Growth pace likely quick­ens in first 3 months

New Straits Times - - Business -

KUALA LUMPUR: Re­search houses are up­beat on the Malaysian econ­omy, say­ing that growth pace has quick­ened dur­ing the first three months of this year, thanks to im­prov­ing ex­ter­nal de­mand.

A Busi­ness Times poll ex­pects the first quar­ter to grow by close to five per cent from 4.5 per cent in the fourth quar­ter of last year.

The av­er­age growth out­look for the year was 4.51 per cent, well within the of­fi­cial fore­cast of 4.54.8 per cent for this year.

Bank Ne­gara Malaysia gov­er­nor Datuk Muham­mad Ibrahim will chair a me­dia brief­ing to­day on the first quar­ter gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) re­sults.

May­bank In­vest­ment Bank said the sup­ply-side in­di­ca­tors sug­gest a pick up in growth amid faster growth in man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­duc­tion in­dex and in­dex of ser­vices, value of con­struc­tion works done and re­bound in palm oil out­put.

“On the sup­ply-side in­di­ca­tors, the real GDP growth may sur­prise on the up­side, com­ing in around five per cent,” the bank added.

Its views were shared by econ­o­mist Im­ran Nurginias Ibrahim from BIMB Se­cu­ri­ties, who noted that ex­ter­nal de­mand has firmed up while the dis­tribu­tive trade (whole­sale and re­tail) per­for­mance has also picked up pace.

MIDF Re­search has pro­jected a “stel­lar per­for­mance”, say­ing it is due to the sta­ble do­mes­tic de­mand and bet­ter per­for­mance from the ex­ter­nal sec­tor.

HSBC Bank said al­though ex­pec­ta­tions are for the econ­omy to grow “a touch faster” than the fourth quar­ter of last year, in se­quen­tial terms, growth mod­er­ated 1.1 per cent quar­ter-on-quar­ter from 1.4 per cent. Rupa Damodaran

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