Malaysia’s economy grows annual 4.2 percent in Q1, helped by export rebound

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Malaysia’s economy expanded 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2024 from a year earlier, beating market expectations on higher household spending and a turnaround in exports, government and central bank data showed on Friday.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast gross domestic product growth of 3.9 percent in the January to March period, matching the advance estimate by the Statistics Department. Annual growth in the final quarter of 2023 was revised down slightly to 2.9 percent.

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Exports rose 2.2 percent on an annual basis in the first quarter of the year, after three consecutive quarters of contractions, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Statistics Department said at a joint press conference.

“Going forward, exports are expected to improve for the year, and is supported by sustained demand and exports from trade partners,” BNM Governor Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour said, adding that external and domestic indicators suggested continued economic growth in the near term.

On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted basis, the economy grew 1.4 percent, compared to a 1 percent drop in the fourth quarter of last year.

Malaysia’s current account surplus widened to 16.2 billion ringgit ($3.46 billion) in the first quarter, after a sharp drop to 900 million ringgit in the previous three-month period.

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