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Maybank Group of Malaysia president and chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli cited growth projections made by the group's research team, and assessed the bloc’s strength in diversity, honouring cultural intersection, while navigating differences in political, economic, and social systems.

In his speech given at the opening of the ASEAN Investment Conference organised by Maybank in Singapore, he emphasised that the spirit of the bloc is in its resilience.

The president of Maybank outlined that now that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, ASEAN has moved to reopen for business and is likely to remain a bright spot amidst increasing headwinds as the region's resilience is once again demonstrated.

Boasting a total population of more than 660 million people and a total GDP of nearly US$3.66 trillion by 2022, Khairussaleh noted that the bloc ranks as the third largest largest regional economy in Asia, as well as being the fifth largest economy in the world, behind the United States, China, Japan, and Germany.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into ASEAN rebounded in 2021 to US$174 billion, marking a rise of 42% from 2020, with these figures reflecting the attractiveness of the region's economy to global investors.

Khairussaleh stated that ASEAN's resilience is evident in its investment flows, noting that even when foreign investors withdrew from the stock market last year, there was still a large number of domestic investors capable of coping with regional fluctuations.

According to the chairman of Maybank, another area of optimism for the regional economy is digitalisation, especially in the financial service sector.

He assessed that the digital economy currently accounts for only 7% of the regional group’s GDP, compared with 35% in the US and 16% in China, adding that there is a lot of room for future growth.

However, he noted that ASEAN must consider the fact that the regional bloc is experiencing a slowing global economy, due to inflationary pressures and geopolitical and geo-economic fragmentation.

Established back in 1960, Maybank Group is one of the largest financial groups in Malaysia. In addition to operating in Malaysia, Maybank has moved to expand its business activities to other countries such as Singapore, Vietnam, the UK, and the US.

Source: VOV