The Malaysian economy recorded a robust growth of 10.1% in the first quarter of 2010 (Q4 2009: 4.4%), the highest rate since first quarter of 2000 (11.7%). Growth was supported by strong domestic demand and global economic recovery. Other regional and emerging economies also posted positive growth such as China (11.9%), South Korea (7.8%) and Indonesia (5.7%).
On the supply side, all major economic sectors recorded robust growth, particularly the manufacturing sector which grew 16.9% (Q4 2009: 5.0%). Growth in the sector was driven by electric and electronics (34.4%), transport equipment (25.3%) as well as wood products and furniture (18.7%) sub-sectors.
The services sector also registered strong performance of 8.5% (Q4 2009: 5.2%), contributed by utilities (16.6%), real estate and business services (14.2%), wholesale and retail (9.6%) as well as transport and storage (9.2%) sub-sectors. The construction sector continued to expand 8.7%, while the mining sector turned around to register 2.1% growth. The agriculture sector expanded 6.8% mainly due to higher production of rubber, livestock and timber.
On the demand side, growth during the quarter was underpinned by strong domestic expenditure due to sustained expansion in private and public consumption at 5.1% and 6.3%, respectively. Meanwhile, investment grew strongly at 5.4%, reflecting recovery in investor confidence.
The external sector registered sterling performance with total exports increasing 19.3%, amidst recovery in global economy and trade. Similarly, total imports expanded 27.5%, on account of higher imports of intermediate (37.9%), consumption (18.5%) and capital goods (9.6%), pointing towards more robust domestic economic activities.
Following the favourable growth performance coupled with the Government and economic transformation initiatives, the growth target of 6.0% for 2010 is achievable.