M’sia Posts Worst Economic Showing In 22 Years

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by a massive 17.1 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

The dismal showing has so far made Malaysia the worst-performing economy in Asean.

It was the worst double-digit quarterly contraction since 1998, or about 22 years, following the unprecedented lockdown imposed to stem the spread of Covid-19.

This has forced Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to revise down the country’s 2020 GDP forecast to -3.5 to -5.5 per cent from -2 to 0.5 per cent previously, as the initial assumption was based on a lockdown period of only four weeks instead of seven weeks, a Bernama report said today.

It quoted BNM governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus as saying the economy was expected to recover and post a growth of 5.5 per cent to 8.0 per cent in 2021.

Regionally, Singapore recently announced that its GDP shrank by 13.2 per cent in Q2, sending the country into its first technical recession in 11 years.

The republic’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) when releasing the latest Economic Performance in Q2 2020, narrowed the GDP forecast range for 2020 to -7.0 to -5.0 per cent, from -7.0 to -4.0 per cent.

Concurrently, Indonesia’s economy entered a technical recession in Q2, after its GDP contracted 5.32 per cent, the lowest it recorded since the first quarter of 1999.

It was also reported that about 3.7 million individuals have lost their jobs this year, with the total number expected to hit around 10 million by year-end.

The Philippines’ economy shrank into a technical recession in April-June period as its GDP slumped 16.5 per cent, the sharpest decline since 1981.

The only country that recorded a positive growth so far in Q2, albeit slower than a year earlier, is Vietnam which saw its economy grow 0.36 per cent, with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc committing to keep growth at above 5.0 per cent.

Other countries have yet to announce their Q2 data, with Thailand’ economy predicted to contract by 12- 13 per cent, which would be a record negative growth for that country.