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Friday, May 25, 2018

Lii Hen Industries - Dragged by higher raw material cost

Author: HLInvest | Publish date: Fri, 25 May 2018, 10:51 AM

Lii Hen’s 1Q18 core earnings of RM11.6m (-24.5%QoQ, -49.7%YoY) came in below our expectation, accounting for 20% of our full year forecast. The group posted higher sales volume but was weighed down by i) higher raw material cost, ii) higher labour cost, iii) stronger ringgit. Moving forward, under the higher cost environment, we opine that it may be a tough year ahead. A lower DPS of 2.5sen was declared as compared to 1Q17:4sen. We cut our FY18-20 earnings by 18-22% mainly to account for higher raw material cost. We downgrade to HOLD from BUY with a lower TP: RM2.62 (previously: RM3.25).

Below expectation. Lii Hen’s 1Q18 core earnings of RM11.6m (-24.5%QoQ, -49.7% YoY) came in below our expectation, accounting for 20% of our full year forecast.

Deviations. Higher-than-expected cost of raw material.

Dividend. Declared first interim DPS of 2.5sen (ex-date: 11 Jun 2018) vs 1Q17: 4 sen.

QoQ. Despite the stronger MYR against US$ (1Q18: RM3.90/US$; 4Q18: RM4.15/US$), 1Q18 revenue increased by 5% as lower ASP (in MYR terms) was more than offset by higher sales volumes. Core net profit, on the other hand, fell by 24.5% to RM11.6m mainly attributable to higher raw material costs (which include, amongst others, coating spray and plastic packaging), and higher labour cost (arising from foreign labour levy).

YoY. 1Q18 revenue rose 12% to RM193.8m, but core net profit declined by 49.7% to RM11.6m as higher sales volume was weighed down by the stronger MYR against the US$ (1Q18: RM3.90/US$; 1Q17: RM4.44/US$, which in turn translated to lower sales proceeds). The group’s PBT margin declined by 11%-pts to 16.7% as it was affected by i) higher raw material cost and ii) foreign labour levy.

Outlook. Apart from wood costs (which accounts for 32% of total production cost, based on our estimates), Lii Hen’s other cost components, which include plastic packaging and coating spray, and labour costs (which account for 11% and 19% of total production costs) were also on the rise. We are expecting plastic and spray prices stay high given their positive correlation to crude oil price. Hence, we opine that given the higher cost environment it may be a tough year ahead for Lii Hen.

Forecast. We cut our FY18-20 earnings forecast by 18-22% mainly to account for higher raw material cost. Post earnings revision, we cut our DPS assumption to 15sen (based on dividend payout assumption of 59%) from 18sen and this translates to a dividend yield of 5.7%. Post earnings forecast adjustment, we downgrade to our call to HOLD from BUY, with a lower TP of RM2.62 (previously: RM3.25) based on a 10x revised FY19 EPS of 26.2 sen.

Source: Hong Leong Investment Bank Research - 25 May 2018

Apex Healthcare Berhad - Off To A Good Start

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Apex Healthcare Berhad (ApexH) reported a healthy 1QFY18 net profit of RM13.2m (+30.6% YoY), which met 29% of our full-year estimates. The higher earnings were attributed to stronger performance from manufacturing of own products, as well as the marketing and distribution of pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare products. We adjust our earnings estimates higher by 6% to 9% for FY18F-20F, and maintain our Outperform call with a higher target price of RM6.77 premised on 15x multiple to a rolled-over FY19 EPS. We continue to like ApexH for i) additional capacity from its new Oral Solid Dosage (SPP NOVO) manufacturing facility to be ready in 2018, ii) strong balance sheet with net cash position of 73.3sen/share, and iii) synergistic relationship with a number of multinational drug companies and wide distribution network for pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter and consumer products in Malaysia.
  • 1QFY18 revenue was stronger at RM168.4m (+8.9% YoY), attributed to increased contributions from Group-branded pharmaceutical sales to the Government sector in Malaysia and Singapore, exports and contract manufacturing services. Segment-wise, external 1QFY18 revenue for Manufacturing and Marketing division rose by 110.1% YoY while Wholesale and Distribution increased by 5.2% YoY. Improvement was also noted in share of results from its associate company Straits Apex, which increased 61.1% YoY to RM1.6m (1QFY17: RM1.0m) as initiatives taken to broaden its customer base gain traction. Going forward, we are conservatively looking at an 8-11% growth in FY18F-20F, on the back of trading strength and emphasis on R&D initiatives resulting in quality pharmaceutical product formulations. We also look forward to the new SPP NOVO coming on board in 4QFY18, which should provide ApexH with ample capacity to drive production growth in the years to come.
  • Margin improvements. Operating, pretax and net margins were better at 8.8%, 9.8% and 7.8% respectively (compared to 7.7%, 8.3% and 6.5% in 1QFY17), in line with positive performance from its subsidiaries and associates. As ApexH continues to concentrate efforts on Group-branded pharmaceuticals, we expect the increased margin levels to be sustainable in the coming quarters.
Source: PublicInvest Research - 25 May 2018

Tasco Bhd - FY19F: Stronger earnings

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Results

  • Tasco Bhd (TASCO) reported a net profit of RM5.1m in 4QFY18 which tumbled 38.2% qoq and 32.5% yoy as revenue down 11.6% qoq but up 15% yoy.
  • Unfavourable QoQ performance was attributed to seasonal lower revenue in 4Q with both International Business Solutions (IBS) and Domestic Business Solutions (DBS) registered negative revenue growth QoQ coupled with higher tax expenses.
  • Lacklustre YoY performance was bogged down by higher finance costs despite higher revenue.
  • Cumulatively, 12MFY18 net profit slid 3.9% yoy to RM29.7m despite surge in revenue of 21.5% yoy. Better revenue was a result of growths in both IBS and BDS that further lifted by Cold Supply Chain (CSC) division’s contribution (about 8 months revenue recognition for FY18). However, earnings was eroded by elevated finance costs in view of the borrowing incurred for Cold Supply Chain acquisition, coupled with increased professional and compliance expenses for corporate merger & acquisition exercise.
  • Within expectations. 12MFY18’s net profit within our expectation but below consensus by matching 97.6% and 89.2% of full year earnings estimates respectively.

Comments

  • Both IBS and DBS registered lower QoQ revenue but DBS posted higher PBT. IBS’s 4QFY18 PBT tumbled 43.6% qoq as revenue decreased 14.4% qoq as well as lower PBT margin achieved in Air Freight Forwarding division. Meanwhile, DBS’ PBT surged 32.7% qoq despite revenue dropped 9.9% qoq, thanks to higher margin achieved in Contract Logistics Division.
  • Weaker YoY performance for IBS but better YoY performance for DBS in 4QFY18. Unfavourable IBS performance was a result of lower revenue (-15.2% yoy) and lower margin. As such, IBS’ PBT down 59.4% yoy. Meanwhile, DBS performance was mainly lifted by recognized CSC business segment and better margin posted in Contract logistics division.
  • IBS posted higher revenue (+5.7% yoy) but lower PBT (-12.7% yoy) for 12MFY18. Higher revenue was backed by higher sales in both Air and Ocean Freight Forwarding divisions but dragged down by lower margin in Ocean Freight forwarding in view of competitive freight rates as well as surcharges.
  • 12MFY18 DBS performance boosted by Contract logistic division and contribution from CSC division. DBS PBT surged 74.1% yoy, underpinned by 34.4% yoy increase in revenue. Higher revenue was a result of higher revenue registered in Contract logistic division (+20.8%) and RM61.4m revenue contribution from CSC division.
  • Contribution from CSC division to be fully recognised in FY19. Looking forward, we envisage Tasco to fully recognise its CSC business segment in FY19 with an estimated revenue of c.RM100m. As such, we believe CSC division is able to contribute PBT of RM10-12m to Tasco in FY19.
  • Possibly obtaining approval on Investment Tax Allowance (ITA) – We understand that Tasco is in the midst of applying for an Investment Tax Allowance. If Tasco successfully secures the approval, we foresee a tax saving of RM15-20m and probably recognise it as early as FY19F. To recap, Tasco recognised such tax allowance in FY2011 with a tax saving of RM3.9m, which translated into an effective tax rate of 14.6% (vs statutory tax rate of 25%). In addition, we also understand that total ITA claimed by Tasco during FY2003 to FY2007 was RM21m.
  • Looking forward, we believe Tasco to continue its growth trajectory, backed by strong GDP growth in Malaysia for this year with our in-house forecast of 5.3% and IMF’s projected global growth of 3.9% for 2018 and 2019.
  • Declared single-tied dividend of 2.5 sen with entitlement date and payment date yet to be determined. As such, total dividend for FY18 will be 4.5 sen, which translates into a dividend yield of 2.3% based on current share price.

Earnings Outlook

  • We keep our earnings forecast unchanged for FY19 and FY20.
  • Major risks: 1.) Higher fuel price, 2.) Change in government policy, 3.) Hiccup in performance due to loss of major customers, and 4.) Slowdown in domestic and overseas economy.

Valuation/Recommendation

  • Maintain BUY call for Tasco with an unchanged target price of RM2.49. We pegged our valuation at PE of 13x FY19F EPS. Our target PE valuation is slightly higher than the average forward PE of its peers of 12.8x in view of its commanding position in the sector and at the range of upcycle forward PE.
  • Overall, we are sanguine on its future growth following its venture into cold chain market. With this, TASCO is able to generate synergies across all of its divisions and provide integrated logistics services for its clients. Furthermore, the soon-to-be-launched trading business (by YLTC Sdn Bhd, a 60:40 JV between Yee Lee Corporation Bhd and Tasco Bhd) will create further synergy to its existing businesses such as
Source: JF Apex Securities Research - 25 May 2018

HeveaBoard Berhad - Huge Disappointment

Author:   |    Publish date: 


Result

  • Earnings significantly below our expectation. HeveaBoard Berhad (Hevea) registered 1Q18 core net profit of RM1.8m (after excluding realised and unrealised forex gain of RM0.8m during the quarter), which tumbled 92.9% yoy and 89.9% qoq. The dismal results were mainly due to significantly lower revenue achieved (-27.2% yoy, -13.0% qoq) and margins (PBT margin: -16.6ppts yoy, -5.6ppts qoq) by both of its Particleboard and RTA segments.

Comment

  • Loss in RTA segment. The weaker yoy and qoq results in 1Q18 were mainly due to lower sales by its Particleboard segment (-23.6% y7y, -26.5% qoq) and RTA division (- 29.5% yoy, -0.6% qoq). This was also further aggravated by slump of margins for both segments as Particleboard’s PBT margin tumbled 11.5ppts yoy and 4.5ppts qoq whilst RTA posted a net loss of RM1.4m (vs 1Q17 net profit of RM17.4m and 4Q17 net profit of RM2.6m).
  • Unfavourable forex and labour issues weighed on earnings. The weaker performance posted by Particleboard segment was mainly due to weakening of USD against MYR by almost 12% during the period, lower production volume and higher raw material costs (rubber wood prices, and glue and chemicals). Meanwhile, the disastrous showing by RTA segment was due to the continued shortage of foreign workers which resulted in high operational costs as the Group failed to achieve optimum production capacity. Also, the weakening of USD against MYR weighed on its top line and bottom line.
  • Tough operating environment. We envisage the Group’s 2018F earnings continue to be affected by: 1) lower production and higher operational costs as failure to achieve optimum production capacity for RTA Furniture as a result of shortage of foreign workers; 2) lower utilisation rate and ASP expected for particleboard production due to overcapacity and price war; 3) fluctuation in forex as raw material costs are mainly denominated in MYR whilst export proceeds are in USD; and 4) prevailing high rubber wood and glue prices following rainy season and hike in crude oil prices.

Earnings Outlook/Revision

  • We slash our core net earnings estimates for 2018F and 2019F by respective 41.1% and 23.6% to RM42.4m and RM67.7m following cut in our sales and margin assumptions for the both segments due to the abovementioned headwinds.

Valuation/Recommendation

  • We downgrade our call to HOLD from BUY with a lower target price of RM0.95 (RM1.27 previously) following our earnings cut. Our target price is now based on 8x 2019F fully-diluted PE.
Source: JF Apex Securities Research - 25 May 2018

Vitrox expects 2018 to be another growth year

CORPORATE NEWS
Friday, 25 May 2018
by david tan

Group chief executive officer Chu Jenn Weng told StarBiz that the growing telecommunications infrastructure, server and automotive markets in these markets would generate strong demand for the group’s products this year

GEORGE TOWN: Vitrox Corp Bhd which expects 2018 to be another growth year for the company, is extending its reach in emerging markets like India, China, Mexico and South-East Asia.

Group chief executive officer Chu Jenn Weng told StarBiz that the growing telecommunications infrastructure, server and automotive markets in these markets would generate strong demand for the group’s products this year.

“In the first three months of 2018, we have secured accumulated sales orders of about RM105mil, which will keep us busy for the next three months.

“The March book-to-bill ratio is 1:2, which means that for every 100 units of products we ship out, we receive 120 units of new orders in the same period. The current book-to-bill ratio is even higher,” he said after the company’s AGM.

He said the company would start operations at its new RM120mil plant in Batu Kawan in July.

He said the new facility would serve as the company’s headquarters as well as research and development hub.

“The plant will more than double our capacity to produce automated inspection equipment,” Chu said.

Vitrox has recently been added into the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) Malaysia Small-Cap Indexes.

“This will give us an edge in attracting foreign funds,” he added.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2018/05/25/vitrox-expects-2008-to-be-another-growth-year/#KRjdH6selY7DOT4f.99

祖多斯否认偷窃勒索,也驳斥篡改资料指控

发表于 今天09:00 | 更新于 今天09:08



专访一

瑞士人祖多斯是一马公司丑闻浮出台面的重要却也极具争议的角色,他曾任职于沙地石油国际公司,后在勒索前东家的罪名下在泰国锒铛入狱。

不过,祖多斯如今踏在经历变天的大马土地,接受《当今大马》专访时,否认自己窃取沙地石油国际公司(下简称PSI)的任何资料。

他也声称,自己当初在泰国的招供,其实都是不得已,甚至威逼的结果。

祖多斯坦言于2011年离开PSI之际,确实拷贝了公司的电邮,但其目的不是为了未来勒索前东家,而是当作一种“保险”而已。

当时,PSI和其领导发了横财,因为它于2009年9月跟一马公司进入一项所谓的联营计划,而获得10亿美元的资金。

组多斯表示,他当时就察觉事有蹊跷,因而备份了相关电邮,以待日后必要时,能证明自己与联营计划毫无干系。

“发达了,人就疯掉”

祖多斯声称,他原本跟PSI创办人兼执行长达列奥拜(Tarek Obaid)是好友,但两人后来闹翻,他也因此离职。

“到处都是钱。他们把那些钱用来购买公寓,租赁游艇、私人飞机,开派对享乐。”

“我当时不满达列对待我的方式,我们本应是朋友,但有些人,一旦发达,就疯掉了。”

“PSI只是名字好听”

他直言,PSI根本就是一家“假公司”,没有任何的正当营运活动或经验,根本不应该享有逾亿美元的生意。

祖多斯指出,2009年与一马公司合营之前,PSI只有少数几名的秘书处雇员,而这些人分布在沙地阿拉伯的利雅得、瑞士日内瓦和英国伦敦,而工作只是“每周接听一两通电话而已”。

PSI当时唯一的正当生意落在南美的委内瑞拉,不过最终也落得倒闭的下场。

该公司也拥有两艘的探钻船,其中一艘是40年船龄的“沙地石油探险号”,而祖多斯形容,那艘船极其残破肮脏,以致他自己都不敢上船参观。

祖多斯表示,PSI唯一有的“资产”,只是它的名字“好听”而已。

“沙地石油是一个很好听的名字。当你听见它,感觉就像是大马国油(Petronas)或巴西石油(Petrobras)那样,听起来像是一个国有公司。但事实并非如此,那只是他们买下的一个名字而已。”

“(沙地)吐奇王子曾经是公司的股东,但这家公司跟沙地王室、油田或大型的沙地石油公司,从来没有任何的正式关联。他们只是有一个很好听的名字,那就是他们主要的‘资产’。”

要钱却变成免费奉上

祖多斯透露,他2011年3月离开PSI之后,迁徙到泰国苏梅岛,同时在那里结婚成家。他把自己的资产卖掉,并且在苏梅岛兴建自己的住宅,准备自己的“退休天堂”。

但祖多斯声称,他当时跟旧东家还有一些事情未了,因为后者仍拖欠他200万美元,而他决意要拿回这笔钱。

屡试不果后,祖多斯于2103年底陆续找上揭弊网站《砂拉越报告》网主凯丽,以及一名大马大亨。

他把旧东家约23万封电邮的暂存记忆档,交给了他们。他原本先媒体大亨索要200万美元,但最终于2015年2月免费给他们两人奉上。

祖多斯交出的资料和电邮,使得一马公司案在2015年初炸开,在大马掀起经年的连锁政治风暴,而时任首相纳吉也从此坠入丑闻深渊,至今无法摆脱之。

《砂拉越报道》于2015年2月揭露,一马公司跟PSI的总值25亿美元联营计划十分可疑,因为一马公司给联营公司注入的首笔10亿美元启动资金, 7成竟然被挪作还债之用。

无奈招供与污蔑他人

不过,祖多斯随即于同年6月遭泰国警方逮捕,更在较后的8月,在敲诈勒索罪名下被判入狱3年。

无论如何,纳吉政府当时反击,否认舞弊外,更指控祖多斯所泄露的电邮受人篡改,而背后更有试图推翻民选政府的阴谋。

祖多斯向《当今大马》申诉,大马当局当时竭尽一切来打击他和他所交出的电邮资料的可信度,而且收买了泰国警方来对付他。

“他们必须把我丑化为一个大坏人和罪犯。他们甚至迫我说,(一份商业报)和凯丽篡改资料。其实根本没有(篡改)这回事。我把电邮免费给了他们。”

“是的,原初,我确实(向PSI)要钱,但那是他们欠我的。如果我勒索PSI,为何我只要200万美元呢?我会以500万美元的价格把电邮资料卖掉,或到纳吉的办公室,要求1000万美元。”

他进一步指出,被捕后,他别无选择,唯有招认,同时从命抹黑其他人以求自保,因为当时有人威胁说,他若不从,则会面对最高的10年监禁刑罚。

自费来马以协助调查

祖多斯最终在泰王特赦,以及瑞士政府的介入下,于2016年12月结束牢狱灾难。

此后,祖多斯尝试重建自己的人生,同时设法透过瑞士司法体制,刑事起诉达列奥拜和另一名PSI董事玛浩尼(Patrick Mahony)。

第14届大选给大马带来新的希盟联邦政府之后,祖多斯更来马,更在昨天会晤了新政府重新启动的一马案特工队。

他强调自己这次是自费来到马来西亚,以期设法协助大马当局的一马案调查。

譚新強:馬哈蒂爾強勢回歸 但亞洲無金融風暴

文章日期:2018年5月11日

【明報專訊】Blast from the Past!馬哈蒂爾以92歲高齡再次當上馬來西亞總理!真厲害,相信是世界紀錄吧!連容貌都跟廿年前沒什麼分別,比他小幾歲的李嘉誠都在昨天正式退任長江集團主席。馬哈蒂爾領導希望聯盟,以反貪腐為口號,在周三的選舉中大挫他從前自己一手提拔出來的總理納吉布(Najib Razak),和自從獨立以來一直執政的國民陣線(BN)。

馬哈蒂爾號稱他是位短期過渡性的總理,只要等到安華(Anwar Ibrahim)在6月再次出獄(又係雞姦罪),他會爭取特赦(原本5年不准從政),然後讓位給安華。在這一點上,走着瞧吧,理論上應會履行諾言,但這位老人家明顯老當益壯,且非常眷戀權位;大家不要忘記在1998年,就是他以雞姦罪名把也是他一手提拔的時任副總理安華拉下台,從此他就墮入不斷進出法庭和監獄的20年噩夢!雖然馬哈蒂爾口頭上答應準備把權力交給安華,但至今從未向安華道歉,安華也在傳媒訪問中說他非常清楚馬哈蒂爾的性格,是個從來不會認錯的人。

大馬股巿選舉前創新高 下周勢波動

因為這次選舉結果太過出人意表,可說是民粹推動,本以為就算如2013年大選一樣,就算反對黨勝出普選票數也沒用,納吉布領導的BN仍將以贏得較多議席而勝出。但結果點票至周四凌晨,驚人的結果出來,馬哈蒂爾領導的反對派贏得過半數議席,將組成聯合政府。美國交易的馬來西亞ETF EWM馬上應聲倒地,曾跌超過7%,收市仍跌6%(編按:昨美市初段回升4%)。馬哈蒂爾宣布股市周四、五休息(他有干預市場的不良紀錄),下周一重開時必然頗波動,選舉前大馬股巿受到政府因拉票的一些派糖承諾刺激,才剛創下歷史新高。

馬來西亞經濟其實不錯,去年GDP增長近6%,今年預計仍將有5.5%,受惠於高油價帶動的貿易增長和國內消費。今年令吉更曾兌美元升值2.5%,最近才因美元反彈和意外的選舉結果才回落至今年持平。表現上通脹溫和,CPI只有1.3%,但很多國民仍埋怨追不上生活指數,尤其在加了6%的GST銷售稅後。他們都認為設立GST是為了填補國家發展1MDB可能高達數十億美元的虧損,懷疑最少7億美元被調到納吉布總理的私人銀行戶口!這亦是驅使原已退休的馬哈蒂爾重出江湖、討伐納吉布的最主要原因。馬哈蒂爾答應盡快取消GST,更將重新設立汽油補貼,對國家財政最少有短期負面影響,令債券以至股票投資者擔心,但他亦答應將研究開徵一些更公平的新稅項。

除反貪腐外,馬哈蒂爾選舉的另一主要政綱就是反對中國和中資企業在馬來西亞大量投資,無疑大大增加了影響力。他以斯里蘭卡為例,因無法償還息口過高的一帶一路貸款而喪失了重要港口的控制權,在巴基斯坦亦有類似個案。不少中國的光伏太陽能公司如信義光能(0968)、晶科等早前都有在馬來西亞設廠,企圖繞過美國的關稅。不少中國開發商如碧桂園(2007)和雅居樂(3383)等亦在跟新加坡鄰近的Johor有不少投資,小心未來政策的改變。

政綱反中資 不少華企或受累

馬哈蒂爾原為一位小鎮醫生,逐漸建立了自己的事業才開始從政。他是在1981年首次當上總理,一做就是22年,至2003年才退休。回想1981年,也是美國總統列根剛上台的一年,當時新加坡總理是李光耀,印尼總統為蘇哈圖,他們都已成古人,而馬哈蒂爾竟然捲土重來,再度當上總理,看來仍然非常健康,精神奕奕,的確令人佩服!想來想去,現今跟他年紀相若的國家元首就只剩下英女王,對比下來,72歲的特朗普只算是個小伙子。如下次英女王和馬哈蒂爾有機會在某些英聯邦聚會遇上,他們應好好的敍下舊!

我的個人經歷也跟馬來西亞有些淵源。1990年代初從美國回港時,在美林負責拓展衍生工具業務,奇怪地當時很多同事和老闆都是馬拉和新加坡華僑。直屬老闆雖是美國人,但他的一位好友是Nazir Razak,當時也是剛從外國留學回到馬來西亞,在CIMB工作的年輕銀行家(後來成為了CEO)。後來才知道他是個官二代,他的父親為馬來西亞第二任總理Abdul Razak,而他哥哥就是剛落選的納吉布!

因為公司的人跟馬拉關係好,所以我最初在亞洲發行的窩輪,竟是跟馬來西亞企業如Tanjong、Tenaga和Sime Darby等相關的盧森堡掛牌窩輪!因此亦經常去KL出差。後來發現Jardine Flemming和百富勤(俱往矣!)發行的香港窩輪規模和流通量都大得多,利潤更豐厚。對比Flemming和百富勤,美林當時財雄勢大,所以就極力建議公司加入此業務,經一輪游說後終首肯,就開始發展香港窩輪。但過了不久就轉到里昂去,可說比在美林時更成功,但此為後話。

1997年開始的亞洲金融風暴更是我職業生涯最難忘的一段時刻,遠比2000年的科網股災和2008的全球金融海嘯更深刻。幸運地公司(對冲和風控做得好)和我個人一點損傷都無。當時頭腦非常清醒,危機感很足夠,既無股票,連樓都未買。老早就不厭其煩地經常勸喻很多身邊朋友要小心,但不幸忠言逆耳,很多朋友都沉迷炒樓,有些更是中小型發展商,他們不止不信,更認為我的悲觀是因為我膽小和無錢,吹脹!結果當然是不少朋友嚴重受傷,甚至乎破產沒頂的,借了錢一去無蹤的例子都有。

亞洲金融風暴源頭為泰國,當時有頗嚴重的經常帳和財政預算雙赤字,且有不少美元外債,但外儲又不夠多,所以當外資撤退,泰銖就首當其衝暴跌,然後整個國家就破產了,要向IMF求救,很快就形成骨牌效應,連有經常帳順差的馬來西亞和印尼等都備受牽連。

當時IMF的援助條件苛刻,都受了經濟學家Jeffrey Sachs的很大影響,認為這些亞洲國家都是「罪人」(有點宗教色彩),犯了貪腐和過度揮霍之罪,所以必須以嚴厲財政節約政策來「贖罪」。泰國、印尼和韓國等就勉強接受了IMF援助,但情况仍然非常痛苦,在印尼更出現不少暴亂和甚至屠殺華人的淒慘場面!

唯一夠膽拒絕IMF的人正是馬哈蒂爾,他逆向思維選擇得罪外國投資者,執行嚴厲的資本管制,不許外國資金流出,政策維持了多年。令吉暴跌,資金又不能退出,很多國際投資者蒙受巨大損失(尤其新加坡),著名投資者索羅斯指控資管政策不公平和不文明,跟馬哈蒂爾展開隔空罵戰。馬哈蒂爾更曾邀請索羅斯到馬來西亞進行辯論,索羅斯「聰明」地沒有應約,要不然他自己都可能被限制出境!

20年前夠膽拒絕IMF 限制外資流出

星移斗轉,隨着時間過去,連IMF的想法都有改變。後來IMF都承認對發展中國家而言,適量的資本管制是需要的,不可讓大量國際熱錢過急竄動,可能包含惡意襲擊,亦可影響宏觀經濟穩定。某程度上這改變證明馬哈蒂爾的緊急政策是有道理的(但仍是對投資者不利)。自此不少發展中國家就以此案件為資本控制政策的理據,中國就是其中表表者。但中國已是全球第二大經濟體,絕不是一個普通的發展中國家,所以不可再以此為拖延逐步開放資本帳和人幣國際化的理由。如繼續必招致外國投資者的投訴指操控資本帳和匯率,肯定不願大幅增加人幣資產比例;而大量貿易盈餘的累積,加上資本控制亦製造國內如房產、影子銀行等泡沫,所以連國內人民都受不了。

近日因阿根廷問題,再加上美元終於反彈,又有不少人擔心整個新興市場即將面臨危機,我認為有點杞人憂天。阿根廷是個所謂basket case(絕望垃圾),歷史上已8次借貸違約,極可能將有第九次。通脹升至超過20%,利率更已加至40厘,經濟怎可能不崩潰?但這風波會否蔓延至亞洲呢?答案是小小影響會有,例如長期企業債已跌了不少,大部分股市仍在整固,但大的危機出現機會極微。

阿根廷違約風波 對亞洲影響不大

以當年的風眼泰國為例,現今不單沒有經常帳赤字,更受惠於大量中國旅客到訪,每年有近500億美元的盈餘。馬來西亞亦有貿易盈餘,外儲更是從前的3倍有多。只有印尼有些少貿赤,主因是入口石油,去年亦減息有點太快,所以今年股市和匯率表現較差,但並非危機。港元稍弱只是因港美息差高達1厘,有點太多,只是吸引了一些套利客(主要是中銀吧),流動性充沛,絕非恐慌性走資。中國下半年經濟有些少放緩迹象,但仍近6.5%目標,問題不大,不要自己嚇自己。

據說大部分馬來西亞人今天都很高興,歡迎馬哈蒂爾強勢回歸。他令人回憶到亞洲金融風暴時各國曾面對的困局,更覺得現在亞洲(主要是中國)的經濟規模和穩定性跟20年前相比,根本不可同日而語!

(中環資產擁有信義光能的財務權益)

中環資產投資行政總裁

[譚新強 中環新譚]

https://www.mpfinance.com/fin/columnist2.php?col=1463481132098&node=1525981371516&issue=20180511