Malaysia’s Maybank posts highest-ever first-quarter profit

Malaysian banks with presence in the neighboring Southeast Asia countries, such as Maybank, expect stronger demand for corporate and consumer loans as economies improve. (Reuters)
Updated 28 May 2018
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Malaysia’s Maybank posts highest-ever first-quarter profit

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Banking (Maybank), Malaysia’s largest lender, posted its highest ever first-quarter profit, helped by a drop in expenses and continued decline in impairment losses.
Maybank’s net profit for the quarter was 1.9 billion ringgits ($477.39 million), up 10 percent from 1.7 billion ringgits a year ago. It beat an average estimate of 1.85 billion ringgits from two analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Revenue was 2 percent higher at 11.5 billion ringgits.
The results were supported by a better cost-to-income ratio of 47.6 percent, versus 50.1 percent a year ago, as fee-based and fund-based income growth outpaced rise in overhead expenses, the bank said in a statement on Monday.
Net impairment losses for the quarter ended March fell 7.7 percent, while gross impaired loans ratio improved to 2.37 percent from 2.40 percent, it added.
Maybank’s Malaysian operations recorded a strong 6.7 percent increase in loans, while its Singapore and Indonesia operations saw increases of 5.5 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
On the group level, loans expanded 1.5 percent year-on-year.
Maybank Chairwoman Mohaiyani Shamsudin said the bank was buoyed by the positive outlook in the region and Malaysia, despite some uncertainties in the operating environment.
“In particular, we await policies which are expected to be outlined by the new government in Malaysia which we hope will further drive private sector investments and enhance consumer confidence,” she said.
The country’s lenders are seeing increased domestic loan demand from sectors including manufacturing, finance and infrastructure, analysts said.
Malaysian banks with presence in the neighboring Southeast Asia countries expect stronger demand for corporate and consumer loans as economies improve, which is likely to support credit growth in 2018.
But slower economic growth is a concern and uncertainty over economic policy has increased after 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad led an opposition alliance to a surprise election win this month. Malaysia’s first-quarter GDP grew 5.4 percent from a year earlier, its second straight quarter of slower economic growth.
Maybank’s net interest margin (NIM) — the difference between interest paid and earned and a key gauge of bank profitability — shrank slightly to 2.39 percent in the first quarter from 2.43 percent a year ago.


US trade negotiators to visit China for fresh round of talks

Updated 21 March 2019
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US trade negotiators to visit China for fresh round of talks

  • Washington and Beijing are battling over the final shape of a trade deal
  • American officials are demanding profound changes to Chinese industrial policy

BEIJING: US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will visit China on March 28-29 for a fresh round of talks aimed at resolving the bruising trade war, the Chinese commerce ministry said Thursday.
After their visit, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will head to the United States in April to continue the negotiations, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a press briefing.
Washington and Beijing are battling over the final shape of a trade deal, with American officials demanding profound changes to Chinese industrial policy.
President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that US tariffs on Chinese imports could remain in place for a “substantial period,” dampening hopes that an agreement would see them lifted soon.
Over the last eight months, the United States and China have slapped tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way goods trade, weighing on the manufacturing sectors in both countries.
On Friday, China’s rubber-stamp parliament approved a foreign investment law to strengthen protections for intellectual property — a central US grievance — but critics said the bill was rammed through without sufficient time for input from businesses.