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KUALA LUMPUR, May 15, 2015:

Malaysia’s first quarter 2015 (Q1 2015) gross domestic product growth of 5.6% came in surprisingly well despite concerns over the volatility in oil prices and the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), said OCBC Bank.

“At 5.6% year-on-year (yoy) growth, the economy has performed better than market expectation of 5.4% and the 5% that we projected.

“It is also not too much of a slowdown from the 5.8% growth recorded in the fourth quarter of last year,” said economist (treasury research and strategy, global treasury) Wellian Wiranto in a statement today.

He said the growth in Q1 2015 was bolstered by front-loaded consumption ahead of the GST, healthy private investment activities, especially from within the manufacturing and services sectors.

Going forward, Wellian said the outlook remained rough for the Malaysian economy, but it definitely weathered the choppiness a lot better than expected.

“That gives us confidence that the 4.8% yoy growth we have in mind for the economy this year should remain achievable.

“It also makes better sense now why Bank Negara Malaysia had been so confident that Malaysia will remain on a ‘steady growth path’ despite calls for it to cut rate to help the economy.”

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