KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 (Bernama) — Following are the highlights of the 2015 Bank Negara Malaysia Annual Report:
* Economy to expand by 4% and 4.5% in 2016 driven mainly by domestic demand (2015: 5%)
* Bank Negara Malaysia declares dividend payout of RM3 billion to the government for the year 2015.
* The services and manufacturing sector expected to grow at a moderate rate of 4.4% and 4.1% respectively, in 2016 (2015 : 5.1% and 4.9% , respectively)
* Mining and quarrying and construction to see an expansion of 3.5% and 7.9%, respectively, in 2016 (2015 : 4.7% and 8.2%, respectively)
* Agriculture sector to contract marginally by -0.3% in 2016, largely due to lower palm oil yields following the hot and dry weather conditions brought about by the strong El-Nino weather phenomenon (2015: 1%)
* Gross exports are forecast to expand by 2.4% in 2016, sustained by a modest improvement in demand from advanced economies and continued growth in regional economies (2015: 1.9%)
* Gross import growth is projected to increase to 4.9% in 2016 (2015: 0.4%)
* Private consumption to growth is projected to moderate to 5.% in 2016 (2015: 6%)
* Private investment growth is projected to trend below its long-term average and grow by 5.5% in 2016
* Headline inflation is projected to be higher at 2.5% to 3.5% in 2016 (2015: 2.1 pct)
* Public consumption growth is expected to moderate to 2% in 2016, reflecting mainly the lower spending on supplies and services given the government’s commitment to more prudent spending under the current uncertain environment
* Public investment is projected to turn around to register a positive growth of 1%.
* Consumer spending to be affected by an environment of higher prices and greater uncertainty but remain supported by continued income and employment growth
* Private investment to trend below long-term average in 2016, however, growth remains supported by on-going and new investments, particularly in the manufacturing sector
* While ringgit has strengthened in recent months, volatility is likely to persist going forward
* Total assets of Bank Negara Malaysia amounted to RM440.6 billion with international reserves of RM409.1 billion (US$95.3 billion)
* International reserves are adequate to provide a buffer against external shocks and facilitate international transactions
* Banking system surplus liquidity remained high at RM178.3 billion as at January 2016
* Malaysia’s external debt stood at RM833.7 billion, equivalent to US$192.2 billion or 72.% of GDP as at end of 2015.
* The current account surplus may be lower at RM19.1 billion or 1-2% of Gross National Income in 2016, on account of lower goods surplus and wider income deficits
* The unemployment rate may increase slightly but is expected to remain low at around 3.3% and 3.5% (2015: 5.7%)
* Malaysia’s population to increase to 31.4 million in 2016 (2015 : 31 million)