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The Effects Of Open Market Interest Rates On Malaysian Commercial Banks’ Interest Rate Spread: An Empirical Analysis


  • Noor Azlan Ghazali and Khairul Anuar Mohd. Ali



In this paper we investigate the effect of changes in open market interest rates on the interest rate spread of Malaysian commercial banks. This is performed by examining the causality and patterns of reactions of banking rates with respect to variation in open market rates. Based on vector autoregression analysis we show that there is one-way causation running from the open market rates to banking rates. Changes in open market rates significantly cause changes in the spread and deposit rates. However, no significant causation is identified for lending rates. The impulse response functions indicate that spread declines following positive innovation in open market rates and this is mainly due to the greater sensitivity of deposit rates to open market rates. The response of lending rates is shown to be low and to occur with some lag, thus, contributing to the decline in spread. We also provide evidence of a dichotomy between banks’ asset and liability rates by failing to support causality between the two rates. It is argued that this imbalance of sensitivity is partly due to the uneven process of interest rate liberalization that frees deposit rates more than lending rates. These results suggest that for the Malaysian banking firms, increase in open market rates hindered their activities and could affect bank performance. The findings are consistent with the role of banks as brokers as well as asset transformers.

Suggested Citation

  • Noor Azlan Ghazali and Khairul Anuar Mohd. Ali, 2002. "The Effects Of Open Market Interest Rates On Malaysian Commercial Banks’ Interest Rate Spread: An Empirical Analysis," IIUM Journal of Economics and Management, IIUM Journal of Economis and Management, vol. 10(1), pages 21-42, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ije:journl:v:10:y:2002:i:1:p:21-42

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bhattacharya Sudipto & Thakor Anjan V., 1993. "Contemporary Banking Theory," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 2-50, October.
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    3. Leland, Hayne E & Pyle, David H, 1977. "Informational Asymmetries, Financial Structure, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 371-387, May.
    4. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    5. Pyle, David H, 1971. "On the Theory of Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 26(3), pages 737-747, June.
    6. Bae, Sung C, 1990. "Interest Rate Changes and Common Stock Returns of Financial Institutions: Revisited," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 13(1), pages 71-79, Spring.
    7. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-438, July.
    8. Baltensperger, Ernst, 1980. "Alternative approaches to the theory of the banking firm," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 1-37, January.
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    More about this item


    Interest rate spread; Bank profitability; Vector autoregression;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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