Malaysia pursues Asian Monetary Fund

Malaysia is courting China to help create an Asian Monetary Fund that would rival the IMF and reduce dependence on the US dollar, Bloomberg reports.

Malaysian President Anwar Ibrahim, who also serves as finance minister, said he proposed the fund on a state visit to China last week. Since taking presidential office last November, he has sought to increase trade denominated in Chinese renminbi and Malaysian ringgit, rather than the dollar.

“There is no reason for Malaysia to continue depending on the dollar,” Anwar said to the Malaysian parliament on Tuesday. He has been pitching an Asian Monetary Fund since the 1990s, when he first served as finance minister. He also announced on Tuesday that China would invest 170 billion ringgit ($39 billion) in Malaysia’s petrochemical and automotive industries, Reuters reports. 

Dollar discontent stirred in many Southeast Asian countries last year as its surging value made imports more expensive. Many local currencies, including the ringgit and Vietnam’s dong, sank to record lows last fall.

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