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Malaysia Keeps Rate Steady

Malaysia Keeps Rate SteadyMalaysia Keeps Rate Steady

Malaysia’s central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged in the first policy meeting under a new governor, providing support to an economy that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is trying to revamp, Bloomberg reported. Bank Negara Malaysia held the overnight policy rate at 3.25%, it said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, as predicted by all 19 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus has ample room to keep policy unchanged despite an emerging-market sell-off that’s forced her counterparts in Indonesia and the Philippines to take more aggressive steps to defend their currencies. The inflation outlook remains benign in Malaysia after the government scrapped a consumption tax, while economic growth may ease as Mahathir cuts back on spending to rein in government debt. The ringgit is up about 0.4% against the dollar this year, compared with a 6.7% slump in the Philippine peso and a 5.7% decline in the Indonesian rupiah.

 

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