(theStar 24-Feb-2010)PUTRAJAYA: The economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the final quarter of 2009 as a combination of government spending, a lower inflation rate and accommodative monetary policy helped boost domestic demand.
Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 4.5% in the fourth quarter (Q4), the first positive growth after three consecutive quarters of contractions while for the full year, the economy contracted by 1.7%.
The positive news surprised economists, who were expecting an average growth of 3.2% for Q4 as shown in a Bloomberg survey. For 2009, a separate Bloomberg survey showed economists expected a contraction of 2%.
CIMB Investment Bank Bhd economic research head Lee Heng Guie told StarBiz there would be an upwards revision of the GDP figures for 2010 in light of the Q4 data plus Asia’s growth prospects.
“We’ll be revising the numbers, most likely in the region of 4% to 5% (from 3.5%) for 2010 especially given the expansion in the services and manufacturing sectors,” he said.