‘Man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor boost in first quar­ter’

New Straits Times - - Business -

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s first quar­ter gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) growth is likely to be boosted by the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, says Stan­dard Char­tered Re­search.

The Depart­ment of Sta­tis­tics (DOS) will re­lease the Q1 GDP data on Fri­day.

“We fore­cast a GDP growth of 4.9 per cent year-on-year, higher than the 4.5 per cent in the fourth quar­ter of last year,” said Stan­dard Char­tered Re­search in a note yes­ter­day.

It said in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion growth was re­silient in Q1, with the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor grow­ing 5.6 per cent year-on-year ver­sus 5.0 per cent in the Q4, on the back of ro­bust de­mand for elec­tron­ics.

“Ex­ports picked up early this year on strong de­mand in the re­gion, driven pri­mar­ily by China’s in­ven­tory re­build, as well as higher com­mod­ity prices,” it said.

How­ever, the re­search house said the coun­try’s im­port growth was sur­pris­ingly ro­bust on strong cap­i­tal goods im­ports, which led to a slight nar­row­ing of the trade sur­plus, which may have weighed on GDP growth.

Stan­dard Char­tered Re­search is also of the view that Malaysia’s con­sumer price in­dex (CPI) in­fla­tion may have eased last month. The DOS will re­lease the April CPI data on Wednesday.

“We ex­pect head­line in­fla­tion to have eased slightly to 4.2 per

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