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Malaysian Economy Expands at Fastest Pace in More Than 3 Years

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The Kuala Lumpur skyline seen on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017. Photographer : Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

Malaysia’s economy grew at the fastest pace in more than three years in the third quarter, supported by resilient domestic demand and a manufacturing sector that’s benefiting from booming global trade.

Key Points

  • Gross domestic product rose 6.2 percent from a year earlier, after climbing 5.8 percent in the second quarter, Bank Negara Malaysia said Friday
  • The median estimate of 19 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 5.7 percent
  • GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent from the previous three months

Malaysia has emerged as one of the bright spots in Southeast Asia this year, with economists upgrading growth projections amid an export recovery. Prime Minister Najib Razak raised his forecast for this year to as much as 5.7 percent in a budget speech last month, while also outlining tax cuts and bonus payments to government workers that will help spur consumer spending into next year. The government is projecting growth of 5 percent to 5.5 percent in 2018.

The central bank may be among the first in Asia to begin tightening monetary policy as growth and inflation accelerate. Bank Negara Malaysia said last week it may consider reviewing its “current degree of monetary accommodation,” given the strength of global and domestic economic conditions. Consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in five months of 4.3 percent in September.

“Favorable economic prospects accord greater flexibility to review the degree of monetary accommodation,” the central bank said in the GDP statement on Friday.

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