Malaysia: Growth slows gradually but remains robust overall

5 min
Manfred Stamer
Manfred Stamer Senior Economist for Emerging Europe and the Middle East

Real GDP growth eased to +4.5% y/y in Q1 from +4.7% in Q4 2018. The slowdown was mainly due to a -3.5% drop in fixed investment in Q1, after an already tepid increase of +0.6% in Q4. Consumer spending growth slowed to a still strong +7.6% in Q1 (+8.4% in Q4) but this was counterbalanced by a faster expansion of public spending (+6.3% in Q1 after +4% in Q4). External trade activity lost momentum in Q1, impacted by the U.S.-China trade tensions, with real exports increasing by a mere +0.1% in Q1 (down from +3.1% in Q4) while imports decreased by -1.4% (+1.8% in Q4). However, industrial production growth accelerated to +4% y/y in April, up from an average +2.7% in Q1, driven by a rebound in exports of goods, which expanded by +1.1% in nominal terms, after a -0.9% decline in Q1. We expect full-year GDP to grow +4.6% in 2019 (after +4.7% in 2018) and +4.1% in 2020.