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Date [ 2014-04-29, 06:17 ]

A look at how the country performed in the tail-end of last year.

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) Ramani Rathir =Much to the surprise of many analysts and economists, the Malaysian economy performed much better than expected. It expanded by 5.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013 in tandem with global improvement of some major economies. An example was the US which despite fiscal uncertainties registered strong consumer consumption and investment.

In Europe there was modest improvement in exports but fiscal and structural issues pulled down domestic demand. In Asia, there was growth in many countries which though having moderate domestic demand, balanced it with better export performance.

A breakdown of the Malaysian economy showed the inflation rate (measured by the annual change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI)), increased to 3.0% in the fourth quarter. The Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) was maintained at 3.0%.

Private consumption growth remained high in the fourth quarter, though the pace moderated from 8.2% to 7.3%. Growth in public consumption softened up to 5.1% against 7.8% in the period under review, indicating lower Government spending on emoluments.

Household spending continued to be supported by stable employment conditions and sustained wage growth.

Gross fixed capital formation grew by 5.8% in the fourth quarter (third quarter: 8.6%), led by private sector capital spending amidst a contraction in public investment growth. Growth in the private investment improved to 16.5% in the said period (third quarter: 15.2%), on account of higher capital spending in the services and manufacturing sectors.

Public investment declined by 2.7% reflecting slower capital spending by the public enterprises.

On the supply side, growth was supported by major economic sectors especially in the construction and services sectors. The construction sector growth remained firm, underpinned by activity in the non-residential and residential sub-sectors.

The services sector grew in tandem with the improvement in trade and manufacturing activities.

Between January 1 and Feb 10 2014, the ringgit depreciated by 1.5% against the US Dollar. The ringgit also depreciated against the Japanese Yen by -3.8%, the Pound Sterling -1.1% and the Euro -0.2%.

The recent GDP growth of 5.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013 showed that the growth momentum of the Malaysian economy was sustainable throughout 2013...

In comparison with its close neighbours, such as Singapore and Indonesia, the Malaysian GDP growth is commendable. Thailand suffered set-backs due to its political unrests and Indonesia continued to be the growth driver in ASEAN.

The growth forecast for ASEAN for 2014 demonstrates a similar trend with Indonesia leading the pack. It is unclear how the upcoming presidential election in Indonesia will impact the growth forecast. However, it is expected the new president will continue to focus on economic growth.

Taken as a whole, for the year 2013, the Malaysian economy grew by 4.7% against 5.6% in 2012.


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