Thursday, 5 May 2011
At the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting today, Bank Negara Malaysia decided to raise the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to 3.00 percent. The floor and ceiling rates of the corridor for the OPR are correspondingly raised to 2.75 percent and 3.25 percent respectively.
The global economic recovery has continued in the first quarter of the year, but the growth has been highly uneven across regions. Growth in the advanced economies during this period has remained modest. In the region, despite some moderation, the growth has remained strong, supported by robust domestic economic activity. Global inflation has, however, increased on account of rising energy and commodity prices. In several countries, further upward pressure on inflation has been exerted by domestic demand conditions. Although the global recovery is expected to continue going forward, downside risks have increased, arising from the potential for higher energy and commodity prices, possible supply disruptions following developments in Japan, and the heightened volatility in capital flows to emerging economies.
In the domestic economy, the latest indicators point towards the continued strengthening of private investment and sustained private consumption expenditure in the first quarter. The export performance also improved, supported by regional demand. Going forward, the assessment is for the Malaysian economy to remain firmly on a steady growth path, with growth improving gradually during the course of the year. Growth will be underpinned by the firm expansion of domestic demand. Sustained employment conditions and income growth is expected to provide support to private consumption, while private investment is projected to strengthen amidst the improved investment environment. The developments in Japan are expected to have a limited impact on the overall domestic economy. Positive prospects for the region and strong demand for commodities are expected to continue to support the Malaysian economy.
Domestic headline inflation has continued to increase, rising to 3% in March to average 2.8% for the first quarter of 2011. The increase was mainly due to higher food and fuel prices. The assessment is that supply factors will continue to be a key determinant affecting consumer prices. Global commodity and energy prices are projected to remain elevated during the year, with inflation in major trading partners also expected to rise further. There are also some signs that domestic demand factors could exert upward pressure on prices in the second half of the year.
With the economy firmly on a steady growth path, the MPC decided to adjust the degree of monetary accommodation. At the current OPR level, the stance of monetary policy remains supportive of growth. The future stance of monetary policy will depend on the assessment of the risk to growth and inflation prospects.
Bank Negara Malaysia
5 May 2011
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