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Bank Negara Malaysia's Interest Rate Is At Appropriate Level
 
News From : DagangHalal.com (12/3/2010)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not change its normalisation policy at this point in time despite Thailand's surprise interest rate increase on Wednesday.

Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the country's interest rate was at an appropriate level now.

Thailand's central bank surprised financial markets on Wednesday by raising its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 2% and said there would be further tightening to curb inflation, pushing up the baht.

Based on assessment, our interest rate is at the appropriate level at this point in time, given the outlook for inflation and growth, Zeti told reporters after the CEO Business Luncheon organised by International Chamber of Commerce Malaysia here yesterday.

Zeti was responding to a question whether Malaysia would change its normalisation policy after Thailand's move to raising its rates.

During the last monetary policy committee meeting, the central bank decided to maintain the overnight policy rate at 2.75%.

On the outlook for the mega Islamic Bank, Zeti said there would be an announcement later this month. It is premature to comment now. It is still in our schedule to make an announcement. But we are not saying when, she said.

Zeti also said the international reserves, which are subject to a high degree of volatility, must remain at a certain level to strengthen the nation.

She said during this uncertain period, the country certainly wanted its reserves to remain high to face the volatile situation.

The nation's international reserves had surged very high at one point and have since dropped to around US$80bil, she said.

Zeti said this when asked to comment on former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remark recently that the country's reserves were too high and could be mobilised for other purposes such as development.

As at Nov 15, Bank Negara's international reserves amounted to RM326.5bil. The reserves position was sufficient to finance 8.8 months of retained imports and was 4.5 times the short-term external debt, it said.

- Bernama

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