KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's economy expanded at 4.7% in the fourth quarter of 2018 (Q4 2018), which was above Bloomberg's survey of a 4.5% growth, after the moderation in the two consecutive quarters.
The key drivers of growth in the final quarter were resilient private consumption and the improvement in the commodity-related sectors, amid temporary supply disruptions.
Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said that on the demand side, growth continued to be anchored by the private sector.
“On the supply side, services and manufacturing sectors remained the key drivers of growth," she said during the briefing on the gross domestic product (GDP) data on Thursday.
The services sector grew by 6.9% in Q4 2018, while the manufacturing, mining and quarrying as well as the construction sectors expanded by 4.7%, 0.5% and 2.6% respectively.
However, the agriculture sector continued to be a drag on the economy, contracting by 0.4%.
For 2018, the economy grew by 4.7% on-year, lower than the 5.9% growth in 2017. However, the GDP growth was in line with a Bloomberg survey of 4.7%.
Nor Shamsiah said Malaysia's macroeconomic fundamentals continue to remain strong despite domestic and external headwinds.
"In 2019, the Malaysian economy is likely to remain on a steady growth path, supported by resilience of private consumption and continuation of civil engineering projects apart from recovery from supply side shocks," she said.
In a separate statement, Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Uzir Mahidin said for 2018, the value of gross domestic product (GDP) recorded RM1.23 trillion at constant prices and RM1.43 trillion at current prices.
Mohd Uzir said Malaysia’s current account surplus surged to RM10.8bil in the final quarter of 2018. The favourable performance was spurred by the larger surplus in goods account at RM33bil from RM26.6bil in Q3.
For 2018, the current account surplus reached RM33.5bil contributed by higher surplus in goods account at RM121.4bil and lower deficit in services account at RM19.7bil, he said.
Mohd Uzir said in Q4 2018, the services sector, which accounted for 56% of GDP grew 6.9% against 7.2% in Q3.
The performance of Services sector was underpinned by wholesale & retail trade and Information & communication sub-sector. Wholesale & retail trade grew 8.6% backed by retail segment which remained a double-digit growth of 12%.
Information & communication remained strong by posting a growth of 8.1% driven by communication and computer services activities.
Finance & insurance moderated 4.5% supported by insurance which grew 8.4%.
For 2018, the services sector expanded by 6.8% as compared with 6.2% in 2017.
Mohd Uzir said the manufacturing sector moderated by 4.7% against 5% in Q3 . Electrical, Electronic & Optical products continued to be the main contributor in this sector expanded further 6.9% backed by printed circuit board, electronic integrated circuit micro assembles and communication equipment.
Meanwhile, Petroleum, Chemical, Rubber & Plastic products registered a growth of 3.6% which was attributed by refined petroleum, rubber and plastic products.
The performance of manufacturing was underpinned by transport equipment, other manufacturing & repair which increased by8.7 per cent. The sturdy growth of this activity was induced by motor vehicles and transport equipment.
For 2018, manufacturing sector grew at a slower pace of 5% after expanding 6% in 2017.