Malaysia central bank holds rate at 3%, says economy growing as expected

Bank Negara Malaysia kept its key rate unchanged at 3.00 per cent, on Jan 19, 2017.
Bank Negara Malaysia kept its key rate unchanged at 3.00 per cent, on Jan 19, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia's central bank kept its key rate unchanged at 3.00 per cent on Thursday as policy makers were cautious amid a fragile ringgit currency and uncertainty around United States policies under incoming president Donald Trump.

All 11 economists polled by Reuters had expected BNM to hold its key rate steady, as a cut to follow its July easing would have exposed the ringgit to more pressure.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said a statement the latest indicators point to continued growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 and that the economy is on track to expand as projected. "Going forward, private sector activity will remain the key driver of growth," the bank said in the statement.

BNM had unexpectedly cut its key rate by 25 basis points last July. Prior to that, the rate had been held steady for seven years at 3.25 per cent.