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What is the Malaysian ringgit (MYR)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives Malaysia a A3 rating, with a stable outlook. Fitch has a stable outlook with a A- rating. Finally, S&P last issued a A- rating, with a stable outlook.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

Central Bank Rate

The current central bank interest rate is 3.00%. This is the same as 2011, which was 3.00%.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $237,796,914,597 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $8,372. It grew by 7.19% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2011 is 3.00%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 114.03.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is Prime Minister Najib Razak, and the head of state is Yang di-Pertuan Agong Abdul Halim (in a ceremonial role).

Currency Details

The ringgit (MYR, but more commonly referred to as RM), unofficially known as the Malaysian dollar, is the official currency of Malaysia. In 1837, Malaysia converted from the use of the Spanish silver dollar to the Indian rupee. This lasted for 30 years until 1867 when the country decided to re-implement the use of the silver dollar. In 1903 Malaysia changed currencies again, this time using the Straits dollar, which was pegged at two shillings to the British pound (GBP). It was not until 1975 that Malaysia officially adopted the ringgit, which is pegged at 3.80 RM to the U.S. dollar.

Moody’s Rating
A3, 15 Dec 2004
S&P Rating
A+

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

The constitutional monarchy of Malaysia is divided into 13 states and two federal territories. The government is led by a paramount ruler who is elected along with a deputy paramount ruler to a five-year term by hereditary rulers of nine of the states. There is a bicameral parliament that consists of a 69-member Senate and a 193-member House of Representatives. A prime minister is elected by the House of Representatives to lead parliament. The judicial branch of the government is a Supreme Court whose justices are appointed by the paramount ruler under the advice of the prime minister.

Prominent Figures

Chief of State King – Sultan MIZAN Zainal Abidin (since 13 December 2006); (the position of the king is primarily ceremonial) Head of Government Prime Minister Mohamed NAJIB bin Abdul Razak (since 3 April 2009); Deputy Prime Minister MUHYIDDIN bin Mohamed Yassin (since 9 April 2009) Cabinet Cabinet appointed by the prime minister from among the members of Parliament with consent of the king Elections kings are elected by and from the hereditary rulers of nine of the states for five-year terms; selection is based on principle of rotation among rulers of states; election last held on 3 November 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following legislative elections, the leader who commands the support of the majority of members in the House becomes prime minister (since independence this has been the leader of the UMNO party) Election Results Sultan MIZAN Zainal Abidin elected king

Key Economic Factors

Malaysia has been industrializing rapidly over the course of the past three decades. Previously, the economy relied on the production of mineral and agricultural export commodities-palm oil, natural rubber, tropical timber and other minor mineral, and agricultural products. It is now an economy dominated by manufacturing and services. In 2002 manufacturing accounted for 30.6% of nominal GDP, up from 30.5% in 2001, whereas the share of services fell to 50.7% from 51.8%.

A major change in economic structure in Malaysia during the last decade has been the decline in capital investment. Two economic downturns in the past six years have severely dented gross fixed investment, which fell from 43.1% of nominal GDP in 1997 to a low of 21.9% in 1999, to stand at 23.2% in 2002. The reduction has been caused by lower foreign direct investment (FDI) and lower private domestic investment. Fearing that a sustained level of lower investment will eventually lead to slower economic growth, the government introduced measures to stimulate private domestic investment in the 2003 budget, after boosting public investment for four consecutive years. Because the ringgit, has been strong, ordinary market intervention by the central bank is limited to smoothing fluctuations, and has usually been concerned to hold the exchange rate down, rather than support it. However, early in 1996, in response to adverse movements, Bank Negara intervened briefly to support the ringgit and drew on foreign exchange reserves until higher interest rates restored stability to the exchange rate. However, the success of the government’s economic policies has increased inflationary pressure both by increasing demands on national resources and by attracting speculative international hot money. In the early 1990s, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) was a natural target for overseas fund managers eager to buy into emerging markets, as Malaysia offered political stability such as, a strong currency, sound economic fundamentals, low debt, fast growth, and moderate to low inflation.

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