KUALA LUMPUR: The economy expanded by 4.5% at in the first quarter of March 31, 2019 (Q1 2019), which was slightly above economists' forecast of 4.3%, underpinned by services and manufacturing.
However, GDP expanded at a slower pace compared with the fourth quarter of 2018 when it expanded by 4.7% and 5.3% in Q1 of 2018.
While Bank Negara governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus had on Thursday described the economic performance as "commendable", the first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth represents a sharp slowdown from the 5.3% economy expansion in 1Q18.
The recovery in the agriculture sector, in particular, crude palm oil production, continued expansion in private sector spending as well as high net exports were among the key economic growth drivers in the first quarter.
However, except for the agriculture sector, all other sectors recorded either a slower growth or a wider contraction.
The agriculture sector rebounded by 5.6% in 1Q19 from a growth of 3.1% in the previous corresponding quarter.
The services sector grew by 6.4% in 1Q19 as compared to 6.5% a year earlier. Manufacturing and construction sectors grew by 4.2% (1Q18: 5.2%) and 0.3% (1Q18: 4.9%).
The mining and quarrying sector contracted by 2.1% in 1Q19, as compared to a decline of 0.6% in 1Q18.
According to Nor Shamsiah, for the full-year 2019, GDP growth forecast is maintained between the range of 4.3% to 4.8%.