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Malaysia's central bank reserves fall US$4.8b in first two weeks of January
[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's international reserves fell US$4.8 billion in the first two weeks of January, its central bank said on Thursday, as the country's current account and ringgit current have come under pressure due to a steep fall in oil and gas export earnings.
Reserves dropped from US$116.0 billion at the end of 2014 to US$111.2 billion on January 15, Bank Negara said.
Reserves had stood at US$131.5 billion in September, and have fallen more steeply as global oil markets tumbled.
The central bank said that reserves were sufficient to cover just over eight months of retained imports and were equivalent to 1.1 times the country's short-term external debt.
To address investors' concerns, Prime Minister Najib Razak revised the country's budget on Tuesday, recasting its economic targets in line with lower oil prices.
The ringgit closed at 3.6000 to the dollar on Thursday, just a touch stronger than the six-year low struck earlier this week.