Friday May 19, 2017
11:42 AM GMT+8

UPDATED:
May 19, 2017
03:17 PM GMT+8

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BNM governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said the strong GDP gross in the first quarter of this year was supported by strong performance of domestic demand. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng BNM governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim said the strong GDP gross in the first quarter of this year was supported by strong performance of domestic demand. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 ― Malaysia recorded a strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year, the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) announced today.

The robust growth, compared to 4.5 per cent in the previous quarter, was a result of a substantial increase in domestic demand and investment from the private sector.

“The growth was supported by strong performance of domestic demand,” BNM governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim told reporters here.

In March, BNM projected the economy to grow 4.3 to 4.8 per cent this year, compared with last year’s 4.2 per cent.

“We expect growth to be sustained,” Muhammad said, suggesting that overall growth this year will go towards the higher end of the prediction.

Muhammad said the growth prospect is supported by conditions such as steady wage and employment growth, implementation of infrastructure projects, and improvement in external trade performance.

Data by BNM showed that domestic demand rose 7.7 per cent this quarter compared to 3.2 per cent previously, while private investment went up a whopping 12.9 per cent compared to 4.9 per cent before.

BNM said private consumption grew thanks to expansion in employment and rising wages, while private investment was supported by capital spending in services and manufacturing sectors due to improved business sentiments.

Among major economic sectors, the agriculture sector grew the most due to recovery of palm oil production following the end of the El Niño climate condition.

The central bank also announced that the ringgit exchange rate has stabilised this year, although external uncertainties such as global oil prices and political development may still cause higher volatility.

Malaysia’s current account also remained in surplus, but narrowed to RM5.3 billion from RM12.5 billion previously.

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