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theSun | TUESDAY DECEMBER 30 2008 21



to 3.1320 against the US dollar

A roller- on April 23, sparking hopes

that it could strengthen to less
than 3.00 this year. Instead, in
tandem with commodity prices,
the ringgit weakened to a low
of 3.64 on Dec 4.
Cash up for grab!

coaster year
Volatility was the watchword
Weekly cash prizes await the winners!
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sliding to a low of 846.470 on
by Tan Siok Choo prompted the government Dec 15 as hopes that Malaysia
to propose last month a RM7 would be insulated from the US
THIS was the year the US billion plan to boost growth. recession faded.
economy dominated headlines However, many economists For companies like Malayan
worldwide. News reports about fear this stimulus package is Banking, this year has proved a
stunning highs were later insufficient to prevent Malaysia chastening experience. It was
overwhelmed by an expanding from slipping into a recession. criticised for buying a control-
litany of sobering lows. And Even more worrying, in its ling stake in Bank Internasional
in December, press coverage East Asia Pacific Update, the Indonesia (BII) for RM8.6 billion
changed from dismal to dire. World Bank warned stimulus or 4.6 times its book value,
On Dec 16, in its final meet- measures announced so far by a valuation many analysts
ing for the year, the US Federal China, South Korea, Malaysia deemed excessive.
Reserve stunned analysts by and Thailand can only “cushion” Although Maybank’s share
reducing the Fed funds rate their economies against the full price has plummeted from
– the rate at which banks lend impact of a global economic RM9 at the start of the year to
to each other – by 75 basis downturn but cannot com- RM5.10 on Dec 15, there may
points to a record low target pensate fully for the collapse be considerable downside.
range from zero to 0.25%. More in exports. Regional economies Research house CLSA Asia
important, the Fed also said it like Hongkong, Singapore and values Maybank at RM3.60 a
would print as much money as Taiwan are now in recession share, the first institution to set
necessary to thaw the freeze in while South Korea looks set to a target price at below the RM4
US credit markets. join the trio next year. Although mark this year.
The Fed’s unprecedented Malaysia remains on track to One positive stock market
announcement underscores register 5% growth this year, development is more assertive
the failure of previous interest its prospects have dimmed minority shareholders. At May-
rate cuts to stymie a US reces-
sion that is shaping up to be the
worst since World War II.
One casualty of the US re- WEEKLY PRIZES
cession was banks. Five major
US investment banks have dis- RM 3,000 cash prize x 10 winners
appeared this year: Bear Sterns
was taken over by JPMorgan
Chase, the 158-year-old Leh-
man Brothers filed the biggest
bankruptcy in US history with
US$613 billion (RM2.1 trillion)
in debt, while Goldman Sachs,
Morgan Stanley and Merrill
Lynch turned themselves into
A chastening year for banks.
retail banks.
Additionally, 25 US banks
have failed this year, the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation
says. In the past eight years, 52
banks went belly up – more than
half this number collapsed in
the ongoing financial turmoil.
In October, the US Congress How to participate
approved a massive US$700 bil-
lion (RM2.4 trillion) bank bailout
Step 1: Purchase 5 reams of Double A
paper. Step 3: Attach the proof of purchase (receipt/ invoice)
Step 2: Complete the contest form with a creative slogan. with the contest form.
plan. Although some funds have Step 4: Submit through post.
been used to rescue ailing insur-
ance giant, AIG, this bailout plan It is as simple as that!!
has failed to inspire confidence
in US financial institutions.
Another casualty was Year of highs and lows for palm oil.
Detroit’s Big Three. Crushed BUY NOW
by fierce competition from TO ENTER!
Japanese carmakers, high wage considerably. Growth next year bank’s recent annual general CONTEST FORM
costs and hefty discounts to could slow significantly to 3.5% meeting, minority shareholders
purchasers while high petrol instead of the earlier forecast were forthright in criticising
prices prompted Americans to of 5.4%. the BII deal. Furthermore, a Name: Age: Gender:  Male  Female
end their love affair with De- This will be a year of quiet representative of the Employ-
troit’s petrol-guzzling cars. US satisfaction for our policy– ees Provident Fund warned
Company Name: Occupation:
automakers received an early makers. Measures adopted by Maybank directors they would
Christmas present when the Malaysia during the 1998 Asian be accountable for any losses
Bush administration proposed Financial Crisis – including cut- suffered by shareholders. Address:
a US$17.4 billion bailout for ting interest rates, government Amid the deepening gloom,
Detroit. To qualify for aid, the bailouts, suspending short sell- an audacious glimmer of hope
companies must demonstrate ing – were heavily criticised a is US President-elect Barack
their commercial viability. decade ago but are now being Obama’s inauguration on Jan
For many countries in Asia copied by US policymakers. 20. He has pledged to imple- NEW NRIC No.: Email (if applicable):
– including Malaysia – 2008 was This was a roller-coaster year ment the biggest infrastruc-
the year exports as an engine for two major Malaysian com- ture-spending programme Tel / H/P: (O)
of economic growth stalled. In modity exports: oil and palm since the 1950s, totalling as
October, Malaysia’s exports fell
by 2.6% to RM53.5 billion from
oil. Prices of oil skyrocketed
to a record high of US$147.27
much as US$1 trillion (RM3.4
trillion) to be spent over the Double A A4 paper is environmental friendly because
a year earlier, the first decline in on July 11 and plummeted to next two years. (complete the slogan in not more than 20 words).
15 months and a sharp reversal a four-and-a-half-year low of On the home front, Prime
from the 15.1% year-on-year
increase in September.
US$33.87 on Dec 19 on fears
a recession in the US, major
Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi will step down
Send completed entry form to: Double A International Network (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (747060-V)

T1-7-1, 7th Floor, Tower 1, Jaya 33, Lot 33, Jalan Semangat, Seksyen 14, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
October’s contraction in European countries and Japan in March and Datuk Seri Najib
exports is likely to persist next will curb demand. Abdul Razak is set to become
year. CIMB Research chief Similarly, the price of palm Malaysia’s first premier who is
economist Lee Heng Guie oil hit a high of RM4,486 a tonne an economist. For more information, please contact 03-7960 9988
predicts exports will shrink by
up to 3% next year – double the
in March and slid to a low of
RM1,390 a tonne in October. Opinions expressed in this
or log on to www.
government’s forecast of 1.5%. News that China and India, two article are the personal views * Promo ends 19 Jan 2009. Terms and conditions apply.
The export figure suggests this major buyers of palm oil, were of the writer and should not be * Incomplete/improper submissions will be rejected. Decision of organizer is final.

country’s manufacturing output unlikely to remain immune to attributed to any organisation * Proof of purchase is not proof of receipt. Organizer shall not be responsible for any lost or misdirected entries.

remains firmly tethered to the the US recession caused mar- she is connected with. She * Winners will be notified by post, announced on website www. and their names Double A plants Farmed Trees for paper making,
every ream of Double A paper reduces 3 kg CO2
US economy. ket sentiment to turn bearish. can be contacted at schoo@ published in The Sun on 30 December 2008.

Bleak economic data Meantime, the ringgit soared