PETALING JAYA - Malaysia is now Asia's cheapest shopping destination due to the weaker ringgit to the dollar, according to Nomura Research.
Nomura ASEAN property analyst Sai Min Chow said he expected the weak ringgit and relatively attractive pricing of goods and services in Malaysia to attract more visitors, especially for shopping in the next 12 months.
Sai, who authored the report, said prices in Kuala Lumpur were between 10 per cent and 20 per cent cheaper compared to other Asian cities.
He said they had surveyed 10 items ranging from accommodation to entertainment in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur.
"Even if we were to take into account the impending Goods and Services Tax in Malaysia, prices still look relatively cheap. The outlook for Malaysia's retail market therefore remains positive," he said.
Malaysia Shopping Malls Association adviser H.C. Chan said Nomura's findings did not come as a surprise.
He pointed out that Malaysia had been ranked fourth as a shopping destination by CNN for two consecutive years behind New York, London and Tokyo.
"The weaker ringgit only makes Malaysia more cost competitive," he said.
He said the ringgit, currently trading at about 3.7 to the dollar, has lost about 20 per cent of its value.
"For tourists that amounts to an additional 20 per cent discount for goods," he said.
Chan, who is also the CEO of Sunway Shopping Malls, said besides shopping, Malaysia offered affordable accommodation, food and travel.