Bursa Chairman: Diversified Economy, Sound Policies Set High Barriers Against Recession

Are Malaysia’s economic fundamentals strong enough to withstand the threat of a recession?

Bursa Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar opined Malaysia is not likely to slip into a recession due to the diversified structure of its economy which is less dependent on commodities, aside from its pragmatic and responsive policies.

Abdul Wahid cited the agriculture and mining sectors which now only contribute 14 per cent to Malaysia’s gross domestic product, while the services sector accounts for 57 per cent and the manufacturing sector contributing 24.3 per cent.

In his opening remarks at the ‘Invest Malaysia 2022 Series 1: Building Resilience Amidst Volatility’ in Kuala Lumpur, today, he said: “The diversity of our trading partners — where we are not overly dependent on one particular country — adds to our economic resilience.

Abdul Wahid added Malaysian banks and financial institutions have significant weighting in both the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI and the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia sustainability index.

The strength and stability of the financial system are important factors in Malaysia’s resilience, where local banks are well capitalised, liquid, better managed and effectively regulated and supervised by Bank Negara Malaysia.

“These seven banking stocks alone, namely Maybank, Public Bank, CIMB Bank, Hong Leong Bank, RHB Bank and Alliance Bank have a combined market capitalisation of RM325.36 billion, or about 20 per cent of the total market capitalisation of RM1.65 trillion as at end-June 2022,” he said

Abdul Wahid added the financial system is complemented by well-functioning debt and equity capital markets, which were worth RM3.5 trillion as of June 30, 2022, where the debt capital market accounted for RM1.8 trillion and the equity capital market made up RM1.7 trillion.

“Malaysia is also home to the world’s leading Islamic capital market at RM2.2 trillion, representing almost two-thirds of the total capital markets.”

“Banks also continue to fulfil their intermediation role by mobilising funds to be channelled to productive sectors of the economy,” he said.

On the global front, Abdul Wahid noted that the United States-China trade tensions and the Ukraine-Russia conflict have also caused commodity prices and logistics costs to skyrocket, resulting in high inflationary pressures globally, forcing central banks to tighten their monetary policy to rein in inflation.

“This is likely to cause economic slowdown and potential recessions in some countries in 2023,” he added.

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