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KUALA LUMPUR: Global investors are looking for places to put money in Asean, due in large part to the geopolitical situation between the United States and China, and Malaysia has a very interesting opportunity to attract investments, according to JPMorgan head of Asia-Pacific equity research James Sullivan.
“If we look at it from an asset allocation perspective, what we’ve seen are dramatic shifts of capital out of China, and partially into the rest of the region (Asia).
“The primary beneficiaries of that have largely been India and some of the larger Asean economies inclusive of Indonesia. We’ve seen rising interest in markets like Vietnam,” said Sullivan during a dialogue session entitled Malaysia’s economic sustainability: Addressing new challenges at the Invest Malaysia: Pivoting for the future conference at Bursa Malaysia here yesterday.
“We’re at a moment in time where we are seeing significant change in investor perspective. Investors are very, very thirsty for growth in Asia. Malaysia has a very unique opportunity to step up – provide regulatory certainty, and a reduction in the perceived risk profile of investing in Asean and in Malaysia itself,” he added.
The dialogue session was moderated by JPMorgan chief economist (for Asean) Ong Sin Beng, with other participants included Bank Negara assistant governor Fraziali Ismail and Socio-Economic Research Centre executive director Lee Heng Guie.
Fraziali pointed out that there is an urgent need for Malaysia to take heed of global developments especially the increasingly interventionist approaches by governments in the configuration of value chains.,
He cited the recent US$52bil (RM235.38bil) US CHIPS Act which aimed to strengthen domestic semiconductor manufacturing, design and research.
“Malaysia is the sixth largest producer of semiconductors and we are the 11th largest exporter of electrical and electronic products (E&E).
“So, the push forward towards reshoring with such highly interventionist approach will surely have an impact on Malaysia,” said Fraziali.
Reshoring is the process of moving the manufacturing of goods back to the company’s original country.
However, Fraziali noted that in some circumstances, Malaysia is a beneficiary of the trade war between China and the United States.
“We have comparative advantage and strong ancillary support, in terms of the E&E industry. Granted, the research and development happens in Silicon Valley and other parts of the world.
“Where we come in is our manufacturing prowess – we have a relative degree of adaptability and production optimisation.
“So while I am relatively optimistic that we can navigate our way (through global developments), we can’t lie down and hope for the best,” he said.