Malaysia puts Grab on anti-competition watchlist after Uber stake buy

Grab, a fast growing Southeast Asian ridesharing, food delivery and financial services business, said Monday that Uber will take a 27.5 percent stake in it and a seat on its board as part of the deal. (AP)
Updated 02 April 2018
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Malaysia puts Grab on anti-competition watchlist after Uber stake buy

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia said on Monday that it will monitor ride-hailing firm Grab for possible anti-competitive behavior, after rival Uber Technologies Inc. offloaded its Southeast Asian operations to the Singapore-based firm.
Uber’s deal to take a 27.5 percent stake in Grab in exchange has raised a red flag with Singapore’s competition watchdog, which said on Friday it was investigating a suspected breach of competition law.
Malaysia’s Competition Commission would keep tabs on Grab, especially if the company imposed unfair practices or sudden fare increases, a government minister said.
“We won’t take it lightly. We will monitor this because it is still early days and we don’t know what will happen next,” said Nancy Shukri, whose portfolio oversees the public transport licensing authority.
“We have stressed that if there is any anti-competitive behavior, the Competition Act will come into force. We have spelt this out to them,” Nancy said, referring to a meeting with Grab representatives last Monday.
Uber and Grab announced the deal last Monday, marking the US company’s second retreat from an Asian market. It earlier sold off it’s operations in China.
Nancy said Grab, which is valued at about $6 billion, had offered assurances during their meeting last Monday that there would be no unfair pricing, nor would it increase its fares for now.
The minister said the merger, however, did not change the government’s working relationship with Grab in converting over 67,000 conventional taxi drivers nationwide to e-hailing platforms.
Nearly 14,000 taxi drivers had now either partially or fully migrated to e-hailing platforms, and the government would continue working with Grab to convince more to do the same.
“This is in the interest of the taxi industry, which has been around for a long time. At the same time, Grab needs our support, and we are there to assist them as well,” Nancy said.


US-China trade deal hopes grow as oil prices decline

Updated 19 June 2019
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US-China trade deal hopes grow as oil prices decline

  • Data suggested a smaller-than-expected fall in American crude inventories
  • Preparations underway for Donald Trump to meet Xi Jinping next week at the G20 summit in Osaka

LONDON: Oil prices declined on Wednesday as data suggested a smaller-than-expected fall in American crude inventories, as hopes for a US-China trade deal continue to grow.
Brent crude futures were down 51 cents at $61.72 a barrel.
US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 25 cents to $53.65 a barrel. On Tuesday, it had recorded its biggest daily rise since early January.
After weeks of swelling, US crude stocks fell by 812,000 barrels last week to 482 million, the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday, a smaller fall than the 1.1-million-barrel drop analysts had expected.
Official estimates on US crude stockpiles from the US government’s Energy Information Administration are due during afternoon trading.
US President Donald Trump offered some support, saying preparations were underway for him to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, amid hopes a trade deal could be thrashed out between the two powers. Trump has repeatedly threatened China with tariffs since winning office in 2016.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi also offered a boost, saying on Tuesday that he would ease policy again if inflation failed to accelerate.
Tensions remain high in the Middle East after last week’s tanker attacks. Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the US have mounted, with Washington blaming Tehran, which has denied any role.
Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Iran having a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would approve the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies.
On Wednesday, oil markets shrugged off a rocket attack on a site in southern Iraq used by foreign oil companies.
“It is interesting to note that the crude oil futures market could not rally on hawks planting bombs in the Strait of Hormuz but could rally on doves planting quantitative easing,” Petromatrix’s Olivier Jakob said in a note.
“This is an oil market that doesn’t know how to react when an oil tanker blows up but knows how to react when the head of a central bank makes some noise.”
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have agreed to meet on July 1, followed by a meeting with non-OPEC allies on July 2, after weeks of wrangling over dates.
OPEC and its allies will discuss whether to extend a deal on cutting 1.2 million barrels per day of production that runs out this month.