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TJ KB STS: Pengekspot Desak Ringgit Dinilai Semula
26/4/2001 6:50 pm Thu
STS: Pengekspot Mula Komplen Secara Terbuka
Pengekspot tempatan mula bising mahu kerajaan menilai semula ringgit
secara terbuka. Nilai matawang serantau yang lebih rendah menyebabkan
negara jiran seperti Thailand dan Indonesia sudah mengikis pasaran
pengusaha tempatan. Jika ringit tidak diubah, keuntungan dan pertumbuhan
ekonomi akan terus melembab.
"Ringgit sudah terlebih nilai - ia harus diperbetulkan," kata En P. Subee
Subramaniam, naib presiden syarikat Premium Vegetable Oils.
Mahathir perlu memilih antara merangsang pertumbuhan atau menyangga matawang.
Ekspot sedang menurun, pertumbuhan melembab dan rezab antarabangsa sedang
menyusut - ini semua tidak menyokong ringgit.
Sewaktu Mahathir mengenakan kawalan matawang dulu nilai negara serantau
sedang meninggi (Menaik: Baht 9.4%, Rupiah 24%) tetapi sekarang ia lebih
rendah (Menurun: Baht 17%, Rupiah 33%).
Para pengekspot bimbang bencana yang bakal menimpa nanti. Pengerusi FMM
mencadangkan nilai matawang yang fleksibel.
Bank Negara kini terpaksa memutuskan kumpulan manakah yang lebih penting
kepada ekonomi - pengekspot ataupun pengimpot. -- Bloomberg
BTS: Rizab Susut Lagi
Rizab antarabangsa Malaysia jatuh sebanyak US$900 juta (S$1.63
billion) dalam 2 minggu pertama bulan ini kepada US$26.29 bilion
berikutan penghijrahan potfolio - demikian lapuran Bank Negara
Bank Negara juga menyebut jumlah bersih dana asing keluar berjumlah
US$176 juta pada suku pertengahan April.
Menurut IMF, kelembapan ekonomi Amerika yang berterusan bermakna ekonomi
global sedang memasuki 'fasa kritikal' dimana polisi dan koordinasi antara
negara-negara memainkan peranan penting. Tanpa strategi yang cekap negara
akan terhumban. Terdapat kebimbangan kemelesetan ekonomi Amerika akan
memecahkan rekod 10 tahun perkembangannya.
Menteri Kewangan perlu mengesahkan beberapa langkah strategik untuk
menghadapi krisis ekonomi kali ini. Tetapi Daim dikatakan sedang bercuti
dalam diam-diam (lebih seminggu baru diketahui) dan kebanyakkan rancangan
pemulihan muncul dan dibentang oleh Mahathir sendiri.
Apa yang menarik pakej merangsang baru-baru ini diumumkan di luar parlimen
dan OPP3 dibentang di parlimen dengan lapurannya lambat diedarkan kepada
MP. Kelihatan seperti Daim 'berbalah' dengan Mahathir sehingga begini
Perhatikan politik dunia juga bergolak ekoran krisis ekonomi dunia.
Ia menghumban sesiapa sahaja yang disangsikan oleh rakyat walaupun
menang pilihanraya sebelumnya. Arus ini terus mengalir tanpa hentinya
dan selalu mengejutkan kita dengan tiba-tiba. Begitu juga dengan
Mahathir agaknya. Kita ramalkan beliau jatuh tiba-tiba juga kerana
kilang menggaji ribuan pekerja yang merupakan rakyat dan pengundi
Sewaktu berita ini ditulis, Estrada telahpun ditangkap dan Indonesia sedang
bergolak kerana Gus Dur akan dihadapkan ke tribunal rasuah. Jepun pula baru
mendapat Perdana Menterinya yang baru, En Koizumi, seorang yang cuba
mereformasikan ekonomi Jepun dengan langkah-langkah drastik.
-Terjemah Ringkas Kapal Berita-
The Singapore Straits Times
KL exporters urge the govt to drop ringgit peg
Strong currency is hurting their sales and Indonesian and Thai rivals
are gaining market share at their expense
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian exporters are calling for the government to
abandon the ringgit's three-year peg to the US dollar, a public
display rare for a country where the same political party has held
power for four decades.
'The ringgit is overvalued - it needs to be corrected,' said Mr P.
Subee Subramaniam, vice-president of Premium Vegetable Oils.
A slide in other Asian currencies means Thai and Indonesian rivals are
cutting prices and 'eating up our market share'.
Such proposals may be thwarted by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who
adopted the peg in 1998 after accusing foreign investors of
undermining Asian currencies for profit.
Exporters say that unless the peg is removed, profits and economic
growth will slow.
Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir says the currency is not overvalued and the
stability it offers is good for business.
Economists are split evenly as to whether Malaysia will devalue the
ringgit or allow it to trade freely.
Of 15 economists surveyed, eight said Malaysia would be forced to drop
the peg in the next two years.
In the end, Dr Mahathir may have to choose between stimulating growth
and propping up the exchange rate regime.
Exports are falling, growth is slowing and foreign currency reserves
are dwindling - all undermining support for the peg.
The government is hanging tough for now.
'The 1997 crisis highlights the damage that currency depreciation can
do to an economy,' central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said earlier
after announcing a decline in Malaysia's foreign reserves.
Memories of the crisis remain vivid.
Asia fell victim to recession after Thailand set off a wave of
competitive devaluations. As currencies plunged and economies shrank,
Thailand and other countries turned to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) for aid.
Dr Mahathir, blaming speculators such as financier George Soros,
shunned the IMF and its free-market economic medicine.
Instead, he pegged the ringgit at 3.8 to the dollar, down 34 per cent
from its pre-crisis level, and imposed limits on external capital
In the six months after the peg was adopted, the Thai baht gained 9.4
per cent against the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah jumped 24 per
That allowed Malaysian exporters of computer chips, disk drives and
textiles to keep their prices low.
But the tables have turned. In the past year, the baht has fallen
nearly 17 per cent and the rupiah has dropped 33 per cent.
Exporters fear the worst is yet to come.
'We should consider a flexible peg,' said Mr O.K. Lee, chairman of the
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers in Penang.
'The central bank has to decide which group is more important to the
economy - exporters or importers.' --Bloomberg News
The Business Times, Singapore
KL's int'l reserves fall US$900m in April 1-14
MALAYSIA'S international reserves fell by US$900 million (S$1.63
billion) in the first two weeks of this month to US$26.29 billion on
portfolio fund outflows, the central bank said on Monday.
The central Bank Negara said in a statement that net outflow of
foreign funds amounted to US$176 million in the first half of April.
But Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, speaking at a fund managers
conference, said net inflows of funds led to an improvement in
international reserves in the third week of April.
'Positive developments in the third week, however, have led to an
improvement in the flow of international reserves,' Ms Zeti said.
But she did not give any foreign exchange reserves data for the third
week of April.
Ms Zeti said the markets had overreacted to the unstable external and
domestic conditions in the first half of April.
Malaysia's reserves fell US$1.81 billion in March to US$27.18 billion,
enough to cover 4 1/2 months of imports.
The sharp fall in reserves, together with a weak yen and sliding
regional currencies, had stoked speculation in the markets that
Malaysia may devalue its ringgit currency, which has been pegged at
3.8 to the US dollar since September 1998. 'Continued erosion will
threaten the ability of Malaysia to maintain the ringgit peg at 3.8
versus the US dollar,' market consultants Standard & Poor's MMS said
in a report.
But the central bank has said Malaysia would gain nothing from
depreciating its currency right now.
Ms Zeti reiterated the central bank's stance again on Monday.
'Currently, the exchange rate is assessed to be at fair value. It
would not bring any advantage to Malaysia to depreciate the currency
to reap temporary pricing advantages,' she said. - Reuters
Wednesday, April 25, 2001
WASHINGTON (AP) - The dramatic economic slowdown in the United States
means the global economy has entered a ''critical phase'' where policy
coordination between nations will be especially important, the head of the
International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.
Managing Director Horst Koehler said a key issue for the spring meetings of
the 183-nation IMF and its sister lending agency, the World Bank, will be to
demonstrate that growth-oriented policies are being pursued in the major
industrial countries as well as developing nations.
''I have no doubt that with the right policy response the global economy will
recover in the latter part of this year,'' Koehler said in an interview with a small
group of reporters.
The IMF has reduced its forecast for this year based on the fact that growth in
the United States, the world's biggest economy, has slowed so sharply. This
has raised fears that a U.S. recession could end a record 10-year long
''It must be the objective of this meeting and beyond this meeting to keep the
global economy on track,'' Koehler said. He said without a growth strategy in
place, it will be ''much more difficult for countries like Indonesia, like Turkey
and Argentina to come out of the mess.''
The IMF is considering requests for emergency loans to help those three
nations stabilize economies that are currently in turmoil.
Koehler said he believed it was important not to become overly pessimistic.
''We feel it's appropriate not to paint everything in negative terms,'' Koehler
said. He noted that while overall economic growth has slowed in the United
States, consumer spending, including demand for autos and houses, has held
up reasonably well.
Koehler praised the decision by the Federal Reserve to aggressively cut U.S.
interest rates beginning in January and supported President George W. Bush's
effort to cut taxes. He said such a reduction should ''build confidence with
Koehler was critical, however, of the action by the European Central Bank,
which earlier this month declined to cut interest rates for the 12 European
nations that share a common currency, the euro. ECB President Wim
Duisenberg had argued that it was too soon to cut European interest rates
because that region is not threatened with a recession.
Koehler also said he believed authorities in Japan, which is going through
another change in prime ministers, will have to be much more forceful in
overhauling its troubled banking sector in order to return the world's second
largest economy to sustained growth.
Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said the Bush administration
recognized the importance of the IMF, but he said there was a need to devote
more efforts to preventing financial crises before they occur.
Koehler said he had established a good working relationship with O'Neill and
he believed that the new Bush team was learning that the IMF began a
number of changes in response to criticism of its handling of the 1997-98
On the Net:
International Monetary Fund: http://www.imf.org