Malaysia’s key rate unchanged at 3.5 pct as inflation eases

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia’s central bank has kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.5 percent for a third straight meeting as the country’s inflation eases, a report said on Saturday.

By (AFP)

Published: Sat 26 Aug 2006, 7:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:22 PM

The central bank said inflation was expected to moderate for the rest of the year, the Star newspaper said.

“While the external environment may become less favourable in the second-half of the year due to an anticipated softening of global growth, its impact on the domestic economy is expected to be modest,” the central bank said in a statement.

Malaysia’s inflation had peaked and the rate would moderate in the second half of the year, central bank chief Zeti Akhtar Aziz said early this month after raising interest rates three times since November.

Inflation soared to 4.8 percent in March, the highest level in six years, but eased back to 4.6 percent in April and to 3.9 percent in May, and held steady at the same level in June.

The central bank in April raised its key interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.50 percent in a bid to combat rising inflation following steep fuel price hikes.

The central bank had previously raised rates in February by 25 basis points to 3.25 percent and by 30 basis points to 3.0 percent last November, in what was the first hike in seven years.

Economists have warned that the central bank needs to strike a fine balance between maintaining economic growth and interest rate hikes.

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