Friday, August 14

External factors main cause of capital outflows: Lim


Lim Guan Eng

KUALA LUMPUR: External factors that influenced investor behaviour were among the main reasons which led to the foreign capital outflow last week, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He also cited other contributing factors such as the strengthening of the US dollar against other currencies and the unexpected increase in United States (US) Treasury yields which exceeded the three per cent mark, following the improvement in the US economy.

He said China was also starting to feel the impact of the trade tensions between the country and the US.

Lim was replying to a question from Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian), who wanted to know why foreign investors had recently offloaded RM1.05 billion in shares on Bursa Malaysia during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat here today.

He added that investor sentiment was also influenced by the uncertainty in European markets, which affected regional markets, as well as the pressures on the crude oil market and the tension between Saudi Arabia and the US.

However, he noted that the country’s foreign capital outflow, which stood at US$253 million for the week ended Oct 13, was among the lowest in the regional market, compared with Thailand (US$701.7 million) and Indonesia (US$273.53 million).

Meanwhile, foreign capital outflow from the Malaysian equity market between May 10-Oct 13, 2018 stood at US$3.03 billion, compared with Thailand (US$4.63 billion) and Indonesia (US$1.41 billion).

Lim added that the foreign capital outflow led to a weakening of the regional markets’ performance.

As such, he said, the ringgit had depreciated against the US dollar by 2.15 per cent, but the local currency’s performance was more stable compared with other currencies such as the Indonesian rupiah which depreciated by 10.44 per cent, the Singapore dollar (-2.82 per cent) and the Philippine peso (-7.30 per cent) against the greenback.

“This shows the investors’ confidence in Malaysia and its strength in facing external economic challenges,” he said.

Lim added that the government will continue to address the fiscal issues which it had inherited from the previous government by drafting new policies to improve competitiveness, efficiency, productivity and profitability of the companies. – Bernama