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December 3, 2008

Malaysia trims fuel prices amidst slowing economy

Malaysia's government Tuesday announced it would cut retail fuel prices for the sixth time in four months following recent sharp drop in global oil prices, reported the Associated Press.

In a statement, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said gasoline and diesel pump prices were being lowered by another 5 percent to 1.90 ringgit (53 cents) and 1.80 ringgit per liter respectively.

The government had raised gasoline prices by a staggering 41 percent in June to 2.70 ringgit when global oil prices reached a record high to reduce its subsidy bill. But oil price has since fallen amid a global economic slump, dipping to 3-year lows below $48 a barrel on Tuesday.

The lower retail fuel prices has helped tame inflation in Malaysia, which retreated to 7.6 percent in October from 8.2 percent in September.

Elsewhere in Asia, Vietnam also cut fuel prices Tuesday, lowering gasoline and diesel to 12,000 dong (70 cents) per liter, the government said on its Web site.

The Malaysian government recently cut its economic growth forecast for 2009 to 3.5 percent, from 5.4 percent, and said it would inject 7 billion ringgit into the economy next year to boost spending.

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