Dateline 2020-06-23, Phnom Penh Post:
Plunging oil and gas prices are set to further hammer Malaysia’s economy, as state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) faces depressed demand due to global coronavirus lockdowns.
Petronas’ woes mean it may not be able to help bail the country out of its financial tight spots this time.
Falling oil and gas prices are a double whammy for Malaysia’s economy as the Muhyiddin Yassin administration wrestles with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unemployment hit a three-decade high of five per cent in April. Malaysia posted a trade deficit in the same month for the first time since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, with mining exports (largely made up of crude oil and natural gas) suffering their steepest plunge at 31.5 per cent, far more than the 23.8 per cent overall.
The Manila-based Asian Development Bank last Thursday said it expected the Malaysian economy to shrink by four per cent, while British multinational financial services company Barclays Plc had, a day earlier, forecast a whopping 8.5 per cent drop.