World Economy

Malaysia Outlook Stable

Malaysia Outlook  StableMalaysia Outlook  Stable

Credit ratings agency Fitch surprised analysts by upgrading Malaysia’s sovereign outlook to “stable” from “negative”, boosting the country’s currency and providing welcome relief to the country’s controversy-plagued government, AFP reported. In a statement, Fitch affirmed the country’s credit rating at “A-”, the fourth-lowest investment rating, and said Malaysia’s fiscal finances had improved since 2014, citing progress on a newly-introduced consumption tax and fuel subsidy reforms. “Malaysia’s rating remains supported by reasonably strong real GDP growth rates and low inflation volatility,” said Fitch, which had downgraded Malaysia’s sovereign outlook to “negative” in 2013. The positive news helped bolster the local currency, with the ringgit at 3.73 ($1.34) against the US dollar, up from 3.77. “It (the outlook revision) is a nice surprise,” Nicholas Teo, an analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP. “We are seeing a big bounce on the ringgit now, presumably on the back of this.” IG Markets strategist Bernard Aw characterized the news as a “180-degree turn”.