Malaysia has trimmed its growth forecast mainly due to plunging oil prices. A miscalculated assumption has messed up the 2016 budget, which has the government groping for damage-control measures. One of the key outcomes were increasing the household spending of the country, which can give the sluggish economy a much-needed boost.
Crude oil prices continued to trade in low range amid sagging demand and its bleak outlook for remaining part of 2015. Speculators are withdrawing from their previous bets on rising prices. The front-month US crude futures were trading at $44.65 per barrel 12 percent lower than the peak level in October. ANZ Bank forecasts that oil price to remain under pressure for the rest of the year.
China's slowing economy will be at the forefront as parliament convenes for its annual meeting this week, with a weekend interest rate cut a reminder of the challenge of balancing painful restructuring with combating the onset of deflation.
Michael Smith, current Australia and New Zealand Bank CEO, in an interview with Bloomberg's Susan Li said Hong Kong is the stepping stone towards China.