Malaysia Inflation May Quicken, Prompt Rate Increase

Korang ikut tak keadaan ekonomi kat msia nih...nampaknya inflation makin jumaat ni akan ada meeting utk decide whether bank negara akan naikkan interest rate ke tak...

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia's inflation probably accelerated to a 26-year high in June, intensifying expectations the central bank will this week raise interest rates for the first time since April 2006.

Consumer prices rose 6.6 percent last month from a year earlier, according to the median forecast of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Bank Negara Malaysia may raise its overnight policy rate on July 25, according to 12 of 20 analysts. None of the 11 economists in the last survey in May had expected an increase this month.

Consumer prices may climb 7 percent ``or even higher'' this month after a similar gain in June, Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop said yesterday. Inflation probably exceeded 6 percent in June, central bank Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said on July 9, raising the estimate from an earlier prediction of 5 percent. The inflation report is due tomorrow.

The last time inflation was above 6 percent was June 1998, when the central bank's then benchmark three-month intervention rate was 11 percent. Malaysia's overnight policy rate, introduced in April 2004, has been kept at 3.5 percent for 17 straight meetings, and, together with Hong Kong's and Thailand's, is the second lowest in Asia according to Bloomberg data.

Concerns that inflation will hurt growth and erode investors' returns have added to a slump in Southeast Asia's stocks and bonds.


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