Cross Currents of Headwinds and Tailwinds

15 November 2023

6-min read

Troubles in the past, such as the oil crisis, savings and loan crisis, Gulf war, dot-com bust, global financial crisis and COVID, did not derail growth. Now however, the long term prosperities of tailwinds are receding whilst headwinds are dominantly growing. The 3Cs of Conflict, Constraints (commodities and supply chain), and Climate Change simultaneously threaten to pose significant consequences for investors and asset owners.


Panel speakers discussing the 2024 Economic Outlook

From left to right: Saktiandi Supaat, Head of FX Research, Global Markets; Winson Phoon Wai Kien, Head of Fixed Income Research, Maybank Investment Banking Group; Md Farid Kairi, Group Deputy CEO, Global Banking; Rozaini Mohd Sani, Group Chief Financial Officer, Johor Corporation; and Suhaimi Ilias, Chief Economist of Maybank Investment Banking Group.


Maybank Global Markets Malaysia on 17th October 2023 hosted an Economic Outlook with the theme ‘Cross Currents of Headwinds & Tailwinds’. Attended by over 300 clients, the event showcased a solid line of panelists from Maybank and the Group Chief Financial Officer of Johor Corporation.


En Md Farid Kairi, Group Deputy CEO of Maybank Global Banking, opened the discussion pointing out the struggles of industries on 3 key risk factors - potential war, climate change, and further emergence of any potential health crises. Citing sophistication of clients seeking solutions on their carbon concerns, Farid indicated the pertinence in addressing climate calamities. Raising the need to re-examine investment objectives, Maybank actively partakes in consultative works on carbon advisory to actively reduce emissions.


“In spite of the Headwinds in the global economic environment, domestically, Tailwinds are likely seen to support expansion of the economy with ongoing recovery in tourism and positive momentum in investment trends”, commented Suhaimi Ilias, Chief Economist of Maybank Investment Banking Group. Malaysia is projected to pick up pace on growth with the expectations of BNM keeping the OPR level at 3.0% throughout next year.


Key lookouts for 2024:

  1. The US FED’s role in guiding the economy without disrupting markets extensively.
  2. China’s ability to see a rebound and/or remain weighed down by domestic issues.
  3. Inflation dynamics and its implication on interest rate outlook.
  4. Domestically, implementation and execution on government’s long term policies and its impact on Malaysian assets in the medium term including the MYR.

On the FX front, Saktiandi Supaat, Head of FX Research, Global Markets, cited the factors driving USD is expected to soften in 2024. “The strengthening of the undervalued MYR may start to emerge by end of 1H 2024. The near term forecast with removal of noises is based on fundamentals. MYR main drivers such as CNY, USD and UST still dictate the MYR, where as it is slowly losing its sensitivity to oil”, said Saktiandi.



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USD/MYR forex exchange forecast


As a Fixed Income strategist, Winson Phoon Wai Kien, Head of Fixed Income Research, Maybank Investment Banking Group, maintains a mildly positive outlook on MYR bond and recommends to buy on dips. With market confidence on US growth expectations of a soft landing with no recession, he cautions that optimisms tend to peak before a downturn.


The attendees also had the pleasure of hearing from En Rozaini of Johor Corporation on their emphasis to focus on four core sectors; Wellness and Healthcare, Food and Beverages, Agriculture, and Real Estate and Infrastructure. “Judging the impact the pandemic had on us, we underwent a massive transformation exercise to becoming a full-fledged investment holding company while still remaining a State Owned Development Corporation. Our purpose of creation, Membina & Membela is sacrosanct to us, regardless of the crosscurrents of headwinds and tailwinds. This drives us to strategically future proof ourselves and enable us to develop and grow sustainable businesses with resilience and agility; all whilst enhancing investment returns and simultaneously playing a role in distributing wealth for the development of the state and the country.”


: Farid Kairi sharing his point of view for 2024

“I have seen so many of you here grown leaps and bounds with us over the years. We are hoping 2024 to be an exciting one, but should be taken with caution”, Farid Kairi said at the event.


This Market Outlook by Global Markets is organised bi-annually to its clients as a key component of Global Banking’s thought leadership initiative.


More than 300 clients attended the forum organised on 17 October 2023

Over 300 clients attended the Economic Outlook themed ‘Cross Current of Headwinds & Tailwinds’ on 17 October 2023.


Maybankers taking a picture with the clients at the Economic Outlook Forum

Global Markets and Maybank Investment Banking Group’s key leaders, with guest speaker at the bi-annual Economic Outlook.



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