AmBank confident govt will address market jitters

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 18): AmBank (M) Bhd is confident the government will not let the potential downgrade by FTSE Russell and Norway's sovereign wealth fund pullout from Malaysia's government bonds affect the country's economic growth.

Group chief executive officer Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said the concerns were just speculations.

"There will be a lot of engagement and discussions, (but) this thing is just speculation at the moment," he told reporters after the launch of AmBank and Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd's SME Biz Start Up-i here, today.

Sulaiman said the country's fundamentals remained strong, supported by stable economic growth and commodity prices.

"If you look at the growth forecast for this year, it is about 4.2% for the first half and 4.5% in the second half. It is solid.

"We have a good current account surplus and commodity prices are quite stable, it (the market) remains attractive for investments,” he added.

However, Sulaiman noted that concerns over the news would have some impact on the value of the ringgit against the US dollar.

The ringgit stood at RM4.14 versus the greenback in early trade today as fresh worries emerged following the news on FTSE Russell's possible downgrade yesterday.

Meanwhile, Norway recently said its state investment fund would remove emerging market debts, including Malaysian securities, from its index.