World Bulletin / News Desk
Malaysia's economy grew at its fastest pace in two years during the first quarter, the central bank said Friday, boosted by stronger domestic demand and a pick-up in exports.
The result -- much better than the 4.8 percent forecast in a survey by Bloomberg News -- marks the third consecutive quarter of improving growth and is the fastest since the start of 2015.
"It's a lot stronger than expected and it was partly due to a rebound in exports and commodity prices," said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking.
Bank Negara said growth would be sustained this year as the global economy showed signs of improvement, while domestic demand remained healthy.
"The economy is on track to register higher growth in 2017," Bank Negara said via a statement.
"Domestic demand is projected to continue to expand. Exports are expected to benefit from the improvement in global growth."
The figures come after export-reliant Malaysia recovers from years of falling oil prices and weak overseas demand.
The economy is forecast to grow 4.3-4.8 percent this year but Bank Negara said in March that rising protectionism remains a risk.
Growth hit 4.2 percent last year, slowing from 5.0 percent in 2015 and 6.0 percent in 2014.
Crude prices stabilised after diving more than two percent on Tuesday on increasing fears of a global supply glut, as continued production in the US and elsewhere offsets an OPEC output cut deal.
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However, most other regional markets struggled after Monday's healthy gains, despite being given a positive lead from Wall Street where the Dow and S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs.
The purchase in one fell swoop gives Amazon, which until now has operated almost entirely on the internet, a big presence in the brick-and-mortar world on Main Street, with more than 450 stores in the US, Canada and Britain.
"The Bank of Russia Board of Directors decided to cut the key rate to 9.00 percent per annum," the bank said in a statement. The cut follows a half-point decrease in late April.
Equity traders have suffered a fraught week as the crisis engulfing Donald Trump picks up pace, technology firms tumbled from recent highs and energy plays were hammered by plunging oil prices.
"In May 2017, passenger car registrations across the EU increased by 7.6 percent to 1.387 million units," ACEA said in a statement.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index climbed 0.4 percent to 12,746.05 points, and the Paris CAC 40 gained 0.5 percent to 5,243.53 compared with the close on Thursday.
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While a "rebalancing of the market" was "underway," it was "at a slower pace than originally anticipated," the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries wrote in its latest monthly oil market report.
US, with 30 planned LNG terminals and six under-construction, is forecast to be next leader in LNG markets