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M'sia can post 4.8 to 4.9 GDP growth for 2018 - deputy minister

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Malaysia is capable of achieving gross domestic product (GDP) growth of between 4.8 per cent and 4.9 per cent in 2018 on the back of stronger economic figures recently, says Deputy International Trade and Industry MInister Ong Kian Ming.

He said the manufacturing sector would continue to drive the country's exports and economy despite the current challenges in the US-China trade dispute. 

"We also take note of the recent industrial production index figures. 

"Some banks such as Standard Chartered have shown some optimism towards the GDP growth figure for 2019 as well," he told reporters after a luncheon talk organised by Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) in Kuala Lumpur today. 

Bank Negara Malaysia will announce the fourth quarter of 2018 GDP data tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Ong said the country would be able to weather challenges and grow further this year with good policies in place. 

He was asked to comment on the dip in the business sentiment index in December 2018, as announced by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) recently.

"I think the business confidence index is based on surveys, and the surveys may not be totally reflective of the numbers, but of course we need to be concerned about the dip in business sentiment.

"As long as we can address those concerns by coming out with good policies by showing good figures, I think we can convince the business community," he added.

According to MIER, the consumer sentiment index fell 10.7 points to 96.8 in October to December 2018 from 107.5 in the preceding quarter. 

Meanwhile, the business condition index, which tracks domestic manufacturing activity, dropped to 95.3 points, 13.5 points lower than in the previous quarter.

- Bernama

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