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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27, 2015:

Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Southeast Asia’s fourth-largest lender by assets, expects Malaysia’s economy to slow, raising prospects of lower loan growth and spending, its group president and chief executive Datuk Abdul Farid Alias said.

He added that consumption will be weaker following the implementation of a new goods and services tax in April.

“The bank also expects slower loan growth and expenditure in view of the slowing Malaysian economy.”

Farid said said the outlook for the equity capital market remained soft in view of the weak market sentiment.

Maybank posted its highest quarterly net interest income of RM2.68 billion since 2010 although its future growth may hampered by a region-wide economic slowdown and depreciation of the ringgit and rupiah.

The bank has expanded aggressively in Southeast Asia over the past decade and counts Singapore, Indonesia as its major markets outside of Malaysia.

“We have to pay more attention to organic growth in view of the current turbulence. We continue to scout the field for opportunities,” chairman Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor said.

The bank expects to see consistent earnings drivers in the second half of the year.

Maybank, Malaysia’s biggest lender, has operations in 20 countries worldwide, including the US and Britain. Thailand is the only major Southeast Asian nation in which it has no banking operations.

It reported a net profit of RM1.58 billion in the quarter to June, barely improved on the RM1.57 billion made in the same quarter a year earlier.

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