PM: Clarity of government policies helps attract investment, strengthen ringgit
10 Oct 2023
The clarity of policies, including for the Madani economy, the National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR) and the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030), can help in attracting investments and strengthening the value of the ringgit, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said the ringgit’s performance this year was largely driven by external factors such as the sharp strengthening of the US dollar that has been driven by higher US interest rates, as well as China’s weaker-than-expected economic conditions.
Therefore, most of the world’s currencies have experienced depreciation for the year 2023, including the ringgit, because of the actions of the US Federal Reserve which raised interest rates, he pointed out.
“The value of the ringgit does not depend on fundamentals such as good (economic) growth, good investment, falling inflation or falling unemployment rates, the falling value of the ringgit is not in line with the economic policies introduced by the government.
“By only strengthening the local economy can we increase the value of the ringgit and we take the approach of not increasing the overnight policy rate (OPR) on consideration of the increase in the value of the US dollar,” Anwar said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He was responding to a question from Datuk Awang Hashim’s (PN-Pendang) about the effectiveness of the government’s measures in dealing with the impact of the ringgit’s dwindling value, which had hit RM4.73 against the US dollar.
The government through Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has also implemented short-term measures to ensure that the ringgit’s adjustment is in order.
Anwar said to deal with the volatility of the foreign exchange market, BNM will continue to manage risks from domestic and external developments, as well as be prepared to use its operational policy instruments to ensure orderly market conditions.
“Several steps were taken by Bank Negara, such as setting exports in ringgit, then in several conferences I discussed with China and Asean in Jakarta, we requested the use of the local currency to trade.
“In fact, China has welcomed it, 20 to 28 per cent of the large investments, actually tens of billions, do not use US dollars but the ringgit, so this (helps) the ringgit, the same with Thailand.
“So far, the countries we have succeeded in convincing to use the local currency are Indonesia, Thailand, and China but not in all areas; if they are involved in international trade commodities, this is one of the suggestions.”
He explained that through the Local Currency Settlement Framework (LCSF) initiative, Malaysia has an LCSF arrangement with Indonesia and Thailand.
He noted that Malaysia was also one of the first countries to sign a currency arrangement agreement with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in 2009.
He explained that the agreement further facilitates the use of renminbi and ringgit for trade and investment payment purposes between China and Malaysia and as a measure to reduce the use of dollars in trade activities.
In the meantime, the prime minister admitted that it is difficult to completely stop the use of the US dollar in trade at this time.
“However, Malaysia is more active and aggressive in emphasising the need to use the local currency,” he added.