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Market Research Report

Malaysia Country Risk Report Q4 2019

Published by Fitch Solutions, Inc. Product code 203083
Published Content info 65 Pages
Delivery time: 1-2 business days
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Malaysia Country Risk Report Q4 2019
Published: August 5, 2019 Content info: 65 Pages
Description

Key View:

We maintain our 2019 real GDP growth forecast at 4.2%, marking a slowdown from 2018's print at 4.7%. Investment growth will likely remain subdued due to base effects, while the positive impact of construction projects resuming or commencing in 2019 will see little feed-through over the remainder of the year. Exports will likely face headwinds due to the re-escalation of US-China trade tensions.

We expect Bank Negara Malaysia to hold its benchmark Overnight Policy Rate at 3.00% through 2019 following a 25bps cut on May 7. Rising inflation over the rest of 2019 will close the window on further cuts, while a brightening growth outlook on the back of the revival of the East Coast Rail Link and Bandar Malaysia projects will relieve pressure on the central bank to ease further. The rising risk of re-escalation in US-China trade tensions remains the key downside risk to this view, especially after the US threat to hike tariffs on USD200bn worth of Chinese imports.

We maintain our forecast for the fiscal deficit to come in at 3.7% of GDP in 2019, as revenues continue to face downside pressure and expenditures, upside pressure. A softening global economic outlook due to rising trade tensions will likely weigh on revenues through both reduced economic activity and through lower oil prices. The need to bailout two national agencies deeply in debt will likely increase expenditures. Declining support for the government remains the key downside risk to fiscal consolidation efforts, as narrowing the deficit would likely require enacting unpopular policies to increase revenue and reduce spending.

We at Fitch Solutions have revised our 2019 average forecast for the ringgit to MYR4.15/USD, from MYR4.05/USD previously, to reflect risks posed by the re- escalation of US-China trade tensions in May. We remain slightly bearish on the unit over the long-term and maintain our 2020 average forecast at MYR4.25/USD.

The state of global trade relations will have a big impact on ringgit performance over the forecast period and we outline an upside and a downside risk scenario.

The degree of ethnic polarisation has increased since the Pakatan Harapan came to power after the general elections on May 9 2018, and is likely to deepen over the coming quarters as the opposition continues to play the race card. This has negative implications for social stability, and could eventually cost the government its support with even the non-Malays but we still regard the risk of violence as being low. The lack of national consensus is also likely to impede reforms, which increases the risk of Malaysia falling into the middle income trap.

Major Forecast Changes:

We have revised our 2019 and 2020 exchange rate forecasts to MYR4.15/USD and MYR4.25/USD, respectively, from MYR4.05/USD and MYR4.15/USD previously Our policy interest rate forecast for 2019 is now 3.00%, from 3.25% previously.

Key Risks:

Malaysia's economy is relatively well diversified and not particularly at risk from external shocks. The largest threat to the Malaysian economy comes from a rapid unwind of the household credit boom that has taken place over the past few years since the global financial crisis. This has the potential to result in a collapse in domestic demand amid declining property prices. This is not our core view, however, as debt service ratios remain manageable at current levels.

Table of Contents
Product Code: CFMY_20191001

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

  • Core Views
  • Major Forecast Changes
  • Key Risks
  • Country Risk Summary
  • Economic Risk Index
  • Political Risk Index
  • SWOT
  • Economic - SWOT Analysis
  • Political - SWOT Analysis
  • Economic Outlook
  • Economic Growth Outlook
  • Malaysian Economy: Renewed Trade Tensions To Weigh On Nascent Domestic Recovery
  • GDP By Expenditure Outlook
    • TABLE: GDP GROWTH FORECASTS
    • TABLE: PRIVATE CONSUMPTION FORECASTS
    • TABLE: GOVERNMENT CONSUMPTION FORECASTS
    • TABLE: FIXED INVESTMENT FORECASTS
    • TABLE: NET EXPORTS FORECASTS
  • Outlook On External Position
    • TABLE: MAIN IMPORTS & EXPORTS
    • TABLE: MAIN IMPORT & EXPORT PARTNERS
    • TABLE: CAPITAL & FINANCIAL ACCOUNT BALANCE
    • TABLE: CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE FORECASTS
  • Monetary Policy
  • Bank Negara Malaysia To Hold But External Risks Rising
  • Monetary Policy Framework
    • TABLE: MONETARY POLICY FORECASTS
  • Fiscal Policy And Public Debt Outlook
  • Trade Tensions, Bailouts To Impede Malaysia's Fiscal Consolidation
  • Structural Fiscal Position
    • TABLE: MAIN EXPENDITURE & REVENUE CATEGORIES
    • TABLE: FISCAL AND PUBLIC DEBT FORECASTS
  • Currency Forecast
  • Malaysian Ringgit Outlook Dimmed By Trade Disputes
    • TABLE: CURRENCY FORECAST
  • Malaysia Country Risk Q4 2019THIS COMMENTARY IS PUBLISHED BY FITCH SOLUTIONS MACRO RESEARCH and is NOT a comment on Fitch Ratings' Credit Rating. Any comments or data included in the report is solely derived from Fitch Solutions Macro Research and independent sources. Fitch Ratings' analysts do not share data or information with Fitch Solutions Macro Research.Contents10-Year Forecast
  • The Malaysian Economy To 2028
  • Malaysia's Long Term Real GDP Growth To Slow To 4.4%
    • TABLE: LONG-TERM MACROECONOMIC FORECASTS
  • Political Outlook
  • Domestic Politics
  • Increasing Ethnic Polarisation In Malaysia Negative For Stability, Reforms
    • TABLE: POLITICAL OVERVIEW
  • Long-Term Political Outlook
  • Malaysian Electoral Politics To Remain Uncertain
  • Operational Risk
    • TABLE: OPERATIONAL RISK
  • Labour Costs
    • TABLE: LABOUR REGULATIONS GOVERNING FLEXIBILITY OF WORKFORCE
  • Legal Environment
    • TABLE: BUREAUCRATIC PROCEDURES
    • TABLE: BUREAUCRATIC PROCEDURES
  • Global Macro Outlook
  • Trade Tensions And Slowing Momentum Point To Weaker Growth Outlook, Higher Risks
    • TABLE: GLOBAL MACROECONOMIC FORECASTS (2018-2023)
    • TABLE: DEVELOPED MARKETS - REAL GDP GROWTH, % y-o-y
    • TABLE: EMERGING MARKETS - REAL GDP GROWTH, % y-o-y
  • Index Tables
    • TABLE: MALAYSIA - MACROECONOMIC DATA & FORECASTS
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