BNM maintains OPR at 3 per cent

06 Jul 2023 03:25pm

KUALA LUMPUR - Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided during today's meeting to maintain the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3.00 per cent.

BNM said that at the current OPR level, the monetary policy stance is slightly accommodative and remains supportive of the economy and the MPC continues to see limited risks of future financial imbalances.

The central bank said in a statement that the MPC remained vigilant to ongoing developments and will continue to monitor incoming data to inform the assessment on the outlook of domestic inflation and growth.

"The MPC will ensure that the monetary policy stance remains conducive to sustainable economic growth amid price stability," it noted.

BNM added that the global economy continues to expand, driven by resilient domestic demand supported by strong labour market conditions.

Global growth, however, remains weighed down by persistent core inflation and higher interest rates, it said.

"While China's reopening remains supportive of the global economy, its pace of recovery has slowed in recent months. Globally, headline inflation continued to moderate, but core inflation remains above historical averages. For most central banks, the monetary policy stance is likely to remain tight," it said.

The growth outlook remained subject to downside risks, it noted, mainly from a slower momentum in major economies, higher-than-anticipated inflation outturns, an escalation of geopolitical tensions and a sharp tightening in financial market conditions.

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Following a strong outturn in the first quarter of the year, the Malaysian economy expanded at a more moderate pace in recent months as exports were weighed down by slower external demand as expected, said the central bank.

Growth for the remainder of the year, it said, will continue to be driven by resilient domestic demand with household spending continuing to be underpinned by favourable labour market conditions, particularly in the domestic-oriented sectors.

On another note, it said tourist arrivals have been steadily improving and are expected to continue rising, thereby lifting tourism-related activities.

As for investment activity, BNM highlighted that it would be supported by continued progress of multi-year infrastructure projects while domestic financial conditions also remained conducive to financial intermediation amid sustained credit growth.

"While the growth outlook is subject to some downside risks stemming from weaker-than-expected global growth, upside risks mainly emanate from domestic factors such as stronger-than-expected tourism activity and faster implementation of projects," BNM said.

On the other hand, the central bank viewed that headline inflation has continued to ease amid lower cost factors.

While core inflation has also moderated, it remains elevated relative to the long-term average amid lingering demand and cost factors, it noted.

Moving forward, BNM said that for the second half of 2023, both headline and core inflation are projected to trend lower, broadly within expectations.

"Risks to the inflation outlook remain highly subject to the degree of persistence in core inflation, changes to domestic policy on subsidies and price controls, as well as global commodity prices and financial market developments," it added. - BERNAMA

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