KUALA LUMPUR: Mark Mobius, the executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management Ltd, is a lot more positive on Malaysia today, thanks to the measures taken by the Government to liberalise the economy.
The strengthening relationship between Malaysia and Singapore is another plus point. “I took a train to Malaysia from Singapore. I think it’s very positive and shows that the relationship between Malaysia and Singapore is improving,” he said.
He also said the ringgit was 9% undervalued to the US dollar.
Perhaps Mobius’ keenness on Malaysia is all the more obvious as he bought a house in Leisure Farm, Johor. Leisure Farm is developed by Mulpha International Bhd. “Have you seen it? It’s beautiful, it’s cheap and it’s near Singapore,” he said.
Mobius also owns an apartment in Kuala Lumpur. “I am bullish on property everywhere. I put one third of my own money in equities, a third in property and a third in cash.”
Mobius said that over the past 25 years, he had been telling people that equities was the way to go and emerging markets were the places to be. Supply of stocks is growing in Asia and is actually soaking up the flow of hot money from offshore to this region.
“There will always be fluctuations in markets. However, since 2004, emerging markets have garnered more forex (foreign exchange) reserves than developed nations.”
He added that inflation in emerging markets had come down dramatically, which was why interest rates were also low.
He sees further opportunities in the incredible population in emerging markets. This is also why he is bullish on consumer products and commodities.
“The difficulties of getting these commodities out of the mine is another issue which will increase the trends in commodities,” said Mobius.
He said the big flow of money into emerging markets continued to shock him every day. This flow into emerging markets aren’t stopping anytime soon, especially with the large initial public offerings (IPO) in secondary issues hitting the market.
In Malaysia, there is the Petronas Chemicals IPO to look forward to.
Mobius added that so far, there had been three major bear markets.
First, there was the Asian financial crisis, then the dotcom boom and recently, the subprime crisis. “In all these bear markets, they have been very short in duration, not more than 14 months. The decline in these bear markets have also been much less than in bull markets,” he said.