Tough BNM measures pay off, foreign investors returning


MONDAY, APRIL 3 KUALA LUMPUR- Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan officiates the syndicate laboratory of the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Roadmap at Putra Hall A, Putrajaya International Convention Centre at 0930 (0130 GMT)

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) measures to clamp down on currency speculators, who have been using offshore market non-deliverable forwards (NDF) to speculate on the ringgit, have paid off with the currency improving and foreign portfolio investors coming back, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

He said many research houses, investment banks and fund managers such as BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Deutsche Bank, Western Asset Management and Fidelity International viewed Malaysia with optimism.

“The Government will continue to support BNM policies that were accommodative for Malaysia’s economic growth and financial markets.

“The independence of the central bank is at all-time crucial for it to conduct effective monetary and financial regulation policies,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Abdul Rahman said critics were quick to point out that these measures would turn off foreign investors who used NDF to hedge their portfolio investments in Malaysia - as foreign investors withdrew at least US$14bil (RM60bil) from Malaysia’s bond markets between November 2016 and March 2017.

He pointed out that BNM did not introduce these measures last year without cogent plan to develop the onshore forward market.

“Foreign portfolio investors have returned since April this year - out of which 10% of the money has come back into Malaysian government and central bank bonds.

“Collective in their opinion, the research houses, investment banks and fund managers are of the view that Malaysia is on the right direction where the worst of foreign outflows is behind us.

“What more when the real economy has improved as shown in the first quarter gross domestic product growth of 5.6%,” he said.

The ringgit too, he said, had shown continuous improvement this year and was the best performing currency, regionally, in April 2017.

As at 6pm on Friday, the ringgit was quoted at 4.2790/2820 against the US dollar from Thursday’s close of 4.2860/2900. - Bernama

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