Malaysian Ringgit Currency Fate

Over the past year, Malaysian ringgit (MYR) has been one of the most resilient currencies among the major 10 Asia currencies that we track. As the Federal Reserve (Fed) started to tighten monetary policy in March last year to rein in inflation, so risk-sensitive currencies began to decline. However, MYR only lost 6.5% over the past 12 months, outperforming even the global majors, such as the Japanese yen and the Australian dollar, which devalued by 15% and 7.7% respectively (see the chart above).

However, things started to turn sour in February. Over the past month, MYR has been the worst-performing currency among the 10 major Asian currencies that we track (see the chart below). Indeed, MYR has risen above all key moving averages and closed at 4.4730 against the U.S. dollar (USD) on Friday, setting a new three-month high. Meanwhile, the ringgit also traded mostly lower against its Asian counterparts. It eased versus the Singapore dollar (SGD) to 3.3255/3269 from 3.3210/3252 set on Thursday, fell against the Thai baht (THB) to 12.8998/9105 from 12.8583/8789 previously, and depreciated vis-a-vis the Philippine peso (PHP) to 8.16/8.17 from 8.13/8.14.

The ultimate reason for the general decline in most Asian currencies is essentially the same. Investors have turned bearish on riskier assets, such as emerging markets' debt, after the Fed indicated that it would continue hiking interest rates for longer. Rising U.S. Treasury yields due to the Fed's hawkish stance on monetary policy are making riskier assets less attractive.

'The relative underperformance of MYR vis-a-vis other Asian currencies is primarily attributable to the fact that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has been rather cautious in its approach to monetary policy during the current tightening cycle,' explained Kar Yong Ang, a financial market analyst at OctaFX

Indeed, BNM has hiked the rates by only 100 basis points since May and its benchmark interest rate, which currently stands at 2.75%, is still among the lowest in the region. The last hike took place in November last year and Malaysian monetary policy tightening has been essentially on pause ever since. Thus, the divergence between the U.S. and Malaysian monetary policies widened, putting a downward pressure on MYR.

This week should be rather decisive for MYR as BNM's monetary policy committee will meet to decide on the overnight policy rate on March 9. The market seems to expect BNM to keep the rates unchanged, but in our opinion, a hawkish surprise is quite probable. Two factors are making a rate hike more likely this time around:

No signs of a recession. China, one of Malaysia's top trading partners, recently recorded a very strong growth in its manufacturing and services sectors. According to NBS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), China's manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than a decade in February 2023, as production zoomed after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions late last year. In addition, a private survey showed that China's services PMI advanced to 55 in February, signaling more vigorous expansion in the sector.

On balance, the Malaysian economy is strong and will likely continue to expand in 2023. The economy of the Asia Pacific region in general is expected to pick up in the short term with gross domestic product (GDP) projected to expand by 3.1% this year, according to a new report published by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Policy Support Unit. MYR, which has already devalued by more than 5% since late January, will increase aggregate demand in the Malaysian economy and will likely fuel inflation. In addition, rising interest rates in the U.S. will continue to dampen investors' sentiment in the emerging markets.

'It looks prudent for the BNM to hike the rates preemptively in order to offset the negative impact of the hawkish Fed in advance. While forecasting future changes in interest rates is extremely difficult, I believe that BNM will undertake a forward-looking approach and will hike the rates by 25 bps this week. Furthermore, there are signs that the market itself is beginning to price in more rate hikes ahead as the yield on Malaysian 3-year government bonds has risen to 3.465%, the highest in more than two months,' the OctaFX expert Gero Azrul commented.

If BNM does increase rates on March 9, MYR will appreciate and USDMYR exchange rate will likely drop towards 4.400 and possibly below. Alternatively, if BNM decided to leave the rates unchanged, USDMYR will likely continue to trade in a sideways mode with a minor bullish tilt, targeting 4.500.

Exciting Changes Happening at Twitter

Twitter has recently made exciting changes to its management team. The company appointed a new CEO and several other executives, all of whom are focused on driving the company forward. These changes come at a time when Twitter is facing increased competition from other social media companies. The new executives will be tasked with ensuring that Twitter remains competitive in the market. They will also be responsible for developing strategies to increase user engagement and grow the platform's user base. Hopefully, with the new management changes, Twitter is poised to make greater progress in the future.

The new changes are designed to make Twitter more efficient, innovative, and responsive to the needs of its users. The team comprises experienced professionals from various backgrounds, including technology, media, and marketing. The team is focused on improving Twitter’s user experience by making sure it’s a platform for meaningful conversations and engagement. They are also working on innovative ways to ensure Twitter remains competitive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Twitter is making these changes at a time the company looks to build a diverse and inclusive workplace. And the changes come at an opportune time; with the new hires, Twitter is looking to create a culture that promotes innovation and collaboration while also staying true to its core values. Twitter’s changes could well shape the future of the giant company. The changes saw the appointment of a new CEO, Jack Dorsey; it included forming a new board. These are seen as efforts to make Twitter more competitive in the social media world. Interestingly, the new CEO and board of directors have started implementing radical ideas on how Twitter should be run. The strategies include transparency and focusing on product innovation. These changes might lead to improved user experience and future success.

Further, Twitter’s new CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Chief Financial Officer, Ned Segal, have been tasked with bringing about a new era of innovation and growth for the social media platform. The assignments come at a time when Twitter seeks to increase its user base and compete with giants like Facebook and Instagram. With the addition of the two experienced executives, Twitter is signalling that they are serious about making changes that will benefit users and investors alike. The changes might potentially lead to effective management. It will surely be interesting to see how the developments help Twitter meet its objectives in the coming months and years.

The changes come with an increased focus on product development, customer experience and user engagement. With these changes, Twitter is looking to become a robust platform that helps people connect in new ways. Twitter’s move is a major shift in the company’s management structure; it’s part of ongoing efforts to become a user-friendly service. The changes have been made to ensure the company keeps up with the latest business trends.

Twitter’s new management comprises senior executives from different departments, including marketing, product, engineering, and operations. The team is expected to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to Twitter, which should help them stay ahead of the competition. The changes are meant to demonstrate to Twitter users that the company is taking proactive steps towards ensuring its global leadership position in the social media space. Ultimately, they indicate Twitter is committed to providing its users with the best experience on their platform.

Interestingly, Twitter has recently taken a firm stance against abusive users and their content. The move is meant to ensure the platform is safe for millions of users; the users rely on the platform to connect with people, share news, and express themselves. Twitter's new policy focuses on identifying and removing accounts that are used to harass or bully. The company will act against accounts that promote hate speech or violence. In addition, Twitter plans to use AI-based tools to detect abusive language in tweets before they are posted and alert the user about potential violations of its terms of service.

Twitter’s move is a step towards creating a safer online environment for all users, regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. It also shows the company is taking its responsibility seriously when it comes to protecting users from abuse and harassment. The company has recently announced it will implement stricter rules and regulations to ensure users keep off hateful or derogatory language. The rules will be enforced by a team of moderators who will review tweets for any offensive content. If such content is found, appropriate action will be taken against the user. This can include account suspensions or permanent bans from the platform.

Ordeno App for both Restaurants and Consumers

Ordeno App for both Restaurants and Consumers

It is commonly understood that the restaurant business is one of the hardest ventures an entrepreneur can undertake. Over 60% of restaurants fail in their first year, and 80% close by their fifth year — but why? Could it be operational costs? Location? The guest experience or even the food itself? More often than not, operational costs, the guest experience, and lack of vision ultimately cause a restaurant to fail — but one app has burst onto the market to change the face of modern dining and help restaurants cut operational costs while increasing revenue.

Introducing Ordeno, the revolutionary new app strategically designed to help restaurants thrive and cultivate a seamless experience for consumers. Designed as a one-stop shop for all transactions, Ordeno empowers patrons to place their orders, pay their tabs, and earn rewards all from their mobile devices. Consequently, this system eliminates over 450 hours of operational hours per month in managing transactions alone while increasing revenue by a large margin.

Founded in 2020 by Eric Klein (COO), Luis Saavedra (CEO), and Rafael Tola (CTO), the Ordeno App brilliantly optimizes the backend operations for restaurant business owners, equipping them with the tools and resources they need to enhance the guest experience and expand clientele.

In development for over two years, Ordeno is already making waves across the restaurant scene in Barcelona. Patrons who have experienced the Ordeno App in full-swing have become captivated by its ease of use, streamlined process, and customized promotions.

"After years of development, research, and meticulous trial and error, we managed to go to market with a solid MVP which will undoubtedly change the consumer experience across the food and beverage sector. We are beyond excited to share our success in Barcelona and look forward to the next chapter for Ordeno. Now is the time for growth and development at a time where user acquisition is necessary and the future looks bright." – Eric Klein, COO Ordeno

Through proof of concept, dedication to innovation, and unwavering commitment to changing the face of the food tech sector, Ordeno's purpose-driven vision can begin to come to fruition. As Ordeno sets its sights high for 2023, they are currently seeking like-minded investors and programmers to come alongside the team and continue the trajectory of immense growth into the new year.

Ordeno is a new revolutionary app designed to change the face of the food tech sector. Founded in 2020 by Eric Klein (COO), Luis Saavedra (CEO), and Rafael Tola (CTO), Ordeno is strategically designed to solve the common problems facing both restaurants and consumers. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, research-based data, and collective community to meet the needs of daily consumers while empowering restaurants everywhere to take orders, and payments and increase revenue all in one app. This groundbreaking system is set to streamline the in-dining experience by cutting out operational costs and processes for restaurants while providing patrons with a quick and seamless outing.

Sustainable Solutions Through Education and Technology

Sustainable Solutions Through Education and Technology

The School of Business and Management of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST Business School) and The Institute of Sustainability and Technology (IST) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster the partnership on ESG initiatives through education and technology. Embracing the mission to empower sustainable solutions for the world's most pressing environment and social challenges, both entities are keen to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and drive innovation towards a net-zero future.

With the presence of the Guest of Honour – Mr. CHAN Kwok-ki, Chief Secretary for Administration of HKSAR and Professor Nancy IP, President of HKUST, Ms. Poman LO, Founder & Faculty Advisor of IST, Adjunct Professor of Department of Management at HKUST and Professor TAM Kar Yan, Dean of HKUST Business School, signed the MoU to affirm the strategic partnership. Industry leaders and business elites representing over 100 organizations joined to show their overwhelming support and commitment to sustainability.

Mr. Chan Kwok-ki, Chief Secretary for Administration of HKSAR said, "Hong Kong, as an international financial centre connecting global capital with opportunities, has a unique role to play in addressing the world's most pressing environment and social challenges brought about by climate change. Making an all-out effort including the issuance of green bonds, implementation of the Green and Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme and nurturing of talent, and leveraging its close partnership with relevant stakeholders, the HKSAR Government will steadfastly develop Hong Kong into a green and sustainable hub in the region."

Ms. Poman Lo, Founder & Faculty Advisor of IST, Adjunct Professor of Department of Management at HKUST said, "To nurture the next generation of ESG talent, we are honoured to partner with HKUST in co-creating a series of globally recognized executive training programs to inspire purpose-driven business management. While striving for net zero by 2050, Hong Kong is uniquely positioned to maximize synergies with GBA cities to play a strategic gateway role as a regional green finance hub for sustainable investments and cross-border carbon trading. Through deployment of catalytic capital, we can fuel innovation and empower triple returns via a thriving ecosystem for decarbonization technologies to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. By leveraging on innovative technology, education initiatives and strategic collaboration, we can win the race to net zero and build a brighter, greener future for us all and generations to come."

Professor Nancy Ip, President of HKUST said, "HKUST and IST share the same vision of guiding our city towards a net-zero, sustainable future through education and technology. Through our core missions in research, teaching, and innovation, we are grooming the next generation into responsible professionals and leaders, and contributing to solving pressing environmental and social issues. I am confident that by leveraging the strengths of both organizations, this partnership between HKUST and IST will become a key platform for bringing real and meaningful impacts on the sustainability front."

Professor Tam Kar Yan, Dean of HKUST Business School, said, "We are pleased to enter this partnership with IST to support Hong Kong's brown-to-green transition through talent development and technology deployment. Marking a key event under this partnership, the ESG Forum familiarized participants with key aspects of ESG management through expert insights covering strategy, risks, benchmarking and future trends. We look forward to pursuing with IST a broad range of sustainability-related opportunities in training, research and development, and community engagement."

At the ceremony, Mr. Arthur YUEN, Deputy Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Ms. Glenda SO, Co-Head of Markets, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, Mr. Robert H. McCOOEY, Jr., Vice Chairman of Nasdaq, Dr. MA Jun, Chairman of Green Finance Committee and China Society for Finance and Banking, Co-Chairman of G20 Sustainable Finance Study Group, Prof. Christine LOH, Chief Development Strategist, Institute for the Environment at HKUST, delivered speeches on the importance of ESG in influencing different aspects of our society and potential impact to the world.

An ESG Forum was held after the MoU signing ceremony. Various renowned academics and industry veterans participated in the forum, exchanged their views and shared insights on ESG and sustainability.

The Institute of Sustainability and Technology (IST), a non-profit organization sponsored by the Century City Group, is established with a mission to empower transformational solutions to tackle the world's most pressing environmental and social challenges via innovative technology, education initiatives and strategic collaboration. To nurture the next generation of ESG talent, IST is partnering with HKUST Business School to co-create a series of globally recognized training programs for business executives. Catering to the diverse context of Asian markets, IST seeks to establish robust impact measurement and management methodology as well as ESG ratings and benchmark standards for different sectors across Asia Pacific. To promote thought leadership and best practices, IST sponsors interdisciplinary research studies to provide compelling data to advance the agenda for sustainable development.