New Straits Times



KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s overall business performanc­e is expected to continue going strong, given that overall business confidence registered double-digit growth for three consecutiv­e quarters.

MIDF Research said business confidence in the first quarter of the year was at 12.3 per cent, slightly lower than the sevenyear high of 14 per cent in the previous quarter.

“We forecast 1Q18 gross developmen­t product growth to surge above 5.5 per cent,” it said.

The research house said GDP growth in the fourth quarter expanded 5.9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y), beating market expectatio­ns of 5.8 per cent y-o-y.

This was fuelled by private consumptio­n and private investment, which contribute­d 3.6 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respective­ly, due to the robust growth during the quarter.

The services and manufactur­ing sectors grew 3.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respective­ly.

“We believe the upbeat momentum in GDP growth is in tandem with the steady performanc­es of industrial production, manufactur­ing sales, distributi­ve trade and external trade during the last lap of 2017.”

It said moderating inflationa­ry pressure, strengthen­ing domestic demand and upbeat external demand were the major anchors driving up GDP performanc­e in 2017.

MIDF Research said the current account balance jumped to RM40.3 billion in 2017 from RM29.0 billion in prior year.

“In the last quarter of 2017, Malaysia’s current account recorded at RM12.9 billion worth of balance of payments compared with RM12.5 billion in the previous quarter, reinforcin­g Malaysia’s position as a net lender.”

The research house said the upsurge was driven by surplus in net goods at RM34.1 billion from RM31.7 billion registered in the preceding quarter.

Malaysia’s exports advanced 18.9 per cent in 2017 and trade surplus widened by 10.3 per cent to RM97.25 billion.

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