Gamuda’s first condo with seismic features
Peninsula-based property developer Gamuda Land has unveiled its first property development project in Sabah, the Bukit Bantayan Residences, which is set to be the first earthquake-resistant building in the state. The project will comprise 296 units of condominiums in a 25-storey building equipped with seismic features that can withsstand a 7.0 quake with Ranau as the epicentre. The feature has also been applied to Gamuda’s property development projects in the Peninsula area as a precautionary measure. The first phase of the project will be completed in 3 years and the second phase will begin depending on the sales target of the first phase. (Daily Express)

Ringgit opens at 3.89 against US dollar
The Malaysian ringgit opened higher against the US dollar today, riding on positive external conditions that boosted the local currency. It opened today’s trading at 3.89 against the greenback, from last Friday’s 3.90. It traded higher against all major currencies except the yen, which consolidated a week of steady gains to reach highs not seen since 2014. The ringgit rose against the Singapore dollar to 2.88, and 4.43 against the euro. (New Straits Times Online)

Investor appetite for REITs still strong
Affin Hwang Capital is maintaining “overweight” on REITs, and continues to prefer retail M-REITs (Pavilion REIT and IGB REIT) over non-retail or diversified M-REITs. Investor appetite is expected to remain strong for these stocks due to low-risk factor (stable occupancy and rental rates), as well as resilient comsumption spending, improving ringgit and low global interest rates. Retail M-REITs continue to benefit as their retail mall assets have close proximity to major offices and access to major roads, transportation lines and ample parking spaces, and are in the heart of prime shopping commercial areas, while serving a radius of huge population with higher income levels, which allow major shopping malls to dictate rental rate of tenants. (The Edge Markets)

Sime Darby sets RM3bil sales target
Despite the current property market situation, Sime Darby Property is eager for a growth story this year. The company is targeting RM3 billion in sales this year comprising existing properties and new launches. In the first half this year, it managed to sell 1,000 units of existing properties, and is confident of hitting the target especially with the launch of phase two of the Elmina Valley project. As of March 16, the company has launched RM607mil worth of projects including the first phase of Emina Valley, 20’x60’ double-storey link homes. The company still has 3 months before the end of its current financial year. Contributing to 3% of group revenue and 28% of earnings for the financial year 2015, the property arm is the second bigger earnings contributor to the group after the plantation business. (The Star Online)

mydeposit_logoMah Sing expects to benefit from MyDeposit scheme
Mah Sing Group Bhd is expecting to “directly benefit” from the newly launched First Home Deposit Funding Scheme (MyDeposit), as about 70% of its customers are first-time homebuyers aged below 40, and half of its residential launches this year are below RM500,000. This translates to half its potential buyers eligible to apply for the MyDeposit scheme. Some of Mah Sing’s projects that fall into this price category include the Cerrado serviced apartments in Southville City @ KL South, and the Cendana apartments in M Residence 2 in Rawang. (The Edge Markets)

HCK unit enters JV for Sarawak apartment project
HCK Capital Group Bhd’s indirect 70%-owned unit HCK Premier Builders Sdn Bhd has entered into a joint venture agreement with Daya Builders Sdn Bhd to develop 448 units of walk-up apartments on a 16.54-acre land in Kuching, Sarawak. The project will be developed in three phases, and expected to complete in 36 months from commencement of each phase. The apartments will be priced within the affordable housing project promoted by the Sarawak government. (The Edge Markets)

Japan remains Malaysia’s biggest foreign investor
Apart from being the country’s fourth largest trade partner up to last year, Japan is still Malaysia’s biggest foreign investor int the manufacturing sector. In the first nine months of 2015, a total of US$607.9 million for 52 projects were approved for Japanese companies. In turn, Malaysia is Japan’s eighth largest trade partner with a total value of US$33.59 billion. Among the key Japanese investments are the manufacture of non-metallic mineral products, electrical and electronics,chemicals, transport equipment and machines. Nippon Electric Glass, Fuji Electric, SDP Global, Tosoh Corporation and Kaneka Corporation are the top five Japanese investors in Malaysia at present. Malaysia’s Ambassador to Japan, Datuk Ahmad Izlan Idris said there were plenty of opportunities for Malaysian companies to invest in the halal industry in Japan. (The Borneo Post)