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Stronger 2Q growth seen

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Speaking with StarBiz, Socio-Economic Research Centre executive director Lee Heng Guie projected a “robust GDP growth” of 8.5% in 2Q22. The forecast is based on how Malaysia has performed in terms of industrial production, external trade and retail sales over the recent months.

PETALING JAYA: The country’s economy may have recorded another strong year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in the April-to-June period, potentially surpassing the 5% y-o-y growth rate seen in the first quarter of 2022 (1Q22).

Ahead of the release of the gross domestic product (GDP) figures this Friday, economists when contacted by StarBiz think that strong domestic demand will remain a key driver of growth in 2Q22.

The rising private consumption by Malaysians, despite the threat of high price pressures, as well as the resilient external trade performance are expected to buttress the country’s second-quarter economic growth.

In a report issued yesterday, Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) said the country’s economic growth had gained momentum and private sector dynamism was “clearly back on track”.

Speaking with StarBiz, Socio-Economic Research Centre executive director Lee Heng Guie projected a “robust GDP growth” of 8.5% in 2Q22.

The forecast is based on how Malaysia has performed in terms of industrial production, external trade and retail sales over the recent months.

“The big drivers are buoyant growth in the services sector and sustained strong consumer demand, thanks to the reopening of the economy and international borders, underpinned by pent-up demand, the Employees Provident Fund’s fourth withdrawal, festive celebration spending and the improvement in labour market conditions.

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“Domestic tourist spending has helped to lift higher retail sales, restaurants and accommodation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia University of Science and Technology (MUST) economics professor Geoffrey Williams and HELP University economics professor Paolo Casadio projected a GDP growth of 4.5% to 5% y-o-y in 2Q22, almost to the growth rate in the first quarter.

Malaysia University of Science and Technology (MUST) economics professor Geoffrey Williams

However, Williams and Casadio said that one must be “extremely cautious” in interpreting the upcoming 2Q22 GDP numbers.

“The y-o-y figure is highly affected by the two skyrocketing GDP numbers we saw in the last two quarters, 4Q21 and 1Q22.

“We expect to see a statistical revision in these two numbers, which is quite common.

“To understand the real underlying dynamics of the Malaysian economy, we have to focus on the quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) percentage change to see if there is any positive momentum or traction in the economy in the second quarter and in the following quarters and to understand the coming phase of the economy,” they added.

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