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Wednesday, January 26, 2005
The Peg, The Peg::Malaysia's Response


Excerpts from article by AP ::
Malaysia to Maintain Ringgit Peg
Tuesday January 25,
Malaysia Sees Robust Economy As Reason to Maintain Ringgit Peg

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia said Tuesday there was no urgent need to alter the country's currency peg to the U.S. dollar because the local economy remains robust.

"My own belief is that the economy is fundamentally very, very good. The window of opportunity (to change the peg) isn't narrowing," Malaysia's Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop told reporters.[--]

In the last year, the ringgit dropped by 4.1 percent against the euro, 5.1 percent against the British pound, and 3.2 percent against the yen.

There has been broad speculation in the market in recent months that Malaysia will let the ringgit strengthen this year, as some economists have recommended, given the country's strong economic position and expectations for continued growth.

Gross domestic product growth is expected to have reached 7 percent in 2004, to be followed by an estimated 6 percent this year, the government has said.

However, some private economists have estimated growth of less than 5 percent this year. Deutsche Bank, for instance, said in a recent report that 2005 GDP growth will likely come in at 4.4 percent due to slowing global demand.

Electrical and electronic goods make up around 50 percent of the total value of exports in what is largely an export-driven economy.

Nor Mohamed said the government was likely to achieve its target of paring the budget deficit to 4.5 percent of GDP in 2004 from 5.3 percent in 2003, and is on track to meet its 3.8 percent target this year.

Nor Mohamed reiterated that the government should have no difficulty meeting its funding needs via the local market this year.

"Given that domestic liquidity is large, the preference is for domestic borrowings," he said when asked about global bonds. Malaysia's hasn't tapped the global bond market since 2002.


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