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Malaysia GDP grows at fastest pace in two years

Updated May 20, 2017 06:42am

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economy grew at its fastest pace in two years during the first quarter, the central bank said Friday, boosted by stronger domestic demand and a pick-up in exports.

Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy expanded 5.6 per cent on-year in January-March period, compared with 4.1pc in the same period last year and 4.5pc in October-December.

The result — much better than the 4.8pc forecast in a survey by Bloomberg News — marks the third consecutive quarter of improving growth and is the fastest since the start of 2015.

“It’s a lot stronger than expected and it was partly due to a rebound in exports and commodity prices,” said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking.

Bank Negara said growth would be sustained this year as the global economy showed signs of improvement, while domestic demand remained healthy.

“The economy is on track to register higher growth in 2017,” Bank Negara said via a statement.

“Domestic demand is projected to continue to expand. Exports are expected to benefit from the improvement in global growth.” The figures come after export-reliant Malaysia recovers from years of falling oil prices and weak overseas demand.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017