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Malaysia: Deflation emerges in March – UOB

Written by By Pablo Piovano | 2020-04-23 08:50:21 GMT

UOB Group’s Senior Economist Julia Goh and Economist Loke Siew Ting reviewed the latest inflation figures in Malaysia.

Key Quotes

“Consumer price index (CPI) declined 0.2% y/y in Mar (Feb: +1.3% y/y), marking the start of a deflation trend for 2020… Despite an uptick in food price inflation, overall CPI was pulled down by the effects of plunging global oil prices on transportation cost and the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on tourism-related services (i.e. hotels & restaurants and air flight services).”

“Given a bleak outlook for global oil prices and lingering effects of COVID-19 pandemic, we maintain our 2020 full-year deflation forecast at -0.5% (BNM’s forecast: -1.5% to +0.5%). This marks the first annual deflation since 1969, as an expected rise in unemployment following the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO) translates into lower spending and weaker demand price pressures.”

“The government is expected to make an announcement in the coming days whether the MCO will be extended further beyond 28 Apr. BNM will review the effectiveness of the front-loaded 50bps cut in overnight policy rate (OPR) in 1Q20 and MYR260bn fiscal package at the upcoming monetary policy meeting on 4-5 May before deciding if further monetary adjustments are required to support the economy. We have pencilled in another 50bps rate cut for the year.”

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By Pablo Piovano
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