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KUALA LUMPUR: The expansive Budget 2023 will help support the country’s ongoing recovery, while adding to economic resiliency within the context of a slower growth environment, going forward.
RHB Investment Bank in a report noted that macroeconomic risks remain front and centre, with all eyes on inflation and the monetary policy trajectory.
Added to this is the evolving geopolitical environment that continues to give investors pause for thought on the prospects for risk assets, the research house said.
“Budget 2023 was an expansive and electorate-friendly budget containing a record RM372.3bil allocation, featuring generous measures to support the economically challenged segments of society.
“The absence of new taxes on the private sector was a positive surprise. As expected, the consumer sector is the main beneficiary. The absence of any proposal to kick-start subsidy reform is also within expectations.”
RHB, however, noted that the dissolution of Parliament to hold the 15th General Election (GE15) would require a re-tabling of the budget.
“We advocate a core defensive stance. Captive domestic investment funds should seek attractive entry points to nibble on weakness. We maintain our ‘overweight’ stance on banks, non-bank financial institutions, oil and gas, healthcare, basic materials, gaming and technology.”,
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Affin Hwang Investment Bank, meanwhile, believes that the impact of Budget 2023 will be negligible on the equities market.
“On the market, we do not think that investors will be pleasantly surprised by the apparently generous 2023 budget, already knowing well in advance that GE15 is around the corner.
“No doubt, the higher development expenditure (DE) allocation of RM95bil will be positive, should there be no delays and executed well, while sovereign rating agencies should be pleased as the fiscal deficit targets are reined in.”
Affin Hwang Investment Bank added that the focus on subsidy rationalisation could remain in question, as the subsidy and social assistance bill remains huge.
“While expected to be smaller year-on-year, this is only due to lower commodity prices rather than a restructuring of subsidies.
“Moreover, inflation is projected to be in the range of 2.8% to 3.3% from 3.3% in 2022, signalling that fuel prices may continue to be subsidised.”
Apart from the construction and consumer segments that will benefit mildly from Budget 2023 (due to higher allocations), Affin Hwang Investment Bank said the impact of the budget on the other sectors were “neutral”.
“Environmental and social governance-related measures continue to be a feature, but this again only expands on the long-term framework and existing commitments without any immediate and compelling impact to the market.”,