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Pengeluaran Merosot Tapi RM Dikekalkan Juga
8/4/2001 3:56 pm Sun
Perangkaan Jabatan Statistik menyerlahkan pengeluaran kilang sudah
pun merosot. Peniaga Cina dan FMM cukup bimbang dan telah mengemukakan
beberapa cadangan agar nilai ringgit diubah supaya mereka dapat terus
hidup. Tetapi Daim dan Mahathir tetap berkeras kerana bimbang pecah
tembelang menjelang perhimpunan agung Umno yang akan datang. Soalnya
dapatkah mereka berdua bertahan kerana takungan impot cuma sekitar
Para peniaga Cina dan FMM menyeru kerajaan menilai semula ringgit
mengikut beberapa cadangan:
Cadangan Peniaga Cina:
Mewujudkan kadar yang terapung yang ditetapkan mengikut corak
pasaran supaya kilang mereka dapat terus bersaing.
Cadangan FMM Pulau Pinang:
Kadar tukaran yang fleksibel dimana bank negara akan menetapkan
ringgit pada awal setiap bulan dan tidak akan membenarkan ia
naik atau turun lebih 2% dari kadar ditetapkan itu. Sistem seperti
ini pernah digunakan di Poland dan beberapa negara sedang membangun.
Daim memberi alasan negara Cina tidakpun menukar kadar nilai
matawangnya tetapi dia tidak sedar Cina tidak terlalu bergantung
kepada ekspot kerana permintaan domestiknya tinggi dan kurang
tergugat jika nilai matawangnya tinggi.
Lapuran AFP telah menyebut beribu-ribu akan kehilangan kerja
kerana kemelsetan ini tetapi itu tidak diendahkan kerana
mahu menjaga ego Mahathir dan memudahkan kroni membayar hutang
luar negara. Lagipun ia lambang tewasnya wawasan degil Mahathir
dihimpit arus dunia. Ini cukup bahaya kerana perwakilan perhimpunan
agung Umno nanti bakal membidas atau menyindirnya.
Lapuran Bloomberg menyebut pengeluaran kilang sudah merosot sebanyak
4.3% bulan Februari lalu kerana tergugat oleh kelembapan ekonomi
Amerika dan nilai ringgit yang tidak kompetetif.
Nilai yen telah merosot 7.56% tahun ini sehingga menekan dan
mengheret matawang serantau yang memang lemah akibat pertumbuhan
yang perlahan. Baht Thai jatuh 4.65% tahun ini dan dolar Singapura
pula susut 4.33%. Kesannya ringgit lebih tinggi sehingga barangan
ekspot keluaran Malaysia lebih mahal.
Ramai mungkin bertanya kenapa kita berbicara tentang nilai ringgit
dalam dunia reformasi. Jawapannya mudah sahaja - jika ringgit dinilai
semula akan jatuhlah maruah Mahathir di mata dunia antarabangsa. Dia
mahu mengajar dunia - tetapi dunia juga akan mengajarnya nanti bila
sudah terdesak dan tersedak. Mahathir masih berdegil untuk mengalah
walaupun industri perkilangan menyumbang nyawa penting untuk negara.
Ramai akan sengsara dibuang kerja atau rugi berjuta-juta kerana egonya
- dan mereka ini pengundi belaka dan hidup di kawasan yang kuat BNnya.
Malangnya Mahathir lupa itu semua. Dia sepatutnya telah membaca protes
dan harapan pelabur sehingga menjunam indeks BSKL jadinya walaupun dia
baru sahaja membentangkan rancangan ekonominya.
-TJr Kapal Berita-
Malaysia Feb. Factory Production Growth Falls to 4.3% (Update2)
By David Yong
Overall production increased by 4.3 percent from a year earlier, the
Department of Statistics said. February's increase is the smallest
since April 1999, when the country emerged from its worst recession.
In January, industrial production rose a revised 11.1 percent from a
Manufacturing, which makes up two-thirds of industry, also posted a
4.3 percent gain in February from a year earlier. Much of Malaysian
industry is geared toward supplying the market for electronics and
electrical goods, which is slowing down in the U.S. and elsewhere.
``The market was booming last year and it has clearly cooled off,''
said David Cohen, an economist at Standard & Poor's MMS. ``In
countries like Singapore and Malaysia, where manufacturing is
concentrated in electronics, (the slowdown) is clearly being felt.''
Malaysia could be in for tougher times as world economic growth
slows. Malaysia recently reduced its growth target for 2001 to
between 5 percent and 6 percent from a previous forecast of 7
percent, citing faltering demand for its semiconductors and
electrical appliances from the U.S. and Japan.
Exports have been cooling as companies like semiconductor makers
Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd. and Unisem Bhd. posted slower sales
growth. They sell to U.S. customers like Motorola Inc., Linear
Technology Corp. and Micrel Inc. Nearly 60 percent of Malaysia's
exports consist of electronics and electrical goods.
``As fears of a slowdown feed on, I think there could be a sharper
adjustment to the downturn in the next two months,'' said Banny Lam,
an economist at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in Hong Kong.
Exports are slowing across Asia. Singapore's non-oil exports rose 5.5
percent in February from a year earlier, down from a 9 percent gain
in January, as a result of weak electronics shipments.
Malaysia shipped one-fifth of its exports to the U.S. last year and
another one-third to Japan and Singapore.
Among other segments of industry, electricity generation rose 5.5
percent from a year earlier, while mining rose 3.7 percent.
Compared with January, total production shrank 2.5 percent.
Manufacturing fell 1.5 percent from a month earlier, mining fell 7.6
percent and electricity dropped 2.1 percent.
The health of Malaysian industry will remain closely linked to
economic conditions in the U.S., which some economists say will
improve in the second half of the year as inventories are reduced.
``Malaysia's industrial performance is likely to improve later in the
year,'' said Rajeev Malik, an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase in
Singapore. ``However, from now till then, Malaysia too has to suffer
due to the gloomy global growth outlook.''
Saturday, April 7 12:10 PM SGT
Malaysia's Daim Says Ringgit Won't Be Repegged - Official
KUALA LUMPUR (Dow Jones)--Malaysia has no intention of altering the
ringgit's peg to the dollar ($1=MYR3.80) and the country will remain
competitive with this exchange rate, Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin
told finance ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Saturday, a Malaysian official who declined to be identified said.
The ringgit peg will remain in place based on the country's
fundamentals and to ensure certainty and predictability, Daim said,
according to the official.
Malaysia is confident its exports will remain competitive, Daim
added. Daim pointed to China, which hasn't revalued its currency,
despite the fact that many currencies in the region have weakened
against the dollar.
Aggregate trade accounts for more than 80% of gross domestic product
in most Asian countries. More than 50% of Malaysian exports are
comprised of electrical and electronic goods, and manufacturers are
feeling the pinch of slowing global demand.
On Friday, the statistics department said industrial production
growth slowed to 4.3% in February on year, from 12.5% in January and
15.1% in December.
In its Saturday edition, the daily New Straits Times reports the
Penang branch of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers is
proposing a flexible exchange rate. Under the proposal, the central
bank would fix the peg at the beginning of each month, and not permit
the currency to rise or fall by more than 2% versus the fixed rate,
according to the report.
This proposal follows one by the Malaysian Chinese business
association which asked the government to adopt a floating exchange
rate within predetermined trading bands.
Both Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Bank Negara Malaysia
Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz have reiterated over the past two weeks
that there is no need to alter the ringgit peg at present.
Daim is meeting with his ASEAN counterparts as part of a weekend
meeting, where participants are discussing ways to combat the effects
of slowing U.S. economic growth. The U.S. is Malaysia's largest
single trading partner.
http://quote.bloomberg.com/fgcgi.cgi?ptitle=Economies&s1=blk& tp=ad_topright_econ&T=markets_fgcgi_content99.ht&s2=blk& bt=ad_position1_economies&bt2=blk&middle=ad_frame2_economies& s=AOs6amBcvTWFsYXlz
Malaysia Defends Ringgit Peg; Industry Leader Urges Flexibility
By Yoolim Lee and Christopher Wellisz
``For the sake of predictability and certainty, the peg will
remain,'' Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin told counterparts from
other Southeast Asian nations meeting in Kuala Lumpur, according
to a spokesman. ``We are confident we will remain competitive even
at this rate.''
A leader of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers has
urged the government to introduce a more flexible exchange-rate
system, the New Straits Times reported today. The ringgit has been
pegged at 3.8 to the dollar since late 1998.
The ringgit peg is hurting the ability of Malaysian exporters
to sell their goods abroad at a time when cooling growth in the
U.S. is curbing demand for Asia's electronics and other exports.
A declining yen has added to the region's woes. The yen has
dropped 7.56 percent this year, pressuring other currencies
already weakened by slowing economic growth. The Thai baht has
fallen 4.65 percent this year, and the Singapore dollar has shed
4.33 percent. As a result, the ringgit has grown relatively
strong, making Malaysian exports more expensive.
``There is a need for a flexible exchange rate to reflect the
changing economic fundamentals,'' the New Straits Times quoted the
chairman of northern region of the 2,000-member Federation of
Malaysian Manufacturers, O.K. Lee, as saying. The northern region
includes Penang, the center of Malaysia's electronics industry.
The 33-year-old industry federation urged the central bank to
adjust the ringgit peg once a month and allow the currency to move
within a narrow range of the peg. Such ``managed floats'' have
been used in Poland and other emerging markets.
Malaysia is hosting a meeting of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations, whose finance ministers are discussing the regional
economic slowdown and the effect of the declining yen on other
Malaysian officials have repeatedly said they won't abandon
the peg, saying the stability it offers is good for business.
Economists, however, say the peg will come under increasing
pressure as other regional currencies lose value against the
dollar and Malaysian growth slows.
Malaysia's central bank has lowered its economic growth forecast for this year, citing the slowdown in the U.S., the country's biggest export market. Bank Negara Malaysia expects growth would fall to between 5 percent and 6 percent from last year's 8.5 percent. Its previous forecast was for 7 percent growth.