Malaysia Posts 5.3% Growth

Manufacturing expanded 1.7%

Malaysia's economy grew at a better-than-expected 5.3% year-on-year in the first quarter, boosted by services and a recovering construction sector, the central Bank Negara said May 30.

Services remained the main driver of growth, expanding 9.6% compared with the same quarter last year and supported by consumption demand, finance and business services, central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said.

Manufacturing expanded by 1.7% amid a global downturn in the electronics and electrical sector, she said.

The 4% growth in construction marked the second consecutive quarterly expansion after almost three years of contraction, Zeti said.

For the fourth quarter last year, gross domestic product grew at 5.7% from a 5.8% expansion in the third quarter, official statistics showed. Malaysia's economy last year saw 5.9% growth in GDP.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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