KUALA LUMPUR – SME Bank has called on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to do what is necessary to ensure their operations and businesses continue to grow amid rising interest rates.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) yesterday hiked the overnight policy rate (OPR) for the third consecutive time this year, adding another 25 basis points to bring it to 2.5%.
SME Bank group president and chief executive officer Datuk Wira Aria Putera Ismail said the latest upward revision reaffirmed BNM’s stance on gradually normalising the OPR to tackle the upward inflationary pressure the country is facing.
“The Statistics Department in July this year also reported that the country’s inflation had increased to 4.4% mainly due to food inflation, which surged to 7.0% year-on-year in July 2022, compared to the five-year pre-pandemic average of 3.0%,” he said in a statement today.
Aria added that despite the upward trend of the OPR, Malaysia’s economy has continued to record positive growth, expanding by a robust 8.9% in the second quarter of 2022 compared to 5.0% in the first quarter.
“Overall, the economy posted a growth of 6.9% for the first half year of 2022 and we foresee the full-year gross domestic product could overshoot BNM’s forecast range of 5.3% to 6.3%,” he added.
As Malaysia’s economy picks up speed, Aria said there would be less need for super accommodative monetary policy in order to rein in excess debt. – Bernama, September 9, 2022.