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The Malaysian Islamic finance sector is poised to continue well relative to other Asian nations as it is supported by strong private consumption growth, says Anthony Yau, Head of Asian Emerging Markets at State Street Global Advisors.

He said the country's economy compared favourably to other Asian nations in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. "Private consumption has been the primary driver here as it is among the strongest in the region and continues to be supported by widespread pay raises for civil servants heading into the elections," he told Bernama.

Yaw said populist government policies should continue to sustain domestic demand and subsequent GDP growth.

However, he said the economy was susceptible to external events such as the euro zone financial crisis or a continuous drop in palm oil prices, both of which would have a negative impact upon domestic demand.

Yau said given Malaysia's status as a crude oil and palm oil exporter, it was highly exposed to global market uncertainties.He noted that continued negative newsflow on the financial crisis in the euro zone or a sharp drop in palm oil prices remain areas of vulnerability for the economy.

Touching on the recent listing of Felda Global Venture Holdings Bhd and dual listings of IHH Healthcare Bhd, Yau said it was an encouraging sign for the Malaysian exchange while other Asian financial centers have had to cancel initial public offerings (IPO) launches.

"The Malaysian bourse has listed 11 companies so far this year on strong demand from both domestic and international investors.

"The critical element to sustaining investor demand is to ensure that IPO launchings continue to be global leaders within their industry and are launched at reasonable valuations," he stressed.

On the newly-launched Kuala Lumpur International Financial District or Tun Razak Exchange, Yau said it's location should be centralised and Malaysia's leadership position in Islamic finance must be utilised to strengthen the city's image as a global financial centre.

State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) is the asset management business of State Street Corporation, one of the world's leading providers of financial services to institutional investors.

Backed by the strength and stability of the State Street organisation, SSgA makes continual investments in its asset management and client service platform, resulting in a client-focused and solutions-driven orientation.

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