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Malaysia

The country's GDP is progressing as expected

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  • Malaysia's GDP is expected to grow between 4.5% and 5.5% in 2024, outpacing previous years' performances.
  • These sectors are pivotal in driving the country's economic growth, supported by a global upturn in semiconductor demand.
  • Despite global uncertainties and internal policy changes, Malaysia's economy shows strong resilience and adaptability.

Malaysia's economic landscape is showing promising signs of robust growth for the year 2024, despite facing global economic challenges and uncertainties. The nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to continue its upward trajectory, with forecasts suggesting a growth rate between 4.5% and 5.5%. This optimistic outlook is slightly higher than the estimates provided by Bank Negara, which range from 4% to 5%.

The Malaysian economy has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of external pressures such as geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and the US Federal Reserve's indications of maintaining higher interest rates. According to RAM Rating Services Bhd senior economist Woon Khai Jhek, "Notwithstanding the underwhelming economic growth performance of 3.7% in 2023, the rating agency believes there is an upside lift for the economy". This resilience is further underscored by the country's performance in the first quarter of 2024, where the GDP grew by 3.9%, a significant improvement from 3% in the last quarter of 2023.

Key Drivers of Growth

Several factors are contributing to the positive economic outlook for Malaysia:

Steady Domestic Demand: The country's internal demand remains strong, providing a stable base for economic growth.

Rebound in External Demand: There has been a noticeable turnaround in export growth, which reached 2.2% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2024, compared to a decline of 6.9% in the previous quarter. This rebound is largely driven by the global semiconductor upcycle, which saw a 14.9% increase in revenues in the first two months of the year.

Manufacturing and Export Sectors: The manufacturing sector, along with robust export performance, is expected to be a significant contributor to GDP growth throughout 2024.

Challenges and Economic Strategies

While the outlook is predominantly positive, there are several challenges that could impact the trajectory of growth:

Fuel Subsidy Rationalization: The government's planned rationalization of fuel subsidies is a development that economists are watching closely, as it could affect consumer spending patterns.

Interest Rate Adjustments: The timing and nature of interest rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve could also influence Malaysia's economic dynamics.

To navigate these challenges, Malaysia is likely to continue leveraging its strong manufacturing base and export capabilities. Additionally, strategic economic policies aimed at enhancing productivity and sustaining domestic demand will be crucial.

Expert Opinions and Forecasts

Experts like MARC Ratings Bhd chief economist Ray Choy are optimistic about Malaysia's economic prospects. Choy maintains a forecast of a GDP growth rate between 4% and 5% for 2024, aligning with the broader expectations of the financial community. This consensus builds confidence in Malaysia's economic management and its ability to sustain growth amidst global uncertainties.

Malaysia's GDP growth for 2024 is on a promising path, with expert analyses and data backing a positive economic outlook. The country's ability to harness the potential of its manufacturing and export sectors, combined with effective policy measures to boost domestic demand, positions it well to achieve and possibly exceed its growth targets. As Woon Khai Jhek of RAM Rating Services optimistically notes, the nation is set for an "upside lift" despite previous economic challenges

While there are potential hurdles like fuel subsidy changes and external economic pressures, Malaysia's strategic economic planning and resilient sectors provide a solid foundation for continued growth. The nation remains on track to not only meet but potentially surpass its GDP growth expectations for 2024.

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