KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian economy grew 4.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year, driven mainly by the private sector activity and firm private consumption growth.
Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said private sector demand was expected to remain the main anchor of growth amid lower public sector spending.
"The external sector is likely to grow marginally in tandem with modest global demand. Overall, the baseline projection is for the Malaysian economy to grow between 4.3 per cent and 4.8 per cent this year.
"In 2019, headline inflation is expexted to average between 0.7 per cent and 1.7 per cent. Core inflation is expected to be stable supported by the continued expansion in economic activity and the absence of strong demand pressures," Shamsiah said at a press conference on the 1Q 2019 GDP growth today.
Also present at the briefing were Malaysia’s chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin and Bank Negara deputy governor Jessica Chew.
Shamsiah said the services, manufacturing and agriculture sectors were the main drivers of the economy. "The services recorded 6.4 per cent growth, manufacturing recorded 4.2 per cent while the agriculture sector recorded 5.6 per cent growth.
"All sectors posted a positive growth on the production except for mining and quarrying sectors," she added.
On the capital market performance, Shamsiah said the quarter had recorded a net inflow of RM2.1 billion.
The ringgit appreciated by 1.4 per cent against the US dollar, driven mainly by non-resident pprtfolio inflows which amounted to RM13.5 billion.
However, Shamsiah said since April, ringgit had depreciated by 2.2 per cent as at May 15, in line with most regional currencies, reflecting cautious investor sentiments in global financial markets.