Malaysia's Economy Grew More Than Expected in 1Q

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05/16/2019 | 04:14 am


By Yantoultra Ngui



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysia's economy grew more than expected in the first quarter, supported by a rebound from the country's agriculture sector.



Gross domestic product in the January-March period climbed 4.5% from a year earlier, according to Malaysia's central bank.



The growth was slower than an expansion of 4.7% recorded in the fourth quarter but was stronger than the median 4.3% growth forecast from a Wall Street Journal poll of 11 economists.



The release of the latest GDP data comes as trade-dependent Malaysia faces challenging growth prospects and renewed tensions between the U.S. and China, two of its major trade partners.



Last week, Bank Negara Malaysia cut interest rates, the first time since 2016, in a move aimed at helping the nation weather the difficult global economic environment.



Since coming to power about a year ago, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's coalition has abolished an unpopular goods-and-services tax, reinstated a narrower sales-and-services tax and reintroduced fuel subsidies. Still, Malaysia's economic growth has moderated.



On a sequential basis, a closer measure of the economy's recent momentum, Malaysia's economy grew 1.1% on-quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis in the first quarter.





Write to Yantoultra Ngui at yantoultra.ngui@wsj.com





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