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NEWS UPDATES 19 August 2010

Malaysian economy up 8.9 percent

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Malaysia's economy grew 8.9 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, with growth expected to exceed 6 percent in the full year, the central bank governor said.

Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the second-quarter growth was "driven by sustained expansion in domestic demand and continued robust growth in external demand."

She said the stronger domestic demand was due to higher private and public sector spending, while the expansion in external demand spurred domestic production.

"We are seeing a pick-up in investments, consumption is strong and our domestic economy remains strong and robust."

The central bank governor said Malaysia would also benefit from trade with other Asian economies, "who have shown a high degree of resilience and who are showing strong growth."

Despite the slow growth in advanced economies, she said Malaysia's economic growth was still "favourable" because the country had strong fundamentals, low inflation and low unemployment.

The inflation rate, as measured by the change in the consumer price index (CPI), increased by 1.9 percent for July compared with the same month last year, according to a statement from the Statistics Department.

"We can have a reasonable rate of (economic) growth in the second half," Zeti said, but did not give a figure.

The central bank also announced a further liberalisation of foreign exchange transactions.

Malaysia's economy leapt 10.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter after a revised 4.4 percent growth rate in the last quarter of 2009. The first quarter figure was the highest rate recorded since the first quarter of 2000, when the economy grew 11.7 percent.

Earlier this year the government unveiled plans for economic reforms including an overhaul of racial preferences for majority Malays, part of a plan to achieve developed-nation status by 2020.

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