Tough to meet 3% fiscal deficit target for 2020, says Guan Eng

(Reuters) – Malaysia will find it challenging to meet its 3% fiscal deficit target for next year due to uncertainties around the US-China trade war, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told Reuters in an interview today.

Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy is dealing with a debt pile of over RM1 trillion (US$243.19 billion), which the administration of Prime Minister Dr 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 US and China.

Lim 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%.