Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Property prices will hold as ringgit falls to new low against USD and S$


PETALING JAYA: The depreciation of the ringgit will not lead to real estate prices crashing.

The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) president Eric Kho said property remained a sound investment despite the current economic climate.

“Holding property is always better than holding cash,” he said.

Kho acknowledged that demand for primary or new developments had slowed but not as a result of weakening currency.

He said the slowdown was due to Bank Negara guidelines for banks to be more prudent when providing loans as well as increased construction cost due to the Goods and Service Tax (GST).

Kho said construction cost had increased by up to 15% and some developers were holding back on launching new properties.

He said developers who had launched projects were offering huge discounts to attract buyers.

Kho said there was also a slowdown in the secondary market and those looking to buy could expect to pay between 5 and 10% less, depending on location.

Kho, however, expected this situation to be temporary and said property would eventually appreciate.
- The Star/Asia News Network

Ringgit falls to a new low

PETALING JAYA: China’s central bank adjusted the yuan downwards for the second consecutive day, sending markets and currencies reeling.

The ringgit continued its fall against the US dollar, hitting a new low of RM4.0275, largely due to the devaluation of the yuan.

All currencies in the region also continued with their decline against the US dollar.

On a year-to-date basis, the ringgit is the worst performer among its Asian peers, and is down 13.33%. This is followed by the Indonesian rupiah, South Korean won and Thai baht at 9.88%, 8.35% and 6.99%, respectively.

Comparatively, the yuan is now down approximately 4.61%.

The impact on the ringgit is worse compared to other countries because Malaysia is viewed as a net exporter of energy and prices are depressed now – hovering below the US$50 per barrel mark.

Stock markets across the region fell with the Jakarta Composite Index leading the pack by falling 3.1% followed by Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index which dropped 2.38%.

There was a “bloodbath” on Bursa Malaysia where about 90% of the 1,000-odd stocks listed closed lower.

The benchmark KLCI fell for the fifth consecutive day, shedding 26.8 points yesterday to close at 1609 points. Since last Thursday, the index has been down by 116 points.

On Tuesday, the People Bank of China (PBOC) moved the guiding rate for the yuan 2% downwards and yesterday it set it at 1.6% lower. The guiding rate is the band within which the yuan is allowed to trade.

The downward movement is viewed as a devaluation of the yuan and the biggest currency movement for the world’s second largest economy since 1994. Although China abandoned its currency peg in 2005, the central bank manages the yuan in a tight range.

The devaluation of the yuan has sparked concerns that China’s economic slowdown was more severe than anticipated and the central bank had to devalue the currency to export its way out of the situation.

Independent economist Lee Heng Guie said that the devaluation that has sparked a global currency war may end up with no winners.

The impact on depreciating ringgit is likely to be felt most by companies which import their raw materials, consumers and parents with children studying overseas.

BY RAHIMY RAHIM, RAZAK AHMAD, AND L. SUGANYA The Star/Asia News Network

Ringgit hits new record low of 2.9109 to Singdollar

Malaysia's ringgit hit a new record low against the Singapore dollar on Friday (Aug 14).PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Malaysia's ringgit hit a new record low against the Singapore dollar on Friday (Aug 14), after the Malaysian unit slumped to a fresh 17-year low versus the US dollar.

With the fall in oil prices increasing concerns over the country's exports, the ringgit lost as much as 2.6 per cent to 4.1180 per dollar, its weakest since Sept. 1 1998.

It recovered some ground to trade at 4.0660 to the US dollar at 2:04pm, bringing its loss this week to about 4.5 per cent.

Malaysia pegged the ringgit at 3.8000 in September 1998 and maintained it until 2005.

Against the Singapore dollar, the ringgit tumbled 1.55 per cent to 2.9109 as at 11:45am from its close of 2.8665 on Thursday. The ringgit pared its losses to trade at 2.8944 as at 2:04pm.

Better-than-expected economic data on Thursday failed to dispel the gloom with the benchmark stock index falling 1.5 per cent on Friday morning, heading for its lowest close since 2012. Fve-year government bond yield rose to 3.982 per cent, its highest since November 2008.

Oil prices fell with crude futures hitting six-and-a-half lows, exacerbating worries about Malaysia's exports. The country supplies liquefied natural gas and palm oil.

Malaysia has also had to draw heavily on its foreign exchange reserves to defend its currency amid a political scandal, a yuan devaluation and slumping oil prices. Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said on Thursday the central bank will need to rebuild the reserves that have fallen below US$100 billion for the first time since 2010.

"Foreigners are still selling," said Ang Kok Heng, chief investment officer at Phillip Capital Management Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur, told Bloomberg News. "Unless the ringgit stops weakening, I don't know how long the selling will continue." - New Straits Time

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