KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Maybank Investment Bank Bhd (Maybank IB) has maintained its 2024 gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for Malaysia at 4.4 per cent, underpinned by various domestic factors.
The research firm said in a note that consumer spending remains resilient despite the outlook of higher inflation in view of the stable monetary policy. This is premised on the overnight policy rate (OPR) remaining at 3.00 per cent in 2024 with a jobless rate of 3.4 per cent in 2024 versus 3.5 per cent in 2023, it said.
Other factors included tourism sector recovery and positive investment growth momentum as the surge in approved private sector investment since 2021 is translating into rising actual and realised private investments.
Progress in ongoing major infrastructure projects and the rollout of new ones in 2024, such as the Penang LRT and the ongoing KVLRT3 projects will provide a further lift to the economy.
The expected rebound in the technology sector next year after the downturn this year is will contribute to the GDP growth, Maybank IB said.
Factoring in the nine-month 2023 (9M2023) GDP growth of 3.9 per cent, the research firm said it has cut slightly its 2023 real GDP growth to 3.9 per cent from 4.0 per cent.
Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd said it sees expected improvement in external demand and tourism activity.
It said the anticipation of a potential upturn in the global technology cycle is set to propel Malaysia’s exports of semiconductors as well as electric and electronic products.
“This, coupled with an improvement in China’s economic growth, is likely to contribute to a broader current account surplus in the fourth quarter.
“Furthermore, the current account surplus is expected to gain support from a continued recovery in tourist arrivals and travel receipts, along with the expected return of foreign capital flows amid an improving risk-on sentiment,” it said.
On the ringgit, Kenanga IB said despite early indicators pointing towards a reduction in inflationary pressures and a softening labour market in the US, the market remains in anticipation of more substantial evidence confirming an incoming economic slowdown in the United States.
“Leading up to the US Federal Open Market Committee meeting in December, we foresee more signs of labour market weakness and increasing disinflationary momentum, compelling the US Federal Reserve to shift into a dovish gear and consequently weakening the US dollar index to below the 103.0 level.
“This, coupled with the US dollar seasonal weakness, expected improvement in investors’ risk appetite and robust domestic macroeconomic fundamentals, are expected to underpin the ringgit’s strength, potentially driving it below 4.50 against the greenback level by end-2023,” it added. — Bernama