July 22, 2019 / 6:55 AM / a month ago

Malaysia says meeting 2020 fiscal deficit target of 3% will be challenging

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 (Reuters) - Malaysia will find it challenging to meet its 3% fiscal deficit target for next year due to uncertainties around the U.S.-China trade war, the finance minister told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy is dealing with a debt pile of over 1 trillion ringgit ($243.19 billion), which the administration of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has blamed on mismanagement by the previous government.

Malaysia is also struggling with slowing economic growth, hurt largely by a global slowdown and the trade war between the United States and China.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said while Malaysia can meet this year’s fiscal deficit target of 3.4%, next year’s target of 3% would be harder to meet. He also said he was “cautiously confident” about meeting the government’s full year growth forecast of 4.3% to 4.8%. (Reporting by Michael Perry)

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