Malaysia 4Q GDP +5.9% on Year; Economists Expected +5.8%
By Saurabh Chaturvedi
Malaysia's economic growth slowed slightly in the fourth quarter of last year, but maintained sufficient momentum to still log its fastest annual growth in three years and outperform forecasts by the government and economists.
Gross domestic product in the October-December period climbed 5.9% from the same period a year earlier, aided by strong private sector investment that helped offset some softening in manufacturing and exports, according to data released by Bank Negara Malaysia on Wednesday.
The pace of growth for the quarter was slower than 6.2% in the third quarter, but slightly more than the 5.8% forecast by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
Malaysia's economy grew 5.9% in 2017, compared with 4.2% in 2016. Economists had expected full year growth of 5.8%, while the government had forecast an expansion of up to 5.7%.
On a sequential basis, a closer measure of the economy's recent momentum, Malaysia's economy grew 0.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis in the fourth quarter.
Exports of goods and services grew 7.1% in the fourth quarter, compared with a rise of 11.8% in the third quarter, according to the data. Private sector investment rose 9.2% from an increase of 7.9% in the third quarter.
Services sector, which accounts for more than half of Malaysia's GDP, grew 6.1% in the fourth quarter versus an expansion of 6.6% in the third quarter.
Manufacturing activity rose 5.7%, compared with 7.0% in the preceding quarter. The construction sector rose 9% versus 6.1% in the previous quarter, data showed.
The agriculture sector grew by 9.1%, as compared with expansion of 4.1% in the third quarter. Private-sector consumption grew 7%, compared with a 7.2% increase in the previous quarter, according to the data.
The country's current-account surplus stood at 12.9 billion ringgit (US$3.28 billion) in the fourth quarter from MYR12.5 billion in the previous quarter.
Write to Saurabh Chaturvedi at email@example.com