Kuala Lumpur: Interest rates are expected to remain stable for the rest of the year, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said.
“Stable does not mean it will not go higher or lower. Stable means that it will not become unduly volatile,” he said.
The rates were not expected to become too high or too low from present levels, he added.
“There could be marginal changes to the interest rates,” he told reporters after the closing ceremony of Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd's (PUNB) seminar on Managing Cost towards Dynamic Business yesterday.
He was asked to comment on a foreign research house's forecast that interest rates will go up by 75 basis points to 3.75% at the end of the year.
Nor said the Government did not forecast interest rates, as any changes would depend on the local and global climate. Currently, he said, the situation was stable, without any major problems arising that needed to be addressed.
“I am confident that the situation for the year will remain stable,” he added.
On the ringgit, he said it was stable, adding that it was not expected to have any adverse effects on exports.
In his closing speech earlier, Nor Mohamed said the new Wholesaler Entrepreneur Scheme launched by PUNB would benefit entrepreneurs in sourcing material and obtaining credit supply as they constantly faced supply problems that affected their competitiveness.
He also said government-linked companies (GLCs) had been requested to set up a mechanism for bumiputra entrepreneurs to obtain materials should they obtain contracts from the mentioned GLCs.
“This will not only lessen the burden of material sourcing and supply, it will benefit the GLCs by allowing them to obtain supplies at more effective costs, especially through bulk purchasing,” he added.
For credit supply, he said, the SME Bank, which began operating last October, would be providing material financing for bumiputra entrepreneurs.
“Other than this service, the bank can provide the entrepreneurs invoice payments for completed work.”
Nor Mohamed said with such facilities, the entrepreneurs would be able to focus on their business without being overly concerned about cost issues.