Malaysia Preparing to Join BRICS Economic Group

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. (Reuters-Archives)
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. (Reuters-Archives)
TT

Malaysia Preparing to Join BRICS Economic Group

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. (Reuters-Archives)
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. (Reuters-Archives)

Malaysia is preparing to join the BRICS group of emerging economies, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said in an interview with Chinese media outlet Guancha.
The BRICS group of nations originally included Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, which gave it the acronym.
The group last year began to expand its membership as it looks to challenge a world order dominated by Western economies, with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates joining and more than 40 countries expressing interest, Reuters said.
"We have made a decision, we will be placing the formal procedures soon... we are just waiting for the final results from the government in South Africa," Anwar said, according to a video of the interview posted by Guancha on Sunday.
A representative from Anwar's office on Tuesday confirmed his comments to Reuters.
During the interview, he did not provide further details on the application process.
Anwar's comments came ahead of a three-day visit by Chinese Premier Li Qiang this week, as part of celebrations marking the 50th year of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.
Malaysia and China are expected to sign several deals during Li's visit, including renewing a five-year trade and economic cooperation agreement.



UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
TT

UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's government borrowed a lot more than forecast in June, according to official data published on Friday that highlighted the big budget challenges facing the new government of Prime Minister Keir Starmer.
Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-controlled banks, was a larger-than-expected 14.5 billion pounds ($18.75 billion) last month. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to an increase of 11.5 billion pounds.
Dennis Tatarkov, Senior Economist at KPMG UK, said the data showed "the daunting task" for the new government to fund its agenda without worsening the public finances.
"A combination of high levels of spending and weak growth prospects will present uncomfortable choices – deciding between even more borrowing or substantially raising taxes if spending levels are to be maintained," he said.
New finance minister Rachel Reeves is likely to announce her first budget after parliament's summer recess. She and Starmer have ruled out increases in the rates of income tax, corporation tax and value-added tax, leaving her little room for maneuver to improve public services and boost investment.
Reeves has ordered an immediate review of the new government's "spending inheritance", a move that lawmakers from the opposition Conservative Party say could presage increases in taxes on capital gains or inheritances.
"Today's figures are a clear reminder that this government has inherited the worst economic circumstances since the Second World War, but we’re wasting no time to fix it," Darren Jones, a deputy Treasury minister, said after the data was published.
Starmer's government says it will speed up Britain's slow-moving economy - and generate more tax revenues - via a combination of pro-growth reforms and a return to political stability that will attract investment.
The borrowing figure for June was 2.9 billion pounds higher than expected by Britain's budget watchdog whose forecasts underpin government tax and spending plans.
In the first three months of the financial year which began in April, borrowing was 3.2 billion pounds higher than projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility at 49.8 billion pounds.
The Office for National Statistics said June's borrowing was the lowest for the month since 2019, helped by a big drop in spending on interest paid on bonds linked to inflation which has slowed sharply.
But the deficit was made bigger by a 1.2 billion-pound fall in social security contributions compared with June 2023. They were cut by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before the July 4 election that swept Starmer's Labour Party to power.