Thursday March 21, 2013
Positive outlook for Malaysian economy
By NG BEI SHAN
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian economy is expected to grow steadily at 5% to 6% in 2013, thanks to strong domestic demand, robust private investment and a better global outlook.
She added that last year's better-than-expected 5.6% full-year growth came despite a weaker global economic environment.
Zeti said private investments were expected to grow 15.6% this year, led by investments in the services sector while private consumption growth would remain firm at 7.1% backed by income growth and stable employment prospects.
She told a press conference that the minimum wage policy would contribute positively to income growth while the unemployment rate was expected to remain stable at 3.1%.
Meanwhile, CIMB Investment Bank Bhd economic research head Lee Heng Guie expects the economy to grow by 5.5% this year.
“While domestic catalysts will continue to anchor growth, the cyclical upturn in exports should improve economic prospects,” he said.
Lee also said robust private investment growth and public spending would continue to fuel total investment growth.
“More projects under the Economic Transformation Programme will be realised this year, thus creating a spillover effect on the construction, real estate and financial services sectors,” he added.
Zeti expects the inflation rate to average 2% to 3% this year. She said the central bank would focus on addressing potential risks to inflation and growth.
She said the Government's fiscal consolidation efforts would continue with the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio to be trimmed to 4% after falling to 4.5% in 2012 and 5% in 2011.
“Government spending will be moderate while revenue will improve significantly, notably that of the Inland Revenue Board, which raised 14% more than expected,'' she said.
On another note, Zeti said the online interbank GIRO fee would be capped at 10 sen effective May 2. According to her, the current rate was RM2 per transaction.
The online interbank GIRO transfer would only be applicable to the Internet and mobile channels.
Zeti also said that the cheque issuance price would be increased progressively to encourage users to migrate to online transactions.