Friday, March 26, 2010

Bank Negara Annual Report 2009

Apart from a revised forecast for 2010 GDP (4.5%-5.5%), there really wasn’t anything unexpected from Wednesday’s release of BNM’s Annual Report – but then there almost never is. Given the niceties of central bank signaling on interest rates and the economy, you will never hear anything surprising in the press release, the annual report itself, or in the face-to-face analysts briefing.

I’ve been to a few of the latter over the years (though not this year), and it’s almost always more a chance to catch up with your peers in the industry, and snag a complimentary copy of the annual report, than anything else. The only other thing of value is that BNM will sometimes show off their data (like household debt numbers) that never appears in published form. That’s changed this year, as the presentation slides are now available for download.

But you will never get the Governor or her staff to commit to anything about future policy direction, no matter how hard you try – as I remember one young man tried to do a few years back. Hence there’s almost never any questions from the “old hands”, because they know they won’t get any answers. You still have to read the tea leaves to get a sense of where the central bank is going.

Technical Notes:

  1. Annual Report press release (pdf link) – contains a summary of BNM’s forecasts and views on the economy. This contains most of the relevant info.
  2. BNM 2009 Annual Report
  3. Annual Report Presentation Slides
  4. Financial Stability and Payment Systems pres  release (pdf link)
  5. BNM 2009 Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report

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