Friday, December 9, 2011

Zeti refutes Nomura report on European banks' exposure to Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 9): Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz refuted'' a Nomura International report that European banks' exposure to Malaysia totalled US$50 billion (RM155 billion) or about 19% of the country's gross domestic product.

"That is not correct information. What I really want to emphasise is our foreign banks are locally incorporated and therefore they have less exposure compared to other places where they are not locally incorporated.

"We'll issue the numbers because that's not correct. It's something like less than five per cent or so, it's very low," she told reporters when asked to comment on the issue after launching the central bank's MobileLink here.

An economist at Nomura International, an asset management company, stated recently that Malaysia was one of the economies that would weaken the most as it was in the economies weaker group.

The economist also said Malaysia ranked third in Asia, excluding Japan, in terms of exposure to European bank claims after Hong Kong and Singapore, which could mean drying up of liquidity should European banks start cutting their exposure to the region.

Meanwhile, on scam activities, Zeti advised the public to report to the central bank and the police.

"We don't want to wait until it is serious before we inform the public that there are these scams. It is not just telling people who are not involved in the financial sector but people who are already in the financial mainstream, that means participating in the financial system.

"They don't have the knowledge that some of these are scams and it is important to be educated," she said.

Zeti also said there were all kinds of financial wealth products and a lot were not correct.

"Sometimes they use Bank Negara letterheads and names of Bank Negara senior officials. All these, of course, can be charged (in court) and the public should report them not only to Bank Negara but also to the police," she added. - Bernama

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