More rate hikes seen after GDP 2Q surprise


OCBC Bank economist Wellian Wiranto saw a good chance of another 25 basis points (bps) hike in the September MPC meeting, partly because of the incipient price pressures.

KUALA LUMPUR: Two more interest hikes are likely during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meetings in September and November after the second quarter (2Q) 2022 stellar gross domestic product (GDP) performance was announced last week.

OCBC Bank economist Wellian Wiranto saw a good chance of another 25 basis points (bps) hike in the September MPC meeting, partly because of the incipient price pressures.

“Even though there may be whispers of a ‘fatter’ hike of, say, 50 bps, we continue to attach a low probability to that.

“The fact that Bank Negara has been relatively early in normalising rates – having hiked rates twice this year already – has given it the space to continue adopting a modest and gradual approach for now.

“Still, we do see a higher chance of another 25 bps hike in the last meeting of the year in November, which will put the overnight policy rate (OPR) at 2.75% by the end of 2022,’’ he said in a regional snapshot report.

Wellian added that if core inflation picks up speed to above 3.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) versus the latest 3% in June, the likelihood of the November MPC hike would be crystallised.

Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the Malaysian economy has been absorbing the impact of the OPR hike quite well.

“It is very clear that we are no longer in a crisis. The momentum, in terms of loan repayments, has not been impacted,” she said.

Malaysia has increased the OPR twice this year to 2.25% from a low of 1.75%.

As for the GDP, Wellian said the bank had been “too conservative” in its estimation of the underlying strength in the Malaysian economy as 2Q GDP turned out to be 8.9% y-o-y. — Bernama

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