Malaysia’s central bank first in SE Asia to cut key interest rate
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's central bank yesterday became the first in South-east Asia to cut its key interest rate this year, moving to support its economy at a time of concern about global growth.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) cut its overnight policy rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to 3 per cent.
The central bank said the rate cut was "intended to preserve the degree of monetary accommodativeness".
"This is consistent with the monetary policy stance of supporting a steady growth path amid price stability," it said in a statement.
Seven out of 13 economists polled by Reuters had expected BNM to cut its benchmark rate to 3 per cent. The other six predicted a hold.
BNM last cut the rate in July 2016, to 3 per cent after the UK's Brexit vote. Yesterday's rate change was the first since January 2018, when it was raised to 3.25 per cent to "normalise" policy.
At its last meeting on March 5, BNM express confidence the economy could stay on a "steady growth path" despite multiple risks.
In its annual report in March, the central bank cut its 2019 economic growth forecast to 4.3-4.8 per cent from an earlier projection of 4.9 per cent. - REUTERS