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NEWS UPDATES 16 December 2009

ADB: Malaysia’s GDP will grow 4.5% in 2010

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With the global economy slowly recovering, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) expects Malaysia’s economy to return to growth in 2010, national news agency Bernama reported.

In its special assessment of the region released yesterday, the international development finance institution has forecast Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 4.5 percent next year.

It said Malaysia was expected to contract 2.5 percent in 2009 after registering minus 5.1 percent in the first half of the year and minus 1.2 percent in the third quarter.

In a separate Asian Economic Monitor report for December 2009, the Manila-based institution said all the Asean-4 economies were pummeled by the precipitous drop in external demand but in terms of overall economic impact, Thailand and Malaysia were hurt the most.

Thailand is expected to bounce back to a 3.5 percent growth in 2010 while Indonesia and the Philippines – less reliant on exports – fared better in 2009.

Indonesia’s robust growth is expected to continue in 2010 with GDP growth rising to 5.4 percent and the Philippines at 3.3 percent.

Vietnam, one of the fastest growing economies in the region before the current financial crisis which started in the United States, is recovering after bottoming out in the first quarter of 2009. Vietnam is forecast to grow 6.5 percent, up from the 5 percent expansion expected in 2009.

Singapore’s GDP is expected to reach 4.5 percent, recovering from the projected minus 2 percent this year.

Meanwhile, Brunei is expected to contract by 1.2 percent in 2009 before recovering in 2010, growing 2.3 percent fuelled by higher global energy demand and petroleum prices.

ADB said it had upgraded its economic forecast for developing Asia after third-quarter data showed a better-than-expected performance by many countries in the region.

It is now expecting developing Asia to grow by 4.5 percent in 2009 and 6.6 percent in 2010, which marks an increase from the 3.9 percent and 6.4 percent it predicted in its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2009 Update published in September.

The forecast for China remains unchanged from September’s ADO 2009 Update at 8.2 percent in 2009 and 8.9 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, India’s growth could be 7 percent this year, one percentage point higher than previously expected, but ADB has kept the 2010 forecast unchanged at 7 percent.

“The global economic situation is changing rapidly, necessitating frequent reassessments.

“The prospects for much of the region look rosier than they did in September when we last did a full study of the region,” said ADB chief economist Jong-Wha Lee.


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