Malaysia’s growth probably exceeded 5 percent for a seventh straight quarter, the longest stretch since the depth of the global financial crisis in 2008, with a pick-up in investment poised to add further momentum.
Gross domestic product in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy probably rose 5.5 percent in the first three months of 2013 from a year before, according to the median of 22 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. A slide in exports meant the pace probably slowed from a 6.4 percent rate in October-to-December. The government will release the figures tomorrow.
With Prime Minister Najib Razak’s election victory this month poised to unleash delayed investment projects, economists at banks from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. to Credit Suisse Group AG predict an acceleration in coming quarters. Cash handouts to lower-income Malaysians promised in the run-up to the vote is also helping domestic consumption offset limited demand for exports.
“Most investors are expecting that with the Barisan Nasional remaining in power, there’s less uncertainty with regards to politics,” said Ho Woei Chen, an economist at United Overseas Bank Ltd. in Singapore, referring to Najib’s ruling coalition. “Investments will still be strong. That will continue to drive growth, together with consumption.”
Najib held on to power with his governing coalition’s smallest share of the popular vote since 1969 after giving handouts to the poor, higher wages for civil servants and energy subsidies. The mandate gives him scope to promote $444 billion of private-sector-led projects from mass rail to oil storage planned for this decade.
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