“Foreign selling of Malaysian equities slowed down to RM714.7 million last week … MIDF Research”
By Stella Goh – As published in Inve$t Malaysia 29 May 2020 issue
Last Friday (22May), the FBM KLCI shed 15.35 points or 1.06% at 1436.76 as news of China’s plan to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong to tighten its grip on the riots & demonstrations ravaged island state. The news battered global equity markets and crude oil markets. The FBM KLCI resumed trade on Wednesday (27May) after the two days Hari Raya holiday on a strong note to gain 14.97 points or 1.04% to 1451.73 from the previous Friday’s close of 1436.76 led by a rally of index-linked glove manufacturers.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed says the government is anticipating more businesses to reopen next week after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations and resume their full productivity level in coming weeks which is to ensure that jobs are kept intact and businesses can run as usual to stabilise the economy. The government is dealing with the challenges and is focusing on problem solving through their regular interaction with various stakeholders, while ensuring that the foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic investments continue to grow, as well as to boost consumer’s confidence. The long-term plan for the country will be expected to be announced in the next three to four months as government agencies are currently working on implementing measures to address challenges faced by various economic sectors.
According to MIDF Research’s Adam M Rahim, the foreign selling of Malaysian equities on Bursa Malaysia slowed down to RM714.7 million last week, from RM843.2 million in the preceding week. In comparison to its other six Asian peers, Malaysia remains as the nation with the third smallest foreign net outflow on a year-to-date basis after Indonesia and Philippines. The foreign investors have so far taken out RM12.6 billion net of local equities from Malaysia. The foreign net selling surged to RM320.2 million, the highest during the week as investors anticipated an escalation of US-China tension after Beijing effectively proposed that China security laws be applied inside Hong Kong. MIDF also stated that the risk-off sentiment has prevailed as the US Senate passed a bill that could bar Chinese companies from listing on American exchanges.
According to Fitch Ratings, Malaysian Islamic fund’s asset under management (AUM) has decreased by around 15% due to the Covid-19 pandemic but it is expected to experience incremental growth in the longer term boosted by tax and policy initiatives. The rating agency also stated that Malaysia’s Islamic fund mix is more balanced and therefore aggregate fund AUM are less sensitive to future declines in the Islamic Fund AUM and in the event of a sustained market recovery leading to outflows from the money market funds (MMFs).
On Thursday (28May), the oil prices fell in early trade after the U.S. crude, gasoline and heating oil inventories all rose more than expected, dousing hopes of a smooth recovery in demand from the coronavirus lockdowns. The decline extended loses from Wednesday (27May) on uncertainty about Russia’s commitment to deeper oil production cuts in the lead-up to a June 9 meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies. According to Bursa Derivatives Berhad (BMD), the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Futures (FKLI) contract registered an all-time high on May 27 in a daily trading volume of 65,000 contracts. Chairman Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift said the new FKLI contract all-time high recorded surpassed the previous record of 61,429 contracts registered on Oct 29, 2019. He added “As we continue to build upon the strong momentum achieved last quarter, I am encouraged to see growing interest of foreign institutions which accounted for 80% of total trading volume. This is an indication of consistent growth in confidence in BMD’s products by local and international market participants to manage their price risk exposure amid the global uncertainties”.
This week, on Thursday (28May) the Ringgit was 4.3516 against USD from 4.3542 on Wednesday (27May). Meanwhile, the Ringgit was 3.0693 to the Sing Dollar on Thursday (28May). As at Friday (29May) 10:00am, the FBM KLCI was up at 1454.21