Malaysia’s economic growth eased sharply in the first quarter due to the measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic, data from Bank Negara Malaysia showed Wednesday.
Gross domestic product grew 0.7 percent on a yearly basis, following a 3.6 percent rise in the fourth quarter of 2019. However, the economy was expected to shrink 1.5 percent.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the economy shrank 2.0 percent in the first quarter.
The economy is expected to contract in the second quarter and to register a recovery next year.
In the first quarter, headline inflation remained at 0.9 percent. Average headline inflation in 2020 is likely to turn negative, due mainly to projections of substantially lower global oil prices, the bank said.
Another report showed that the current account surplus increased to MYR 9.5 billion from MYR 7.5 billion in the fourth quarter.