Ringgit continues slide against USD
The ringgit weakened further to RM4.3950 against the US dollar at the close yesterday, despite Bank Negara’s recent initiatives to stabilise the falling currency, which is hovering at record lows against regional peers. More worryingly, the ringgit has continued to decline against regional currencies, falling to a record low against the baht at 12.4017 per 100 baht, and 3.1057 against the Singapore dollar. Similarly, the Indonesian rupiah and Australian dollar both strengthened against the ringgit on the same day. The ringgit remains the second worst-performing currency this year behind the Philippine peso. (The Star Online)

BSN looks to extend Youth Housing Scheme
Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) is looking to extend the government’s Youth Housing Scheme (YHS) which offers 100% financing for first time homebuyers, after less than 10% of the funds allocated have been taken up, more than 16 months into the scheme. Out of the RM6 billion allocated for the scheme in July 2015, BSN has only approved RM400 million worth of loans thus far, put in by 1,600 applicants. Of this RM200 million have been given out. Most of the loans are for properties in the primary market thus the loans are disbursed according to progressive payments. According to BSN senior vice-president/head of distribution Akhsan Zaini, the approval rate for YHS is in line with approval rates for normal housing loans in the industry and this is due to the usual credit rejection reasons including bad credit standing. (The Sun Daily)

MRCB sells land to MRT Corp over risk concerns
MRCB is disposing of a one-acre plot of land to MRT Corp for RM180 million, due to concerns over its proximity to the construction of the MRT Line 2. MRCB’s wholly-owned subsidiary OneSentral Park Sdn Bhd was in the initial stage of developing a block of serviced apartments on the land prior to receiving notice that the alignment of the MRT Line 2 crosses the site directly below the land. The land is located along Jalan Conlay below which the MRT Line 2 is expected to connect the Conlay and Tun Razak Exchange stations. The land would be exposed to higher risk of significant delays and cost overruns. The disposal will allow MRCB to avoid any potential risk and unlock value early from monetisation of the land. (The Edge Markets)

E&O to launch properties worth RM205mil in Penang
Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E & O) is planning to launch RM205 million worth of properties in the next three months at its seafront masterplanned development of Seri Tanjung Pinang in Penang. The upcoming launches would include 29 units of Amaris Terraces By-The-Sea and 32 units of Ariza Seafront terraced homes. The Amaris homes will be among the final set of landed properties at Seri Tanjung Pinang and targeted for launch by early-December, while the Ariza terraces are to be launched by 1Q2017. In addition to the Amaris and Ariza launches in the immediate term, imminent launches from the group before the end of 2017 include the joint-venture service apartment project at Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur, with Mitsui Fudosan and the maiden launch of terraced homes at the Elmina West township in Selangor. (The Star Online)

Artist's impression of Seri Tanjung Pinang (Image from E&O Berhad)

Artist’s impression of Seri Tanjung Pinang (Image from E&O Berhad)

Penang govt asked to review approvals for luxury condominiums
DAP lawmaker Yeoh Soon Hin has requested the Penang government to review approvals granted to developers to build luxury condominiums, especially near hills. The people did not need that many luxury condominiums in the area, and the projects are seen as merely pleasing developers without bringing benefit to the local population, he said, citing the proposed 60-storey condominium in Tanjung Bungah Beach. Yeoh said the state government had other major issues involving the people’s interest which needed to be resolved more urgently, such as economic problems, traffic congestion and the increasingly serious flooding leading to property damage. (Malay Mail Online)

Lim to inject WCT assets into Pavilion REIT
Businessman Tan Sri Desmond Lim’s corporate manoeuvre may unlock value worth billions after emerging as the largest shareholder in WCT Holdings Bhd last Tuesday, say sources. At the heart of Lim’s plan is the injection of WCT’s three shopping malls into Pavilion REIT. This will, in turn, help WCT clean up its balance sheet and lower its gearing ratio, which analysts believe will remove a persistent discount on the company’s share price. WCT had previously mooted a possible REIT listing of its malls by the end of the year, but injecting them into an existing REIT would prove faster and easier to accomplish. Analysts have pegged a valuation of RM1.2 billion to WCT’s three malls, namely Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya, AEON Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre in Klang and gateway@klia2 in Sepang. The group has another Paradigm Mall coming up in Johor Baru that is scheduled to open next April. (The Edge Markets)

Urban housing ministry serves first ever notice of demand to property developer
The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) has served its first ever notice of demand to property developer, Dynasti Condominium management ordering them to hand over documents related to the condominium. Klang Commissioner of Building director, Ari Adam, handed the notice to Yonlian Realty Sdn Bhd following a report lodged about the firm;s refusal to hand over the documents to the condo’s joint management body (JMB) once the condo’s arrears maintenance payment was settled. (The Sun Daily)

(Photo from Borneo Post Online)

(Photo from Borneo Post Online)

Malaysia records RM1.07tril trade in first nine months of 2016
Malaysia’s total trade increased 6% to RM1.07 trillion in the first nine months of this year, compared to the same period last year. This showed that the country’s economy was heading for a positive growth amid volatile global economy. Despite the uncertainty, Malaysia’s total trade volume last year soared to RM1.46 trillion, of which 15.8% was contributed by trade with China. China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner for the seventh consecutive year, while Malaysia is China’s ninth largest trading partner. 20 projects involving China’s participation were approved by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, including Bandar Malaysia, the Forest City, Melaka Gateway, Xiamen University Malaysia, Second Penang Bridge and Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park. (Malay Mail Online)