Bank Negara Malaysia left its key interest rate unchanged on Friday as expected, as it sees growth strengthening and the economy in better shape after a difficult 2016. All 10 economists polled by Reuters had forecast that Bank Negara would hold its overnight rate at 3%. “For Malaysia, the growth momentum since the second half of 2016 is expected to strengthen in the first quarter of 2017, and to be sustained for the rest of the year,” the central bank said in a statement. Bank Negara said growth will mainly be driven by domestic demand amid continued wage and employment gains, and the implementation of new and ongoing investment projects. Headline inflation increased to 4.3% in the first quarter of the year, it said. In July, the central bank cut its key rate by 25 basis points, the first easing in over seven years.