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GDP to expand 5% this year: OCBC

  • OCBC has forecast Malaysia's GDP to grow 5% this year, backed by strong private consumption and investment.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 (Bernama) -- Singapore-based banking group OCBC Bank has forecast Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) to grow five per cent this year, backed by strong private consumption and investment.

Its Head of Treasury Research and Strategy, Global Treasury, Selena Ling said private consumption was expected to remain strong due to continued government income support, reduced income tax and improving sentiments.

"Private investments, on the other hand, will be strong due to improving external demand and sentiments," she told reporters at a briefing on the country's 2018 outlook here today.

She said fiscal deficit was forecast to decline to 2.9 per cent this year compared to three per cent last year, on the back of stable oil price and encouraging economic growth.

Oil price is expected to hover around US$65-US$70 (US$1=RM3.94) per barrel, while the ringgit is projected to strengthen to RM3.76 against the US dollar by year-end due to further relative central bank dynamics, she added.

She said the local unit was also not expected to receive any major impact from interest rate hike in the United States, as the market had already factored in three interest rate increases in their projections.

On the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is expected to be signed by March this year, she said it would provide better access to Malaysian businesses.

She said the CPTPP should benefit Malaysian companies in terms of lowered trade barriers, better access to business service providers and smoother access to foreign government contracts.

She added that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, to be signed in November this year, would also provide access to a huge potential market since the trade pact comprised 16 economies with 3.4 billion people and accounted for 39 per cent of the global GDP as of 2017.



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