Real gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to expand 4.8% for the full year 2018, a slight dip compared to the 4.9% growth seen in the first six months of the year. Growth is forecast to pick up slightly to 4.9% in 2019. This puts the economy’s growth at the midway point of the government’s target annual GDP growth range of 4.5% to 5.5% for the period from 2018 to 2020, which was set out in the mid-term review of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan unveiled on 18 October 2018.
Private sector expenditure will continue to be the key driver of growth for the economy, with sustained private sector expenditure at 6.5% for 2018 (2019: 6.4%). This is expected to cushion the impact of lower public sector spending in 2018 and 2019 (+0.1% and -0.9% respectively) as the government moves to review and re-prioritise expenditure and rein in the fiscal deficit.
On the supply side, growth will be be driven by the services and manufacturing sectors, which account for 55.3% and 23% share of 2018 GDP respectively. The services sector will grow by 6.3% in 2018 (2019: 5.9%), while the manufacturing sector is estimated to grow by 4.9% (2019: 4.7%).
Despite the projected resilient economic performance, risks to growth remain, resulting from heightening global uncertainties. These include rising trade conflict, volatility in global financial markets and oil prices and geopolitical tension.
Sources: Economic Outlook 2019; Mid-term review of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan