Statement by the Bank Negara Malaysia:
The Malaysian economy grew within expectations in the first quarter of the year, supported by both domestic and external factors. Looking ahead, while the external sector performance is likely to be weighed down by slower global growth and trade tensions, economic growth will be supported by domestic demand. Household and capital spending will continue to be driven by stable labour market conditions and capacity expansion in key sectors such as manufacturing and services. The baseline projection remains within the range of 4.3% - 4.8%. This projection, however, is subject to downside risks from ongoing uncertainties in the global and domestic environment, worsening trade tensions and extended weakness in commodity-related sectors.
While headline inflation has remained low in the recent period, it is projected to rise in the coming months as the impact of the changes in consumption tax policy lapses. For 2019 as a whole, average headline inflation is expected to be broadly stable compared to 2018. The trajectory of headline inflation will be dependent on global oil prices and policy measures such as the timing of the lifting of the price ceiling on domestic retail fuel prices. Underlying inflation is expected to remain stable, supported by the continued expansion in economic activity and in the absence of strong demand pressures.