(Adds BNM comments)
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s gross international reserves fell slightly to $104.2 billion as of Aug. 15, from $104.5 billion as of July 31, the central bank said on Tuesday.
The reserves were sufficient to finance 7.6 months of retained imports, and were 0.9 times the short-term external debt, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
The reserves have been 1.1 times the short-term external debt for most of this year.
BNM said the debt was mostly accounted by banking institutions, reflecting the centralisation of liquidity management of Malaysian banks operating in the region and the sizeable presence of foreign banks in Malaysia.
“These institutions hold substantial external assets, which can be drawn upon to meet their external obligations without creating a claim on Bank Negara Malaysia’s international reserves,” the central bank said in a statement. (1 Malaysian ringgit = $0.2436) (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Sunil Nair and Gopakumar Warrier)