Friday, November 16, 2012

Lars Christensen on Malaysia

I haven’t got much time today, but I got an email from Lars last night on his post, and I thought it would be of interest to many (excerpt):

Malaysia should peg the renggit to the price of rubber and natural gas

The Christensen family arrived in Malaysia yesterday. It is vacation time! So since I am in Malaysia I was thinking I would write a small piece on Malaysian monetary policy, but frankly speaking I don’t know much about the Malaysian economy and I do not follow it on a daily basis. So my account of how the Malaysian economy is at best going to be a second hand account.

However, when I looked at the Malaysian data something nonetheless caught my eye. Looking at the monetary policy of a country I find it useful to compare the development in real GDP (RGDP) and nominal GDP (NGDP). I did the same thing for Malaysia. The RGDP numbers didn’t surprise me – I knew that from the research I from time to time would read on the Malaysian economy. However, most economists are still not writing much about the development in NGDP.

In my head trend RGDP growth is around 5% in Malaysia and from most of the research I have read on the Malaysian economy I have gotten the impression that inflation is pretty much under control and is around 2-3% – so I would have expected NGDP growth to have been around 7-8%. However, for most of the past decade NGDP growth in Malaysia has been much higher – 10-15%…

I won’t comment much on this…yet…because like Lars I’m due for a holiday, and won’t be back til late next week. But this is an interesting outsider’s perspective and an application of market monetarist views to monetary policy in Malaysia.

I have some substantive thoughts on the subject, but with work and the GDP release due this afternoon, I’ll have to leave it until I get back on Thursday next. Suffice to say, I’m not that keen on using the Ringgit as the primary monetary policy instrument.

1 comment:

  1. Ah Phen's Cold BeerNovember 19, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    We can't possibly peg our currency to natural rubber or natural gas. How to impress the world when our traders will be relegated to discussing demand for tyres and condoms (tak halaaaal!) while making site visits to gas refineries in Sarawak, when all the hip bankers are name-dropping dim sum bonds and derivatives in a posh London/Shanghai club? Tak cukup glam bro!