Bitcoin down but Dollar gets support

Lukman Otunuga, Research Analyst at FXTM said fears revolving around inflationary pressures and ra

cryptocurrencies

te hike jitters have certainly left investors skittish this trading week.

Investors seem to be on edge about higher interest rates and as such, this continues to encourage global equity bulls and bears to engage in a tough tug of war.

Interestingly, Asian stocks ventured higher during early trading on Friday, after Wall Street bounced higher overnight from a two-day losing streak.

European shares are set to open on a positive note, tracking gains from Asia this morning.

While the bullish domino effect from Asia and Europe could support Wall Street this afternoon, it remains uncertain if such momentum will roll over into the new trading week.

With investors on guard as global stock markets become increasingly sensitive to the prospect of rising inflation and interest rates, equity bears could steal the show.

Dollar support

The story defining the Dollar’s impressive appreciation this week continues to revolve around heightened speculations of higher US interest rates in 2018.

With January’s hawkish FOMC meeting minutes reinforcing expectations of an interest rate increase in March and of more rate hikes ahead, the Dollar could remain supported.

Much attention will be focused on the speeches of three FOMC members this afternoon, which could offer fresh insight on rate hike timings.

The Dollar could receive a boost this afternoon if Fed speakers adopt a hawkish tone and give signs of a fourth rate hike being on the cards in 2018.

From a technical standpoint, the Dollar Index remains under pressure below the 90.55 lower high.

For bulls to be truly back in the game, prices need to break above 90.20 and 90.55, respectively.

A failure to break above 90.20 could result in a decline back towards 89.60. Sustained weakness below the 89.60 has the ability to trigger a decline lower to 89.00.

Commodity spotlight – Gold

An appreciating US Dollar has punished Gold significantly this week, with the yellow metal currently trading around $1329 during early trading on Friday.

It is becoming clear that the prospect of higher US interest rates has soured appetite for Gold which is zero-yielding.

With the Dollar likely to continue finding supporting rate hike talks, the yellow metal may be exposed to further pain moving forward.

Focusing on the technical outlook, this has certainly been a bearish trading week for Gold, with prices struggling to keep above $1324.15.

A breakdown below this level could encourage a decline lower towards $1310 and $1300, respectively. Alternatively, bulls have a chance to challenge $1340 if an intraday breakout above $1332 is achieved.

Bitcoin dips below $10,000

Bitcoin dipped below the psychological $10,000 level during Thursday’s trading session, with extended losses towards $9,600 during early trading on Friday.

Although the cryptocurrency has staged a recovery back towards $10,000 as of writing, the price action witnessed this week suggests that bulls are exhausted. Sustained weakness below $10,000 could spark discussions over the recent rebound being nothing more than a dead cat bounce.

To read more market analysis from FXTM please visit: ForexTime

Attached is the full analysis for your reference.

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CASIO TR adds new selfie portable studio

The newly launched Casio TR-M11, designed to work as a portable personal studio, gives the selfie snappers yet another reason to celebrate taking beautiful self portraits on the go.

TheTR-M11, the latest mini digital camera under the Casio banner, is also suitable for the womenfolks.

The TR-M11 delivers lighting effects that enables users to capture memorable and flattering self portraits for postings on various social media platforms.

The camera is equipped with nine LEDs, one below the LCD and eight around the lens. The multiple LEDs, working together with Casio image processing technology, maximizes the lighting effects to transform the skin with a brighter and fresher look, and sculpt or slim the facial features.

“Selfies are about self-image, and how we define ourselves,” notes Itsuro Tezuka, Managing Director of Casio (M) Sdn Bhd.

“It’s a confidence booster for the younger generation when others see them with a positive outlook. Their self-value increases when they share their self portraits with everyone online.”

The TR-M11 comes in a distinctive round shape outlined around a ring light providing uniform light to the subject’s face from any angle.

The camera is set to take square portraits, eliminating the need to crop rectangular images and making it perfect for social media. It also has a self-timer that can be activated to capture self portraits from a greater distance.

Another unique feature of the camera is resembles a make-up compact case with a clamshell that opens up enabling the user to compose the image – just as one would do checking a mirror. The palm-sized camera also makes for easy portability. The camera is available in five striking colours: white, pink, vivid pink, green, and violet.

“The selfie phenomenon is no longer a trend; it’s a social and cultural expression of today’s young generation,” believes Tezuka. “The more photos one posts promoting a certain identity – fun-loving, adventurous, sporty, fashionable – the more likely it is that others will support this identity of you.”

For the TR mini, Casio exclusively designed a new user interface allowing users to swipe to access the main features and choose settings for Make-Up Mode from a menu list that rotates like a dial. The colourful icons and simple navigation make the user interface intuitive and fun to use.

The TR-M11 inherits the innovative features that Casio developed for the TR brand and other digital cameras. The refined Make-Up Mode now adds gloss to pupils and lips and automatically detects and makes less noticeable acne and pimples.

 

The TR-M11, now available in leading camera stores nationwide, retails at the recommended price of RM2,199 (including 6% GST).

However, customers can purchase the camera at RM1,999 (including 6% GST) at participating outlets and the Casio online store on Lazada, using promo code “casiotrm11”, from 22 November – 7 January 2018 as part of their Christmas Promotion campaign.

 

UMW Aerospace to break-even in 2019

Picture Credit: UMW, JF APEX

An analyst report indicates that UMW Aerospace Sdn Bhd is expected to break-even the financial year 2019.

UMW Aerospace delivered its first unit of fan case in Nov 2017 and has completed 6 units of fan case in last year.

The Group, recognised by Rolls-Royce as its Tier 1 supplier for fan case outside the UK, is expected to ramp up another 80 units and 160 units of fan cases in FY18 and FY19 respectively.

It will achieve full capacity of 250 units fan cases in 2020.

“Break-even will likely in FY19 onwards as the Group’s aerospace business is still making losses, bearing high operating cost to build up the plant and high depreciation charges,” said JF Apex Research after meeting with the team of UMW Aerospace.

The Group is also expected to see a double-digit revenue and net profit growth from the Manufacturing and Engineering (M&E) segment by 2021.

Following this, the M&E segment’s contribution to the Group level to increase to 10% from current contribution of around 5%

“We met UMW Aerospace Sdn Bhd’s team and visited its new manufacturing plant for Rolls Royce fan case in Serendah recently. We came back feeling reassured about the Group’s rationalization plans as well as its aerospace business,” said the research house.

In Aug 2015, UMW signed a 25+5 year contract with Rolls Royce to manufacture fan cases for Trent 1000 & 7000 engines, which used in Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A330neo.

Since then, the Group has invested RM750m to build the manufacturing plant with c.30% cost to manufacture the fan cases.

The land in which UMW Aerospace occupies currently is rented from UMW Corporation. The fan cases produced in UMW’s Serendah facility will be handed over by truck to Rolls Royce’s engine assembly and test facility in Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore.

We maintain our earnings forecasts for FY17F while revise upwards our earnings forecasts for FY18F by 24.3%.

“We maintain HOLD call on UMW with a higher target price of RM6.00 (previously RM5.20) following our earnings upgrade,” said JF Apex.

It said while it reckons that the worst is over for the Group, “we have yet to see any catalyst to drive the share price. We are still cautious on its outlook, as affected by some downside risks such as tepid consumer sentiment and fluctuation in foreign exchange.”

Tamils protest LTTE court case in Switzerland

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered a hundred meters from the Federal Criminal Court to protest against the holding of a court case involving the alleged money transfer to the Tamil Tigers from Switzerland.

The protesters arrived by bus or cars, they waved the red flags of the Tamil Tigers and placards with slogans such as “The Tamil Tigers love peace.”

“We came to support our brothers. This lawsuit is aimed at our entire community by false accusations, “said one of them.

The hearing resumed on Tuesday with a new round of preliminary questions.

In 2011, a vast sting operation in several Swiss cantons resulted in the arrest of several suspects who were later released within a span of two months. A year later, a delegation from the Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Office of Police travelled to Sri Lanka to interview around 15 witnesses.

“Around 80% of Tamils living in Switzerland had made payments to support LTTE at the time to support the struggle against genocide. That does not make Tamils supporters of terrorism,” says Kuruparan Kurusamy, former president of the Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils.

Around 50,000 people from Sri Lanka live in Switzerland, mostly ethnic Tamils, who fled the island’s 30-year civil war that ended in 2009.

Thirteen financiers, mainly from Switzerland, Germany and Sri Lanka, accused of funnelling more than $15.3 million to the separatist group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) will stand trial before a Swiss Federal Criminal Court on Monday.

The Swiss funds were transported in cash by couriers to Singapore and Dubai, eventually reaching the LTTE in Sri Lanka who allegedly used the money for weapons purchase.

The report, which appeared in Swissinfo said some are former members of the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC), which represented the LTTE in Switzerland until 2009, and include its founder, his deputy and the person in charge of finances.

Between 1999 and 2009, they allegedly created a complex fundraising structure which involved coaxing members of the Tamil diaspora to obtain loans from banks.

Mauritius no1 in Globe & Mail top 12 travel destination!

Mauritius is home to 300-plus kilometres of idyllic beaches and crystal clear waters.

Mauritius, which will celebrate its 50th year as a free country (starting in February with several official events) came on top of a list of 12 must go destinations in 2018.

The list was published in the prestigious Canadian newspaper, The Globe & Mail.

It said Mauritius, located east of Madagascar, is home to 300-plus kilometres of idyllic beaches and crystal clear waters.

Due to its isolation and the scourge of colonialism, this country of 1.2 million is a bright-eyed mixture of African, Asian and European influences.

Bolstered by this multicultural elasticity, everything here is a fascinating hodgepodge: They speak English and French, but Hindu is the majority religious affiliation, for example.

Multiple five-star resorts dot the island, especially the area around the capital, Port Louis. For more information, go to visitmauritius.com.

Denis Delval appointed CEO of LFB SA

On December 20th, a decree from the President of France Emanuel Macron was published in Le Journal Officiel* appointing Denis DELVAL CEO of LFB S.A. This decree follows the General Meeting of LFB SA and the meeting of its Board of Directors, which both took place on December 4th, 2017.

Denis DELVAL is also appointed, CEO of LFB BIOMEDICAMENTS and President of LFB BIOTECHNOLOGIES as of December 4th, following Christian BÉCHON and Denis SOUBEYRAN’s departures.

A graduate of ESSEC and INSEAD business schools with a PhD in Pharmacy, Denis Delval has a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry, says the report from Bernama.

It said that Delval has held important marketing, sales and strategic positions in France, Europe and worldwide and has managed international partnerships within various pharmaceutical groups (Bayer, Fournier Pharma, ALK).

In 2006, he was appointed General Manager of ALK France. In 2012, he also became Senior Vice President of the Danish pharmaceutical company specialized in allergy immunotherapy treatments. Denis Delval lectures at ESSEC business school and has also been Chairman of Lecrip.org, a healthcare think tank.

“I am proud to be appointed as CEO of LFB Group and to work for this company operating in a strategic sector. LFB produces therapeutics that are essential for the lives of thousands of patients, particularly in the rare disease field. I am fully aware of the challenges ahead and look forward to unleashing energies to make this pharmaceutical company successful in France and internationally,” said Delval.

* The Official Journal of the French Republic.

World Bank traces Mahathir’s banking solutions that saved Malaysia

Former PM Mahathir praised by World Bank for 1998 crisis solver!

One of the immediate reform measures undertaken by the authorities in 1998 was to consolidate the highly-fragmented banking system.

Prior to 1997, there were more than 77 banks and the authorities decided to consolidate the sector.

At that time, existing institutions did not have the resources to compete with their regional peers or provide a wide array of products and services.

To enable commercial banks to unload their non-performing loans and foreclosed assets, the Government passed the Pengurusan Danaharta National Berhad Act in August 1998.

A second institution, Danamodal Nasional Berhad (Danamodal), was established as a special purpose vehicle under BNM to facilitate the recapitalization of viable banking institutions.

As a result, Malaysia emerged from the AFC with a significantly stronger banking sector.

The country emerged from the crisis with no bank closures, with a high recovery rate on non-performing loans, and stronger banking institutions.

The government also implemented currency controls, amid talks by critics that there would be negative expectations regarding the impact of the controls were not fulfilled.

Instead, the controls enabled BNM to reduce interest rates to a level that would have been impossible without their imposition.

The reduced interest rates alleviated the credit crunch, affecting both strong and weak firms alike.

As a result, fewer firms went bankrupt and the subsequent costs of restructuring and recapitalizing the financial sector were smaller.

In addition, after the initial stimulus package, the combination of policies allowed the economy to recover with less reliance on fiscal expansion.

Finally, there is little evidence to suggest that the introduction of the capital controls affected investors’ decisions as to whether to mobilize capital to Malaysia.

The World Bank also recalled how the Government initially responded to the Crisis by taking steps consistent with conventional economic wisdom at the time.

The objective of these measures was to restore investor confidence in the Malaysian economy and to restrain the capital outflows.

However, Malaysia’s implementation of these measures did not produce the intended results.

In particular, the increased interest rates resulted in a credit crunch that particularly affected small and medium-sized firms and that generally sapped the strength of Malaysia’s private sector.

This undermined the prospects of a recovery, including in export-orientated businesses.

As a result, the economy contracted by 7.4 percent in real terms, with a sharp decline in investment and private consumption.

With the tightening of public expenditure, the Government announced a three percent surplus in the 1998 budget.

The stock market lost 60 percent of its value and the ringgit depreciated sharply as a result of market speculation.

By the beginning of 1998, it had become clear that far from facilitating recovery, the adopted policies were hurting the economy.

Confidence continued to decline and the credit crunch exacted a heavy toll on the private sector, resulting in loss of employment and a fall in living standards.

It became clear that a new approach was needed.

The establishment of new coordinating institutions helped ensure streamlined decision making and timely policy responses as the crisis evolved, allowing for course corrections once it became clear that the initial response was not working.

in July 1998, the National Economic Recovery Plan was announced.

This plan was intended to restore market confidence, to facilitate the restructuring of corporate debt, to recapitalize and restructure the banking sector, to stabilize the ringgit and to stimulate the economy through counter-cyclical scale and monetary policies.

To stimulate an economic recovery, BNM changed its approach and implemented a series of expansionary measures.

First, the BNM gradually reduced interest rates, with these rates going down from 11 percent in July 1998 to 5.5 percent in August 1999.

Second, the monetary authorities reduced reserve requirements to increase liquidity in the financial system, with the reserve requirement being reduced from 13.5 percent in February 1998 to four percent by September of that year.

Also, to revitalize the credit market, BNM established targets for banks to achieve a minimum loan growth rate of eight percent for 1998.

Finally, to increase the banking sector’s flexibility to operate in the stressed market, BNM reversed the decision it had initially made related to the definition of non-performing loans when it had reduced the number of months for a loan to be in arrears to be classified as non-performing from six months to three months.

To support economic recovery, the Government also implemented an expansionary fiscal policy, synchronized with the accommodative monetary policy stance.

In order to revitalize the economy and to restore confidence, the Government implemented a counter-cyclical fiscal policy that included both tax incentives and investments in infrastructure.

In July 1998, the Government launched a fiscal stimulus package that implied a reduction in the fiscal balance by 4.2 percentage points, going from a surplus of 2.4 percent of GDP in 1997 to a de cit of 1.8 percent in 1998.

By 1999, with the economic situation demanding increased efforts from the treasury, the fiscal budget was increased to 3.2 percent of GDP.

In short, Malaysia adopted a much more aggressive fiscal response to the crisis than did the other crisis-affected countries.

The World Bank said this edition of the Malaysia Economic Monitor takes stock of the macro-financial policies adopted during and after the crisis.

With Malaysia at the centre, the analysis aims to explain what happened, what responses were adopted, and how they differed from those employed by other affected countries.

A key aim is to highlight how Malaysia’s experience helped leverage reforms and achieve transformation, a process that might be appropriate for other small, open, developing economies during a period of financial turmoil.

The analysis also assesses Malaysia’s comparative resilience to future economic shocks, especially now that the economy is larger and more interconnected than in the past.

Today, Malaysia enjoys an overall sound banking sector with one of the more sophisticated capital markets in the region.

The financial system supports a significantly larger and more interconnected economy than 20 years ago, and the authorities remain committed to financial stability.

Malaysia’s experience and lessons learned could be very relevant for economies of similar characteristics, in particular, small and open developing economies.

In Malaysia, the process of capital account liberalization was not as fast as in other countries, thus allowing the economy to better manage and absorb shocks. In particular, domestic companies were allowed to contract foreign loans only with the approval of BNM.

Approval was only granted if BNM determined that the project would yield sufficient revenues to repay the loan, even if the exchange rate were to depreciate.

Thus, the Malaysian economy was less vulnerable and had a lower level of external debt than did Thailand, Indonesia or the Republic of Korea.

However, the nature of the AFC was that the contagion spread to Malaysia regardless of the differing fundamentals.

Is Pravind living on another planet: Hindu group says would go on the ground to take laws in its hands

Picture Credit: Sceen shot of Narasimha group’s posting

The Narasinha Group in a message on Facebook showed its anger over the recent spate of attacks on Hindu religious icons, as reported by WFTV. 

The group said in the message that its message on the social media network was a first step it is making following the incidents that took place in its cult centres.

It accused the authorities for not doing anything, not dispersing any information and for doing nothing.

“Up to now, there has been no dissemination of information or actions from the concerned authorities (police).” said the group’s message.

It warned: “We repeat, we are not going to remain silent. And put this in your head that the ‘jayde’ time is over.”

It also said it does not want those incidents to be forgotten. “Many people have been mobilised in our meeting today, and we say enough with the mistreatment that ALL Hindu brothers and sisters are suffering across the Island.”

It sounded the alarming response that it plans: “If we do not get the necessary information (on who are the perpetrators) then we will descend on the ground and do the necessary,” 

Followed by hashtags: #united_we_stand_divided_we_fall #vande_mataram #jai_Hind #jai_Narasimha

Social media comments from people of various religious beliefs  in Mauritius are pointing out to the fact that neither Muslims nor Christians would deface a Hindu religious icon with ‘chicken’.

They are also blaming the situation on the lack of action from the police and a certain group – a fanatical group from the Hindu majority for being responsible for the attacks on the Hindu cult centres.

There are also WhatsApp messages warning Muslims, Christians and others (non-Hindus) not to venture at night in remote or in Hindu majority areas in Mauritius if they do not want to be attacked.

This on the eve of the visit of a dangerous personality from India to Mauritius. Take note that WFTV was also threatened by a member of a religious organisation getting funding from India!

However, playing the ignorant or showing signs that he is cut from the reality in Mauritius, the good Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauh made a stupefactionary (this word do not exist) comment on the current tense situation in the country.

Speaking at the Andra Avatarana Dinotsavam à la Mauritius Telegu Maha Sabha, à Port-Louis, he said the a certain people are praying for opportunities to poke fire (start troubles) in Mauritius.

“There are these people, who do not think we are here and looking for unity, harmony and solidarity, There are people who have no respect and they are waiting for opportunity to poke fire and then they will come as if they are the saviours (zorro) and say ‘I told you so’,” he remarked to the claps of a few as heard and seen in a video on the L’Express daily.

“Look here, i am saying that not because I am in this position but as a citizen, we must look out for those ‘piroman’ would not be able to start trouble in our country.

He warned the country will be backward if such acts are allowed.

He also said the World Bank has recognised how his government has made headway in both economic and social advancements in Mauritius but time will show since he does want to expand on these issues at this event.

WFTV urges the PM to look properly and look nearer to his circles that are surrounding him to find the people who are looking for the opportunity to poke fire in the beloved Mauritius.

He has the utmost responsibility to answer to the large number of Mauritians who are reading, seeing and sharing the threats their communities are facing on social media and in real life before he plays the ignorant!

mTouche forms joint steering committee for infotainment platform

mTouche Technology Berhad (“mTouche” stock code 0092) said it has formed a steering committee, made up of representatives from all parties involved in the Master Collaboration Partnership Agreement between Advance Platform Sdn Bhd (APSB) and Octa Gravity Co., Ltd (Octa) respectively.

The collaboration is to develop and market a Digital Media and Infotainment Platform, which is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) incorporating the APSB’s CompuRex Dash series of solutions with the enhancement of Octa’s OCTABrain Technology.

The strategic business directions for the platform have been identified and established which include the customization work required for the platform, the commercialization terms as well as the monetization framework. The hardware and software specifications, infrastructure, network and performance criteria have also been finalized and all parties have started the development work since early September 2017. 

“The development work has been progressing well, and the platform is slated for phase 1 release into the market within mid-December 2017 to mid-January 2018. Three (3) product apps will be developed together with the core platform engine which will provide social networking, infotainment, online gaming, reality video streaming and digital media advertising,” said mTouche.

The phase 2 has been scheduled to be released in early April 2018 with the introduction of the Open Application Program Interface (API) for third-party developers and content partners to market and cross-sell their services.

The phase 3 release is scheduled to be in early July 2018 with the enhancement of OCTABrain technology, an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) over the cluster data analytic engine which provides machine learning that will be giving another level of user behavior analysis in delivering a richer mobile experience to businesses and end-users. 

The Company opined that it is the right timing for mTouche, in collaborating with APSB and Octa to introduce a new innovative Digital Media and Infotainment Platform in mid-December 2017 by leveraging on its partners’ proven solutions and core engines of applications and databases which has reduced the development risks while improving the time-to-market roll-out as most new internet users in the region are now mobile first, and often mobile only.

Here are the five Italian food that you can’t miss!

Spaghetti and pizza; these two are always linked to Italy due to their popularity and based on what people see from the movies. However, if you do get the chance to step your foot in this beautiful land, there are several other delicacies you should definitely try.

1. Gelato
Although gelato may resemble the regular scoops of ice cream we get back in our hometowns, this
version of icy cold goodness is made with fresh milk from the local dairy farm and without artificial
flavorings. Some gelateria may serve warm gelato, which is less cold for consumption during winter. One can easily taste the natural ingredients they use for gelato compared to the commercial ice creams we find in the supermarket.

Picture Credit: Intan Suriani WFTV

2. Coffee
Italians are proud of the coffee that they brew, in fact, a small cup of Italian coffee is enough to amplify
the flavor. If you are a coffee-lover, you must grab an espresso or a cup of cappuccino for breakfast
because it’s guaranteed to lift your spirit and boost your energy for the day. Any caffetteria will be
happy to serve you a croissant or brioche along with your cup of coffee.

3. Polenta
Also known as the food for the poor in the past, polenta is made with corn starch and typically
accompanied with stewed meat. It’s a refreshing dish commonly found in the northern regions of Italy,
where the dish is served piping hot during the cold of winter. If you enjoy corn in mushy form, then this
is a dish worth tasting.

Picture Credit: Intan Suriani WFTV

4. Arancino
Imagine a large rice ball, stuffed with meat, cheese and anything you wish, fried and served hot.
Arancino is typically prepared in southern of Italy, and a signature dish of Sicily. The rice may also be
cooked with saffron, turning it to light yellow in color. This is a perfect dish for takeaway if you enjoy it
better cold, just be sure to wrap it properly with oil absorbing papers so the stain won’t get elsewhere.

Picture Credit: Intan Suriani WFTV

5. Focaccia

Resembling pizza, this type of bread comes in a variety of toppings such as cheese with tomato sauce or plain with herbs sprinkled on top. Typically, a focaccia is prepared like a pizza with thicker, softer crust, therefore a slice of it is complete for your lunch break. The dough sometimes contains olives, dried tomatoes and mushrooms.

Picture Credit: Intan Suriani WFTV

The list can get even longer once you are in Italy, so don’t hold back when you get the chance! Italians
are proud of their food, and they will surely welcome you with more to offer.