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The Malaysian econoMy
The Malaysian economy grew by 4.7% in the fourth quarter of 2018 (3Q 2018: 4.4%), supported by continued expansion in domestic demand and a positive growth in net exports. Private sector expenditure remained the main driver of domestic demand, while a 1.3% rebound in real exports of goods and services (3Q 2018: -0.8%) contributed towards the positive growth of net exports. On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, the economy grew by 1.4% (3Q 2018: 1.6%).
Domestic demand expanded at a more moderate pace of 5.6% during the quarter (3Q 2018: 6.9%). Growth was weighed down by a moderation in gross  xed capital formation.
• Private consumption growth remained robust at 8.5% (3Q 2018: 9.0%), despite the frontloading of purchases during the tax holiday period in the previous quarter. Income and employment growth continued to drive household spending. Government measures to alleviate cost of living, such as special payments to civil servants and pensioners, also provided some support to consumer spending.
• Private investment growth moderated to 4.4% (3Q 2018: 6.9%), attributed to slower capital spending across major economic sectors. However, ongoing multi-year projects particularly in the manufacturing sector continued to provide support to overall growth.
• Public consumption expanded at a slower pace of 4.0% (3Q 2018: 5.2%), attributable to a more moderate growth in supplies and services.
• Public investment remained in contraction during the quarter (-4.9%; 3Q 2018: -5.5%), due mainly to a decline in capital spending by public corporations.
• Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) expanded marginally by 0.3% (3Q 2018: 3.2%), as private sector capital expenditure moderated amid a contraction in public sector investment. By type of assets, capital spending on structures expanded by 0.8% (3Q 2018: 1.8%), while investment in machinery and equipment declined by 1.5% (3Q 2018: 5.9%).
On the supply side, major sectors continued to expand, while growth in the commodity-related sectors improved.
• In the services sector, the wholesale and retail trade sub-sector remained supported by continued strength in consumer spending.
• The information and communications sub-sector bene tted from continued demand for data communication services and the positive impact on  xed broadband demand following the implementation of the Mandatory Standard Access Pricing (MSAP) mechanism.
• Growth in the transport and storage sub-sector improved marginally in line with better trade activity.
• Activity in the  nance and insurance sub-sector expanded at a moderate pace as higher growth in insurance claims and lower fee-based income weighed on the performance of the sub-sector.
• Growth in the manufacturing sector remained driven by continued strength in the Electronics and Electrical (E&E) and transport-related production. Relatively strong growth in the E&E cluster was attributed to the frontloading of exports globally in anticipation of higher trade tariffs between the US and China.
• Growth in the transport-related production was supported by the manufacture of passenger cars and auto parts, as a result of aggressive promotional campaigns by car dealers as well as the replenishment of vehicle stocks after the end of the tax holiday.
• Performance of the mining sector rebounded, supported by higher oil and natural gas production following the maintenance shutdown in the previous quarter.
• Despite weak palm oil harvesting and rubber tapping activities due to adverse weather conditions, the agriculture sector recorded a smaller decline.
• The construction sector registered lower growth due to a moderation in the civil engineering and special trade sub-sectors.The civil engineering sub-sector was impacted by near completion of large petrochemical projects and delays in highway construction. Support from early works activity on the special trade sub-sector waned, as projects transitioned to mid-phase. Growth in the non-residential sub-sector improved slightly, while growth in the residential sub-sector remained weak amid the high number of unsold residential properties.

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