KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economy is expected to further improve in the second quarter (Q2) of this year with exports likely to increase amid continuous strong domestic demand and private expenditure as seen in the first quarter. Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, said Q1’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.6% indicated a strong growth from overall perspective. “We were able to achieve over 5% growth for Q2 given the strong trade for May 2017 which has exceeded forecasts, growing by 31.5% to RM153.3bil against RM116.6bil a year ago,” he said. He said this after officiating a finance forum, themed ‘Opportunities for Malaysia and China Entrepreneurs under Belt and Road Initiatives’, jointly organised Tsinghua University People’s Bank of China School of Finance and CIMB Group.
It was reported earlier that Malaysian exports rose 32.5% cent to RM79.4bil and imports by 30.4% to RM73.91bil, resulting in a trade surplus of RM5.49bil, the 235th consecutive month of trade surplus since 1997. Meanwhile, CIMB Group chief executive officer, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, said he expected stronger second quarter growth. “It is good for the banking industry if the growth continues to increase because the bank’s performance is highly dependent on the performance of the country. “We definitely expect good performance for the banking industry for the first half of this year,” he said. Commenting on the Belt and Road initiative’s socio-economic aspiration, he said the objective was to connect 65% of the global population generating one third of the world’s GDP, providing opportunities for trade and infrastructure that will also spur innovation and foster smart partnerships. Tengku Zafrul said: “Through cooperation and a focus on win-win solutions, the Belt and Road initiative will not only strengthen Asean’s role as a hub connecting the East and West, but also pave the way for Asia to play a stronger leadership role in ensuring a global agenda that is more inclusive of Asia and more cognizant of its peoples’ values and aspirations.” The forum, which featured a discussion panel by five prominent personalities from China and Malaysia, aims at sharing knowledge and experience with future leaders of both countries.