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 24 Jan 2009

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January 24, 2009

Malaysia: $552m in SME loans to offset downturn

Malaysia's central bank will give small- and medium-sized business firms access to 2 billion ringgit ($552 million) in financing to offset the effects of the economic downturn, Reuters quoted the bank as saying Friday.

The businesses include manufacturing firms and agriculture and services companies, the bank said in a statement.

A slide in global growth and demand has hit Malaysian manufacturing firms, many of which make the electronics which account for the bulk of the country's exports.

Growth forecasts for this year are bleak for Malaysia where exports account for more than 100 percent of gross domestic product, with some private banks predicting a contraction in the Southeast Asian country's economy this year.

The government, however, has stuck to its 3.5 percent growth forecast for this year, which it announced in November along with a $2 billion fiscal stimulus package.

Another stimulus package is in the offing, although domestic business associations and politicians have said that the first set of measures has not yet been effectively implemented.
















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