Article taken from: finance.yahoo.com
Bloomberg) — Malaysia kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday, saving its policy ammunition as the country grapples with a surge in Covid infections that could take months to subside. Bank Negara Malaysia maintained the overnight policy rate at a record-low 1.75% at its first meeting of the year, as expected by 12 of 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. […] The decision comes as Malaysia has imposed fresh lockdowns across nearly the entire country and unveiled a new $3.7 billion aid package to help people weather the curbs. […] The announcement is mainly a “re-packaging” of budget measures and extension of last year’s economic stimulus measures, Maybank said in a note Tuesday, maintaining its growth forecast of 5.1% for this year. […] Among the key points from the decision: Banks’ ability to use government bonds toward statutory reserve requirements — currently slated to end on May 31 — was extended until the end of 2022Economic growth last year will come in toward the lower end of the central banks’ forecast for a 3.5% to 5.5% contractionHeadline inflation this year will average higher due to oil pricesMonetary policy going forward “will be determined by new data and information, and their implications on the overall outlook for inflation and domestic growth” The central bank “clearly left the door open to a further rate cut, signaling an extremely data-dependent stance to monetary policy,” said Joseph Incalcaterra, chief Asean economist at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong.
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