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Bank Negara Malaysia likely to keep OPR unchanged at 3.25 pct for some time, says ANZ Research

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is expected to maintain its current accommodative stance and keep the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) unchanged at 3.25 percent for some time, owing to expectations of a muted inflation in the country till mid-2019, according to the latest report from ANZ Research.

Malaysia’s GDP growth edged down to 4.4 percent y/y in the Q3 from 4.5 percent y/y in Q2. On the expenditure side, private consumption which rose 9.0 percent y/y was the primary contributor to growth, boosted by the 'tax holiday' in July and August.

A rise in 'machinery and equipment investment' buoyed overall investment growth. On a sectoral basis, lingering supply issues in the agriculture and mining sectors dragged down overall growth.

"Given the weaker than expected Q3 GDP print, our 5.1 percent growth forecast for 2018 is not likely to be achieved, and we are putting the forecast under review for a downgrade," the report commented.

Further, on a On a sequential basis, GDP grew at 1.6 percent q/q. In part, this is due to a positive base effect after a weaker-than-expected 0.3 percent q/q outturn in Q2. While the drag on quarterly growth from net exports reduced in Q3, a drawdown in inventories shaved 0.6ppt off growth in Q3.

Meanwhile, the fiscal space in Malaysia remains challenging, and the path of fiscal consolidation has been delayed. Along with the recent fall in oil prices, this presents a risk to the MYR. Additionally, further US-China trade tensions remain a key risk for Malaysian trade as it is well integrated into regional supply chains, the report further noted.

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