View Full Version : Countdown 2003... Good year or lean year?
01-11-2002, 09:40 AM
<font size="+1">Countdown 2003:
Good year or lean year ahead?</font>
Is scenario in Singapore any indication of Malaysian economy?
<img src="http://www.straitstimes.com.sg/mnt/media/image/launched/2002-11-01/frontprint1101t.jpg" align="left"> STRAITS TIMES Singapore
Friday, November 1, 2002
<font size="+1">Fewer jobs as gloom hits economy</font>
84,300 people could not find a job last month; economy expected to perform below the official 3-4 per cent forecast
THE first shock came earlier this month when the economy grew much slower than any analyst had anticipated.
That piece of bad news - the economy growing by a sluggish 3.7 per cent over the past three months - has made its way into the job market: 84,300 people could not find a job last month.
It brought the unemployment rate to 4.8 per cent, up from 4.1 per cent in June. This is even higher than the 4.3 per cent experienced in the last Asian crisis in 1997.
More jobs were lost than created in the months from July to end-September. Employment contracted by 15,000, hitting first-time job seekers, including this year's crop of graduates.
Read the full story at:
02-11-2002, 09:20 AM
<font size="+1">The second-day warning from Singapore...</font>
<img src="http://www.straitstimes.com.sg/mnt/media/image/launched/2002-11-02/0211frontt.jpg" align="left"> STRAITS TIMES Singapore
Saturday, November 2, 2002
Jobless rate expected to worsen by year-end
BRACE yourself. The worst is yet to come. The job market which looks bleak now will get bleaker still before the year is out.
Manpower Minister Lee Boon Yang yesterday warned that the unemployment rate, which hit a 15-year high of 4.8 per cent in September, is expected to climb to 5 or even 5.5 per cent by the end of the year.
In the light of the uncertain economic climate, he also indicated that the cut to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) employer contribution rate is not likely to be restored by early next year.
Full story at:
06-11-2002, 07:33 AM
STRAITS TIMES Singapore
Wednesday, November 6, 2002
<font size="+1">Foreign investments in KL 'too low to publish'</font>
By Reme Ahmad
THE flow of foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Malaysia's manufacturing sector has been so low the government has decided to stop releasing monthly figures, sources here disclosed yesterday.
The Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida), the agency that publishes the data, has instead opted to run them on a quarterly basis, so that the accumulated investments will appear larger, the sources added.
The Mida website (www.mida.gov.my) previously published the data on a monthly basis. But the latest figures available yesterday only went up to June.
'This is a new policy, to run it on a quarterly basis. It's discouraging to have small FDI numbers rolled out monthly,' said an industry source.
Officials at Mida declined to comment.
The published six-month data is worrying, as Malaysia only pulled in approved manufacturing FDIs totalling RM2.2 billion (S$1 billion) between January and June, a far cry from RM18.8 billion for the whole of last year.
This means Kuala Lumpur has to pull in eight times more investments between July and December to come close to last year's total, which economists say is impossible.
The annual average approved FDI inflow for Malaysia was RM15.42 billion in the last six years.
Its worst performance since 1996 was the RM11.47 billion for the whole of 1997, because of the Asian economic crisis.
Analysts and officials say the Malaysian FDI is a valid mirror for South-east Asia.
An official at a large American semiconductor firm in Selangor said: 'The outlook for Malaysia and the region is not good. All the orders are very cautious because of worries over what may happen in Iraq.'
The biggest headache is the sharp drop of FDIs by American firms - whether fresh investments or re-investments by companies already based in the region.
14-11-2002, 09:03 AM
STRIATS TIMES Singapore
Thursday, November 14, 2002
<font size="+1">KL sees sharp drop in investments</font>
Approved foreign direct investments for the first nine months of this year are one-third of figure for the whole of 2001
By Reme Ahmad
THE flow of foreign investment into Malaysia is slowing to a worrying trickle.
Latest figures released this week reveal that Malaysia's approved foreign direct investments (FDIs) for the first nine months of the year amounted to just RM5.8 billion (S$2.1 billion).
The figure is less than one-third of the RM18.8 billion that flowed in last year, and analysts do not expect a massive surge in foreign capital in the last quarter to equal that figure.
Economists say Malaysia looks headed for the lowest approved manufacturing FDI figure since the Asian economic crisis struck six years ago.
While money continued to flow in from traditional, major investors such as the US and Singapore, their investments have dropped, according to data released by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida).
Foreign money is unlikely to flood South-east Asia in the last months of this year as investors mull over a possible war in Iraq and concerns about terrorist groups in the region, economists say.
Increasingly, too, more investments seem destined to flow to the lower-cost manufacturing nations.
Said Mr Amin Manap, research head at Mohaiyani Securities: 'The numbers are trending downwards as Malaysia seems to have lost the comparative advantage to countries like Vietnam and China.
'The threat of terrorism in the region is overblown, but is an important factor.'
The economy's worst FDI performance in the past decade was the RM6.287 billion approved in 1993, which most economists expect to be bettered by this year's investments.
But Malaysia seems unlikely to get more than RM11.47 billion, the figure from 1997.
Said an economist with a Malaysian bank: 'We can possibly surpass the 1993 figure, but it will be difficult to hit RM10 billion this year.'
The Mida figures show that America was the No 1 foreign investor in the first nine months of this year, with 32 projects worth RM2.44 billion given the go-ahead.
Second-ranked Singapore had 117 projects approved, worth RM799.61 million.
19-11-2002, 09:55 AM
STRAITS TIMES Singapore
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
GROWTH FORECAST FOR THIS YEAR SLASHED TO 2-2.5%
<font size="+1">S'pore may slip back into recession</font>
The official downgrade, not unexpected, follows a weakening US economy and external shocks battering Singapore
By Edna Koh
<img src="http://www.straitstimes.com.sg/mnt/media/image/launched/2002-11-19/ST1911t.jpg" align="left"> SINGAPORE'S economy will grow by a slower 2 to 2.5 per cent this year and may even face its second recession in two years.
The spectre of a dreaded 'double dip' recession, while still remote, cannot be ruled out in the light of a weakening United States economy, possible military action against Iraq and a sagging global electronics sector.
These outside factors have loomed large in recent months, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) yesterday, as it cut the full-year growth forecast from its previous 3 to 4 per cent, and warned of 'more downside risks on the horizon'.
'We do not rule out the possibility of a double-dip recession, but we will not assign it a very high probability at this stage,' MTI director (economics division) Friedrich Wu said at a news briefing yesterday.
A double-dip recession is when the economy has hardly emerged from one recession before capitulating to another.
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