KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 ― Malaysia’s economy is expected to grow further this year driven by strong economic fundamentals, said CIMB Group Holdings Bhd Group Chief Executive, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz.
Zafrul said despite election calls, which would be held this year, the industry would see minimal impact and the ringgit would be stronger against the US dollar this year.
“There will not be an impact to the group but in terms of the economy, it might, depending on the outcome of the election.
“However, we expect a positive rally in terms of fund inflow which will be translated into stronger ringgit,” he said during the CIMB 10th Malaysia Corporate Day media briefing here today.
He said the ringgit was expected to strengthen to 4.05 against US dollar in 2018 against 4.30 in 2017.
The 14th General Election (GE14) is expected to be held after Chinese New Year as the 13th Parliament of Malaysia will be automatically dissolved on June 24 this year.
Zafrul also said the commodities, electric and electronics and manufacturing sectors would continue to remain supportive of the gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
“The GDP is expected to grow at the rate of 5.2 per cent and several key industries will play a bigger role in the local economy this year,” he said.
Among the key industries that would be vibrant this year would be e-commerce, banking and insurance as well as infrastructure, he said.
Zafrul said the Malaysian bond market would remain resilient and the regional economy would continue to grow further this year.
“CIMB is now tapping into new markets and conducting transformation which will lead us into achieving our T18 plan which we are positive to accomplish,” he said.
He said CIMB was on track to have its digital banking platform in Vietnam this month, the first in the country, while for Philippines, the Asean leading banking group is set to go live by the third quarter of this year.
With the opening of its branch in the Phillipines, it would complete the bank’s Asean-10 footprint, he said.
Earlier, Zafrul, in his welcoming address, said 2018 would be buoyed by positive outlook leading to better corporate earnings, RM90 billion infrastructure bond/sukuk issuances as well as potential initial public offerings (IPOs) and mergers and acquisitions.
“We expect some jumbo IPOs to take place mainly in the second half, post-general election,” he said, hinting at the IPOs would mainly be from infrastructure, consumer and financial services sectors. ― Bernama