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19 October2009

Malaysia plans deficit cut once economy recovers

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Malaysian government plans to narrow the budget deficit when it is certain the economy has recovered from its first recession in a decade, says Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying.

"As the economy strengthens, I am confident the private sector will resume its lead role, thus giving space for the government to roll back its presence in the economy," he told Business Times, a local business daily, in an interview.

Malaysia had cut its deficit, the difference between what it earns and spends, between 2002 and 2007. The figure was down to 3.2 percent from 5.2 percent.

It aimed for a 3.1 percent deficit in 2008, but this grew to 4.8 percent as commodity prices soared to record highs. The government had to spend more to keep the price of subsidised items like petrol and rice, in check.

Towards the end of 2008, the collapse of America's property market affected the US financial industry and later on, the broader economy. A slowdown in the US quickly spread to other regions like Europe and even Asia, which exports much of its products to consumers in richer Western countries.



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