Thursday, 19 April 2012

Zeti: Strong February trade numbers will have an impact on overall economy

KUALA LUMPUR (April 19): Malaysia's strong trade numbers for February, which was beyond expectations, will have a positive impact on the overall economy if the trend continues, says Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

"We've seen the poor numbers in January but the February trade numbers in particular improved significantly beyond our expectations.

"If this trend continues, it will have an impact on our overall economy," she added when commenting on Malaysia's first quarter economic performance.

Earlier, she presented the 2012 Kijang Emas Scholarship Award to five recipients.

Zeti said the central bank would soon release the numbers for the performance of the Malaysian economy in the first quarter.

Asked to comment on the World Bank's revised forecast for Malaysia's economic growth, Zeti said:"The numbers are coming out now … they are within our expectations. We said that growth would be four to five per cent. If the numbers continue to be positive and more favourable, then we will be closer to the upper-end of the range.

"But, if there are still risks in the international environment, in Europe in particular, and if that materialises, it will have a dampening effect.

"Right now, the trend has been quite positive and so, if this is sustainable, we will see improvement in our overall economy, closer to the upper-end of the range," Zeti added.

The World Bank recently lowered its 2012 growth forecast for Malaysia to 4.6% compared with its earlier forecast of 4.9%, citing the current global economic weakness as the potential dampener to the country's external trade performance.

Zeti also said inflation had moderated and the trend would continue.

As such, she said the interest rate level was appropriate for the current scenario.

"Inflation has actually moderated and we believe that this trend will continue, unless there is any other development that happens ..the current interest rate level is appropriate for the current conditions, for the conditions that is prevailing and for our projections.

"Based on our projection going forward, inflation will continue to moderate," she said.

The five recipients of the 2012 Kijang Emas Scholarship Award are Turga Ganapathy, Kwong Kien Yi, Wardah Shafiqah Mohammad Fadil, Adnan Zikri Jaafar and Pavithran Maniam. — Bernama

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