs, must explore the ASEAN market in view of the increasingly open global economy.

“In Malaysia, there are many opportunities, but in the context of the fast growing global economy, we must look at outside markets, more so, when foreign companies are coming into Malaysia, including small businesses,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malay Businessmen and Industrialists Association of Malaysia (PERDASAMA) President, Datuk Moehamad Izat Emir said Bumiputera entrepreneurs refusing to use consultancy services towards the preparation of working papers to obtain financing was among reasons their applications got rejected.

“Although many Bumiputera entrepreneurs do not have the required expertise for preparing quality working papers, they still refuse to use consultancy services, due to the perception that it entailed a high cost.

“Such a perception must be done away with as the consultancy service can help improve the chances of the Bumiputera entrepreneurs obtaining the financing and the cost also depends on their ability to pay.

“Consultants are also entrepreneurs and they too consider the position of the client before levying any charge ,” he added.

SOURCE- BERNAMA

Analysts see favourable third quarter or Malaysia’s petrochemicals industry

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Malaysia’s petrochemicals industry is expected to record a decent third quarter (3Q) due to the current favourable demand-supply dynamics and undemanding valuations, analysts observed.

In a report, the research arm of Maybank Investment Bank Bhd (Maybank IB Research) believed that both Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PChem) and Lotte Chemical Titan Holding Bhd’s (LCT) 3Q17 results would be in-line with market’s expectations with an upward bias.

“Key point is both managed to turnaround their facilities within stipulated plan and average selling prices (ASP) have crept up higher due to the global production disruption.

“We are positive on the sector on favourable demand-supply dynamics and undemanding valuations,” the research house said.

It explained that PChem had a major turnaround for its Ammonia and Kertih plants in 3Q17 while LCT’s Naphtha Cracker #1 (NC1) underwent a turnaround in 3Q17 which took 33 days. LCT management stated that it went live on August 11 and it has ramped up smoothly with no issues.

“It is important to note that these maintenance shutdowns by PChem and LCT are well publicised to the market,” it pointed out.

Maybank IB Research also highlighted that petrochemical prices had a positive boost from the Tropical Storm Harvey that inflicted the US Gulf area in early September 2017.

“Many of the US petrochemical facilities were damaged and are not yet fully operational till today.

“This had disrupted petrochemical supply and lifted prices higher. In addition, global PMI has been in strong growth territory in 2017 which underpins a sturdy demand for petrochemical products,” it added.

Overall, the research house pegged a positive view on Malaysia’s petrochemical sector on strong industry demand and healthy product margin spreads

“Both PChem and LCT are trading at undemanding valuations and both have solid net cash balance sheet,” it said, noting that it favoured LCT as it is the cheapest Asean based petrochemical group and offers the best upside to our target price.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

Petronas signs gas supply agreement with Japan’s JERA

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

TOKYO: JERA Co, Japan’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer, said on Wednesday it signed a three-year LNG purchase agreement with a subsidiary of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) starting in 2018.

JERA, the fuel purchasing joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, will buy 2.5 million tonnes per year (tpy) of LNG from Malaysia LNG Sdn Bhd starting in April of next year, the company said in a statement announcing the so-called heads of agreement.

The deal is JERA’s first since the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC)’s ruling in June that declared destination restrictions, which limit where a LNG cargo can be sold, to be anti-competitive. This deal with Malaysia LNG is ”in line” with the commission’s ruling, JERA said in the statement.

“JERA believes this will contribute to its ability not only to respond to uncertainties in LNG demand, but also to put JERA in position to optimise its LNG operations,” the company said.
The Japanese firm’s existing 15-year long-term contract for 4.8 million tpy of LNG with the firm expires next March.

The LNG will be sold as either delivered ex-ship (DES), where the buyer takes the cargo at an agreed destination, or on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, where the buyer takes the cargo once it is loaded onto a ship, JERA said.

The JFTC’s June decision said having a destination clause in a FOB contract is ”likely to be in violation” of the nation’s Antimonopoly Act, while having the clause in a DES contract and requiring a seller’s consent is not problematic in itself.

But, the regulator said that if the seller rebuffs a buyer’s request for diversion out of necessity and reasonableness, such a refusal is likely to be in violation of the law.

SOURCE- REUTERS

New AmBank currency exchange service now available at KKIA

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KUALA LUMPUR: Starting today a new AmBank currency exchange service will be available at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).

Located at Level 3 Airside of the airport, the AmBank Currency Exchange Services will be able to cater to both departing and arriving passengers, AmBank Group said in a statement today.

Operating from 6.00am to 11.00pm daily, AmBank will also be offering currency exchange services for up to 29 currencies.

“The Kota Kinabalu International Airport would serve as a strategic placement for our currency exchange services to serve our potential customers as the airport recorded 7.2 million passengers in 2016,” chief executive officer, Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said in the statement.

Its holding group AMMB Holdings Bhd is currently trading four sen or 0.91% lower at RM4.36 on Bursa Malaysia, with a market capitalisation of RM13.14 billion.

SOURCE:- THE EDGE MARKETS

EU rule could derail palm oil biodiesel

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

THE HAGUE: Members of the European Parliament are calling for the European Union to source 35 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, set nationally binding targets for renewable energy, phase-out of palm oil and food-based biofuels and set biomass sustainability standards.

On Monday (Oct 23), Environment MEPs proposed to increase the share of renewables to at least 35 per cent of the EU’s gross final consumption of energy by 2030.

Information released by the European Parliament notes the proposal is part of ongoing reform of the EU’s renewable energy directive. In 2009, that directive set a 20 per cent by 2020 target for the EU, with individual targets for each member country. The European Commission has also proposed to prolong the scheme to 2030, but proposed a 27 per cent target as an EU-wide goal.

Draft legislation proposed by the MEPs also calls for the share of biofuels to be no more than 7 per cent of final consumption of energy in road and rail transport, and for no food-based biofuels to be subject to minimum targets at the EU level. In addition, it calls for food-based first-generation biofuels to be phased out by 2030, with palm oil-based fuels to be phased out by 2021.

Regarding biomass, the MEPs’ proposal sets sustainability criteria for biofuels, bio-liquids and biomass. According to information released by the European Parliament, the sustainability criteria aim to minimise the risk allowing unsustainable forest biomass to benefit from support schemes.

The Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted 32 to 29 to adopt the proposal. The Committee on Industry is expected to vote on a portion of the proposal Nov 28.

The European Biomass Association (AEBIOM) has issued a statement on the Environment Committee’s treatment of biomass in the proposal.

“In the final adoption of its opinion, the ENVI Committee has decided tonight to address the sustainability issue both seriously and pragmatically, allowing solid bioenergy to continue playing its essential role in the European energy transition,” said Jean-Marc Jossart, secretary general of AEBIOM.

“While this vote acknowledges the positive work and contribution of thousands of local bioenergy players, it also calls into question the systematic bioenergy bashing that occurred surrounding this debate. We are now counting on the entire Parliament and Member States to follow the approach taken by the Commission, and endorsed by the ENVI Committee, to support bioenergy in its role in achieving the EU’s climate and energy goals.”

ePURE, the European renewable ethanol association, is speaking out against the proposal’s treatment of first-generation biofuels. “The vote shows a very divided European Parliament,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary general of ePURE.

“Even as they adopted a higher and binding renewables target, MEPs cannot agree about what to do with transport, a sector that accounts for a quarter of the EU’s total emissions. On the one hand, they have adopted a high ambition to decrease the carbon intensity of transport fuels; on the other hand, they are banning European crop-based biofuels a few years after promoting them.”

“The European Parliament ITRE Committee and Plenary must now realise that the constant changes in the EU’s policy on crop-based biofuels will discourage investment in advanced biofuels—thus defeating one of the goals of the Commission’s proposal,” Desplechin continued. “As the most recent Council text recognises, most EU Member States see investment certainty for crop-based biofuels as a ‘sine qua non’ for adequate future investment. That is why they want to set a 15 per cent target for renewable energy in transport and maintain the current 7 per cent cap on crop-based biofuels.” (biomassmagazine.com)

SOURCE:- NEW SABAH TIMES

Business confidence hits record high in Asia

Posted on : 01-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Global economic confidence has improved slightly this quarter, as high performance across Asia and Africa offset depressed confidence in the Middle East and the Americas.

According to the latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS), produced by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA (the Institute of Management Accountants), confidence has benefitted from a sustained period of economic expansion since the global financial crisis.

“This quarter’s GECS suggests that the global economy is enjoying a strong recovery.

“While the global picture is optimistic, however, it does hide variations, with some regions doing much better than others,’ said Narayanan Vaidyanathan, senior business analyst at ACCA.
South Asia was the most confident region in this quarter’s GECS, with the region’s two biggest economies, India and Pakistan, set to grow strongly over the next year.

“Economic confidence across Asia-Pacific is also strong, reaching a record high after three consecutive quarterly increases.

“The recovery in global demand, and subsequent improvement in export prospects, has created the fastest local levels of growth in several years,” added Vaidyanathan.

However, the survey paints a different picture in the US, where business confidence has fallen as the administration continues to deal with challenges in pushing through healthcare reform, tax cuts and increases in infrastructure spending. Canada has been the most optimistic part of the North America and Caribbean region over this last quarter.

SOURCE-BERNAMA