Octa’s research: external factors weigh on Bank Negara Malaysia

Bank Negara Malaysia will likely keep the overnight policy interest rate stable at 3.00% at the next monetary policy meeting on 8 – 9 May.

Investors’ expectations for the tight U.S. monetary policy mainly influenced domestic financial markets.

According to the central bank’s report on Monetary and Financial Developments published on 30 April 2024, the Malaysian economy is stable. This is reflected in a moderate decline in inflation amid rising consumer activity and growth in business lending.

If the Monetary Policy Committee leaves the rate unchanged, the USDMYR might decline to 4.6500–4.7000 in the short term.

Media OutReach Newswire – 8 May 2024 – The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will meet on 8 – 9 May to decide on monetary policy. Based on a combination of internal and external factors, BNM is expected to keep the interest rate unchanged at 3.00%.

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy significantly impacts emerging markets, including Malaysia, which mainly benefits from its rate cuts. In its latest policy decision, the Fed kept the interest rates unchanged at 5.25–5.50%, leaving them at twenty-three-year highs and dispelling expectations of an overnight policy rate (OPR) change by the Bank Negara Malaysia.

Turning to domestic factors, Malaysia is doing quite well. Thus, according to the Monetary and Financial Developments report published on 30 April 2024 by the BNM, the noteworthy economic indicators of the country are the following:

headline inflation remained stable at 1.8% in March (1.8% in February), while core inflation moderated to 1.7% (1.8% in February)

the Index of Wholesale and Retail Trade (IOWRT) increased by 3.9% in February 2024 (3.5% in January)

outstanding business loan growth has increased by 4.9% in March (4.8% in February)

the banking system remains well-capitalised, supporting economic growth.

‘Thus, we see positive domestic factors being held back by external factors—domestic financial markets were mostly influenced by global investors’ expectations for the U.S. policy rate to be high for longer’, said Kar Yong Ang, the Octa broker financial markets analyst.

The chances of keeping the key rate unchanged are high, which, on the one hand, gives additional weight to the Malay ringgit, but on the other hand, in the context of a strong dollar, may lead to curbing the growth of the ringgit—and USDMYR may moderate in the short term to the level of 4.6500–4.7000.

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