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Steady banking outlook [14-12-2012]  
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Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd (StanChart) expects the country's banking sector to remain attractive next year despite external challenges.

“Even though we have seen a drag in trade and a moderation in the growth of consumer spending, domestic demand driven by the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) is still strong,” said managing director and chief executive officer Osman Morad.

Osman said Malaysia would be a great place to be present next year in the global economy, notwithstanding downside risks such as the European financial problems and the upcoming general election.

“This year has been a strong year for banks and if the gross domestic product was to cross 5% this year, it will also reflect the health of the banking sector.

“One of the most significant cloud, however, is the continuing European financial problems, which is a drag on the country's trade.“However, the country has done very well in responding to the crisis,” he told reporters after signing a memorandum of understanding with Institute of Banks Malaysia (IBBM) to implement and promote Standard Chartered's Banker Education Pathway programme.

Osman added that generating domestic demand, finding new markets and trade within the region had helped mitigate the negative impact of the global financial problem.

“Another downside risk would be the upcoming general election. We've seen a slight hesitation in entrepreneurs committing themselves because they are waiting to see what the next regime can potentially offer. That's normal as they want to ensure that their investments are secure and they're in the right strategic evolution direction,” he added.

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