18 February, 2011

alaysia's economy slowed to 4.8 per cent growth in the fourth quarter

Malaysia's economy slowed to 4.8 per cent growth in the fourth quarter, hit by falling exports, but for the whole year it saw better-than-expected 7.2 per cent expansion, the central bank said.

Bank Negara said the slower growth globally had led to a weaker performance in Malaysia's export-dependent economy in the three months to December. Gross domestic product rose 5.3 per cent in the third quarter.

Exports fell to 3.7 per cent in the December quarter compared with 10.4 per cent in the previous three months.

"The slower growth in exports was due mainly to the lower exports of manufactured products, reflecting the softening global demand for electronics," Bank Negara said in a statement.

Electrical and electronic items account for about 40 per cent of Malaysia's total exports.

The full-year figure beat the government's target of 7.0 per cent and followed a contraction of 1.7 per cent in 2009 as it was hit by the global economic crisis.

The central bank says Malaysia is on track for 6.0 per cent growth this year.

"Going forward, the global economic recovery is expected to remain uneven across the different regions.

"The pace of growth of the Malaysian economy will be affected by the environment of moderating external demand. Growth will, nevertheless, be supported by continued firm expansion in domestic demand," the bank said.

Bank Negara also said a series of investments announced by the government "are likely to provide significant support to the growth momentum in private investment".

Prime Minister Najib Razak has unveiled a series of economic reforms since taking power in 2009 aimed at creating 3.3 million jobs and pushing the country towards developed-nation status by 2020.

He has promised major infrastructure projects and financial market liberalisation, and vowed to stimulate the private sector to attract much-needed foreign investment.

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