,KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara has maintained the overnight policy rate (OPR) at 1.75%, in line with the expectation of a Reuters poll of analysts."The MPC considers the stance of monetary policy to be appropriate and accommodative."In addition, fiscal and financial measures will continue to cushion the economic impact on businesses and households and provide support to economic activity," it said in a statement issued on Thursday.Bank Negara said given the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, the stance of monetary policy will continue to be determined by new data and information and their implications on the overall outlook for inflation and domestic growth. It reiterated its committed to utilise its policy levers as appropriate to foster enabling conditions for a sustainable economic recovery.In announcing its OPR decision, the central bank said risks to Malaysia's growth outlook remain tilted to the downside due to both external and domestic factors.These include delays in the easing or re-imposition of broad-based containment measures due to the impact of new Covid-19 variants of concern and a weaker-than-expected global growth recovery.However, Bank Negara expects the recent gradual relaxations for more economic sectors to operate, along with the higher adaptability of firms to the new operating environment and continued policy support to partly mitigate the impact and allow the economy to resume its recovery path."Moving forward, the further easing of containment measures, rapid progress of the domestic vaccination programme and continued expansion in global demand will support the growth momentum going into 2022," it said.Year-to-date, headline inflation has averaged 2.3% and is projected to average between 2% and 3% for 2021.Underlying inflation, as measured by core inflation, is expected to remain subdued, averaging between 0.5% and 1.5% for the year, amid continued spare capacity in the economy."The outlook, however, continues to be subject to global commodity price developments and policy measures to alleviate the cost burden of the public," it said.For 2022, Bank Negara expects the underlying inflation to remain relatively subdued.On the global front, the balance of risks to the growth outlook is also tilted to the downside owing mainly to the uncertainty over the path of the pandemic amid the emergence of variants of concern, said Bank Negara.It added that there is also the potential risk of heightened financial market volatility amid adjustments in monetary policy in major economies.Bank Negara noted that the global economy remains on a recovery path with improvement in manufacturing and services activity.There is a varied strength of recovery across countries corresponding to vaccination coverage, relaxation of containment measures and degree of policy support, it said."Economies with better progress in their vaccination programmes have eased containment measures, enabling a continued recovery in domestic activity."Sizeable fiscal and monetary stimulus in several major economies continue to support the recovery momentum. Financial conditions also remain supportive of growth," it added.
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