Saturday 24 May 2014

Looking beyond top line GDP growth

Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew an impressive 6.2% in the first quarter of this year, one of the highest first quarter (1Q) growth in the region. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, though, 1Q2014 growth is slower at 0.8%, compared to 4Q2013’s 1.9%.

The unexpected surge in 1Q GDP sparked off a slew of revisions in growth forecast for 2014, with projections averaging around 5.5%, compared to 5% before.

Is this strong growth sustainable?

In releasing the 1Q performance data, Bank Negara Malaysia guided that GDP performance in 1Q is “exceptional” and unlikely to be repeated in the subsequent three quarters.

Indeed, while the top line numbers are looking good, there are still pockets of weaknesses in the economy, which if not addressed in the coming months, will undermine the growth prospects of the country over the longer term.

Will domestic demand and export performance which are the main growth drivers of the 1Q GDP growth be sustainable moving forward? 

Some economists are concerned of the prospect especially amidst a period of rising inflation, high household debt and the impending interest rate rise by Bank Negara Malaysia which is likely to happen in July. 

With rising government spending and a budget deficit to tackle, the slack in public consumption is likely to be filled by private sector investments.  BUT can private investments deliver the figures? 

Read the full analysis in The Edge this week.


  1. Firstly, is the number real and justified? Raising interest rate will make the house hold debt worse. Private sector investment is driven by the demand of general public, if everyone have 'less' money to spend, and keep spending 'future' money...this is not a healthy grow. Gov basically need to assure the number is nice so the country rating won't be downgrade as they can keep issuing Bonds with low funding cost. But in long term, i would share Warren Buffet quote to describe this wicked Malaysia Gov's intention...
    Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.

  2. Obviously, Malaysia should produce higher value products esp. for export. If stuck in low value chain production, then we are stuck in the low income level. Boosting consumption is just a stop gap measure , not a healthy strategy esp. by indebtedness. Or could we increase productivity , not so desirable in a resource based economy which might be negated by price decrease. Therefore, talent and high quality education is utmost.

  3. I think most important is get rid of corruption, nepotism, cronyism, improve human capital value chain, encourage open financial system, improve development especially public transport, media freedom. We try emulate US by having Putrajaya , Cyberjaya & now Razak Xchange??? What is the points have all this hard stuff where the simple soft part can be implemented & lot of crook politicians still at large after stealing rakyat money ....

    1. I mean the simple soft part can't be implemented.... Now the worse part is this wicked politicians try play racial issues... What is this???? Are we back to stone ages. We also have white raja who rule my home state .... Is this called civilized society??? The rural rakyat there still suffering...FYI..... To change the whole system, we must find the roots of the problem.... The roots is the crooked & wicked must go....

  4. Malaysia is good in certain areas which require labour like palm oil , natural gas , rubber , gloves , timber .. And oil
    What it's not good at is technology advancement .
    We don't have advance / own made planes , satellite , car , submarines , ships , drones etc
    To propel forward we shld take in Knowledge workers or foreign manufacturers who are willing to transfer or teach us all the new technologies so that we go beyond living in coconut shell
    It's pointless to be a jaguh kampung ..
    We shld compete first with Japan and south korea first not just in badminton or soccer but in economy and techno..
    Else I forsee us being a 6 % growth but product wise uncompetitive economy
    We need to move fwd and not import in millions of unskilled workers who take home the knowledge and income
    We shld try to import or attract knowledge workers e instead of millions from Bangladesh , Nepal , afrika , Indo , Sri Lanka , Vietnam ..
    Why can't we learn & attract those from USA , Germany , Japan , Korea ? Haha