Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) is sticking to its gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection for Malaysia at 4.2 per cent this year.
This is higher than Bank Negara Malaysia’s revised projection to 3.0-4.0 per cent from 6.0-7.5 per cent originally.
Group president and chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Farid Alias said Maybank believed that this would be supported by the national vaccination programme, with nearly 42 per cent of population currently were fully vaccinated.
“Our economists were the first ones who came back and revised their forecast from 6.2 per cent to 4.2 per cent on GDP growth, ahead of Bank Negara. At that time, we opined that the lockdown that happened in June and continued until August, would clearly have an impact and slow down the economy.
“Even though we saw a 16.1 per cent jump in the second quarter (Q2), GDP growth fell 7.1 per cent for the first half (1H) of the year. This implies that the remaining 2H will be slower and it is expected because in that already two months, and the Q3, we expect the growth to moderate.
“The good thing about this, as I said earlier, is the vaccination plan. With the government opening up economic activities day by day, this will help the economy to grow for the remaining of the year,” Abdul Farid said at Maybank’s half-year results briefing today.
He said Bank Negara might keep its Overnight Policy Rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent for the rest of the year, but change the rate in 2022.
“The risk here is what will happened with the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed) fund rate. The outlook with the Fed is that we anticipate an increase to happen next year. But the impact from the activities of the Fed is more on the tapering activities in respect to the bond buying programme which will have an impact on the exchange rate,” he added.
For the six-month period ended June 30 2021, Maybank’s net profit surged to RM4.35 billion from RM2.99 billion, while revenue eased 5.9 per cent to RM23.56 billion from RM25.03 billion.
Its net profit more than doubled to RM1.96 billion in Q2 from RM941.73 million registered in the same quarter a year ago.
Maybank, Southeast Asia’s fourth largest bank by assets, said this was contributed by continued growth in loans and an expansion in net interest margin from a more cost-effective funding mix and impairments that came in lower than a year earlier.
Its revenue during the quarter eased 3.8 per cent to RM11.34 billion from RM11.79 billion.
During the quarter, the bank said it had recorded a steady growth in net operating income at 9.3 per cent higher to RM6.17 billion from a year earlier.
This was on the back of a 26.4 per cent improvement in net fund based income.
Maybank declared a single-tier first interim dividend of 28 sen per share to be made under its dividend reinvestment plan.
The dividend comprises 14 sen per share to be paid in cash and an electable portion of 14 sen per share which can be reinvested into new ordinary shares or paid in cash.
The dividend payout to shareholders amounts to some RM3.27 billion or 75.2 per cent of the half-year net profit of RM4.35 billion.