iShares MSCI Malaysia Index Fund (ETF)

  • Petronas Pursues Aggressive Expansion Despite Political Uncertainties

    By Peter Pham - March 9, 2013 | Tickers: SNP, CEO, COP, XOM, EEM, EWM, PRQNF, RDS-A, VWO

    After finalizing the acquisition of Canada’s Progress Energy (PRQNF.PK), Malaysia’s state owned oil and gas firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd, more commonly known as Petronas, is planning to spend as much as $60 billion (RM 186 billion) over the next five years to ramp up the country’s oil and gas sector in a major exploration and production drive. Moreover, it is also expected to spend an additional more »

  • Asian Budget Carrier Wars Intensify

    By Peter Pham - January 22, 2013 | Tickers: FAA.DL, EWM, BA

    Rumors abound that one of Asia’s biggest low cost carriers, the Indonesia based privately held PT Lion Mentari Airlines (Lion Air), a traditional Boeing (NYSE: BA) customer, is planning to place another massive order of more than 200 jets, this time however, with Airbus.  In late November, Lion Air’s Commercial Director Edward Sirait said, “We are studying every possibility to fulfill our target for the planes from every more »

  • Energy: Malaysia’s Political Football

    By Peter Pham - October 1, 2012 | Tickers: JJA, HES, EWM, BNO

    Time is running out for Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak to call a general election, which is constitutionally mandated to take place by April 2013.  Many observers expect Najib may announce a November polling date, timing it to fall just after the Hajj, an important date on the religious calendar for this majority Moslem nation. 

    Malaysian consumers benefit from generous energy subsidies by the government, consuming some of the more »

  • Looming Elections in Malaysia Spur IPO Spree

    By Peter Pham - September 14, 2012 | Tickers: FB, GS, HCA, EWM

    Malaysia has become the global destination of IPO hunters this year with several deals exceeding the billion dollar mark. Last month, the continent’s largest hospital operator, IHH, the Malaysian government’s healthcare unit with operations in Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey, raised $2.1 billion in its IPO on the Bursa Malaysia.

    This made IHH the third biggest IPO for 2012 behind Felda Global Ventures Holdings ($3.3 billion) and more »

  • The Water Shortage Investors Must Know About

    By Peter Pham - August 28, 2012 | Tickers: XOM, EWM, EWS, RDS-B, RDS-A

    As the time draws nearer for the next round of elections to occur in Malaysia, which have to take place by June 30th, 2013 and the current Barisan Nasional ruling coalition in its weakest position in over 40 years, the level of potential mayhem in the economy is very likely to rise.  Sitting Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has been steadily making sweeping changes to the structure of Malaysia more »

  • Handicapping Malaysia's Growth

    By Peter Pham - July 20, 2012 | Tickers: C, HBC, EWM

    We are a few months in front of potentially important elections in Malaysia, where the ruling UNMO party is facing a serious threat to its 50+ year dominance.  The pressure from this is not lost on sitting Prime Minister NajibRazak who has made a number of moves to undercut many of the rallying issues of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.  The most recent announcement was the repeal of a colonial-era law more »

  • Banking on Asia's Growth

    By Peter Pham - July 10, 2012 | Tickers: BCS, ASEA, GS, EWM, EWS

    Last week I began a rundown of the iShares MSCI Singapore ETF (NYSEMKT: EWS), highlighting three of the principle holdings of the fund to acquaint investors with one of the most important centers for growth in the coming years, as well as one of the most important financial centers in the world.  

    Since this week the West was rocked by the fraud perpetrated by Barclays (NYSE: BCS) over the fixing more »

  • Malaysia’s IPO Market Refuses to Slow Down

    By Peter Pham - July 10, 2012 | Tickers: FB, EWM, NES.DL

    Last week the Malaysian government’s palm oil giant Felda Global Holdings (FGV: MK) went public in the biggest successful IPO of the year, raking in more than $3.1 billion and rising with the KLCI Bursa Malaysia Index since then. 

    Note I said biggest successful IPO.  Facebook’s (NASDAQ: FB) IPO can be considered many things, but successful is not one of them, unless you are a litigator.  And more »

  • ASEAN Monetary Momentum

    By Peter Pham - July 6, 2012 | Tickers: EWM, THD, VNM

    As we approach 2015 and the conversion of ASEAN into the AEC (Asian Economic Community) it is important to note whether we are seeing the necessary changes taking place at the fundamental level which show that the member nations are giving the whole concept more than just lip service.  Banking and Finance integration is absolutely one of those bits of infrastructure that is necessary to see moving forward.  And it more »

  • Malaysia’s Energy Conundrum

    By Peter Pham - July 6, 2012 | Tickers: XOM, EWM, VNM

    The upcoming elections in Malaysia form a potentially uncertain backdrop to the country’s future energy policy, to say the least. The state oil company, PETRONAS, which is the chief source of government revenue, is beginning to grumble about its role, as the company’s profits have been increasingly used to fund political pet projects and what look like vote-buying schemes. That they have to do this in the face more »

  • Malaysia’s Petronas Makes Big Natural Gas Moves

    By Peter Pham - July 4, 2012 | Tickers: HES, EWM, PTR, RDS-B, RDS-A

    The natural gas story gets more and more interesting by the day.  There are some who have serious doubts as to the viability of the natural gas industry at current prices, which have dropped to historic lows relative to the price of crude oil in the past year. But the reality is that both dry and liquid natural gas demand is extremely high and only going higher as the century more »

  • Connections in the Sky

    By Peter Pham - June 27, 2012 | Tickers: FAA.DL, EWM, BA

    As ASEAN inches towards the Asian Economic Community becoming reality in 2015, participating countries are frantically making their preparations in order to meet their obligations under the agreement, while companies here are positioning themselves to take advantage of the new opportunities this regional cooperation is expected to bring.

    The core principles of the union are based on the three pillars of peace (security community), prosperity (economic community) and socio-cultural community more »

  • Booze Cruisin’ With Diageo

    By Peter Pham - June 18, 2012 | Tickers: XLY, DEO, EWM, SPY

    Diageo (NYSE: DEO), maker of favorite liquor brands like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness and Baileys has recently announced it is considering listing in Hong Kong to take advantage of growth markets in Asia.

    Barreling Ahead

    Diageo Chief Executive Paul Walsh cites big growth in emerging markets as the driver for the discussion, saying that over the next 15 to 20 years “there will be two billion new consumers coming into more »

  • ASEAN Building Social Infrastructure, Not Just Roads

    By Peter Pham - June 18, 2012 | Tickers: FB, GOOG, EWM, EWS, LNKD

    I’ve covered in the past the growing physical integration that ASEAN has prioritized to pave the way for the Asian Economic Community (AEC) due to become official in 2015.  But, what has not been covered is the growing role that social media will play in enhancing the physical movement of goods and people. Since ideas are as important as things, ASEAN recently revealed plans to make use of social more »

  • Malaysia’s Palm Oil IPO Reveals Global Trends

    By Peter Pham - June 15, 2012 | Tickers: EWM, EWS

    With the debacle that was the Facebook IPO the IPO market which was already somnambulant in 2012 has turned positively comatose.  The uncertainty in the global markets has even reached the Asia-Pacific region with the proposed $3 billion F1 IPO on Singapore’s exchange put on hold.  In Hong Kong year over year IPO volume through May is off 85%.  Excluding Facebook, U.S. IPOs are off 53% and globally more »

  • Palm Oil Holds the Key to Feeding the Next Billion

    By Peter Pham - June 15, 2012 | Tickers: EWM, PSTL.DL

    With the world’s need for both edible fats and oils rising at a nearly unsustainable rate, palm oil represents a massive opportunity to fill that growing demand.  Emerging markets are in an explosive growth phase in caloric needs.  As they rise in wealth, so will their demand for calories and as such so will the demand for meat and dairy, the primary sources of saturated fats, which, despite propaganda more »

  • Can Asia Rejuvenate the World Economy?

    By Peter Pham - June 12, 2012 | Tickers: FXY, EWM, VNM, TBT

    This is the $41 trillion dollar question now isn’t it?  China cut their benchmark lending rate for the first time in 4 years on Thursday and now everyone is asking whether that will be the trend which will begin to stabilize the world economy.  In Barron’s latest heavy-hitter roundtable Bill Gross of PIMCO pointed out that policy makers in the U.S. are at the end of their more »

  • Malaysia’s Growth Fueled by Islamic Bonds

    By Peter Pham - June 8, 2012 | Tickers: EWM, SPY, DIA

    In just about every macroeconomic measure that matters Malaysia has been at the forefront of consistency of growth.  Since 2000 real GDP growth has averaged 5.1% with an average CPI inflation rate of 2.8%.  By contrast Vietnam has seen very high GDP growth but it has done so at the expense of consumer prices and a massive devaluation of the Dong.  Since 2004 Malaysia’s GDP has doubled more »

  • ASEAN and Looming Currency Wars

    By Peter Pham - April 30, 2012 | Tickers: RMB, EWM, EWS, JGBS

    Among the many things that were on the table at the recently finished ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh was an expansion of the Chiang Mai Initiative fund of foreign exchange reserves to defend against currency speculation of any one member.  China, Japan and Korea are also contributors to this fund.  Together they make up the ASEAN+3 bloc.  The thirteen member group has proposed expanding the size of the fund more »

  • A Lucrative New Market for These Companies

    By Peter Pham - April 25, 2012 | Tickers: DEO, EWJ, EWM, EWN

    Early in 2011 international liquor and sprits giant Diageo (NYSE: DEO) entered into a joint venture with Vietnam’s Halico, buying a 23.6% stake in the country’s biggest branded spirits producer.  Halico is the producer of Vodka Hanoi, the market leader in Vietnam.  Later in the year Diageo raised its equity stake in the privately-held company to 30% paying nearly $11 per share in the OTC market, more more »

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