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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/29/2013 -- Cooling external demand should continue to drag on the overall economy and we expect Malaysia's full-year real GDP growth will come in relatively weak at just 4.6%, with the balance of risks slightly skewed to the downside. However, resilient private consumption growth, which came in at 7.2% y-o-y in Q213 and 7.5% in Q113, should help to keep domestic demand robust over the coming months.
We forecast Malaysia's fiscal deficit to rise from 4.5% in 2012 to 4.9% in 2013, owing to the lack of progress on budgetary reforms to address the country's deteriorating fiscal position. We reiterate our view that any meaningful budgetary reforms will require the government to introduce the GST bill at the upcoming budget announcement scheduled for October.
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Despite mounting concerns that fuel price hikes implemented by the Malaysian government in September could generate inflationary pressures over the coming months, we maintain our view that the country's medium-term outlook for consumer price inflation (CPI) will remain benign. We expect Bank Negara Malaysia to keep its policy rate on hold at 3.00% through 2013 before we see scope for a 25 basis points hike in 2014.
Major Forecast Changes
We have revised up our forecast for real GDP growth from 4.2% to 4.6% in 2013 to reflect the better-than-expected economic data in recent months.
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