Malaysia economic growth to slow to 4.8% this year, says IMF report

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 15): Malaysia’s growth is expected to slow markedly to 4.8% this year from 6% in 2014 (a downward revision of 0.4 percentage point) on weaker terms of trade, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The country’s economy is forecast to grow at 4.9% and 5% respectively in 2016 and 2020, according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) released yesterday.

The WEO said that overall, global growth was forecast at 3.5% in 2015 and 3.8% in 2016, broadly the same as last year.

IMF economic counselor and director of research Olivier Blanchard said that a number of complex forces were shaping the prospects around the world.

“Legacies of both the financial and the euro area crises, weak banks, and high levels of public, corporate and household debt are still weighing on spending and growth in some countries. Low growth in turn makes deleveraging a slow process,” he said.

Meanwhile, the WEO said exporters of commodities (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand) would see a drop in foreign earnings and a drag on growth, although currency depreciation will offer some cushion.

It said countries with elevated public debt (Japan, Malaysia) should continue to consolidate, with the conduct of fiscal policy attuned to economic conditions and prospects.

The report said global growth in 2015 would be driven by a rebound in advanced economies, forecast to increase from 1.8% last year to 2.4% this year, supported by the decline in oil prices.

Meanwhile, growth forecasts for most emerging and developing economies (with the important exception of India) are slightly worse.

Growth is projected to slow from 4.6% in 2014 to 4.3% in 2015.