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Malaysia Economic Forecast

Malaysia Economic Outlook

February 25, 2020

Economic growth slumped to an over one-decade low in the fourth quarter as the U.S.-China trade war and anemic tech demand battered Malaysia’s external sector, which shaved nearly one percentage point off GDP growth. Robust household spending, however, somewhat cushioned the deceleration in Q4. Available data for the first quarter paints an equally grim picture. The manufacturing PMI returned to negative territory in January. Despite thawing trade tensions and signs that the downturn in the tech sector has bottomed out, the recent outbreak of the coronavirus is hampering Chinese activity and has already ricocheted through supply chains and commodity markets. Given Malaysia’s exposure to China, the expected recovery in the external sector could be delayed further into 2020. In politics, on 24 February Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad resigned and dissolved the cabinet amid political turmoil among his coalition. He will remain on as the interim leader until elections.

Malaysia Economic Growth

The economy will likely lose further steam this year as a still-frail external sector hinders employment and wages and, in turn, household spending. While exports and fixed investment are seen rebounding, albeit modestly, a stronger-than-expected slowdown in China—amid U.S.-China tensions and the coronavirus—is the main risk to the outlook. FocusEconomics panelists see the economy growing 4.1% in 2020, which is down 0.3 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 4.6% in 2021.

Malaysia Economy Data

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Population (million)30.731.231.632.032.4
GDP per capita (USD)11,0629,7249,5789,94711,068
GDP (USD bn)340303303319358
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)6.05.14.45.74.7
Consumption (annual variation in %)7.06.05.96.98.0
Investment (annual variation in %)4.83.62.66.11.4
Industrial Production (annual variation in %)5.22.54.14.43.0
Unemployment Rate2.93.13.53.33.3
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-3.4-3.2-3.1-3.0-3.7
Public Debt (% of GDP)52.753.651.950.151.2
Money (annual variation in %)7.53.33.25.18.9
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)2.72.71.73.50.2
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)3.12.12.13.81.0
Inflation (PPI, annual variation in %)1.3-7.5-1.16.7-1.1
Policy Interest Rate (%)3.253.253.003.003.25
Stock Market (annual variation in %)10.8-1.3-6.40.211.8
Exchange Rate (vs USD)3.504.294.494.054.13
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)3.273.914.144.304.04
Current Account (% of GDP)4.43.02.42.82.1
Current Account Balance (USD bn)14.99.17.28.97.6
Trade Balance (USD billion)25.123.221.223.030.7
Exports (USD billion)234199190218249
Imports (USD billion)209176168195218
Exports (annual variation in %)2.4-14.9-4.914.814.3
Imports (annual variation in %)1.4-15.7-4.415.612.0
International Reserves (USD)11695.394.5102101
External Debt (% of GDP)63.064.367.368.762.4

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Malaysia Facts

Value Change Date
Bond Yield3.320.15 %Dec 31
Exchange Rate4.090.0 %Jan 01

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