#Update* Bursa 1Q net profit falls 63% to RM15.5m

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KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia Bhd reported net profit of RM15.5 million for the first quarter ended March 31, a decline of 63% from the RM42.1 million a year ago. Bursa said on April 17 the lower profit was predominantly due to the decline in equities trading revenue as a result of the prevailing adverse economic conditions that have impacted all markets globally.  It registered RM54.4 million in operating revenue, a decline of 40% from RM91.0 million recorded in the same period last year. The stock exchange operator said daily average trading value for the securities market (on-market and direct business transactions) was RM690 million in 1QFY09 compared with RM2.04 billion a year ago. “This resulted in the decrease in equities trading revenue by 60% to RM19.5 million as compared to RM48.9 million in the first three months of 2008. Quarterly velocity for the period in review was at 23% due to the lower trading volume recorded in the securities market,” it said. Bursa Malaysia also said weakening market sentiments resulted in number of derivatives contracts traded to fall 21%, of which 1.38 million contracts were traded in 1QFY09 from 1.76 million contracts a year ago. However, interest remained strong in Bursa Malaysia’s star product, the crude palm oil futures contract (FCPO), as demonstrated in the stable performance of 823,000 contracts for the first quarter of 2009 versus 827,000 contracts for the corresponding period in 2008. Ttrading revenue for the derivatives market fell by 23% to RM9.4 million from RM12.2 million a year ago. Bursa Malaysia’s CEO Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff said revenue was greatly impacted by the poor trading volume due to the continuing economic crisis. “Bursa Malaysia is in active cash conservation mode; exercising prudent cost management and cost-cutting measures to handle the current challenges.  To mitigate the impact, we aim to cut down on our budgeted operating expenses and capital expenditure by 15%,” he said.