Malaysia PM Says Economy Poised for Robust Growth
Malaysia's economy is poised for robust growth this year with the nation's gross domestic product set to rise at least 6 percent, the country's prime minister Najib Razak told CNBC.
"I think domestic demand... is high and I think (it) will continue to be relatively high this year," Najib said.
The leader, however, acknowledged that growth would taper for the rest of the year amid global uncertainties, but was confident that the economy was on track to exceed the official 6 percent growth target for the year.
"Although there will be some dampening effect.. we do expect it to be fairly strong. So we should end up with at least 6 percent growth," he said.
The Malaysian economy expanded 10.1 percent in the first quarter — its fastest expansion in a decade — while GDP rose 8.9 percent in the second quarter.
Ringgit Strength Reflects Fundamentals
The prime minister added he was not concerned about the Malaysian ringgit's recent strength, as it reflects the fundamentals of the economy.
"The stronger ringgit doesn't seem to have a negative impact on our exports," Najib added.
The currency jumped to a 13-year highagainst the U.S. dollar after the country's central bank, Bank Negara, liberalized rules on foreign exchange transactions in August.
Bank Negara held its overnight policy rate steady at 2.75 percent on Thursday. It previously raised rates three times by 25 basis points each as part of a "normalization" of rates following extraordinary measures put in place to counter the global downturn.