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Author: savemalaysia   |   Latest post: Thu, 23 May 2019, 9:06 AM


Moody's: Malaysia's A3 credit profile reflects large, diversified economy

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KUALA LUMPUR: Moody's Investors Service says that the Government of Malaysia's (A3 stable) credit profile reflects the country's large and diversified economy with healthy medium-term growth prospects.

It said on Tuesday the relatively high government debt was partly offset by a favourable debt structure and large domestic savings.

“Malaysia's real GDP growth should slow to 4.7% in 2019 and 4.5% in 2020, after averaging around 5.0% during 2015-18,” it said its recently-released credit analysis titled "Government of Malaysia -- A3 stable: Annual credit analysis". 

However, it said external headwinds from trade protectionism will weigh on trade activity, while a review of infrastructure projects and slowing public spending will prove a further drag on growth.

“Nevertheless, economic expansion will still stay stronger than the median average for A-rated sovereigns, even taking moderating growth into account,” it said. 

The analysis examines Malaysia's credit profile in terms of economic strength, which is assessed as "very high (-)"; institutional  strength at "high (+)"; fiscal strength at "moderate"; and  susceptibility to event risk at "moderate  (-)" , which are the four main analytic factors in Moody's Sovereign Bond Rating Methodology.

The report constitutes an annual update to investors and is not a rating action.

Moody's said the Malaysian government's recent fiscal policy choices, in particular, abolishing the goods and service tax, will narrow its revenue base and reduce fiscal flexibility.

Moreover, Malaysia's debt burden, which is significantly higher than the A-rated median, will remain a credit constraint. 

However, deep domestic capital markets and high savings provide a stable funding pool for the government's debt, and partly offset these fiscal weaknesses.

“A solid institutional framework that includes effective monetary policy supports the country's credit profile. 

“However, pervasive corruption will likely remain a challenge for the government, undermining policy  effectiveness,” it said.

The stable outlook on the sovereign's rating indicates that a change in the rating is unlikely in the near term, with the rating balancing credit constraints – stemming from low debt affordability and high debt levels – against credit  strengths, including resilient growth and a stable and  broad funding base for Malaysia's debt, even in a weaker global  environment.

The rating could face upward pressure if the scope for fiscal consolidation increases.

Conversely, Moody's would consider downgrading the sovereign rating if Malaysia's fiscal prospects weaken, or its debt burden increases.

It also said downward rating pressures could also arise, if growing political tensions and diverging views within the government undermine policy effectiveness or impair the government's ability to adhere to its fiscal consolidation  objectives, and/or threaten the stability of capital flows to the  country.  




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